John DiPrimio, president of DiPrimio Construction Inc., Jenkintown, Pa., wrote “EPA’s RRP Program: An Assessment Based on Experience,” for the October issue, page 18. The column prompted an unprecedented number of responses. The following is a sampling of reader comments:
Amen to DiPrimio. I always thought it would be fun to get a photo of all the plastic, tape and other disposable cleanup products needed for a job and send it to the Sierra Club. Better yet, how about piling up all the plastic from at least a dozen contractors and getting the media to film it and let people know it's all in the landfill this week as a result of EPA forcing these cleanup measures? And that doesn't count the additional cost homeowners will pay.
I have been remodeling for 40 years. I do not do any new construction. I spent good money to become EPA certified. This year alone I have lost $40,000 to uncertified contractors. If the playing field was even I would say we are doing something wrong. We are legal and do everything right.
I, too, almost passed out while doing a project similar to what DiPrimio described. I removed my Tyvec suit to take a break outside (90 degrees and 95 percent relative humidity) and got a chill when the wind blew. When one has to work 20 minutes and break 40 minutes just to stay conscious, you lose money. EPA says it would cost only an additional $35 for implementing correct containment for a customer. I would like to know what these people were smoking when they came up with that.
I have also decided to not do any pre-1978 projects. This means I just flushed thousands of dollars down the pipe, thanks to our government.
I think the spirit of the law is a good thing; however, the implementation was poorly done. Keep in mind there is no, nada, zero penalty for the homeowners if they choose to ignore the law. What is wrong with that picture? It seems every time the government tries to help my business or me personally it merely costs me more money.
Renovations by Persing
I just wanted to say I could not have written this better. I thought DiPrimio was talking about a job we did. We have also decided to be very cautious of the pre-1978 jobs we take. They are usually small or in rooms that have been remodeled post-’78 and old stuff is gone. Even then, I'm not sure it’s worth the risk. It doesn't matter how clean we are; if a child in the home has an elevated lead level they will target the renovation. I bet a lot of lawyers celebrated when this law was passed.
I think most people still do not realize the repercussions of this law and how many unlicensed and uncertified guys will be taking jobs that people like us have done in the past. If I knew how to change it, I would. Most contractors I talk to are still avoiding it or just making the paperwork look good. EPA is at the very least unrealistic and forcing people to break the law to survive. God help our government to start using common sense. Thank you for your time and courage to write this article.
Bryan C. Smith
Smith Renovations LLC
I cried from laughing and from sadness while reading this great article. It had the perfect tone and described the exact feeling and experience we have had and those of many others I have talked to. Thank you for having the courage to tell it like it is in a national publication.
The RRP program is consistent in that at every point it is nearly impossible to follow the guidelines and perform them adequately. We have tried to follow this to the letter and it is not safe nor reasonable to meet the requirements. The one thing DiPrimio did not mention is the cost of waste removal, which is, on average, 10 times the normal Dumpster fees ($1,200 for a 3-yard Dumpster). Let’s keep spreading the word and maybe someone will listen that can remove or modify this awful regulation.
Man, do I share DiPrimio’s feelings. I have been at it about the same length of time as he, and it irks the hell out of me to have my 35-year-old business ripped out from under my feet by bureaucrats. I keep telling myself a groundswell movement (hey, maybe we could hand this to the Occupy Wall Street protesters for purpose) has got to get moving and derail this thing. Not likely!
Unfortunately, as DiPrimio points out, the real guys will get out of the business, leaving it to the “dark side” operators to do what they do. I heard one guy conclude RRP will likely expose more kids to lead poisoning by forcing the business to the "dark side." I wouldn't be surprised.