In recent years, New York City has experienced several instances of faulty or tampered gas piping infrastructure creating hazardous conditions, including in the recent East Harlem and East Village explosions.
These incidents have damaged or destroyed buildings, and left tenants and residents injured or even killed. Seeing a need for enhanced safety enforcements on this issue, the City Council has worked for two years to develop a package of legislation addressing the issue, including: Introduction 1079-A, sponsored by Harlem Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, which would require final inspection of permitted work on gas piping systems to be performed by the Department of Buildings. And Introduction 738-A, sponsored by Harlem Council Member Mark Levine, would bar individuals from performing work on gas piping systems after January 1, 2020, unless such individuals are licensed master plumbers, hold a gas qualification, or hold a limited gas qualification and perform work under the personal and immediate supervision of a gas qualification holder.
“Over the last few years we have seen the horrific consequences of allowing illegal gas work in our city. Intro 738 creates a comprehensive standard for doing this sensitive and potentially deadly work,” said Harlem Council Member Mark Levine. “It’s a matter of safety to make sure we have the most highly qualified people on the job. As a city we have a responsibility to protect the health and lives of tenants being put at risk by unscrupulous actors who cut corners. We must do more as a city to be proactive, ramp up inspections and ensure all tenants are safe in their homes, and this bill is a major step forward towards achieving that goal.”
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Photo credit: Council Member Levine spoke at a Press Conference today prior to the Council’s vote on his legislation.