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D.C. Landlord Agrees to Clean Up Lead-Based Paint

Release Date: 7/12/2000
Contact Information: Ruth Wuenschel, 215-814-5540

Ruth Wuenschel, 215-814-5540

PHILADELPHIA – A Washington, D.C. landlord has agreed to comply with an order from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to immediately clean up lead-paint contamination in a 77-unit apartment building at 3220 17th Street, N.W. The agency issued the order last week in cooperation with the district government, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the U.S. Department of Justice,

The order was issued because the EPA found that the presence of lead paint chips and dust may be threatening the health of apartment residents and visitors, especially children under age six. The cleanup order was issued Friday to the building owners. EPA held a meeting with tenants on Saturday explaining the hazards of lead-based paint, plans and schedules for cleanup.

EPA issued Friday’s emergency order because the high levels of waste pose an imminent and substantial risk to human health and the environment. According to district officials, at least eight children who have lived in the building have elevated blood levels for lead.

Recent inspections of residential units in the building revealed extremely high levels of lead-based paint wastes in apartment window wells and other areas. EPA’s testing showed lead levels in paint chips up to 58 times higher than the legal limit.

“EPA has used its emergency powers to protect building residents from health risks associated with exposure to lead-based paint wastes. Working closely with district officials, we will monitor compliance with our order to ensure that this health threat is eliminated as soon as possible,” said Bradley M. Campbell, administrator for EPA’s mid-Atlantic region, including the District of Columbia.

Campbell noted that exposure to lead can damage the nervous system and has been linked to other health problems in children, including reduced intelligence and attention span, hearing loss, stunted growth, reading and learning problems and behavioral difficulties. A lead paint chip as small as a dime can poison a child.

EPA issued today’s order to the 17th Street Revocable Trust of Potomac, Md., the New 4775 Huron, L.L.C., the current trustee of the 17th Street Revocable Trust, and John R. Redmond, former trustee of the 17th Street Revocable Trust and current managing member of the New 4775 Huron, L.L.C.

The order requires the owners to take immediate action to minimize lead exposure to tenants, visitors and maintenance workers in the building, including wet-scraping, vacuuming, cleaning with a detergent, and repainting.

Concurrently, inspections will be done in all remaining residential units, interior common areas and interior maintenance areas to determine the presence and levels of lead-based paint. Once the problems have been quantified, deteriorating lead-based paint and paint wastes will be permanently removed from the building, eliminating future risk to residents.

Finally, testing will be performed to ensure the effectiveness of the paint removal. Throughout all stages of the work, EPA and the District of Columbia will safeguard the health and well-being of the tenants and minimize any inconvenience associated with the cleanup.

More information concerning the risks posed by lead-based paint is available on EPA’s website at