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.

Water Conservation, Safety, and Welfare Series Held March 22-24

The Plumbing Foundation City of New York, Inc. hosted a three-part webinar series in which experts discussed water efficiency, Legionella prevention, and the importance of preparedness against backflow.

The recordings are no longer available, but if you are interested in the videos and/or materials presented, please email info@plumbingfoundation.nyc.

Part 1: Water Efficiency (originally recorded on March 22, 2022)

Coinciding with World Water Day, this panel discussed water efficiency and sustainability methods, the role of the Licensed Master Plumber, and ways owners can work with their plumber to conserve water usage and increase sustainability. Our expert panelists included:

  • Stephanie Tanner, CEM, LEED AP BD+C, Lead Engineer, WaterSense Program, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Alan Cohn, Managing Director, Integrated Water Management, NYC Department of Environmental Protection
  • John Brock, Policy Analyst, Integrated Water Management, NYC Department of Environmental Protection
  • Peter Li, PE, LEED AP, Associate Partner, Jaros, Baum & Bolles
Part 2: Legionella Prevention (originally recorded on March 23, 2022)

This panel discussed the Legionella problem and what more can and should be done in New York City to prevent and combat Legionnaires’ Disease. Our expert 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
  • Robert Greenberg, President, Evergreen Mechanical
Part 3: Backflow Preparedness (originally recorded on March 24, 2022)

This panel discussed 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 installation and testing requirements. Our expert panelists include:

  • NYS Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr.
  • Muhammad Hossain, PhD, PE, Chief-Connections, BWSO, NYC Department of Environmental Protection and Adj. Professor at City University of New York
  • Rob Greenberg, President, Evergreen Mechanical
  • Ron Merhige, PE, CEM, President, RLM Engineering PLLC
*UPDATED 7/5/2022

Pipecaster Issue 1: Vol. 45

Carbon Reduction, Gas Bans, Electrification: Updates on the NYS CLCPA

The New York State Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) was passed by the state legislature in 2019 and set forth ambitious carbon reduction goals. Specifically, the CLCPA requires that by 2040, New York State achieves 100% zero- emission electricity and by 2050, reduces emissions at least 85% below 1990 levels. Since the law was passed, the New York State Climate Action Council, tasked with developing a scoping plan on how the state will reach its goals, has been working on the long-awaited details to fill the major gaps left by the CLCPA. On December 20, 2022 the Council voted to release a Draft Scoping Plan (the Plan) which is open for public comment through April 2022. The goal is that the Council will finalize a plan by the end of this year. The Plumbing Foundation is currently working on comments to the Draft Scoping Plan and meeting with other stakeholders to strategize for getting our policymakers to understand the ramifications of the proposals in the Plan. Among its proposals, the Plan seeks to have 1-2 million homes and 10-20% of commercial buildings electrified with heat pumps by 2030. By 2050, the Plan seeks to have updated State Building Codes banning gas from new construction, and for 85% of homes and buildings to be electrified with heat pumps. The Plan says New York should ban gas hookups by 2024. Currently, Governor Kathy Hochul has a similar proposal in her Executive Budget which requires the ban to begin in 2027. Another bill being pushed by Senator Brian Kavanagh and Assemblywoman Emily Gallagher moves up that timeline to ban gas beginning after December 2023. It is very likely that some legislation will gain traction this legislative session. What the Draft Scoping Plan seriously overlooks is who is going to bear the cost of electrifying 1-2 million homes by 2030 in New York State. While the Plan made admirable efforts to ensure low-income and disadvantaged communities will be subsidized and benefited throughout the transition to clean energy, it did not account for the rest of the state in any meaningful way. The middle class seems to be especially forgotten. The cost of electrifying 1-2 million homes by 2030 will no doubt be in the billions. What is more disturbing in the Plan is that while renewable natural gas (RNG) and hydrogen are mentioned, neither are thoroughly discussed in terms of the benefits and feasibility versus that of full electrification and use of heat pumps. There are over 4,500 miles of natural gas transmission lines, more than 5,500 natural gas gathering lines, nearly 50,000 miles of gas distribution pipelines, and over 37,000 miles of gas service lines in New York State. The Plan proposes to decommission natural gas plants and piping infrastructure rather than use this valuable resource to implement RNG and green hydrogen into the pipeline. Not totally surprising that this is disregarded to any real extent since the Plan’s discussion of displaced jobs fails to mention the plumbing industry in any real capacity. Common-sense folk agree that the state needs to devise a plan to reach the CLCPA goals by implementing an “all the above” approach, meaning use of various technologies, including RNG and green hydrogen. The Plumbing Foundation continues to review the Plan, its appendices, and additional research and reports as it responds to the Council’s recommendations. The comments will be submitted to the Council by the end of April. *As an aside, congestion pricing, which was also passed in 2019 by the NYS Legislature and has somewhat been put on the back burner with hearings only beginning fall of 2021, will play a role in reaching the state’s carbon reduction goals. The Draft Scoping Plan advocates for the MTA to move forward with developing a plan in NYC to reduce vehicle congestion and therefore emissions. Governor Hochul’s budget legislation also has several proposals tied into congestion pricing. The Plumbing Foundation is also closely monitoring movement on this matter.

