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Facilities Planning

Lead Abatement Clarification


Clarification of Commissioner's Regulations for the Reduction of Lead Hazards in Schools

The Commissioner's Regulations for the reduction of lead hazards in schools have caused much confusion and discussion. Our goal is to reduce student and staff exposure to lead hazards without unreasonably increasing the cost of reconstruction. To that end provisions were added to Commissioner's Regulations Part 155.5, "Uniform Safety Standards for School Construction and Maintenance Projects" to address lead hazards in schools.

The U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's "Guidelines for the Evaluation and Control of Lead-Based Paint Hazards in Housing" provides detailed, comprehensive, technical information on how to identify and control lead hazards safely and efficiently. While the guidelines address hazards in housing, we feel the content is easily interpolated for school occupancies.

As a result of requests for clarification on Commissioners Regulations Part 155.5(l), the following is our interpretation of the regulation

  • The term "abatement" as it appears in Commissioners Regulations Part 155.5(l) is defined as the mitigation of the lead hazard by means described in the HUD Guidelines. This is not the same as the EPA definition of abatement as it appears in 40 CFR Part 745.
  • All occupied buildings should have a Lead Hazard Screen Risk Assessment or a full Risk Assessment performed by a certified Risk Assessor to determine the potential for the building to contain lead hazards.
  • All reconstruction work disturbing surfaces which may contain lead-containing materials shall be tested for the presence of such.
  • All reconstruction work disturbing surfaces that contain lead-containing materials shall have a certified Lead Risk Assessor or Project Supervisor prepare a detailed plan, to be included in the project specifications, specifying who is responsible for, and the measures required for occupant protection, worksite preparation, work methods, cleaning and clearance testing, in general accordance with the HUD Guidelines. The plan shall contain the signature and certification information of the Lead Risk Assessor or Project Supervisor.
  • Workers performing reconstruction work that may disturb surfaces containing lead are not required to be EPA-trained and certified. However, any project that is strictly for the removal of lead-containing surfaces and lead-contaminated dust and soil is an "abatement" project as defined by the EPA and must comply fully with EPA Regulations 40 CFR Part 745, including the requirement for EPA-trained and certified workers.
  • Any construction work where an employee may be occupationally exposed to lead must comply with OSHA Regulations 29 CFR 1926.62 which includes safety training and education.
  • Routine building maintenance shall be performed in general accordance with Chapter 17 of the HUD Guidelines. This chapter describes safe practices for routine maintenance to provide sufficient protection to workers and building occupants.
  • Further information can be found at the following websites