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Renovation Contractor’s Lead-Paint Violations at Three Homes Lead to $500,000 Penalty and Comprehensive Compliance Program

The U.S. Justice Department, EPA, and Lowe’s Home Centers, LLC, have entered into a Consent Decree to resolve alleged violations of the EPA’s Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting Program requirements, according to an April 24, 2014 notice in the Federal Register. The allegations, associated with violations at three home sites, require Lowe’s to pay a $500,000 civil penalty and implement a comprehensive compliance program.

EPA’s Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting regulations under TSCA require that renovation contractors use certified renovators who are trained by EPA-approved providers and follow lead-safe work practices. The regulations apply to contractors performing renovation, repair, and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in homes, child care facilities and pre-schools built before 1978.

According to EPA’s website, the government alleges that “Lowe’s failed to provide documentation showing that the contractors it hires to perform renovation projects for Lowe’s customers had been certified by EPA, had been properly trained, had used lead-safe work practices, or had correctly used EPA-approved lead test kits at renovation sites. EPA’s investigation showed that at three homes located in Alton, IL, Trotwood, OH, and Kent OH, Lowe’s contractors failed to ensure that work areas had been properly contained during renovations and cleaned up after renovations.”

In addition to the $500,000 civil penalty, Lowe’s must implement a compliance program that requires, among other things:

  • A customer intake system to advise each potential customer of the renovation contractor’s use of a checklist of work-safe practices;
  • Suspension of any contractors with expired RRP certifications, and use of only RRP certified firms;
  • Verification of practices until payment is made to the home renovation contractor; and
  • Submission of periodic compliance reports.

On a related note, EPA continues to collect information regarding the implementation of lead-paint rules to public and commercial buildings with a possible final rule in July 2015. EPA is currently soliciting small businesses to sign-up for an Advocacy Review Panel by May 9, 2014 to identify impacts of the lead-paint rules on public and commercial buildings.