EPA Enforces RRP against 62 Contractors
Dozens of U.S. renovation contractors, painters and training providers will share a tab of more than $200,000 to settle federal violations of the Lead-based Paint Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) rule, authorities announced.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the 62 enforcement actions Friday (Dec. 19).
The actions—55 settlements and six complaints—were issued between February and October 2014 for renovations performed on pre-1978 homes and child-care facilities.
These recent actions are in addition to EPA’s settlement with Lowe’s Home Improvement in April 2014, which included a $500,000 civil penalty as well as implementation of a corporate-wide RRP compliance program.
The RRP Rule
The RRP rule, which took effect in April 2010, requires EPA certification and EPA-approved training of contractors that disturb lead-based paint in homes, child care facilities and pre-schools built before 1978. The measure also mandates lead-safe work practices in those structures.
Those practices, such as steps to minimize lead dust dispersion, are outlined in EPA’s Renovate Right lead hazard information pamphlet.
The lead-safe violations in these cases include:
Many homes, including private, federally assisted, federally owned housing and childcare facilities built before 1978 have lead-based paint.
Under the RRP Rule, fines may run up to $37,500 per violation.
The enforcement actions, which all require contractors to certify compliance with the RRP standards, carry a total of $213,171 in civil penalties.
In addition, two of the companies agreed to fund environmental projects that require the removal of lead-based paint and post-construction testing to ensure that no hazardous conditions remain.
Details of each company’s violations, fines and settlement are available here.
Between mid-February and Sept. 30, 2014, EPA said it had settled enforcement actions with, or issued complaints against, the companies below.
In the following settlements, the companies paid civil penalties in excess of $10,000:
Companies with Reduced Penalties
EPA entered into expedited settlement agreements with the 22 companies below.
These agreements allow violators to quickly resolve certain minor lead-based paint offenses (not including work practice violations) with a reduced penalty, typically $2,000 or less.
In the following 27 settlements, the companies paid fines less than $10,000, generally because the penalty was reduced for an inability to pay.
New Complaints Issued
EPA issued complaints against the following six companies:
Level the Playing Field
Lead dust and debris from improper renovation activities on properties built prior to 1978 is a major source of lead exposure that can cause lead poisoning.
EPA says exposure to lead can have devastating effects on children, including hearing damage, behavior issues and learning disabilities.
Although using lead-based paint in dwellings was prohibited after 1978, it is still present in more than 30 million homes across the nation, in all types of communities.
According to the EPA, enforcement penalties help deter violations by others in the regulated industry, and level the playing field for complying companies, since the fines help eliminate the financial advantage a violator may derive from non-compliance which, otherwise, would allow the violator to underbid its complying competitors.