Pipecaster Issue 1: Vol. 47

New York City Department of Buildings Issues Rules for Installation of Natural Gas Alarms in Accordance with Local Law 157

Another Significant Advancement in Gas Safety for New Yorker’s

Natural Gas Alarms – A Consumer Layer-of-Protection

Like fire and carbon monoxide alarms, natural gas alarms provide NYC residents with another safety layer of protection in the event of a gas leak within a home or business. The primary “safety alarm” for a natural gas leak is a gas odor typically associated with the smell of rotten eggs. This odor is a sulfur compound added such that a person with an average sense of smell will be alerted to a potential natural gas leak. In some cases, an individual’s sense of smell may not enable detection of a natural gas leak. This may be caused by several factors such as age, medical conditions (colds, sinus infections etc.), tobacco use and other factors. In addition, phenomena known as odor fade or masking may occur which may impact an individual’s ability to detect the smell of natural gas if a leak occurs. As such, natural gas alarms are critical if an occupant is not able to smell natural gas or if small children or elderly occupants are present, which creates a higher risk for a gas stove burner to be left on without a flame. These life saving devices work by sensing natural gas and sounding an alarm before the gas reaches the explosive range to keep you safe. Following the East Harlem incident that occurred ten years ago this March, New York City issued a series of Local Laws aimed at providing additional layers of protection for buildings with gas service, including enhanced public awareness programs for building owners, mandated interior gas piping safety inspections by Licensed Master Plumbers (LMP’s), significant enhancements to training and qualification requirements LMP’s performing work on gas piping systems, and a requirement for installation of natural gas alarms in residential buildings. Local Law 157 of 2016 amended the New York City Housing Maintenance Code and the New York City Building Code to require the installation of natural gas detecting devices in residential buildings. It also required the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) to promulgate a rule regarding the installation and location of natural gas alarms after industry standards are developed to address installation requirements. In parallel, Northeast Gas Association (NGA) and Con Edison actively participated in the development of the National Fire Protection Association (“NFPA”) Standard 715, which addresses device and location placement requirements. NFPA Standard 715 went into effect April 9, 2022, and coupled with the DOB Rule Section 908-02, clarifies the installation and location requirements of the standard applicable to Local Law 157. These DOB installation requirements amend some provisions of NFPA 715 based on comments received in a public hearing, which NGA participated in on behalf of membership. In response to comments provided by the Plumbing Foundation, NGA, and others, language was added to address placement of alarms that does not allow for installation of an alarm at least 3 feet from a natural gas fueled appliance. Also, the list of people who can install alarms powered by batteries or by plugging in was expanded to allow someone other than a building owner, maintenance personnel or tenant, such as LMP’s, to install those kinds of alarms. Since LMP’s are already conducting mandated interior gas piping inspections under LL 152, LMP’s may be in a great position to assist building owners in compliance with LL 157. The Foundation is working with the Northeast Gas Association and the Utilities to explore synergy opportunities to offer gas alarm installation support to building owners where appropriate. In addition, the effective date of January 1, 2024 was deleted because it is no longer necessary to trigger the requirement to install these alarms by May of 2025. The DOB’s authority for these rules is found in sections 643 and 1043 of the New York City Charter. A copy of the DOB Rules for Installation of Natural Gas Alarms can be found here: https://rules.cityofnewyork.us/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/Final-Rule-Rules-Relating-to-Installation-and-Location-of-Natural-Gas-Alarms.pdf.

Natural Gas Alarm FAQ’s for LMP’s

The basic function of the Natural Gas Alarm is to alert the occupants that a potentially hazardous condition may exist within the building, and that appropriate action should ensue. However, it is not possible to pre-determine where natural gas leakage may occur. To that end, there is an underlying assumption in the NFPA 715 Standard about the location and source of natural gas leaks within any building. The requirements for installing an RMD are based on two very specific physical features of any building: the location of permanently installed gas appliances and the location of the point of entry of the natural gas service. Highlighted below are some FAQ’s LMP’s should be aware of:
  • Natural Gas alarms are not the same as carbon monoxide detectors or smoke detectors.
  • Alert when gas leaks from an appliance or gas carrying pipe.
  • Alert when a stove burner is on without a flame.
  • Must be installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and DOB Rules.
  • Must be installed as close as practicable to the ceiling (2) and at least within 12” of the ceiling in the same room with natural gas appliances such as stoves or water heaters.
  • Should come with a lifetime battery if battery operated.
Be sure to read the manufacturer’s user manual for proper installation, care, and use. If a natural gas alarm is activated, evacuate the building immediately. If you smell gas and your alarm does not activate, also evacuate immediately and refrain from turning any lights on or off and from using your phone or appliances on your way out. Then, call 911 and from a safe location, and do not return to your home until an emergency responder advises it is safe to do so. NOTE: Natural Gas Alarms MUST meet current requirements in NFPA 715 Standard for the Installation of Fuel Gas Warning Equipment 2023 AND MUST also meet requirements and be listed to UL 1484 Standard for Safety Residential Gas Detectors (February 23, 2022).

Why is this Important?

Conformance with these standards ensures that the devices will perform as intended. Devices conforming with the current version of Underwriters Laboratory Standard UL 1484 ensures safety sensitivity with a detection threshold of 10% LEL (Lower Explosive Limit), minimizes the risk of false alarms and device testing that ensures the detector cannot be a source of ignition in a maximum flammability natural gas environment.

Important: NYC DOB “Get Summonses Corrected” Campaign

The NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) issued a notice in March regarding its efforts to resolve open summonses through the Get Summonses Corrected (GSC) campaign. Beginning March 19, DOB’s Administrative Enforcement Unit (AEU) will host virtual and borough office events to assist individuals experiencing difficulties with certifying correction. Please visit the Service Update here: https://www.nyc.gov/assets/buildings/pdf/gsc_aeu-sn.pdf

ICYMI: Manhattan DA, DOI and DOB Commissioners Announce Indictment for Sham Safety School

On February 28, a joint press release by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, NYC Department of Investigations (DOI) Commissioner Jocelyn Strauber, and NYC Department of Buildings (DOB} Commissioner Jimmy Oddo announced the indictment of Valor Security & investigation and several individuals, including licensed master plumbers and NYCHA employees, for a sham safety training program. Specifically, the indictment alleges that between December 2019 and April 2023, Valor issued safety certificates and cards to approximately 20,000 students for a fee without requiring those students to actually take the required 40-hour safety training. The NYC licensed master plumbers and NYCHA employees involved acted as brokers, connecting students to Valor to obtain the fraudulent cards. In 2022, Ivan Frias died from falling from the 15th floor of a construction site and it was found that Valor fraudulently “certified” that Mr. Frias completed safety training. Valor, its employees, and one broker are being charged with Reckless Endangerment in the Second Degree. The two licensed master plumbers were from Flow Right Plumbing & Heating Corp. and KCM Plumbing & Heating Co., as well as four employees of DeMar Plumbing Corp. The Plumbing Foundation commends the DA and Commissioners for their hard work in combating the fraudulent and dangerous behavior by the company and individuals involved in this scheme. Link to full press release: https://manhattanda.org/d-a-bragg-d-o-i-commissioner-strauber-d-o-b-commissioner-oddo-announce-indictment-of-valor-security-for-operating-sham-safety-training-school-with-approx-20k-students/

REMINDER: Code Requirements for Company Vehicles

The Plumbing Foundation regularly receives tips regarding unlicensed plumbing work and advertisements, which often includes photographs of company vehicles that have listed “plumbing” in their company name or description but have no license information listed on the vehicle. Sometimes these vehicles are actually legitimate licensed plumbing company vehicles and we try to provide courtesy reminders to the licensee of the NYC Administrative Code:
28-408.6.2 of the New York City Administrative Code All business vehicles, advertising, websites and stationery used in connection with a master plumber business shall display prominently the full name of the licensee, the words “N.Y.C. licensed plumber,” the licensee’s number and the licensee’s business address. If the business is conducted under a trade name, or by a partnership or corporation, the trade name, partnership or corporate name shall be placed immediately above the full name or names of the licensed master plumber or licensed master plumbers. Prior to using, the trade name, partnership or corporate name must have been disclosed to the department in a form and manner required by the department.
However, some licensees fail to comply with the Code, and recent disciplinary actions show the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) does take this Code requirement seriously. In February 2024, DOB issued a violation to a Licensed Master Plumber for, inter alia, not complying with the above requirements. The LMP received a fine and probation. The Plumbing Foundation urges you to review your fleet of vehicles as well as your business location to ensure you are in compliance with the Administrative Code.

NYC DEP Adopts Rules on Cookstove Emissions Control Devices

The NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) adopted rules, effective April 27, 2024, that establish requirements for control devices to reduce emissions from cookstoves at restaurants in existence prior to May 6, 2016. These rules are implementing Local Law 38 of 2015, which requires cookstoves at restaurants to have an emission-control device for odors, smoke, and particulates. The justification is to reduce asthma and respiratory-related conditions. The rules define cookstoves as any wood fired or anthracite coal fired appliance for the preparation of food intended for onsite consumption or retail purpose—this is the “pizza place” law that circulated many news outlets in recent years. According to the DEP rules, a committee was established to create recommendations for the rules which involved representatives of the restaurant industry as well as DEP and environmental justice representatives. The rule requires restaurants with cookstoves installed prior to May 6, 2016 to hire a professional engineer or registered architect to assess the feasibility of installing an emissions control device to achieve 75% reduction in particulate emissions, and if not feasible, then an emissions control system for reducing at least 25%. However, it allows restaurants to use approved devices (either approved by DEP or FDNY) without having the assessment done first. Read the full text of the rules here: rules.cityofnewyork.us/wp-content/uploads/2023/06/DEP-Cook-Stove-Rule-Final.pdf

NYS Executive Budget Update

The Plumbing Foundation is closely monitoring and discussing issues with stakeholders and legislators on the Affordable Gas Transition Act (AGTA) proposed in Governor Hochul’s budget, which seeks to eliminate the 100-foot rule that requires utility companies in New York State to subsidize gas hookups for new customers. The AGTA, which is very similar to the NY Home Energy Affordable Transition (HEAT) Act (S.2016A/A.4592), also allows the NYS Public Service Commission (PSC) to decommission natural gas systems, which would interfere with ongoing proceedings before the PSC that allows utility providers to issue studies on the natural gas transition. In February, the NYS Senate and Assembly held joint budget hearings and while on the panel for Environmental Conservation, Senator Mario Mattera specifically mentioned to the PSC Chair Rory Christian that there needs to be a “plan not a ban” when it comes to natural gas. Senator Mattera said that the state needs to consider other sources of renewable energy and consider jobs for people losing theirs, especially in the plumbing industry. Interestingly enough, prior to that, the PSC Chair could not provide an exact timeline on the ongoing natural gas transition proceedings and said he thinks he saw something on his calendar for Q3. The budget hearings made it clear that there is still no transparent path that seriously takes into consideration the enormous costs involved and loss of jobs in order to meet the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) carbon emission reduction goals. Following, on March 11th and 12th, the Senate and Assembly released their one-house bills. The Senate replaced the AGTA with their NY HEAT Act legislation and the Assembly omitted the AGTA altogether. The budget is due April 1, but there are some saying it will likely be late this year. We will continue to monitor and provide an update in our new monthly e-blast Flow & Order.

THE PLUMBING FOUNDATION’S ENVIRONMENTAL STATEMENT

Since its establishment in 1986, the Plumbing Foundation has worked diligently to ensure the plumbing industry has as little a “carbon footprint” on New York City as possible. The plumbing industry has historically utilized environmentally friendly materials such as recycled cast-iron and copper piping/fittings. The Foundation will continue in its role of protecting New York City as well as being an advocate for the environment by strengthening its water/sanitary regulations and thereby reducing wasteful water consumption in the City.

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Webinar: Commercial Heat Pump Water Heaters

Webinar Commercial Heat Pump Water Heaters. This webinar will explain the basics of heat pump technology, the major components that comprise atypical heat pump, with a focus on a single pass heat pump water heater. There will be discussion of the various types of heat pump water heaters on the market. We will state the benefits of utilizing any brand of heat pumps from the perspective of decarbonization, energy efficiency, and the dramatic impact on the design and plumbing community.

