518-436-6673 brescia@nyall.com

Suffolk County’s health department has persuaded the NYS Dept. of Health that underground propane tanks can “contaminate” water wells, a finding without documentation or procedural requirements for such decisions to be promulgated.

The letter from the state health department asserts jurisdiction under the Sanitary Code that requires a separation of “underground single walled chemical or petroleum storage vessels” from water wells of 150 feet.  Propane is not mentioned but in their view is covered by the catchall, “[A]ll known sources of contamination otherwise not shown…” in the sanitary code, Appendix 5-B, Table 1.

Neither the Petroleum Bulk Storage Act nor the Chemical Bulk Storage Act cover propane, so the department is using the vague “all known sources” language to justify their actions.  We are trying to determine how such a finding that propane is a “known” contaminant was arrived at.  Apparently Suffolk has found propane in water wells.  How many wells, how much, exposure vectors, dose response – all unknown despite our requests for such data – but persuasive enough to induce the state to issue a “letter”.  According to the letter and in conversations with both offices, the requirement applies to new water wells but encourages separation to the greatest extent possible.  This creates problems for the propane industry, the construction industry, and land owners whose undeveloped land might be adjacent to a underground tank limiting options for new wells.

We have no idea if this applies statewide or just to sole source aquifers.  Procedurally the issuance of this letter is without any public disclosure or announcement of hearings or even issuance of an emergency rule, all requirements of the State Administrative Procedures Law.

We are working with the Long Island Builders Institute and our Long Island Propane Gas Assn. members to rectify the matter but so far to little avail since both agencies have gone dark.





Senate 9126 is clearly intended to obstruct the installation of propane in place of fuel oil.  Current law applies to natural gas and electric heating systems and places the “burden” for notification to the customer on “home improvement contractors,”and if this BILL passes, on the propane dealer.  I have provided the bill summary, and in the current law, GBL, Sec. 778-aa, highlighted the changes the bill would impose.  Additional language in the bill directs the Dept. of State develop a suitable “form” for use by the “contractor” to use for notification to the customer. More bureaucracy!  The bill has no companion to date.

S9126  BOYLE  No Same as
Amd §778-aa, Gen Bus L

Relates to home heating system conversion; requires certification by a utility company, gas corporation, electric corporation or contractor.

§ 778-aa. Home heating system conversion. 1. All home improvement
contractors as defined in subdivision five of section seven hundred
seventy of this chapter or any other person providing an estimate or
engaged in the installation of home heating systems shall include in any
estimate of the cost of converting an existing oil home heating system
to EITHER a natural gas or electric OR ANY OTHER home heating system a
separate estimate detailing the costs related to the closure, abandonment and/or
removal of a home heating oil storage tank. In addition, any person
making such estimate shall also provide a copy of any applicable local
law, or if there is no local law then such person shall provide a
written statement to that effect.
2. Every estimate of the cost to secure a storage tank as part of a
home heating system conversion shall include the removal of all fill and
vent pipes and such other related materials and/or equipment


A11275  Rules (Cusick)  No Same as
RULES COM (Request of Cusick, Colton)
Add §6-110, Energy L

Directs the state energy planning board to conduct a study of the technical and economic feasibility of a one hundred percent renewable energy system and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Assemblyman Cusick is the new chairman of the assembly energy committee.

The feasibility study would have to address contributions to “renewables” of nuclear and hydro power and power derived from sources on the grid from which all states can buy power.  The governor wants to phase-out nuclear plants two of which would fail economically without current subsidies and one, Indian Point, is set to close in a few years to be replaced by a new gas fired plant the opening of which is the subject of litigation.


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