Although not a high profile regulatory program, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) continues to target high profile entities to confirm the importance of compliance with its lead renovation and repair regulations that were established in 2008. In that regard, USEPA, with the U.S. Department of Justice, recently entered into a Consent Decree with Lowe’s Home Centers LLC, to resolve alleged violations of the lead renovation and repair requirements. Pursuant to the proposed Consent Decree, Lowe’s was required to pay a $500,000 total penalty and to implement a comprehensive compliance program.

USEPA alleges that Lowe’s could not document that the contractors it hired to perform residential renovation projects were certified by EPA, properly trained, used lead-safe workplace practices or properly used USEPA-approved lead test kits at renovation sites. The affected homes were located in Illinois and Ohio. Furthermore, the contractors allegedly failed to assure that the work areas had been properly contained during and cleaned after renovations. Lowe’s also agreed to implement a companywide lead-safe compliance program.

USEPA continues to consider whether to promulgate lead paint renovation rules for public and commercial buildings. Implementation of residential-type lead renovation rules in older, high-traffic commercial buildings could dramatically increase renovation and repair costs.