Four New England firms will pay penalties ranging from $2,200 to $30,000 to settle allegations they violated Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules for doing renovations that could disturb lead paint, the agency said in a news release April 15.

The news follows another recent settlement in which two firms paid fines totaling $14,455 to settle allegations involving a project in Maine, as well as the EPA's announcement that it was sending letters to 200 home renovation and painting contractors in Connecticut about a planned "compliance assistance and enforcement initiative."

All these developments involving the EPA's four-year-old Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) rule, in which penalties of up $37,500 per day can be imposed on contractors who fail to take required measures designed to limit the disturbance and dissemination of lead paint. Such paint, which hasn't been allowed for home use since 1978, has been found to cause severe health hazards, particularly to infants, small children, and the elderly.

In the April 15 announcement from the EPA's Boston office:

  • Collegiate Entrepreneurs of Braintree, Mass., paid a $30,000 penalty for alleged violations of RRP's pre-renovation education and record-keeping requirements. "Their violations included failing to provide EPA’s lead hazard information pamphlet to customers before undertaking renovation projects in several Mass. communities, and failing to comply with the record-keeping requirements in connection with seven Massachusetts renovation projects during the summer of 2010," EPA said.
  • East Coast Pros of Norwalk, Conn., will pay $3,577 in a case involving renovations at the First Congregational Church on the Green in Norwalk. The church's facilities include the L'il Critters preschool. "An EPA inspection indicated that the company started renovation work and disturbed more than 20 square feet of exterior painted surfaces without using lead-safe work practices," the agency said. "EPA identified six RRP Rule violations, including: failing to provide the EPA information pamphlet 'Renovate Right' to the owner or adult occupants of the L’il Critters Preschool facility, which is a child-occupied facility; failing to provide the EPA information pamphlet 'Renovate Right' to the parents/guardians of children at the L’il Critters Preschool facility; not maintaining any records regarding [Toxic Substances Control Act] and RRP rule compliance; failing to have RRP firm certification; failing to ensure that the company’s renovators were RRP-certified; and failing to contain renovation waste."
  • Bill Vizzo Contractors LLC/Michael’s Painting of Shelton, Conn., will pay a penalty of $2,200 for failing to comply with lead-based paint renovation requirements during renovation work at a residence in Monroe, Conn.
  • Gerard Therrien of Manchester, N.H., agreed to pay a $2,980 penalty under EPA’s Pilot RRP penalty program for micro-businesses. Therrien did painting and renovation work at a home in Manchester, N.H. "During an inspection of the work, EPA identified RRP rule violations," the agency said. These included "failing to properly cover the ground at the exterior of the building with plastic sheeting or other disposable impermeable material; failing to properly cover interior surfaces with taped-down plastic sheeting or other impermeable material; failing to contain waste from renovation activities to prevent releases of dust and debris; failing to obtain initial firm certification from EPA; failing to obtain a course completion certificate (proof of certification); and failing to post signs clearly defining the work area at the work site."

In the earlier case, New Hampshire Plate Glass, of Portsmouth, N.H., will pay a fine of $10,890 and James. J. Wells & Co., of Salem, Mass., will pay $3,565 to settle alleged violations of the RRP rule involving work to convert the former Frisbee School in Kittery, Maine, into a community center. ( Click here for other stories about enforcement actions and fines.)

The letter that the EPA is sending to New Haven-area contractors, landlords, and property management companies notifies them that the EPA will be inspecting a number of those companies in June. "The inspections may be followed up with enforcement," it added. The EPA also is putting on several events in the New Haven area in which it plans to provide assistance on complying with the rule.