The owner of a Rockland apartment building is facing a potential fine of $35,000 per day for violating the federal law regarding safe removal of lead paint during a renovation project last year.

The complaint filed against Colin Wentworth of Rockland is the first of its kind in the United States since the law went into effect 13 months ago, according to David Deegan, the public affairs officer for the Environmental Protection Agency regional office in Boston.

And the federal officials began their investigation into the matter after a video of the work was posted on YouTube.

According to information gathered by inspectors from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration and EPA, two workers employed by Wentworth failed to contain dust and debris generated by lead paint removal activities during a repainting project in October 2010 at 83 Park St. Although Wentworth had completed the eight-hour course required by the Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule, he did not provide the required training or supervision to his employees to ensure that they followed the required work practices prior to their use of high-speed dust-generating power tools to remove lead paint from the building, a news release from the EPA stated. Wentworth also failed to take steps to obtain the mandatory lead-safe certification for his firm, the agency alleges in its complaint.

The violations were brought to EPA’s attention via an anonymous tip linking to a video of the violations, posted on YouTube and taken in October 2010. The video documented workers using power equipment to remove lead paint from an exterior wall of a residential building without using any containment for lead-containing dust and debris.

At least six children, one of whom was under 6 years old, lived in the four-unit building at the time of the project, according to EPA. Infants and young children are especially vulnerable to lead paint exposure, which can cause developmental impairment, reading and learning disabilities, impaired hearing, reduced attention span, hyperactivity and behavioral problems, the release noted. Adults with high lead levels can suffer difficulties during pregnancy, high blood pressure, nerve disorders, memory problems, and muscle and joint pain.

EPA’s investigation found that Wentworth failed to obtain required certification as a renovation firm from EPA; post warning signs in the work area; cover the ground in the work area with plastic sheeting to collect falling lead paint debris; contain waste from the renovation activities to prevent releases of dust and debris before the waste is removed from the work area for storage or disposal; prohibit use of machines that remove lead-based paint through high-speed operation without HEPA exhaust controls; and establish and maintain records necessary to demonstrate compliance with the renovation rule.

“In New England we have a high proportion of older houses where lead paint can still be present. It is critically important that all tradespeople understand and follow the RRP requirements so that during renovations, children are not exposed to lead and face serious, life-long health consequences,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “Many renovation firms have done the right thing by becoming certified, sending their employees to training and following the appropriate, health-protective work practices. Enforcement of these rules is important to protecting children and the business interests of those contractors who are following the rules.”

EPA’s Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule is designed to prevent exposure to lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards. The rule requires individuals performing renovations for compensation at most pre-1978 houses to be properly trained. There are certification and training requirements for individual renovators and firms performing renovations to ensure that safe work practices are followed during renovations.

The maximum penalty for the alleged violations is $37,500 per violation per day. The number of days that the work went on was not specified in the complaint but the video was shot Oct. 11 and a DEP inspector went to the apartment building where paint was being removed from the exterior of the building.

Deegan said that the filing of the complaint is the beginning of the process. Wentworth can seek a hearing before an administrative law judge or he can try to negotiate a fine settlement, he added.

Wentworth could not be reached for comment.