|Date: March 31, 2008|
On March 31, 2008, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a final regulation imposing new requirements on anyone engaged in renovation, repair and painting activities, including apartment maintenance workers, that disturb lead-based paint in housing built before 1978. NMHC/NAA have been actively involved with the EPA and other federal agencies on the proposed rule (see below).
The rule, which goes into full effect in April 2010, requires workers who disturb lead-coated surfaces to complete an EPA-certified training course on lead-safe work practices. Workers must also verify that the work site was appropriately cleaned based on EPA standards.
In a move that will surely cause confusion among property owners, the rule diverges from the previously established standard of when such requirements kick in. All other lead-based paint regulations are triggered when work disturbs more than two square feet of painted surface. This latest regulation is not triggered until six square feet of painted surface are disturbed. The final rule creates other inconsistencies. For instance, the existing federal regulations explicitly prohibit dry sanding of lead-coated surfaces; this rule would permit renovators to use this practice.
Several advocacy groups who previously sued EPA for failing to promulgate the regulations have criticized the final rule and are contemplating legal action. NMHC/NAA are reviewing the proposal and will seek interpretive guidance from the EPA on a series of questions raised by the rule.
NMHC has also asked HUD to provide guidance for properties that receive federal assistance and are subject to the dissimilar requirements of the Lead Safe Housing Rule.
NMHC has published additional guidance on the rule here.
On May 26, 2006, NMHC/NAA submitted these comments on the proposal. NMHC/NAA’s comments focused on the proposed lead safe worker training requirement, urging EPA to adopt a performance-based approach and requesting an exclusion for workers who have already been trained in compliance with the federal Lead Safe Housing rule or various state laws. We also asked that EPA look broadly at worker training courses and endorse courses, including the National Apartment Association’s Lead Worker Training Course, as an option to meet future training requirements under this rule.
Finally, we asked EPA to re-consider its notification requirement for routine maintenance events in target apartment properties. Specifically, EPA should permit annual notification and distribution of the pamphlet in lieu of requiring apartment staff to obtain signed notices, distributing multiple copies of the required pamphlet and complying with the associated record keeping for maintenance events performed by on-site staff.
In April, 2007 EPA sought comments on two additional studies that had been submitted to the rulemaking docket. That comment letter takes EPA to task for seemingly ignoring the large lead dust in occupied housing data set which NMHC/NAA submitted in support of our comments in 2006.
In 2008, NMHC/NAA sent a final comment letter to EPA submitting new data from renovation tests in Maryland and Rochester that supports our earlier requests.
- NMHC Guidance: Renovation, Repair and Painting Regulation (RRP)
- EPA Final Amendments to the Lead-Based Paint RRP Rule
- EPA Lead Safe Renovation Web Site
- Revised Pre-Renovation Brochure
- Final Lead-Based Paint Pre-Renovation Education Rule
- NMHC/NAA 2007 Comment Letter
- NMHC/NAA 2006 Comment Letter
- NMHC/NAA 2008 Comment Letter