DETAILS DATE: April 11, 2024, 11AM – 12PM LOCATION: Virtual SPEAKERS: George Wehnert & Chris Terranova, Mitsubishi Electric MODERATOR: April Mclver, The Plumbing Foundation, City of New York CREDITS: 1PDH / 0.1 CEUs Register by visiting: www.plumbingfoundation.nyc/resources/events/

THE PIPECASTER is published by the Plumbing Foundation City of New York, Inc.

535 Eighth Ave., Fl. 17, New York, NY 10018 | Phone (212) 481-9740 | Fax (212) 481-7185 | (E) info@plumbingfoundation.nyc
Lawrence J. Levine, Chairman; Louis J. Buttermark, Vice Chairman; Barr Rickman, Treasurer; April McIver, Executive Director; Terence O’Brien, Editor. Board of Directors: Anthony D. Altimari, Paul Belli, Marc Breslaw, Louis J. Buttermark, Harris Clark, Alex Greenberg, Nicholas Katragis, Angelo Lemodetis, Lawrence J. Levine, Scott Lyons, Barr Rickman, Richard Turchiano

Pipecaster Issue 4: Vol. 46

The Plumbing Foundation Guest at Local No. 1 Apprenticeship Graduation

Apprenticeship graduation ceremony group photo

JATC, Local No. 1, and the Association of Contracting Plumbers (ACP) at Local No. 1 JATC Apprenticeship graduation ceremony

On November 9, 2023 a ceremony was held in New York City to acknowledge apprentices who graduated from the apprenticeship program jointly administered by the Association of Contracting Plumbers of the City of New York (ACP) and U.A. Plumbers & Gas- fitters Local Union No. 1. This five-year apprenticeship program is approved and overseen by the New York State Department of Labor (DOL). There were 71 graduates overall, each receiving a completion certificate as a “Qualified Plumber” from the DOL. All carry Certificates of Fitness from the New York City Fire Department (FDNY). All hold a “Limited” fuel-gas work Qualification from the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB). All have a DOB Site Safety Training (SST) 40-hour card as well as a DOB Scaffold User Card. All have OSHA 30. All have made application to the DOB to be newly listed as a “Registered Journeyman Plumber” and receive their Journeyman’s card. All are prepared and have applied to take the city exam to obtain their “Full” fuel-gas work Qualification. All graduates are certified in Medical Gas installations. In the Spring class there was a tie for the winner of the George Meany Academic Achievement award, with the winners being Adam Root and Alyssa Pascion-Dakaitis. The Meany award winner in the Fall class was Shira Levine. Nine graduates were recognized for perfect attendance over the five years of apprenticeship. Shown in the photo are Contractor and Union members of the Joint Apprenticeship Committee, along with Training Center staff and graduates. Congratulations to all the graduates!

NYC Council Introduces Important Plumbing Safety Legislation

The Plumbing Foundation and industry representatives were successful in negotiating the introduction of Int. 1247-2023 in the NYC Council. We commend Council Member Pierina Sanchez, the Housing & Buildings Committee, and the City Council staff for their hard work on this legislation. Int. 1247 includes important safety enhancements and clarifications to Local Law 152 of 2016 (periodic building gas inspections) such as making clear the scope of inspection and the distinction between abnormal operating conditions that are considered immediately hazardous versus those that are not immediately hazardous. The law will help owners certify in an easier manner if their building has gas piping but is not currently supplied with gas. The bill also reinstates the Master Plumber and Master Fire Suppression Contractor License Board which advises the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) on applications for licensure as well as bad actors in the industry including unlicensed and cover-up plumbers. The Board is an essential peer-review process to ensure proper transparency, oversight, and enforcement. Finally, the bill makes important clarifications to several other code provisions such as emergency work and ordinary plumbing work, and expands the DOB’s seizure and forfeiture authority on all unlicensed construction. The Plumbing Foundation believes this is a landmark piece of legislation and will ensure safety of NYC residents.

NYC DOB Proposes Rules To Implement LL157 Natural Gas Alarms

The NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) proposed rules implementing Local Law 157 of 2016 (LL157). LL157 was passed in a package of gas safety laws following horrific gas explosions in New York City. LL157 amended the NYC Housing Maintenance Code and the NYC Building Code to require the installation of natural gas detecting devices in residential buildings and required the DOB to promulgate a rule regarding the installation and location of natural gas alarms after an industry standard had been established. The National Fire Protection Association (“NFPA”) issued standard 715, effective April 9, 2022. The DOB’s proposed rules adopt provisions of NFPA 715 but make changes to refer to the NYC Administrative and the Electrical Codes and to add a cut-off date for existing buildings. A major part of the Plumbing Foundation’s mission is to protect the public health and safety, and natural gas alarms enhance safety. As we submitted to the NFPA Standards Council in 2021, we strongly supported the passage of 715 which, if adopted into the NYC Rules, would exponentially enhance the safety of NYC residents. The Plumbing Foundation commended the NFPA Standards Council for developing Standard 715, which is comprehensive and detailed to ensure any Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) has the necessary guidance to implement. We especially supported language requiring AHJ licensure for personnel qualifications, as well as the requirements for inspections, maintenance, and detailed record keeping of fuel gas detecting devices. When safety-related laws and rules mandate stringent inspections, maintenance, and recordkeeping, that allows for the enforcement agencies to effectively do their jobs. The Plumbing Foundation submitted comments to the NYC DOB supporting the rule as well as the Northeast Gas Associations’ comments. The Foundation did make recommendations for the DOB to tie in verification of natural gas alarms with Local Law 152 of 2016 periodic building gas inspections, and to revise the installer qualification exceptions for battery operated or plug-in alarms to also allow installation by licensed contractors and subcontractors like licensed master plumbers and fire suppression contractors. Comments were submitted on November 20, 2023. The DOB is reviewing all comments and will either issue a final rule or a modified rule and second hearing. We will keep the industry apprised of our efforts.

NYS Congestion Pricing Update

In case you missed it, 2023 has been a turbulent year for the State’s Proposed Congestion Pricing Plan, which was initially passed in the NYS Executive Budget in 2019. After much delay in completing a federally required environmental impact analysis, in August 2022 the long-awaited analysis on the proposed congestion pricing plan for NYC was released. The lengthy analysis included seven scenarios evaluated by the MTA which propose prices from $9 to $23 per vehicle entering the Central Business District (CBD) zone. As a reminder, the 2019 law defines the zone as Manhattan at and below 60th Street with exemptions for the FDR Drive and West Side Highway. The only exceptions proposed in the analysis include certain vehicles carrying people with disabilities and authorized emergency vehicles. In addition, people whose primary residence is inside the district and whose income is less than $60,000 would be eligible for a state tax credit equal to the amount of their tolls. But 24/7 service vehicles (e.g., plumbers answering emergency calls) are not a proposed exemption. The Plumbing Foundation submitted written comments in September 2022, stating a request for a service vehicle exemption or discount. The MTA issued responses to those comments and a second period of time for public comment again. In response to our comments and concerns, it was noted that any pricing scheme and any exemptions/discounts would be proposed in rule. Most recently, news articles stated that a toll structure program from the Traffic Mobility Review Board (TMRB) is being presented for recommendation. That proposal recommends a $15 fee for entering the CBD as a passenger vehicle and $24-$36 as a truck or non-transit/non-commuter bus, once per day when entering the zone. It would apply M-F 5am-9pm and weekends 9am-9pm. Rates still would apply at night at 75% less than the daytime fee. A credit for certain tunnel tolls would be applied to the CBD toll rate, and for-hire vehicles (FHVs) would have their fees included in the fare trip ($1.25 for taxis and $2.50 for other FHVs). The only exemptions are emergency vehicles and vehicles transporting people with disabilities, and low-income vehicle owners will have a 50% discount for the first 10 trips a month. These, again, are recommendations and are not final. At the same time the proposal was in the press, John Samuelsen, President of Transport Workers Union of America, announced his resignation from the TMRB, stating “congestion pricing will likely fail to reduce congestion to a level which meets the expectations of many who robustly support its goals” because the MTA failed to make improvements to its public transit service. Also important to note is the ongoing lawsuit filed by the State of New Jersey, against the federal government and MTA challenging the environmental assessment approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Finally, Governor Kathy Hochul praised the work of the MTA and TMRB at a congestion pricing rally on December 5, 2023. Mayor Adams, however, still seeks full exemptions for taxi drivers, people traveling to medical appointments, and school buses. A formal rulemaking process must follow before any pricing schemes are adopted. We will keep the industry apprised of updates on congestion pricing.

Update on Plumbing Foundation’s Unlicensed Tips To NYC DOB

Over the course of 2023, the Plumbing Foundation received several tips as well as devised our own investigations into potential illegal plumbing work. When such tips are received, our staff investigates the matter to see if there is any other corroborating information, and then sends the matter to the Multiple Dwelling Inspection Unit and/or Buildings Special Investigations Unit (BSIU) at the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB). While various matters are still pending, the following people/companies were reported by the Plumbing Foundation and were issued violations for unlicensed and/or cover-up plumbing work within NYC, or received some other disciplinary action this year:
COMPANY NAME SUMMONSES ISSUED (2023)
City Pro NYC AVPS# for electrical 0213713060 and plumbing 0213713070 (most recently issued, not in OATH system yet)
Mark Hertz AVPS# for plumbing 0204446175 and electrical 0204446157 (most recently issued, not in OATH system yet)
Golden Pipes Mechanical VPS# 0213711008 (ILLEGALLY ENGAGING IN BUSINESS OCCUPATION W O REQ D LICENSE OR AUTH. $5000 but now $25,000 due to default) issued July 26, 2023
Dependable Mechanical Corp. AVPS# 0213710200, 0213 710173, 0213710164 (ILLEGALLY ENGAGING IN BUSINESS OCCUPATION W O REQ D LICENSE OR AUTH. $5000 but now $25,000 due to default) issued March 1, 2023
Total Change Inc. AVPS# 0213713089 (most recently issued, not in OATH system yet)
Grace Millennium AVPS # 0213 710 980 (ILLEGALLY ENGAGING IN BUSINESS OCCUPATION W O REQ D LICENSE OR AUTH. $5000), issued June 29, 2023
IAG Energy AVPS# 0213710155 (ILLEGALLY ENGAGING IN BUSINESS OCCUPATION W O REQ D LICENSE OR AUTH. $5,000) Issued July 12, 2023
There are many others that have been reported with pending investigations. Please reach out to us for any updates on those complaints. We continue to follow up with DOB. Thank you to those submitting tips!

Plumbing Foundation Responds to Con Ed’s PSC Petition on Relocation of Meters

On October 20, 2023, Con Edison filed a petition with the NYS Public Service Commission (PSC), serving the Plumbing Foundation as an affected party. The petition seeks a declaratory ruling pursuant to 16 NYCRR § 8.1 confirming that: (1) a meter relocation under the Relocation Program is complete when, and remains ongoing, until Con Edison has restored service after installing the outdoor meter and reconnecting the service line; and (2) during a meter relocation under the Relocation Program, the Commission retains exclusive jurisdiction over all work necessary and proper for Con Edison to complete the relocation, including all pipework needed to reconnect the service line and restore service after removal of the indoor meter. In response, the Plumbing Foundation emphasized the history of the 2015 PSC rulemaking memorandum changing the definition of service line which led to the creation of the Gas Operator Qualification (GOQ) program and all the time and resources that went into that program. The Foundation’s response asks for a solution that serves a logistical and cost-savings purpose but also ensures the resources that went into the GOQ program are not wasted. Licensed Master Plumbers and their technicians who are operator qualified in Covered Tasks 86 and 87 are best suited to conduct work on both sides of the meter, are already on site for various reasons including maintenance and/or LL152 gas inspections, and are trusted contractors by so many customers. If logistics and costs are an ongoing issue for Con Edison, we believe a mutually beneficial solution could be reached regarding Con Edison’s own procedures for relocating meters in terms of their outreach timeline and involvement of a Licensed Master Plumber in the process. That response was filed by the PSC’s deadline of December 1, 2023 (click here and go to “Public Comments” or visit the NYS PSC website and search case # 23-G-0654.)

