In April 2008, EPA promulgated regulations governing renovations in target housing (i.e., any housing constructed prior to 1978) and child-occupied facilities.  The rule requires contractors to become certified by EPA, to notify owners and occupants before commencing renovations that disturb lead-based paint, and to follow certain safe work practices in conducting such work.  The certification and safe work requirements went into effect on April 22, 2010.  The current regulations require cleaning verification at the end of a renovation project, but do not require any testing.

In response to the April 2008 Final Rule, several petitions were filed challenging the rule, which were consolidated in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.  As a result of an August 2009 settlement, EPA committed to propose certain changes to the rule.

Today, EPA issued a proposed rule to amend the existing regulations to require post-renovation sampling and an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking announcing its intention to expand the scope of the Renovation, Repair and Painting rule to include public and commercial buildings.

EPA’s proposed rule would require dust wipe testing to be performed for certain types of interior renovations:

  • Use of a heat gun at temperatures below 1100 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Removal or replacement of window or door frames.
  • Scraping 60 square feet (“SF”) or more of painted surfaces.
  • Removing more than 40 SF of trim, molding, cabinets, or other fixtures.

Such testing would be required after the cleaning procedures specified in the existing rule have been performed.  Samples would be taken from uncarpeted floors, windowsills, and window troughs within each room in the work area.  In addition, the proposed testing requirements would include one floor sample in an area adjacent to the work area that has not been cleaned.

The proposed rule would only require that clearance standards be met for renovations that disturb paint using machinery such as power sanders or abrasive blasting, or for the demolition of plaster and lath building components (such as walls and ceilings) through destructive means.  For all other renovations, re-occupancy could occur prior to the receipt of sampling results.  The proposed rule would require that a dust wipe testing report be provided to the renovation firm within 3 days of the tester’s receipt of sampling results, and that owners and occupants receive such report from the renovation firm within 3 days of its receipt thereof.

The proposed rule also includes several other modifications and clarifications to the existing rule.  A copy of the proposed rule is available here.

EPA’s advance notice of proposed rulemaking seeks comments on several issues related to the potential regulation of renovations in public and commercial buildings, including the appropriate scope of any definition of “public building” and “commercial building”, leaded dust generation from interior and exterior renovations at such buildings, the prevalence of lead-based paint in such buildings, and the types of renovations frequently performed in such buildings and the methods of conducting such work.  A copy of the full notice is available here.

For more information on EPA’s Renovation, Repair and Painting Program and these proposed changes thereto, please contact Steven Russo.