STILL TIME TO REGISTER FOR OUR LICENSE RENEWAL COURSE!

Construction Trades License Training Corp. in partnership with SUNY Empire State College

presents 7-hour NYC Master Plumber & Master Fire Suppression Contractor License Renewal Course WHEN: Tues., April 5, 2022, 7:30 AM-4:30 PM WHERE: Marriott New York LaGuardia* 102-05 Ditmars Blvd, East Elmhurst, NY 11369 www.plumbingfoundation.nyc/resources/renewal-course/

NYC DEP NOTICE: New Rule Enhances Stormwater Management Requirements

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) released a statement on February 24, 2022 regarding its new Unified Stormwater Rule (USWR), which requires newly developed or redeveloped properties to more effectively manage stormwater on-site. The USWR follows Local Law 91 of 2020 which enabled DEP to move forward on much needed Chapter 19.1 amendments. The USWR updates and aligns Chapters 31 (stormwater quantity and flow rate requirements) and 19.1 (construction/ post- construction permitting program water quality requirements) of Title 15 of the Rules of the City of New York. Among the changes, the USWR increases the amount of stormwater required to be managed on a property and further restricts the release rates for all new and redevelopment projects requiring a DEP House or Site Connection proposal. It also makes updates to combined sewer areas, specifically expanding applicability to sites that disturb 20,000 square feet or more of soil or create new impervious surfaces of 5,000 square feet or more.

To read the full statement, visit:

www1.nyc.gov/site/dep/news/22-006/to-reduce-flooding-improve-health-waterways-new-rule-enhances- stormwater-management#/0

REMINDER – Timeline for DOB Gas Qualification Cards

The Plumbing Foundation recently received inquiries into the timeline for getting the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) gas qualification card (Local Law 150/2016). Once an applicant has completed the application process through DOB NOW and can request an appointment at DOB, he/she can anticipate obtaining an appointment within approximately two weeks depending on demand (i.e., may be sooner than 2 weeks). At that appointment, the applicant will receive his/her DOB gas card.

New Mayoral Administration, New City Council, New Hope for the Plumbing Industry?

