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EPA Fines MO Remodeler in Lead Case

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

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A Missouri contractor has agreed to pay $30,000 to resolve allegations that it violated federal lead-safety regulations in restoring a 19th-century home.

Ritchie Enterprises Inc., doing business as PuroClean Emergency Restoration Services, has agreed to pay a $30,000 civil penalty to settle a variety of allegations involving its work on a home built in 1891 in New Haven, MO.

EPA Renovate Right
Photos: EPA

EPA said the contractor was not lead-safe certified, followed unsafe practices, and failed to distribute information to the homeowner, who then complained.

The case was prompted by complaints from the owner of the home where the work was performed.

RRP Requirements

The company committed several violations of the federal Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule (RRP), according to an administrative consent agreement and final order filed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Region 7 in Lenexa, KS.

The rule requires that firms performing projects that disturb lead-based paint in homes, child care facilities and pre-schools built before 1978 have their firm certified by EPA (or an EPA-authorized state), use certified renovators, and follow lead-safe work practices.

The regulations exempt emergency repair work in some cases, but Ritchie Enterprises "continued working on the house long after the emergency had passed" without complying with the RRP Rule, EPA said in a press release.

Notification, Sanding Violations

The consent agreement said the contractor had failed to provide the homeowner with the EPA's required Renovate Right pamphlet before beginning work.

RRP Flyer

The Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule took effect in April 2010, carrying potentially hefty fines for contractors.

Nor did Ritchie Enterprises maintain records of work practices for this renovation and at least two other renovations on pre-1978 homes in Mineral Point and Sullivan, MO, where the company was located.

In addition, EPA said, an employee used a high-speed belt sander without a HEPA exhaust attachment to remove lead-based paint. Regulations prohibit the use of high-speed machines to remove paint or other surface coatings unless the machine is equipped with a HEPA attachment to collect dust and debris.

Finally, EPA said, Ritchie Enterprises was not a certified RRP contractor at the time of the work.

This enforcement action addresses RRP Rule violations that could result in harm to human health. Lead exposure can cause a range of adverse health effects, from behavioral disorders and learning disabilities to seizures and death, putting young children at the greatest risk because their nervous systems are still developing.

EPA's Small Entity Compliance Guide to Renovate Right,  a handbook for contractors, is available here.


Tagged categories: Enforcement; Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); Health and safety; Historic Structures; Lead; Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (LRRP); Maintenance coating work; Regulations; Residential contractors; Sanding and hand tool cleaning

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