THE PIPECASTER is published by the Plumbing Foundation City of New York, Inc.

535 Eighth Ave., Fl. 17, New York, NY 10018 | Phone (212) 481-9740 | Fax (212) 481-7185 | (E) info@plumbingfoundation.nyc
Lawrence J. Levine, Chairman; Louis J. Buttermark, Vice Chairman; Barr Rickman, Treasurer; April McIver, Executive Director; Terence O’Brien, Editor. Board of Directors: Anthony D. Altimari, Paul Belli, Marc Breslaw, Louis J. Buttermark, Harris Clark, Alex Greenberg, Nicholas Katragis, Angelo Lemodetis, Lawrence J. Levine, Scott Lyons, Barr Rickman, Richard Turchiano We wish you a Happy Holiday and a Safe and Healthy New Year!

NYC DEP Update on PARIS for Backflow Preventor Test Reports

On November 28, 2023, the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued the following notice regarding updates to its “PARIS” system:
Dear DEP Partners, We are excited to announce that we are launching a digital platform to submit your initial and annual backflow preventor test reports. Beginning on 11/29/2023 initial and annual backflow preventor tests must be submitted using our new online form. We hope that this new process will streamline your submittals and improve your filing experience. This link will take you directly to the online form: Link: Backflow Test Form Online Submission [or visit www.nyc.gov/site/dep/about/cross-connection-controls.page to access the online form].
Please note that DEP is currently working on Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding the rollout of the new form submission.

THE PLUMBING FOUNDATION’S ENVIRONMENTAL STATEMENT

Since its establishment in 1986, the Plumbing Foundation has worked diligently to ensure the plumbing industry has as little a “carbon footprint” on New York City as possible. The plumbing industry has historically utilized environmentally friendly materials such as recycled cast-iron and copper piping/fittings. The Foundation will continue in its role of protecting New York City as well as being an advocate for the environment by strengthening its water/sanitary regulations and thereby reducing wasteful water consumption in the City.

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Pipecaster Issue 3: Vol. 46

In Memoriam: Raymond Cardoza

The Plumbing Foundation was sad to hear of former board member Raymond Cardoza’s untimely passing this August and remembers him fondly. He was only 56 years old.
Raymond Cardoza, 1966 – 2023

Raymond Cardoza, 1966 – 2023

Raymond was both a loving family man and dedicated to his business, Cardoza Plumbing, that he shared with his sister, Marie Cardoza. He was a 2nd generation New York City Licensed Master Plumber, following in the footsteps of his late father, Eugene Cardoza. Raymond was a beloved father to his children, Christina, Raymond Jr., Michael, and son-in-law, Michael. In addition to his sister Marie, he was survived by his mother Louise Bello and siblings Stephen and EJ Cardoza. Raymond has been described as a trusted and loyal friend, as a generous and strong individual who, despite health related obstacles, worked hard both professionally and as a father. He enjoyed planning exciting excursions for him and his family. He was an avid NYC sports fan, especially when it came to the Yankees and Rangers. Raymond served as a dedicated board member to both the Plumbing Foundation and Association of Contracting Plumbers (ACP), including as former President of the ACP. He was a skilled plumber and his experience and knowledge in the field served our associations enormously. The name Cardoza is paramount in the institutional plumbing world—particularly in the medical and hospital universe. He will always be remembered as a vital member of the plumbing industry.

Climate Change Policies’ Pipe Dreams

By Terence O’Brien, Executive Vice President, Association of Contracting Plumbers of NYC and Senior Director, Plumbing Foundation

In light of Climate Week NYC, which occurred September 17-22, I would be remiss if I did not address a topic that has universal impact and is important to so many of us: combating climate change, which the Plumbing Industry and especially those in the New York City market have been on the forefront of combating for decades. From advocating for more efficient, greener products and lower flow water fixture standards, to stopping use of oil for domestic heating and hot water, we will continue to fight for the industry and for the safety and greening of New York City’s infrastructure and building codes. With that said, I have several concerns about policy decisions as outlined below.

Ambitious But Impractical Gas Ban

On many occasions, governments (city, state, and federal) are reactionary and/or are overly ambitious when dealing with major events and matters of importance, and climate change is one of those topics. As everyone attempts to navigate a better path forward, unfortunately, there are at times laws and regulations, while having the appearance of being a benefit to the greater good, that may actually do very little. Local Law 154 of 2021 is a prime example, which essentially bans the use of all fuels, even green/blue hydrogen and biofuels, in newly constructed buildings under 7-stories effective January 1, 2024 and buildings 7-stories and above beginning July 1, 2027. Transforming all newly constructed buildings into electric-only has significant economic, logistical, and energy-security concerns, on which the Foundation has voiced its opinion publicly many times and through testimony during hearings at the City and State levels of government. There are other ways to “green” buildings, which may be more realistic, executable within more reasonable timelines, and which have benchmarks that would be obtainable, but these options are pushed to the wayside—and for what? May it be because certain people wish to say they are the first City or State to have a law enacted? These all or nothing “homerun” approaches are flashy but not as impactful. Policies and laws should not be made in bubbles or involving only a certain demographic. Local Law 154 as well as Local Law 97 of 2019 are fraught with problems and limitations against the intentions.

Alternative Yet Unregulated Technologies

Within the Climate Change and gas banning conversations, there has been a tremendous amount of buzz about use of alternate technologies including heat pumps, solar energy, and thermal energy. All of this interest is great, but the use of some of these technologies is wildly unregulated and not practical for every environment—in particular, thermal energy. There is almost nothing in the NYC Construction Code on how to install thermal technology or who can install these systems, and thus, it presents issues on safety and accountability. To overcome this, thermal energy systems should require permits, and be installed and maintained by NYC licensed professionals who have familiarity with piping systems to ensure these “better” solutions benefit both working New Yorkers and the environment by “greening” more efficiently.

Conclusion

Let me be frank, the Plumbing Industry, and the stance of the Foundation are transparent on our climate change positions. We want to remain involved and be heard on how we make NYC buildings more efficient and less reliant on fossil fuels. Local Law 154 is going to adversely impact the workers and owners of New York City Plumbing firms. To counter the impact, the City should define the piping and system installation of thermal energy projects as plumbing work for both the good of the plumber and the safety of New Yorkers. Also, the City should reconsider the bans on alternate fuel sources like hydrogen and biofuels caused by Local Law 154. The City should be working to strengthen the work of the licensed master plumber by defining thermal energy piping and allowing hydrogen fuel sources for domestic usage!

School Construction Authority Updates Disinfection Spec

The Industrial & Environmental Hygiene (IEH) Division of the NYC School Construction Authority (SCA) has updated its Design Standards for Potable Water System Disinfection and Testing. A contractor performing such work must be an NYC Licensed Master Plumber (LMP) or working under an NYC LMP. The individual developing and signing the Disinfection and Water Quality Testing Plan (DWQTP) must hold a Grade C certification per NYS Sanitary Code Title 10, Sec. 5-4.2. For the disinfection field work, the individual must either hold the Grade C certification or work under the supervision of a Grade C certified water treatment operator. If not holding the full certification, the individual being supervised must have completed the training and passed the initial training validated exam for Grade C and have 5 years of relevant experience.

For more information, see section number 15420, SP23-02, available at:

www.nycsca.org/design/design-standards#Specifications-86

NYC DOB SERVICE UPDATE

Local Law 77 of 2023: Post Approval Amendment Fee and License Renewal Applications

Updates have been made in DOB NOW and eFiling to implement provisions of Local Law 77 of 2023. The following updates have been made:
  • The fee for filing a Post Approval Amendment (PAA) increased from $100 to $130. The increased fee applies to any payment for a PAA in DOB NOW: Build or eFiling on or after July 29, 2023. (See NYC Administrative Code Table 28-112.2.)
  • Beginning July 29, 2023, applications for license renewals cannot be submitted in DOB NOW: BIS Options more than 90 days (formerly 60 days) prior to the license expiration. (See NYC Administrative Code § 28-401.12.)

THE PIPECASTER is published by the Plumbing Foundation City of New York, Inc.

535 Eighth Ave., Fl. 17, New York, NY 10018 | Phone (212) 481-9740 | Fax (212) 481-7185 | (E) info@plumbingfoundation.nyc
Lawrence J. Levine, Chairman; Louis J. Buttermark, Vice Chairman; Barr Rickman, Treasurer; April McIver, Executive Director; Terence O’Brien, Editor. Board of Directors: Anthony D. Altimari, Paul Belli, Marc Breslaw, Louis J. Buttermark, Harris Clark, Alex Greenberg, Nicholas Katragis, Angelo Lemodetis, Lawrence J. Levine, Scott Lyons, Barr Rickman, Richard Turchiano

Con Edison

Please join us for a Plumbing Foundation / Con Edison Joint Seminar on Energy Efficiency Services and Gas Services

TUES. NOV. 7th, 2P.M. – 4P.M. AT THE LEARNING CENTER IN LIC TO REGISTER FOR THIS FREE EVENT, PLEASE VISIT: www.plumbingfoundation.nyc/resources/events/ TO SIGN UP FOR OUR EMAILS PLEASE VISIT: www.plumbingfoundation.nyc/resources/pipecaster/#subscribe-now

THE PLUMBING FOUNDATION’S ENVIRONMENTAL STATEMENT

Since its establishment in 1986, the Plumbing Foundation has worked diligently to ensure the plumbing industry has as little a “carbon footprint” on New York City as possible. The plumbing industry has historically utilized environmentally friendly materials such as recycled cast-iron and copper piping/fittings. The Foundation will continue in its role of protecting New York City as well as being an advocate for the environment by strengthening its water/sanitary regulations and thereby reducing wasteful water consumption in the City.

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Pipecaster Supplement / End of Session Update

This is an update to an article in the recently published Pipecaster (Volume 46, Issue 2), “2023 NYS Legislative Session Wrap-Up.” As noted in that article, while the NYS Legislature had its last “scheduled” session day on Thursday, June 8th, the Senate officially adjourned June 10th but because the Assembly failed to pass a host of bills, it returned the week of June 20th. The Assembly finally adjourned on the 21st. Among the bills that now have passed both houses includes a housing bill: “Housing Affordability, Resiliency, and Energy Efficiency Investment Act” (HAREEIA) which updates and renews certain affordable housing finance programs as well as includes new authorizations to allow longer loan periods, larger loan amounts, and support new models of affordable housing including community land trusts. The legislation also would add language to certain loan authorities to allow for loans to finance childcare centers, senior centers, and other non-residential facilities. Noteworthy bills that were not taken up by the Assembly upon its return, and therefore not passed by both NYS legislative houses this year, include the “Coverage for All” bill (passed the Senate on June 8th) which would extend New York’s “Essential Plan,” the basic state health insurance plan available to lower-income state residents, to undocumented immigrants wishing to enroll, and as mentioned in the Pipecaster, the “No Slavery in New York Act” and “Sammy’s Law.” We continue to monitor legislation at both the State and City levels and will keep our members updated on important changes and adoptions.

Pipecaster Issue 2: Vol. 46

The Plumbing Foundation Congratulates NYC DOB Commissioner Jimmy Oddo!

It was announced on April 27, 2023 that Jimmy Oddo was appointed as Commissioner of the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB). Commissioner Oddo comes to the DOB with an extensive background in public service: formerly a NYC Council Member and Borough President of Staten Island, Mr. Oddo was most recently the Chief of Staff for NYC Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi. The Plumbing Foundation congratulates Commissioner Oddo on his appointment and looks forward to working with him and his staff!

