EPA Building

EPA Protects At-Risk Communities Through Lead Paint Enforcement Actions

Lead-paint safety regulation violations seem ubiquitous in the construction industry, endangering many vulnerable communities. The EPA has made it a priority to reduce lead exposure to children, and their enforcement actions over the past year attest to that. From October 2017 through September 2018, the EPA completed 140 enforcement actions to ensure that all responsible parties comply with lead certification and safety regulations, including landlords, property managers, realtors, and residential contractors.

“These cases also hold violators accountable for their actions and help maintain a level playing field for companies that follow the rules” said Susan Bodine, EPA Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Assistant Administrator.

Among the myriad enforcement actions are some highlight settlements. Headline cases range from the high-profile settlement with Magnolia Homes and with the New York Housing Authority to two separate criminal prosecutions:

  • Magnolia Waco Properties, LLC d/b/a Magnolia Homes (TX), of the Fixer Upper national reality television show, settled alleged RRP Rule violations that were broadcast on the show.  Magnolia agreed to pay a $40,000 penalty, and to spend $160,000 to abate lead-based paint hazards in homes in Waco, Texas.  Magnolia also agreed to demonstrate how to comply with the law and disseminate information about lead hazards and RRP requirements via its television, Internet and social media platforms.
  • New York City Housing Authority (NY), the nation’s largest public housing authority, settled alleged wide-spread lead-based paint and housing violations under a simultaneously filed complaint and proposed consent decree. The proposed Consent Decree, which is subject to public comment and court approval, affects approximately 175,000 apartments and 400,000 residents.  The proposed settlement requires the appointment of an independent federal monitor with authority to help ensure NYCHA’s compliance with lead-based paint and other requirements; and a commitment from New York City to provide at least $1.2 billion to address infrastructure issues.  At least 19 children associated with NYCHA apartments were diagnosed as having elevated blood-lead levels, and thousands more were put at risk.
  • Bitner Brothers Construction Co., Inc. (PA), entered a two count guilty plea for violating lead-safe work practices while working inside dwellings at which families with small children were present.  Bitner Brothers was sentenced to a $10,000 fine, a two-year probation period, and a $125 special assessment fee.
  • Stephen Craig (CT) was sentenced to six months of imprisonment and three years of supervised release thereafter, and ordered to pay a $20,000 fine for falsely certifying the completion of a lead abatement course.  Craig owned Boston Lead Company, LLC, d/b/a Environmental Training and Assessment.

These landmark settlements are just the tip of the iceberg. Spanning multiple industries and the entire country, the EPA tallied 40 actions at $10,000 or more, with a hundred other lesser settlements to follow. Don’t find yourself or your firm on the 2019 list; get your Lead Renovator Certification today.

Read the full release here.

See a full list of the 2018 lead-based paint enforcement action here.