The Delaware Department of Natural Resources is finalizing new regulations dealing with the outdoor removal of lead paint.
Wilmington resident Sarah Bucic said she’s been pushing for stronger regulations since 2016 when some lead paint removed from a water tower near her house ended up in her side yard.
“We’re watching sandblasting projects go with no oversight," she said. "I’m emailing DNREC and saying ‘Hey, there’s a water tower being sandblasted, is there lead paint?’ And they’re going ‘Yeah’ and I’m like ‘Are you guys aware of it?’ And they’re like ‘Uh ok.’”
Bucic said she petitioned DNREC last year asking it to put rules into place regulating the outdoor removal of lead paint. She says they need to move faster.
“I’ve been doing this for over two years and DNREC is still doesn’t have a process in place for monitoring to make sure that an event like St. Georges or Windy Hills doesn’t happen again," she said. "And I think that’s outrageous.”
DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin says he hopes the new rules will be in place early next year. DNREC has had voluntary principles in place for companies. The draft changes require companies removing lead paint from water towers through sandblasting to now get a permit. It also requires a 30-day public notification period.
He adds there’s already regulations limiting lead paint exposure and containing the paint on-site.
Legislation banning future applications of lead paint on outdoor structures was signed into law earlier this year.
Bucic says state lawmakers should also mandate more testing of children’s blood to make sure they haven’t been exposed to lead. Currently it’s only required at 12 months of age unless they’re at high risk for exposure. Then it’s required again around 2 years of age.