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EPA’s Lead-based Paint Enforcement Helps Protect Children and Vulnerable Communities - 2019

WASHINGTON  – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or the Agency) announced its federal enforcement actions completed over the last year to protect the public, especially young children, from exposure to lead in paint.  The cases involved alleged noncompliance with at least one of the Agency’s lead-based paint requirements: the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule; TSCA’s Lead-based Paint Activities Rule, which applies to abatements and other activities; and the Lead Disclosure Rule (LDR) under Section 1018 of the Residential Lead-based Paint Hazard Reduction Act.  These requirements apply to most pre-1978 housing, and to child-occupied facilities such as pre-schools and child-care centers.

The Agency uses an array of mechanisms to promote compliance and, thereby, reduce the risk of lead exposure.  Lead-based paint enforcement actions generally include administrative civil settlements, complaints and orders by EPA; and civil judicial settlements, orders and criminal prosecutions by the U.S. Department of Justice.  Cases often result from referrals, tips and complaints from state/local authorities, consumers and others, including referrals related to children with elevated blood-lead levels.  Also, some settlements may include commitments by the alleged violator to perform lead-based paint abatement or other projects to reduce the risk of lead exposure.

The Civil Settlement/Order dollar categories reported below reflect the civil penalty amount; or the civil penalty plus the value of any commitment to perform projects to address lead-based paint.  

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Pollution Reductions

Each enforcement action is expected to obtain compliance, and significant reductions in actual and potential lead exposure and environmental contamination.  Each settlement requires the alleged violator to come into compliance, resulting in reduced risk of lead exposure and contamination. Each Complaint contributes to reduced lead exposure by increasing awareness of, and ultimately compliance with, lead-based paint requirements.

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Selected Highlights

  • Investment Properties, LLC (ME) is subject to a $82,896 penalty under an administrative Default Order, for failing to respond to allegations regarding LDR violations.  Default Orders are subject to collection by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. 
  • Smith Rentals, LLC (WV) paid $56,114 to resolve alleged LDR violations. 
  • Euro-Tech, Inc. (IL) paid a $52,793 penalty to settle alleged RRP violations associated with renovations at 42 residences.
  • Gerald Wojtalewicz (NE) pled guilty and was sentenced to a $7,500 fine for LDR violations associated with lead poisoning.  Wojtalewicz leases approximately 160 properties in the North Omaha area (an EJ community).  A tenant’s two-year old child had an elevated blood-lead level.  EPA had issued two prior notices to Wojtalewicz for alleged LDR violations years.
  • Mohammad Sikder and District Properties, LLC (DC) pleaded guilty to violating requirements for lead disclosure and lead-safe renovation work practices. Sentencing is set for November 2019.  Also, Sikder’s company, District Properties LLC, pleaded guilty to making false statements in building permit applications which understated the age of properties.  The charges against Mr. Sikder carry up to twelve months in prison and potential fines.  He and the government will jointly recommend a $50,000 fine in addition to any prison time. The company has agreed to pay a $150,000 criminal fine, and to put another $25,000 towards funding lead-based paint compliance trainings in the area.
  • High Rise Build & Design Inc. and Somattie Surujnarine (NY) received final judgments against them, at $48,000 each plus interest, handed down by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.  The Court issued the final judgment based on sanctions the defendants had incurred for failure to comply with an earlier Contempt Order stemming from defendants’ failure to comply with an EPA subpoena that sought information about their RRP Rule compliance.  [link PDF to 2 Judgments]

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Criminal Prosecutions

Civil Settlements/Orders

Actions $80,000 or More

Actions $50,000 or More

Actions $30,000 or More

Actions $20,000 or More

Actions $10,000 or More

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Actions Less Than $10,000

Expedited Settlement Agreements

Civil Complaints

Other Cases with Lead-based Paint SEPs

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