Lead violations yield fines in Frisbee School renovation


Wednesday, February 19, 2014


KITTERY – A sub-contractor hired to perform a window renovation project at the former Frisbee School in Kittery, Maine and the general contractor hired to oversee the renovation of the school into a community center, will pay fines and ensure their compliance with requirements designed to protect children from exposure to lead-based paint during painting and other renovation activities.

Under two settlements with EPA, James J. Welch & Co., Inc., based in Salem, Mass., will pay a penalty of $3,565, while New Hampshire Plate Glass Corp. of Portsmouth, N.H. will pay a fine of $10,890 for allegedly violating EPA’s Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule.

EPA alleged that the violations occurred during work to convert the former Frisbee School into a community center for which JJ Welch was the primary contractor and NH Glass was hired as a subcontractor. The new Kittery Community Center was designed to include day care programs and was thus considered a child-occupied facility under federal regulations.

Lead-based paint was present in storm windows that NH Plate Glass removed during the renovation. Fortunately, EPA determined that no children were present in the building when the renovations occurred.

The violations were brought to EPA’s attention via an anonymous tip, after which EPA and Maine Department of Environmental Protection performed an inspection of the site in Feb. 2012.

Based on the inspection, EPA determined that NH Glass had not complied with the required work practice requirements of the RRP Rule, including failure to assign a certified renovator to the work site; failure to cover the ground with plastic sheeting; and failure to contain waste from the renovation activity. As the general contractor, JJ Welch failed to comply with its responsibility to ensure that those requirements were met.

EPA’s RRP Rule is designed to prevent exposure to lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards. The rule requires individuals performing renovations for compensation at most pre-1978 housing and child-occupied facilities to be properly trained. There are certification and training requirements for individual renovators and firms performing renovations to ensure that safe work practices are followed during renovations. The rule became effective on April 22, 2010, and allows for the assessment of penalties that may reach up to a maximum of $37,500 per violation per day.

“Infants and children are especially vulnerable to lead paint exposure, which can cause lifelong impacts including developmental impairment, learning disabilities, impaired hearing, reduced attention span, hyperactivity and behavioral problems,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “The safe work practices found in the RRP rule are designed to help ensure that children don’t suffer serious, lifelong health impacts from lead exposure.”

Since 2012, EPA has pursued 12 actions in New England to enforce the RRP Rule. Continued enforcement of the lead paint Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule ensures both that children are being protected from avoidable exposure to lead, as well as there being a “level playing field” for contractors following the health-protective work practices in the regulation.

More information:

– Lead paint RRP Rule (http://www.epa.gov/lead/rrp/index.html)

– Why lead is a health hazard (http://www.epa.gov/lead/learn-about-lead.html)