Water Conservation, Safety & Welfare

Plumbing Foundation, City of New York, Water Conservation, Safety, & Welfare Please join the Plumbing Foundation for its FREE virtual three-part seminar series March 22-24, 2022! The Water Conservation, Safety, & Welfare series will entail experts discussing water efficiency, Legionella prevention, and the importance of preparedness against backflow. Please click on the applicable event to register! Part 1: Water Efficiency – March 22, 2022 at 10-11am Coinciding with World Water Day, a discussion on the role of the Licensed Master Plumber and ways owners can work with their LMP’s to conserve water usage and increase sustainability. Part 2: Legionella Prevention – March 23, 2022 at 10-11am An overview on the Legionella problem and what more  can be done in New York City to prevent and combat Legionnaires’ Disease. Part 3: Backflow Preparedness – March 24, 2022 at 10-11am A discussion on the impact of recent mega storms on NYC homeowners, the Citywide Climate Adaptation Plan passed by the NYC Council last October, as well as the existing backflow prevention requirements and why it is vital to comply with them, and what more can be done. Registrants will receive a Zoom webinar link the day before the applicable event.

New Yorkers Should be Alarmed by City Council Introduction Bill Number 2317A

In the waning hours of his administration, Mayor deBlasio has misled the City Council to eliminate reliable natural gas, thereby limiting NYC to rely exclusively on electricity for heating, cooking, and hot water. His administration claims it is doing so in the best interests of the climate and NYC businesses and residents. Ask anyone who is a documented and substantiated expert and they will tell you that, based on the SCIENCE, electrification by 2023 or 2027 is not smart, not viable, and not “green.” The advocates for this ill-conceived plan claim to rely on science, but in fact, the science does not support a conversion to full electricity as a sustainable, green, and reliable means of powering NYC. Intro. 2317A prohibits the use of ANYTHING but electricity. How can electricity be the savior for New York City’s climate crisis? It can’t and isn’t. If it were the answer, the federal infrastructure bill signed into law by President Biden less than a month ago would not have invested almost 10 billion dollars into hydrogen (a gas, not electricity) as a part of the fight against Climate Change. The advocates also either failed to mention or the City Council chose to ignore the fact that 70% of electricity production needed to supply NYC’s electric demand is currently produced using some level of fossil fuel consumption. Does that sound “green”? If the science is there, why is a viability study under this bill due the same day the ban goes into effect in 2023? How can City Council members make an educated, informed decision without the information they need to do so? It is irresponsible to restrict buildings from use of other green fuel sources, many of which are being developed, and instead rely solely on electricity, which is not “greener” than gas. We have seen what happens when there is no diversification. We’re not talking just about power related issues like the ones that crippled NYC post Super- Storm Sandy or the Texas grid issue this past winter. A one source approach which is not backed by science is bad for everyone (tenants, homeowners, developers, the current infrastructure, and the environment). The City’s approach should instead be to help support and encourage all clean, green solutions, including gas, instead of relying on a short-sighted, one-size-fits-all approach. PRESS RELEASE: Strong Concerns with NYC Intro. 2317A (gas ban legislation) FROM: Association of Contracting Plumbers City of New York CONTACT: Terence O’Brien 212-481-4580 / t.obrien@acpcny.org DATE: December 14, 2021 Download PDF version of Press release The Association of Contracting Plumbers of the City of New York Inc. (ACP), is a trade association of New York City licensed, unionized plumbing firms. Established in 1881, it is the oldest organization of its kind in the country. ACP member firms have built and maintained the sanitary, fuel gas, methane retention, solar heat/solar hot water, and medical gas systems in countless New York City buildings. ACP plumbing firms protect the health of all who live, work, and visit New York City.

The Plumbing Foundation Testifies at Hearing on Controversial Gas Ban Bill

On Wednesday, November 17, 2021, Executive Director April McIver testified among approximately 100 others at the NYC Council Committee on Environmental Protection Hearing on Intro. No. 2317, the gas ban bill. Executive Director McIver testified that the bill, which seeks to ban natural gas hookups on new construction and major renovations beginning in 2024, is extremely vague and that the text can be interpreted to apply to a much broader universe of buildings, not just those doing gut renovations. In addition, she emphasized that the effective date of 2 years from passage is nonsensical in terms of the timeline of emissions goals in the NYC Climate Mobilization Act and NYS Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), especially given that the plan to meet those emissions targets is still being determined. Further, there is no cost impact study on either the state or city level. Rather, Executive Director McIver said that the Council must take a common sense approach which must include: (1) wide-encompassing industry and stakeholder involvement; (2) a diversified and incremental approach to phasing out carbon-emitting energy sources; and (3) educational campaigns aimed at explaining the facts, science, and data behind that diversified approach. If the Council does not use a diversified and incremental approach to meet its own climate protection goals, it is inevitable that down the road stakeholders will return to another hearing on much-needed revisions to Intro. No. 2317. Others testifying in opposition were the Building and Construction Trades Council (BCTC), New York City District Council of Carpenters (NYCDCC), Plumbers Union Local No. 1 Training Center, American Petroleum Institute (API), Northeast Clean Heat and Power Initiative (NCHPI), Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA), Real Estate Board of NY (REBNY), and Building Owners and Managers Association of Greater New York (BOMA). The main proponents of the bill included the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability and environmental advocacy groups like New York Communities for Change, as well as a host of individuals. Numerous other organizations did not testify in support or opposition but rather submitted proposed revisions to the bill, including a phased-out timeline and more clear exceptions to the ban. Click here to view the Plumbing Foundation’s written testimony.