We are well into the first quarter of 2022 and there are still lingering questions about how NYC Mayor Eric Adams, his new administration, and the 35 new NYC Council Members will advocate for the NYC plumbing industry. First, here is a review of some of the relevant appointments made in the Adams’ administration:
  • Lorraine Grillo, First Deputy Mayor
  • Frane Carone, Chief of Staff
  • Tiffany Raspberry, Senior Adviser for External Affairs
  • Dawn Pinnock, Department of Citywide Administrative Services Commissioner
  • Dan Garodnick, City Planning Director/Chair of City Planning Commission
  • Rohit Aggarwala, Environmental Protection Commissioner/Chief Climate Officer
  • Preston Niblack, Finance Commissioner
  • Dr. Ashwin Vasan, Health Commissioner
  • Adolfo Carrión, Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner
  • Zach Iscol, Emergency Management Commissioner
  • Jocelyn Strauber, Investigations Commissioner
  • Nina Kubota, School Construction Authority President/CEO
  • Kevin Kim, Small Businesses Commissioner
  • Ydanis Rodriguez, Transportation Commissioner
  • Thomas Foley, Design and Construction Commissioner
  • Melanie La Rocca, Chief Efficiency Officer (former Buildings Commissioner*)
  • Kizzy Charles-Guzman, Executive Director of Office of Climate and Environmental Justice
  • Lisa Flores, Director of Office of Contract Services
Second, here are key NYC Council Members to watch:
  • Adrienne Adams, Speaker
  • Keith Powers, Majority Leader
  • Lynn Schulman, Chair of Health
  • Justin Brannan, Chair of Finance
  • Rafael Salamanca Jr., Chair of Land Use
  • Diana Ayala, Deputy Speaker
  • Pierina Sanchez, Chair of Housing & Buildings
  • Jim Gennaro, Chair of Environmental Protections
  • CM Selvena Brooks-Powers, Majority Whip
What the Plumbing Industry needs to drive home for our new and incumbent lawmakers and leaders is that the phrase “the plumber protects the health of the nation” is a literal and pertinent aspect of the trade, but who is going to protect the plumber? Here in NYC, master plumbers are local business owners working hard to maintain the health and safety of water and gas infrastructure while constantly battling unnecessary red tape, including at the filing level at the Department of Buildings, and from rules coming down from the state and city making it harder and harder to run a business in New York State. COVID pay, for one, will bankrupt businesses. Insurance costs continue to skyrocket. What’s next? When it comes to informed policymaking, what our elected officials need to know is that licensed master plumbers and their respective trade associations are extremely valuable resources in understanding the practical implications of the laws and policies they pass or are contemplating passing. These professional business owners are seasoned plumbers working with educated and experienced association professionals, consultants, and lobbyists who are available to assist in meaningful ways to ensure our laws, codes and rules are safe, effective, and make practical sense. The Plumbing Industry has its year cut out in terms of educating these new public officials of what it means to be a plumber and what plumbers do for society. But it has a huge opportunity to make great improvements to policies, many of which are outdated or inherently flawed. *Melanie La Rocca has been appointed the Chief Efficiency Officer of the city but as of printing of this newsletter remains wearing “two hats” until a new Buildings Commissioner is appointed.

Every Drop Counts!

EPA WaterSense WaterSense® is a partnership program sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). WaterSense make is easy to save water. It is both a label for water-efficient products and a resource for water-saving tips.

WHAT DOES WATERSENSE DO?

The WaterSense label is a simple way for consumers to identify water-efficient products, new homes, and programs that meet EPA’s criteria for efficiency and performance. WaterSense labeled products use at least 20 percent less water and perform as well as or better than standard models. EPA also supports landscape irrigation professionals certified by WaterSense labeled programs focusing on water efficiency. A full listing of WaterSense labeled products is available on the WaterSense website at www.epa.gov/watersense/products.

WHY PROMOTE WATER EFFICIENCY?

Managing water is a growing concern in the United States. Water managers in at least 36 states expect local, statewide, or regional water shortages to occur over the next few years. Wasting less water in our homes and yards also saves energy and money on utility bills and improves the quality of our water resources nationwide.

HOW CAN I GET INVOLVED?

