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Lead-Safe Wisconsin: 2023 Regulatory Update for Lead Investigators

The Lead and Asbestos Certification Program of the Department of Health Services (DHS) compiled this set of reminders for lead investigators, as well as a few updates.

Lead investigation reminders

Visually assess all room equivalents for potential lead hazards. Include basements, attics, exteriors, and any outbuildings, such as garages.

Unless the area is locked and completely inaccessible to the risk assessor, it must still be visually assessed for lead hazards, and tested accordingly, even if children under 6 do not use the area. If you cannot visually assess a room completely (for example, if your view is obstructed by personal items), document the reason in your field notes so you can include it in your report.

Test deteriorated paint (including paint deteriorated by impact) and paint on friction surfaces identified in the visual assessment. Reference the visual assessment when taking XRF readings to ensure you do not forget to test any deteriorated paint. Do not test intact paint in a stand-alone risk assessment that does not also include a lead-based paint inspection, unless the surface is subject to friction and you will also collect a dust wipe sample from the nearest horizontal surface under that friction surface.

Don’t test intact paint unless the written contract calls for lead inspection and risk assessment.

A lead risk assessment is done to identify lead-based paint hazards, not to determine the presence of lead-based paint. If the written contract does not call for a partial or full lead inspection in addition to the risk assessment, you should not test any intact painted surfaces to determine the presence of lead. Otherwise, you might provide your client with information they do not want to have to disclose to future buyers or renters.

If you will do a lead inspection in addition to a risk assessment, be sure to review the reminders under the Lead Inspection accordion.

Write a complete report.

You must submit the risk assessment report to the person who contracted for the assessment within 10 working days after receiving lab results. Working day means any day except Saturday, Sunday, and State or federal holidays. Day one is the working day after you receive the lab results.

Frequently missed from risk assessment reports:
  • Risk assessment date
  • Signature and certification number of each investigator who worked on the risk assessment
  • Building construction date (approximate decade is okay)
  • Contact info for the property owner (email is okay)
  • Apartment number(s) of units assessed, if applicable
  • All pages of the lab analysis report
  • Occupant use patterns (usually gathered using the appropriate HUD questionnaire, either Form 5.0 or 16.1)

Add a summary of what you learned about occupant use patterns from the HUD form to the report (Section 4.3 of the DHS Risk Assessment Report Template). We don’t recommend attaching the entire questionnaire to meet the requirement, because:

  • You must redact protected health information and personally identifiable information from the questionnaire.
  • It’s easy for an attachment to be separated from the rest of the report, making the report incomplete.

First, determine the scope of the lead inspection.

Most lead inspections are partial inspections, meaning they include one or more, but not all, testing combinations on a property. It is common to conduct a partial inspection of only surfaces that will be affected by remodeling, for example.

If you will conduct a partial inspection as a stand-alone activity or at the same time as a risk assessment, your written contract must describe any limitations on the scope of the inspection. We recommend including this information in your written report, as well.

Some examples of language describing limitations on the scope of an inspections:

  • “This partial lead-based paint inspection will include all testing combinations associated with all window systems, as well as exterior walls and interior walls along the building envelope.”
  • “This partial lead-based paint inspection will include all testing combinations in the first floor bathroom, as well as only those exterior testing combinations that are adjacent to the first floor bathroom.”

List every testing combination, along with the number of walls in each room.

A testing combination is a unique combination of a room equivalent, substrate type, and building component type. This concept helps you identify which surfaces share a common paint history, and which do not, so you can be sure to test each surface with a distinct paint history.

Before taking any readings, list each testing combination that falls under the scope of the contract for the inspection (for example, “Bedroom 1 – Wood – Windowsill”). Also note the number of repeating instances of that testing combination (for example, if there are three wood windowsills in Bedroom 1, note that).

If you have reason to believe that some instances of a testing combination have a different paint history (for example, if some of the wood trim in a room appears to have been replaced), list those instances as separate testing combinations, and write down the reason in your field notes and include in the report.

Test every testing combination and wall on your list.

Use the list of testing combinations and walls as a checklist when taking XRF readings to ensure you get a reading of:

  • One instance of each testing combination,
  • At least four walls in each interior room equivalent (test all walls if there are fewer than four),
  • One wall on each side of the exterior room equivalent—at least four readings.
  • The ceiling in each room.

Walls are tested separately because of their large surface area and the possibility for variation within a single room.

If you’re not able to test one of the testing combinations you listed (for example, if it is inaccessible due to height), write down the reason in your field notes and include in your report.

Write a complete report.

You must submit the inspection report to the property owner and any other person who contracted for the inspection within ten working days after the inspection (or after receipt of any required lab results, if applicable). Working day means any day except Saturday, Sunday and State, or federal holidays. Day one is the working day after the inspection (or the day you received the lab results, if applicable).