Association of Contracting Plumbers Raises $117,500 for Alzheimer’s Association

The Association of Contracting Plumbers of the City of New York, Inc. (ACP) held its annual “Plumbing Industry Day” Charity Golf Outing on May 22, 2023. The charity chosen this year was the Alzheimer’s Association, New York City Chapter. The Alzheimer’s Association, New York City Chapter helps families, caregivers, health care professionals, and those living with the disease in the five boroughs. They provide education and support, advocate for the needs and rights of those facing Alzheimer’s disease and all other dementia, and advance critical research to develop new treatments and, ultimately, a cure. The ACP is pleased to report that $117,500 was donated to the Alzheimer’s Association. This will help fund care, support, and groundbreaking research for Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Thank you to everyone who made the day a success!
Association of Contracting Plumbers Raises Alzheimer's Association Funds

L to Right: Lucy DeNardo, Director of Development, NYC Alzheimer’s Association; Rob Greenberg, ACP President; Tom Maniuszko, Chair of ACP Charity Golf Outing Committee; Christopher Smith, Region 12 Director and Executive Director of the New York City Chapter, Alzheimer’s Association; Tamika Phillips, Constituent Event Manager, NYC Alzheimer’s Association

Winners of the 2023 Eugene Cardoza Memorial Scholarship

The 2023 winners of the Eugene Cardoza Memorial Scholarship Program have been determined. Further information on the scholarship program can be found on the Association of Contracting Plumbers’ website (acpcny.org). Five recipients will receive $5,000 a year towards a collegiate education. As a reminder, all scholarship applications are reviewed by an independent panel of educators and selections are based upon academic achievement, community service, and extracurricular activities. The Trustees of the Promotion Fund and the ACP Executive Board are happy to announce the following 2023 winners: Sydney Levine • Anjali Turchiano • Caprice Turchiano • Julia Maciejak • Victoria Lesiczka Congratulations to all the winners, we wish you luck on your future endeavors!
Winners of the 2023 Eugene Cardoza Memorial Scholarship

From L to R: ACP President Rob Greenberg; 2023 Scholar Recipients Victoria Lesiczka, Julia Maciejak, Anjali Turchiano, and Sydney Levine; ACP Board Member, and son of Eugene Cardoza, Ray Cardoza

DOB NOW Licensing / Insurance Changes in Effect!

Please be advised that the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) recently launched an update to the DOB NOW BIS Options menu for Insurance Renewal which went into effect June 5. DOB held virtual webinars to learn how to use DOB NOW BIS Options to submit insurance updates, which can be accessed at: www.nyc.gov/site/buildings/industry/dob-now-training.page As of June 5, 2023, licensees/registrants are required to submit license insurance updates in DOB NOW BIS Options. More information can be found in the Service Notice accessible at: www.nyc.gov/assets/buildings/pdf/license_insurance_updates-sn.pdf In addition, licensees/registrants will not be able to begin a license renewal application in DOB NOW BIS Options until all outstanding Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH) summonses are paid. See more information in the Service Update here: www.nyc.gov/assets/buildings/pdf/license_renewal_violations-sn.pdf

2023 NYS Legislative Session Wrap-Up

The NYS Legislature had its last “scheduled” session day on Thursday, June 8. It was for many not the most productive year given the drawn out budget season leaving little time for other legislative priorities to move through committees between May and June. As for the budget, the biggest impact on the plumbing industry passed in the FY24 NYS Budget was the gas ban–this is the country’s first statewide ban on fossil fuels for heating and cooking in new construction, starting with buildings under seven stories in 2026. It will not affect gas stoves in existing homes and includes exceptions for manufacturing, emergency generators, and hospitals, among others. Due to the efforts of the Plumbing Foundation and those like us pushing back, the “existing replacement” language was removed. As a reminder, the NYC Council passed Local Law 154 of 2021 which set carbon dioxide limits that effectively prohibit fossil fuel systems in new buildings in NYC starting with lower-rise buildings in 2024 and taller buildings in 2027. LL154 also includes exceptions for manufacturing, hospitals, and restaurants. Many stakeholders will be impacted by this legislation, and while the Plumbing Foundation is all for reducing carbon emissions and creating a cleaner, greener environment, it needs to be done in a practical manner. We are working on potential next steps with similarly impacted stakeholders. As of the date of this printing, the NYS Legislature adjourned June 10 (a few days past the scheduled end of session date), but that may not be the end of session–it is expected that because the Assembly failed to pass a host of bills, it will be returning towards the end of June. The major legislation that did pass both houses at the end of session includes the Clean Slate Act (sealing criminal records after a certain number of years), the Grieving Families Act (provides for the types of damages that may be awarded to the persons for whose benefit an action for wrongful death is brought), and election law amendments (moving the date of the presidential primary election from June to April, allowing for early voting in March for the presidential primary, allowing each party to elect a presidential delegate and providing different nomination processes for delegates). Other noteworthy bills that passed both houses are: Retainage in Construction Contracts (authorizes contractors to invoice owners upon substantial completion of a project) and EV Charging Public Access (requires charging stations that were paid for in part with public monies to allow members of the public to charge their electric vehicles in the garage for a reasonable cost). The major issues not resolved as of June 10 include a housing package, No Slavery in New York Act (banning forced labor in state prisons–but the legislature did pass a reparations commission law following California’s lead), and Sammy’s Law (lowering NYC speed limit to 20 mph). There also was no Senate confirmation of Governor Hochul’s appointment to the New York Power Authority (NYPA), Justin Driscoll, who is currently serving as the interim president and CEO of NYPA. As for the Plumbing Foundation’s modular construction legislation requiring all modular construction projects in NYC to comply with licensing requirements, which was passed by both houses in 2022 and vetoed by Governor Hochul, due several factors including the delayed budget adoption and stonewalling by NYC to discuss the bill, while it passed the Senate it was held up in the Assembly. The Plumbing Foundation is working assiduously before the next session begins in January 2024 to ensure policy makers at all levels understand the importance of the legislation. As always is the case, the state legislature never formally “gavels out” in the event of a need for a special session later in the year. While this is extremely rare, the Plumbing Foundation will notify the industry in such a case. Further, we do expect the Assembly to return at the end of June. The Plumbing Foundation plans on sending out an update via email to supplement this end of session update.

Have You Received a NYC DEP Idling Violation?

The Plumbing Foundation has been investigating the recent uptick in violations through a citizens’ application known as the Citizens Air Complaint program whereby citizens can video record vehicles idling and send the video in to the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The DEP will issue violations to the registered vehicle owner and once a fine is adjudicated at the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH), the citizen will receive a portion of the fee recovered. We are working with similar stakeholders on this matter as there are many concerns related to due process, evidence, and safety. If you have relevant information on idling violations, please share that information by emailing info@plumbingfoundation.nyc.

Open Summonses Issued by the Department of Buildings (DOB)

The Department is increasingly focused on open summonses that have not been resolved, with an emphasis on Class 1 immediately hazardous summonses. The Department urges the industry to resolve any open summonses as it will soon be conducting re- inspections to determine whether conditions that resulted in the issuance of Class 1 summonses still exist, which may result in additional enforcement action being taken by the Department. Additionally, the Department is increasing the penalty for failure to file a Certificate of Correction for a Class 1 summons issued with respect to a construction site that is not a one- to four-family home from $3,000 to $5,000. Relevant Service Notice: https://www.nyc.gov/assets/buildings/pdf/cofc_penalties-sn.pdf

The Latest on Congestion Pricing

The MTA is moving forward with congestion pricing after an additional delay for the first half of 2023. As a reminder, the congestion pricing law was passed in 2019 by the state legislature. After much delay in completing a federally required environmental impact analysis, in August 2022 the long-awaited analysis on the proposed congestion pricing plan for NYC was released. The lengthy analysis included seven scenarios evaluated by the MTA which proposed prices from $9 to $23 per vehicle entering the zone. As a reminder, the 2019 law defines the zone as Manhattan at and below 60th Street with exemptions for the FDR Drive and West Side Highway. The only exceptions proposed in the analysis include certain vehicles carrying people with disabilities and authorized emergency vehicles. In addition, people whose primary residence is inside the district and whose income is less than $60,000 would be eligible for a state tax credit equal to the amount of their tolls. But 24/7 service vehicles (e.g., plumbers answering emergency calls) are not a proposed exemption. In September 2022, the Plumbing Foundation submitted written comments stating a request for a service vehicle exemption or discount. Most recently, the MTA announced that the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) gave the greenlight to move forward with congestion pricing. In the MTA’s final Environmental Assessment, which allowed for additional public comment through June 12, it included responses to the 2022 public comment period and stated that with regard to exemptions and discounts, any consideration of such will happen via the State Administrative Procedure Act rulemaking process, which presents another opportunity for public comment. The Plumbing Foundation plans to submit comments during that process and is also working with other stakeholders on possible legislative amendments.

Is the Legality of Residential Food Grinders still a Common Misconception?

In light of recent legislation passed by the NYC Council (the “Zero Waste” bill package), which included a mandatory residential composting program, it is important to note another important tool to reduce methane emissions of which New Yorkers may be unaware. While food grinders, or garbage disposals, were illegal for many years in New York City, that was changed in 1997. Local Law 71 of 1997 allowed for food grinders to be installed in residential properties. Food grinders can be considered another tool in the “toolbox” to decrease methane emissions that occur from organic waste being sent to landfills. Grinding up food with some water down the drain sends that organic waste to a wastewater treatment facility, which is cleaner than storing in bins and hauling away in fossil fuel-using trucks. The Plumbing Foundation is reminding New Yorkers that this tool exists and should be considered in the discussion and regulation of composting. Surprisingly, even after 25 years since grinders became legal, residents in New York have not installed them anywhere near the same level as those in other major cities in the country.

THE PIPECASTER is published by the Plumbing Foundation City of New York, Inc.

535 Eighth Ave., Fl. 17, New York, NY 10018 | Phone (212) 481-9740 | Fax (212) 481-7185 | (E) info@plumbingfoundation.nyc
Lawrence J. Levine, Chairman; Louis J. Buttermark, Vice Chairman; Barr Rickman, Treasurer; April McIver, Executive Director; Terence O’Brien, Editor. Board of Directors: Anthony D. Altimari, Paul Belli, Marc Breslaw, Louis J. Buttermark, Harris Clark, Alex Greenberg, Nicholas Katragis, Angelo Lemodetis, Lawrence J. Levine, Scott Lyons, Barr Rickman, Richard Turchiano

Schedule for 2023 Empire State University / CTLTC 7-Hour License Renewal Courses

Please see below the SUNY Empire State University / Construction Trades License Training Corp. 7-Hour Master Plumber and Master Fire Suppression Contractor License Renewal Course Schedule for 2023! July 26 • August 23 • September 27 • November 1 • December 20 These courses are all in-house with recorded video. The courses are held at our office at 535 8th Ave, FL 17, New York, NY 10018. We are not holding virtual courses. You can access registration information here: nyconstructiontrades.org

THE PLUMBING FOUNDATION’S ENVIRONMENTAL STATEMENT

Since its establishment in 1986, the Plumbing Foundation has worked diligently to ensure the plumbing industry has as little a “carbon footprint” on New York City as possible. The plumbing industry has historically utilized environmentally friendly materials such as recycled cast-iron and copper piping/fittings. The Foundation will continue in its role of protecting New York City as well as being an advocate for the environment by strengthening its water/sanitary regulations and thereby reducing wasteful water consumption in the City.

