GROTON, Conn. — Housing providers at Navy bases in Connecticut and Maine failed to notify military families about potential hazards from lead-based paint, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday.
Two companies, Northeast Housing LLC and Balfour Beatty Military Housing Management LLC, face a possible fine of $153,070 for alleged violations of disclosure laws at Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Conn., and at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine, the federal agency said in a news release.
Housing at both bases is owned by Northeast, a joint venture between the Navy and Balfour Beatty Communities LLC.
A total of three renters in Groton and 10 in Portsmouth were not provided with available records and reports regarding lead paint hazards, according to the EPA. Seven of the renters had families with children under the age of 6.
Balfour Beatty, which manages more than 2,100 units of military housing at the two bases, said in a statement Tuesday that the EPA complaint relates to 13 leases executed between 2008 and 2010. It said those residents were told of the presence of lead-based paint in their homes, but they were not given a full list of reports.
The company said any failure resulted from an administrative error on its part. It has reinforced to personnel the importance of completing all documentation steps when executing leases.
A spokesman for the submarine base, Christopher Zendan, said the base is not aware of any of the military families reporting medical problems related to lead poisoning, but will continue to work with the Navy and Balfour Beatty to address any health and safety concerns associated with private housing.
While most newer structures do not have lead-based paint, an estimated 38 million homes built before 1978 contain some lead-based paint. If not detected early, high levels of lead exposure can damage the brain and nervous system, result in behavior and learning problems such as hyperactivity, or cause slow growth. Lead also can cause reproductive problems, high blood pressure, nervous disorders and memory problems in adults.
The EPA said the housing at the Groton base was built in the early 1960s and the homes at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard date to the 1800s and early 1900s.