Our industry was just notified by the EPA that Window World of St. Louis has agreed to pay $19,529 as a civil penalty because they ‘failed to notify owners and occupants of at least 20 St. Louis area residential properties built before 1978 of lead-based paint risks prior to performing renovation work at these locations.’ In addition, there was an agreement for Window World to replace 73 windows for the ‘Youth in Need’ organization at an estimated cost of $20,048.

There also was a contractor in the New England region that was just fined more than $30,000 for virtually the same issue. These fines were the result of not handing out the required LRRP pamphlet to homeowners that live in pre-1978 homes.

To avoid these fines, you need to document your procedures. If there was one consistent theme from the lead training classes many of us have taken, it was documentation. You need to have your documentation in order in case you get a call from the EPA asking for your records showing you handed out these pamphlets or your records on the lead safe practices you are performing. If you don’t have it, fines like this are likely.

Many remodelers have settled into the new lead safe practices. But, there has been and continues to be on-going expenses associated with the LRRP regulations. Training for remodelers that want to comply with the LRRP regulations is on-going, and the lead safe practices are added costs homeowners have to bear. In addition, home improvement companies still have the burden of trying to explain to homeowners that the LRRP regulations aren’t some ‘scam’ they made up to get extra money from their prospective customers.

Many of us alerted the industry that the EPA was soliciting comments from our industry on the affect the new regulations have had. These comments had to be received by March 28, 2011. We aren’t sure how many businesses commented, but industry associations have done a great job leading the charge.

We are now faced with yet another potential regulation. The cleaning verification (CV) used in lead safe practices now potentially faces third-party verification. The time and costs associated with this are certainly a concern. But the potential of homeowners by-passing this all together and using contractors that are not LRRP certified could really hurt the legitimate businesses trying to do the right thing. If you are not up to speed on this, I encourage you to go to the EPA’s website. The CV could really be a ‘game changer’ for the industry.

Finally, as an industry, we all understand how delicate of an issue the LRRP regulations can be. We want to protect children from lead poisoning, we want to do the right thing for our employees and customers. But we also want a voice in working with the EPA on how these regulations can be improved upon, better implemented and enforced.

Tyson's Take

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