Castro Valley, California (EastBayDaily) — The Environmental Protection Agency has just released a document that details enforcement guidelines for violations of the RRP Lead Paint Regulations. While the RRP Lead Paint Regulations were released in April of 2010, there was never any definition of specific violations and associated penalties. The new document, LBP Consolidated ERRP (Consolidated Enforcement Response and Penalty Policy) details enforcement policies. While individual fines can be $37,500, multiple violation fines can be substantially larger. Contractors have a new major liability to manage when performing construction in pre-1978 homes. One of the major areas of compliance and source of fines is proper job site clean up using lead HEPA vacuums.Contractors using better equipped lead hepa vacuums will have cleaner jobs sites, less lead contamination, reduced liability and operating costs. The ERRP applies to the EPA’s Pre-Renovation Education Rule, Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule, and Lead Based Paint Activities Rule.
Contractors, property owners, pest control operators, and others performing work on pre-1978 properties now have a defined set of standards and associated penalties for non-compliance with lead paint regulations. The new ERRP document has defined tables of levels of fines based upon the type of violation, gravity of the violation, and guidelines for modification of penalties. Worthy of notation is a section that addresses the ability to pay and continue in business. This section would suggest that the goal is not to put contractors out of business, but rather force compliance and levy fines based on actual ability to pay the fines.
All affected parties should read and understand this new EPA document and use it as a basis for managing their work practices and job sites. Of particular emphasis are specific violations and penalties associated with proper clean up of dust and debris using a lead HEPA vacuum. Under the Work Practice Standards for Residential Property Renovations, items 5, 11, 15,16, 21, and 22 all relate back to dust removal. In this phase of clean up, a high quality lead HEPA vacuum is crucial for EPA compliance.
HEPA vacuums are designed to remove 99.97% of dust at .3 microns or more from the air passing through the filter system. On the surface it may appear that any HEPA filter vacuum will work, but this is not the case. “First the HEPA filter should be certified to be in compliance with industry standards such as the IEST. Secondly, it does no good to have a HEPA filter, but a vacuum system that allows air flow to leak or bypass the filter system and be reintroduced to the job site causing further contamination. Unless the lead HEPA vacuum was purpose designed with proper seals and air flow management, the poorly designed units will only cause more problems on the job site.” stated Paul Gordon, President of Golden Gate Enterprises, Inc, manufacturer of the Lead Sucker HEPA Vacuum. Remembering that the goal of the lead HEPA vacuum is to remove the lead dust, if it is done poorly than the job site will not pass final inspections at the dust test phase, and even worse yet if a Certified Risk Assessor performs lead testing, the job site will come back as “hot” . If a contractor fails the clearance testing or a lead test, the job site will have to re-cleaned according to EPA regulations. Clearly the Lead HEPA Vacuum is the single most important piece of equipment to help in job site compliance.
Another major element of job site dust and lead contamination is the management of HEPA filter changes. Since HEPA filters remove dust at such a fine level, they are more prone to clogging. Many typical HEPA vacuums clog up regularly on the job site, requiring filter changes. Besides the cost of HEPA filters, there is a dramatic risk of job site, employee, and homeowner contamination when filters clog. There is a tendency to try to “unclog” filters, and when that fails, replace filters. When this operation is performed, the filters have high concentrations of lead dust that are likely to escape back in to the job site. One firm has conquered this problem by eliminating the clogged filter problem. The Lead Sucker Vacuum with its HEPA No-Clog technology has a self cleaning capability that keeps the filters clean, eliminating the need for job site filter changes. Smart contractors and those concerned about lead liability will gravitate towards vacuums like the Lead Sucker. In addition, those contractors, pest control operators, property mangers, and state, local, and federal governments concerned about filter costs will select lead HEPA vacuums like the Lead Sucker. Filter replacement costs can add thousands of costs per machine on an annual basis. The Lead Sucker HEPA No Clog vacuum has this problem addressed.
The full text of the new EPA Enforcement and Penalty Guidelines document, ERRP, can be read here. There is also an additional link at this site to a down loadable pdf file. Interested parties are encouraged to register at Lead Paint Regulations for additional updates and discussion forums on the new guidelines and lead paint regulations.
Lead paint regulations are going to have a large impact on contractors, homeowners, and property owners. Penalties and increased job site liabilities are sure to add costs to construction services. However that may be a small cost to pay for reducing the overall risk and impact of lead paint contamination.