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Adopted Rules: Closed to Comments

Adopted Rules Content: 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Final Rule

 

The Fire Code regulates the manufacturing, storage, handling, use and transportation of hazardous materials in New York City.  This includes ammonia, a corrosive liquid.

 

Ammonia in its pure (anhydrous) form (100% concentration) is used as a refrigerant in a limited number of applications, typically large industrial refrigerating systems.  In New York City, 120 to 420 gallons of ammonia circulate under pressure in each ammonia refrigerating system.  By way of comparison, common household bleach has a concentration of only 5 to 10 percent ammonia.

 

The accidental release of such highly concentrated ammonia from such refrigerating systems can pose a public safety threat.  Exposure to ammonia can result in severe skin burns and eye damage and, if inhaled, can cause severe lung injury and asphyxiation.  Ammonia also has flammable properties.  A spark can ignite concentrated ammonia vapors.

 

The risk of release from ammonia refrigerating systems and other closed systems is generally low.  Modern equipment includes various safeguards to prevent accidental refrigerant release.  However, recent events in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park have revealed a vulnerability in ammonia refrigerating systems when lubricating oil must be manually removed.

 

Lubricating oil is used in ammonia refrigerating systems to ensure the proper operation of their mechanical components.  Spent lubricating oil collects at various locations in the system and must be removed.  Some ammonia refrigerating systems are equipped with automatic removal systems that separate the spent lubricating oil from the ammonia refrigerant and remove it from the system. Such automatic separation and removal prevents accidental refrigerant release.

 

In other refrigerating systems, the spent lubricating oil is not separated from the refrigerant and must be manually removed from the refrigerant system, in some systems through a simple valve.  If the valve is not immediately shut after the spent lubricating oil is removed, ammonia refrigerant is released.  If there is a problem shutting the valve, the ammonia refrigerant will continue to be released and in a short time endanger the maintenance or servicing personnel. Such a release occurred in connection with the maintenance of the ammonia refrigerating system serving Prospect Park’s ice skating rink.  Fortunately, it occurred when the ice rink was not open to the public and the park was lightly occupied so there were no injuries, but a strong odor of ammonia was detected at a considerable distance from the facility.

 

A simple remedy, which has been adopted by the latest industry standard, can prevent this scenario: installing two valves in sequence, one self-closing.  Personnel performing manual removal of the lubricating oil must continuously hold open the self-closing valve by squeezing the valve.  As soon as the self-closing valve is released, it shuts and prevents any further release of lubricating oil or ammonia refrigerant.  The main valve can then be closed in a calm, controlled manner.

 

To address the risk of refrigerant release from ammonia refrigerating systems, the Fire Department adopts a new rule, 3 RCNY 606-01, which establishes requirements and procedures for the removal of lubricating oil from such systems.

 

Specifically, the rule requires:

·         regular servicing for ammonia refrigerating systems that automatically remove the lubricating oil;

·         basic safety procedures for ammonia refrigerating systems that require manual removal of lubricating oil and are equipped with dual valves, one self-closing;

·         additional safeguards for removal of lubricating oil from ammonia refrigerating systems equipped with a simple valve, including:

o   a second Fire Department-certificated person to monitor the removal (the Fire Department encourages the presence of a second person in all oil removal operations);

o   conducting the oil removal process outside of regular business hours; and

o   notifying the Fire Department; and

·         recordkeeping, including documenting the periodic servicing of ammonia refrigerating systems and all removals of lubricating oil from such systems.

 

The entire rule is underlined, indicating that it is a new rule.

 

“Shall” and “must” denote mandatory requirements and may be used interchangeably in the rules of this department, unless otherwise specified or unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

 

Guidance with respect to the interpretation of the Fire Code and Fire Department rules may be obtained using the Public Inquiry Form on the Fire Department’s website,http://www1.nyc.gov/site/fdny/about/resources/code-and-rules/nyc-fire-code.page.

 

Effective Date: 
Thu, 09/01/2016

Proposed Rules: Closed to Comments

Agency:
Comment By: 
Monday, June 13, 2016
Proposed Rules Content: 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Proposed Rule

 

The Fire Code regulates the manufacturing, storage, handling, use and transportation of hazardous materials in New York City.  This includes ammonia, a corrosive liquid.

 

Ammonia in its pure (anhydrous) form (100% concentration) is used as a refrigerant in a limited number of applications, typically large industrial refrigerating systems.  In New York City, 120 to 420 gallons of ammonia circulate under pressure in each ammonia refrigerating system.  By way of comparison, common household bleach has a concentration of only 5 to 10 percent ammonia.

