Tuesday, December 11, 2018

NYC Department of Environmental Protection Asbestos Rule Amendment Goes Into Effect January 6, 2019

New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP) posted a "Notice of Adoption of Final Rule" that goes into effect January 6, 2019.  This Asbestos Rule Amendment includes quite a few changes to Chapter 1 of Title 15 of the Rules of the City of New York.  For a copy of the Asbestos Rules Amendment, click here.  In addition, going into effect on January 6, 2019, is the "Promulgation of Air Asbestos Penalty Schedule".  This penalty schedule has been incorporated into Title 15 and includes the revised violation schedule for the changes made to Title 15 by the Amendment.  For a copy of this Penalty Schedule, click here.

Asbestos Training Course
As expected most of the changes to Title 15 was in response to the almost year ago indictment and arrest of the 17-18 NYCDEP asbestos investigators, see below for the press conference or click here for Spectrum News NY 1's report.  Those indictments included recommendations from the New York City Department of Investigations (NYCDOI) click here to see the press release on the arrests and the summary of recommendations made by NYCDOI.


Some of the changes regarding asbestos investigators:
  • Subchapter A Section 1-01 subdivision (j) (3) now allows NYCDEP may block an asbestos investigator from filing an ACP5 form along with the previous wording of denying asbestos permits for non-payment of civil penalties by the abatement contractor, building owner or air monitoring company,
  • A requirement of an electronic recordkeeping system and to protect records from water damage, and a requirement to immediately report if any records are damaged, lost or destroyed,
  • Non-certified individuals may not collect bulk samples,
  • New applicants must submit documentation of successful completion of an 8 hour minimum introductory blueprint-reading course or any applicable building design and construction training or certification as established by the department and posted on the NYCDEP website,
  • Registered design professionals, certified industrial hygienist or certified safety professionals must have documentation of 6 months post-graduate experience in building survey for asbestos,
  • Associate Degree individuals must have 2 years (instead of one year) post-graduate experience in conducting surveys for asbestos,
  • Individuals with extensive experience must show 3 years (instead of two years) of experience in conducting surveys for asbestos,
  •  Applicants are allowed three attempts to achieve a passing grade on the exam.  After the third attempt results in failure, the applicant must retake the New York State Inspector Training to retake the NYCDEP exam, 
  • Section 1-16 letter (j) gives NYCDEP the authority to deny any application submitted if it is determined the applicant has failed to meet the six standards listed,
  • Section 1-16 letter (k) gives NYCDEP the authority to immediately suspend an investigator issued a notice of violation alleging unprofessional conduct that demonstrates a willful disregard for public health, safety or welfare,
  • Section 1-16 letter (l) gives NYCDEP authority for reasonable cause to believe an investigator's surveys have been performed improperly or fraudulently such that work performed poses or may pose a threat to human safety, the Commissioner may invalidate any or all ACP-5s filed by the investigator and may order the building owner to stop all work, have a new survey conducted by a different investigator, and have a new ACP5 submitted.
  • Section 1-16 letter (m) investigators must disclose prior convictions, etc.
  • Replacement certificates may only be obtained twice in any two-year validity period.
  • The addition of the number of samples required based on Surfacing Materials, Thermal System Insulation, and Suspect Miscellaneous Materials.
  • Skim coat of joint compound included in surfacing materials utilizing 3,5,7 rule.
  • Bulk Sample results/reports must be submitted within 72 hours of request (used to be 5 calendar days).
What's wrong with this picture?
Some of the changes regarding other parts of Title 15:

