A New Hampshire-based property developer has agreed to pay a fine of more than $90,000 to settle charges that it violated federal lead paint rules at a historic mill building renovation project in Manchester.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the settlement with Brady Sullivan Millworks II LLC and Brady Sullivan Millworks IV LLC, of Manchester, in a Feb. 28 release. The settlement resolves allegations of the failure to comply with the Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) and the Real Estate Notification and Disclosure Rules.
According to the EPA, the case stems inspections at 195 McGregor Street in Manchester (known as the Lofts at Mill West).
Founded in 1992, Brady Sullivan Properties owns and manages a diverse portfolio of over 3 million square feet of mill, office and industrial space, according to its website. The developer has converted many mill buildings into residential and commercial spaces.
When the lead case was first announced, the company issued a statement to local media that it was “extremely sorry and embarrassed that the events occurred which led up to the action.”
Lead Dust Inspections
The May 2015 inspections were said to have been initiated by complaints of lead dust in the building resulting from sandblasting occurring on a lower, unoccupied floor of the building.
During those inspections, EPA observed dust and chipping paint throughout the interior common areas of the building (areas to which tenants continued to have access during renovation activities), according to the EPA.
At the time of the inspections, building residents included children, who are most at risk for lead poisoning.
The source of the dust was identified as sandblasting being performed by Environmental Compliance Specialists Inc., a renovation company, on the first floor, according to the EPA. Tenants alleged that the property owner downplayed their lead dust concerns.
Testing Lead Levels, Work Stopped
As part of the federal investigation, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services conducted dust-wipe sampling, which confirmed levels of lead in the dust and in paint chips well above acceptable health-protective standards, EPA alleged.
The City of Manchester ordered a halt to the sandblasting on May 11, 2015, because the subcontractor ECSI had not obtained the required permit from the City to conduct such activity.
On June 19, 2015, EPA issued a unilateral order to property owner Brady Sullivan to clean up lead dust and chipping lead paint on the third and fourth floors of the building and in common areas throughout the property. EPA said it closely monitored these cleanup activities and expects a final cleanup report and certification from Brady Sullivan shortly.
In August 2016, EPA issued an administrative complaint against Brady Sullivan for alleged violations of the Disclosure and RRP rules. Proposed fines initially totaled $139,171 in the case.
EPA alleged that Brady Sullivan Millworks II, which owns and manages 98 residential apartments on the building's third and fourth floor, violated the Toxic Substances Control Act when it failed to provide tenants in 14 apartments at the Lofts at Mill West with lead paint disclosure information.
The complaint also alleges that Brady Sullivan Millworks IV, which owns and manages a portion of the first and second floors, violated three provisions of the RRP Rule during renovation activities occurring in those portions of the building.
Under the terms of the agreement, Brady Sullivan will pay a penalty of $90,461
A related action against a Kingston-based renovator, ECSI, remains ongoing, EPA said. ECSI filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in late 2016.