Seminar to help Steamboat renovators with new lead paint rules

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If you go

What: Lead paint certification training

When: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Aug. 30

Where: Library Hall at Bud Werner Memorial Library

Cost: $250 for Home Builders Association members, $275 for nonmembers

Register: www.hbasteamboat.com by Wednesday

— Rivertree Custom Builders owner Eric Rabesa is expecting to remodel more homes in Steamboat Springs this year, and that means more possible exposure to lead paint. A training program Aug. 30 at Bud Werner Mem­orial Library will give Rabesa and other local renovators the opportunity to obtain the certification they need to work with the hazardous material and avoid a $35,000 fine.

“We should be prepared to work with it as we begin to discover more of it,” Rabesa said. “We haven’t had a lot of experience with lead paint in the past, but as more and more people choose to remodel their homes, I anticipate we will.”

A new Environmental Pro­tect­ion Agency regulation requires that people who work on homes built before 1978 and who disturb more than 6 square feet of a lead-painted surface must be EPA lead-safe certified. Beginning Oct. 5, those not in compliance could face a $35,000 fine for each infraction.

Rabesa called the new regulation inevitable.

“It makes sense that we should follow the same guidelines that we would if we were working with asbestos,” he said. “We should abate it correctly.”

Rabesa said that before the new regulations, builders were able to handle projects containing lead paint largely at their own discretion. The new rules outline specific guidelines for those preparing to renovate a home, apartment or school building that could contain the paint.

Gary L. Wall, who founded a local homebuilders association with his wife, Teri, said there are fewer than 200 trainers in the United States who can properly certify builders to take on projects that involve lead paint. He said the upcoming training program would offer local builders a rare opportunity to become certified.

“There’s a lot you have to know when you are working with lead paint,” he said. “It requires a lot of special protection.”

The certification program will be conducted by Colorado Hazard Control, which is certified by the EPA.

To guarantee a spot in the training program, renovators must register by Wednesday.

In addition to the fee for the training program, attendees also will be required to send $300 to the EPA after the training to complete their certification, which lasts for five years.

Teri Wall said she expects the new regulation to be strictly enforced.

“The EPA will be checking on construction jobs not just in the cities like Denver, but also the mountain towns,” she said. “Nobody will be free from this.”

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