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Six Settle Lead Paint Claims With EPA

Thursday, November 19, 2015

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Six companies in Connecticut have paid more than $92,000 in fines and committed to environmental projects to settle claims that they violated the Environmental Protection Agency’s lead-based paint rules.

The EPA inspected 65 companies and landlords in the New Haven, CT, area during the summer of 2014, according to a Nov. 3 agency statement. EPA inspectors were checking to see if all were following the agency’s Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (RRP) and Lead Disclosure Rule on projects that involved lead-based paint.

“Our targeted work to reduce the threat of lead poisoning in New Haven will help protect the public, and children in particular,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office, in the statement. “We already see evidence of increased compliance, and we hope to see better-educated parents and homeowners demanding safer home renovations for their families.”

Lead Rules

According to the EPA, the RRP requires contractors who perform work on residences built before 1978 to use safe work practices to ensure minimum amounts of dust from those renovations. Prior to 1978, most architectural coatings contained lead-based products.

©iStock.com / XiFotos

The federal government requires contractors to keep dust a minimum when renovating older homes and landlords to disclose the presence of lead paint in the units they rent, according to the EPA.

Landlords also are required to follow the Lead Disclosure Rule. That rule lets tenants know about any lead paint that may be in their rental units, the EPA said.

The EPA spread out its compliance inspections and certification program over several weeks, the EPA said in its statement. Because of its success, the focused initiative was repeated earlier this year in Nashua, NH. The agency said other New England communities are likely to have the same initiative in the future.

In addition to the compliance checks, the EPA also helped 40 companies apply to become certified firms. That included one of the six companies found to be in violation, the EPA said.

Company Settlements

Tim Jones New Look Remodeling, of North Haven, paid a $1,000 fine and came into compliance under an expedited settlement, the agency said. Although the EPA said the settlement resulted in a single penalty of the RRP, it did not specify what violations the company had made.

EPA

Companies with the Lead-Safe logo are certified EPA contractors who know how to remove lead paint properly, the EPA said.

In addition to the one expedited settlement, the EPA assessed penalties and fines against five additional alleged violators:

  • The Whalley Glass Company, a window replacement firm in New Haven, paid $31,286 to settle claims of 12 violations stemming from four renovation projects between 2012 and 2014 in Madison, New Haven, and West Haven, the agency said in its statement. The alleged violations included performing renovations without getter proper certification; without using certified workers; without providing lead hazard information to the owners; and without retaining records showing it complied with the federal rules.
  • JPAA Chen Services, of New Haven, paid $4,700 and will complete an environmental project worth $42,300 to settle claims it failed to disclose whether it knew of any lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards at New Haven properties it rents. The project will involve the removal and replacement of lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards, followed by lead clearance testing. Chen will address windows, trim and a porch—among other things—at its properties.
  • Whitney Management and Maintenance Co., of Hamden, a property management company, paid $10,285 to settle claims it violated the federal rules. Whitney was charged with four violations in performing a 2014 renovation project in East Haven.
  • DiNuzzo Painting, of Wallingford, a home renovation and painting company, paid $1,480 to settle claims of three violations of federal rules while the company was painting a house in New Haven. This settlement was approved as part of a pilot program that reduces penalties for small business with annual sales less than $300,000.
  • Hatillo LLC, of New Haven, a home improvement company, paid $1,290 to resolve claims it violated the federal rules at a residential property in New Haven. This settlement also was part of a pilot program allowing for reduced penalties for violating this rule on the part of small businesses.

   

Tagged categories: EPA; Ethics; Government; Lead; Lead; Lead Disclosure Rule; Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (LRRP)

Comment from Catherine Brooks of Eco-Strip, (11/19/2015, 10:21 AM)

Will the reduced fines for small businesses discourage others from bothering to comply? They might say the fine is smaller than the labor and materials to comply. Does anyone know if the pilot program requires small businesses to do environmental projects to balance their reduced fines?


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