Published in Business in Savannah
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Lead Paint Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule, often referred to as the RRP Rule, was established in 2008, primarily to protect children from the danger of lead poisoning created by inhaling lead paint dust or ingesting lead paint chips after common renovation activities such as sanding, cutting and demolition (see 40 CFR 745, Subpart E, 73 FR 21758, April 22, 2008, as amended at 75 FR 24818, May 6, 2010, 76 FR 47938, August 5, 2011). On July 5, 2011, the state of Georgia became authorized to administer and enforce the RRP program. Georgia’s RRP rules became effective on December 9, 2010 (see Lead-Based Paint Hazard Management Rules, Georgia Code, Chapter 391-3-24). Georgia’s rules mirror the federal requirements, with some minor exceptions.
Georgia’s RRP Rule applies to companies and contractors, including sole proprietors, that perform “renovation” work for compensation, as well as the individuals that perform the renovation work for such companies, on any portion of “target housing” or “child-occupied facilities” built before the ban on lead-based paint in 1978.
As used in the regulation, the term “renovation” means the modification (including removal and repair) of any existing structure, or portion thereof, that results in the disturbance of painted surfaces. Therefore, the requirements of the RRP Rule apply not only to renovation contractors, but also specialty trades, such as plumbers, electricians, and window-replacement contractors, if their activities disturb more than six square feet of lead-painted surfaces per interior room or more than 20 square feet of lead-painted exterior surfaces.
The rule also applies to landlords or property managers who perform renovation work because they receive compensation such as rent. The term “target housing,” with a few exceptions, means any single or multi-family housing or “child-occupied facilities” constructed prior to 1978. The term “child-occupied facility” means a building, or portion thereof, constructed prior to 1978, visited regularly by the same child, six years of age or under, on at least two different days within the same week (Sunday through Saturday), provided that each day’s visit lasts at least 3 hours and the combined weekly visits last at least 6 hours. Child-occupied facilities include public and commercial buildings, such as day care centers, preschools, and kindergarten classrooms.
Georgia’s RRP Rule can be divided into four components: 1) notification requirements, 2) work practice standards, 3) recordkeeping and reporting requirements, and 4) training and certification requirements.
At least 60 days before renovation starts on any house built before 1978, renovators must provide copies of the EPA’s pamphlet Renovate Right: Important Lead Hazard Information for Families, Child Care Providers, and Schools to the owner, and to the occupants of the target housing if the owner does not occupy the premises. Similarly, at least 60 days before renovation starts on any child-occupied facility, renovators must provide copies of the pamphlet to the owner, manager, or management representative. For work in common areas or multi-family housing or child-occupied facilities, the renovation firm must distribute notices to the tenants or parents/guardians of the children attending the child-occupied facility, or post informational signs about the repair job. The renovator must also obtain confirmation of receipt of the Renovate Right pamphlet or a certificate of mailing before beginning work. In Georgia, a certificate of mailing may be from the post office, or any package/letter carrier as long as proof of mailing and delivery can be provided. The pamphlet distribution requirements do not apply to emergency renovations.
Work Practice Standards
Renovation firms must establish a regulated work area and post signs clearly defining the work area, warning occupants to remain outside of the work area. For interior renovations, the regulation provides detailed requirements, including the following: 1) the work area must be isolated so that no dust or debris leaves the area while the renovation is being performed; 2) all objects such as furniture, rugs, and window coverings must be removed from the work area or covered with impermeable material; 3) all ducts in the work area must be taped-down with impermeable material and 4) windows and doors in the work area must be closed and doors must be covered with impermeable material. There are additional requirements for exterior renovations.
Georgia’s RRP Rule also sets forth stringent requirements for cleaning and verification after renovations. For example, the firm must collect all paint chips and debris, and seal them in a heavy-duty bag, and ensure that everything, including tools, equipment and workers are free of dust and debris before leaving the work area. Note that the Georgia RRP rule contains two provisions that go beyond the federal requirements: 1) after renovations are complete, window troughs must be cleaned and cleaning verification must be obtained for both windowsills and window troughs and 2) at the conclusion of each workday and at the end of the project, waste that has been collected from renovation activities must be stored in a secured container for removal or removed to prevent access to and the release of dust and debris.
Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements
Renovators must provide a copy of required project records to the owner/occupants of target housing and retain the records for three years following completion of the renovation activities. Retained records should include copies of certifications for the renovation firm and certified individuals, pre-renovation education requirements, and post-work cleaning verification or clearance sampling results.
Training and Certification Requirements
The RRP Rule requires companies that engage in renovation work, and the individuals that perform the renovation work for the companies, to obtain certain training and certification. Renovators were required to be Georgia-certified after December 9, 2010, but firms that were certified by U.S. EPA before that date will be recognized by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GEPD) for five years after U.S. EPA certification.
It is important for renovators to comply with the notification requirements and work practice standards, and to obtain training and certification by the required deadlines. The penalty for violating the RRP Rule, including failure to obtain requisite training and certification, could cost up to $37,500 per violation, per day.
Additional information about Georgia’s RRP Rule, including technical guidance, forms, and lists of contractors and training providers, may be obtained from the GEPD web site.