EPA enforcement actions in 2022 help protect public health and the environment from the dangers of lead exposure

WASHINGTON – Today, as part of the National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, the EPA released its Bulletin 2022 on the application of lead, which highlights the most prominent lead application cases during the past fiscal year. The EPA has pursued civil and criminal lawsuits for violations of federal laws to prevent and reduce exposure to lead in paint, drinking water, soil, hazardous waste, and other environmental sources. Many of the law enforcement actions and activities highlighted in the Lead Enforcement Bulletin relate to lead exposure in communities disproportionately affected by lead and in areas with environmental justice concerns.

“Despite our understanding of the negative health impacts that lead exposure can result, many Americans are still exposed, and this is especially true for underserved and overloaded communities,” he said. Larry Starfield, EPA Interim Assistant Administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Over the past year, the EPA has taken numerous law enforcement actions to protect the public from lead exposure.”

Lead-based paint

The Bulletin highlights both civil agreements and criminal penalties for violations involving lead in paint:

  • The latest cases against companies whose alleged restructuring violations were broadcast on national television involved restorers on the shows “Maine Cabin Masters” and “Good Bones”. In both cases, the companies agreed to pay civil penalties and educate the public on safe working practices, among other things. Other recent enforcement actions have also addressed alleged restructuring violations that aired on the television shows “Magnolia Homes”, “Texas Flip N Move” and “Rehab Addict and Bargain Mansions”.
  • A restructuring firm agreed to pay a civil fine of $ 137,804 to resolve alleged restructuring violations.
  • A real estate management / development company has agreed to pay a civil fine to resolve alleged renovation and asbestos violations in an area with environmental justice concerns.
  • Two criminal proceedings led to convictions and fines. One was for a property manager who did not disclose the known risks of lead paint to potential tenants and the second was for the owner / operator of a main inspection company for falsifying lead paint inspection reports.

Lead in drinking water

The Bulletin highlights the EPA’s issuance of an order in Benton Harbor, Michigan’s public water system, to address high levels of lead in drinking water and other violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act. This unilateral administrative order requires Benton Harbor City Public Water System to notify consumers when lead action level exceedances are detected and improve orthophosphate applications for corrosion control, as well as water treatment plant repairs and improvements to disinfection. The order also requires independent third-party analysis of alternatives for long-term operation and system maintenance.

Lead in soil / Superfund / Hazardous waste

The Bulletin highlights:

  • A deal to recover approximately $ 1,950,000 in costs for cleaning lead-contaminated soil in the Chicago area.
  • EPA order to remove lead contaminated soil from 58 residential properties in Viburnum, Missouri.
  • EPA’s choice of remedy to address lead and other contamination at a Lead Superfund site in Indiana.
  • Criminal penalties for a former manager of a landfill site for the illegal storage and disposal of hazardous waste containing lead in North Carolina.
  • Order from the EPA to prevent the release of lead into the environment from a waste treatment plant in Georgia.

Additionally, the Bulletin highlights EPA enforcement and compliance assurance activities that address lead exposure from air emissions in federal facilities and tribal lands.

Read more about lead.

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