Settlement Reached Over Lead Rule Violations
The U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently announced a settlement with a Chicago-based company and its contractors regarding alleged violations of the federal Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting regulations.
According to the allegations, Logan Square Aluminum Supply Inc., frequently subcontracted work to uncertified firms and did not use lead-safe work practices.
"Companies that renovate homes built before 1978 must ensure that they hire EPA-certified contractors and follow other EPA rules requiring lead safe work practices,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “We will take aggressive action against companies that do not take these important steps.”
About the Settlement
The EPA reportedly first discovered the violations through customer complaints about a project performed in Evanston, Illinois. In addition to not using lead-safe work practices, the company allegedly did not perform required post-renovation cleaning, provide the EPA-required lead-based paint pamphlets to occupants, or establish records of compliance.
As defined by the RRP rule, renovation is any activity that disturbs painted surfaces and includes most repair, remodeling and maintenance activities, such as electrical work, plumbing, carpentry and window replacement.
For projects, especially in locations with children under the age of six who are most susceptible to lead hazards, Logan Square must contract with only EPA-certified firms and renovators, ensure they maintain certification, use lead-safe work practices, and document their work with checklists during renovations.
Under the settlement, Logan Square will implement a comprehensive program to ensure that its contractors are certified and trained to use lead-safe work practices to avoid creating lead dust during home renovation activities.
Additionally, the company will pay a $400,000 penalty and perform $2 million of lead-based paint abatement work in lower-income properties located in Chicago and Chicago suburbs in communities with a higher incidence of childhood lead poisoning.
The DOL reports that Logan Square will add a link on its website to EPA’s content on lead-safe work practices. The company will also take action to:
“Lead exposure from lead-based paint continues to be a hazard for American families living in older homes, and children in those homes are particularly vulnerable,” said Larry Starfield, EPA Acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.
“This settlement requires Logan Square Aluminum Supply, Inc. to take necessary steps to ensure that it meets appropriate safety requirements in future renovation projects that may disturb lead-based paint.”
Logan Square also reportedly conducts business under other names, including Climate Guard Thermal Products Co. and Studio 41.
The consent decree was lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Notice of the lodging of the decree will appear in the Federal Register, allowing for a 30-day public comment period before it can be entered by the court as final judgment. The consent decree can be found here.
Recent Lead Paint Case
Earlier this month, the EPA announced that it had reached a settlement with CertaPro Painters (Westbrook, Maine) for alleged violations of the Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule.
The settlement was reached with IDK Ventures, which operates as CertaPro Painters of Maine. Under the terms of a settlement, CertaPro has paid a fine of $16,636 and has certified compliance with the RRP Rule.
As part of its investigation into several complaints received from homeowners, the EPA requested documents from CertaPro regarding painting jobs they were hired to perform during 2021 and 2022 by its subcontractors at multiple locations in Maine.
According to the release, the EPA determined that, among other alleged violations, CertaPro failed to:
The RRP Rule is reportedly designed to prevent children's exposure to lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards resulting from renovation, repair and painting projects in pre-1978 residences, schools and other buildings where children are present.
This requires individual renovators to complete an initial 8-hour accredited training course and the company or firm that they work for to be certified by the EPA or an authorized state, ensuring that companies take responsibility for their employees to follow proper lead-safe work practices by containing and managing lead dust and chips created during such projects.
The EPA coordinated with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection’s Lead Program to investigate the case.