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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Pipecaster Issue 4: Vol. 43

NYC Council to Extend Local Law 152/2016 Compliance Deadline

The NYC Council introduced No. 2151-A to extend the compliance date for Local Law 152 gas piping system inspections for buildings in Community Boards 1, 3, and 10 in all boroughs from December 31, 2020 to June 30, 2021. The Housing & Buildings Committee held a hearing on December 2, 2020. According to the bill sponsor, Council Member Daniel Dromm, building owners in his district stated they are experiencing hardships with complying with the upcoming deadline. The Plumbing Foundation testified at the December 2nd Hearing urging the City Council to impose practical restrictions on the extension and to amend the Local Law to address several flaws, including redefining tenant space to mean only residential tenant space is excluded, requiring the leak survey report to be submitted to DOB, and aligning the inspections with the utility inspection schedule. We will update the industry on any revisions to the bill and if/when it is adopted by the Council.

Master Plumber & Master Fire Suppression Contractor License Renewal

Please be advised that the Construction Trades License Training Corporation will be holding virtual license renewal courses in the first quarter of 2021, dates to be determined. Please check our website for registration information: nyconstructiontrades.org Please also be advised that the license renewal process is through DOB NOW and you must submit your license renewal application 60 days prior to your renewal date (no earlier/no later) to ensure you renew your license on time. There is a 15-day turnaround for approval / rejection and if you have to correct your application, you must resubmit the entire application and another 15-day waiting period will begin. The NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) and the Plumbing Foundation strongly urge licensees to carefully review your application prior to submission to avoid having to correct any portion(s), extending the time until your license will be renewed. Please use the Department’s checklist to ensure all documentation is attached to your application. DOB is seeing a lot of issues with licensee business information that has changed since the last renewal period. If any of your business information has changed, you must take this into consideration when renewing and ensure you have the proper documentation (e.g. minutes) to submit to DOB. If you have further questions, please reach out to us at info@plumbingfoundation.nyc.

NYC DOB Seeks to Allow Unlicensed Entities to Conduct Appliance Hookups

The NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) has proposed to revise the Plumbing Code to remove the requirement that a Licensed Master Plumber has to conduct gas appliance hookups. Please see below the joint Association of Contracting Plumbers (ACP) and Plumbing Foundation letter submitted in response to such proposal.

See Following Letter:

October 20, 2020 Constadino (Gus) Sirakis, PE First Deputy Commissioner NYC Department of Buildings 280 Broadway, 7th Floor New York, NY 10007 Dear First Deputy Commissioner Sirakis: We issue this joint letter on behalf of the Plumbing Foundation City of New York, Inc. (a trade association representing NYC Licensed Master Plumbers, engineers, manufacturers, and supply houses whose mission is to ensure the enactment and enforcement of safe plumbing codes) and the Association of Contracting Plumbers of the City of New York (ACP), the bargaining party to Plumbers Local 1. We work with our members, industry stakeholders, and policy makers to ensure NYC adopts and enforces safe plumbing codes and rules in the interest of the public health. One of the most important topics to our industry is gas safety. The Plumbing Foundation works to combat unlicensed plumbing work as the industry is well aware of the deadly consequences from such work, especially gas work. As per the NYC Building Code, building owners must hire licensed, qualified plumbers to conduct any gas work, whether it is an inspection, repair, or replacement of a full gas system. We actively engage with state and city decision makers, utility companies, and other associations on the topic of gas safety since, as you are aware, NYC experienced catastrophic-and deadly-gas explosions in 2014 and 2015. In response, the NYC Council passed a package of gas safety bills in 2016 to tighten up the Code requirements surrounding gas work and inspections. As such, it seems counterintuitive and illogical that the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) proposes a new section 28 105.4.7 regarding the replacement of existing appliance and flexible gas tubing which allows unlicensed entities to perform gas work. It is for the reasons detailed below, which are not exhaustive, that our organizations are adamantly opposed to the Department’s proposal and will do everything within our power to prevent this degradation of the plumbing license and potential safety issue from occurring.

