A California business that provides entrepreneurial training for students via commercial painting work will pay $39,532 to settle claims it violated the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) lead-paint rule, Seattle's EPA regional office announced Nov. 13. This penalty imposed on Student Works Painting Inc. comes on top of a $32,508 penalty it paid in 2011 for similar lead-paint violations.

The Irvine, Calif.-based firm, doing business as College Works Painting, was accused in the latest case of violating the Repair, Renovation, and Painting (RRP) rule during work on a property in Boise, Idaho, in 2011. According to allegations referenced in the consent agreement, during the renovation the company:

  • Failed to post signs warning occupants and other persons not involved in the renovation activities to remain outside the work area.
  • Didn't cover the ground with plastic sheeting or other material to collect falling paint debris.
  • Failed to erect containment structures or equivalent precautions to ensure that dust and paint chips from the renovation didn't contaminate adjacent buildings.

RRP requires that remodelers get certification in how to work on homes builder before 1978 where there's potential exposure to lead paint and then use that training during their projects. Exposure to lead-paint, banned in 1978, can cause mental and physical defects, particularly in young children.

The student connection makes these cases different than most reports of RRP violations. College Works' website advertises it as a program that "gives undergraduate students an extraordinary opportunity to build a competitive resume and gain marketable skills by teaching them how to manage their very own painting business. ... We pride ourselves on delivering quality workmanship at a fair price, on immaculate jobsites and earning the unqualified trust of our customers."

Read more stories about RRP and lead-safe practices