Asbestos is a serious health hazard. Asbestos fibers are microscopic in nature and are resistant to fire and most chemical reactions and breakdowns. These properties are why it was used for many years in a number of different commercial and industrial capacities. The strength of asbestos, combined with its resistance to heat, allowed it to become the material of choice in a variety of products, including on hot water plumbing and in floor tiles and ceiling materials.
Asbestos is now strictly regulated as exposure to this toxic mineral can now be directly and scientifically linked to a number of lung and respiratory conditions including mesothelioma. Any disturbance of asbestos particles must be done carefully and by certified professionals.
Replacing the old plumbing means disturbing the asbestos elbows on those pipes.
All of the flooring in the school has an asbestos backing underneath it. When the vinyl tiles are pulled up, chipped or disintegrate, it is a serious health hazard. This is happening more and more frequently as the school ages.
If we have to replace the plumbing (and we do) then we must abate the asbestos. While we have the asbestos removal team on site, it makes sense, financially and for health and safety reasons, to remove all of the asbestos.