Pipecaster Issue 1: Vol. 46

NYC Council Holds Important Hearing on Gas Safety Laws

The Plumbing Foundation commends NYC Council Members Gale Brewer and Pierina Sanchez for holding a joint Oversight & Investigations and Housing & Buildings hearing on the NYC Department of Buildings’ (DOB) enforcement of gas qualifications pursuant to Local Law 150 of 2016 (LL150) on Monday, February 27th. This hearing in all likelihood was held in response to UA Plumbers Local No.1’s lawsuit against DOB for failure to properly enforce LL150 gas qualifications and welder qualification requirements. The joint Committees first heard from DOB Acting Commissioner Kazimir Vilenchik, P.E., and DOB Deputy Commissioner of External Affairs, Guillermo Patino. While DOB testified to the fact that more than 2,000 gas related violations have been issued since LL150 was enforced in January 2020, there were many unanswered questions asked by the Council that the industry was also hoping would be answered by DOB. This includes the in-the-field enforcement of gas cards and transparency on DOB NOW of the gas and welder information, specifically on the front end of the permitting process. When Council Member Charles Barron asked how many gas explosions have occurred in the City in the past decade, the answer went from unsure to three, which the industry knows is inaccurate. There were multiple in 2022 alone.
Plumbing Foundation testifies

Plumbing Foundation, ACP and MPC testify

Following the DOB testimony was Patrick Walsh, attorney for Plumbers Local 1, and Arthur Klock of the Joint Apprentice Training Committee, a jointly funded labor/management trade school, at which Mr. Klock is the director. Mr. Walsh provided a background of the multiple notifications given to DOB of apparent gas and pipe welder qualification violations, which Mr. Walsh says were ignored. Mr. Klock testified on seven major gas safety issues that need to be addressed: 1) improper or nonexistent pipe welder qualifications; 2) appliance stores doing regulated gas work illegally; 3) arbitrary elimination of the Master Plumbers License Board; 4) lack of enforcement of the requirement for a “gas work qualification”; 5) disbanding of the Office of the Buildings Marshal; 6) elimination of the reporting requirements for “ordinary plumbing work”; and 7) ineffective enforcement of hundreds of improper gas safety inspections. Next, the Plumbing Foundation, Association of Contracting Plumbers of New York City (ACP), and Master Plumbers Council (MPC) testified. April McIver, Executive Director of the Plumbing Foundation, highlighted her confusion on staffing at the DOB. She believed DOB is understaffed which is one reason for underenforcement, but the Commissioner said otherwise. She also emphasized the importance that DOB NOW shows DOB gas qualifications on the front end of the permitting process and that Local Law 152 of 2016 (periodic gas inspections) documents are readily available to the public; otherwise, someone has to submit a FOIL request to view them. She also said that there has been no response from DOB on where to send illegal plumbing tips since the Buildings Marshal office was disbanded. She urged the Council to review her written testimony which explains more comprehensive recommendations, including reinstating the License Board and proposed revisions to LL152. Terence O’Brien, who is both the Executive Vice President of the ACP and Senior Director of the Plumbing Foundation, also submitted comprehensive written testimony. During oral testimony, he highlighted for the Council that the 2016 DOB leadership opposed the gas safety laws and he implored the City Council to review staffing at DOB during budget negotiations, specifically for inspectors at DOB. While he empathized with the Department, he said there are fundamental flaws that need to be addressed for better gas safety and transparency. Lastly, the MPC emphasized the importance of enforcing gas safety laws and the pending legislation before the Council, including reinstatement of the License Board, ordinary plumbing work, and LL152 revisions. When Council Member Brewer asked the panel what type of staffing should be improved at DOB, Ms. McIver said if there are staffers wearing multiple hats at DOB, that should be changed so there is staff specifically dedicated to gas safety. Mr. O’Brien said the DOB previously engaged in sting operations which were effective. Council Member Pierina Sanchez asked about the 311 process. Ms. McIver explained that she forwarded anonymous illegal plumbing tips directly to DOB and not through 311, but she is unsure of where to now send those tips, but her own personal experience with 311 did not result in any follow up. Mr. O’Brien said the Marshals office would provide a tracking number so one can follow up. He also explained the function of BSIU. The MPC highlighted the importance of the License Board as a forum to advise the Department on illegal plumbing tips. Council Member Brewer said the conversation on gas safety will continue and the written testimony provided will be reviewed in following up with the Department. The Plumbing Foundation reiterates its commendations to the NYC Council and specifically Council Members Brewer and Sanchez for holding the hearing on one of the most important topics for the plumbing industry: gas safety. We will continue to discuss improvements to gas safety enforcement with the Department and Council. As of the issuance of this newsletter, the Department has already contacted the industry on making improvements pursuant to this hearing. We look forward to continuing working with the Council and Department.

NYC DEP Amnesty Program Notice

Recently, the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) released its water bill Amnesty Program. Please see note from the DEP below: “We know that many NYC residents suffered during the pandemic, and many have fallen behind on their water bills. As a result, the Water Board has approved a one-time-only effort to help New Yorkers catch up. This is the broadest amnesty program DEP has ever offered: customers in all tax classes and with any amount of water bill debt are eligible, which means that nearly 1 in 4 of our customers may be able to benefit. The Amnesty Program will offer customers up to 100% forgiveness of accrued interest if they pay all or part of their outstanding debt and enter into a payment agreement. There is still further support available for low-income water customers. The Amnesty Program will run for 90 days from today’s launch. Once it is over, DEP will begin aggressively pursuing enforcement actions against those accounts that are still delinquent and who have not taken advantage of the amnesty. So please encourage anyone you know who may be behind on their water bill to take advantage of this offer now! Save now on your water bill, get amnesty today!” For more information, please visit: www.nyc.gov/site/dep/pay-my-bills/amnesty-program.page

DOB Training Connect SST Card Reminder

The Plumbing Foundation seeks to remind the industry that as of February 1, 2023, anyone that holds a Site Safety Training Card MUST have the reissued DOB Training Connect Card. For more information, please see the April 2022 Service Update: www.nyc.gov/assets/buildings/pdf/training_connect_sn.pdf

2023 NYS Legislative Session – Albany Update

January 4th marked the first day of the 2023 NYS Legislative Session, which is also year one of a two-year session and which means bills from last year need to be reintroduced. Since January, the NYS Senate and Assembly have been introducing bills in their respective houses, including the Plumbing Foundation’s modular construction legislation, and during that time Governor Kathy Hochul also released her Executive Budget Proposal for FY 2024. Below highlights the major legislative items for the Plumbing Foundation.

Modular Construction Legislation

The Senate and Assembly both passed the modular construction legislation in 2022. Sponsored by Senator Jessica Ramos and Assemblyman Erik Dilan, S.5422/A.2512 requires all phases of modular construction, whether occurring in a factory or on-site, to comply with NYC licensing standards. This means the work must be done by or under the continuing supervision of a licensed master plumber, fire suppression contractor, and electrician. The bill simply requires that modular construction is held to the same safety standard as traditional stick-built construction. After passage in both houses, the bill was not delivered to the Governor until December 2022 and, unfortunately, Governor Hochul vetoed the bill along with a package of other bills without further discussion or consideration of Chapter Amendments. The veto message cited current enforcement by the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB), which we have learned over the years is inconsistent and lacking in its “third party certification” process of modular projects. The veto message also mentioned affordable housing concerns. There has been zero data to prove an actual impact on affordable housing and, more importantly, our legislation would ensure affordable housing projects being built by modular technology are safer. Affordable housing is for our most vulnerable population and they deserve safe structures, which means those projects must also comply with the NYC Construction Code fully, including licensing requirements. The veto message also expressed concern for out of state contractors, which is a confusing sentiment that our Governor would focus on rather than in-state jobs. The Plumbing Foundation is optimistic the bill will be passed by both houses again this year and that direct conversations with the Governor’s office will clarify the confusion and misinformation that seemed to misconstrue the purpose and practical implications of the bill.

Executive Budget / Gas Ban / Climate Action Council

The Governor’s proposed budget language in the Transportation, Economic Development and Environmental Conservation bill (known as an “Article VII” bill as opposed to an appropriations bill) includes a provision banning fossil fuel systems in new buildings by the end of 2028 as well as a ban on replacements to existing systems by January 1, 2035. While NYC already has a law in place banning gas systems on new construction come 2024, the ban to replace existing systems would place another very expensive and ill-conceived mandate on New Yorkers. The Governor’s gas ban language comes following the NYS Climate Action Council’s (CAC) final scoping plan that was issued in December 2022. The plan, officially submitted to the Governor and Legislature on January 1, 2023, includes recommendations on how the state can achieve its goals set by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), which requires a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and an 85% reduction by 2050, as compared to 1990 levels. The CAC received 35,000 written comments in response to its draft plan, including by the Plumbing Foundation which expressed concerns with costs and a lack of thorough consideration of other types of renewable energy sources such as renewable natural gas and hydrogen. The final plan seemed to ignore a lot of similar feedback; it proposed a cap-and-invest program and did not recommend what many pushed for as an “all the above” approach. Implementation of the CAC plan requires action by municipalities and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). DEC regulation will require an impact statement and consideration of costs. The Plumbing Foundation is actively engaging the Legislature on the proposed budget provision and is monitoring actions following the CAC plan, including DEC regulatory action. We will provide further updates on legislative and regulatory action.

Congestion Pricing

As a brief reminder, congestion pricing was passed in the NYS budget in 2019. After much delay in completing a federally required environmental impact analysis, in August 2022 the long-awaited analysis on the proposed congestion pricing plan for NYC was released. The lengthy analysis included seven scenarios evaluated by the MTA which propose prices from $9 to $23 per vehicle entering the zone. As a reminder, the 2019 law defines the zone as Manhattan at and below 60th Street with exemptions for the FDR Drive and West Side Highway. The only exceptions proposed in the analysis include certain vehicles carrying people with disabilities and authorized emergency vehicles. In addition, people whose primary residence is inside the district and whose income is less than $60,000 would be eligible for a state tax credit equal to the amount of their tolls. But 24/7 service vehicles (e.g., plumbers answering emergency calls) are not a proposed exemption. In September 2022, the Plumbing Foundation submitted written comments stating a request for a service vehicle exemption or discount. Most recently, the MTA announced that, while awaiting further federal approval of the environmental assessment, congestion pricing is again delayed at least through the first quarter of 2023. The Plumbing Foundation continues to advocate on this issue and will keep the industry apprised of its efforts.

Other Bills

Other important topics that the Plumbing Foundation will be working on at the state level this year include thermal energy and hydrogen (in terms of ensuring this type of work is regulated and the state and city require qualified persons to conduct installations of these types of systems, as well as homeowner incentives for use of these systems). We are also in support of the Emergency Responder Act, recently reintroduced by Senator James Skoufis as S.3312, which would provide licensed design professionals and construction service providers the rights and benefits limiting liability for providing advice, services, labor, and materials during times of emergency, crisis, or catastrophe. Protection like this is vital to ensure those professionals and service providers can react and assist in such emergency situations without being held to a liability standard that other first responders are otherwise not.

NYC DOHMH Adopts Important Water Tank Rules

Effective March 11, 2023, the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) adopted proposed rules increasing the penalty for violations related to water tank inspections. The proposed amendments would create new penalties for failure to comply with requirements and update current penalties. In addition, these proposed rules add specific penalties for violations relating to chemical treatment of building drinking water. The Plumbing Foundation is supportive of the proposed rules as they properly incentivize responsible parties to comply with pertinent water quality and safety measures under the NYC Health Code, including but not limited to chemical and product standards, recordkeeping requirements, and water tank inspector qualifications. The Plumbing Foundation commends DOHMH for establishing these penalties. Strong enforcement by DOHMH will no doubt increase compliance and therefore increase the safety of the city’s drinking water tanks. For more information, please visit: rules.cityofnewyork.us/rule/water-tank-inspection-penalties-2/

Fix a Leak Week At Home Activity

Download a PDF version of this EPA WaterSense® publication EPA832-F-09-004 Fix a Leak Week Family Fact Sheet

Fix a Leak Week, sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense® program, takes place in March. It’s a time when families are encouraged to check for water leaks and drips in bathrooms, kitchens, and yards at home.

What Is WaterSense?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA for short, is the part of our nation’s government that helps to protect the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the land where we live. EPA’s WaterSense program encourages Americans to use only the water they need and avoid wasting this precious resource. This concept, known as “water efficiency,” is important because the more people there are on the planet, the more strain it puts on limited water supplies. In fact, from 1950 to 2005, the number of people living in the United States doubled, while the demand for water more than tripled. Using only what we need helps keep this growing thirst for water in check.

The Facts on Leaks:

  • Did you know that, in a year, water leaks in your home can waste enough water to fill a backyard swimming pool? And if we added up all the water leaking in people’s homes right now it could fill nearly a trillion gallon milk jugs? That’s enough water for all the people living in the cities Los Angeles, Chicago, and Miami combined.
  • Water-wasting leaks include running toilets, dripping faucets, and other leaking pipes around your home. Most of these leaks can be fixed easily.
  • Fixing these leaks can save your family more than 10 percent on water bills. That’s like saving $1 for every $10 spent on water.