  • Several other definition modifications or changes, including:
    • Bound Notebook -notebook manufactured so that the pages cannot be removed without being torn out,
    • Start Date - shall mean the date when a worker decontamination enclosure system is installed and functional,
  • Approved Variances changes including automatically canceling a written approval of a variance when the building owner changes contractors,
  • Section added to experience requirement of asbestos handler supervisor,
  • Sections added to the renewal of restricted asbestos handler certificate,
  • Work Place Safety Plan's (WPSP) floor plans must now also show the location of the decontamination enclosure systems along with all project work areas,
  • Failure to comply with the approved WPSP is a violation of these rules was added.
  • A requirement that a registered design professional must submit a letter to the Asbestos Technical Review Unit affirming that the professional visited the workplace and that additional asbestos abatement, for the additional ACM added to a project, is consistent with the approved WPSP and the proposed changes will not impact egress or fire protection.
  • Electronic recordkeeping of the project record for abatement projects,
  • Air Monitoring Company must maintain electronic records for 30 years after the end of the project including:
    • NYCDEP Certificate number of all individuals who worked on the project;
    • location & general description of the project;
    • start and completion dates for the project;
    • name, address, & ELAP registration number of the laboratory used for air sample analysis;
    • a copy of the project air sampling log.
  • One air sample technician must be present per 3 work areas in one work site.
  • A rotometer's calibration sheet must be available at the worksite,
  • Project air sampling log must be created & maintained in a bound notebook by the air monitoring company.  A copy of the log must be submitted within 72 hours of a request, used to be 24 hours.
  • Sample location sketches must be made within one hour of the beginning of sample collection.
  • Air sampling results/reports must be submitted within 72 hours of request (used to be 5 calendar days).
  • OSHA personal sampling must be made available within 72 hours of request.
  • Entry and exit log must be submitted within 72 hours of a request, used to be 48 hours.
  • Glovebag procedures may only be used on horizontal piping.
  • The addition of on any individual floor for tent procedures.
AHERA TEM method counts for total asbestos structures per cubic centimeter averaged 22 times greater than the PCM fiber counts on the same filters.

Considering this was primarily focused on the indicted asbestos investigators and recommendations from NYCDOI, there seemed to be a lot of things NYCDEP needed to clean-up in other parts of Title 15.  It is interesting that third-party analysis recommended by NYCDOI was left out of the amendment, and Future Environment Design's comment about requiring transmission electron microscope (TEM) analysis for asbestos floor tile projects was ignored.  So much for the revised purpose of these rules being to protect public health and the environment by minimizing emissions of asbestos fibers.  Not including TEM analysis for floor tile projects does exactly the opposite of that purpose.  For more information regarding this issue see our Floor Tile Debate blog post.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Local Law 196 of 2017 Deadlines Extended.

On November 8, 2018, New York City Department of Buildings tweeted about extending the deadlines for construction training under Local Law 196 of 2017.  Click here to see the tweet.  This pushes back the training requirements deadline from December 1, 2018, to June 1, 2019.  Currently, to work on most construction projects all that is required is an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 10-hour construction safety course card.  This requirement will continue to be required until June 1, 2019.


After June 1, 2019, construction workers will be required to have 30-hours of training either by taking an OSHA 30-hour construction safety course or by getting 20 additional training hours over the OSHA 10-hour construction safety course.  Those 20 additional training hours must consist of an 8-hour fall protection course, a 4-hour scaffold user course, and an 8-hour site safety manager refresher course.


The next deadline has also been extended to September 1, 2020.  That deadline will require individuals taking the OSHA 10-hour construction safety course to take 30 additional hours of training or those individuals taking the OSHA 30-hour construction safety course to take 10 additional training hours.  For more information click here for the NYC Buildings Department November 2018 Service Update explaining these changes and requirements.

Related Articles:

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

NYC's Department of HPD Proposes Rules to Implement Indoor Allergen Hazards Legislation

The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (NYCHPD) is holding a public hearing on November 2, 2018, to accept comments on a proposed rule to implement legislation regarding indoor allergen hazards.  To find out how to comment on the proposed rule visit NYC's rule website at https://rules.cityofnewyork.us/content/proposed-rules-regarding-indoor-allergen-hazards.  The proposed rules implement Local Law 55 of 2018, enacted by the City Council.  The legislation establishes an owner's responsibility to investigate for and remediate indoor allergen hazards like mold, cockroaches, mice, and rats in multiple dwellings.  The rules provide for work practices to be used by owners in performing the work to remediate these conditions.  The Local Law goes into effect on January 2019.

Green algae in condensate pan

The new rules include several definitions that are interesting:

  • Indoor allergen hazard - means any indoor infestation of cockroaches, mice, or rats or conditions conducive to such infestation or an indoor mold hazard.
  • Indoor mold hazard - means any condition of mold growth on an indoor surface, building structure or ventilation system, including mold that is within wall cavities, that is likely to cause harm to a person or that has been cited as a violation by NYCHPD.
  • Pest -means any unwanted member of the Class Insecta, including, but not limited to houseflies, lice, bees, cockroaches, moths, silverfish, beetles, bedbugs, ants, termites, hornets, mosquitoes, and wasps and members of the Order Rodentia, including but not limited to mice, Norway rats, and any other unwanted plant, animal or fungal life that is a pest because it is destructive, annoying or a nuisance.
  • Underlying defect means a condition that causes an indoor mold hazard, such as a water leak or water infiltration from plumbing or defective masonry pointing or other moisture condition or causes an infestation of pests, including holes or entryway paths for pests.

