Environmental Industry Trends for 2016
I cannot change the past, but I can assist you with managing the future! Especially when it is related to Environmental Industry Trends. After doing something successful for over 20 years, you begin to gain a strong sense of what is possibly going to happen next. Whether it is because history has a way of repeating itself or because as a national expert, sometimes I can read between the lines prior to the information going public. So what are some of the hot environmental industry trends that we are closely watching and planning for in 2016? Mold is gold, lead paint lives on, Government enforcement actions, (HUD, EPA, OSHA, State & Local programs) along with occupant/tenant environmental claims will be hot environmental industry trends in the coming months, mark my words!
One of the environmental industry trends of “Mold is gold” will happen right out of the gate, since New York State has officially done it. As of January 1, 2016, New York State’s new mold regulation will go into effect and become enforceable. All individuals and entities who are holding themselves out as being in the business of Mold Assessment or Remediation, with a few exceptions, must be trained, pass the course, and become certified. There are currently numerous training providers approved to instruct the assessor, supervisor or worker in mold courses and the NY State Department of Labor is accepting applications for certification. The NY State web site, http://labor.ny.gov/workerprotection/safetyhealth/mold/mold-program.shtm, also defines who is responsible to complete the courses and who is exempt. The law states, “Persons who conduct home inspections as part of potential real estate transactions must also be licensed as a Mold Assessor if their inspections and reports include an assessment of mold conditions in the home or property in question. Conversely, the law exempts the following persons/entities. These entities are not required to obtain a license in order to perform mold assessment, remediation, or abatement:
- A residential property owner who performs mold inspection, assessment, remediation, or abatement on his or her own property.
- A non-residential property owner, or the employee of such owner, who performs mold assessment, remediation, or abatement on an apartment building owned by that person where the property has four or less dwelling units.
- An owner or a managing agent or a full-time employee of an owner or managing agent who performs mold assessment, remediation, or abatement on commercial property or a residential apartment building of more than four dwelling units owned by the owner. This exemption will not apply if the managing agent or employee engages in the business of performing mold assessment, remediation, or abatement for the public.
- A federal, state or local governmental unit or public authority and employees thereof, that perform mold assessment, remediation, or abatement on any property owned, managed, or remediated by such governmental unit or authority.
So, if you are not exempt or are in need of a mold Assessor or remediation per the environmental industry trends taking place right now, make sure they are licensed in the State of New York. In states that don’t have a current licensure program it might be a great idea to hire a mold assessor or remediator who is either licensed in a neighboring state or has a formal certification from a qualified and well respected moisture intrusion association or certification program.
Another one of the environmental industry trends of 2016 is one that had been an on-going question to many. How will the mandatory refresher training of the The Environmental Protection Agency’s, (EPA) Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rule be required? In 2010 EPA mandated that all entities and Supervisors who disturb painted surfaces of pre-1978 residential property & child occupied facilities, that are not certified lead-based paint free, must use an EPA certified RRP Supervisor, employed by an EPA RRP certified firm. The initial certification was five (5) years and its initial refresher cycle was supposed to begin April 23, 2015. In February 2015 EPA provided a one (1) year extension for the Certified RRP Supervisors to obtain their mandatory refresher. However, all firm certifications were obligated to renew on their original five (5) year anniversary. When I directly asked a senior ranking administrator responsible for the EPA RRP program, I was told in a public forum that EPA and OMB have not decided yet and we will not know until mid to late February, if or how EPA 40 CFR Part 745 Lead Paint Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule may change, so I left Washington DC with nothing. Three days later I was invited and participated in an EPA Webinar about the RRP rule. When allowed to ask questions, we asked, “How is EPA going to address the Refresher” and it was stated by the EPA presenters that there will be a dual training opportunity program. Most likely, EPA will propose a live instruction or on-line instruction opportunity, with potential for more regulatory and other professional value being offered for taking the live class, such as potentially 2 extra years on your certification, hands on in new RRP acceptable technologies, live instructor mentoring program. Beginning this winter and into 2016 and beyond, we are sure this is not going to be just another one of the environmental industry trends. Make sure you don’t let your firm or supervisor certifications lapse! You can go to www.RRPTrainer.com for training location’s and dates.
Environmental Industry Trends: Government Enforcement
2016 is going to be a year of Government Enforcement actions according to several communications I was privy to! EPA publicly stated at a fall stakeholders meeting held at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) offices in Washington DC that since EPA’s Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule has been in force for 6 years, they are going to transition from a compliance assistance mode to an enforcement mode. Numerous entities including Lowes Home Improvement have already been the subject of an EPA RRP enforcement action and according to the statement made, “This is only the beginning.”
HUD is also sending the message that compliance enforcement is going to be a primary object of their 2016-2017 program. This is going to be a great one of the environmental industry trends. Over the last several months, HUD’s office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control has sent out hundreds of letters to their portfolio of Government Subsidized housing programs requesting support documentation of compliance. Those who don’t properly document compliance in accordance with HUD’s Lead Safe Housing Rule (24 CFR Part 35) and other HUD obligations, will become the basis for a HUD enforcement action according to inside sources. Indicators and customer requests have also been supporting an uptick by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Department of Health & Housing programs with health and safety related regulations compliance.
And last but not least, I predict this as one of the environmental industry trends: an increase in environmental litigation. Whether related to conclusive injury or purely as leverage based on imaginary claim, regulatory failure, occupant/tenant threats & claims, whistleblowing, employee/employer, transactional disclosures failures, they all seem to get attention, especially in our more pro-occupant/tenant, entitlement mentality jurisdictions and municipalities.
For more insight or further discussion of these and other 2016 environmental industry trends email email@example.com.
Author: Lee E Wasserman, President of Environmental Innovative Technologies