EPA Levies First Fine to Company for Violation of RRP RuleMay 16th, 2011 by DWM Magazine
The Environmental Protection Agency has levied its first fine against a renovation company for violating the EPA’s Lead Renovation Repair and Painting Rule (RRP).
According to information gathered by inspectors from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration and EPA, two workers employed by Colin Wentworth of Rockland, Maine, failed to contain dust and debris generated by lead paint removal activities during a repainting project in October 2010.
Although Wentworth had completed the eight-hour course required by the RRP, he allegedly did not provide the required training or supervision to his employees to ensure they followed the required work practices prior to their use of high-speed dust-generating power tools to remove lead paint from the building, according to an EPA press release. EPA claims that Wentworth also failed to take steps to obtain the mandatory lead-safe certification for his firm.
The violations were brought to EPA’s attention via an anonymous tip linking to a video of the violations, posted on YouTube and taken in October 2010. The video documented workers using power equipment to remove lead paint from an exterior wall of a residential building without using any containment for lead-containing dust and debris.
EPA’s investigation found that Wentworth failed to: obtain required certification as a renovation firm from EPA; post warning signs in the work area; cover the ground in the work area with plastic sheeting to collect falling lead paint debris; contain waste from the renovation activities to prevent releases of dust and debris before the waste is removed from the work area for storage or disposal; prohibit use of machines that remove lead-based paint through high speed operation without HEPA exhaust controls; and establish and maintain records necessary to demonstrate compliance with the rule, according to the EPA.
“In New England we have a high proportion of older houses where lead paint can still be present. It is critically important that all tradespeople understand and follow the RRP requirements so that during renovations, children are not exposed to lead and face serious, life-long health consequences,” says Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “Many renovation firms have done the right thing by becoming certified, sending their employees to training and following the appropriate, health-protective work practices. Enforcement of these rules is important to protecting children and the business interests of those contractors who are following the rules.”
This case highlights the importance of high-quality tips that include the name, address, and phone number of the person who allegedly violated the rule, and contain details about the violations observed, says the press release.
David Deegan, representative for the EPA’s New England Office, tells DWM magazine that the amount of the fine has not yet been established.
‘The EPA has filed the complaint but it may be weeks or months before the final amount is determined,” says Deegan.