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Construction Activities

This section of HERC provides an overview of EPA regulations that may impact construction activities at assisted living/nursing home communities. Numerous links are provided to further investigate federal and state regulations and to locate guidance documents and points of contact.

Construction

Many construction projects, including new buildings and parking lots, disturb the surface of land. When precipitation occurs, stormwater runoff from these sites can have a significant impact on water quality by contributing sediment and other pollutants to creeks, streams, lakes, etc. Under the Federal Clean Water Act, EPA's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program controls water pollution by regulating sources of pollution, including runoff from construction sites. EPA's stormwater program requires construction site operators engaged in clearing, grading, and excavating activities that disturb one acre or more to obtain coverage under an NPDES permit for their stormwater discharges. For more information, see:

If your construction project includes installation of new plumbing fixtures, be aware that a revised EPA standard for "lead free" pipes, plumbing fixtures, plumbing fittings, solder and flux, went into effect in 2014 as a result of the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act. The new rule requires that "lead free" plumbing fixtures be used in public water systems and in plumbing that carries water for human consumption in residential and non-residential facilities. For more information, see:

Building Renovation

Many renovation projects involve demolition or modification of existing construction. In such cases, you may find existing building materials present that are regulated when they are encountered and/or removed. The most common issues are:

  • Asbestos: Asbestos is present in older building materials including piping insulation and roof shingles. Federal regulations require the owner of the building or the operator to notify the appropriate state agency before any demolition, or before any renovations of buildings that could contain a certain threshold amount of asbestos. For more information see:
  • PCB-Containing Calk: PCBs were a common additive to caulk between 1950 and 1980. PCB-containing caulk may be found either inside or outside the building as window caulk or masonry joint caulking. The current PCB regulations can be found at 40 CFR Part 761. For more information, see
  • Lead Paint: Lead paint may be present in buildings painted prior to 1978, when it was banned. EPA and many states regulates contractors involved in lead paint abatement activities. In short, the contractor and the individuals performing the work must be certified. For more information, see:
  • Mercury Switch Thermostats: Mercury thermostats use mercury tilt switches to sense and control room temperature through communication with heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment. Many mercury-containing devices can be disposed of as Universal Waste. For more information, see:
If your construction project includes installation of new plumbing fixtures, be aware that a revised EPA standard for "lead free" pipes, plumbing fixtures, plumbing fittings, solder and flux, went into effect in 2014 as a result of the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act. The new rule requires that "lead free" plumbing fixtures be used in public water systems and in plumbing that carries water for human consumption in residential and non-residential facilities. For more information, see:


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