EPA steps up enforcement against contractors disturbing lead paint.
Given a recent EPA press release, it appears that the EPA is increasing its enforcement attention on violations of the EPA’s Lead Paint Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rules set forth in 40 CFR Part 745. The EPA recently fined two companies and an individual for failing to adhere to the RRP Rules during building renovation activities. The fines ranged from $1,500 to $10,000.

Companies that are engaged in renovation activities that have the potential to disturb painted surfaces in pre-1978 structures should evaluate their activities in light of the RRP Rules, a copy of which can be reviewed by clicking here. Renovation is broadly defined as any activity that disturbs painted surfaces and includes most repair, remodeling and maintenance activities, including window replacement.

Painters, plumbers, carpenters and electricians are potentially responsible for adhering to the RRP rules. If your company’s activities involve projects that will disturb lead-based paint in pre-1978 homes, child care facilities, and schools (child-occupied facilities), your company must be certified by the EPA as an approved lead safe certified firm, and it must use certified renovators who are trained by EPA approved training providers. Child- occupied facilities are defined as residential, public or commercial buildings where children under the age of 6 are present on a regular basis.

If work in one of these affected building types will disturb more than 6 square feet of lead-based paint in an interior room or more than 20 square feet of lead-based paint on the exterior of the building, the contractors must use certain lead safe work practices which include:

  • containing the work area,
  • minimizing dust, and
  • cleaning up thoroughly

In addition, prior to performing any such work, a contractor must provide the owners, tenants and child care/child occupied facilities with a copy of EPA’s lead hazard information pamphlet entitled “Renovate Right: Important Lead Hazard Information for Families, Child Care Providers and Schools” . The contractor must keep records showing that it supplied this disclosure form prior to commencing the work. These records should be retained for three years. More information regarding compliance with EPA’s RRP Rule can be obtained by reviewing the EPA’s “Small Entity Compliance Guide to Renovate Right” and EPA’s January 2010 Enforcement Alert pamphlet entitled “Compliance With New Federal Lead Based Paint Requirements”. As can be seen, failure to follow the RRP Rules can result in legal costs and significant fines.