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Oct. 30, 1995

Agreement to help combat illegal plumbers in Walla Walla

WALLA WALLA - City and state officials will sign an agreement Wednesday to discourage illegal plumbing contractors from doing business in Walla Walla.

The agreement with the state Department of Labor & Industries, which certifies plumbers, will allow City of Walla Walla building inspectors to check plumber identification cards to ensure local plumbers and plumbing contractors have proper credentials.

Signing the agreement at a 10 a.m. ceremony at City Hall will be Rudy Arellano, regional administrator for Labor & Industries, and Scott Staples, city manager for Walla Walla.

The agreement is the result of 1994 legislation introduced by Rep. David Mastin, R-Walla Walla, to solve the problem of non-certified plumbers working in the area.

Under the agreement, the city's plumbing inspectors are authorized to "inspect sites at which a person is doing plumbing work for the purpose of determining whether that person has a certificate or permit issued by L&I or is supervised by a person who has such a certificate or permit."

The interjurisdictional agreement allows city inspectors who discover that a plumber is not certified to notify the department for follow up investigation. City inspectors previously could not act as the department's representatives on job sites.

"This agreement gives the department an extra set of eyes and ears in Walla Walla," Arellano said.

The state requires plumbers to pass a rigorous competency test as a condition of certification. Uncertified plumbers may present a danger to public safety and frequently are able to under-bid licensed plumbers by avoiding licensing, training and business tax requirements, Arellano said.

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