DEP Records Show Many Buildings Using Illegal Heating Oil

Regulations that went into effect in July 2012 require building owners to end their use of dirty heating oil by the time their current three-year boiler permits expire or June 30, 2015, whichever comes first.

Many of those permits have now expired, meaning hundreds of buildings in New York City are illegally burning No. 6 oil, a sludge-like substance that remains at the bottom of the barrel when oil is distilled to make gasoline. That leftover oil emits impurities when burned, causing air pollution and health problems like asthma and heart disease. This is an issue the city is addressing by ramping up enforcement of the offending properties.

Records from the Department of Environmental Protection that are updated monthly show that as of December, more than 670 buildings were still using No. 6 oil with expired permits and have not made the conversion to cleaner fuel, such as No. 2 oil, natural gas, biodiesel, or steam.

Manhattan has by far the most expired permits, according to the data. Within the borough, the highest concentration of buildings with expired permits is in Washington Heights and Inwood, followed by the Upper East Side and the Upper West Side, respectively. 

For more information on the conversion rules and deadlines, see “Buildings Burning No. 6 Oil Must Convert by June 2015,” available to subscribers here.