2021 Renewable Energy Forum: Role of Hydrogen

The Plumbing Foundation City of New York, Inc. hosted a discussion on November 9th on the role of hydrogen in the implementation of climate protection policies to meet our local carbon emission goals. Also discussed was systemic resiliency and why total electrification for heating and cooking is not viable or cost efficient in NYC. A link to the webinar is available here. Presentations and supporting materials available for download below:

Pipecaster Issue 3: Vol. 44

Is New York City a powder keg for fatal but preventable building failures?

By Terence O’Brien The horrific condo collapse in Surfside, Florida, leading to 98 deaths, should make us pause and reflect on the safety of our buildings and infrastructure. This tragedy sparked responses by policymakers urging more regulation by way of stricter building codes and stronger oversight including more frequent inspections. Buildings and infrastructure have failed many times over the last 15 years around the country. But let’s hope that Surfside was an anomaly and not the beginning of a disturbing and regular trend. New York City has a strict—some say burdensome—Construction Code. But NYC arguably has the strongest codes with the specific goal to enhance safety; therefore, most of the burdensome requirements are justified. Much of the Construction Code focuses on the design and construction phases, not necessarily maintenance of existing buildings which have been around for 20+ years. City electeds and the NYC Department of Buildings, as well as industry professionals, should be commended for all the work done on these comprehensive—and leading—NEW building construction codes. With that said, policymakers have a tendency to react to a problem in the aftermath of tragedy rather than foresee an issue and implement proactive measures. For example, the NYC Council passed gas safety laws following two deadly gas explosions in East Harlem and East Village in 2014 and 2015 respectively. However, there are still some gaps in our Construction Code for the one million+ buildings in NYC. New York’s policymakers may not be unique in their response to tragedies but NYC is unique in other ways, so why aren’t we engaging in more preventative measures rather than being on the defensive? Many industry associations warn policymakers about potential building integrity and construction safety concerns based on unclear Codes or the lack of regulation, or sometimes due to the absence of enforcement (which may be based on manpower or budget constraints). Many times, these associations only find themselves getting through to policymakers after something tragic has happened. Organizations like the Plumbing Foundation of NYC would rather see our trusted elected officials and regulators taking necessary steps ahead of tragedy to prevent death and injury. Proactive action by policymakers includes strengthening and enforcing gas safety laws, like amending Local Law 152/2016 which requires inspections of building gas piping, to make it clear that the point of entry and commercial tenant spaces must be in the scope of the inspection. Additional relevant policy includes, regulating modular construction so that it is held to the same safety standards as stick-built construction, increasing fines for not installing mandatory backflow devices, or mandating testing of potable water to prevent Legionella. Policymakers are in the position to do these things BEFORE tragedy erupts. The lives lost in the Surfside collapse, above all else, are no doubt the worst-case scenario when the integrity of a building’s structure is compromised. Yes, let policymakers and experts work together to determine how to improve the built environment to prevent future occurrences, but more must be done proactively, especially when we know the consequences. Terence O’Brien is the Executive Vice President of the Association of Contracting Plumbers of the City of New York, Inc. and Senior Director of the Plumbing Foundation City of New York, Inc. A version of this article was published in Real Estate Weekly on September 3, 2021, available at rew-online.com/lets-not-wait-for-disaster-to-happen-before-we-react/.

