PORTLAND, Maine — A company in Westbrook has been ordered to pay thousands after being accused of violating the lead renovation, repair, and painting (RRP) program at several jobs performed in Maine.
IDK Ventures, which operates as CertaPro Painters of Maine, was investigated by the Environmental Protection Agency after they received complaints from Maine homeowners regarding projects handled in 2021 and 2022, according to a news release issued Tuesday by the EPA.
Following the investigation, the EPA alleged that the paint company failed to do the following:
- "Ensure that all individuals performing renovation activities on behalf of the firm were either certified renovators or had been trained by a certified renovator;
- "Assign a certified renovator to each renovation performed by the firm;
- "Provide the owner of the unit with the EPA-approved lead hazard information pamphlet;
- "Ensure that, before beginning the renovation, the ground was covered with plastic sheeting or other disposable impermeable material extending 10 feet beyond the perimeter of surfaces undergoing renovation; and
- "Ensure that [sic] all ducts in the work area were covered with taped-down plastic sheeting or other impermeable material."
According to the EPA, the RRP rule was created to protect children from the dangers of lead in old paint. Exposure to lead in paint, particularly dust and debris, could cause developmental and learning disabilities, reduced attention, hyperactivity, behavioral problems, and impaired hearing, the EPA states. Children and pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to exposures.
"If painted surfaces are to be disturbed at a job site, the RRP rule requires individual renovators to complete an initial eight-hour accredited training course and the company or firm that they work with to be certified by EPA or an authorized state," the release stated.
The EPA found during their investigation of CertaPro Painters of Maine that at least two of the properties were home to children between the ages of 6 and 17.
The business has been ordered to pay a fine of $16,636 and certify compliance with the RRP rule, according to the terms of a settlement.
"Employing safe work practices during renovation projects can help prevent lead poisoning. This is even more important considering that many historically overburdened communities both in parts of Maine and throughout New England suffer from higher rates of childhood lead poisoning," David W. Cash, EPA New England regional administrator, said in the statement.
The EPA provides instructions on its website for reporting concerns about a lead-paint rule violation in New England, which can be found here.