Experience and Training is a Public Policy and Safety Matter

It is counterintuitive that DOB would propose allowing unlicensed, untrained entities to hook up appliances since the current laws and regulations act ually require enhanced training and experience for licensed plumbers and their technicians working directly under them. This is true on several levels. First, the NYS Public Service Commission passed new changes to Title 16 of the New York Code of Rules and Regulations (“NYCRR”) Part 255 that require licensed master plumbers and their technicians conducting gas work and inspections on jurisdictional gas piping to be operator qualified in related covered tasks, which entails a 7-hour training, written and practical exam, and random drug and alcohol testing. The 7-hour training has often been referred to as enhanced safety training for already experienced plumbers and covers what must be identified as abnormal operating conditions during gas inspections, including corrosion, deterioration, illegal hookups, etc. Similarly, Local Laws 150 and 152 of 2016 require additional training and examinations of plumbing technicians to conduct gas work and inspections on building gas piping. The same 7-hour training applies to Local Law 152 periodic gas inspection qualification requirements, which is in addition to the 5-year experience requirement as set forth in rule by the Department. Therefore, it makes no logical sense why the Department would expect or allow an unlicensed, untrained entity or person to identify “corrosion or deterioration” as proposed in section 28-105.4.7.2. Only licensed, trained, and experienced individuals can make such a determination, the enforcement of which the Department plays a major role in. To suggest as a “fail safe” for unlicensed entities and persons installing gas appliances is that they cannot do so unless the condition of the gas cock and valve-which otherwise would be determined by LICENSED and TRAINED individuals—is “good,” is not a fail safe at all. It severely undermines the current training and qualification requirements set forth in the 2016 laws and ensuing rules, and is completely in contradiction to the public policy of improving gas safety.

DOB and Utility Oversight is Crucial

In addition, DOB’s proposal undermines the oversight functions of both the Department and the utility companies. This proposal would allow unlicensed entities to perform such appliance installations. Ultimately, this provides a green light for unregistered, untrackable entities and persons to engage in gas work and have no tangible accountability (i.e. a license and permit) for if and when the worst occurs—a gas leak and/or explosion. When a licensed plumber engages in gas work under a permit, he/she essentially puts his license—his/her livelihood-on the line. There is no perceived equitable standard set forth in the DOB’s proposal, which severely undermines the DOB and utility companies’ authorities to enforce the very crucial existing gas safety laws.

Safety Outweighs other Public Policies

Finally, DOB has claimed the current COVID-19 pandemic as a reason to introduce and expedite this proposal. Specifically, DOB states “[i]n light of the cur rent situation we are all faced with surrounding COVID-19, the Department has been asked to review current practices to see how we can safely improve our processes for the public” (emphasis added). While that is a commendable practice in theory, undermining gas safety laws is directly in contradiction to “safely improv[ing]” DOB’s processes. If DOB wishes to create new policies to ensure efficiency for the public and/or in the interest of adapting to new environments, whether that is due to a pandemic like COVID-19 or even based on technological advances, it needs to balance public safety concerns with whatever the proposal may be—and with the current perceived “necessity” of DOB’s proposal (i.e. COVID-19 pandemic), safety concerns most certainly outweigh the process changes as set forth in the proposal. As an aside, we are not going to address the additional practical and procedural problems, which there are many within this draft, since we fundamentally disagree with the concept. We appreciate the opportunity to comment on the DOB’s proposal but caution the Department that this proposal can and will only lead to gas safety disasters. Only licensed, trained persons should be authorized to conduct gas work, regardless of the perceived “simplicity” of a gas appliance connection or claim that a global health matter requires an overhaul of government processes. Please do not hesitate to contact us for any reason. Sincerely, April McIver, Esq. Executive Director The Plumbing Foundation 212-481-9740 a.mciver@plumbingfoundation.nyc Terence O’Brien Executive Vice President ACP 212-481-4580 t.obrien@acpcny.org

Plumbing Foundation Virtual Seminar Series Will Detail New Gas Inspection Laws:

Everything Plumbers, Engineers, and Landlords Need to Know Local Law 152 and Other Important Gas Regulations

A series of local laws that establish new regulatory oversight and mandatory inspections for natural gas systems across NYC, including Local Law 152 (2016), took effect in 2020. The Plumbing Foundation City of New York will host a seminar series in February that will cover everything LMPs, professional engineers, and buildings owners/managers need to know about the new gas system requirements. Plumbing Foundation Executive Director April McIver, explains: “These new laws include very specific responsibilities for plumbers, engineers, and landlords that go well beyond previous requirements. The Plumbing Foundation’s aim is to be a onestop resource when it comes to providing clear and accurate information pertaining to the new gas system inspection laws.” Seminar Series for Licensed Master Plumbers, Professional Engineers, Building Owners and Managers Covering New Mandatory Gas Inspections for Buildings Citywide. Topics include:
  • Obligations under the new laws
  • Regulatory enforcement by the NYS Department of Public Service & NYC Dept. of Buildings
  • Understanding risks of noncompliance
  • Detailed information on staggered mandatory inspection due dates as determined by community board number across all five boroughs
  • Roles and responsibilities of public utilities
  • Responsibilities of Licensed Master Plumbers and Professional Engineers – knowing when each are required. NOTE: All physical work and all compliance inspections related to natural gas piping systems in NYC must be performed by, or under the direct supervision of, a licensed master plumber

EVENT DETAILS AND REGISTRATION: More Information to Follow – Please visit our website!