Finding Leaks:

  • Ask your parents to help you find the water meter on your house. Usually, it’s on the outside of the house in a box or under a metal cover on the sidewalk that says “Water.” The numbers in the box represent either gallons or cubic
  • feet of water used in your home. Check your meter, then don’t flush the
  • toilet, run the faucet, or use any water for two hours. At the end of the
  • two hours, check the water meter again. If the meter does not read exactly the same, you probably have a leak.
  • Walk through your house listening for running toilets and looking for drips. Drips usually mean leaks.
  • Find out if your toilet is leaking silently by placing a drop of food coloring in the toilet tank (that’s the area behind the toilet seat—ask for mom or dad’s help to remove the lid). If color shows up in the toilet bowl after a few minutes without flushing, you have a leak. Once you finish the experiment, flush a few times so you don’t stain the toilet.

Faucets:

  • Take a watch or clock with a second hand and time how often your faucet drips. A leaky faucet that drips at the rate of one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons in a year!
  • There are parts that hold your faucet together called washers and gaskets—they can wear down and cause drips. If someone in your house is handy, these parts usually can be replaced easily.
  • There’s also a little screen device called an “aerator” that can be screwed onto the tip of your faucet—it adds air into the water stream so you can use less water to wash your hands or brush your teeth without noticing a difference in water flow. Ask your parents to look for the WaterSense label when buying an aerator or replacing a faucet—that means the product will work well and save water.

Showers:

  • Showerheads—the place where water comes out in streams at the top of your shower—can also get old and leak, even when the water is not on. A showerhead that drops just 10 drips in a minute wastes more than 500 gallons per year. That’s enough water, if you saved it all up, to wash 60 loads of dishes in your dishwasher!
  • Most leaky showerheads can be fixed by making sure they’re screwed in tight. Having someone handy wrap the showerhead in “pipe tape,” a special tape available at hardware stores, and using a wrench to tighten it will help.

Toilets:

  • It’s one of the oldest prank phone calls—“Is your toilet running? Then you’d better catch it!” But a running toilet is no joke. If you can hear the water in your toilet making noise, even when no one flushed recently, you have a running toilet that could be wasting 200 gallons of water or more every day! Sometimes you just need to jiggle the handle to fix it, but sometimes a part needs to be replaced.
  • Many toilets leaks are caused because the “flapper” is decayed or broken.
  • The flapper is a rubber piece that opens up to let the water flow from the
  • tank into the bowl when you pull down on the toilet handle. If someone in your house is handy, they can easily replace this inexpensive part of your toilet.
  • If the problem is not just an old flapper and your family has to replace a leaky toilet, tell your par- ents to look for one with the WaterSense label to save both water and money on your family’s water and sewer bill.

Outdoors:

  • Check your garden hose for leaks where it connects to the side of the house. If it leaks when the hose is turned on, make sure the hose is screwed in tight. If that doesn’t work, someone handy may need to replace the nylon or rubber hose washer or wrap the “spigot,” which is the metal faucet where the end of the hose attaches to the wall, in pipe tape.
  • If your family has a sprinkler system that waters your lawn, remind your parents to check the system each spring before turning it on to make sure the sprinklers were not broken during the winter or have sprung any leaks.
For more information, visit www.epa.gov/watersense

THE PIPECASTER is published by the Plumbing Foundation City of New York, Inc.

535 Eighth Ave., Fl. 17, New York, NY 10018 | Phone (212) 481-9740 | Fax (212) 481-7185 | (E) info@plumbingfoundation.nyc
Lawrence J. Levine, Chairman; Louis J. Buttermark, Vice Chairman; Barr Rickman, Treasurer; April McIver, Executive Director; Terence O’Brien, Editor. Board of Directors: Anthony D. Altimari, Paul Belli, Marc Breslaw, Louis J. Buttermark, Harris Clark, Alex Greenberg, Nicholas Katragis, Angelo Lemodetis, Lawrence J. Levine, Scott Lyons, Barr Rickman, Richard Turchiano

THE PLUMBING FOUNDATION’S ENVIRONMENTAL STATEMENT

Since its establishment in 1986, the Plumbing Foundation has worked diligently to ensure the plumbing industry has as little a “carbon footprint” on New York City as possible. The plumbing industry has historically utilized environmentally friendly materials such as recycled cast-iron and copper piping/fittings. The Foundation will continue in its role of protecting New York City as well as being an advocate for the environment by strengthening its water/sanitary regulations and thereby reducing wasteful water consumption in the City.

Plumbing Industry Testifies at NYC Council Hearing on Gas Safety

On Monday, February 27, 2023, the NYC Council Committees on Oversight and Investigations and Housing and Buildings, chaired by Council Member Gale Brewer and Council Member Pierina Sanchez respectively, held a hearing on the NYC Department of Buildings’ (DOB) enforcement of gas qualifications pursuant to Local Law 150 of 2016 (LL150). This hearing was in all likelihood held in response to UA Plumbers Local No.1’s lawsuit against DOB for failure to properly enforce LL150 gas qualifications and pipe welder qualification requirements. The joint Committees first heard from DOB Acting Commissioner Kazimir Vilenchik, P.E., and DOB Deputy Commissioner of External Affairs, Guillermo Patino. While DOB testified to the fact that more than 2000 gas related violations have been issued since LL150 was enforced in January 2020, there were many unanswered questions asked by the Council that the industry was also hoping would be answered by DOB. This includes the in-the-field enforcement of gas cards and transparency on DOB NOW of the gas and welder information, specifically on the front end of the permitting process. When Council Member Charles Barron asked how many gas explosions have occurred in the City in the past decade, the answer went from unsure to three, which the industry knows is inaccurate. There were multiple in 2022 alone. Following the DOB testimony was Patrick Walsh, attorney for Plumbers Local 1, and Arthur Klock of the Joint Apprentice Training Committee, a jointly funded labor/management trade school, at which Mr. Klock is the director. Mr. Walsh provided a background of the multiple notifications given to DOB of apparent gas and pipe welder qualification violations, which Mr. Walsh says were ignored. Mr. Klock testified on seven major gas safety issues that need to be addressed: 1) improper or nonexistent pipe welder qualifications; 2) appliance stores doing regulated gas work illegally; 3) arbitrary elimination of the Master Plumbers License Board; 4) lack of enforcement of the requirement for a “gas work qualification”; 5) disbanding of the Office of the Buildings Marshal; 6) elimination of the reporting requirements for “ordinary plumbing work”; and 7) ineffective enforcement of hundreds of improper gas safety inspections.

Plumbing Industry Testifies at NYC Council Hearing on Gas Safety

Next, the Plumbing Foundation, Association of Contracting Plumbers of New York City (ACP), and Master Plumbers Council (MPC) testified. April McIver, Executive Director of the Plumbing Foundation, highlighted her confusion on staffing at the DOB. She believed DOB is understaffed which is one reason for underenforcement, but the Commissioner said otherwise. She also emphasized the importance that DOB NOW shows DOB gas qualifications on the front end of the permitting process and that Local Law 152 of 2016 (periodic gas inspections) documents are readily available to the public; otherwise, someone has to submit a FOIL request to view them. She also said that there has been no response from DOB on where to send illegal plumbing tips since the Buildings Marshal office was disbanded. She urged the Council to review her written testimony which explains more comprehensive recommendations, including reinstating the License Board and proposed revisions to LL152. Terence O’Brien, who is both the Executive Vice President of the ACP and Senior Director of the Plumbing Foundation, also submitted comprehensive written testimony. During oral testimony, he highlighted for the Council that the 2016 DOB leadership opposed the gas safety laws and he implored the City Council to review staffing at DOB during budget negotiations, specifically for inspectors at DOB. While he empathized with the Department, he said there are fundamental flaws that need to be addressed for better gas safety and transparency. Lastly, the MPC emphasized the importance of enforcing gas safety laws and the pending legislation before the Council, including reinstatement of the License Board, ordinary plumbing work, and LL152 revisions. When Council Member Brewer asked the panel what type of staffing should be improved at DOB, Ms. McIver said if there are staffers wearing multiple hats at DOB, that should be changed so there is staff specifically dedicated to gas safety. Mr. O’Brien said the DOB previously engaged in sting operations which were effective. Council Member Pierina Sanchez asked about the 311 process. Ms. McIver explained that she forwarded anonymous illegal plumbing tips directly to DOB and not through 311, but she is unsure of where to now send those tips, but her own personal experience with 311 did not result in any follow up. Mr. O’Brien said the Marshals office would provide a tracking number so one can follow up. He also explained the function of BSIU. Mr. Bassolino highlighted the importance of the License Board as a forum to advise the Department on illegal plumbing tips. Council Member Brewer said the conversation on gas safety will continue and the written testimony provided will be reviewed in following up with the Department. The Plumbing Foundation commends the NYC Council and specifically Council Members Brewer and Sanchez for holding the hearing on one of the most important topics for the plumbing industry: gas safety. We will continue to discuss improvements to gas safety enforcement with the Department and Council.

Pipecaster Issue 3: Vol. 45

Winners of the 2021-22 Eugene Cardoza Memorial Scholarship

Winners of the 2021-22 Eugene Cardoza Memorial Scholarship

From L to R: ACP President Rob Greenberg, Scholarship Winners Evelyn Sullivan and Elizabeth Vasylets, and ACP Board Member Raymond Cardoza

The 2022 winners of the Eugene Cardoza Memorial Scholarship Program have been determined. Further information on the scholarship program can be found on the Association of Contracting Plumbers’ website (acpcny.org). Five recipients will receive $5,000 a year towards a collegiate education. As a reminder, all scholarship applications are reviewed by an independent panel of educators and selections are based upon academic achievement, community service, and extracurricular activities. The Trustees of the Promotion Fund and the ACP Executive Board are happy to announce the following 2022 winners: Evelyn Sullivan Elizabeth Vasylets Luke Tozzo Hailey Coger Celia Little Congratulations to all the winners, we wish you luck on your future endeavors!

NYC DOB Enforcement of Gas Card for Test, Rough, & Finish Inspections

Please be advised that the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) has ramped up enforcement of gas cards for gas tests and rough and finish inspections. While these types of inspections have been covered by Local Law 150 of 2016 DOB Gas Qualification requirement, it seems only recently that enforcement has been active. There is an April 2021 Service Notice outlining enforcement of the law, see below.

NYC Buildings, Industry Notice, Gas Work Qualification, Distributed: April 20, 2021

Link to pdf version: https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/buildings/pdf/industry_notice_ll_150of16_gas_work_qualification.pdf

Follow-Up #2 – Local Law 150 of 2016: Gas Work Qualification Requirement

As of January 1, 2020, all gas work, as defined in NYC Fuel Gas Code and including the installation, testing, and maintenance of fuel-gas piping systems, appliances, and related accessories must be performed by a Licensed Master Plumber or by:
  • a person who holds a Gas Work Qualification issued by the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) working under the direct and continuing supervision of a Licensed Master Plumber; or
  • a person who holds a Limited Gas Work Qualification issued by DOB working under the personal and immediate supervision of a person who holds a Gas Work Qualification or a Licensed Master Plumber.
Persons qualified to perform gas work must carry their Department issued Gas Work Qualification Card and a government issued photo identification at all times while engaged in gas work and must present the card and identification upon request of any authorized enforcement officer. Gas work performed by a person who does not possess the required qualifications will result in enforcement action, which may include but not be limited to issuance of the following:
  • a violation carrying a penalty of $5,000 pursuant to 1 RCNY § 102 01;
  • an order to remove and reinstall the appliance/system;
  • a Stop Work Order.
Use the License Search on the Department’s website to ensure the professional hired to perform gas work is a Licensed Master Plumber.

Congestion Pricing Details Underway

A long awaited analysis on the proposed congestion pricing plan for New York City was released on August 10, 2022. The lengthy analysis includes seven scenarios evaluated by the MTA which propose prices from $9 to $23 per vehicle entering the zone. As a reminder, the 2019 law defines the zone as Manhattan at and below 60th Street with exemptions for the FDR Drive and West Side Highway. The only exceptions proposed in the analysis include certain vehicles carrying people with disabilities and authorized emergency vehicles. In addition, people whose primary residence is inside the district and whose income is less than $60,000 would be eligible for a state tax credit equal to the amount of their tolls. But 24/7 service vehicles (e.g., plumbers answering emergency calls) are not a proposed exemption. Hearings on the analysis began in late August. The Plumbing Foundation plans to submit feedback and a request for a service vehicle exemption or discount and will keep the industry apprised of its efforts. Please check back in the Fourth Quarter Pipecaster for an update on the congestion pricing plan.