NYC Council Moves Ahead with LL152/2016 Amendments

On September 13, 2021, the NYC Council held a hearing on several pieces of legislation related to Local Law 152 of 2016, which requires periodic inspections of building gas piping systems. Of the bills heard on September 13th, the following were related to LL152:
  • Intro. No. 2259 – extending the deadlines for buildings in Community Districts 2, 5, 7, 13, and 18 in each borough from December 31, 2021 to June 30, 2022.
  • Intro. No. 2321 – requiring the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) to create a hardship program for owners unable to comply with LL152 inspection due dates.
  • Intro. No. 2361 – requiring DOB to create a questionnaire related to LL152 inspections for owner feedback .
  • Intro. No. 2377 – extending the physical scope of gas piping inspections.
The Plumbing Foundation submitted written and oral testimony regarding the above bills. We reiterated the industry’s position that these are critical safety inspections, and any extension or hardship program considerations should be carefully balanced by the Council and DOB. Most importantly, the Plumbing Foundation commented on the proposed language in Intro. No. 2377, which seeks to clarify the scope of the inspection. While the plumbing industry commends the Council for taking important and necessary steps to clarify what needs to be part of the inspection, we explained to the Council that the amendment falls short and rather creates confusion. The bill proposes the following language:
§ 28-318.3.2 Scope. At each inspection, in addition to the requirements prescribed by this article or by the commissioner, all exposed gas lines from the point of entry of gas piping into a building, through the point of connection to any equipment that uses gas supplied by such piping, including building service meters, [up to individual tenant spaces] shall be inspected for evidence of excessive atmospheric corrosion or piping deterioration that has resulted in a dangerous condition, illegal connections, and non-code compliant installations. The inspection entity shall also test all exposed gas lines from the point of entry of gas piping into a building through the point of connection to any equipment that uses gas supplied by such piping, including, but not limited to, building service meters, public spaces, hallways, corridors, [and] mechanical and boiler rooms and tenant-operated commercial kitchens with a portable combustible gas detector to determine if there is any gas leak, provided that such testing need only include [public] spaces, hallways and corridors on floors that contain gas piping or gas utilization equipment.
We explained there are several issues with the proposed language. First, the gas meter is not in the purview of DOB but governed by the NYS Public Service Commission. Second, the scope of the inspection should include all visually accessible gas piping except for inside individual dwelling units, or residential tenant spaces. The original law did not clarify that commercial tenant spaces, many of which pose an important safety threat (i.e., restaurants, etc.), must be inspected. The proposed language in 2377 only seeks to clarify (albeit confusingly) that the point of entry must be inspected, as well as gas equipment and commercial kitchens. This does not cover all the potential commercial tenant spaces that should be inspected (think: daycare facilities, educational institutions, etc.). We believe this language needs to be edited before the Council moves forward on 2377. In addition, we testified that the following should also be included in an A version of 2377:
  • Allowing licensed master plumbers (LMPs) to certify that a building contains no gas piping, otherwise an owner has to hire a more costly registered design professional to do so. Our understanding is that the DOB is also in support of this change.
  • Requiring that only LMPs and those holding a gas work qualification from the Department be able to conduct inspections (to provide the 5 years’ experience requirement that DOB set forth in rule).
  • Requiring DOB to add to its reporting requirements any information collected by the combustible gas indicator / leak survey instrument.
  • Clarifying the actions that must be taken for immediately hazardous v. nonimmediately hazardous abnormal operating conditions (AOCs).
  • Reversing the DOB’s lowering of a civil penalty, otherwise this is only going to incentivize continued non-compliance.
The Plumbing Foundation hopes that the Council takes these proposed revisions into careful consideration and will amend 2377 before the bill is passed into law. We will update the industry on the status of such legislation.

2021 Renewable Energy Forum, The Role Of Hydrogen

2021 Renewable Energy Forum, The Role Of Hydrogen

November 9, 2021
Tuesday (10am-noon)

Virtual
2021 Renewable Energy Forum, The Role Of Hydrogen
Presented by The Plumbing Foundation City of New York, Inc.
Join us for this virtual event as we discuss the role of hydrogen in the implementation of climate protection policies and to meet our carbon emission goals in NYC, and to discuss why total electrification for heating and cooking is not viable or cost efficient in NYC.
This is a FREE Zoom event. To register, visit
21renewableenergyforum.eventbrite.com

Announcement from NYC DEP for Online Permits

Please see below notice from the NYC Department of Environmental Protection, as well as the attached FAQs from DEP. We are pleased to announce that the major expansion of BWSO’s online filing portal is live! Attached [are] FAQs for your use. Effective August 30, 2021, the following permit types must now be submitted through PARIS:
Tap Connection Wet Connection Water Plug Tap and Plug Wet Connection and Plug New Sewer Connection Sewer Plug Hydrant Flow Tests Water Repair Water Relay Sewer Repair Sewer Relay Plumber’s Self-Certification (Tap Card)
To facilitate the successful use of the system by interested LMPs throughout the city, DEP will be scheduling a virtual information session via Zoom. The session will be held on September 7, 2021 at 2:00pm. The information session will provide a detailed walk through of the latest expansion. If you would like further information about this session or to RSVP, please respond to this email. We are excited about this update to the system, which we hope will improve your permitting experience. We will be sharing more details soon. Questions? Call 718-595-3088 or email PARIS@dep.nyc.gov

2020 Drinking Water Supply and Quality Report

NYC has the best water in the world! But don't just take our word for it. The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has released the 2020 Drinking Water Supply and Quality Report. Call 311 to request a copy. Assistance provided in multiple languages.

Can Employers Mandate the COVID Vaccine?

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC),
The federal EEO laws do not prevent an employer from requiring all employees physically entering the workplace to be vaccinated for COVID-19, subject to the reasonable accommodation provisions of Title VII and the ADA and other EEO considerations discussed below. These principles apply if an employee gets the vaccine in the community or from the employer.
Remember, the ADA also requires that an employer maintains the confidentiality of employee medical information, such as documentation or other confirmation of the COVID-19 vaccination. For more information, please visit: www.eeoc.gov/wysk/what-you-should-know-about-covid-19-and-ada-rehabilitation-act-and-other-eeo-laws

PARIS eFiling Expansion Frequently Asked Questions

August 30, 2021

ACCOUNT MANAGEMENT

Q1. When WSPS transitions to PARIS, how will I access my WSPS permits? A1. You will be able to access all your approved WSPS permits and tap cards in the PARIS system. Q2. I’m not registered for PARIS, how do I register? A2. For information on how to register for PARIS, please check out our website www.nyc.gov/dep. Q3. What happens to the money in the My DEP account? A3. The funds in your My DEP account will continue to be available. You can use the balance towards permits not available in PARIS. Q4. How do I withdraw my account balance? A4. You can contact the Bureau of Customer Service (BCS) for more information on how to close your My DEP account. Please note that BCS has a backlog of water/sewer permits filed on paper as well as on WSPS, therefore you should keep funds in your account to cover all pending permits.

