Thousands of buildings in New York City use No. 6 and No. 4 heating oil, causing soot pollution. In 2011, the city instituted a four-year plan to phase out No. 6 by July 2015, but at this point, more than half of the buildings that use the heating oil have yet to make the switch, according to the New York Times. And some of the buildings that have stopped using No. 6 have switched to No. 4, which isn’t much better in terms of pollution but is permitted until 2030, reports the newspaper.
Expense is an issue for building owners who will have to retrofit boilers for with use No. 2 heating oil or natural gas. If owners want to switch to natural gas, the process will involve filing permits and extending gas lines. Chimney retrofits are also a factor. Costs can vary from $5,000 to hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on the size of the building, says the New York Times.
Those building owners who don’t comply could receive fines of $560 for the first violation and then face legal action. According to the newspaper, between 2011 and 2013, Consolidated Edison expanded its natural gas lines and switched 1,535 large buildings to natural gas from dirty heating fuels and plans to continue to do so through 2019.