EPA Fines 16 Firms Nationwide for Violations of the Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced 16 enforcement actions for violations of the lead-based paint Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (RRP). A priority for EPA’s enforcement program is to protect children, and others, from exposure to lead dust that can cause lead poisoning by ensuring that renovators follow the RRP and other lead rules. Lead exposure can cause a range of adverse health effects, from behavioral disorders and learning disabilities to seizures and death, putting young children at the greatest risk because their nervous systems are still developing. Story continues here
Jaroslaw Pianka, 42, of 5 Dolge Court, Charlton, pleaded guilty Thursday in Worcester Superior Court to two counts each of uttering a false document and single counts of larceny and reckless endangerment of a child. The charges related to properties Mr. Pianka owns on Dale Court in Leicester and allegations that he submitted fraudulent certificates of compliance and falsely represented to tenants that his properties were fully de-leaded.
Prosecutors from the office of state Attorney General Martha Coakley charged that Michael and Heather Bennett and their three children, two of them under age 6, rented one of the properties in February 2007, after being told by Mr. Pianka that it had been de-leaded. The family later conducted a home lead test, which revealed the presence of lead.
An inspection prompted by a complaint to the local Board of Health revealed several areas of the property that contained lead and Mr. Pianka was ordered to take remedial action.
In April 2009, Mr. Pianka gave the family and the health board a copy of a letter of full de-leading compliance, according to prosecutors. He also gave the family a copy of the Massachusetts Tenant Lead Law Notification and Certification Form, which the law requires landlords to provide to tenants before renting them properties built before 1978, prosecutors said.
Officials from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health's Child Lead Poisoning Prevention program later determined the documentation to be fraudulent, according to the attorney general's office.
Prosecutors also alleged that a letter of full de-leading compliance for a second property Mr. Pianka owned on Dale Court in Leicester contained the name and license number of an inspector who did not exist.
Assistant Attorney General Andrew A. Rainer recommended to Judge Richard T. Tucker yesterday that Mr. Pianka be sentenced to 18 months in the House of Correction with 59 days to be served and the balance of the sentence suspended for three years with probation.
The prosecutor further recommended that Mr. Pianka be ordered to pay $9,825 in restitution to the Bennetts, to perform 50 hours of community service entailing "actual physical work" to clean up the environment, and to have all of his properties inspected for lead paint and, if necessary, de-leaded.
Mr. Pianka's lawyer, Michael G. Cashman, urged the judge to spare his client from a jail sentence and place him on probation.
Judge Tucker placed Mr. Pianka on probation for three years. As conditions of probation, Mr. Pianka was ordered to provide a list of real properties he owns and their usages to the Department of Public Health and the Probation Department, to report any changes in ownership or usage to both agencies and to follow the health department's instructions concerning inspections and any de-leading.
The judge also ordered Mr. Pianka to perform a total of 300 hours of community service in the area of environmental concerns