Contractors cited for not following lead-safe requirements

EPA enforcement helps resolve alleged violations on home renovation projects

Staff report
Posted 11/1/19

Some Denver-area contractors have been found in violation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s lead-based paint Renovation, Repair and Painting rule. According to a news release, the rule …

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Contractors cited for not following lead-safe requirements

EPA enforcement helps resolve alleged violations on home renovation projects

Posted

Some Denver-area contractors have been found in violation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s lead-based paint Renovation, Repair and Painting rule.

According to a news release, the rule protects the public from toxic lead hazards created by renovation activities involving lead-based paint and requires the certification of individuals and firms involved in these activities.

Contractors working on homes built before 1978 must test for lead in paint, or presume lead is present, and apply applicable lead-safe work practices to minimize the risk of toxic lead exposure.

According to the release, the EPA has reached agreements with five Denver-area contractors in the last year to settle violations of the rule: Metro Construction Inc., Colorado Western Construction, Pappas Painting & Repair Inc., Kelly Custom Painting LLC, and Coggeshall Construction Inc. These cases resulted in more than $17,000 in penalties.

Violations included failure to obtain EPA lead-safe firm certification, failure to maintain records documenting compliance, and failure to employ lead-safe work practices when conducting renovations on pre-1978 homes, the release said.

In cases where violations resulted in contamination at a jobsite, EPA staff worked with contractors, and state and local environmental agencies, to facilitate cleanup measures to protect the public from lead exposure, the release said.

“Infants and children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of lead, and the disturbance of lead-based paint in older homes and buildings is one of the most common exposure pathways,” Suzanne Bohan, director of EPA’s regional enforcement program, said in the release. “EPA is taking a close look at neighborhoods where lead-based paint is present by providing residents with information on managing risks and making sure contractors follow the requirements that reduce exposure in homes.”  

Lead exposure, even at low levels, can cause lifelong impacts, including developmental impairment, learning disabilities, impaired hearing, reduced attention span, hyperactivity and behavioral problems. EPA estimates that lead-based paint is still present in more than 30 million homes across the nation.

Many Denver-area homes were built before lead was banned from use in paint products in 1978 and there is a high potential these homes contain lead paint. EPA conducts inspections and provides compliance assistance to contractors to ensure renovations of these homes are done in a lead-safe manner in accordance with the RRP Rule. Cases often result from referrals, tips and complaints from consumers, state and local authorities, as well as from random inspections of residential renovations.

In addition to the five cases settled this year, EPA also issued 27 Notices of Noncompliance to contractors and provided educational materials to many others to promote compliance with the RRP Rule in the Denver area, the release said. These notices identify specific actions that contractors must take to ensure future compliance.

The agency will continue to assess compliance associated with recent inspections and pursue enforcement action when appropriate.

For more information on the RRP Rule and its requirements: http://www.epa.gov/lead/renovation-repair-and-painting-program.

Violations of the lead based paint RRP Rule regulations can be reported to EPA online: https://www.epa.gov/enforcement/report-environmental-violations.

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