The U.S. Environmental Defense Company (EPA) and the Department of Justice these days announced a proposed nationwide settlement with Residence Depot U.S.A. Inc. resolving alleged violations of the EPA’s Lead Renovation, Mend and Painting (RRP) Rule at household renovations executed by Residence Depot’s contractors across the country. The States of Utah, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, which have EPA-approved RRP systems, are becoming a member of the United States in this action.
The settlement, in a consent decree lodged with the District Court docket for the Northern District of Georgia, demands Dwelling Depot to put into action a detailed, company-huge method to guarantee that the corporations and contractors it hires to execute operate are accredited and trained to use lead-protected perform methods to prevent spreading direct dust and paint chips during home renovation routines. Dwelling Depot will also pay out a $20.75 million penalty, the optimum civil penalty attained to date for a settlement underneath the Harmful Substances Regulate Act. Of the $20.75 million penalty, $750,000 will be paid to Utah, $732,000 to Massachusetts, and $50,000 to Rhode Island.
“These have been significant violations. The stiff penalty Household Depot will shell out displays the great importance of utilizing qualified companies and contractors in more mature house renovations,” stated Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney Standard Jonathan D. Brightbill of the Justice Department’s Environment and All-natural Methods Division. “Contractors hired for most get the job done in properties designed prior to 1978, when direct based paint was in common use, ought to be certified. These contractors have the instruction to recognize and stop the hazards that can be designed when direct paint is disturbed.”
“Today’s settlement will significantly reduce children’s exposure to direct paint hazards,” mentioned Susan Bodine, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office environment of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Home Depot will implement technique-large variations to make certain that contractors who carry out perform in houses created ahead of 1978 are EPA-certified and abide by lead-protected techniques. EPA expects all renovation firms to make sure their contractors stick to these significant legal guidelines that shield public overall health.”
EPA uncovered the alleged violations when investigating five client problems about Residence Depot renovations (in Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin), which confirmed Property Depot subcontracted operate to corporations that in some cases did not use direct-harmless do the job procedures, carry out essential post-renovation cleansing, supply the EPA-necessary lead-based mostly paint pamphlets to occupants, or maintain data of compliance with the legislation.
EPA then done a extensive evaluation of House Depot’s records of renovations carried out throughout the United States and identified hundreds of situations in which Home Depot sent uncertified companies to execute renovations that necessary licensed and properly trained firms. In addition, EPA discovered occasions in which Dwelling Depot failed to establish, retain, or supply compliance documentation demonstrating that specific contractors experienced been accredited by EPA, had been properly skilled, and had applied direct-secure operate procedures in tasks carried out in houses.
For the most major violations addressed by the settlement, House Depot supplied its prospects inspections working with licensed pros and, if dust guide hazards had been located, it performed specialized cleaning and verification.
Under the settlement, Home Depot will employ a organization-extensive system to make sure that the contractors it hires to conduct do the job for its clients comply with the RRP Rule all through renovations of properties designed prior to 1978. To do this, Home Depot is employing an digital compliance program to confirm that the contractors it hires are adequately certified. Home Depot will also involve its contractors to use a comprehensive checklist to doc compliance and provide the done checklist to the shopper. The checklist will guide the contactors through the methods demanded for RRP Rule compliance. Home Depot will also carry out thousands of on-web page inspections of do the job executed by its contractors to make certain they comply with direct-protected perform procedures. Home Depot will have to also look into and react to consumer problems. In occasions exactly where the contractor did not comply with Direct Safe Get the job done methods Home Depot will complete an inspection for dust lead dangers and, if they are observed, present a specialized cleansing. EPA will watch House Depot’s responses to purchaser complaints.
In addition to the demands relevant to its renovations, Household Depot will present vital information and facts about pursuing lead-safe and sound work practices to its expert and do-it-yourself buyers in its merchants, on its web site, on YouTube, and in workshops. The RRP Rule does not apply to do-it-on your own projects in your personal household. However, the EPA recommends employing the rule’s guide-safe and sound function techniques in your possess property initiatives, so this important data will support family members discover how to securely accomplish home enhancement projects to safeguard them selves, and their youngsters.
Residential lead-based mostly paint use was banned in 1978 but even now remains in many older houses and apartments across the country. Lead dust dangers can take place when lead paint deteriorates or is disrupted for the duration of house renovation and remodeling things to do. Lead publicity can bring about a variety of overall health problems, from behavioral conditions and studying disabilities to seizures and death, placing younger youngsters at the greatest chance mainly because their nervous techniques are still producing. A blood guide check is the only way to establish if a baby has a superior guide stage. Mom and dad who think their youngster has been in contact with guide dust must get hold of their child’s wellbeing care supplier.
The consent decree is subject matter to a 30-working day general public remark period of time and last court docket approval. To watch a copy of the consent decree and for information on how to submit a comment, go to www.justice.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html.
Even further facts about the settlement is obtainable on EPA’s web site at: https://www.epa.gov/enforcement/home-depot-settlement-data-sheet. To make a criticism about lead safe get the job done practice violations, see EPA’s web page hyperlink at:
The yr 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Office of Justice. Learn extra about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Yrs.