Saving water is easy—WaterSense labeled products are available in a variety of styles, colors, and price points—and it doesn’t require changing the way most of us live or do business. By choosing products with the WaterSense label, you know you’ll be saving water for future generations.
  • Consumers can reduce their water bills by as much as 30 percent by using WaterSense labeled products and other water-efficient appliances.
  • Manufacturers can differentiate themselves in the marketplace by offering WaterSense labeled products that perform as well as or better than standard models.
  • Businesses can help increase the marketability of the water-efficient products they sell and reduce their operating costs by adopting water-efficient best management practices.
  • Builders can partner with WaterSense to construct homes that use less water inside and out.

BE FOR WATER AND START SAVING!

Anyone can join We’re for Water—a campaign sponsored by EPA to educate consumers about the importance of water efficiency—by taking the I’m for Water pledge on the WaterSense website (www.epa.gov/watersense). “Like” WaterSense on Facebook (www.facebook.com/EPAwatersense) or follow on Twitter (@EPAwatersense). PHONE (866) WTR-SENS (987-7367) WEBSITE www.epa.gov/watersense EMAIL watersense@epa.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.

Water Conservation, Safety & Welfare

Plumbing Foundation, City of New York, Water Conservation, Safety, & Welfare Please join the Plumbing Foundation for a 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 plumber to conserve water usage and increase sustainability. Our expert panelists include:
  • Stephanie Tanner, CEM, LEED AP BD+C, Lead Engineer, WaterSense Program, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Alan Cohn, Managing Director, Integrated Water Management, NYC Department of Environmental Protection
  • John Brock, Policy Analyst, Integrated Water Management, NYC Department of Environmental Protection
  • Peter Li, PE, LEED AP, Associate Partner, Jaros, Baum & Bolles
Part 2: Legionella Prevention – March 23, 2022 at 10-11am An overview on the Legionella problem and what more can and should be done in New York City to prevent and combat Legionnaires’ Disease. Our expert panelists include:
  • Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine
  • Dr. Janet Stout, President of Special Pathogens Laboratory
  • John Letson, VP of Plant Operations at Memorial Sloan-Kettering
  • Robert Greenberg, President, Evergreen Mechanical
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 installation and testing requirements. Our expert panelists include:
  • NYS Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr.
  • Muhammad Hossain, PhD, PE, Chief-Connections, BWSO, NYC Department of Environmental Protection and Adj. Professor at City University of New York
  • Rob Greenberg, President, Evergreen Mechanical
  • Ron Merhige, PE, CEM, President, RLM Engineering PLLC
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.

