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April 14 - April 18, 2014

What environmental and safety precautions must be taken when using chemical stripping and water blasting to remove lead-based paint from a commercial building exterior in an urban business district?


Selected Answers

From Alison Kaelin of ABKaelin, LLC on April 21, 2014:
I agree with Lydia. However, a couple of other considerations would include the following. From the point of view of worker safety, if any lead is present, you will need to comply with the OSHA Lead Standard. Also,compliance may be required with the hazard communications standard, depending on the content of the stripper. From an environmental standpoint, there will be state or local regulations on fugitive emissions, and there may be state or local regulations on lead paint removal, water/abrasive blast cleaning, or dust-producing operations. There are also prohibitions on allowing lead/strippers to enter storm or sanitary sewers. You will need to test the waste for hazardous characteristics of corrosivity (stripper) and toxicity (lead) before disposal. If you are an owner, develop a performance-based specification for the work that addresses preparation and protection of the public and environment. If you are a contractor, make sure you protect your workers and meet regulations for environmental protection.

From Lydia Frenzel of Advisory Council on April 16, 2014:
I have seen videos on lead-based paint removal on commercial building exteriors in downtown settings and talked with contractors on this subjects starting around 1994. Depending on the structure configuration, the effective water jetting contractors use hand-held scrubbers (or in case of large flat surfaces, the remote-controlled flat mower configurations) with vacuum  hoses attached to bring the water and paint into tanks. There are also tools that clean inside and outside angles to get on the corners and edges that are equipped with vacuum recovery. In this manner, the water/paint doesn't fall to the ground but goes directly into the treatment/clean-up facilities. Hand-held open jets without vacuum could be used, but all water must be collected. Misting would be a problem. Personal protective equipment is still required. Water/debris must be contained. In this video from ca. 1995, a school was being cleaned and remained in session. It takes a lot of planning, and an experienced contractor. If the water/paint is allowed to run down into impermeable berms, the lead ends up as a fine dust when the water dries out. This dust might be respirable. If there is wind, and the open jetting equipment is used, you would need a netting to control the mist. This is a simple answer: SSPC and JPCL have many articles on lead-based paint removal as well as a containment guide, SSPC Guide 6, Guide for Containing Surface Preparation Debris Generated During Paint Removal Operations.

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Tagged categories: Commercial Buildings; Commercial Construction; Health and safety; Paint and coatings removal


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