Frequently missed from inspection reports:
  • Inspection date
  • Signature and certification number of each investigator who worked on the inspection
  • Building construction date (approximate decade is okay)
  • Contact info for the property owner
  • Apartment number(s) of units inspected, if applicable
  • All pages of the lab analysis report
  • Complete results of the inspection

You must classify all painted surfaces within the scope of the inspection as positive or negative for lead-based paint based on the results of the X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) readings. Including XRF readings is not sufficient to meet this requirement, because:

  • It is common for one or more testing combinations to be inaccessible for testing, due to height or personal belongings, and if there is no reading, these inaccessible testing combinations won’t be classified.
  • An XRF reading for a single instance of a testing combination does not typically include the number and classification of any repeated instances of that testing combination that weren’t tested.

To make it easier to provide complete results, we recommend adding the following to your XRF results table:

  • A column to list the number of other, untested instances of a particular testing combination that are represented by the reading and positive/negative classification. For example, in the row for the reading of the instance of testing combination “Bedroom 1 wood windowsill” on Wall A of that room, you might list “2 untested Bedroom 1 wood windowsills on Wall B.”
  • Rows for each testing combination that you were unable to test, along with the list of instances of that testing combination. Include the reason for not testing an instance of the testing combination (that you documented in your field notes) and classify these testing combinations as positive for lead-based paint based on the age of the property.

Collect dust wipe samples based on how the contractor set up containment.

Ask the contractor how the work area containment was set up during the work being cleared. You should choose dust wipe sampling locations based on how the contractor set up containment.

Write a complete report.

You must submit the clearance report to the person who conducted the abatement or renovation activities being cleared as well as to the property owner or person who contracted for the clearance, within 10 working days after clearance or after receiving lab results, if required. Working day means any day except Saturday, Sunday, and State or federal holidays. Day one is the working day after the clearance or, if samples are required, the working day after you receive the lab results.

Report every clearance, even if the result is a “fail.”

When clearance dust samples are collected, you have 10 working days after receiving the lab results to submit a complete clearance report to the person who conducted the activities being cleared and to the property owner or person who contracted for the clearance, even if clearance is not achieved (a “fail”).

Include all previous failed clearance reports in chronological order.

If you return to conduct clearance after one or more “failed” clearances, include copies of all previous clearance reports with the new report. Every report you submit should have the reports for all previous failed clearances attached in chronological order.

Don’t risk missing the reporting deadline for an earlier clearance just so you can submit all clearance reports together, once.

You might want to wait to submit a failed clearance report if you will be returning to conduct clearance again soon. That way, you can submit both clearance reports together. However, you should only do this if you can meet the first clearance reporting deadline. This can be difficult because it can take several working days to wait for the contractor to re-clean, return to conduct clearance again, and receive lab results for any dust wipe samples collected.

This is different from past guidance.

Frequently missed from clearance reports:
  • Clearance date and time
  • Investigator signature
  • Investigator certification number
  • Apartment number(s) of units being cleared, if applicable
  • All pages of the lab analysis report
  • If applicable, the following info on interim controls or renovation activities being cleared:
    • The dates of the renovation activity being cleared,
    • A description of the interim controls or renovation activities
    • The name and certification number of the certified individual who conducted the activity.
    • The name, certification number, and address of the certified company who conducted the activity.

DHS updates

We’re pleased to introduce our new Lead Compliance Assistance Coordinator, Sara Krueger. This new position’s sole purpose is to help certified lead investigators like you! Sara will review and give feedback on lead investigation reports for both public and private sector lead investigators. She’ll do this by:

This is not an enforcement action, so if Sara reaches out to you, know that she is just looking to help! This is a great opportunity to bring up any questions you might have. We hope this new process will give you the tools and assistance needed to come into compliance and bring a more cohesive understanding of lead investigation work to the industry. Our initial feedback from those who have joined us for one of these has been positive.

Wisconsin Admin. Code ch. DHS 163 requires all certified lead investigators to report all lead investigations they’ve conducted to DHS on a quarterly basis. In the past, DHS sent one email reminder to submit your summary as soon as each quarter ended. If you didn’t respond, DHS waited to remind you again until you applied to renew your certification.

Now, if you do not respond to our initial email, we will remind you again after the due date for the summary report (see below). We will send more than one written reminder (by email or postal mail). If we don't receive your missing report after these reminders, we will notify you that if you fail to submit the missing report within 30 days, your certification will be suspended.

Summary period for reporting lead investigation activities and associated due date
Summary period (quarter) Report due
January 1 to March 31 April 30
April 1 to June 30 July 31
July 1 to September 30 October 31
October 1 to December 31 January 31

 

If you did not complete any lead investigation activities in a quarter, just report that to us to meet this requirement.

A successful lead hazard reduction project starts with a complete risk assessment. If you submit a risk assessment report that DHS determines is incomplete (for example, if an accessible part of the property was not investigated), you could be asked to return to the property to gather any missing information needed to bring the report up to regulatory standards. Doing this may make the difference in whether hazards in a home can be fixed by the Lead-Safe Homes Program. We appreciate your assistance.

DHS may, after consulting with the local health department, refer open lead hazard reduction orders to the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection and the Department of Justice if:

  • The property owner is not cooperating with completing ordered repairs, and
  • The local district attorney or corporation counsel are not already taking action to enforce the orders.

The Department of Justice and Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection will review and determine whether enforcement action is appropriate, and, if so, take it at the state level.

 

Please contact Sara Krueger if you have any questions.

Last revised January 18, 2023