Interior Designers, Home Designers, Architects, “Consultants” and those already affected by the EPA’s RRP regulation – life just got more complicated & expensive if you work in Alabama. Unfortunately my sentiments after the first Public Comment meeting were correct, but none of the required or promised follow up ever occurred.
Amazingly, last night was the first I had heard or seen that they had not only reconsidered it, but also managed to get it passed. A quick check of the EPA’s site confirmed that the email about the training was not just another piece of spam or a joke. On November 16th, the EPA granted Alabama the right to “administer and enforce” the RRP program “allowing for greater local oversight.” While they did manage to correct some of the issues brought up in the last go-around, they sure did make up for it by adding in quite a few other items.
Per 420-3-29-01 Purpose: all renovation in target housing and child-occupied facilities shall be performed by accredited renovators of certified firms according to the prescribed work practice standards contained in these rules
Per 420-3-29-02 (3) This chapter shall apply to any person contracted by the homeowner to perform renovations, or to plan such activities and also apply where the owner performs such activities in or upon another structure which is not his or her private residence or the portion thereof.
They have also expanded on the definition of Renovations to include; Plumbing, Weatherization, interim controls that disturb a painted surface & renovations performed for the purpose of converting a building, or part of a building, into target housing or a child-occupied facility.
Training & Certified Lead Renovators:
As long as you have completed the EPA’s approved training course before Dec. 31, 2010, you do not have to retake or take a training course provided through the University of Alabama (ENV 204 course). The caveat is that while the original certificate is good for 5 years, they will only recognize it for 3 years & require you to take a 4-hour refresher course before that anniversary date with no grace period. No matter where the training was performed, you also have to register with the University’s “Safe State” program at a cost of a $100 a year.
Individuals seeking accreditation will need to print and mail the attached application to our offices. In the near future there will be an on-line registration option, as well as compliance assistance content that will be accessible through renovatealabama.com, however, this site is not yet functional. Once the website is functional we will recommend on-line submittals; however, applicants will still have the mailing option.
Certified Firms & Employees:
If you thought that the $100 fee above was replacing the “Certified Firms”, you would be wrong. The new definition of a certified firm is “a company, partnership, corporation, sole proprietorship or individual, association, or other business entity that has submitted documentation to the Department stating that its employees performing renovation have received training from an accredited training program and registered by Safe State; and has been issued a certificate from the Department.”
While reading the actual regulation, you may notice that they copied parts of the EPA’s regulation straight over including the need for just one Certified Lead Renovator who can train others. Unfortunately, the language above and the actual pretty well squash the idea that you only need one on the job site – in fact it appears that all your employees need to be certified. Per the application:
Please complete all sections of the application by typing or printing the required information and attach all necessary documentation as noted below:
- A letter attesting that the firm shall only employ individuals accredited by Safe State to conduct renovation, repair and painting activities.
- A list of employees who have been accredited by Safe State to perform RR&P activities and their accreditation number and expiration date.
But wait, it gets better – instead of the $300 fee the EPA charges for their 5-year certificate, or Alabama’s original proposed $600 fee to cover 5 years, they want $300 per year, which adds up to $1500 for the same 5-year period.
Renovation Project Notification:
Under 420-3-29-12, there is a slight issue with the language where it states that all renovations subject to 420-3-27 (Abatement / Lead Reduction Rule) require a seven day notification & fee be paid. There are three possible explanations:
- The first is that they are allowing a renovator to work on abatement projects (highly doubtful as that goes against all their rules).
- By referencing the abatement they are only talking about projects where lead is known to be present (i.e. tested positive) and does not include any of the “assumed” present houses (10% chance – maybe)
- They are still clueless (leaning heavily this way) and it applies to all renovations that fall under this regulation unless it has been deemed lead free / below the de minimis values.
The interesting question then becomes, what fees as there are none listed in the regulation or on the applicable Renovation Notification Form? Well based off their failed first attempt, they varied from $200 to a $1000 a pop. For abatements, they vary from $100 to $10,000 based on type & percentage of the project cost.
Just like the EPA, you still need to save a copy of the Pre-Renovation Notice(s) and of course complete the Record Keeping Checklist. Unfortunately besides those forms looking like a three year old did them, is there is not enough room on the checklist for all the appropriate data required by their changes. As mentioned above, you also have to keep track of every employee’s certifications, and submit a yearly renewal form at least 90 days before the anniversary date. To top all the off you also presumably have to fill out the pre-renovation notification which requires that you resubmit it for any slight change or deviation unless you would like civil charges brought up against you if you complete the job a day early.
Implementation & Notification Issues:
Amazingly, the State (to my knowledge) has not contacted nor reached out to any of the 373 currently EPA Certified Firms to let them know this is now in place (as you can see it is not to hard as most of us have our email, phone numbers & addresses listed on the EPA’s site). Then we have a few other issues that revolve around a complete lack of any grace periods, not listing an actual effective date that everyone must be certified by, nor do they have all their systems in place.
Speaking about “notification” the last time I have heard or seen anything from the state was back in late September or October when they mailed out an EPA postcard, informing everyone of the EPA’s program. While there site was listed, it did not mention anything about the takeover, etc… As I recall, there was also a notice in the Home Builders Package about the EPA program, but not the States version that I received in November.
While I may have found all this information, I am not going to worry about it at this time because they do not have their systems in place & quite frankly do not have a clue how they are going to manage this yet. When they finally do grow up and get things running, including notifying the affected parties, I will decide at that time if I will comply or just quit working on older houses. I am also going to recommend that everyone contact our new Governor, Attorney General & State Representatives to see if this fiasco can be stopped.
More Information & Timelines:
www.Alabamasafestate.ua.edu – Safe State Program
www.adph.org/lead – Alabama Department of Public Health – Lead page (maybe they will fix the links on their eventually)
Alabama code: 420-3-29
ADPH Clarification of Abatement vs. Renovation
Official Notice of June 23rd Public Hearing published in May – I am so glad that they followed up according to State rules & regulations & informed interested parties from prior public hearing (oh wait they didn’t)
Rule officially adopted in July: Section H – After adoption rule becomes effective 35 days after publishing