They’re not kidding. Major window installer pays fine for not distributing Renovate Right

The EPA wants homeowners/occupants educated about lead paint hazards and they want RRP notification on jobs where lead paint may be present. And when lead is found to be present, they want full RRP steps used to mitigate, collect, dispose and clean up any generated dust from lead coatings present in pre-1978 houses. If you don’t follow these rules, you will be fined. And they're not kidding. Low-price window replacement dealers, like many other trades, don’t want this added expense. This need to introduce a new cost-causing wrinkle into the sale, tangential at best to a window replacement, flies directly in the face of businesses built on low-price come-ons. So, a network of window replacement dealers like Window World headquartered in North Carolina, would not want to do anything to spoil the low-price draw of “$189 Installed”. Especially something like an extra $30-$50 per opening for RRP. It would seem they would hate to bring up RRP before the sale even begins. There goes their sales advantage, so it seems. Window World Corporate thought better, and its approach was to abide by the rule and to make a big PRE-deal about compliance. From a Window World PR release: “Though many companies in the industry such as Window World are diligently meeting EPA requirements, it’s important for homeowners to take a proactive approach to the new regulation,” said Dana Deem, vice president at Window World, who oversaw the company’s EPA certification. “Homeowners, particularly those with a high risk of lead exposure, seeking renovation work from third-party contractors should confirm that the vendor is a Lead-Safe Certified Firm. Window World professionals are trained to assess lead hazards, test for lead-based paint, prepare homes for lead renovation and follow the EPA guidelines for disturbances to lead-based paint.” Apparently, Window World St. Louis didn’t get the memo. The EPA slapped its pocketbook-holding wrist big time. From an EPA Press Release, March 30, 2011: Window World of St. Louis, Inc., has agreed to pay a $19,529 civil penalty to the United States to settle allegations that it failed to notify owners and occupants of at least 20 St. Louis area residential properties built before 1978 of lead-based paint risks prior to performing renovation work at those locations. According to an administrative consent agreement filed by EPA Region 7 in Kansas City, Kan., the window replacement company, located in Maryland Heights, Mo., was legally required to provide owners and residents of the properties with an EPA-approved lead hazard information pamphlet before starting renovations at the properties. As part of its settlement with EPA, and in addition to paying the $19,529 civil penalty, Window World of St. Louis has agreed to perform a supplemental environmental project, through which it will spend an estimated $20,048 to replace a total of 73 old windows contaminated with lead paint at three group home facilities operated by the non-profit social services organization Youth in Need. Those facilities are located at 1420 N. 3rd Street, 516 Jefferson Street, and 529 Jefferson Street, in St. Charles, Mo. Wow. Something as simple as handing out the Renovate Right Brochure. RRP 101. Failure to do so cost Window World in St. Louis $40,000. And those are bottom line dollars, not easily come by when you sell windows installed at $189. Twenty receipts (worth $2,000 each in this instance) would have avoided the fines and supplemental project costs. Yes, it would have meant testing would need to be done, and possibly RRP. But this is the risk everyone takes when they decide ignore the RRP Rule. Not only has Window World been slapped with a fine, all the other 200+ locations are now on the radar. Plus, each homeowner ,who was not informed, may have a cause of action. Neurotoxins released without warning won’t be taken lightly by litigious homeowners. Then there is the competition who will use this to help justify their RRP compliant approach to show it is necessary and in everyone’s best interest – while criticizing Window World. We, at have talked about enforcement, and the EPA's informational outreach to consumers to raise public awareness. This fine and public embarrassment is more powerful, and it proves the EPA is not kidding. To all contractors who think it doesn’t matter, check your bank account for that extra $20,000 the EPA may ask for when they stop by to look at your records, and decide to prove they meant what they said when RRP became law. Last point: Many times the editorial staff of has stressed the importance of good, accurate record keeping. EPA fined Window World based on their records, not their work. We weren’t kidding either – accurate and complete record keeping is your best defense of RRP compliance, should you ever need it. Learn more  about EPA’s civil enforcement of the Toxic Substances Control Act Learn more about the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992 Learn more about health risks associated with lead exposure Locate the EPA press release and other Region 7 news items on the News Where You Live