Celebrate Earth Day by Complying with New EPA "RRP" Rules


One way you can celebrate is to help the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning achieve their mission.

Actually, as of April 22, 2010 you must, in effect help end childhood lead poisoning by complying with new Federal EPA requirements when working on certain properties (housing, childcare facilities, schools, and any other residential, public or commercial structure built before 1978 where children under the age of six are present on a regular basis; “Target Properties”). These requirements are commonly known as The Renovation, Repair and Painting Rules (RRP).

Contractors performing renovation, repair and painting projects that disturb or could potentially disturb lead-based paint must, before beginning work, provide to owners and occupants of Target Properties (including parents and guardians of children under age six that attend child care facilities built prior to 1978), a copy of EPA's lead hazard information pamphlet Renovate Right: Important Lead Hazard Information for Families, Child Care Providers, and Schools (PDF) (20 pp, 3.3MB).

Property owners who themselves renovate, repair, or prepare surfaces for painting in such pre-1978 Properties must also, before beginning work, provide tenants with a copy of EPA's lead hazard information. Such owners must then document compliance with this requirement - EPA's sample pre-renovation disclosure form (PDF) (1 pp, 36K) may be used for this purpose.

After April 22, 2010, contractors and property owners who perform these projects must be certified and follow the lead-safe work practices required by EPA's RRP rules. To become certified, renovators must submit to the EPA an application for firm certification (PDF) (9 pp, 642K), together with the requisite fee. The EPA has up to 90 days after receiving a complete request for certification to approve or disapprove the application.

There are some exceptions to “the Rules”. For example, projects where less than 6 sq Ft. in a room or less than 20 square feet outside are being disturbed are exempt. Also, any “0-bedroom dwelling” and housing for the elderly or disabled (unless a pregnant woman or child younger than six years old resides, or is expected to reside, there) are exempt.

The EPA recommends that property owners and contractors who perform renovation, repairs, or painting jobs in Target Properties should also:

· Take training to learn how to perform lead-safe work practices.
· Learn the lead laws that apply regarding certification and lead-safe work practices.
· Keep records to demonstrate that the owner/contractor and their workers have been trained in lead-safe work practices and that they followed lead-safe work practices on the job. To make recordkeeping easier, the sample recordkeeping checklist (PDF) (1 pg, 58K) that EPA has developed is available to help ensure compliance with the renovation recordkeeping requirements.

It is important to note that the RRP Rules could apply not only to painting projects on Target Properties, but include, wall repairs and replacements; electrical, plumbing and HVAC work, demolition and other jobs. To be safe, when painting, renovation or repair work is being done in a building built before 1978, you should assume there is lead paint involved and take the necessary steps to comply with the RRP Rules.

Why you may ask is all this necessary? The simple answer is that more than 1 million children are affected by lead poisoning in the United States. While ingesting paint chips is an obvious hazard, more common is the severe health problems caused by breathing in lead-contaminated dust particles. This can occur from improper handling of a job site wherein lead based paint is disturbed. Children and pregnant women are especially susceptible to the harmful effects of lead poisoning and those effects are irreversible.

Renovators who might wish to avoid compliance, should take heed. There are some serious penalties that will be imposed on contractors that violate the RRP Rules. Violators face fines of up to $37,500 per offense and imprisonment if they are knowingly violating the RRP Rule.

For more information on the EPA’s RRP Program, go to http://www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/renovation.htm.

1 comment :

EPA RRP said...

If you're not aware of it and you work in older houses, I highly recommend you get going on certification. More and more companies are being approved to teach the certification course (I believe at this time there are 22 companies approved) but I wouldn't wait until the last minute.

The requirements in the new regs are very stringent when it comes to renovation--and particularly painting. The bottom line is you'll have to raise your rates for just about any work involving an older house to deal with these requirements.