EPA's Lead RRP HEPA Vacuum

Do you remodel or renovate homes built before 1978?
On October 1, 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Lead RRP (40 CFR, part 745, Subpart E) went into effect. The new rule requires contractors performing renovation, repair and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in homes, child care facilities, and schools built before 1978 to be certified and follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination. Among these required work practices are the use of a HEPA-filtered vacuum cleaner, to minimize dust and thoroughly clean the work area.

According to the rule:

  1. Walls must be cleaned starting at the ceiling and working down to the floor by either vacuuming with a HEPA vacuum or wiping with a damp cloth.
  2. Remaining surfaces are to be cleaned by thoroughly vacuuming all remaining surfaces and objects in the work area, including furniture and fixtures, with a HEPA vacuum. The HEPA vacuum must be equipped with a beater bar when vacuuming carpets and rugs.
  3. The use of machines that remove lead-based paint through high speed operation such as sanding, grinding, power planing, needle gun, abrasive blasting, or sandblasting, is prohibited unless such machines are used with HEPA exhaust control.
So, what does the EPA mean by a HEPA vacuum cleaner? In 40 CFR 745.83, the EPA states:

“HEPA vacuum means a vacuum cleaner which has been designed with a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter as the last filtration stage. A HEPA filter is a filter that is capable of capturing particles of 0.3 microns with 99.97% efficiency. The vacuum cleaner must be designed so that all the air drawn into the machine is expelled through the HEPA filter with none of the air leaking past it.”

While the EPA does NOT currently approve or certify any manufacturers’ vacuums or HEPA filters, Nilfisk HEPA vacuum cleaners exceed the EPA’s definition of a HEPA vacuum and are adequately equipped to safely collect hazardous lead dust generated during renovations.

Equipped with multi-stage filtration, including a tested and certified HEPA filter, Nilfisk HEPA vacuums safely capture 99.97% of debris, down to and including 0.3 microns.

Nilfisk HEPA vacuums for lead abatement can be equipped with optional turbo and/or power nozzles (only available on certain models). These are floor tools equipped with a carpet beater bar to dislodge heavy lead particulate that may be embedded in the carpet.

Nilfisk HEPA vacuums can be used in conjunction with vacuum-assisted power tools to collect hazardous lead debris at the source.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the EPA’s Lead RRP and when does it go into effect?

Common renovation activities like sanding, cutting, and demolition can create hazardous lead dust and chips by disturbing lead-based paint, which can be harmful to adults and children.

To protect against this risk, on April 22, 2008, the EPA issued a rule requiring the use of lead-safe practices and other actions aimed at preventing lead poisoning. Under the rule, beginning on October 1, 2010, contractors performing renovation, repair and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in homes, child care facilities, and schools built before 1978 must be certified and must follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination.

What are the penalties for not complying with the Lead RRP?
Besides a private lawsuit by the homeowner, fines for not complying with the RRP can run upwards of $32,500 per violation, per day. (Source: Small Entity Compliance Guide to Renovate Right)

I’m a contractor. How do I get certified?
To find your nearest EPA-accredited training provider, visit the EPA website

I’m a home owner/landlord/property manager. How do I know if my contractor is certified?

To find your nearest certified firm, visit the EPA website

Nilfisk has a comprehensive line of industrial vacuums. What ones would you recommend for lead abatement?
The following vacuums are our most popular for lead abatement; each one exceeds the requirements for safely collecting lead debris as outlined in the RRP. 

Nilfisk GD 10 Back
Nilfisk GM 80
Nilfisk Eliminator PRO II
Nilfisk 118 (HEPA filter model available)

What is the difference between Nilfisk’s turbo nozzle and power nozzle?
Both the turbo nozzle and power nozzle are carpet cleaning tools equipped with a rotating beater bar that connect to the vacuum’s hose. The turbo nozzle uses the working air of the vacuum to spin the beater bar, while the power nozzle's beater bar is driven by electricity. Both are extremely effective in agitating the carpet to collect heavy lead debris which may have settled in the fibers. For more information, click here.

Can I use my shop-style vacuum to collect lead debris?
According to the EPA’s website, “renovation firms should look for a vacuum cleaner that was designed to be operated with a HEPA filter, rather than a shop vacuum that can be fitted with a HEPA filter in place of the original basic filter.”

EPA's Lead Resource Website

To learn more about Nilfisk HEPA-filtered vacuums for the Lead RRP, call 1-800-645-3475.