ROCK SPRINGS — After witnessing an increase in the amount of improper installations of water heaters, a local plumber is asking the City of Rock Springs to consider requiring a plumbing license before plumbing-related work within city limits can be completed.
During the Rock Springs City Council meeting last night, Lance Ball of Aspen Mountain Plumbing spoke to the Council about his concerns in regards to the number of improper installations he’s been seeing in the past few years.
“I bring this to your attention because this is a health hazard,” Ball said. “These are people’s lives that are being dealt with and it’s a concern to me.”
Ball said he is continuing to see more and more improper installations of water heaters. He then provided the Council with photos of newly installed water heaters that are not meeting installation standards. Ball went on to say that all of these heaters were supposedly installed by “professionals.”
“We don’t have an actual, specific license for the trade of plumbing,” Ball said.
He explained that all that is required in Rock Springs is a contractor’s license and anyone who can prove they have insurance can obtain the contractor’s license. He pointed out that under the contractor’s license it specifically requires electricians to prove that they have trade certifications. He said to get away from the hazardous things he is seeing, it requires education which comes through trade certifications or licensing. He said these types of certifications are not that hard to obtain.
“This isn’t something new that the state of Wyoming is seeing,” Ball said.
Ball said he works in three other Wyoming cities and all of them require him to have his trade license prior to obtaining his contractor’s license. Anyone who has the license already, wouldn’t have a problem obtaining one.
“I don’t know if it’s handymen going in and doing the work. I can’t say. Half the time the costumer is too embarrassed to say that they paid for it when we bring it to their attention,” Ball said.
According to Ball, other cities including Gillette, Cheyenne, Casper, Riverton, Jackson, Cody, and Kemmerer are requesting trade licensing to prove they have the education and certifications needed to complete a proper installation. He gave the Council copies of these cities’ application process and highlighted all of the information pertaining to the plumbing license requirements.
Councilor Rob Zotti said he’s is not a plumber, but even he could see in the photos where ventilation was not done properly. However, he asked how this would impact handymen doing the work because they are not regulated.
“As far as combatting the handyman. I don’t think you can ever combat that, but the cities of Casper, Cheyenne, and Gillette have right in there that if you’re doing any type of plumbing, you have to have that plumbing license,” Ball said.
Ball said the main reason he is asking the Council to look at creating a policy to address this issue is for the safety of Rock Springs residents. He asked the Council to review the materials he provided them and reach out if they had any questions.