Preparing for an EPA Inspection

How to Be Prepared for an EPA Lead Inspection or Site Audit

Now that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced their intent to step up enforcement of the Renovation, Repair & Painting (RRP) rules for 2012, how best can you be prepared for an inspection?

Most inspections are currently focusing on record keeping and most violations seem to center around failure to provide notification to home-owners and occupants via the Renovate Right pamphlet and failure to obtain Company Certification, as required by the 2010 rule. Renovation firms, remodelers and property management companies have reported that inspectors have asked to see Certified Firm Certificates, Certified Renovator Certificates, Renovate Right Receipts, lead testing documentation, work practice documentation and worker training documentation. Some general contractors report being asked to provide proof that any sub-contractors who disturb paint or other surface coatings are Certified Firms as well.

Copies of the following documents must be kept and made available as requested:

  • Certified Firm Certificate
  • Certified Renovator Certificate
  • Proof that all workers were trained by a Certified Renovator
  • Receipt or proof that the Renovate Right pamphlet was delivered to the home owner or resident no more than 60 days or less than 7 days prior to beginning the job
  • Test Kit Documentation including EPA recognized test kits.
  • Work Practices Verification such as the Record Keeping Checklist & Report

You will receive all of these forms and the training to properly use them in our classes. If you or someone you know have not completed your Lead Certification Training, now is the time. Click Here for Class Schedules or read our Students’ Reviews.

2012 EPA Lead Enforcement Increases

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has increased its enforcement of the Renovation, Repair & Painting (RRP) rules for 2012. Though their primary method is focusing on company certification, documentation and record keeping as required by the RRP rules which went into effect on April 22, 2010, inspections involving unsafe work practices are the agency’s “highest priority”.

Many contractors have been lulled into a sense of complacency by the seeming lack of enforcement and misinformation about the rules. However, according to the EPA’s Don Lott, the agency has already conducted 1000 compliance inspections with more on the way. EPA inspections can include both job site inspections and record keeping audits.

According to Lott, the EPA is receiving approximately 400 tips and complaints per month about non-compliant work practices and non-certified firms. Of the firms inspected, 60% have not become certified.

If you have not completed your Lead Certification Training, now is the time. Click Here for Class Schedules or read our Students’ Reviews of our Lead Certification Classes.

EPA Updates RRP Rules

On July 15 the EPA updated the Renovation Repair & Painting (RRP) Rules. These new rules go into effect October 30, 2011.  There are several changes that general contractors, specialty contractors, rental owners, property managers, and maintenance personnel must understand.

  1. No Dust Wipe or Clearance Testing – Despite the proposal that renovation jobs will require independent Clearance Testing or Exams, the EPA has stated that the Cleaning Verification procedure will remain in place and were careful not to hold contractors responsible for the removal of pre-existing lead hazards.
  2. Paint Chip Sampling – The EPA is going to allow Certified Renovators to collect and submit paint chip samples for lab testing. All labs must be NNLAP Certified. There will be additional paperwork required including Chain of Custody forms and a revised Post Renovation Report.
  3. Vertical Containment – By far the most onerous and costly requirement, both in time and money, is the new requirement that Vertical Containment be used if the renovation is being done within 10 feet of the property line. The EPA estimates that only 2% of jobs will require vertical containment. The only upside to contractors is the amendment allowing less than 10 feet of ground containment when using vertical containment as long as dust and debris is contained.
  4. Increased Enforcement – The EPA is requiring states to be more aggressive in enforcement, fines and homeowner education programs. States will be required to have a minimum fine of $5000 per day, per violation.
  5. Shrouded Power Tools – Power sanding, grinding, planing, etc. on painted surfaces is not allowed unless the tools are shrouded and attached to a HEPA vacuum. If you have attended one of our classes, this is the method that we have been teaching since the very beginning.
  6. HEPA Vacuums – must be operated in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, including frequency of filter changes.

These new rules go into effect October 30, 2011 and are the final blow to any hopes that the Renovation, Repair & Painting (RRP) Rules will be scaled back or repealed entirely. The EPA has made it extremely clear that the RRP Rules are here to stay. Larger fines and more aggressive enforcement from both individual states and the EPA are rapidly becoming a reality. If you have not obtained your Certified Renovator Training or registered your company as a Certified Firm, it’s not too late. For current class schedules go to www.LeadClasses.com and select your nearest city.

3M acquires LeadCheck Manufacturer

3M Company is expanding into the paint testing market with the acquisition of Hybrivet Systems Inc., the first provider of EPA approved lead detection products.

Minnesota based 3M’s (NYSE: MMM) acquisition of the company provides it immediate access to the rapidly growing lead paint testing market in the wake of new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Renovation, Repair & Painting (RRP) rules and standards.

Hybrivet’s LeadCheck brand, on the market since 1991, was the first instant test kit to be approved by the EPA under the RRP rule for lead-safe renovations that went into effect in April, 2010.

WA State Takes Over Lead Enforcement

March 22, 2011 – Olympia, WA – The Washington State Department of Commerce announced today that it has begun administration and enforcement of new rules designed to protect children from lead-based paint poisonings. Washington State’s approach to these nationwide rules for lead-safe work practices focuses on training and education.

Washington is the 11th state, and the largest west of the Mississippi, to take over management of the Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The new nationwide rule requires that construction and maintenance professionals who perform renovation, repair and painting work in housing, child-care facilities and schools built before 1978 must use “lead-safe work practices.”