Pipecaster Issue 4: Vol. 44

Hydrogen is [a] Hot [Topic]: Plumbing Foundation’s Renewable Energy Seminar

By April McIver, Esq., Executive Director On November 9, 2021, the Plumbing Foundation was honored to host a panel of experts for a riveting discussion on the role of hydrogen in the implementation of New York State’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), and New York City’s Climate Mobilization Act. Both laws were passed by their respective legislatures in 2019 and both set ambitious goals for decarbonization. The CLCPA seeks to achieve 100% zero-emission electricity across the state by 2040, and by 2050, reduce overall emissions at least 85% below 1990 levels. Part of the NYC Act, specifically Local Law 97 of 2019, requires buildings larger than 25,000 sq. ft. to reduce their carbon emissions 40% by 2030 and 80% by 2050. How we get there is still being determined, but consideration of alternatives to wind and solar, often discussed but not yet viable on a large-scale for NYC, is a must. That consideration should include energy sources like green and blue hydrogen, which was the focus of the Plumbing Foundation’s virtual seminar. 2021 Renewable Energy Forum, The Role Of Hydrogen The major takeaways from the Role of Hydrogen seminar were—
  • DIVERSITY of energy sources
  • EDUCATION of policymakers
  • STUDIES on the cost impact of policies
  • INCENTIVES for INVESTMENT
—as explained in more detail below. Neil Skidell, a mechanical engineer and Managing Director of The Par Group and an expert in the strategic use of technology to solve energy and water safety, conservation, generation, and utilization challenges, urged the seminar’s listeners to be open-minded about piped fuels and understand that electriciation is not the only strategy to meet decarbonization. As Mr. Skidell highlighted, New York is currently powered at 40% by natural gas; given the existing piping infrastructure, the Plumbing Foundation and industry stakeholders alike urge decisionmakers to consider hydrogen a part of the pathways to decarbonization. NYS Senator Kevin Parker emphasized the importance of legislation like the CLCPA and how we are already seeing effects of global warming like the recent Hurricane Ida. He stressed the role of environmental justice and explained that black and latino communities are disproportionately affected by climate change. He said we need to consider not just hydrogen as a fuel but its production and the jobs and benefits that could be created by that production. Hydrogen has great potential to repower plants that may have been powered by coal or gas. The Plumbing Foundation is strongly in support of two vital pieces of legislation introduced by the Senator: S.6497 requires the NYS Public Service Commission (PSC) to create a program to foster private sector innovation and investment in “zero emissions energy systems” in order to meet the targets of the CLCPA, and S.3281 creates a “Renewable Hydrogen Incentive and Financing Program.” We will be targeting legislation like this in our 2022 legislative strategy. The Plumbing Foundation could not agree more with Senator Parker: New York does not need to completely obliterate fuels. What we need to do is get to net zero, not absolute zero, and we need to take an all-above approach to get there. “I am not against gas” said Senator Parker, he expects some gas use in the future but “hydrogen will be part of that mix as well.” Other important considerations noted by the Senator include the economies of using water for power generation (meaning turning into hydrogen) in balance with our other uses such as for drinking and agricultural purposes. The Senator stressed that studies are the first step in determining how to decarbonize. Gavin Donohue of the Independent Powers Producers of NY, Inc. (IPPNY), and member of the NYS Climate Action Council, emphasized another major hurdle to reaching the CLCPA goals: we cannot continue to pick winners and losers in the energy sector, we must incentivize investment. Mr. Donohue has sat on the Climate Action Council since 2019, which has been tasked with devising a scoping plan to meet the targets in the CLCPA, the draft of which is to be released December 20, 2021. According to Mr. Donohue, there is a recommendation to place a moratorium on new or repowered fossil fuel facilities in the state. He explained that it is a non-consensus recommendation that IPPNY is against. The recommendation is anti-reliability, anti-business, and anti-consumer. The Plumbing Foundation understands that such a proposal would make New Yorkers’ lives incredibly difficult. “We need creative solutions to meet the demand of the CLCPA” said Mr. Donohue, who highlighted that “dispatchability” of energy is key—that means power can be provided 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Technologies, including hydrogen, need to be included in the discussion to ensure our pathways to decarbonization are dispatchable pathways. What Dr. Devinder Mahajan of the Advanced Energy Center at Stonybrook University is looking into is key to ensuring hydrogen has a seat at the “energy source” table. Dr. Mahajan is a Professor of Chemical and Molecular Engineering and is Director of the Institute of Gas Innovation and Technology (I-GIT). He provided a scientific perspective on how hydrogen can help achieve the goal of the CLCPA. Because New York has significant natural gas pipeline infrastructure, it makes no sense to abandon it but rather consider hydrogen blending. Dr. Mahajan described I-GIT’s “hydrogen economy concept,” also known as power-to-gas, wherein hydrogen is blended into the natural gas distribution system to offset the carbon content of the fuel. “Europe is ahead of us, about 5 years ahead of us in hydrogen blending” said Dr. Mahajan, so now is the time to ramp up on research and studies to ensure hydrogen production is ready and dispatchable. Jennifer Kearney of Gotham360, a national energy management consulting firm, has major nonprofit clients in the health, education, and institution sectors, who have concerns with the grid capacity, and over having their tremendous investments in natural gas infrastructure be stranded. Her clients have already been working with the NYC government since 2007 to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, but part of that was making investments in natural gas, infrastructure assets which are nowhere near their useful end of life. “Pathways to decarbonization should consider the value of diversity,” said Ms. Kearney; diversity of energy sources should include hydrogen. As explained by Ms. Kearney, the NYC electrical grid manages its summer peak through “demand-response,” which results in a series of curtailments across the city for large customers who may be running diesel generators or doing load shedding or moving loads from electrical chillers to steam chillers. There are a lot of megawatts in “demand-response.” Now in a decarbonized economy, with possibly stricter rules around diesel generators, in a winter peak scenario, for example, load moving may not be available which creates concerns that the grid is not ready for winter peak. On the innovation side of things, Paul Schwartz, Co-Founder of ThermoLift, is developing natural-gas-to-hydrogen heating technology. As explained by Mr. Schwartz, New York’s current capacity to electrify would only apply for a certain number of homes but to replace all fuel distributed by the natural gas system, that would be an infrastructure investment of 3-4 times the amount of electricity distributed today. Mr. Schwartz also explained that when looking into alternative sources like hydrogen or renewable natural gas (RNG), it is also vital to consider the end use appliance that needs to use the source efficiently. That is what ThermoLift is developing. It is important for us to engage technologies with a long horizon of success; today we know we can burn natural gas more efficiently and we need the technology and devices to do the same with hydrogen. ThermoLift is currently conducting demonstration programs with utilities like National Grid and Con Edison, meaning the technology of hydrogen as a renewable energy source is almost there. The Role of Hydrogen seminar was an important discussion on the value of hydrogen as an energy source in decarbonization, but also highlighted a larger issue in the overall policymaking and planning by our decisionmakers to eliminate fossil fuel emissions: we cannot think in a vacuum and must consider all existing and emerging technologies, incentivize investment, and better educate ourselves and our communities. To access the entire seminar, please visit: www.plumbingfoundation.nyc/2021-renewable-energy-forum-role-of-hydrogen/

