Saturday, February 01, 2020

Nassau County's Environmental Hazard Remediation Contractors License Added to Nassau County Fire Prevention Ordinance

In our mold refresher courses, we've been discussing the 2016 edition of the Nassau County Fire Prevention Ordinance.  This Ordinance now requires businesses that provide board-up services and restoration services must be licensed with the Nassau County Fire Marshall.  The Fire Prevention Ordinance defines restoration services as the act of cleaning or restoring a residential or commercial building damaged by fire, flood, hurricane, storm or other emergency events.  The Nassau County Fire Marshall charges a fee to be licensed, however, if a business has a home improvement or environmental hazard remediation contractors license issued by Nassau County Department of Consumer Affairs are still required to have the Fire Marshall License but are exempt from paying the fee.
   
Fire Restoration Companies Must Be Licensed with the Nassau County Fire Marshall
If you are wondering what is an Environmental Hazard Remediation Contractor license?  This is a license created by Nassau County Local Law No. 13-2014 that requires "Licensing of Environmental Hazard Remediation Providers" or in other words environmental contractors.  However, environmental contractors are defined as "any person who or legal entity that, contracts with an owner or an owner's agent to inspect a suspected environmental hazard or to implement any measure or measures that result in the remediation of an environmental hazard in a building."  This definition means both consultants and contractors have to be licensed.  Even more amazing is the definition of Environmental hazard.  "Environmental hazard(s) means any condition that constitutes an indoor air quality violation as defined by any United States statute or regulation, any New York State Law or regulation, any local law or any regulation promulgated by the Commissioner of Consumer Affairs, and which hazard was caused by fire, flood, storm, chemical spills, dust, sewage, mold, pathogens or other biological contaminants and not caused by the presence of asbestos or lead."  Not totally sure what isn't covered, under this definition.  

Flood Damage & Mold are Environmental Hazards under Local Law 13-2014
The Local Law 13-2014 requires two licenses, environmental contractors have to get the Environmental Hazard Remediation Provider (EHRP) License ($1,300 for a two-year license, renewal fee is $500 every two years) and the Environmental Hazard Remediation Technician (EHRT) License ($110 for two-year license, every two years).  The EHRT shall be issued to an EHRP or their principal(s) and any person employed by, seeking employment by or under contract to a EHRP for the purpose of environmental hazard assessment and environmental hazard remediation.  It does allow an EHRT to supervise up to 10 unlicensed employees or contractors performing remediation or remediations.  To get the EHRT license the applicant must show proof that they have taken the following courses:
  • OSHA Safety Standards for Construction or General Industry - a minimum of 10 hours
  • NYS Asbestos Handler - a minimum of 32 hours
  • EPA Lead Worker - a minimum of 16 hours.  Lead RRP is NOT sufficient
  • Hazardous Waste Operations (HAZWOPER) - a minimum of 40 hours
  • Microbial Remediation - a minimum of 24 hours
  • Water damage restoration - minimum 20 hours or Institute of Inspection, Cleaning Restoration Certification (IICRC) WRT Certification
  • Fire damage restoration - a minimum of 16 hours or IICRC FSRT Certification
  • PCB Awareness - a minimum of 4 hours
  • Bloodborne pathogens - a minimum of 4 hours
  • Infection control risk assessment - a minimum of 4 hours
  • Proof of a valid lead and asbestos abatement licenses.
170 hours of training, is a lot of training!
The above list consists of 170 hours of training.  It is interesting to note to get an asbestos abatement license you need to take an NYS asbestos supervisor - a minimum of 40 hours and to get the EPA Lead Remediation License you must be an EPA lead supervisor - a minimum of 32 hours.  Nowhere in this list of topics is a supervisor course, considering that the EHRT will be allowed to supervise up to 10 unlicensed employees/contractors that seem very lacking.  In addition, there is no assessment class in this list.  Most of us in the industry would agree that this list should be the minimum training for the remediation workers in the restoration/remediation industry.  This list should not be the training requirements for the principals/supervising employees of an EHRP.  In our opinion, EHRP principals/supervising employees should have a minimum certification from American Council for Accredited Certifications, American Board of Industrial Hygiene, Board of Certified Safety Professionals, or another national, non-profit certifying body which:  
In addition, the Local Law does not address the conflict of interest issues that arise from these types of projects.  In our opinion, the local law should have this language to address conflicts of interest:
  • Individuals or legal entities shall not conduct environmental assessments for a period of one year on projects for which they have conducted environmental remediation services.
  • Individuals or legal entities shall not conduct environmental remediations for a period of one year on projects for which they have conducted environmental assessments.

We have written to our representative on the Nassau County Legislature (click on the link to see our letter) and have not gotten very far.  We suspect that is because we are only one voice and we need the industry to write to the legislature to get some traction on this.  We plan on sending another version of this letter in the next week or two.  We may not all agree on what changes need to be made, but we all agree that it needs to change.  Under the current version, very few contractors and no consultants would become license under this local law.

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