  • Licensed Master Plumbers – Thursday, February 11, 2021 at 11:30 A.M.
  • Professional Engineers – Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 11 A.M.
  • Building Owners and Managers – Thursday, February 18, 2021 at 11 A.M.
Gas Laws Covered:
  • LL 150 – Establishes the qualifications required for individuals performing gas work
  • LL 151 – Requires that the final inspection for gas piping must be performed by the NYC DOB
  • LL 152 – Requires periodic inspection of existing gas piping systems in all buildings except for occupancy group R3 (mostly one and two family dwellings)
  • LL 153 – Requires the notification and posting of instructions related to what procedures residential tenants must follow in the event of a gas emergency
  • LL 154 – Requires that both the utility company and the property owner must notify the DOB within 24 hours of having the gas service shut off for a building due to a hazardous condition
  • LL 157 – Addresses the mandatory installation of carbon monoxide, smoke and natural gas alarms for residential occupancies
  • LL 159 – Designates violations for gas piping systems as immediately hazardous
  • Federal/State Operator Qualification Requirements (Covered Tasks 86/87)

NYC Licensed Plumbing Community Survey: How do you think the ConEdison Yellow Book can be improved?

Please complete the survey! https://forms.gle/nUeMYaMtibjrh2cQ9

! IMPORTANT NOTICE !

Gas Operator Qualification Members – 2021 Begins OQ (CT 86/87) Renewals

If you received your Gas Operator Qualification in Covered Tasks 86 and 87 in 2018, your OQ credentials will expire in 2021. You must retake the written and practical exams to renew your OQ card and to continue conducting work covered by CT 86/87!

PLEASE BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR A DETAILED EMAIL ON THE PROCESS AND REQUIREMENTS TO RENEW!

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. Wealth Preservation Solutions LLC
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, Angelo Lemodetis, Lawrence J. Levine, Adam Levy, Scott Lyons, Andrew Moran, Barr Rickman, Richard Turchiano

Pipecaster Issue 3: Vol. 43

Plumbing Foundation Issues Public Health Guidelines To Combat Spread Of Covid-19

NEW YORK (originally released on Sept. 1, 2020) — As New York City continues its phased reopening aimed at containing the coronavirus pandemic, the Plumbing Foundation City of New York has issued important public health and safety guidelines intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. The safeguards apply to commercial property owners and leaseholders who may be who may be considering plumbing alterations and building water system upgrades to help businesses conform to new social distancing standards, as well as residential apartment and building owners conducting regular work and maintenance on plumbing fixtures that connect to sanitary water lines. “There are serious public health implications pertaining to potable water systems and sanitary drainage systems inside buildings,” cautions April McIver, Executive Director of the Plumbing Foundation. “Knowing that COVID-19 can be transmitted through human waste, and that other dangerous organisms such as Legionella can also be spread through building water systems, the message to our fellow New Yorkers is that only licensed master plumbers who are trained and certified can perform work and maintenance on building plumbing systems.”

Public Health Guidelines for Plumbing Work

  • Only licensed master plumbers are legally permitted to work on plumbing fixtures that connect to sanitary sewer lines in New York City.
  • Work on toilet fixtures requires a plumbing license and should only be performed by a master plumber.
  • If you question whether or not you are capable or qualified to perform plumbing fixture work, always hire a licensed master plumber.
  • Always ask to make sure your contractor is a licensed master plumber to ensure work is done safely and up to code, and ask if they are properly insured.
License and insurance information is publicly posted on the NYC Department of Buildings website, which can be accessed at: http://a810-bisweb.nyc.gov/bisweb/bsqpm01.jsp Owners who perform unlicensed plumbing work on their own or who allow unlicensed handymen to perform plumbing work not only pose a danger to their inhabitants and customers, they may also pose a health and safety risk to neighbors in the same building. Known hazards of untrained, unlicensed plumbing work include: spread of viral or bacterial infection including COVID- 19, Legionaire’s Disease from improperly installed or maintained water heaters; uncapped fixtures that could expose toxic or noxious gases; improperly installed fixtures that fail to properly contain sewage and dangerous gases; and failure to prevent dangerous backflow and cross-contamination. Ms. McIver concluded, “There is an important value proposition when you hire a licensed master plumber. Not only are you ensuring the health and safety of those you live with and your neighbors, you’re also assured of the quality of work.” Established in 1986, the Plumbing Foundation City of New York, Inc. is a nonprofit association of licensed contracting firms, engineering associations, manufacturers and suppliers whose mission is to ensure public health through the enactment and enforcement of safe plumbing codes. Please visit the Plumbing Foundation’s online version of the Pipecaster to access relevant links: www.plumbingfoundation.nyc/pipecaster

NYC Council Extends Site Safety Training Compliance Date

The NYC Council passed Intro No. 2059-A which extends the date of full compliance with the Site Safety Training Law from September 1, 2020 to March 1, 2021. The NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) reminds the industry that the current requirement that workers on sites requiring a DOB-licensed safety professional have 30 hours of site safety training continues until March 1, 2021. In addition, DOB encourages all workers to receive the full 40 hours of this potentially life-saving training as soon as possible. NYC‘s Drinking Water

