Final Amendments to EPA's RRP Rule Go into Effect
On July 6, 2010, the final amendments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) rule went into effect. These amendments added new requirements to the relatively new rules that went into effect in April of this year and were discussed in detail in the May 2010 issue of the Insider.
The purpose of the RRP rules is to protect children from lead-based paint hazards in places they frequent. The rules apply to renovators and maintenance professionals who work in apartment buildings built before 1978. The RRP rules require that: contractors and maintenance professionals be certified; their employees be trained; and they follow protective work practice standards. These standards prohibit certain dangerous practices, such as open-flame burning or torching of lead-based paint.
The required work practices also include posting warning signs, restricting occupants from work areas, containing work areas to prevent dust and debris from spreading, conducting a thorough cleanup, and verifying that cleanup was effective.
The amendments of most interest to owners and managers largely apply to the areas of record keeping and reporting.
Renovation companies—including property maintenance staff—are now required to provide owners and the occupants of a building being renovated with a copy of records demonstrating compliance with the RRP training and work practice requirements.
This information must be delivered along with the final invoice for the renovation, or within 30 days of the completion of the renovation, whichever is earlier. This notification can be accomplished through the use of a checklist. For an example, see our Model Form: Use Checklist to Document Lead Paint Work Practice Compliance.
This form is just an example. You are allowed to develop your own forms or checklists as long as they include all of the required information. For common area renovations, the renovation firm or property maintenance staff must provide the tenants “of the affected housing units” with instructions on how to review or obtain this information from the renovation firm at no charge. These instructions must be included in the notice provided to each affected apartment or on signs posted in the common areas. The EPA further requires that this “information should be provided in a short, easily read checklist or other form.”
Cleaning Verification vs. Clearance Testing
The RRP rule does not require clearance testing, but it does require cleaning verification once the work area has been cleaned up. Cleaning verification involves wiping horizontal surfaces with a disposable moist cleaning cloth and comparing it to the EPA Cleaning Verification card.
The wet cleaning cloth is then visually evaluated in comparison to an EPA-provided color sheet to determine whether the work area is clean. Under the revised RRP rule, if a renovation firm or property maintenance staff elect to use a laboratory analysis of dust wipes such as dust clearance testing instead of using the simple cleaning verification test, then the lab test results must be provided to both the occupant of the unit that was tested and the owner of the building. Also, owners must maintain these reports since they are required to be disclosed by law to future occupants of the specific apartment and at the time of the building's sale.
The amendment makes minor modifications to the certification, accreditation, and state authorization process. Under the RRP rule, renovators are certified for a five-year period. Currently, training instructors complete a 16-hour course. The EPA now believes that training instructors need only complete an eight-hour renovator or dust sampling technician training instead of a 16-hour or longer abatement course.
States seeking to develop their own worker certification program under the RRP rule have been granted an additional two years to demonstrate to the EPA that they meet the requirements of the RRP rule.
Note that because of concern that contractors in some areas may be having difficulty accessing training classes, the EPA recently announced that it is giving renovation firms and workers additional time to obtain training and certifications to comply with the new lead rules. The EPA will not take enforcement action for violations of the rule's firm certification requirement until Oct. 1, 2010, and will not enforce certification requirements against individual renovation workers if they apply to enroll in certified renovator classes by Sept. 30, 2010, and complete the training by Dec. 31, 2010.
The EPA will continue to take enforcement actions against renovation firms and individuals who do not comply with the RRP work practices and associated record-keeping requirements. The lead-safe work practices include dust control, site cleanup, and work area containment. It is important that contractors take proactive steps to protect children, families, and themselves while they take the training and file the appropriate paperwork.
See The Model Tools For This Article
|Use Checklist to Document Lead Paint Work Practice Compliance|