The New Federal Lead Paint Rule Don't Get Brushed Away

The New Federal Lead Paint Rule

 On April 22, 2010 the federal Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) new “Renovation, Repair, & Painting Rule” for lead based paint will take effect. The new rule requires owners to follow  lead-safe work practices when disturbing a painted surface via sanding,  demolition, renovation, repair, and other means in pre-1978 or “target” housing as well as facilities occupied by children.  

 The bottom line is that this new rule will significantly change the way property  managers, renovation and remodeling contractors, maintenance workers, painters  and other specialty trades do business in housing built before 1978 and  child-occupied facilities. The legislation includes new training requirements,  additional notifications and disclosures, new work practices, new clearance  requirements and expanded records requirements. Property managers and owners should be diligent in making sure their building  staff and outside contractors thoroughly understand their obligations under the  new EPA rule.  

 New Training Requirements

 The rule requires individual renovators/contractors to complete a state or EPA  accredited course and obtain certification. This includes building employees  who do work that disturbs lead based paint Owners and contractors can get a list of accredited trainers at www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/trainingproviders.htm The rule also requires firms that employ workers to have a company license  issued by the EPA. In the past, the EPA rules for lead based paint only governed activities for  abatement. Workers who have already been trained under Local Law 1 and who  already have a Lead Safe Work Practices Certificate can be grandfathered in by  taking a 4 hour refresher course given by a certified training firm.  

 Owners who use outside contractors should make sure they are properly trained in  Lead Safe Work Practices under the new rule and should ask to see their  certificates.  

 Notifications and Disclosures

 The new rule requires contractors to notify tenants before disturbing any  painted services by giving them a hand out called the ‘Renovate Right” pamphlet. This pamphlet, replaces the “Protect Your Family from Lead” pamphlet previously required. You can get a copy of a pamphlet by going to the  EPA website http://www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/rrp. htm. Contractors must also give  tenants a disclosure form informing them of the nature and timing of renovation  activity and the potential of lead hazards. The EPA has a sample for  contractors and owners can use http://www.epa.gov/ lead/pubs/rrp.htm. In addition, workers (including your building staff) are required to post  warning signs around the affected areas.  

 If the owner’s employee is acting as the contractor for the work, the owner must give the  pamphlet and disclosure form to the tenants. Owners who are using an outside  contractor should be certain that the contractors have a copy of the “Renovate Right” pamphlet and a proper disclosure form.  

 Safe Work Practices

 Like the city’s lead based paint law (Local Law 1), the new EPA rule requires safe work  practices. Workers are required to cover all HVAC ducts, remove or cover loose objects,  cover floor surfaces and doors. Upon completion, the work area is required to  be properly cleaned using a HEPA vacuum or wet mopping. These work practices  are very similar to the ones required by Local Law 1. So owners should easily  be able to come into compliance.  

 Clearance Requirements

 Upon completion of the work, the certified renovator must perform the  post-renovation cleaning verification by using the EPA provided post  verification “check card” to determine if clearance is met. This will be done by using disposable cleaning cloths to wipe various surfaces  in the work area. The color of the cloth is then compared to the color of the verification check  card—if the cloth matches or is lighter than the card, the surface will pass the  cleaning verification. Surfaces that do not pass the first attempt must be re-cleaned. It is important to note that the post verification check card does not  supercede the need for third party clearance dust testing under Local Law 1.  Property managers and owners in New York City will still need a certified lead  inspection firm and lead inspector to perform clearance testing per Local Law 1  guidelines.  

 Records Requirements

 Owners and contractors must maintain documents demonstrating compliance with the  new rule must be maintained for three years. These include the signed disclosure form, any owner opt-out forms and  documentation that safe work practices and clearance requirements, as described  above, were used.  

 Exemptions

 The rule allows for exemptions from these requirements. The new rule doesn’t cover lead abatement as defined under the previous rules. It also doesn’t cover minor repair (defined as work disturbing less than 6 square feet inside  the building or 20 square feet out side the building) and maintenance  activities (for example, the rule wouldn’t cover the painting of an apartment if the owner did not do any surface  preparation that would cause dust to be released), areas found free of lead  based paint by a certified inspector or risk assessor, and work performed by an  owner in an owner-occupied residence. Owners who got an exemption under Local Law 1 where no lead based paint was  found to be present will be exempt from the new EPA rule.  

 New EPA Rule and Local Law 1

 The new EPA rule does not supersede previous EPA regulations or Local Law 1. In general, work done in pre-1960 rental units will remain governed by Local  Law 1 with certain exceptions. For instance, owners will need to hand out the new “Renovate Right” pamphlet to tenants. In addition, Local Law 1 covers a broader amount of work (work disturbing two  or more square feet inside the building) than the new EPA rule (work disturbing  six or more square feet inside the building). So owners of New York City  buildings that make smaller repairs will still need to comply with Local Law 1,  even though they are not covered by the new EPA rule. Any other issues or  conflicts that arise will need to be reviewed on a case by case basis.  

 Owners who hire contractors to do work in their buildings that may disturb lead  paint should ask for references. The best way to insure that your contractors  are achieving compliance with the various rules is to use a qualified lead  paint consultant.  

 ALC will be holding free learning seminars throughout New York City and the  region. We are presently offering the accredited training course in English and Spanish  at our facility or yours. Feel free to call our office for scheduling dates and prices.  

 Remember, a clear understanding of the regulation will prevent fines up to  $37,500 and even more headaches down the road.    

 Joshua Sarett is the president of ALC Environmental, Inc., a national environmental engineering firm based in New York City.  

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3 Comments

  • This may be extended: EPA Delays Enforcement of New Lead-Based Paint Certification and Training Requirements Beveridge & Diamond, P.C., June 25, 2010 On June 18, 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) announced its decision to delay enforcement of the certification and training requirements in the Lead Renovation Repair and Painting Rule (“RRP Rule”). The RRP Rule required renovation firms and individual renovators to become certified by April 22, 2010, prior to performing work on target housing and child-occupied facilities. EPA responded to complaints from the regulated community and related pressure from Congress regarding the processing time for applications and difficulty obtaining the necessary renovator training. The new deadlines for compliance with the rule’s certification and training requirements are as follows: Renovation Firms: EPA will not enforce against renovation firms for violations of the certification requirement until October 1, 2010. Individual Renovators: EPA will not enforce against individual renovators if the person has applied to enroll in, or has enrolled in, a certified renovator training class by September 30, 2010. Renovators must complete the training by December 31, 2010.
  • do I have to hand out the lead safe pamphlet if I tested the areas that are being renovated and ther is no lead paint present? Thanks you
  • doing a paint job at 1025 5th ave. i am skim coating the walls priming and painting. The owners want me to be lead abatement certified. I do not see the reason why I have to be if Iam not disturbing the surface. I am not doing any construction demo? Do I have to be certified for this project at this building? Julian