PCB light replacement in schools

comment icon

Want to participate? Fill out our survey!

Fill out our survey to let us know you're interested in participating in this program. The survey is not a requirement nor an application to the program. However, if you fill out the survey, we will contact you as soon as applications open.

We are working with the Department of Health to reimburse qualifying K-12 schools in Washington to find, remove, replace, and dispose of fluorescent light fixture ballasts — the part that controls the flow of electricity — that contain polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

While the manufacture of PCBs in the U.S. was banned in 1979, they remain in buildings built or renovated before or around this time.

How do I identify PCB-containing light fixtures?

If your school building was built or last renovated before 1980 and has not had a complete lighting upgrade since that time, PCB-containing lights are likely to be present. The use of older mangnetic ballasts or T12 lamps increases this possibility.

The only way to verify is to do a visual inspection of the lighting in your school. Use the Environmental Protection Agency's guide to identifying PCB-containing lights.

The ballast is a rectangular box in a light fixture that regulates the flow of electicity.

PCB-containing magnetic ballasts were commonly used in fluorescent light fixtures that hold T12 bulbs. The T means tubular lamps, and 12 indicates a 12/8" diameter. If you have these lamps in your school building(s), you could have ballasts that contain PCBs.

How do I participate in the program?

PCB-containing light ballast

A typical pre-1979 PCB-containing fluorescent light ballast

Step 1: Fill out the survey

We encourage all schools to fill out the survey regardless of whether you think you have PCB-containing lights. This will help us better understand the overall need and scope for the program.

Helpful information to have before completing the survey:

  • Construction and renovation dates of school buildings
  • Lighting replacement or retrofit history, if available

Step 2: We'll contact you and your school

After we receive your survey response, we'll:

  • Follow up to provide more information and discuss next steps. Schools that are most likely to have PCB-containing lights will be our top priority.
  • Notify you when applications open. Applications will be used to direct funding and other resources to the school districts who need them most.

Frequently asked questions