FILINGS

Q1. I have pending permits in WSPS, where do I access these permits? A1. You will have access to your approved permits in PARIS. Objected permits must be re-filed using the PARIS system. Q2. I need to refile my application in PARIS, what happens to the fee paid in WSPS? A2. We have not withdrawn fees for objected permits, so the funds remain in your account. Q3. What permits can I obtain in PARIS? A3. You can file for the following applications on PARIS:
  • Water
    • Tap Permit
    • Tap & Plug Permit
    • Wet Connection Permit
    • Wet Connection & Plug Permit
    • Water Plug
    • Repair
    • Relay
  • Sewer
    • New Sewer Connection
    • Sewer Plug
    • Repair
    • Relay
  • Other
    • Hydrant Flow Test
Q4. Do I need to submit my applications via email to bwsolocaloffices@dep.nyc.gov? A4. No, you can file for your permits directly in PARIS. Q5. How do I pay for my permits in PARIS? A5. In PARIS you can pay for permits using an e-check or credit card. If you have questions or to provide feedback please email PARIS@dep.nyc.gov

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.

The Plumbing Foundation Testifies at Hearing on Gas Inspection Bills

On Monday, September 13, 2021, Executive Director April McIver testified at the NYC Council Committee on Housing & Buildings Hearing on several pieces of legislation related to Local Law 152/2016 periodic gas inspections, including:
  • Intro. No. 2259 – extending the deadlines for buildings in Community Districts 2, 5, 7, 13, and 18 in each borough from December 31, 2021 to June 30, 2022.
  • Intro. No. 2321 – requiring the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) to create a hardship program for owners unable to comply with LL152 inspection due dates.
  • Intro. No. 2361 – requiring DOB to create a questionnaire related to LL152 inspections for owner feedback .
  • Intro. No. 2377 – extending the physical scope of gas piping inspections.
Executive Director McIver reiterated the industry’s position that LL152 inspections are critical safety inspections and any extension or hardship program considerations should be carefully balanced by the Council and DOB. Most importantly, the Plumbing Foundation raised several concerns with Intro. No. 2377, which seeks to clarify the scope of the inspection. While the plumbing industry commended the Council for taking important and necessary steps to clarify what needs to be part of the inspection, McIver stated that, respectively, the amendment falls short and rather creates further confusion. The Plumbing Foundation proposed instead that the bill is revised as follows:
  • The scope of the inspection should include all visually accessible gas piping except for inside individual dwelling units (i.e. residential tenant spaces) and the point of entry regardless of location.
  • Allow licensed master plumbers (LMPs) to certify that a building contains no gas piping, otherwise an owner has to hire a more costly registered design professional.
  • Require that only LMPs and those holding a gas work qualification from the Department be able to conduct inspections (to provide the 5 years’ experience requirement that DOB set forth in rule).
  • Require DOB to add to its reporting requirements any information collected by the combustible gas indicator / leak survey instrument that are needed to perform these inspections.
  • Clarify the actions that must be taken for immediately hazardous v. nonimmediately hazardous abnormal operating conditions (AOCs).
  • Reverse the DOB’s recent lowering of a civil penalty and rather increase it – a lower penalty will only incentivize continued non-compliance. We have seen lowering of penalties, by rule or law, in many safety related installations; from sprinklers to backflow devices and inspections of water tanks and cooling towers, noncompliance can lead to devastating effects.
Executive Director McIver urged the Council to take these proposed revisions into careful consideration. Chairman Robert Cornegy acknowledged that the industry will be part of the ongoing negotiations of the bill.

Pipecaster Issue 2: Vol. 44

Association of Contracting Plumbers Raises $116,000 for SFA CH. XXVIII

After having to cancel the 2020 Charity Golf Outing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Association of Contracting Plumbers of the City of New York, Inc. was ecstatic to hold its annual “Plumbing Industry Day” Charity Golf Outing on May 24, 2021. The charity chosen this year was the United States Special Forces Association (SFA) Montana XXVIII Chapter, also known as the “Devil’s Brigade Chapter.” The Devil Brigade’s Chapter, re-chartered in 2002, is a 501(c)(19) Non-Profit Veteran Service Organization and is one of 86 chapters around the world. It has 165 members. The Devil’s Brigade (also called The Black Devils and The Black Devils’ Brigade and Freddie’s Freighters, officially the 1st Special Service Force), was an elite, joint World War II American-Canadian commando unit organized in 1942 and trained at Fort William Henry Harrison near Helena, Montana in the United States. The brigade fought in the Aleutian Islands, Italy, and southern France before being disbanded in December 1944. The modern American and Canadian special operations forces trace their heritage to this unit. The Devil’s Brigade was known for their stealth and skill with the V-42 dagger which is central to the Special Forces Regimental Crest “Flash” worn on the Green Beret by Special Forces Soldiers. The Montana XXVIII Chapter hosts several retreats and events for veterans and has a scholarship program. The ACP is pleased to report that $116,000 was donated to this Chapter. Thank you to everyone who made the day a success!
Association of Contracting Plumbers Donation

