Window World of St. Louis agreed on March 31 to pay a $19,529 civil penalty in connection with an administrative action by Region 7 of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The action cited Window World of St. Louis for failing to provide information--i.e., the agency's "Renovate Right" brochure--to "at least 20" owners and residents of St. Louis-area properties built before 1978. In addition to the fine, Window World agreed to supply $20,048 of in-kind services to nonprofit Youth in Need.

In January, officials of EPA Region 1, in New England, filed a Consent Agreement and Final Order in which Milford, Conn., contractor Permanent Siding & Windows agreed to pay a penalty of $30,702 for its failure to provide Renovate Right to 17 Connecticut property owners prior to performing renovations there.

In both cases, the companies were cited for failing to distribute the brochure as required rather than for ignoring specific steps and measures for containment and clean-up mandated by the EPA as of April 2009. Both cases involved a paperwork audit. According to a source at the EPA, the agency has yet to take legal action against contractors for specifically violating the Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) containment and clean-up rules.

The appearance of a press release regarding the Window World of St. Louis legal action on the EPA's website fed speculation that the agency may be stepping up audits and possibly even onsite inspections in connection with RRP enforcement. "I'm hearing grumblings," says Check for Lead's Scott Turman. On Monday, April 4, Check for Lead, a Florida-based online supplier of materials for contractors involved with lead-safe renovation, launched a new tool for contractors seeking solid information about EPA audits in their area. The online tool is a Google map flagging locations where EPA audits can be verified as having taken place. (To see the map, click here.) Turman says that 11 states are now administering their own audits. He plans to expand the sophistication of the map soon by adding Occupational Safety and Health Administration and state audits.

Jim Cory is Editor of Replacement Contractor