It has now been 10 full days now since the EPA’s Renovation, Repair & Painting Regulations were put fully in place. According to all of the EPA’s talk, we should have had plenty of news on this subject, but it has ended up being pretty quite overall. With that said, there have been a few interesting changes, and items that deserve a quick look at.
Currently the following states have taken over the program from the EPA: Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Utah, and Wisconsin. I still have not heard back from Alabama on the status of their program, but NCHH is still listing it in a delayed status.
You would have thought that the EPA would be pulling out all the stops on the 22nd, to discuss the new regulations. In fact, the Director of the EPA, appeared on a popular late night show to “discuss” all the EPA’s Earth Day issues. Well if you were hoping for them to discuss the RRP, you might have been shocked by the complete silence about the subject. Welcome to the EPA’s vaunted Education efforts (more about that later.)
Enforcement against Non-Certified Firms:
You have just got to love an organization; that talks up all the education that they have done, and how they will be enforcing the rules from day 1, that there is no reason for delays, and then they abruptly decide that they changed their mind on a few items. The EPA has released their policy on enforcement that tells all firms that are “awaiting their certificate” to carry on, we will not be enforcing that portion of the law yet. So far all the 9921 firms that managed to get certified in time, how about you give us an extension like the one you are proposing for the CLR’s (Certified Lead Renovators)?
As we have discussed previously, the Opt Out provision was set to be eliminated by April 22nd per the EPA’s settlement with the Sierra Club quite a few months ago. Therefore, it came as no surprise, that early on the 22nd when the EPA released a press release stating how it was going to be eliminated, along with a few other changes. What was interesting is that they pulled that notice 5 minutes later & as mentioned above, they remained quiet about the subject for the rest of the day.
A day later, the real press release:
April 23rd Press Release: In the actual press release, they laid out three main items
- A final rule to apply lead-safe work practices eliminating the Opt Out provision, mandating homeowner notification of steps used during the RRP portion, along with other “minor changes to the certification, accreditation and state authorization requirements”
- A notice of proposed rulemaking as required by the Sierra Club Settlement requiring mandatory third party Dust Clearance Testing
- An advance notice of proposed rulemaking where they are first going to try to determine if lead poisoning might be caused by renovations in Commercial and other Public buildings not covered under the RRP.
While you might feel like this is all big news, there are a few catches to this. First, all the information provided is “prepublication” and not the final wording that will appear. All three items need to be published in the Federal Registrar, at which time the 60-day period starts. Second, if you spend the time to read these PDF’s, especially the “Final Rule” one, you might notice that what they state in their summary does not match up with the actual language in the proposed changes to the regulation.
Quick Notes on the “Final Rule”:
Until this is published in the Federal Registrar & 60 days have passed, the Opt Out is still alive and kicking. The new Reporting Requirments – based on the prepublication wording, only houses tested will require Work Practice notifications being given to a Homeowner and others within 30 days of completion. States & Tribes that are running their own RRP programs will have up to 2 years to comply with these changes. CLR’s that got their training before April 22nd, will now have until July 15th, 2015 to complete their refresher-training course.
Quick Notes on the Third Party Testing:
Oh boy, will this one be fun if it goes through – I am sorry Mr. or Mrs. Homeowner, but you cannot enter that area for another 5 days while we wait for the results of the tests. Once this is published in the Federal Registrar, we will have 60 days to comment on the regulation.gov website. This along with the next item was part of the settlement made with the Sierra Club & as I recall, they are supposed to be in effect by April of 2011.
Quick Notes on the Commercial & Public Buildings:
Ok, do I have any takers on how this one will come down? Face it guys, unless there is a big outcry against this, all commercial and public buildings will be wrapped up into the RRP.
EPA’s Education Effort:
The EPA’s big education push has started. Wait, did you just say that you haven’t seen anything? Well I wouldn’t feel too bad; I doubt anyone else has either. While the EPA has been promising a major education push, it has broken down to only two items; the first part is the piece I showed you in the 40 days to go article. They also released on the 20th of April, a new website http://www.leadfreekids.org/ to help educate homeowners about this subject and lead.
For the first item, I still have yet to see that ad in a single trade publication. Granted I have seen it in a few publications, but that is only because it was part of an article. Now a few contractors across the country have talked about seeing an ad with a, but they never mentioned if they saw it on the EPA’s new site, or elsewhere.
Now, if you actually saw one of those ads, or simply cheat and look at the media page I linked to above, you might notice one blatantly obvious problem. The issue is that those ads only promote their second site and do not mention the new regulations now in effect. So what happens if you visit their new site? Well if you visit the site as a concerned parent thinking about renovating your house, you would be hard pressed to even find out that this regulation is even in effect. While they do have a banner at the bottom that states, “Learn more if your house was built before 1978”, it is not clickable.
While pulling together the latest numbers for the Certified Firms by State, I saw a few interesting trends. It appears that the Forest Service is the only federal agency that is ready to abide by the EPA’s guidelines. Home Depot happens to be certified, while their competitor in blue isn’t. Three of the biggest groups that are represented are your Window Installers (Champion & Window World), your Insurance Cleanup and Restoration Companies (ServPro) followed up by a lot of individual State’s Community Action Groups. Notably absent are many of the specialty trades, followed by schools, and numerous City, State, Federal and County Agencies.
|American Samoa||0||0||0||New Hampshire||24||44||124|
|Delaware||6||9||32||N. Marianas Isles||0||0||0|
State’s in BLUE are now managing the program themselves – to find the true count, or who is a Certified to work in those state’s – you will have to consult with the appropriate State Agency.