RRP Ranking Puts Wisconsin at No. 3

The Lead Safe Renovator program in Wisconsin ranks 3rd in the nation for implementing the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) rule, according to researchers in the Geography Department at Boston University.

Lead program aspects highlighted as being the most important to lead experts interviewed included 1) informing the regulated community of the Lead Safe Renovator rule and liabilities for violating it 2) informing the regulated community on opportunities to become certified, and 3) educating stakeholders—like tenants and landlords—on the rule’s requirements. The state of Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services (DHS), which promulgated the Lead Safe Renovator rule and enforces it, has addressed all of these items, for example.

The experts recommended a number of ways in which governing bodies, including the state of Wisconsin, could improve their lead-safe programs. These included: implementing a reporting mechanism in the building permit process for pre-78 housing, requiring clearance testing for ending jobs (which was discussed in 2010 but ultimately declined), and increasing outreach to daycares and schools.

The research was completed as part of Boston University’s Regulated Community Compliance Project, which receives funding from the EPA. The 2014 survey received input from 49 lead-based paint professionals throughout the U.S., including folks with expertise on state policy, public health, childhood lead poisoning and lead safety. There was just 1 remodeling contractor who participated in the survey. The two states ranked better than Wisconsin were Oregon and Connecticut.

So what’s our take? First, It’s great to see policy researchers taking an interest in the EPA’s RRP rule. The only way the Lead Safe Renovator program can be improved in the Badger state is by gathering feedback from the regulated community. Obviously, it’s too bad the survey administrators couldn’t manage to contact more contractors and get them to participate in the survey. During our Lead Safe Renovator classes there’s a lot of discussion on the rule’s effectiveness, but that’s not really the most constructive venue for getting feedback to DHS. The best way is to reach out to them personally: Go ahead and call (608) 261-6876 or email dhsasbestoslead@wisconsin.gov.

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