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By Denise Perreault
PBN Staff Writer
PROVIDENCE – Starting this week, the state will no longer require the inspection of 3,400 low-pressure water heaters in more than 3,000 small businesses, representing an estimated $200,000 savings to those companies, the state Department of Labor and Training announced Wednesday.
“Rhode Island’s boiler inspection regulations have been the subject of numerous complaints as well as an irritant to thousands of small business owners,” said Charles J. Fogarty, director of DLT. “Now, 3,000 businesses in Rhode Island will no longer be subject to boiler and low-pressure vessel inspections, thanks to new regulations made effective under the Chafee administration.”
Under the new regulations, crafted during the summer at the behest of business owners and lawmakers, the only low-pressure boilers and vessels subject to inspection are those in public places of assembly, such as schools, child-care centers, health care facilities, places of worship, boarding homes and buildings owned, leased or controlled by the state or its agencies.
Approximately 9,000 boilers will still be subject to biennial inspections, the DLT said, but most -- 83 percent -- will be inspected by insurance companies rather than the state. Inspectors from DLT will continue to inspect the other 17 percent, approximately 1,500 boilers. Under the reduced fee structure, savings to businesses still subject to inspection total nearly $100,000, the DLT said.
In the summer the department also reduced the fee for low-pressure boiler inspections from $120 to $60 to minimize cost to small businesses. Low-pressure vessels include hot water heaters and boilers with heat input less than 200,000 BTUs.
Among those who pushed for reduced boiler inspection regulations were former state Sen. Leonidas P. Raptakis, owner of a Coventry pizza parlor, Sen. James E. Doyle of Pawtucket, Sen. Edward J. O’Neill of Lincoln and Rep. Patricia A. Serpa of West Warwick.