L to Right: Tom Maniuszko, Chair of Charity Golf Outing Committee; John Nolan, US Army Special Forces Association Chapter 28; Rob Greenberg, ACP President; Terence O’Brien, ACP Executive Vice President & Senior Director of the Plumbing Foundation

Winners of the 2020-21 Leonard X. Farbman Memorial Scholarship

The 2021 winners of the Leonard X. Farbman Memorial Scholarship Program have been determined. Further information on the scholarship program can be found on the Association of Contracting Plumbers’ website (acpcny.org). Each recipient receives $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. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot come together at our annual Scholarship Award Reception to acknowledge and celebrate noteworthy academic achievements of these five young students. The Trustees of the Promotion Fund and the ACP Executive Board are happy to announce the following 2021 winners:
  • Alyssa Apuzzo
  • Olivia M. Dul
  • William T. Kender
  • Thomas S. Little
  • Marisa A. Lyons
Congratulations to all the winners, we wish you luck on your future endeavors!

The Plumbing Foundation Honors George Bassolino III

When one thinks of the New York City Plumbing Industry, no doubt George Bassolino III comes to mind. Having served on the Board of Directors of the Plumbing Foundation for nearly two decades, he has contributed to countless improvements in the plumbing industry. George Bassolino III is a third generation New York City Licensed Master Plumber. He is the President of G. Bassolino Plumbing Ltd since 2006. In 1933, at the age of twenty two, his grandfather, George Bassolino, Sr, started the original company. With George Bassolino IV in the process of obtaining his master plumbers license, the company has been blessed to expand into a fourth generation. George’s family has always been active in the industry’s plumbing trade associations. He has followed in their footsteps and volunteers his time to help promote the plumbing industry. George says it is a privilege to serve on several NYC Department of Buildings committees and subcommittees. The Plumbing Foundation is honored to bestow on George as an outgoing member of the Board of Directors the Lifetime Achievement Award for all of his hard work and dedication to the NYC plumbing industry, which no doubt will continue! George Bassolino III Honor The Plumbing Foundation is also enthusiastic about newly appointed director Anthony D. Altimari. Anthony currently serves as President and CEO of Marine Plumbing & Mechanical, Inc. As the Plumbing Foundation’s newest member of the Board of Directors, he joins with a track record for building businesses from the ground up and ensuring their economical growth and stellar reputations among industry contacts. Mr. Altimari gained scores of experience in this regard starting his own contracting business Altimari Construction Corp in 1995. He holds his master plumber’s license in both NYC and Westchester County, and is able to contribute to the Plumbing Foundation real world plumbing field intelligence. Having worked for Pace, WDF Inc., and Paramount Plumbing Company Inc. in business development, bidding management, and estimating respectively, Mr. Altimari is a seasoned asset to the Plumbing Foundation.

NOTICE: DEP Borough Records Offices Reopening

The NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has issued the following notice: To ensure the safety of our visitors during the COVID-19 public health emergency, our water and sewer records offices in all five boroughs will reopen one day per week BY APPOINTMENT ONLY beginning on May 24, 2021. To schedule an appointment, please call your local records office on Mondays or Tuesdays, as appointments are limited:
  • Manhattan (open Mondays): (212) 602-7550
  • Queens (open Tuesdays): (718) 520-2020/ 2022/ 2023
  • Brooklyn (open Wednesdays): (718) 923-2671/2675
  • Bronx (open Thursdays): (718) 466-3881
  • Staten Island (open Fridays): (718) 876-6820
Appointments will be scheduled for the following week on the day your local office is open. You must have an appointment to enter our records offices and you must wear a mask or face covering, as required by New York City rules. DEP has worked to minimize risks to both our visitors and our staff by installing protective plexiglass at all our counters and by discontinuing walk- in service to facilitate appropriate social distancing. For more information, please visit: https://www1.nyc.gov/site/dep/news/200820/special-instructions-water-sewer-applications-permits

What’s The Difference?
LL152 Training And Operator Qualification

The Plumbing Foundation’s Gas Operator Qualification program, which was originally created for compliance with state regulations for inspections and maintenance of US DOT jurisdictional gas piping and in anticipation of similar requirements for LL152, is acceptable for purposes of LL152 inspections through GTI/ Northeast Gas Association, NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) approved course provider # 6T73. However, GOQ members need to be aware that the DOB also requires qualified gas piping system inspectors to have 5 years’ experience to conduct LL152 inspections. According to DOB, it is the obligation of the employing inspection entity and LMP to ensure that individuals performing these inspections possess the qualifications per the law and rule. DOB has stated that the employing LMP should request whatever documentation is necessary to verify experience. We are tracking the experience requirement through Attachment F of the GOQ membership application: www.plumbingfoundation.nyc/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Attachment-F-LL152-Experience-Affidavit-Fillable.pdf

