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BOSTON-The Environmental Protection Agency has issued a $28,301 fine for lead paint disclosure violations to the Mayo Development Group LLC, which the development group has agreed to pay under a settlement. The group will also spend $152,420 to replace 157 windows containing lead-based paint at 137-149 and 161 Broad St. in Lynn, MA. As part of the settlement, Boston-based Mayo has agreed to maintain compliance with the Disclosure Rule. The window replacement is a Supplemental Environment Project, where a company puts part of the settlement money toward an environmental project, as opposed to handing the sum over to the EPA–in this case, replacing old windows in some of their buildings.

The dispute arose in July 2006 when EPA inspectors conducted an inspection at Mayo’s Boston offices and determined that lead paint disclosure had not been provided to tenants prior to executing lease contracts, which violates the Toxic and Federal Disclosure Rule. The properties in question range five communities in Massachusetts, many of which were constructed before 1978 and are subject to the lead paint Disclosure Rule, according to an EPA release.

The Disclosure Rule gives tenants adequate information about the risks associated with lead paint in particular rental units and related common areas so that they may consider the risks prior to agreeing to obligations under a lease contract. It was determined that Mayo failed to comply with the Disclosure Rule in regard to lead-based paint on window replacements which were in units that were then rented.

Taran Grigsby, general counsel for Mayo, explains, “When you own a building that was built before 1978, and you rent an apartment in that building you are required to have the renter sign what is called a lead paint disclosure form. And it’s a form where a landlord discloses if the lead paint was abated, encapsulated and how are you complying with the lead paint law.” The lead paint report is then supposed to be attached to the back. That’s the violation that the EPA is alleging, that we had failed to have a resident sign the disclosure form.”

The violation is what Grigsby refers to as a “paperwork violation”, explaining that there’s no way to rent a building that does not comply with regulations for lead-based paint. “There were no allegations that anyone was ever exposed to lead paint,” Grigsby says. “The lead paint law went into effect in the early 80s and all the work had to be done by the mid-80s, which is before we bought any of these buildings.”

This settlement comes on the heels of a $503,500 EPA Brownfields Grant to Boston. The three clean-up grants totaling $503,500 will help communities to revitalize former industrial and commercial sites. Brownfields are considered contaminated and abandoned parcels, usually discarded for cost reasons–many of which are too expensive to remove the damaging substances.

Robert Varney, regional administrator of the EPA, says in a statement, “EPA’s Brownfields program has had incredible success helping New England communities revitalize overlooked and abandoned properties.” The sites to be turned-around are 191 Bowdoin St. in Dorchester; 2430 Washington St. in Roxbury and Fairmount Court in Hyde Park. Respectively, these sites suffer from concentrations of heavy metals and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons; volatile organic compounds; the last of which in Hyde Park, was the former Lewis Chemical property. The Mayo properties are unrelated to the Brownfield sites.

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