Mold on a sheetrock wall

These rules require the owner of the building to make an annual inspection for indoor allergen hazards in apartments and common areas of the building.  It also requires the owner to inspect if the occupant informs them that there is a condition in the apartment that is likely to cause an indoor allergen hazard or the occupant requests an inspection or NYCHPD issues a violation requiring the correction of an indoor allergen hazard in an apartment.  The owner is required to fix an indoor allergen hazard in an apartment using safe work practices specified in these rules.  The owner must provide new tenants with a pamphlet developed by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.  Prior to new tenant occupancy, the owner is required to fix all visible mold and pest infestations in the apartment, as well as underlying defects using the safe work practices.  The assessments or work regarding indoor mold hazards must be performed in compliance with Article 32 of New York State Labor Law (Mold Licensing and Minimum Work Practices).  It seems to us if this rule goes into effect tenants have another weapon they can use to make sure their apartments are healthy living environments.

Related Articles:

New York City Asthma-Free Housing Act by Jack Springston, CIH, CSP, FAIHA

NYS Department of Labor Publishes Two New Mold Fact Sheets

Asthma Control Study Indicates a Home Visit Strategy is Successful.

New York State Mold Licensing & Minimum Standards Law Is Signed By Governor Cuomo

NYS Mold Law Changes, Licensing Requirement Goes Into Effect January 1, 2016.

Mold Legislation Threatens Restoration/Remediation Industries


Saturday, September 29, 2018

Future Environment Designs Attends LITE 2018 - What Else Can We Do To Improve Our Offerings?

What has now become the annual trek to Edinburgh, Scotland to attend the Leadership Innovation Technology Evolution (LITE) conference was on September 20 and 21, 2018.  Just like the previous conferences, we came away from this conference inspired to continue to improve on our course offerings and increase the information we provide you.  We will continue to transition to online course evaluations, by using Surfaces connected to the course evaluation system we will go electronic for course evaluations.  We are also in the process of converting the asbestos refresher exams to be online.  That will probably take a while to accomplish, hoping to complete it within the next year.

Vicky Kavanagh of Administrate Discussing the Advantages of Blended Learning

Presentations by Vicky Kavanagh of Administrate, Sandy Rushton of Bright Carbon, and Graham David of Blue Bettle Productions taught us how to improve our presentations and make them more informative and entertaining.  Vicky Kavanagh's presentation helped us to determine what else we can we do with the blended learning environment we created.  Sandy Rushton's presentation taught us how animations in powerpoint presentations can help keep learners focused on the message.  Graham David's presentation encouraged us to ask more questions in our presentations to make it more interactive.  These improvements you will see in the next courses and over the next year.

Sandy Rushton of Bright Carbon Discussing How to Improve Stories
We will be expanding our token program for providing access to additional online training courses, and increasing the topics we cover on these programs.  Starting January 2019, to add value to our training courses every registration will include a Silver Token that will be good for taking one online course and will be good for a year.  Our current online courses include courses on respirators, crystalline silica, asbestos awareness, and New York City asbestos handler/supervisor exam review course.  The next courses we are working on is a New York City asbestos investigator exam review course and a Hazard Communication/Right-to-Know Course.  We hope to have these courses available before the New Year.

#LITE2018 was Inspiring and Informative as Previous LITEs


The #LITE2018 conference helped us learn more about the Administrate program and a new feature coming out down road called Learning Paths may help us develop even more courses.  The end of the first day was the annual Historic Pub Crawl which we enjoyed and included visiting three pubs the BeeHive Inn, Biddy Mulligans, and the Jolly Judge.  All three had old wooden bars that were quite impressive.  More interesting was the ability to drink outside the pubs in the UK, not just in a patio or a beer garden.  The Jolly Judge was in a courtyard where you were allowed to stand outside with your drink and while discussing the day's events.  LITE 2018 was another successful conference and we will be able to continue to expand our offerings because of the Administrate product.  

