New EPA Rule Goes Into Effect April 2010- Lead Based Paint

Wednesday, July 28, 2010, 3:13PM

By: John Birch

John Birch
ADDvantage Real Estate

I think this is an issue that is important to people, especially with children regarding the dangers of Lead based Paint.  As I hand out Lead based paint addendums to buyers/sellers and tenants, the danger is slight, but be aware if you start remodeling such as sanding or demolishing  walls you should take precautions.

EPA's Lead Paint Rule

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting rule governing the work of professional remodelers in homes where there is lead-based paint took effect April 22, 2010.

The rule addresses remodeling and renovation projects disturbing more than six square feet of potentially contaminated painted surfaces for all residential and multifamily structures built prior to 1978 that are inhabited or frequented by pregnant women and children under the age of six.

It requires a cleaning inspection after the work is completed and grants the remodeler flexibility in determining the size of the work area, which can reduce the size of the area subject to containment.

The EPA rule also lists prohibited work practices ? including open-torch burning and using high-heat guns and high-speed equipment such as grinders and sanders unless equipped with a HEPA filter.

Additionally, the rule establishes required lead-safe work practices, including posting warning signs for occupants and visitors; using disposable plastic drop cloths; cleaning the work area with HEPA vacuuming and wet washing; and individual certification through a training course.

The full rule and brochures for consumers and renovators can be downloaded from the EPA’s Web site.

A 2006 NAHB study on lead-safe work practices showed that a home was better off after a remodel than before, as long as the work was performed by trained remodelers who clean the work area with HEPA-equipped vacuums, wet washing and disposable drop cloths.

Summary of the Rule

Review the points below for a quick summary of the new EPA lead paint rule.

1.      Training and Certification

Beginning in April 2010, firms working in pre-1978 homes will need to be certified. Firms need to complete the application for certification and submit a fee of $300 to the EPA.

Along with the firm certification, an employee will also need to be certified as a Certified Renovator. This employee will be responsible for training other employees and overseeing work practices and cleaning. The training curriculum is an eight-hour class with two hours of hands-on training. Find an approved trainer by search the directory of EPA-approved training providers.

Both the firm and Certified Renovator certifications are valid for five years. A Certified Renovator must take a four-hour refresher course to be recertified.

Learn more about the responsibilities of a certified firm and certified renovator.

2.      Work Practices

Once work starts on a pre-1978 renovation, the Certified Renovator has a number of responsibilities. Before the work starts this person will post warning signs outside the work area and supervise setting up containment to prevent spreading dust. The rule lists specific containment procedures for both interior and exterior projects. It forbids certain work practices including open flame or torch burning, use of a heat gun that exceeds 1100°F, and high-speed sanding and grinding unless the tool is equipped with a HEPA exhaust control. Once the work is completed, the regulation specifies cleaning and waste disposal procedures. Clean up procedures must be supervised by a certified renovator.

3.      Verification and Record Keeping

After clean up is complete the certified renovator must verify the cleaning by matching a cleaning cloth with an EPA verification card. If the cloth appears dirtier or darker than the card the cleaning must be repeated.

A complete file of records on the project must be kept by the certified renovator for three years. These records include, but aren't limited to: verification of owner/occupant receipt of the Renovate Right pamphlet or attempt to inform, documentation of work practices, Certified Renovator certification, and proof of worker training. NAHB believes that record keeping will be a major enforcement tool for the regulation.

Beginning in July, remodelers are required by EPA to share a copy of records developed under rule requirements with the customer withing 30 days of completing the remodeling work.

4.      Exemptions

It is important to note that these work practices may be waived under these conditions:


EPA Delays Enforcement on Rule Training and Certification

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has delayed enforcement actions regarding training and firm certification requirements against remodelers under the Lead: Renovation, Repair, and Painting rule until October 1.

The EPA released the enforcement delay memo on June 18, explaining that contractors who have enrolled in Certified Renovator training with an EPA-approved training provider by September 30 will not face enforcement, as long as the training is completed by December 30.

However, the EPA will continue to enforce against violations of the work practices stipulated in the rule. Remodelers will still need to give consumers the pre-renovation pamphlet (Renovate Right), set up containment, avoid prohibited practices, conduct cleaning, and complete cleaning verification.

This delay of enforcement is a win for NAHB because it had long contended the EPA lacked enough trainers nationwide to prepare remodelers for the regulation and had failed to implement an awareness plan to remodelers about the rule. NAHB had sent letters to EPA requesting enforcement delay and spoke to members of Congress about problems with the rule implementation. The memo acknowledges that the EPA created the delay due to concerns raised by the regulated community.

Read the full enforcement delay memo.

NAHB also released a press release applauding the EPA's decision to delay enforcement of the lead rule.

Remodelers can search for an EPA-approved training provider or can contact their local home builders association to find Certified Renovator training sessions.

Remodeling firms must also become EPA-certified by submitting a form and $300 fee

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