The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced fines totaling over $17,000 for two home repair companies and a rental property owner regarding its Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (LRRP). The cases are the first to be settled under the LRRP rule and come almost two years after it went into effect.

On March 21, Colin Wentworth, a rental property owner who was responsible for building operation and maintenance, agreed to pay $10,000 following violations of the rule. Workers for Wentworth improperly used power equipment to remove paint from the exterior of an 1850’s apartment building he owns in Rockland, Maine.

The complaint against Wentworth also alleged that his workers did not receive proper training under LRRP and that lead dust was not properly contained. Two of the four apartments in the building were rented two recipients of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Section 8 vouchers and there were at least four children in the units. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration also responded to complaints from the project.

On March 20, Valiant Home Remodelers, a window and siding replacement company in New Jersey agreed to pay $1,500 in violations for failing to follow the LRRP rule on a project in Edison, N.J. the company failed to contain renovation dust and failed to properly train employees on lead-safe work practices.

In February, Johnson Sash and Door, a home repair company based in Omaha, Neb., was fined $5,558 for failing to provide the owners of housing built before 1978 with an EPA-approved lead hazard information pamphlet or to obtain a written acknowledgement prior to renovation projects at five different homes. The complaint also alleged the company failed to obtain proper certification prior to starting the projects.

The LRRP rule was finalized by the EPA in 2008 and took effect on April 22, 2010 as part of the agency’s effort to ensure contractors’ and individuals’ safety and  health when working around building materials covered in lead-based paints.

Dealers argue that the rule will have a negative effect on sales by driving up the costs and increasing the amount of time it takes for many installed sales projects, such window and door replacement. Dealers also argue that there are few legitimate test kits available, which makes testing slow and time consuming.

Proponents of the rule argue that it is important to preserve the health of those around construction projects that may distrub lead paint and dust, especially young children.