By Paula Katinas
Bay Ridge — Community Board 10 is helping New York City become more environmentally friendly.
The board has agreed to reach out to building owners on the city’s behalf to inform them of new rules regarding the type of fuel oil they will no longer be allowed to use in the future.
Bob HuDock, chairman of the board’s Environmental Committee, said that the city is converting to a program called “Clean Heat.” HuDock said the committee recently listened to a presentation by Ken Camilleri of IGF International, a company assisting the city in the implementation of the “Clean Heat” program.
Effective immediately, building owners who install new boilers are prohibited from No. 6 fuel oil. Instead, building owners are required to use the cleanest fuels available in their new boilers, either No. 2 oil or natural gas, HuDock said.
“This program aims to eliminate the use of No. 6 fuel oil throughout the city,” said Hudock. “No. 6 heating oil is a thick petroleum byproduct that requires pre-heating in order to make it viscous enough to flow into the boiler where its combustion releases high levels of soot and sulfur dioxide which cause a wide range of health problems.”
No. 6 oil is mainly used in large apartment buildings, “including a significant cluster in the southern part of Bay Ridge,” HuDock said.
By the year 2030, the use of No. 6 heating oil will be prohibited in New York City.
“This change is predicted to lead to significant public health benefits,” said HuDock.
Camilleri is working with Board 10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann to identify buildings in the board’s coverage area that use No. 6 heating oil so that the owners can be encouraged to convert.
There are 35 buildings, mostly large apartment complexes, in Bay Ridge that still use No. 6 fuel oil, Beckmann said.
Building owners who have been contacted thus far “have had a positive reaction to the idea of converting,” she said.
“There are financial incentives for landlords to convert early, including lower operating costs and spreading the conversion costs among many buildings if they switch as a group. One of Mr. Camilleri’s goals is to assemble these clusters of buildings so they can take advantage of these financial incentives, and it was very encouraging to see how eager he was to help bring the benefits of this program to our neighborhood,” HuDock said.
The goal of “Clean Heat” is to decrease air pollution in the city, HuDock said.
In other news, HuDock said the committee spent part of the time at a recent meeting discussing its goals for this year.
Committee members said they would continue to look into ongoing issues, such as the question of whether litter baskets should be removed from street corners. The board had asked the Department of Sanitation to remove litter baskets from the corner of Fourth Avenue and 69th Street out of concern that residents were using the receptacles for large bags of household trash. The baskets are supposed to be for litter only, board members said.
At the request of state Sen. Marty Golden, however, the litter baskets were put back.
The committee also wants to continue looking into complaints from residents living near the Owl’s Head Water Pollution Control on Shore Road that the facility emits disgusting odors.
HuDock, who was appointed committee chairman by Board Chair Joanne Seminara in January, advocated for the committee to take a broader view of environmental issues.
“The environmental committee should be about more than just trash on the sidewalks and other problems of local concern; it should allow us on the committee to take a bigger view of what it means to care for the environment,” he said.
To that end, the committee will likely look at issues such as hydrofracking, the process by which companies drill for natural gas in waterways. Environmentalists have raised alarm that hydrofracking can pollute the waterways.
May 4, 2012 - 2:02pm