The Massachusetts House of Representatives are currently considering a bill that would provide more regulations for drain cleaners in the area. Bill H 196 would direct the Massachusetts Board of Examiners of Plumbers to make rules and regulations for licensing drain cleaners. Unlike plumbers, drain cleaners currently have no governmental agency that consumers can contact if a service call goes wrong.
Members from the Plumbers & Gasfitters Local Union 12 appeared before members of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure, arguing that drain cleaners need supervision. “It is an industry that’s growing, there’s more and more and more small businesses, smaller than ours, single-unit individuals and there is no oversight,” said Rockland drain cleaner Stephen Cummings.
Plumbers & Gasfitters Local Union 12 Business Manager Harry Brett estimates there are “a couple of thousand” drain cleaners in Massachusetts that have no governmental oversight. He has seen many people call the plumbing board when something goes wrong with their drain cleaning “assuming [the board] can resolve it. But the board has no authority to act.”
Responses from the Industry
Opponents of the bill do not believe the plumbing board is capable of handling drain cleaning. Vice President of finance and marketing of John’s Sewer & Pipe Cleaning Inc., a company that works on sewers and drainers in the Greater Boston area, says drain cleaning is a “separate industry from plumbing” and therefore should not be under the same governmental agency as plumbing. “The current system has been working and working successfully for nearly one-hundred years, I don’t see a reason to change it now,” said McDonald.
Dick Mottolo, President of Service Pumping & Drain Co. Inc. for over forty years, agrees with McDonald, saying, “With all due respect, there are so many more needs in this state.”
It does not seem that the committee has made up their mind, as House chair of the Consumer Protection Committee Rep. Jennifer Benson said, “I think we’re going to have to do some more research on the pros and cons, and what other states are doing…I always like to look and make sure we’re not out of alignment with what other states are doing.”
The Issue of Licensing
The issue of unlicensed drain cleaners came into the public eye in 2010 after a lawsuit in Middleboro. Plumbing company Roto-Rooter was sued by former employee Kristian Pedersen for assigning unaccompanied apprentices to do work they were not licensed to do. As a result of this lawsuit, the State Division of Professional Licensure announced that the Board of State Examiners of Plumbers and Gas Fitters approved disciplinary action against the company, forcing them to obtain additional corporate licenses, institute new operating procedures, and pay a $1,500 fine.
Although there are currently no governmental regulations on drain cleaners, here at Food Grease Trappers we believe that the best barometer are former customers. To see how we have done, look at our customer reviews. For drains, serving and installing grease traps, and more, drop us a line and let us help you.