NYC Department of Buildings Reopening Guidance

The following notice has been issued by the NYC Department of Buildings: As a reminder, all active sites must continue to be in compliance with State and City Phase 1 restart requirements. To understand what is expected of your site, please refer to the following:
  • Interim Guidance for Construction Activities During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency
  • “Do’s and Don’ts” Document
  • “What To Know” One-Pager.
If upon a visit from NYC Department of Buildings (DOB), a single Phase 1 restart violating condition is observed– your site will be assessed a violation that carries a financial penalty of $5,000. If your site does not have a Safety Plan and State Affirmation conspicuously posted and/or is lacking a proper hand hygiene station, your site will be issued a Stop Work Order in addition to the financial penalty. Continued noncompliance may result in additional summonses with accompanying civil penalties of up to $10,000 for each offense. If during DOB’s visit, any Construction Code and Electrical Code non-compliances are observed, Inspectors will take appropriate enforcement actions, including the potential issuance of violations with monetary penalties. The Safety Plan you must have on-site should be filled-out completely and posted for all to see. The Safety Plan’s intent is to outline how your workplace will prevent the spread of COVID-19. You should follow the Safety Plan template located on the State’s website, which you can access by clicking here. Your State Affirmation should be posted as well, you can fill-out your Affirmation by clicking here. All sites must also provide and maintain (at least one) hand hygiene station that is accessible for all personnel. This could include a handwashing station with soap, water, and paper towels, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing 60% or more alcohol for areas where handwashing is not feasible. If your site is assessed a COVID-19 Stop Work Order, a portal is available in DOB NOW: Safety to submit a rescind request. Additional information can be found in our Service Notice. Also please remember as City Employees performing essential regulatory duties, DOB Inspectors and other Field Staff with face coverings who visit construction sites are self-monitoring for any COVID-19 symptoms every day to ensure they do their work safely for themselves and the public. As such, Inspectors and Field Staff are not subject to screening and must be permitted access to a construction site. Failure to provide access will result in the issuance of a Stop Work Order. For additional information on the Phase 1 re-opening, please visit nyc.gov/buildings. On our Phase-1 re-opening webpage, you will find resources including DOB’s Phase 1 Re-Opening Guidance, FAQs, and the State’s Interim Guidelines. If you have any questions, please reach out via email to COVID19@buildings.nyc.gov. Finally, as New York City faces unprecedented challenges to rebuild and recover from the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic, we must also remember that there is a critical step each of us must take to help rebuild New York City into the future – and that is completing the 2020 Census. New York City needs a complete and accurate count in order to have the population data, billions in funding, means to invest in public works and infrastructure, and complete representation that it rightfully deserves. The census is completely confidential and there are no questions about immigration, citizenship, income, criminal history, or Social Security. The future of New York City is in your hands – fill out the 2020 Census now! Please visit the Plumbing Foundation’s online version of the Pipecaster to access the links in such notice: www.plumbingfoundation.nyc/pipecaster Charlotte Pipe and Foundry Company, The uniforms may change, but the courage to serve remains constant. At Charlotte Pipe, we honor all the brave men and women that have served in the United States Armed Forces.

Updated Deadlines for NYC DOB Licenses, Registrations, and Permits

In response to Mayor de Blasio’s Executive Order No. 134 and Local Law 57 of 2020, the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) is no longer allowing licenses and permits to be automatically extended. All licenses/registrations and permits issued by the DOB with an original expiration date on or after August 7, 2020 will expire on that original expiration date. Those licenses and permits which were automatically extended through August 6, 2020 will expire according to the below schedule:
Original (Pre-COVID 19) Expiration Dates Final Extension Date
March 12, 2020 – March 31, 2020 September 30, 2020
April 1, 2020 – April 30, 2020 October 31, 2020
May 1, 2020 – May 31, 2020 November 30, 2020
June 1, 2020 – June 30, 2020 December 31, 2020
July 1, 2020 – August 6, 2020 January 31, 2021
Please visit the Service Update here: www1.nyc.gov/assets/buildings/pdf/license_permit_expiration_no_extensions_sn.pdf
2020 Water Conservation and Reuse Grant Pilot Program

Download a PDF version of 2020 Water Conservation and Reuse Grant Pilot Program or click here for more information nyc.gov/dep/water-conservation-grant

Reminder: LL152 Inspection Requirements

The NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) was recently notified that certain NYC Licensed Master Plumbers were unaware of the requirement that a leak survey must be completed as part of the NYC Local Law 152 Inspection (periodic inspections of building gas piping). According to the Law:
§ 28-318.3.2 Scope. At each inspection, in addition to the requirements prescribed by this article or by the commis- sioner, all exposed gas lines from point of entry of gas piping into a building, 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 public spaces, hallways, corridors, and mechanical and boiler rooms with a portable combustible gas detector to determine if there is any gas leak, provided that such testing need only include public spaces, hall- ways and corridors on floors that contain gas piping or gas utilization equipment.
In addition, the rules require either a Licensed Master Plumber, or someone working directly under a Licensed Master Plumber who also completed a 7-hour training, to conduct such inspections. The 7-hour course, according to NYC Rules 103-10, must cover, among other topics, interior piping leak survey and atmospheric corrosion and leak survey inspection procedure. Finally, the Plumbing Foundation reminds the industry that all buildings with gas piping must be inspected (and inspection re- ports submitted) by the end of the year if they fall in the following category:

