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EPA Lead Certification Confusing? You Betcha!

By Andy McLellan (EEA) 2/3/2011
EPA lead paint certification requirements are super confusing. It’s no wonder that so many of the firms and individuals who are supposed to be certified are still not in compliance. Some of the confusion undoubtedly stems from the distinction that EPA makes between those who conduct renovations in target housing and child occupied facilities versus those professionals who are conducting abatement, inspections, risk assessments or clearance after abatement, or, as EPA titles it, “Lead Based Paint Activities.”
Those engaged in Renovations really just need to complete two requirements:
· a Renovation Firm Certification
· at least one Renovator Certification.
The Firm Certification is submitted to EPA by mail only with a $300 application fee. The Renovator, or Individual, Certification is issued by an accredited training provider once an individual completes the Renovator training course. It’s best to think of the Firm and Individual Certifications in terms of a vehicle registration and a driver’s license. Anyone who operates a motor vehicle is expected to obtain each independently but have both when it’s time to hit the road.
Professional abatement and evaluation firms must obtain an LBPA-specific Firm Certification in a manner similar to that described for Renovation Firms, except that the application fee is $550. Lead abatement and evaluation firms can now apply and pay for firm application on-line through the EPA website (http://cdx.epa.gov/).
EPA will actually give a Renovator Firm Certification to any firm that applies for the LBPA Firm Certification, at no extra charge. That’s a one way street, as the Renovator Firm Certification isn’t enough to qualify for the LBPA firm cert.
Individual abatement supervisors, workers, inspectors, risk assessors and designers, on the other hand, must complete training through an accredited trainer, apply to EPA with fees that range from $310 for workers to $410 for the supervisor, inspector and risk assessor, pass a third party test (except workers) and await return of an EPA-issued LBPA Certification. Individuals have a six month window to complete the entire process and we’re told that EPA needs nearly that entire period to process an individual application.
EPA has up to 90 days after receiving a complete request for certification to approve or disapprove the application, although EPA has experienced significant difficulty meeting the 90 day deadline. Firms and individuals would be wise to submit their Renovation Firm, LBPA Firm or LBPA Individual application as early as possible.
EPA is expected to begin enforcement of the Renovation, Repair & Painting Rule (RRP) regulation, beginning January 1, 2011, consistent with the August 21, 2010 publication “Consolidated Enforcement Response and Penalty Policy for the Pre-Renovation Education Rule; Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule; and Lead-Based Paint Activities Rule”. That document can be accessed at http://www.fedcenter.gov/_kd/Items/actions.cfm?action=Show&item_id=16103&destination=ShowItem
Expect several other changes to the regulation in the near future. Requirements for clearance testing are scheduled to take effect this summer and the Agency has committed to extending the RRP requirements to commercial structure by 2015.

EPA reports that over 100,000 renovators and over 50,000 firms have been certified. This is an impressive amount for sure, but it pales when you consider the size of the home improvement industry in this country. Demand for training has not been as significant as last year and many of those who completed certification are unhappy with the Agency’s efforts to educate homeowners and the home improvement industry about the rule. EPA Region 2 has responded with a new RRP Tip/Complaint form that can be found at http://www.environmentaleducation.com/media_gallery.asp.

You can bet that the EPA rules will get more complicated before the proverbial dust settles on this issue. Stay tuned!