Mayor Launches Lead Paint Testing Program at NYCHA
Mayor Bill de Blasio recently initiated NYCHA’s new lead-based paint testing program. For the first time, 135,000 apartments will be tested with portable X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analyzers. Surpassing local and federal requirements, this effort will determine the presence of lead paint and abate any hazards found in these units. These 135,000 units were built before 1978, when lead paint was banned at the federal level. Testing will be completed by the end of 2020.
In July 2018, the mayor announced a new undertaking for the city and NYCHA to fully test for the presence of lead-based paint in public housing apartments. Released in December 2018, the Request for Proposal (RFP) sought the use of portable XRF testing. In February 2019, NYCHA announced the selection of seven contractors to conduct the lead-based paint inspection services. The $88 million contract was awarded to Airtek Environmental, Arc Environmental, ATC Group, JLC Environmental, Lew Corporation, The ALC Group, and TRC Environmental. The contractors are expected to inspect approximately 5,000 to 7,000 apartments each month.
Beyond the testing, the scope of the contracts includes identifying hazardous conditions detrimental to residents’ health and safety. As part of the testing, the contractors will also perform the HUD annually required visual assessments for all apartments built prior to 1978 that have not been previously cleared of lead-based paint. NYCHA will correct any paint deficiencies observed during the visual assessments.
This testing initiative is part of LeadFreeNYC, the city’s roadmap to eradicate childhood lead exposure. LeadFreeNYC’s approach is twofold: Prevent exposure to lead hazards in the first place, and respond quickly and comprehensively if a child has an elevated blood lead level. To protect New York City kids, the city will increase resources and support for children, parents, and healthcare providers.