In a big victory for the apartment industry, on July 15 EPA rejected its own proposed rule that would have mandated additional responsibilities for property owners and managers under the Lead Renovation Repair and Painting (RRP) rule.
The proposal would have required on-site maintenance staff and third-party contractors who engage in activities that disturb surfaces that may contain lead to replace simple post-renovation field tests with more expensive requirements to submit dust samples to an EPA-accredited lab for lead testing.
In comments on the original proposal, NMHC/NAA argued that the existing lead-safe work practices and detailed clean-up requirements, which went into effect in 2010, are sufficient.
EPA’s own studies concurred, and the Agency has thus allowed the existing field test protocol to remain in place. More information, including the final amendment and a link to an NMHC/NAA RRP guidance document, is available here.
In related news, on July 12 the House Appropriations Committee passed an amendment to H.R. 2584 that would prohibit EPA from enforcing the RRP until the Agency has certified the accuracy of commercially available test kits that can be used to reliably ascertain the presence of lead on various coated surfaces on job sites.
EPA’s original estimates to comply with the RRP relied heavily on the availability of low-cost and accurate field tests that workers could use to determine whether a specific repair/renovation job would trigger the rule.
EPA’s research, however, finds that currently available test kits significantly err on the side of false positives; that is, they wrongly detect lead levels below the legal threshold and result in more jobs being unnecessarily subjected to the costs of the RRP rule.
Despite promises to the contrary, the Agency has not been able to certify any widely available accurate test kits. This failure prompted lawmakers to act. The next step is for the full House to consider the appropriations bill, and then it must be voted on by the Senate.
- EPA Tightens Lead Dust Limits for Pre-1978 Residential Properties and Child Occupied Facilities
- New Federal Plan to Reduce Childhood Lead Exposure
- NMHC/NAA Submit Comments Regarding Proposal to Amend Dust Lead Hazard Definition
- EPA Issues Proposed Revisions to Dust Lead Hazard Standards
- EPA, HUD Clarify XRF Protocol for Lead Paint Inspections