Washington has also added a $25 per student fee to every Lead Certification Class taught in the state.

CT Contractor Fined $30,000 by EPA in Lead Paint Violation

March 23, 2011 — A Milford, Conn. company has agreed to pay $30,702 to settle claims by EPA that it failed to provide lead hazard information to home owners or occupants before doing renovations that may have disturbed surfaces coated with lead-based paint.

The settlement resolves claims made by EPA’s New England office that Permanent Siding and Windows, a contractor specializing in spray-on vinyl siding and replacing windows and doors, failed to provide EPA’s lead hazard information pamphlet to at least 17 owners or occupants before the company began renovation activities.

EPA Cites Company $784,380 for Failing to Warn Residents of Lead-Based Paint Exposures

Jun 20, 2010

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently filed a complaint and proposed a $784,380 penalty against Hanson’s Window and Construction Inc. of Madison Heights, Mich., for violations of the federal rule for failure to warn residents of potential lead-based paint exposures.

EPA alleges that Hanson, a window installation firm, failed to provide home owners and tenants of 271 residential properties in Lansing, East Lansing, Haslett, Charlotte, Onondaga, Williamston, Holt, Stockbridge, Mason, Leslie, and Warren with required information warning residents that their construction activities could expose residents to lead. The citation is based in part on information that two children living in renovated Michigan homes had tested positive for elevated blood lead levels.

The Pre-Renovation Lead Information Rule requires that renovators provide homeowners, tenants, and owners of child-occupied facilities with the “Renovate Right” pamphlet and obtain written confirmation that they have received it. The purpose of the rule is to protect families during renovations in housing built before 1978.

Lead exposure can cause reduced IQ, learning disabilities, developmental delays, reduced height, poor hearing, and other health problems in young children.

Lead-based paint dust created during renovations is the most common source of lead exposure to children in the United States. About 75 percent of the nation’s housing built before 1978 contains lead-based paint. When properly managed, lead-based paint poses little risk. If paint is not maintained, however, even low levels of lead exposure can threaten occupants’ health, especially children and pregnant women.

Why should I care about Lead Based Paint?

Traditional renovation, repair and painting is the number one cause of childhood lead poisoning.  7% of all children below the age of six have dangerous blood lead levels and 56% of all cases of lead poisoning are directly related to contractor renovations.

Lead exposure is very dangerous to children. While a child’s brain is developing, before six years old, lead can cause permanent, irreversible damage to the central nervous system, the brain and kidney damage, decreased intelligence, attention deficit disorder, speech, language and behavior problems. Very small levels of lead dust is all that is required to poison children. One gram of lead (the size of a sugar packet) can contaminate over 1500 sq. ft.

Lead poisoning can be prevented. Proper planning, lead safe work practices and thorough cleaning can greatly minimize the risk of harming anyone. The one day Lead Safe Renovation, Repair & Painting class teaches how to minimize the impact of lead during construction and remodeling projects. Classes are available in Portland OR, Vancouver WA, Dallas TX, St. Louis MO, Atlanta GA, Philadelphia PA and Phoenix AZ.

For more information go to www.LeadClasses.com

EPA Begins Lead Enforcement – Issues $85K Fine

Boston Landlord Faces Nearly $85K Penalty for Failure to Disclose Lead Paint to Tenants

(Boston, Mass. – July 20, 2010) – A Boston landlord faces a penalty of $84,600 for charges by EPA that he violated federal lead paint disclosure rules at four of his apartments in Roxbury and Dorchester. These violations potentially put tenants at risk of exposure to lead hazards.

John C. Jones, who owns and manages at least eight properties with at least 19 rental units, is responsible for 14 violations of federal lead-based paint disclosure laws in four leases, according to EPA’s New England regional office. The four rental properties involved were in Roxbury (20 Woodville Street, 48 Edgewater Street, and 25 Southwood Street) and in Dorchester (176-180 Quincy Street).

According to EPA, Jones failed to provide tenants with lead hazard information pamphlets and with reports pertaining to lead-based paint/paint hazards; failed to include lead warning statements in leases; failed to include a disclosure statement regarding lead-based paint/paint hazards or lack of knowledge thereof in leases; and failed to include lists of records pertaining to lead-based paint/hazards in leases.

The federal Disclosure Rule is meant to ensure that tenants get adequate information about the risks associated with lead paint before signing a lease.

Infants and young children are especially vulnerable to lead paint exposure, which can cause developmental impairment, reading and learning disabilities, impaired hearing, reduced attention span, hyperactivity and behavioral problems. Adults with high lead levels can suffer difficulties during pregnancy, high blood pressure, nerve disorders, memory problems and muscle and joint pain.

“Here in New England exposure to lead paint is a serious public health concern for kids, because so much of our housing was built before 1978 when lead paint was banned,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “By providing the required lead paint notification to renters, landlords help prevent lead poisoning because then families are aware of potential lead hazards in homes and they can make informed decisions.”

Federal law requires that property owners, property managers and real estate agents leasing or selling housing built before 1978 provide certain information to tenants and buyers, including: an EPA-approved lead hazard information pamphlet, called “Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home”; a lead warning statement; statements disclosing any known lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards; and copies of all available records or reports regarding lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards.

This information must be provided to tenants and buyers before they enter into leases or purchase and sales agreements. Property owners, property managers and real estate agents equally share responsibility for providing lead disclosure information and must keep copies of records regarding lead disclosures for three years.

Learn more about our EPA Lead Classes & Check our Schedule