Pub Crawl was Fun & Good for Networking



Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Future Environment Designs Celebrates 30 Years in Business in October. What the heck is SNUR?


View Do As I Say, Not As I Did by Angelo Garcia III

On October 5, 1988, Future Environment Designs Inc. was founded by Angelo Garcia, III.  When we started the company, our only thought was, considering the companies we worked for, how hard could this be.  Well 30 years later here we are a slightly different focus from when we started, but the same drive of trying to provide the best service we can for our clients.  Since the official date of our anniversary falls when we are in the Plattsburgh area, we are starting the celebration at 4:30 PM on October 5, 2018, at the Valcour Brewing Company, 49 Ohio Avenue, Plattsburgh, NY 12903.  The second date of our celebration will be held at 5:00 PM on October 9, 2018, at Sapsuckers Hops & Grub, 287 Main Street, Huntington, NY 11743.  We hope to see you at one of the events to help us celebrate our 30 Years!

In honor of making it to 30 years, we have written a book called "Do As I Say, Not As I Did - Thinking Of Opening a Business, Some of the Things You Should Consider".  The book is available through Blurb as a hardcover or a pdf.  If you bring the book to one of our classes or one of our Anniversary events, we would be honored to sign it for you.  We wrote this book to discuss our experiences over the 30 years and to provide you with a resource if you ever consider opening your own business.

Over the 30 years, we have seen lots of changes in the industry and outside of the industry.  It is interesting to remember when we started we used beepers and phone cards to stay in communication between the field staff and the office.  Now, most people have cell phones.  We used typewriters to fill out ACP5 forms.  Now, they are done online.  We used to provide students course manuals that were hundreds of pages and took forever to find what you were looking for.  Now the manuals are electronic/digital and you can do a keyword search to find what you are looking for in minutes or even seconds.  But with all this advancement the work still stays the same.  Workers still need to wear respirators to protect themselves, still need to take showers to leave the contamination at the work site, still need to use water to keep dust levels below exposure levels, and create a negative pressure inside the work area to prevent the escape of asbestos fibers from the work area.  So while a lot has changed and a lot has still stayed the same!

When we opened our business doing consulting work in the asbestos industry, we were asked by our mentors and friends why.  Many of them thought or felt all the asbestos will be removed in 5-10 years.  It is interesting that not only is all of the asbestos not removed but, after 30 plus years of wanting to ban asbestos, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) instead of an outright ban of asbestos has actually proposed a rule that could allow asbestos to be used in products that they have determined are no longer available.  This proposed rule is called SNUR (Significant New Use Rule).  The rule would require manufacturers and importers to receive EPA approval before starting or resuming manufacturing and importing or processing of asbestos.  Currently, new uses of asbestos were banned under the original Toxic Substance Control Act - Asbestos Ban and Phase Out Rule issued in 1989, though portions were overturned the ban on new commercial uses after August 25, 1989, remains.  Materials not subject to the Asbestos Ban and Phase Out Rule and hence are the subject of this SNUR are:

  • Asbestos arc chutes
  • Asbestos pipeline wrap
  • Asbestos separators in fuel cells and batteries
  • Asbestos-reinforced plastics
  • Beater-add gaskets
  • Extruded sealant tape
  • Filler for acetylene cylinders
  • High-grade electrical paper
  • Millboard
  • Missile liner
  • Roofing felt 
  • Vinyl-asbestos floor tile 
  • Adhesives and Sealants 
  • Roof and Non-Roof Coatings 
  • Other Building Products (other than cement product)
As you may wonder and as many others have, why a SNUR?  Why not a flat out ban?  Why else but to allow asbestos to be used by certain industries, for example, the chlor-alkali industry which currently is the primary importer of asbestos still today!  In 2016, EPA noted that 340 metric tons of asbestos were imported into the United States all of it used by the chlor-alkali industry.  We think the list of materials that are affected by the SNUR is interesting, imagine if they allowed the return of asbestos use in floor tiles, roofing felts, electrical paper, adhesives and sealants and roof and non-roof coatings.  All of these are building materials that would be required to be inspected and determined if they contain asbestos.  If they contain asbestos, they will have to be removed as asbestos-containing materials.  The asbestos abatement industry may never go out of business if that was the case.  So maybe, we'll still be here for another 30 years.  Imagine that!