RRP Rule Update – Vertical Containment Amendment
The Department of Commerce is the regulatory agency that runs the Lead (Poison Prevention) Program in Washington State. It’s been about 10 months since they added enforcement of the LRRP rule. On January 10, 2012, the agency held a ‘round-table ‘meeting with training providers. It was a time to address amendments to the rule, enforcement issues and to share ideas and challenges with like minds. While the meeting addressed a great many things, in this blog I am going to look at the vertical containment amendment and a couple enforcement-type topics.
As of October of 2011 EPA has added the requirement for contractors to build “vertical containment or equivalent extra precautions during exterior projects”…if the renovation work is “performed within 10 feet of the property line. The amendment goes on to state that vertical containment is a vertical barrier consisting of plastic sheeting or other impermeable material . . . or an equivalent system of containing the area.”
One of the benefits of using vertical containment permits renovators to contain an area that is “closer to the renovation activity than the minimum floor (6’) or ground (10’) . . . specified by the RRP rule. . .” This gives the renovator more flexibility in designing effective containment strategies that might include ‘equivalent…precautions” such as minimizing dust flow via the use of wetting/encapsulating products such as one discussed that is a gel-like agent used to ‘encapsulate painted materials to allow for sanding without dust release. As per the folks at the Department of Commerce, this type of product would be an acceptable alternate solution, when used as directed.
Vertical containment allows contractors to power wash by enclosing all sides and the top of the area being washed. The Department of Commerce interprets the phrase ‘other impermeable material’ to include tightly woven landscape fabric. According to some tests they ran, the high-grade, tightly-oven material allows for water to flow through freely, but not the lead paint chips that come from the activity or pressure/power washing. I would like to add that while Department of Commerce is accepting the use of both the gel-like product use and the landscape/weed-protection fabric, Region 10 of the EPA was not present for comment.
Finally, it was comforting to hear that the Department of Commerce is checking the Craigslist Ads in Washington State against the list of licensed RRP firms in the state. They intend initially to call those non-certified firms and let them know about the requirement, before following through with additional enforcement as needed.
Ethel “Cookie” Kaufman, CSHS, Senior Trainer – Seattle, WA