There are pros and cons to states taking on the enforcement role of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) rule. For these states, the EPA can still delegate minimum standards, and it has the ability to remove that enforcement authority.
In general, enforcing states (red on the map) adopted the EPA’s lead-safe work practices; what differs are the up-front fees remodelers pay to get certified. “They look less expensive, but they’re often valid for a shorter duration,” notes Matt Watkins, an environmental policy analyst with the National Association of Home Builders. But, Watkins points out, states tend to have lower violation fines and focus more on compliance assistance rather than penalties.
That’s true, says Chuck Warzecha, director of environmental and occupational health at the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, which oversees the state’s lead safety certification program. “We don’t hold back on issuing penalties when they’re needed,” Warzecha says. “But we have more long-term success when we work with companies to get them on track.” Warzecha adds that the key to compliance is up-front education to stop violations before they occur.
The maximum EPA RRP violation fine is $37,500 per day per occurrence, and the EPA requires state-written regulations to have a maximum penalty of at least $5,000 per day, Watkins says.
Stay tuned: RRP for commercial and public buildings is in the works.
—Stacey Freed, senior editor, REMODELING.