Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 27, 2019


The Authority is the only landlord in the country to tackle lead through a “new vision zero” approach that will include testing of over 135,000 NYCHA apartments.

NEW YORK – The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) announced today it has selected seven contractors to undertake lead-based paint inspection services in approximately 135,000 public housing apartments citywide, starting this spring.

The $88 million contract has been awarded to Airtek Environmental, Arc Environmental, ATC Group, JLC Environmental, Lew Corporation, The ALC Group, and TRC Environmental, starting in early April and continuing through the end of 2020. The contractors are expected to inspect approximately 5,000 to 7,000 apartments each month.

Testing will begin at Harlem River and Williamsburg Houses, the sites included in the federal agreement signed on January 31, 2019. NYCHA will then prioritize developments with the highest populations of children under the age of 6, which is the age recognized in the City’s law requiring landlords to conduct regular lead-based paint visual assessments.

“We are aggressively tackling lead-based paint inspections at NYCHA so we can chart a definitive course to eradicate lead from our residents’ homes,” said NYCHA Interim Chair and CEO Kathryn Garcia. “The XRF testing and quality assurance contracts are the first step to making NYCHA lead free.”

In July 2018, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new undertaking for the City and NYCHA to fully test for the presence of lead-based paint in public housing apartments. Released in December 2018, the Request for Proposal (RFP) sought for the use of portable X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) testing in all apartments that have not previously been tested and showed no presence of lead. Through this testing — which goes beyond current U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) policies — NYCHA will finally have 100 percent confidence of where lead exists in its developments.
Beyond the testing, the scope of the contracts includes mold and leak identification, exemptions filing, and resident notification. As part of the testing, the contractors will also perform the HUD annually required visual assessments for all apartments built prior to 1978 that have not been previously cleared of lead-based paint. NYCHA will address and remediate every positive lead-paint visual assessment.

In late December 2018, NYCHA also issued a new RFP for contractors, who are EPA certified, to provide lead-based paint testing quality assurance services. This RFP consists of third-party re-inspections and oversight of the XRF contractors to ensure that the XRF contractors are properly performing XRF lead-based paint testing. These contractors will also utilize XRF machines. NYCHA is currently reviewing all bids and proposals at this time for quality assurance services.

This testing initiative is part of LeadFreeNYC, the City’s roadmap to eradicate childhood lead exposure. The Roadmap’s approach is twofold: prevent exposure to lead hazards in the first place, and respond quickly and comprehensively if a child has an elevated blood lead level. To protect New York City kids, the City will increase resources and support for children, parents, and healthcare providers.

In New York City, public health data points to lead paint and the dust it creates as the primary source of childhood lead exposure. In 2004, the New York City Council enacted Local Law 1 (LL1), which grants the City expansive powers to hold landlords accountable for addressing lead hazards and which helped achieve dramatic declines in childhood lead exposure in NYC. The LeadFreeNYC report details how the City proposes to use the full power of the law to target bad actors and build on LL1 with bold steps, like lowering the lead-paint and dust standards to remove hazards with smaller amounts of lead than ever before, focusing on high-risk neighborhoods for enforcement and outreach, and aggressively increasing the City’s oversight over construction work that poses a risk of lead dust. 

About the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA)

NYCHA’s mission is to increase opportunities for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers by providing safe, affordable housing and facilitating access to social and community services. Over 390,000 New Yorkers reside in NYCHA’s 316 public housing developments and PACT/RAD developments formerly managed by NYCHA around the five boroughs. Over 190,000 receive subsidized rental assistance in private homes through the NYCHA-administered Section 8 Leased Housing Program. For more information, visit, and for regular updates on NYCHA news and services, connect with us via and