Nadel & Ciarlo, P.C.

Ensuring that a building's water storage tank is up to NYC code

Thousands of buildings in New York are equipped with either rooftop or indoor water tanks. From these tanks, water is piped throughout the buildings for drinking, washing and fire suppression. According to city building codes, water storage tanks must be constructed of either steel or wood.

Condominium and cooperative boards are also responsible for ensuring that water storage tanks are clean and properly maintained. The two agencies that regulate water tanks are the Department of Health and the Department of Building, and owners have to comply with the rules of both departments.

Regulations require that water storage tanks be cleaned at least once per year, and a single cleaning typically costs about $1,000. However, owners and condo boards should be sure to verify the credentials of anyone hired to clean or repair a building's water tank. Not all plumbers are properly trained to handle this sort of work, and a building could be held liable if an unqualified contractor is somehow injured. In fact, very few New York companies specialize in water tank construction and maintenance.

Building supers can visually assess major upkeep issues, such as a leak or algae growth on the tank. Certified inspectors will also test the water and check for structural soundness. The Health Department conducts spot checks, and condo and co-op boards can ask to review the inspections. To ensure compliance, boards can also have the tanks regularly disinfected and checked for foreign objects in the water.

It is not uncommon for construction and maintenance disputes to arise among condo boards, unit owners and construction contractors. These disputes can often be resolved outside of court, though litigation is sometimes necessary. You can learn more about resolving condo and co-op disputes at our main site.

Source: The Cooperator, "Up on the Roof," W.B. King, April 3, 2014

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