Buildings within Community Boards 1, 3, and 10 in all Boroughs

Please visit the Plumbing Foundation’s website for additional FAQs on LL152/2016: www.plumbingfoundation.nyc/gas-operator-qualification

NYC DOB Notice: Denial of Permits for False Statements and Work Without a Permit

The NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) issued a notice in reference to Local Law 114 of 2019 that states beginning August 5, 2020, DOB will deny initial work permits for multiple dwellings where the Department has issued a summons for submitting a false statement on a Plan/Work Application (PW1) regarding the occupancy status of the building (Section 26 of the PW1), or performing Work Without a Permit while the building was occupied. The one-year permit restriction will apply if the summons was issued on or after December 5, 2019—the effective date of Local Law 114 of 2019. The restriction will remain in effect for one-year from the issuance of the summons. However, the permit restriction can be removed before the one-year timeframe if the summons is dismissed by OATH. Please visit the Service Update here: www1.nyc.gov/assets/buildings/pdf/ll114of19_sn.pdf

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. Dependability you can lean on. It works as hard as you do. Advanced engineering and construction have earned InSinkErator® disposals their reputation for quality, durability and ease of installation. When you need performance, insist on a name you trust. Insist on InSinkErator™ Invented. Designed. Assembled. In USA
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, Angelo Lemodetis, Lawrence J. Levine, Adam Levy, Scott Lyons, Andrew Moran, Barr Rickman, Richard Turchiano

Pipecaster Issue 2: Vol. 43

Stagnant Water Systems in City’s Commercial Buildings May Pose Health Risks

By Christoph Lohr, PE and Terence O’Brien A unique and unintended health hazard lies in wait for tenants of shuttered commercial buildings poised to reopen in the coming weeks: potentially harmful microbes in stagnant water systems. Because of stay-at-home orders, building water systems and the municipal supply lines that feed them have experienced dramatically reduced flow, even total stagnation as the offices, hotels, retails stores and other public spaces they service have been left vacant for months. Public health officials and plumbing experts know this is a recipe for dangerous, perhaps deadly bacterial amplification such as Legionella pneumophila, the microbe that causes Legionnaires’ Disease. An almost annual outbreak already infects pockets of the city’s cooling towers during summer months. This year, with millions of square feet of normally busy commercial space idly creating the perfect breeding ground for waterborne microbes, the threat is exponentially worse, and an issue building owners and managers must take seriously. microbesThe science behind the phenomenon is well documented. City water systems were designed for increasing volumes based on projected population growth trends. Drinking water disinfectants, such as chlorine, depend on system-design calculated flows which includes short time to consumption in order to be effective. A near overnight shut down of water flow in large buildings has increased “water age” allowing chlorine and chloramine disinfectant levels to dissipate, thus causing a systemic failure of a building’s entire water network. Even if individual owners attempt to do the right thing by flushing systems, there is no guarantee they will return chloramine levels to where they need to be for safe operating. Because chlorine breaks down relatively quickly (think how often you have to check PH levels in a swimming pool) traditional drinking water disinfection methods may contribute to a critical failure under these unique circumstances. A study by water systems expert Dr. Victor Yu of the University of Pittsburgh finds that Legionella is already prevalent in complex building water systems. Approximately 70 percent of three-story and taller buildings regularly test positive for Legionella pneumophila, for instance. Given these ready-made conditions for microbial infection, obsolete guidance and conventional standard practices simply are not enough to properly ensure tenant and visitor safety. Water professionals including engineers, licensed master plumbers and contractors have a great opportunity to make an incredibly positive difference as New York City reopens by improving the safety of critical water supply systems. Likewise, building owners can seize a rare moment to make important health and wellness updates, many for the first time in decades. The question is will they? Christoph Lohr, PE, CPD, LEED AP BD+C, Director of Education & Strategic Projects with LiquiTech; Terence O’Brien is Executive Vice President at The Association of Contracting Plumbers and a Senior Director of the Plumbing Foundation New York City, Inc.

