If approved by the EPA, the state’s Environmental Protection Division will begin regulating contractors working on old houses built before the use of toxic lead paint was stopped.
That includes certifying workers and leveling fines of up $10,000 for violations. Now EPA certification costs contractors about $600 dollars, but that could change once the state takes over.
That worries Michael Haggerty who owns a small painting company in Atlanta. He says the new fees and threats of heavy penalties make it hard for him to stay competitive in a tough economy.
"I also have to buy new equipment and go through a whole litany of steps for my jobs which adds time and labor and of course I have to charge the clients for any increase in my cost," Haggerty said.
Officials with the EPD say contractors with the federal certification will be grandfathered in once the state program goes into effect. That is expected to happen by the end of the year.