The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently reached settlement agreements with three companies from Maryland and Virginia over alleged violations of the Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (RRP) that occurred during renovation work in October 2015 at the University Towers condominium development in Silver Spring, Md.

It’s the first major enforcement action announced since the EPA declared in April that there will be no changes to the lead paint regulation  following a federally mandated two-year review of the economic impacts of the

HBW Properties Inc., of Rockville, Md.; T.S.G. Construction LLC of Springfield, Va.; and Hunt & Walsh Inc. of Manassas, Va. will pay a total of $80,000 in penalties. HBW Properties will pay $40,000,T.S.G. Construction will pay $25,000, and Hunt & Walsh will pay $15,000. The companies have also certified that they are now in compliance with all RRP regulations.

“This settlement will safeguard communities and ensure that important lead paint rules and regulations are in place,” said EPA regional administrator Cosmo Servidio. “These rules ensure safe practices that protect both the public and the environment.”

EPA alleged that during renovation work at the University Towers condominium development, the companies failed to comply with various RRP safeguards, including obtaining required EPA certification prior to beginning work; ensuring that workers performing renovation were certified or trained by a certified renovator; posting warning signs that clearly defined work areas; covering the ground with protective material to collect paint debris; taking precautions to prevent the spread of dust and debris; and providing information pamphlets about lead to owners or tenants.

According to EPA documents, the companies were hired to perform renovation work on doors, walls and ceilings.

Lead paint was banned in 1978, but EPA estimates that it’s still present in more than 30 million homes in the U.S. Infants, children and pregnant women are especially vulnerable to lead paint exposure, which can cause developmental impairment, learning disabilities, impaired hearing, reduced attention span, hyperactivity and behavioral problems.

The RRP rule requires any renovation work — and all door and window replacements — that disturbs more than six square feet of a pre-1978 home’s interior to follow work practices to protect residents from exposure to lead. The work must be supervised by an EPA-certified renovator and performed by an EPA-certified renovation firm.

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