OP-ED: The Future of Gas in Downstate NY

Gas is not a four-letter word. Gas keeps us warm, generates our power and cooks our food. Gas is affordable and clean. Natural Gas is good. Gas is necessary. Gas is under pressure and we as the Plumbing industry must promote its continued use and virtues, especially in the dense urban and suburban markets in which we work. There is a lot of misinformation about gas and how it’s a part of the climate change problem. It is a part of the immediate solution. Is there a shortage of gas in downstate NY? There are multiple points of view on this and we must defer to those who know best. We support our Natural Gas Utilities in their efforts to ensure a robust gas supply. Gas utilities must promote, and our elected officials must acknowledge, the value of gas as a resource in conjunction with renewable electricity. This resource exists at the grid edge where it is needed and can be utilized to support renewable electricity by increasing the use of gas for Plumbing and HVAC systems. Highly efficient technologies such as gas-powered heat pumps exist today and must be deployed as we transition to renewable fuels. Buildings must be designed with highly efficient hydronic heating and cooling systems that can utilize heat pumps, boilers, and chillers as may be required. Thoughtful building design allows for the economic realities of today and for future fuel flexibility. Plumbers protect the health of the nation by installing and maintaining safe, reliable, efficient gas systems in our buildings, homes, towns, & cities to provide for basic human needs such as heat, hot water, & cooking. The health and safety of the nation’s urban centers and dense suburban areas depend on a robust piped fuel infrastructure and the Plumbers that maintain it. Affordable housing depends on natural gas to provide affordable heat, hot water and cooking. Future of gasLike electricity, the future of the piped fuel infrastructure that delivers Natural Gas is also trending towards renewables, in the form of RNG and Hydrogen. It is very likely that in many cold climates the gas grid will be greener, sooner, than the electric grid. In today’s environment it is important that we focus on the long-term necessity for a viable piped fuel infrastructure. It matters not that today’s fuel of choice is Natural Gas. What matters foremost is the future ability to deliver renewable gas blends and hydrogen blends leading to a future of 100% renewable fuels. The future of electricity generation is trending towards renewables and certain groups think that electrifying everything is the solution to all that ails us, but this is decades away, if ever, and well beyond the life cycle of equipment we are installing today. The choice to replace gas heating and hot water systems with electric air source heat pumps for heating and hot water in cold climates is largely a political decision, based on nonsensical economics, potentially damaging the balance that exists between the electric and gas grids. The choices we make today will affect the efficiency, resiliency, reliability, and affordability of our built environment for years to come. A future without piped fuels is untenable and fiscally irresponsible. Neil J. Skidell is the Managing Director, Green Solutions at The Par Group and has over 30 years’ experience in the design and construction of building systems.

BUILDINGS 2020-012 BULLETIN TECHNICAL

BUILDINGS 2020-012 BULLETIN TECHNICAL The entire bulletin can be found at: https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/buildings/bldgs_bulletins/bb_2020-012.pdf FLEET Think Fleet First

Construction Trades Renewal Course

SUNY Empire State CollegeThe DOB approved 7-hour license renewal courses provided by SUNY Empire State College, in partnership with Construction Trades Licensing Training Corporation (CTLTC), will be conducted online for the remainder of 2020 due to COVID-19. Registration for courses are now available on our website, but courses are capped at 25 participants per course class, and on a first come, first served basis. As a reminder, this course is open to any NYC licensed plumber and/or fire suppression contractor. All licensees must take the renewal course within 12-months of their license(s) expiration. Further information including dates for this online course are posted on CTLTC’s website: https://nyconstructiontrades.org/ Charlotte Pipe and Foundry Company - You can’t beat the system. We wear our heart on our sleeve. Charlotte Pipe is a proud 119-year-old American company. We understand a strong military and economy are both essential to the success of our great country. That’s why Charlotte Pipe is committed to keeping the economy strong by making and selling our products right here in the U.S.A.

Gas Operator Qualification Program and Local Law 152 DOB Periodic Gas Inspections

To become operator qualified in CT 86 and 87 through our GOQ program see the full list of instructions made available on our website under the tab Gas Operator Qualification. Note that applications need to be filled out completely and also require participants to enter a drug testing pool, complete the GOQ course and subsequently pass the GOQ exam. With OQ qualification in Tasks 86 and 87 plumbers are also qualified to conduct Local Law 152 building gas system inspections. Additionally, below are relevant links to DOB information on Local Law 152 information and reporting functions:

DOB service notice:

https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/buildings/pdf/ll_152of2016_follow-up1_sn.pdf

GPS2 Inspection form:

https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/buildings/pdf/gps2.pdf

Form submission portal (owner’s submit to DOB):

https://a810-efiling.nyc.gov/eRenewal/gaspipecert.jsp Lastly, Con Edison has developed a Gas Piping Inspection App (Plumber App) available for download through the Apple App and Google Play Stores. THIS IS NOT REQUIRED TO BE USED FOR JURISDICTIONAL OR DOB GAS LL 152 INSPECTIONS. This app allows ONLY plumbers who are qualified in OQ Task 86 to digitally record Local Law 152 inspections in the Con Edison Service territory. Con Ed IT team has created a tutorial video for their app. see link below: https://bcove.video/2UOYIvx

Leonard X. Farbman Scholarship Recipients

The 2020 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 $5000 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. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic we cannot come together at our annual award Scholarship Reception to acknowledge and celebrate noteworthy academic achievements of five young students. The Trustees of the Promotion Fund and the ACP Executive Board are happy to announce the following 2020 winners:
  • Giuseppe A. Quaratino
  • Peter A. Monteleone
  • Ryan D. Fallon
  • Lindsay Boyle
Again, Congratulations to all the winners!