NYC Council Committee on Environmental Protection Hears Controversial Gas Ban Bill

On November 17, 2021, the NYC Council Committee on Environmental Protection held a hearing on Intro. No. 2317, the gas ban bill. The virtual hearing lasted well over five hours, roughly 100 people were present to testify, and 242 pages of written testimony were submitted. 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, all emphasizing the need to act now to stop fossil fuel emissions. The Plumbing Foundation submitted testimony in opposition to the poorly worded and ill-timed legislation, as did 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). Numerous other organizations did not testify in outright support or opposition but rather submitted proposed revisions to the bill, including a phased-out timeline and clearer exceptions to the ban. States advancing or prohibiting building gas bans and electrification codes The Plumbing Foundation’s Executive Director, April 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. Following the hearing, the NYC Council held individual meetings with relevant stakeholders to begin hashing out potential revisions to the bill. The Plumbing Foundation awaits a revised text and will continue to keep the industry informed of the bill’s progress. Relatedly, the NYS Senate and Assembly will be pushing their own gas ban bills come the 2022 legislative session this January. Sponsored by Senator Brian Kavanagh and Assemblywoman Emily Gallagher, S.6843A/A.8431 is also a major priority of the Plumbing Foundation and will be closely monitored. To view the Plumbing Foundation’s written testimony on Intro. No. 2317, please visit: www.plumbingfoundation.nyc/our-work/advocacy/

REMINDER – What to Know Regarding Backflow Prevention Devices and Sprinklers

As the industry knows, property owners must hire a Licensed Master Plumber (LMP) to install a backflow prevention device. However, please remember that when installing a backflow prevention device on a sprinkler and a domestic main BOTH must be pulled: (1) Limited Alteration Application (LAA) for the sprinkler work; and (2) LAA for the plumbing work. Backflow Prevention Devices and Sprinklers For more information, please visit: www1.nyc.gov/site/dep/about/backflow-prevention-frequently-asked-questions.page

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 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: