By Richard Silver
President, American Pipe & Tank Co., LLC
A small fraction of buildings in New York City produce eighty six percent of pollution from all buildings in New York City. The pollution produced by these buildings is more than the pollution caused by all of the vehicular traffic in NYC—including trucks, busses & cars. This is because they burn the dirtiest grade of heating oil–#6 & #4. The fine particles released by burning dirty fuel oil creates air pollution which is not only detrimental to the environment but is directly related to health issues such as asthma.
In an effort to reduce pollution and enable New Yorkers to experience the health benefits from same, the NYC Department of Environmental Protection released a plan in the spring of 2011 to phase out #4 and #6 heating oil. Owners and property managers need to be reminded of a few important highlights of the plan:
One of the most important details for owners and managers to remember is that a tank should not simply be emptied, cleaned and refueled with a lighter oil. It is critically important that the tank be structurally sound prior to conversion.
By 2015, existing boilers will be required to switch from No. 6 oil to the new low sulfur No. 4 heating oil, or to an equivalent cleaner fuel.
By 2030, existing boilers that have not been replaced must be modified to meet the equivalent emissions of burning low sulfur No. 2 oil or natural gas.
2015 may seem far away, but projects such as this need to be done professionally—well researched, planned and coordinated. Conversion must be done by a licensed contractor; our expertise will help owners and managers guide you though the process, determine the best fuel choice for your building and work with fuel companies to reduce conversion costs.
Because molasses-like #6 oil acts like a plug, defects in a tank can go undetected. However, the viscosity (flow of liquid) of lighter oils (#2 & #4) is much greater. Lighter oils can easily seep through even the tiniest of cracks, creating a potentially costly environmental disaster.
When planning for an oil tank conversion, the first thing that must be done is an inspection to ensure the structural integrity of the tank. Only after an inspection (and any necessary repairs) have been performed, should a tank be converted to lighter oil.
Now is the time to have your tank cleaned & inspected. Delay in converting could cost buildings thousands of dollars in penalties. 2015 is a little more than a year away. Savvy owners and managers will not delay this important project; they will act promptly. They will act now.