The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday that it had levied more than $274,000 in civil penalties against 35 contractors and training providers for failing to adhere to the agency’s rules regarding lead dust.
Three Nebraska-based contractors or individuals settled with the EPA between May 2013 and January 2014, the agency reported, resulting in civil penalties of about $5,300.
Contractors cited for violations to the EPA’s lead renovation, repair and painting standards were Dennis Barker of Fairbury, Neb., and Painting Done Right of Lincoln. James and Dona Jungers of Lincoln were also cited as rental property owners.
Barker was ordered to pay a civil penalty of $3,465, Painting Done Right was ordered to pay $1,729, and the Jungers were ordered to pay $100.
Barker said his penalty was higher because the home he was working on had an occupant younger than 6 years old.
EPA rules require contractors to provide information on hazards of lead-based paint to homeowners or occupants they’re doing work for. Contractors also must carry specific certifications and must be trained to reduce potential exposure to lead-based paint and dust.
Mark Sutton, owner of Painting Done Right, said the citation was a first for his firm.
“When we work on properties built before 1978 we have to be a lot more careful,” Sutton said. That’s because lead-based paint is more common among pre-1978 homes than it is among newer structures.
“You’ll run into some people that say they can’t afford to comply with the law, but it doesn’t take much,” Sutton said.