UPDATED LL152 FAQs

Since LL152 periodic building gas system inspections began in early 2020, members of the industry have reached out to us with several questions. We have continued to update our FAQS (link below) to reflect the NYC Department of Buildings’ (DOB) response to these questions. Most recently, we have been asked: while performing the Local Law 152 inspection in an existing building, if the gas risers have drip tees at the base of the riser, do the tees need to be removed? DOB’s response is: The drip tees at the base of the riser can remain as they were required to be installed on older gas systems. For more information, please see our updated FAQs here: www.plumbingfoundation.nyc/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/FAQs-on-LL152-of-2016-revised-05.06.2021.pdf

DOB Card Replacement Policy

As the industry may be aware, the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) has a policy regarding the replacement of DOB-issued cards (e.g. DOB gas card) requiring an individual to file a Lost/Stolen Property report to the NYPD to replace a card. The Plumbing Foundation has concerns over this requirement and has issued a formal letter to the DOB Commissioner Melanie La Rocca. For example, a driver license provides a great analogy to this issue: it costs $17.50 through a quick online process to replace a lost or stolen driver license according to the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles. However, DOB feels it is necessary to go above and beyond that precedent by not only requiring payment of $50 but requiring the individual to submit a police report to an NYPD precinct. It should be sufficient to require payment and a signed affidavit to have a DOB-issued card replaced. If the DMV does not feel it is necessary to have a police report on file to “cover its bases” and protect itself, it seems completely excessive for the DOB to require such a report. Not to mention that it could require an individual to perjure himself/herself on such a report if the card, for example, was destroyed in an accident and was not actually “lost” or “stolen.”

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: George Bassolino, 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 Launches New Website!

The Plumbing Foundation is pleased to announce it has updated its website – please take a look here! www.plumbingfoundation.nyc

The Plumbing Foundation Remembers Peter Krokondelas

The Plumbing Foundation is sad to report that its longtime lobbyist and friend Peter Krokondelas passed away on Saturday, May 29th at 52 years old. He was an accomplished government relations professional, advocating for our industry for a decade and a half, and was an incredible person and family man. We are going to miss Pete and offer our sincere condolences to his family (especially to his wife, Stephanie, and his two young sons Jack and Jojo), all of his friends, and the entire Kasirer team, for this irreplaceable loss. Please see Pete’s obituary here: www.flinchandbruns.com/obituary/Peter-Krokondelas

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.

The Plumbing Foundation Testifies at Hearing on Code Revision

On Monday, June 14, 2021, Executive Director April McIver testified at the NYC Council Committee on Housing & Buildings Hearing on Intro. No. 2261, also known as the Administrative Code revision portion of the Building Code Revision. The Plumbing Foundation commends the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) for involving the stakeholder community in the code revision process and is generally in support of the bill, but spoke on two major points as well as submitted written testimony on several other important issues. Executive Director McIver explained that the DOB proposes to revise the Administrative Code to allow city-employed licensed plumbers to conduct and obtain permits for all plumbing work, including new buildings and major alterations. Currently, license holders of city agencies can repair and replace existing plumbing systems, which has been the law for decades. DOB stated that the reason for this change is that the qualifications are the same for city and private licensed plumbers, but what DOB did not mention is that city employees are not and cannot be held to the same standard as private business owners, i.e., insurance and employer-related requirements. City-employed license holders are not employers, therefore there is no accountability for work conducted by persons under that licensee. Another important reason for not adopting this is that the city should want to have major alterations and installations done via bid by contract in which the outside contractor is held to a timeframe and payment schedule based on that contract, whereas there is much less of an incentive for internal employees being paid a salary regardless of meeting deadlines. The Plumbing Foundation foresees that this will add to the already existing delays in getting important plumbing related work done on many public works jobs (e.g. NYCHA, Parks, etc.). DOB also proposes to remove the Master Plumber and Master Fire Suppression Contractor License Board, established decades ago, which comprises DOB personnel and appointed members of the industry to oversee new license applications and disciplinary actions. DOB testified that other similar trades do not have a similar board; however, master electricians do currently have a license board. Other trades (other than licensed master plumbers, licensed fire suppression contractors, and licensed electricians) are not licensed/regulated to the extent which are licensed master plumbers, licensed fire suppression contractors, and licensed electricians. As is the case in many professions, such as the legal and medical professions, peer review of persons seeking to obtain a license and disciplinary matters of existing licensees is extremely important for transparency and oversight reasons. The Master Plumber and Master Fire Suppression Contractor License Board provides a much needed function and the duties should not be removed but strengthened. Other points the Plumbing Foundation emphasized in its written testimony include:
  • That the legislation should contain provisions which make it easier for an individual to become both a Licensed Plumber and Licensed Fire Suppression Contractor, since most persons have the requisite knowledge and experience for both licenses.
  • That the Council should expand the DOB’s seizure and forfeiture abilities to allow DOB to seize vehicles and tools used in connection with unlicensed or unregistered activity at work sites other than new construction of 1-3 family homes. Alteration work of existing buildings, e.g., from single-family homes to 50-story commercial buildings, are more of a concern in the construction industry than just the activity on 1-3 family homes, which cannot legally occur if installed by non-licensees.
  • That the proposal to place a monetary cap of $50,000 on Category 1 Limited Plumbing Alterations, despite the work already being extremely limited under such definition, is completely arbitrary and sets barriers for homeowners, cooperatives, and others looking to have a licensed plumber complete limited plumbing work in a building in any 12-month period.
  • That the proposal to require a company licensed by the DOB to have its NYC office be “dedicated” to the licensee’s business be removed; Licensees have complied with the NYC office requirement for years but the additional mandate of having to make sure such space is dedicated to the business makes absolutely no sense given today’s commercial space costs and modern office arrangements.
The Plumbing Foundation is closely monitoring the progress of this legislation and will provide important updates to the industry.

