IN THE NEWS
EPA: Aside From Lowes Case, Lead-Paint Fines From February to October Totaled $213K
By: Craig Webb 55 settlements, six complaints issued over nine months
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reached 55 settlements and issued six complaints between February and October involving alleged violations of the lead-paint rule, yielding $213,171 in civil penalties, the agency reported today. These actions were separate from EPA's biggest action of the year: a $500,000 settlement with Lowe's Home Improvement
None of the actions involving the Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) rule technically are new; many had been reported by regional EPA offices. But today's announcement is the first comprehensive compilation of actions nationwide for the final nine months of the 2014 federal fiscal year.
RRP requires contractors to engage in safe practices when working in homes built before 1978 and where there's a possibility that their labors will help spread dust from lead-based paint. The lead in paint has been linked to myriad health problems, including learning problems in small children. RRP only involves homes built before 1978 because that's when the sale of lead-based paint was banned for residential construction. EPA estimates that traces of lead paint still can be found in 30 million homes nationwide.
Aside from engaging in safe work practices, contractors also must get training and certification on how to work in areas with lead-paint dangers. And they must provide materials to clients if there's a possibility of lead-paint problems and must keep records of what they do.
EPA's biggest RRP case by far came in April, when it announced that the Lowe's home-improvement store chain would pay $500,000 and institute new procedures to help ensure that it and the contractors it hires follow the lead-paint rule. The EPA alleged that Lowe’s failed to provide documentation showing that specific contractors had been certified by the EPA, had been properly trained, had used lead-safe work practices, or had correctly used EPA-approved lead test kits at renovation sites. The EPA also checked three homes and found problems with containing and cleaning the areas where work was done.
Remodeling groups have complained that many of the citations that the EPA issues involve paperwork errors among certified contractors when the EPA really should be cracking down on work done by uncertified, untrained crews. The American Architectural Manufacturers Association called the Lowe's announcement a publicity stunt.
Between mid-February and Sept. 30, 2014, the EPA settled enforcement actions with, or issued complaints against, the companies below. In the following settlements, the companies paid civil penalties in excess of $10,000, respectively:
|• Student Works Painting Inc., d.b.a. College Works Painting, based in California, paid a $39,532 fine for violating work practice and recordkeeping requirements.
• Manhattan Construction Co. and Ark Wrecking Co. of Oklahoma paid a $24,038 penalty for violating requirements for certification, information distribution, ensuring personnel were certified or properly trained, and ensuring that a certified renovator was assigned and performed required tasks.
• Z & B Holdings, d.b.a. Berry Door & Window, based in Missouri, paid a $23,300 fine for failing to comply with information distribution and recordkeeping requirements, and failing to assign a certified renovator.
• Groen Builders, of New Hampshire, paid a $14,950 penalty for violating certification and information distribution requirements, failing to ensure personnel were properly certified and trained, failing to assign a certified renovator, and failing to comply with work practice standards.
• Tilt-In Window and Siding Co./ NJ Window & Siding Co., of New Jersey, paid a fine of $12,504 for failure to comply with certification, information distribution, work practice, and recordkeeping requirements.
The EPA entered into expedited settlement agreements with the 22 companies. Their fines typically were less than $2,000.
|• Tim Jones New Look Remodeling Co. (CT)
• Construction Education Foundation of Minnesota (MN)
• Holman Brothers Painting (OH)
• Think People (IL)
• Gunton Corp. (OH)
• Builders License Training Institute (MI)
• Midwest Training Services (MI)
• Kaplan AEC Education (WI)
• Vinyl Sash of Flint (MI)
• Wonder Makers Environmental (MI)
• ETC Training Services Group (MI)
• Greentree Environmental Services (IN)
• AB Builders (CA)
• A& D Construction (CA)
• CF Contracting (CA)
• Cogent Construction and Consulting (CA)
• EF Brett (CA)
• Nema Construction (CA)
• Regency Construction (CA)
• Southland Management (CA)
• Welliver Construction (CA)
• Dakota Remodeling (OR)
In the next 27 settlements, the companies paid fines less than $10,000, generally because the penalty was reduced for an inability to pay, the EPA said. Every case obtains compliance with RRP
|• Tim Jones New Look Remodeling Co. (CT)
• CDL Commercial (CT)
• East Coast Pros (CT)
• Gerard Therrien (NH)
• Alstar Construction (NJ)
• AZ Water Man Corp. (NY)
• JC Painter (NY)
• Raymond Demers (NY)
• APM Vocational Institute (VA)(Settlement)
• Moyer Holdings Corp.,T/A Window World of Lehigh Valley (PA)
• Santos D. Flores Svc. (MD)
• Windows R Us (PA)
• Clear Choice Windows & Sliding (IL)
• Jim Knibbs Building & Remodeling (MI)
• Michiana Window World (IN)
• Richmond's Complete Home Improvement (ID)
• ACE Service Team (MO)
• Brackmann Construction (MO)
• Douglas Thoman Construction (NE)
• First Choice Builders, d.b.a. Intext Builders (NE)
• Jaime Diosdado (MO)
• JDC Construction & Remodeling (MO)
• Kansas City Home Doctor (MO)
• MCB, LLC (NE)(Settlement)
• Mesa Enterprises (MO)
• M&L Construction Co. (MO)
• Aesthetica Painting & Contracting (CO)
• Vanguard Construction Companies (CO)
The EPA issued complaints against the following six companies:
|• John Fogg Jr. Enterprises (CT)
• Waterway Realty LLC (NH)
• Creative Home Builders (MO)
• Dynamic Construction and Roofing (FL)
• Matthew Andersen d/b/a Andersen Painting (NE)
• Zane Inc., d.b.a. ServPro of Freemont/ NW Omaha (NE)