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Guidance for Owners of Petroleum Tanks that Store No. 4 or No. 6 Heating Oil in New York City

In April 2011, New York City (NYC) adopted a new heating oil regulation requiring owners of nearly 10,000 buildings to phase-out the use of #6 and #4 heating oils. Starting in July 2012 and finishing by July 2015, existing boilers must be switched from burning #6 oil to a cleaner fuel before their current certificate to operate will be renewed. By 2030, boilers that have not yet been modified must meet the equivalent emissions of burning cleaner fuels (e.g., #2 oil or natural gas). Newly installed boilers must burn only clean #2 oil, natural gas, or its emissions equivalent. The text of the NYC rule can be found on New York City's web site at the "Links Leaving DEC's Website" on the right of this page.

New York State Requirements and Recommendations for Petroleum Bulk Storage (PBS) Tanks

Owners of facilities that store more than 1,100 gallons of heating oil must register their facility with New York State (exceptions and more detailed guidance can be found in the Spring 2009 Issue of Tank News Bulletins Part 2 (PDF) (4.4 MB). The regulatory requirements for PBS registration can be found in 6 NYCRR Part 613-1 (link leaves DEC's website). Requirements for the construction, operation, and maintenance of regulated tanks are addressed in 6 NYCRR Part 613 (link leaves DEC's website).

Converting Existing Tanks

If you own a regulated facility and will be converting existing tanks from #6 oil to another grade of heating oil, here is what you must do:

  • make sure your tank system is in compliance with the regulations noted above. For general information and help, see DEC's main Chemical and Petroleum Storage Web Site and the Petroleum Bulk Storage (PBS) Inspection Handbook (PDF) (1.3 MB).
    Note - underground storage tanks installed before December 27, 1986, that store No. 2 oil must be tested yearly for tightness. Tanks encased in concrete without weep holes in a basement are considered underground storage tanks.
  • make sure that your facility registration with the DEC is current and accurate. You can check DEC's Bulk Storage Database search engine to see if your facility is registered. For help in determining if your facility is regulated, use the PBS Registration Worksheet (PDF) (31 KB).
  • determine if you have had any spills of petroleum into the environment. If you find evidence of a spill from your system, you are required to report the spill to the DEC within two hours (800-457-7362). You will need to take appropriate steps to investigate the extent of any contamination and complete a cleanup. To check if you have any spills already reported to the DEC, search the DEC's Spill Incidents Database.
  • notify the DEC that you are switching the type of fuel stored by submitting an information correction on the PBS application form (PDF) (177 KB).
  • ensure that any residual oil or tank bottom sludge is properly disposed.

Closing a Regulated Tank

If you will be closing a regulated tank (perhaps due to converting to natural gas), you must:

Reusing a #6 Oil tank to Store #2 or #4 Oil

If you will be reusing a #6 oil tank to store #2 or #4 oil, we recommend that you:

  • remove the fill port and fill line for any tank that is removed (very important!). You may also fill the unused line with concrete if it is completely filled after the concrete has set.
  • test the tank after cleaning to ensure that it does not leak.
  • replace the fill line and associated piping with double-walled piping that has leak detection and corrosion protection.
  • install and maintain a corrosion protection system for the entire tank system.
  • install and maintain a fill port catch basin.
  • double-check that you are in full compliance with all regulations so that you can minimize the chance of a costly spill.

Need Help?

If you need help in determining what specific regulations apply to your heating-oil tank, please call the PBS unit at (718) 482-6454 or e-mail the unit .