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Unlicensed Contractor Creates Huge Clouds of Lead Paint Dust

A small town in Pennsylvania is dealing with potentially serious contamination of its air, water and residents after an unlicensed painting contractor unleashed huge clouds of lead dust while blast cleaning a building in the center of town.

    “The paint dust was so thick at one point that a witness who saw it from two or three blocks away thought the building was on fire and rushed to help”, said Dave Meister, code and zoning officer for Danville, a community of about 5,000 in central Pennsylvania.

The unlicensed contractor was blast-cleaning paint from the exterior of a 19th-century, three story, brick building, which is located on the town’s main street. This building has a photography studio at street level. Apartments are on the second and third levels.

    No efforts were made by the contractor to contain any of the dust and debris. He simply let the wind carry the clouds of dust away and the rest was left lying on the ground. Meister asked the contractor what he had done for containment. The contractor naively replied, “You can’t contain this stuff, it just blows away.” Both the contractor and building owner assumed the building had no lead based paint.

    Town officials sent paint samples to a lab for analysis and results showed the paint had lead levels far above the legal limit.

    Rain washed much of the dust into the city storm drains but some of the lead paint chips remained.

    The city has a 50-year old tradition of holding a long parade through town that draws thousands of spectators. Due to lead contamination, the parade had to be rerouted.

    Officials found the contractor was unlicensed and was not certified in lead safe practices. The contractor was cited and banned from doing more work in the city.

    The contractor will be facing the full brunt of the EPA’s Renovation, Repair and Painting rule enforcement. Fines are up to $37,500 per day, per violation.

    Folks, you don’t need this kind of attention. If you’re working on a home built before 1978, you must follow the EPA’s new Lead-Safe regulations. Need help with repairs? Call Termite Terry Pest Control at (949) 631-7348 or order form and we’ll be glad to assist.