NYS Senate Passes Modular Construction Legislation

On Thursday, March 25, 2021, the New York State Senate passed S.4738, which ensures that modular construction projects in New York City comply with licensing requirements.

High-rise modular construction in NYC cannot currently be forced to comply with the NYC Administrative Code requirements that traditional stick-built construction projects are required to follow: a NYC Department of Buildings (DOB)-licensed master plumber, NYC DOB-licensed master fire suppression contractor, and NYC DOB-licensed master electrician must conduct and oversee the work covered by such licenses. Licensing of these skilled trades ensures that experienced, qualified individuals are conducting complicated and dangerous work (e.g. gas piping, sprinkler, and electrical installations) and ensures that such work complies with the very stringent NYC Building Code. Work conducted by an unlicensed, unqualified, and inexperienced individual not familiar with NYC Building Code, regardless of whether that work is done in a factory or at a jobsite, can result in catastrophic consequences.

We commend Senator Jessica Ramos for her attention to this especially important matter and for the NYS Senate’s support of safe construction in New York City. We look forward to working with Assemblyman Erik Dilan on his same-as bill in the NYS Assembly.

Pipecaster Issue 1: Vol. 44

Plumbing Foundation Hosts Webinars on Gas Laws for Plumbers, Engineers, and Building Owners

In February, the Plumbing Foundation held a three-part legal and regulatory webinar series each focused on how New York City gas laws impact a particular sector of the industry: licensed plumbers, professional engineers, and building owners and managers. In 2016, a series of local laws established new regulatory oversight and mandatory inspections for natural gas systems across NYC. Since most of those laws have come into effect over the past year, the Plumbing Foundation is often asked about the new requirements. These webinars hosted panels of experts who discussed these requirements in detail and covered specific stakeholder obligations and risk of non-compliance to local laws specific to natural gas systems, obligations under the new laws, regulatory enforcement by the NYS Department of Public Service (DPS) and the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB), detailed information on staggered mandatory inspection due dates as determined by Community Board number across all five boroughs, roles and responsibilities of public utilities, and the responsibilities of Licensed Master Plumbers and Professional Engineers and knowing when each is required. Our expert panelists comprised representatives from the NYC DOB, Con Edison, National Grid, Northeast Gas Association, Clarity Testing Services, City Calibration, and Rudin Management, as well as experienced licensed plumbers and professional engineers, including from The PAR Group, Jaros Baum & Bolles, and the American Society of Plumbing Engineers (ASPE) of NYC. Our webinars were recorded and placed on our website (plumbingfoundation.nyc) for a limited time, but if people would like free access to one or all three after the limited runs have expired, please email us at info@plumbingfoundation.nyc.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Minor Plan Changes Require a Post Approval Amendment

The NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) issued a notice that beginning March 15, 2021 any jobs with minor plan changes must be submitted as a Post Approval Amendment (PAA).
  • For BIS Jobs: an AI1 form for minor plan changes cannot be submitted in eFiling for jobs after approval unless it is submitted as a Post Approval Amendment (PAA). Submit a PW1 with an AI1 Additional Information form that specifies the submission is part of a PAA and identifies the plan changes. Upload the new plans in eFiling and select New PAA. Include in the comments section the reason for the PAA and circle the information that has changed on the plans. Include a description of the changes in the Comments section of the PW1. Once the PAA status is PAA Fee Due, pay the fee in eFiling using the Express Cashier Payments module. For professional certification jobs, upload a completed PW1 form that indicates Okay for Approval in eFiling and select Approval for PAA. For resubmission of a standard plan review job, submit in eFiling as Minor Plan Change/PAA.
  • For DOB NOW Jobs: an AI1 for minor plan changes cannot be submitted to the DOB help form for jobs after approval. Submit a Post Approval Amendment (PAA) in DOB NOW. Upload as a single PDF a full plan set and include an AI1: Additional Information form as the last page that specifies that the submission is part of a PAA and identifies the plan changes. Include a description of the changes in the Comments section of the Plans/Work tab (PW1).

