Posted on April 30, 2023
Categories: Environmental

The School District of Philadelphia has appointed environmental professional Victoria Flemming as Interim Executive Director of the Office of Environmental Management & Services, a new position that will add oversight and expertise to the District’s ongoing efforts to assess and improve conditions in its buildings.

Flemming brings 20 years of environmental and regulatory expertise in Philadelphia to the role. For the past two years, she has worked closely in the School District through consultant DeLuca Advisory & Consulting Services, a team of compliance and oversight experts providing the District independent, third-party monitoring services, support for regulatory compliance and Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) management.

With DeLuca, Flemming helped the District bring on Tetra Tech, a consulting and engineering firm, to manage the inspections and related data for the 295 District buildings in the asbestos management program. The addition of the DeLuca and Tetra Tech teams has led to important discoveries of inconsistencies in historic building records and areas of asbestos damage requiring urgent response.

Nearly all of the District’s buildings were constructed or repaired when asbestos was regularly used in floor tiles, pipe insulation, roof flashings, and some paint and cement products.  Asbestos was used widely because of its insulation and fire-retardant qualities – and before the potential health effects were widely recognized in the 1970s.

The presence of asbestos is not itself a health hazard; however, when it becomes damaged fibers can be airborne, and therefore asbestos materials must be managed. The federal Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act requires all schools to be inspected every three years, with interim surveillance every six months. The District’s historic underfunding and lack of personnel have made maintaining that pace a challenge; however the addition of Tetra Tech and DeLuca have helped to improve the cadence of inspections and the accuracy of related data.

In this new role, originally created in 2022, Flemming will oversee all the District’s environmental operations, with a particular focus on asbestos concerns. Flemming has experience as an Asbestos Building Inspector,  Project Supervisor, and Management Planner in the Southeast Region of Pennsylvania.

A lifelong resident of the Philadelphia area, Flemming has experience working closely on managing various environmental risks on capital projects and developments throughout the region. She specializes in real estate auditing, property condition assessments, internal auditing, safety compliance, and environmental remediation.

Prior to working for DeLuca, Flemming was a Safety Officer with SEPTA, managing the environmental services contract, providing oversight to all third-party environmental projects and conducting regular hazard assessment reviews of SEPTA properties, among other responsibilities.