The EPA’s Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (“RRP Rule”) requires firms that provide for-profit renovation, repair, and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in homes, childcare facilities and pre-schools built before 1978 to meet certain requirements. The RRP Rule is different and broader than lead abatement in that it applies to paint disturbing activities, even when lead abatement is not the goal of the project. For example, window replacements, electrical work, plumbing, and remodeling work are covered by the rule. The RRP Rule assumes that lead based paint is present in homes and childcare facilities built pre-1978 unless an approved lead test shows otherwise. The purpose of the rule is to protect persons, especially young children, from the harmful effects of lead exposure.
The requirements of the RRP Rule include certification, training, pre-renovation notice to the owner and/or tenants through delivery of the EPA Lead Pamphlet, workplace safety requirements, and record keeping and reporting requirements for documents related to the renovation. For businesses in Washington State, the RRP certification requirements are acquired through the Washington State Department of Commerce. RRP Certification is not optional.
The Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) enforces the RRP Rule and may request to inspect the documents to demonstrate the firm’s compliance with the rule. This request for inspection is often issued by the EPA through a RRP Notice of Inspection (“RRP NOI”) letter.
Violations for noncompliance with the RRP Rule could result in a civil penalty not to exceed $37,500 for each violation. Each day a violation continues is considered a separate violation. Criminal penalties are also possible when a person knowingly violates the RRP Rule. Criminal penalties can include fines up to $50,000 for each day of violation, imprisonment for not more than one year, or both. However, the EPA ultimately has discretion to waive or determine the penalty amount. The EPA will consider several circumstantial factors in making their penalty assessment.
If your business has not been in complying with the RRP rule or has fallen out of compliance, there are self-disclosure programs offered by the EPA which may apply. If utilized, these programs could eliminate or significantly reduce penalties. To take advantage of these incentives, regulated entities must (i) voluntarily discover, (ii) promptly disclose to EPA, (iii) expeditiously correct, and (iv) prevent recurrence of future environmental violations. It should be noted that penalty reductions only apply when the business discloses the violation voluntarily, prior to knowledge of any enforcement action and prior to receipt of an NOI. More information on EPA’s self-disclosure programs can be found here.
If you have concerns about your business’s RRP Rule compliance or would like more information, please contact Holly M. Stafford or Allison M. Beard at Chmelik Sitkin & Davis P.S. at 360-671-1796 or Hstafford@chmelik.com.