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. Dependability you can lean on. It works as hard as you do. Advanced engineering and construction have earned InSinkErator® disposals their reputation for quality, durability and ease of installation. When you need performance, insist on a name you trust. Insist on InSinkErator™ Invented. Designed. Assembled. In USA
THE PIPECASTER is published by the Plumbing Foundation City of New York, Inc. 535 Eighth Avenue, Floor 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, Angelo Lemodetis, Lawrence J. Levine, Adam Levy, Scott Lyons, Andrew Moran, Barr Rickman, Richard Turchiano

Pipecaster Issue 1: Vol. 43

DOB Update on Refunds for Superseded LAAs

The NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) issued a Service Update regarding refund requests for superseded Limited Alteration Applications (LAAs). Effective February 2020, no refunds will be issued for superseded LAA filings. According to the notice, if the initial licensed contractor (License Master Plumber, Fire Suppression Contractor, or Oil Burner Equipment Installer) is replaced on an LAA and a new licensed contractor takes responsibility for the work being performed, the filing fees paid by the initial licensed professional will remain with the application and will not be refunded.

For more information, please visit the Service Notice:

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

NYC Gas Laws in Effect

Two important NYC Local Laws concerning the gas industry went into full effect January 1, 2020: Local Law 152 of 2016, mandating periodic inspections of building gas piping systems and Local Law 150 of 2016, mandating that all persons (other than a Licensed Master Plumber) working on gas piping must hold NYC Department of Buildings-issued gas work qualification.

LL152/2016

LL152 requires periodic inspections of building gas piping systems, which refers to all exposed gas piping from point of entry of the gas piping into the building, including building services meters, other than gas piping systems of buildings classified in occupancy group R-3 (2 families or less). This does not include gas piping within apartments, but does include inspection of public spaces, hallways, corridors, and mechanical and boiler rooms. These inspections, which must be completed by an NYC Licensed Master Plumber (LMP) or an individual working under an NYC LMP holding certain qualifications*, fall within the jurisdiction of the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB). The portal to submit inspection reports is: a810-efiling.nyc.gov/eRenewal/gaspipecert.jsp In addition to the DOB’s website, please visit our website for more information on LL152, including FAQs. We issued a detailed notice in our last newsletter (Issue 4: Vol. 42), available at: www.plumbingfoundation.nyc/pipecaster Our Frequently Asked Questions as well as a helpful flowchart on the gas requirements (also included as an insert in this issue of the Pipecaster) can be found at the bottom of our webpage: www.plumbingfoundation.nyc/gas-operator-qualification *Note that the Plumbing Foundation City of New York, Inc.’s Gas Operator Qualification Program for Covered Tasks 86/87, the course for which was created by the Northeast Gas Association (NGA) in conjunction with the Gas Technology Institute (GTI), has been approved by the NYC DOB for the 7-Hour Periodic Gas Piping Inspector Qualification course required by LL152. The DOB Course Provider ID for GTI/NGA is 6T73.

LL150/2016

LL150 requires all gas work within New York City to be performed by an LMP or a person working under the direct and continuing supervision of an LMP who also holds a DOB-issued full gas work qualification or limited gas work qualification. Gas work is defined under NYC Fuel Gas Code section 101.2, but which does not include periodic inspections under LL152 or gas work on U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) jurisdictional gas piping, for which LMPs need to have operator qualification in Covered Tasks 86/87*. To access more information on obtaining LL150 gas qualification visit: www1.nyc.gov/assets/buildings/pdf/gas_works_sn.pdf *The utility companies began enforcing the New York State regulation requiring NYC Licensed Master Plumbers and their technicians to hold operator qualification in Covered Tasks 86 and 87 to conduct inspections and maintenance/repairs on U.S. DOT jurisdictional gas piping on April 15, 2019. Currently, the Plumbing Foundation’s Gas Operator Qualification membership program has over 700 NYC licensed plumbing company members, 1,953 participants, and of those participants 1,363 are fully operator qualified. For more information on obtaining the required qualifications, please visit: www.plumbingfoundation.nyc/gas-operator-qualification Plumbers Gas Law Requirements Flow Chart Please click here to download a PDF version of the Plumbers Gas Law Requirements Flow Chart above.

