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May 5, 2009

City Council Mandates Drinking Water Tank (Roof Tank) Inspections And Creates Liability For Failure To Comply

NEW YORK CITY, N.Y., MAY 5, 2009 On February 11, 2009, the New York City Council voted unanimously to amend the administrative code of the city of New York in relation to the inspection of water tanks (roof tanks) used for the purpose of storing and distributing drinking water. This law is effective 90 days after enactment (May 12, 2009).

The new local law – “Drinking Water Tank Inspections” – creates the following mandates for building owners, or their agents: to inspect the drinking water tanks at least annually; to maintain the results of the inspections on file for at least five years; to make the results of the inspections available to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene within five days upon request; and to notify building tenants and residents that the result of the inspections are available for viewing. (The notification to the tenants must be posted in a location easily accessible and in a frame with a transparent cover).

The new “Drinking Water Tank Inspections” law also creates civil liability for building owners who fail to comply with the annual inspection of their drinking water tanks and the new notification requirements. The civil liabilities are as follows: liability for violation of the annual water tank inspection mandate: not less than two hundred dollars and not to exceed two thousand dollars for each violation; and liability for violation of the notification provision is not to exceed $250 per violation. To read the full text of the new law, please visit:

Philip J. Kraus, President and Chief Executive Officer, notes that “the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Department of Buildings already require building owners to inspect and clean their water tanks (rook tanks) annually.” Of the technical specifications directed by the regulations of New York City, Mr. Kraus says, ‘ the Health Code requires that the water tank (roof tank) inspection be performed by a New York City Licensed Plumber and the New York City Plumbing Code specifies that a building’s water tank (roof tank) must be drained and cleaned annually, and then disinfected with a hypochlorite solution in accordance with specified procedures.”

Since neither the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene nor the Department of Buildings requires the building owner to file the results of the inspection and cleaning with the respective agency, compliance with the requirement to inspect and clean the drinking water tanks is reliant on the honor system. As evidenced in the discussions City Council’s Public Hearing on the proposed “Drinking Water Tank Inspections” (Proposed Int. No. 408-A) on January 8, 2009, the honor system is not working to the satisfaction of the City Council.
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The “Drinking Water Tank Inspection” law is intended to improve compliance with the annual water tank (roof tank) inspection mandate by creating transparency in the water tanks inspection records and by creating civil penalties for noncompliance.

About Fred Smith Plumbing & Heating Co., Inc.
Fred Smith Plumbing & Heating Co., Inc. is New York’s premier provider of comprehensive plumbing and heating solutions to the co-op and condo community. Services include plumbing, heating, sewer and drain cleaning, high pressure steam, HVAC, pump repair, roof tank cleaning, water filtration, and private repairs. From basic apartment repairs to building wide system upgrades to ongoing maintenance, Fred Smith Plumbing & Heating delivers a level of service and professionalism rarely seen anymore. For more information, please visit: .

Culligan of New York
Culligan of New York is a Fred Smith Plumbing & Heating Co., Inc. affiliated company that provides water purification services to New York City and Long Island, New York. An exclusive Culligan dealership, Culligan of New York offers drinking water filtration products, whole building (central) filtration, ultra pure water systems, and other purification systems and services for residential, commercial, and industrial applications.

Roof TankCleaning Services
For information about Fred Smith Plumbing & Heating’s comprehensive drinking water tank inspection and cleaning service, please refer to our Roof Tank Cleaning Services. ( http://www. )

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