For more information, please reference the NYC DOB service notice:

www1.nyc.gov/assets/buildings/pdf/minor_plan_changes_sn.pdf

NYC Buildings Bulletin 2021-001

What you need to know… Buildings Bulletin 2021-001 Issued: March 1, 2021

Highlights

The 2014 NYC Fuel Gas Code does not allow the use of any Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) pipe for gas venting appliances. However, Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride (CPVC) pipe that is listed is permitted for venting of Category IV appliances.

The Plumbing Foundation testifies in support of Intro No. 1576 at Committee on Environmental Protection Hearing

On Tuesday, February 16, 2021, Terence O’Brien, Senior Director of the Plumbing Foundation, testified virtually at the NYC Council Committee on Environmental Protection Hearing in support of Intro. No. 1576, which proposes to increase the penalties imposed on owners failing to comply with the mandatory installation of and reporting requirements for backflow prevention devices. “Backflow” occurs when drinking water is contaminated by hazardous substances. It happens when street pressure pushes water into buildings where dangerous materials and chemicals may exist, and no device prevents that now contaminated water from re-entering the drinking water supply. Sometimes water flow can be reversed due to a water main break or a mistaken or accidental cross connection between the building’s water distribution and drainage systems. Therefore, it is vital that buildings install and maintain backflow prevention devices to prevent the harmful results of contaminated water, which can contain bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella. Senior Director O’Brien urged the passage of Intro. No. 1576 to properly incentivize compliance with the law. The NYC Administrative Code currently allows first-time fines to be imposed anywhere from $50–$1,000 for violation of the requirement to install a backflow device. Such fines do not provide enough of an incentive for owners to comply with the law. In a former Council hearing, the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) clarified that the Department fines building owners $500-$5,000.* In contrast, a backflow device itself can cost up to $20,000. This is why the industry believes fines should be increased, so that owners do not continue merely paying the lower fine but rather comply with the law and actually install the required devices. Mr. O’Brien testified that Intro. No. 1576 provides a real method to address the problem as outlined above for penalizing noncompliance. It would increase the monetary penalties to be imposed on a building owner or operator who fails to comply with installation and reporting requirements for backflow prevention devices. The installation of backflow prevention devices is a public health priority. It is apparent that the understanding of and compliance with backflow prevention is still an issue at large in the City. Steep fines must be imposed on owners who fail to comply with the law in order to property incentivize compliance. *Hearing on Intro. No. 821, Committee on Environmental Protection, The New York City Council (Oct. 30, 2017).

Site Safety Training 40-Hour Requirement in Full Effect

The NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) issued a reminder that beginning March 1, 2021 construction and demolition workers at job sites with a Construction Superintendent, Site Safety Coordinator, or Site Safety Manager must have a Site Safety Training (SST) Card issued by a DOB-approved course provider. In consideration of the additional time it may take between completion of the training and when the SST Card is printed and issued, a printout of the front of the SST Card, issued by a DOB-approved course provider, will be acceptable proof a worker is trained for a period of 60 days from issuance. Digital SST Cards connected to an interactive and secure application will also be acceptable. New entrants to the construction and demolition workforce can begin working at the above sites after obtaining a Temporary SST Card from a DOB-approved course provider. A Temporary SST Card can be obtained upon completion of an OSHA 10-Hour course and is valid for six months from the date of issuance while the worker obtains the remaining 30 hours of training.

For more information, please reference the NYC DOB service notice:

www1.nyc.gov/assets/buildings/pdf/ll_196_0321_sn.pdf

Local Law 152 of 2016: Extensions for CDs 1, 3, 10

As a reminder, the NYC Council adopted a law (Local Law 12 of 2021) extending the due date for compliance with Local Law 152/2016 building gas system inspections for buildings in Community Districts 1, 3, and 10 from December 31, 2020 to June 30, 2021.

For more information and the updated schedule of inspections, please visit the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) website:

www1.nyc.gov/assets/buildings/pdf/ll152_deadline_extension_sn.pdf

Gas Explosion in Bronx Likely Result of Illegal Plumbing Work

On Thursday, February 18, 2021, a gas explosion in the Bronx led to 10 injured people, 6 of whom were children, and forced a mother to throw her baby out of her second-story window to a neighbor. The incident occurred at 1522 Paulding Avenue. “This is another unfortunate reminder of how illegal gas connections can result in horrific consequences. Only licensed master plumbers are legally permitted to safely install natural gas connections. That is why we are aggressively educating building owners, managers, engineers and plumbers on how to inspect gas lines in compliance with current laws, and we are fully supportive of the city’s efforts to crack down on illegal connections” said April McIver, Executive Director. The Plumbing Foundation commends the first responders, the NYC Department of Buildings, and the utility company for responding to the explosion in a timely manner, as well as the Red Cross for relocating the families impacted by the explosion. The NYC DOB reported that gas lines, water pipes, and laundry equipment were illegally installed in a ground-floor garage of the building and that the work was performed without proper permits. The property owner has been issued violations for such illegal work.

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.
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: George Bassolino, Paul Belli, Marc Breslaw, Louis J. Buttermark, Harris Clark, Alex Greenberg, Nicholas Katragis, Angelo Lemodetis, Lawrence J. Levine, Scott Lyons, Barr Rickman, Richard Turchiano