By Vera Ashworth
This information is based on limited and targeted research, so send additions and feedback to the HTCA Board.
Who Sets the Rules/Enforces?
It depends on the issue and can be Federal (i.e. the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)), State (Maryland), or County (Montgomery County (MC)). Some links and phone numbers for each:
- EPA Hotlines by Name/Topic: http://www.epa.gov/epahome/hotline.htm
- OSHA Life-Threatening Workplace Hazards Hotline: 1-800-321-OSHA
- Maryland: Department of Environment http://www.mde.state.md.us/Pages/Home.aspx
- Montgomery County – 240-777-0311 http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/apps/opi/service/departments.asp
- Permits: Department of Permitting Services (DPS)
- Environment: Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)
View Plans Submitted for Permits
MC DPS allows you to view plans under review for a permit. Go to “permitting” from the link above to view status. Call and make an appointment first.
Renovation – Lead Requirements
EPA has requirements regarding lead during renovation projects (but not for demolition projects, so dust control is your best protection for demolition). Visit http://www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/renovation.htm for more information on lead.
Construction Hours (Decibel-controlled)
Exempted/higher noise levels are allowed 7am-5pm M-F only (but not on Federal holidays). Report violations at: http://www2.montgomerycountymd.gov/DEPOnlineForms/NoiseComplaintForm.aspx
Idling Trucks – Not Allowed!
Article §22-402 of the Maryland Code (http://law.justia.com/codes/maryland/2005/gtr/22-402.html) states that a motor vehicle engine may not be allowed to operate for more than 5 consecutive minutes when the vehicle is not in motion. There are some exceptions, but not for the comfort of the driver. Ask the driver and construction manager to adhere to the law. If they refuse and you have recurring problems, call Officer Terry Katz of the Maryland State Police Diesel Noise Team, 410-694-6105, or 6100. You can contact Steve Martin with MC DEP (contact information below); however, enforcement officially lies with the State of Maryland.
Renovation/Demolition – Asbestos
Asbestos is regulated by Title 26, Subtitle 11, Chapter 21, Code of MD Regulations. http://www.dsd.state.md.us/comar/SubtitleSearch.aspx?search=26.11.21.* Chapter 21.07 specifies the requirements for control of emissions from a project where asbestos is present (i.e. some types of shingle siding). Dust control (below) is key.
Demolition – Dust Control!
Your best bet to protect against any airborne matter during demolition is dust control. Dust control precautions are set by MC Chapter 3 and enforced by DEP. Chapter 3 requires the contractor to take “reasonable precautions to prevent particulate matter from becoming airborne” during demolition (i.e. spraying water (generously) on material to minimize dust).
If contractors are not containing dust or are starting early, you can report violations to DEP’s Steve Martin at 240-777-7746 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Email a picture of dust violations if you can. Remember Steve is just one guy, so approach contractors (or anyone who has a sign posted) directly (armed with info) and ask them to comply before calling DEP!
On another note:
Weary of No Power?
Generators must comply with MC’s noise ordinance. Many generators exceed MC’s nighttime levels, so check before buying. http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/dectmpl.asp?url=/Content/dep/community/generator.asp