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(c) 2016 Jon L Gelman, All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

EPA Enforcement Actions Against New England Painting Companies

Several recent settlements ensure that New England businesses performing painting and home renovation work are complying with requirements designed to protect children from exposure to lead-based paint during painting and other renovation activities. The settlements also contain financial penalties which must be paid for alleged violations of EPA’s Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule.

EPA’s RRP Rule is designed to prevent exposure to lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards, especially for children and infants. The rule requires individuals performing renovations for compensation at most pre-1978 housing and child-occupied facilities to be properly trained. There are certification and training requirements for individual renovators and firms performing renovations to ensure that safe work practices are followed during renovations.

“Infants’ and children’s developing bodies are especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of lead exposure, which can include lifelong impacts such as developmental impairment, learning disabilities, impaired hearing, reduced attention span, hyperactivity and behavioral problems,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “The common-sense and easy-to-follow safe work practices found in the RRP rule are designed to help ensure that people are protecting their kids from suffering serious, lifelong health impacts from lead exposure.”

EPA recently reached settlements in the following lead paint RRP cases:

East Coast Pros LLC, Norwalk, Conn. – This company was hired in 2012 to perform renovations at the First Congregational Church on the Green in Norwalk. The church facilities were built before 1978 and included the L’il Critters Preschool facility, with approximately 80 children below the age of 6 enrolled at the time the renovation was being performed. An EPA inspection indicated that the company started renovation work and disturbed more than 20 square feet of exterior painted surfaces without using lead-safe work practices. EPA identified six RRP Rule violations, including: failing to provide the EPA information pamphlet “Renovate Right” to the owner or adult occupants of the L’il Critters Preschool facility, which is a child-occupied facility; failing to provide the EPA information pamphlet “Renovate Right” to the parents/guardians of children at the L’il Critters Preschool facility; not maintaining any records regarding TSCA and RRP rule compliance; failing to have RRP firm certification; failing to ensure that the company’s renovators were RRP-certified; and failing to contain renovation waste. The company has agreed to an expedited settlement of $3,577.

Bill Vizzo Contractors, LLC/Michael’s Painting, Shelton, Conn. – This company will pay a penalty of $2,200 for failing to comply with lead-based paint renovation requirements during renovation work at a residence in Monroe, Conn., in violation of the Toxic Substances Control Act, the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act, and the Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule.

Gerard Therrien, Manchester, N.H. – Gerard Therrien performed painting and renovation work at a single family home in Manchester, N.H. During an inspection of the work, EPA identified RRP Rule violations, including: failing to properly cover the ground at the exterior of the building with plastic sheeting or other disposable impermeable material; failing to properly cover interior surfaces with taped-down plastic sheeting or other impermeable material; failing to contain waste from renovation activities to prevent releases of dust and debris; failing to obtain initial firm certification from EPA; failing to obtain a course completion certificate (proof of certification); failing to post signs clearly defining the work area at the work site. This matter was negotiated prior to filing an administrative action and Mr. Therrien agreed to pay a $2,980 penalty under EPA’s Pilot RRP Penalty Program for Micro-Businesses.

Collegiate Entrepreneurs, Inc., Braintree, Mass. – This corporation that specializes in renovating and painting apartment buildings and residences in Massachusetts and throughout New England paid a $30,000 penalty for alleged violations of the pre-renovation education and record keeping requirements of the Renovation Repair and Painting Rule. Their violations included failing to provide EPA’s lead hazard information pamphlet to customers before undertaking renovation projects in several Mass. communities, and failing to comply with the record-keeping requirements in connection with seven Mass. renovation projects during the summer of 2010.

EPA also recently announced settlements for alleged violations of the lead RRP rule for work to convert the former Frisbee School in Kittery, Maine into a community center. The companies involved were James J. Welch & Co., Inc., of Salem, Mass., hired as the primary contractor for the job, and New Hampshire Plate Glass Corp. of Portsmouth, N.H., which was hired as a subcontractor to install new replacement windows in the building. Under the settlements, JJ Welch will pay a penalty of $3,565, while NH Glass will pay a fine of $10,890.

EPA’s Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule became effective on April 22, 2010 and allows for the assessment of penalties that may reach up to a maximum of $37,500 per violation per day.

Since 2012, EPA has pursued 14 actions in New England to enforce the RRP Rule. Continued enforcement of the lead paint Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule ensures both that children are being protected from avoidable exposure to lead, as well as there being a “level playing field” for contractors following the health-protective work practices in the regulation.

More information:

- Lead paint RRP Rule (http://www.epa.gov/lead/rrp/index.html)

- Why lead is a health hazard (http://www.epa.gov/lead/learn-about-lead.html)

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