DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

Business

December 13, 2012

Contract fined for violating lead paint rules

DERRY — Two years after the federal government adopted stricter lead-paint rules, a local contractor is one of only a few in New Hampshire to be fined for violating new regulations.

But Mark DiMinico, owner of Exterior Images in Derry, contends he’s being penalized unfairly. The painting contractor claims he had to pay more than $3,000 in fines for work done by another contractor years ago.

“I was pretty upset that they would find me guilty,” he said. “It’s just not the kind of business I run.”

DiMinico and his company have been cited by the Environmental Protection Agency for failing to make sure lead paint was properly removed from an apartment building at 7 Central St.

Exterior Images was cited for not notifying the occupants the work was taking place, including posting signs, according to the EPA. The firm also failed to cover the ground with plastic sheeting and to make sure potentially harmful lead particles weren’t released into the environment, the EPA said.

The EPA tightened its regulations because many homes being renovated have lead paint, which has been prohibited since 1978. Lead paint has been linked to developmental problems in young children.

The new regulations are punishable by a $37,500 for each day a firm fails to correct a violation, which some local contractors have said would easily put them out of business. Contractors also must wear protective clothing, use special equipment, and take a daylong training course to prove they know to prevent lead contamination.

DiMinico, also cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, said he was initially fined $18,000, but reached a settlement requiring him to only pay about $1,500 to each agency.

Although the penalty was reduced, his one-man company was hit hard, DiMinico said.

“That was 40 percent of my profits this year,” he said.

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