In Memoriam: Louis L. Buttermark

Louis L. Buttermark

The Plumbing Foundation remembers Louis L. Buttermark, founder of Louis L. Buttermark and Sons, Inc., a family-owned and operated plumbing company out of Staten Island which has been in business for over 60 years. Mr. Buttermark passed away on July 26, 2022 at the age of 94. He is the father of Plumbing Foundation Board Member Louis J. Buttermark. A licensed master plumber not only by trade but blood, Mr. Buttermark was the son of a plumbing contractor and married Mary Frances Burns, who also was the daughter of a plumbing contractor. Starting his own company at the age of 33, Mr. Buttermark’s business quickly grew—especially following the opening of the Verrazano Bridge. His company has done work on major NYC landmarks like the Lincoln Center and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Mr. Buttermark held positions as a Trustee and as President of the Richmond County Plumbing Contractors Association, counterpart to the former Plumbers Union Local 371 before it merged into Local 1. During his term with the association, he co-chaired a high school scholarship program, was involved in negotiations with the plumbers’ union, and co-chaired the association’s annual Richmond County benefit golf outing for the Cooley’s Anemia Foundation. He worked closely with his son Louis on each committee. He was an honorary member of the Association of Contracting Plumbers of the City of New York, Inc. (ACP). Mr. Buttermark retired 20 years ago and left his company to his three sons, Louis, Paul and David. The youngest generation of Buttermark plumbers includes grandchildren James Buttermark, Mario Naccarato, and Nicholas Naccarato. Mr. Buttermark was married to Mary (predeceased, 2020) for 68 years, a father to five children and a grandfather to six. He was a veteran and an avid golfer. Mr. Buttermark was also a member of the New York City Homebuilders Association and the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce. He received the Louis B. Miller Business Leadership Award from the Chamber of Commerce in 1997. He was a longtime resident of Staten Island.

THE PIPECASTER is published by the Plumbing Foundation City of New York, Inc.

535 Eighth Ave., Fl. 17, New York, NY 10018 | Phone (212) 481-9740 | Fax (212) 481-7185 | (E) info@plumbingfoundation.nyc
Lawrence J. Levine, Chairman; Louis J. Buttermark, Vice Chairman; Barr Rickman, Treasurer; April McIver, Executive Director; Terence O’Brien, Editor. Board of Directors: Anthony D. Altimari, Paul Belli, Marc Breslaw, Louis J. Buttermark, Harris Clark, Alex Greenberg, Nicholas Katragis, Angelo Lemodetis, Lawrence J. Levine, Scott Lyons, Barr Rickman, Richard Turchiano

UPDATE FROM CITY CALIBRATION ON PS200 LMP DEVICE

PS200 LMP device

PS200 LMP device

On August 26th the Plumbing Foundation issued a notice to all Gas Operator Qualification Members regarding the sales and service of the PS200 LMP combustible gas indicator device used for inspections. The flier associated with that notice is included in this Quarter’s Pipecaster. As a follow up, please refer to the following notice from City Calibration: Please be advised that regardless of the Heath Consultants taking over the sales and repairs of the LMP200 devices, at the time City Calibration remains vigilant in fulfilling our obligation to the NYC plumbing industry and will continue our calibration services and data storage. All calibration locations and City Calibration contact information remains the same and is: 516-267-7100 info@citycalibration.com www.citycalibrationcenters.com Please contact the above mentioned for any follow up questions. Link to PDF of notice flier regarding the sales and service of the PS200 LMP

THE PLUMBING FOUNDATION’S ENVIRONMENTAL STATEMENT

Since its establishment in 1986, the Plumbing Foundation has worked diligently to ensure the plumbing industry has as little a “carbon footprint” on New York City as possible. The plumbing industry has historically utilized environmentally friendly materials such as recycled cast-iron and copper piping/fittings. The Foundation will continue in its role of protecting New York City as well as being an advocate for the environment by strengthening its water/sanitary regulations and thereby reducing wasteful water consumption in the City.

Pipecaster Issue 2: Vol. 45

Association of Contracting Plumbers Raises $129k for Covenant House

L to Right: Holly Gallichio, Manager, Key Relationships, Covenant House International; Tom Maniuszko, Chair of Charity Golf Outing Committee; Terence O’Brien, ACP Executive Vice President & Senior Director of the Plumbing Foundation; Rob Greenberg, ACP President; Sarah Mobarak, MGO, Covenant House International.

The Association of Contracting Plumbers of the City of New York, Inc. held its annual “Plumbing Industry Day” Charity Golf Outing on May 2, 2022. The charity chosen this year was Covenant House (CH). CH provides housing and supportive services to youth facing homelessness, and helps young people transform their lives and put them on a path to independence. CH has locations across the country and internationally, 33 cities across six countries to be exact. Since opening 50 years ago, it has served over 1 million youth. Covenant House New York (CHNY) serves youth ages 16-24 and is located in midtown Manhattan where young people can access short-term emergency care through CHNY’s street outreach program, drop-in services, and emergency shelter. CHNY has an on-site health clinic, and the Covenant Works program helps them navigate the world of employment. Rights of Passage, CH’s transitional housing program, empowers youth to build the skills they need to live independently. CH expects that over the next 5 years it will provide over 4 million nights of housing, open an additional 200 beds, and sustain the 750 beds that were most recently opened. The ACP is pleased to report that $129,000 was donated to the Covenant House. Thank you to everyone who made the day a success!

Plumbing Foundation Held Water Conservation, Safety, and Welfare series March 22-24

The Plumbing Foundation held its three-part webinar series Water Conservation, Safety, & Welfare the week of World Water Day (March 22nd). The three-part series was divided into three main topics: water efficiency, Legionella prevention, and preparedness against backflow. The first webinar on water efficiency was held on March 22, 2022, World Water Day. Panelists included Stephanie Tanner, CEM, LEED AP BD+C, the Lead Engineer of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) WaterSense Program; Alan Cohn, the Managing Director of the NYC Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Integrated Water Management program; John Brock, a Policy Analyst for DEP’s Integrated Water Management program; and Peter Li, PE, LEED AP, an Associate Partner at Jaros, Baum & Bolles (JB&B). The panel was moderated by Executive Director April McIver and Senior Director Terence O’Brien. Ms. Tanner provided an informative overview of the WaterSense Program, including the efficiency and performance criteria WaterSense uses for products, a discussion of the multifamily building score, and a review of the NYC Water Score (NYC average is 33 versus the national average of 47). The DEP representatives, Mr. Cohn and Mr. Brock, discussed water efficiency in NYC specifically, including a review of water demand in correspondence with population, the Delaware aqueduct bypass connection, the Water Demand Management Program and Municipal Water Efficiency Program, and the Water Conservation Reuse Grant. Finally, Mr. Li discussed JB&B’s experience in the energy consulting industry. The second webinar on Legionella prevention was held on March 23, 2022. Panelists included Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine; Dr. Janet Stout, President of Special Pathogens Laboratory; John Letson, VP of Plant Operations at Memorial Sloan- Kettering; and Rob Greenberg, President of Evergreen Mechanical and President of the Association of Contracting Plumbers. The panel was moderated by Neil Skidell, Managing Director at Par Plumbing. Dr. Stout provided an important foundation to the discussion by explaining who is at greatest risk to contract Legionnaires’ Disease, where Legionella comes from (including potable water), examples of recent NYC outbreaks, problems with “denial” of the issue, and prevention through legislation (including why NYC needs to adopt a new law). BP Levine next discussed his experience as Chair of the NYC Council Committee on Health, the passage of the cooling tower inspection legislation, working with the Plumbing Foundation on the inspection/maintenance of water tanks legislation in 2019, and his support of legislation requiring a comprehensive building water management plan. Mr. Letson discussed his experience running operations in a healthcare facility (including his “zero tolerance” policy for Legionella), the longstanding requirement for healthcare facilities to have a building water management plan, the importance of water temperature and the problem with low flow fixtures, and his support of legislation put forth by the Plumbing Foundation. Finally, Mr. Greenberg explained his experience in the field, specifically in hotels and multifamily buildings, with copper ionization, and said his company is trying to get owners to be more proactive. Mr. Greenberg also emphasized that now is the time to act in the NYC Council on the legislation put forward by the Plumbing Foundation. Mr. Skidell then moderated a discussion which included a dialogue on NYC’s biggest challenges to Legionella prevention, and the potential health risks posed by energy policies like low hot water temperatures and low flow fixtures. The final webinar on preparedness against backflow was held on March 24, 2022. Panelists included NYS Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr.; Muhammad Hossain, PhD, PE, Chief of the NYC DEP’s Connections and BWSO unit; Rob Greenberg, President of Evergreen Mechanical; and Ron Merhige, PE, CEM, President of RLM Engineering PLLC. The panel was moderated by Neil Skidell. Executive Director McIver first established a foundation of the discussion by providing a presentation on backflow prevention device requirements, backwater valves, and the role of climate change. Next, Senator Addabbo explained the experience of his Queens constituents, that backflow and backwater are a health and property damage issue. He further explained what the state has done and what else it can do to ensure implementation of important laws. Mr. Hossain of the DEP reviewed the role of the Cross Connection Control Unit, relevant codes and rules, and the permitting process and device test reporting for backflow devices. Following, Mr. Greenberg provided a plumbing contractor’s perspective on installing and testing backflow prevention devices, and the emerging concern over backwater given climate change. Finally, Mr. Merhige presented on placement/location of devices in buildings and challenges on filing and installations, including pushback or lack of interest by the property owner. Neil Skidell asked the panel about a common occurrence in which owners have devices that have not been registered or approved in decades, which led to a discussion on ensuring owners are educated not just by the DEP but by their contractors. It was also mentioned that this panel focused on primary devices regulated by DEP but that there is a separate host of problems on the DOB side with secondary devices, which was set aside for a later discussion. The Plumbing Foundation graciously thanks all of the panelists for sharing their time and expertise! We are extending the viewability of the recorded series until June 30, 2022. To view the full recordings, visit: www.plumbingfoundation.nyc/water-conservation-safety-and-welfare

Update on NYS Budget, Gas Ban, and Climate Action Council

Last quarter, in Pipecaster Issue 1: Vol. 45, we wrote the article Carbon Reduction, Gas Bans, Electrification: Updates on the NYS CLCPA providing the status of Governor Kathy Hochul’s gas ban proposal in the Executive Budget as well as discussing the Draft Scoping Plan released by the NYS Climate Action Council (CAC), tasked with determining how the state should go about meeting its goals set forth in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA). As a reminder, the 2019 law requires that by 2040, New York State achieves 100% zero-emission electricity and by 2050, reduces emissions at least 85% below 1990 levels. The NYS Legislative Session ended on June 3 and comments on the Draft Scoping Plan were submitted to the CAC by June 10. Below is a summary of what has occurred since the end of March. After pushback from industry stakeholders and elected officials alike, the gas ban proposal was removed from the final budget. The budget was passed about one week after its due date of April 1. However, the NYS Assembly, the house that left the Governor’s proposal out of its one-house budget proposal, held a public hearing on gas bans on May 12. The Plumbing Foundation submitted written testimony to the Assembly regarding our concerns with banning gas, the Draft Scoping Plan, and that the Assembly was even holding a hearing when the CAC was in the middle of hearings and reviewing stakeholder feedback. The state Legislature finally adjourned session on Friday, June 3. Fortunately, there was no additional movement on the gas ban legislation (S.6843A – Kavanagh / A.8431- Gallagher). However, in lieu of that, both houses did pass the Advanced Building Codes, Appliance and Equipment Efficiency Standards Act of 2022 (A.10439 – Fahy / S.9405 – Parker) which, inter alia, redefines duties and authority of the State Fire Prevention and Building Code Council; adds new definitions with respect to products that will eventually have efficiency standards, including plumbing products, and regulates the sale of these; adopts federal efficiency standards; redefinies duties of the NYSERDA president and secretary of state; and expands subpoena authority of the secretary of state to those installing devices that do not meet the standards required by law. This is a far cry from the state gas ban which was proposed and is a much more sensible piece of legislation, although the efficiency standards that will be set forth remain to be determined, thus we will continue to monitor. Finally, in late May, the Plumbing Foundation submitted its comments directly to the CAC outlining its concerns with the Draft Scoping Plan. The major concerns are financial implications, feasibility, and job loss. The next steps involve the CAC taking all stakeholder feedback and making necessary changes to the Draft Scoping Plan by the end of 2022. The Plan is then submitted to the NYS Legislature to be introduced as legislation. We have an opportunity at that point to submit comments and meet with our legislators.

