If the Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was around in Benjamin Franklin’s time, he probably would have noted there are three things in life that are certain: death, taxes and revisions to the EPA Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) rule. Since the rule took effect in April 2010, some major revisions have been proposed. Two of these—the Opt-out Provision and Clearance Testing—now have been finalized.
Originally, the Opt-out Provision enabled homeowners to sign a statement that exempted their renovation from RRP work-practice requirements if there were no children or pregnant women in the home or if a “child-occupied facility” did not exist on the property. The Opt-out Provision was revoked in July 2010.
Clearance Testing was rejected on July 15. The proposed requirements would have included collection of dust-wipe samples from specific areas of the job site, submission of the samples to EPA-certified laboratories for dust-wipe testing and presentation of a full written report to the building owners within three days. As EPA deliberated Clearance Testing, more than 300 public comments were submitted to the organization. There may have been a collective sigh of relief across the industry when EPA rejected Clearance Testing.
What Rejection Means
The EPA’s announcement to remain with the status quo means the white-glove test remains in effect. Renovators can continue to test their worksite as they have in the past: Wipe the surfaces with disposable cleaning cloths and compare them to an EPA-provided cleaning verification card.
In addition, EPA clearly states in its ruling the distinction between abatement and renovation and notes it “has interpreted practicality in implementation to be an element of the statutory directive to take into account effectiveness and reliability. ... The work practices required by the RRP rule should be simple to understand and easy to use.”
There are several RRP refinements in the July 15 notice of which renovators should be aware. These refinements are further explained in the Advance Publication, EPA.gov/lead/pubs/lrrpprepub.pdf. (At press time, the official version had not yet been published in the Federal Register. Once it is, the Advance Publication link will be directed to the final rule. The docket number to access the final rule is EPA-HQ-OPPT-2005-0049.)