Update on Congestion Pricing

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 will 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 been established, even with the Board’s expected release of recommendations to be made shortly after November 15, 2020 and the State’s expectation that the plan will become effective January 2021. It also is very unclear how the Board will be handling public comment, if any. The originally projected timeline seems unlikely. What has become even more of a controversy stems from the fact the roadways associated with the Central Business District have received federal dollars. Due to this, New York will need approval and determination if an environmental impact statement must be conducted from the U.S. Department of Transportation to establish its congestion pricing program. 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. Charlotte Pipe and Foundry Company - You can’t beat the system. We wear our heart on our sleeve. Charlotte Pipe is a proud 119-year-old American company. We understand a strong military and economy are both essential to the success of our great country. That’s why Charlotte Pipe is committed to keeping the economy strong by making and selling our products right here in the U.S.A.

NYC DOT Adopts Double Parking Rules

The NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) finally adopted the rules that it proposed last year (March 27, 2019) on double- parking (34 RCNY 4-08). The Plumbing Foundation submitted comments on the proposed rules which argued that placing a hard 20-minute cap on double parking, as proposed by DOT, should not apply to emergency services (such as plumbing, etc.) and we emphasized that the new congestion pricing plan, which we anticipate will impose a major hardship on service vehicles, should be taken into consideration. Unfortunately, DOT is moving forward with its proposed revisions which will change the allowance of double-parking from “expeditiously” making service calls to a 20-minute maximum while actively engaged in loading/unloading for such service calls. The rules also now explicitly state: No person shall double park a commercial vehicle when it blocks the only lane of travel in the same direction. No person shall stand, stop or park a vehicle on a street at any time in such a manner or under such conditions as to leave fewer than 10 feet of roadway width available for the free movement of vehicular traffic. 34 RCNY 4-08(f)(1). The rules went into effect March 8, 2020

NYC Adopts Dangerous Vehicle Abatement Law

The New York City Council has adopted a dangerous vehicle abatement law, Local Law 36 of 2020, to address the dangers of exceeding posted speed limits and failing to comply with traffic signals. Registered vehicle owners of any motor vehicle that the NYC Department of Finance (DOF) has found to have accumulated 5 or more red light camera violations, or 15 or more school speed camera violations, within any 12-month period will be required to take a safe vehicle operation course regarding responsible vehicle ownership. Exclusions to this are any vehicle owned or leased by the United States government or any state or local government. The New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) will send notices by first-class mail to all registered vehicle owners who receive a red light camera violation or a school speed camera violation, noting the requirement to enroll in a safe vehicle operation course if they have accumulated the aforementioned number of violations. The Law also gives DOT the authority to impose a safe vehicle operation course on those with accumulated violations and to seize and impound vehicles. Specifically, failure to complete the safe vehicle operation course or provide certification of completion of the course within a stated period of time may result in seizure and impoundment of a registered owner’s vehicle. However, a registered vehicle owner may contest such notice before the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH). If within six months of completion of the safe vehicle operation course no additional red light camera violations or school speed camera violations are accumulated, any such violations accrued before the completion of the course will not be counted as violations. The law goes into effect at the end of October of this year; however, the provisions allowing DOT to impose a safe vehicle operation course and to seize and impound vehicles go into effect February 2021. The law has a sunset date of three years. Dependability you can lean on. It works as hard as you do. Advanced engineering and construction have earned InSinkErator® disposals their reputation for quality, durability and ease of installation. When you need performance, insist on a name you trust. Insist on InSinkErator™ Invented. Designed. Assembled. In USA

Sentencing of Three Convicted in 2015 East Village Gas Explosion

The 5th Anniversary of the horrific gas explosion in the East Village is March 26, 2020. Timely, then, is the sentencing of the recently convicted owner, general contractor, and unlicensed plumber involved in the explosion. Owner Maria Hrynenko, General Contractor Dilber Kukic, and unlicensed plumber Athanasios Ioannidis were convicted on November 15, 2019 at the New York State Supreme Court of New York County for two counts of manslaughter, which is a class C Felony, among several other felony and misdemeanor convictions. On January 10, 2020, all three were sentenced to at least 4 and up to 12 years in prison. The 2015 East Village gas explosion was due to reckless, unlicensed plumbing work, specifically an illegal connection. The explosion resulted in two fatalities and nineteen injuries. The fire caused by the explosion damaged buildings 119, 121, and 123 on Second Avenue in the East Village. The Plumbing Foundation City of New York, Inc. works to combat unlicensed plumbing work as the industry is well aware of the deadly consequences from such work. Building owners must hire licensed, qualified plumbers to conduct any gas work, whether it be for an inspection, repair, or replacement of a full gas system. If you or someone you know believes unlicensed plumbing work is being conducted in any of the five boroughs, please email: info@plumbingfoundation.nyc Wealth Preservation Solutions LLC

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. FLEET Think Fleet First
THE PIPECASTER is published by the Plumbing Foundation City of New York, Inc. 535 Eighth Avenue, Floor 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, Angelo Lemodetis, Lawrence J. Levine, Adam Levy, Scott Lyons, Andrew Moran, Barr Rickman, Richard Turchiano