News Release U.S. Environmental Protection Agency New England Regional Office August 4, 2016
Three N.H. Companies Face EPA Penalties for Failing to Disclose Lead Paint Information or Follow Lead-Safe Work Practices at a Residential Property in Manchester
BOSTON – Three N.H. companies – two residential property owners/real estate development companies, and a company hired for renovation work – face significant penalties from EPA under two civil complaints filed by EPA alleging that the companies failed to follow federal lead paint regulations at a commercial and residential property in Manchester.
In the first of the related actions, EPA has issued an administrative complaint against Brady Sullivan Millworks II, LLC and Brady Sullivan Millworks IV, LLC (Brady Sullivan) of Manchester N.H., seeking a penalty of $139,171 for alleged violations of the Real Estate Notification and Disclosure Rule and the Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule. In the second of the related actions, EPA has issued an administrative complaint against Environmental Compliance Specialists, Inc. (ECSI) of Kingston N.H., seeking a penalty of $152,848 for alleged violations of the Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule. Both cases are being brought under the federal Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The alleged violations occurred at a residential and commercial property located at 195 McGregor Street in Manchester.
EPA’s complaint against Brady Sullivan Millworks II alleges that the company violated TSCA when it failed to provide tenants in fourteen apartments at 195 McGregor Street (known as the Lofts at Mill West) with lead paint disclosure information. The complaint also alleges that Brady Sullivan Millworks IV violated three provisions of the RRP Rule during renovation activities occurring in portions of the building which it owns.
EPA’s complaint against ECSI alleges that during renovation activities at the McGregor Street building in 2015, the company violated six provisions of the RRP Rule, including the failure to properly contain the work area. ECSI was hired by Brady Sullivan Millworks IV as a subcontractor to perform demolition and renovation work on the first and second floors of the building as part of an effort to convert the space to residential units.
In May 2015, EPA performed a series of inspections at the building following the referral of a complaint about lead dust in the building received by the N.H. Dept. of Health and Human Services (NH DHHS). During the inspections, EPA observed dust and chipping paint throughout the interior common areas of the building (areas to which tenants continued to have access during renovation activities). At the time of the inspections, building residents included children. As part of the joint EPA and NH investigation, NH DHHS conducted dust-wipe sampling which confirmed levels of lead in the dust and in paint chips well above acceptable health-protective standards. Further, one building tenant hired a licensed lead paint inspector/risk assessor to perform independent dust testing in their unit and in the common hallway. Analysis of these dust wipe samples also revealed the presence of lead in the dust above the established regulatory levels. Additional testing showed that there was dust containing levels of lead above the regulatory limit in numerous residential units on the third and fourth floors of the McGregor Street building. The source of the dust was sandblasting being performed by ECSI on the first floor.
The City of Manchester ordered a halt to the sandblasting on May 11, 2015, because the subcontractor, ECSI, had not obtained the required permit from the City to conduct such activity. On June 19, 2015, EPA issued a unilateral order to Brady Sullivan to clean up lead dust and chipping lead paint on the third and fourth floors of the building and in common areas throughout the property.
Lead poisoning of infants and children can cause lowered intelligence, reading and learning disabilities, impaired hearing, reduced attention span, hyperactivity and behavior problems. Adults with high lead levels can suffer difficulties during pregnancy, high blood pressure, nerve disorders, memory problems and muscle and joint pain.
“EPA always works to ensure that building owners, property managers, and construction contractors understand and comply with federal lead-paint disclosure and lead-safe work practice requirements to protect people from exposure to lead. This is especially important when children are involved since exposure to lead can have serious developmental impacts on kids’ growing bodies and minds,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office.
EPA’s RRP Rule is designed to prevent children’s exposure to lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards resulting from renovation, repair and painting projects in pre-1978 residences, schools and other buildings where children are present. If lead painted surfaces are to be disturbed at a job site, the Rule requires individual renovators to complete an initial 8-hour accredited training course and the company or firm that they work for to be certified by EPA. These baseline requirements are critical to ensuring that companies take responsibility for their employees by following proper lead safe work practices including containing and managing lead dust and chips created during such projects. Further, the Rule requires that specific records be created and maintained in order to document compliance with the law.
The purpose of the Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Rule is to ensure that prospective tenants have enough information about lead-based paint in general and known lead-based paint hazards in specific housing to make an informed decision about whether to lease a particular property. The Disclosure Rule requires owners/managers of rental properties to provide prospective renters both with general information about lead-based paint risks and to provide specific information on whether or not there is known lead-based paint in a rental unit prior to the individual signing a lease. By fully disclosing the required information, individuals can make an informed decision about whether to lease a particular property.