Warning: Plumbers Be Cautious on Experience Verification Letters

The NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) recently charged a licensed master plumber with making a material false or misleading statement and negligence, incompetence, lack of knowledge, or disregard of the code (NYC Admin. Code sections 28-409.19[2] and [6] respectively) for providing conflicting experience verification information on a journeyman application and on the subsequent master plumber license application. This LMP provided an experience verification affidavit for an employee applying to be a journeyman plumber in 2016 wherein the LMP stated the employee performed plumbing work under the LMP, but then in 2020 the experience verification affidavit he submitted for that same employee said the employee worked as a project coordinator from August 2009 to May 2018 but did not perform plumbing work under the LMP’s supervision. The DOB found this constituted making a false statement as well as negligence, incompetence, lack of knowledge, and/or disregard of the code, and the LMP pled guilty to the charges. The LMP’s plumbing license is suspended for 9 months and his fire suppression contractor license is suspended for 6 months. He was fined $15,000. The employee/applicant was issued a plumbing license despite the falsifying of one of the experience verification affidavits. Upon further discussions with the DOB, it was determined by DOB that the 2016 letter was truthful and that the 2020 letter was falsified and that it related to a personal issue between the licensed plumber and employee/applicant. The Plumbing Foundation urges licensees to keep detailed records of any and all experience verification affidavits, as well as other similar documentation, to ensure accuracy of information whether or not it is submitted to a governmental agency. Equally important, licensees should always conduct themselves in a professional and candid manner. Honesty is a key element in upholding the integrity of the licensed plumbing profession.

NYS Senate and Assembly Pass Long Overdue Modular Construction Legislation!

A BIG KUDOS to Assemblyman Erik Dilan and Senator Jessica Ramos and all those in the NYS Legislature who co-sponsored or voted in the affirmative to pass A.2039-B/S.4738-A to ensure modular construction projects are held to the same safety standards as traditional stick-built construction projects under the NYC Building Code! This vital piece of legislation requires all modular construction projects to comply with the licensing requirements in the NYC Code, protecting the integrity of the licensed plumber, licensed electrician, and licensed fire suppression contractor, as well as ensuring the safety of NYC residents and visitors! Next steps, the bill will be sent to Governor Kathy Hochul’s office for review and approval. The Plumbing Foundation is working diligently to ensure the Governor and her staff are briefed and prepared on this important safety matter and will update the industry on the bill’s status.

State Legislature Adopts Public Contract Price Escalation Bill

The end of the New York State Legislative Session also included passage of A.10109 (Zebrowksi) / S.8844 (Reichlin-Melnick), which amends the State’s construction and commodity contracts to provide equitable relief to contractors who have sustained unanticipated expenses by reason of construction materials price escalation. As anyone in the construction industry knows, the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic led to massive increases in the cost of materials as well as major supply chain delays. Numerous contractors across the City and State have found themselves locked into public works contracts prior to the pandemic but with the actual work starting late into the pandemic when price increases went through the roof, meaning if contractors were held to the original bid prices, that economic impact could potentially close their businesses down. The bill applies to bids submitted prior to April 1, 2020 but only for which materials were purchased or invoiced after March 1, 2020. If signed by the Governor, it will allow contractors who submitted bids to the State of New York or a public benefit corporation to receive an adjusted contract on materials costs where the price escalated in excess of five (5) percent upon invoice or purchase of said materials from the original bid. Unlike private contracts where potential contract clauses could be imposed, like force majeure, public works contracts are more difficult to break and/or revise. We applaud the Sponsors for recognizing the catastrophic impact that price escalation can and will continue to have on construction contractors. The bill awaits Governor Kathy Hochul’s approval. The Plumbing Foundation seeks to have a similar expanded law, rule or policy passed at the City level to ensure contractors in similar situations with City Agencies are able to seek relief.

EPA WaterSense: New York Water Fact Sheet

See original pdf: https://www.epa.gov/sites/default/files/2017-02/documents/ws-ourwater-new-york-state-fact-sheet.pdf New York State is known for its abundant water resources and natural beauty. The Finger Lakes, the Great Lakes, and Niagara Falls attract thousands of visitors each year and provide the state with water for household, business, and industrial use. At the same time, the state is home to the bustling metropolis of New York City, with the sizeable water needs that one would expect from the largest population hub in the United States.

Water Sources

Approximately one quarter of New Yorkers get their water from groundwater sources. The remaining demand is largely filled by surface water. Lakes Ontario and Erie supply the area around the cities of Rochester and Buffalo, respectively. Smaller lakes and streams supply other areas. New York City is home to the largest engineered water system in the nation, supplying more than 1 billion gallons of water each day to approxi- mately 9 million people, representing half of the state’s population. The city draws its water from reservoirs upstate, supplied by a 1,900-square- mile watershed—that’s about the size of Delaware. Such extensive systems require substantial efforts to maintain. New York has 30,000 miles of aging sewer and water treatment systems that will require significant investment in repairs and upgrades during the next two decades. If New Yorkers use water more efficiently, it will help reduce these infrastructure investments.

Conservation Efforts

In 1989, New York built water conservation into its legal system by adopting legislation that required applicants for water distribution per- mits to document their water conservation efforts. The New York City Department of Environmental Protection has partnered with WaterSense® to promote awareness of the WaterSense label and water conservation by distributing program materials at public outreach events and the Union Square Greenmarket farmers’ market. And on the commercial side, the New York City Water Board offers a rate reduction for buildings that reuse a large percentage of their water. At the consumer level, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection offers free residential water surveys to residents to identify leaks and measure the flow rates of water-using devices. New York City also invested $393 million in a 1.6-gallon-per-flush toilet rebate program, which reduced water demand and wastewater flow by 90.6 million gallons per day, represent- ing a 7 percent savings. The rebate program saved $605 million by creating a 20-year delay before water supply and wastewater-treatment expansion projects are required. Across the state, even more can be done to save water. If just one out of every 10 households in New York replaced its older, inefficient toilets with WaterSense labeled toilets, it would save nearly 8 billion gallons and more than $46 mil- lion in water bills annually. That’s more than four hours’ worth of flow over the Niagara Falls! And if every household in New York replaced its showerheads with WaterSense labeled models, it could save about 17 billion gallons of water annually, representing $100 million in water bills and more than $180 million in energy costs for heating the water saved each year. For more information and water-saving tips, visit www.epa.gov/watersense.

Increasing Conservation Statewide

The New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation (NYSEFC), a WaterSense promotion- al partner, provides low-cost financing and tech- nical assistance to municipalities, business, and state agencies. Since New York needs such extensive water infrastructure renovation, NYSEFC stresses water conservation to reduce the need for and costs associated with the main- tenance and operation of that infrastructure. The corporation presents the importance of water conservation and steps that can be taken to increase conservation to audiences ranging from students at the State University of New York at Albany to state agency staffers. For example, NYSEFC promoted Fix a Leak Week, sponsored by WaterSense, to New York hard- ware stores and consumers. In addition, NYSEFC replaced Suffolk County Community College’s aging toilets with WaterSense labeled models, reducing the institution’s water demand by 50 percent.

THE PIPECASTER is published by the Plumbing Foundation City of New York, Inc.

535 Eighth Ave., Fl. 17, New York, NY 10018 | Phone (212) 481-9740 | Fax (212) 481-7185 | (E) info@plumbingfoundation.nyc
Lawrence J. Levine, Chairman; Louis J. Buttermark, Vice Chairman; Barr Rickman, Treasurer; April McIver, Executive Director; Terence O’Brien, Editor. Board of Directors: Anthony D. Altimari, Paul Belli, Marc Breslaw, Louis J. Buttermark, Harris Clark, Alex Greenberg, Nicholas Katragis, Angelo Lemodetis, Lawrence J. Levine, Scott Lyons, Barr Rickman, Richard Turchiano

Schedule for 2022 SUNY Empire / CTLTC 7-Hour License Renewal Courses

Please see the upcoming 2022 schedule for SUNY Empire State College / Construction Trades License Training Corp. 7-Hour Master Plumber and Master Fire Suppression Contractor License Renewal Courses, all to take place at 535 8th Ave, Floor 17, New York, NY 10018: Wednesday, July 27, 2022 Wednesday, August 24, 2022 Wednesday, September 28, 2022 Wednesday, October 26, 2022 Wednesday, November 30, 2022 These courses will all have a 20 person maximum capacity. To register for the next course, visit: www.plumbingfoundation.nyc/resources/renewal-course/

THE PLUMBING FOUNDATION’S ENVIRONMENTAL STATEMENT

Since its establishment in 1986, the Plumbing Foundation has worked diligently to ensure the plumbing industry has as little a “carbon footprint” on New York City as possible. The plumbing industry has historically utilized environmentally friendly materials such as recycled cast-iron and copper piping/fittings. The Foundation will continue in its role of protecting New York City as well as being an advocate for the environment by strengthening its water/sanitary regulations and thereby reducing wasteful water consumption in the City.

What Happened to Congestion Pricing?

Remember congestion pricing? Not surprising if it has slipped one’s mind. To refresh one’s recollection, in 2019, the New York State Legislature passed a congestion pricing law as part of its 2020 budget legislation, known as the “Traffic Mobility Act.” The law established a “Central Business District” within which tolling must be imposed. The Central Business District consists of any roadway, bridge, tunnel, approach, or ramp located south of 60th Street in Manhattan but not the FDR, West Side Highway, Battery Park underpass, or Hugh Carey Tunnel. The law also established the Traffic Mobility Review Board, which is tasked with developing recommendations to be submitted to the MTA’s Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority (TBTA). These recommendations are supposed to include the cost of the fees imposed in the Central Business District as well as any credits, discounts, and exemptions. The tolls imposed must generate $15 billion in bonds to fund the MTA. To date, the Traffic Mobility Review Board has not issued recommendations which were first projected to be submitted by the end of 2020 with the State’s expectation that the plan would become effective in January 2021. This has not happened. While public hearings began in fall 2021, there has still been no update on the Board’s recommendations. One explanation for the delay stems from the fact the roadways associated with the Central Business District have received federal dollars. Due to this, New York is required to have an environmental impact statement conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation to establish its congestion pricing program. According to a recent article, Governor Kathy “Hochul and MTA officials have pointed to the federal government’s lengthy approval process for knocking the plan off schedule, citing 425 comments on the project’s environmental assessment.” The topic was raised in a recent Governor’s debate and all candidates, including Hochul, supported a delay. While there was some speculation that Governor Hochul was not fully supportive, another recent article explains she is “100%” in support of congestion pricing. That article also says she met with federal officials to “discuss[] the hundreds of objections and requests for additional information made by federal officials in response to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s initial study of the toll’s environmental and economic impacts.” Still, there is no clearly established timeline for the environmental assessment or the recommendations for the plan. Because the Plumbing Foundation City of New York, Inc. expects an impact on NYC’s plumbing industry as a result of congestion pricing, we are closely monitoring the issue and are prepared to submit comments in support of an exception or discount for those working in the service industry who must respond to 24-hour emergency calls. *UPDATE 6/30/2022: According to an article, the MTA has said in a Board Meeting that it has answered the 400+ questions about how the environment might be impacted if it charges drivers a fee to enter Manhattan below 60th Street, in response to the federally mandated environmental assessment. Next steps include approval from the Federal Highway Administration, but there is still a long road ahead: the MTA “must conduct more public outreach, install devices to collect the tolls, and set a price that will ultimately raise $1 billion a year in revenue.” Accordingly, the MTA said it expects congestion pricing will go into effect by the end of 2023.