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Companies Settle Navy Base Lead Case

Thursday, May 3, 2012

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Two military housing companies have paid a substantially discounted fine to settle federal lead paint disclosure violations on two New England Navy bases.

In a federal enforcement complaint filed in January, the Environmental Protection Agency alleged that Northeast Housing LLC and Balfour Beatty Military Housing Management LLC had violated federal lead paint disclosure laws on multiple occasions at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, ME, and the Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, CT.

Notification Lapses

EPA said the companies had failed to notify prospective tenants, including families with young children, about potential lead paint hazards in housing managed by the companies on the bases.

 Some military families with young children leased housing without being told about lead paint or its risks as required by law, EPA said.

 Balfour Beatty Communities

Some military families with young children leased housing without being told about lead paint or its risks as required by law, EPA said.

Specifically, EPA said, the companies failed to comply with the Residential Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Program when they leased housing to military personnel from 2007 to 2010. The companies did not provide required records and reports regarding lead-based paint and its hazards to 13 lessees, including nine families with children, EPA said.

Balfour Beatty manages more than 2,100 military housing units at the two bases.

EPA originally proposed a fine of $153,070. On Tuesday (May 1), however, the agency said it had accepted a total fine of $89,300 to resolve the case.

Old Housing, Lead Paint

Lead-based paint has been banned from residential use since 1978. The purpose of the 1996 Residential Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Program is to provide renters and buyers of pre-1978 housing—about 64,000 units nationwide—with information about lead-based paint in housing, so they can make informed leasing and buying decisions.

The housing at both Navy bases is owned by Northeast, a joint venture LLC between the Navy and a subsidiary of Balfour Beatty Communities LLC. (The BBC company is the JV’s managing member.) There are about 25 pre-1978 housing units at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, where some housing dates back a century or more; the Groton base has about 735 housing units built in the early 1960s.

Balfour Beatty Capital Group said in a statement that the violations were a “technical” error that posed no health risk.


Tagged categories: EPA; Health and safety; Housing; Lead Disclosure Rule

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