June 17, 2018
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Rockland landlord assessed $10,000 EPA fine for lead paint violations

Image captured from anonymous YouTube video
By Stephen Betts, BDN Staff

ROCKLAND, Maine — The owner of an apartment building in Rockland has agreed to pay a $10,000 fine to settle claims that he violated a series of federal lead paint regulations.

Colin Wentworth agreed March 21 to pay the penalty, according to a news release issued this week by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Wentworth originally had faced fines of $150,000, according to the EPA in May 2011 when it first announced the violations.

The EPA claimed that Wentworth’s workers violated lead paint removal rules by improperly using power equipment to remove paint from the exterior surface of an apartment building he owns on Park Street in Rockland. The complaint also indicated that the workers had not received any training under the rule and that Wentworth had failed to apply for firm certification with the EPA.

Because the lead dust had not been properly contained, residents potentially were exposed and the dust also could have contaminated the ground surrounding the apartment building, according to the EPA. Two of the four units in the building were rented to recipients of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Section 8 vouchers and there were at least four children under the age of 18, including one under the age of 6, living in the units.

Wentworth could not be reached for comment Friday on the settlement.

The matter came to light after someone videotaped the work and posted the video on YouTube where it was seen by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

“Exposure to lead can cause serious health problems and affects our most vulnerable population, our children,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “By taking action to enforce lead rules we are protecting people’s health and ensuring that businesses that follow the rules have a level playing field.”

As required by law, a company or individual’s ability to pay a penalty is evaluated and penalties are adjusted accordingly.

Lead exposure can cause a range of health effects, from behavioral problems and learning disabilities to seizures and death, putting young children at the greatest risk because their nervous systems are still developing, according to the EPA.

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