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

WASHINGTON — Today, as part of National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, the EPA released its 2022 Lead Performance Newsletter, which highlights the most notable leading enforcement cases of the past fiscal year. EPA prosecutes both civil and criminal cases for violations of federal laws to prevent and reduce exposure to lead in paint, drinking water, soils, hazardous waste, and other environmental sources. Many of the enforcement actions and activities highlighted in the Lead Enforcement Bulletin target lead exposure in communities disproportionately affected by lead and areas of environmental justice concern.

“Despite our understanding of the negative health effects that can result from lead exposure, many Americans are still exposed, and this is especially true in underserved and overburdened communities,” said Larry Starfield, EPA’s Acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance. “Over the past year, EPA has taken numerous measures to protect the public from lead exposure.”

Lead-based paint

The bulletin highlights both civil settlements and criminal penalties for violations involving lead in paint:

  • Recent cases against companies whose alleged renovation violations have been aired on national television have involved renovators on the shows “Maine Cabin Masters” and “Good Bones.” In both cases, the companies agreed to pay civil penalties and educate the public about lead-safe work practices, among other things. Other recent enforcement actions also related to alleged renovation violations aired on the television shows “Magnolia Homes,” “Texas Flip N Move” and “Rehab Addict and Bargain Mansions.”
  • A renovation company has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $137,804 to settle alleged renovation violations.
  • A property management/development firm has agreed to pay a civil penalty to allow alleged asbestos renovation and violations in an area of ​​environmental justice concerns.
  • Two criminal cases resulted in convictions and fines. One was for a property manager who failed to disclose the known dangers of lead paint to prospective tenants, and the second was for the owner/operator of a leading inspection firm for falsifying lead paint inspection reports.

Lead in drinking water

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

Lead in soil / Superfund / Hazardous waste

The newsletter highlights:

  • Agreement to recover approximately $1,950,000 in costs to clean up lead-contaminated soil in the Chicago area.
  • EPA order requiring the removal of lead-contaminated soil from 58 residential properties in Viburnum, Missouri.
  • EPA’s Selection of a Remedial Agent for Lead and Other Contamination at a Lead Superfund Site in Indiana.
  • Criminal penalties for former landfill director for illegal storage and disposal of hazardous waste containing lead in North Carolina.
  • EPA Order to Prevent Release of Lead into the Environment from a Waste Processing Facility in Georgia.

In addition, the bulletin highlights EPA enforcement and compliance activities that address lead exposure from air emissions at federal facilities and on tribal lands.

More information about lead.

Help protect the environment by identifying and reporting environmental violations.

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