 

The accidental release of such highly concentrated ammonia from such refrigerating systems can pose a public safety threat.  Exposure to ammonia can result in severe skin burns and eye damage and, if inhaled, can cause severe lung injury and asphyxiation.  Ammonia also has flammable properties.  A spark can ignite concentrated ammonia vapors.

 

The risk of release from ammonia refrigerating systems and other closed systems is generally low.  Modern equipment includes various safeguards to prevent accidental refrigerant release.  However, recent events in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park have revealed a vulnerability in ammonia refrigerating systems when lubricating oil must be manually removed.

 

Lubricating oil is used in ammonia refrigerating systems to ensure the proper operation of their mechanical components.  Spent lubricating oil collects at various locations in the system and must be removed.  Some ammonia refrigerating systems are equipped with automatic removal systems that separate the spent lubricating oil from the ammonia refrigerant and remove it from the system. Such automatic separation and removal prevents accidental refrigerant release.

 

In other refrigerating systems, the spent lubricating oil is not separated from the refrigerant and must be manually removed from the refrigerant system, in some systems through a simple valve.  If the valve is not immediately shut after the spent lubricating oil is removed, ammonia refrigerant is released.  If there is a problem shutting the valve, the ammonia refrigerant will continue to be released and in a short time endanger the maintenance or servicing personnel. Such a release occurred in connection with the maintenance of the ammonia refrigerating system serving Prospect Park’s ice skating rink.  Fortunately, it occurred when the ice rink was not open to the public and the park was lightly occupied so there were no injuries, but a strong odor of ammonia was detected at a considerable distance from the facility.

 

A simple remedy, which has been adopted by the latest industry standard, can prevent this scenario: installing two valves in sequence, one self-closing.  Personnel performing manual removal of the lubricating oil must continuously hold open the self-closing valve by squeezing the valve.  As soon as the self-closing valve is released, it shuts and prevents any further release of lubricating oil or ammonia refrigerant.  The main valve can then be closed in a calm, controlled manner.

 

To address the risk of refrigerant release from ammonia refrigerating systems, the Fire Department proposes a new rule, 3 RCNY 606-01, which would establish requirements and procedures for the removal of lubricating oil from such systems.

 

Specifically, the proposed rule would require:

·         regular servicing for ammonia refrigerating systems that automatically remove the lubricating oil;

·         basic safety procedures for ammonia refrigerating systems that require manual removal of lubricating oil and are equipped with dual valves, one self-closing;

·         additional safeguards for removal of lubricating oil from ammonia refrigerating systems equipped with a simple valve, including:

o   a second Fire Department-certificated person to monitor the removal (the Fire Department encourages the presence of a second person in all oil removal operations);

o   conducting the oil removal process outside of regular business hours; and

o   notifying the Fire Department; and

·         recordkeeping, including documenting the periodic servicing of ammonia refrigerating systems and all removals of lubricating oil from such systems.

 

The proposed rule is underlined, indicating that it is an entirely new rule.

 

“Shall” and “must” denote mandatory requirements and may be used interchangeably in the rules of this department, unless otherwise specified or unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

 

Guidance with respect to the interpretation of the Fire Code and Fire Department rules may be obtained using the Public Inquiry Form on the Fire Department’s website,http://www1.nyc.gov/site/fdny/about/resources/code-and-rules/nyc-fire-code.page.

 

Subject: 

Removal of Lubricating Oil from Ammonia Refrigerating Systems

Location: 
Fire Department Auditorium
9 MetroTech Center
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Contact: 

No contact

Proposed Rules: Closed to Comments

Agency:
Comment By: 
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Proposed Rules Content: 

 

STATEMENT OF BASIS AND PURPOSE

 

The Commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) is authorized to promulgate rules regarding parking and traffic operations in the City pursuant to Section 2903(a) of the New York City Charter.

 

The proposed rule repeals subparagraph (iii)(A) of paragraph (1) and eliminates a redundancy such that operators of DOT and New York City Department of Sanitation snow plows, sand/salt spreaders and sweepers will now be subject to the general exemption set forth in subparagraph (iv) of that same subsection. Subparagraph (iv) exempts all operators working on behalf of the city, state or federal government from the provisions of the traffic rules set forth in Chapter 4 of Title 34 of the Rules of the City of New York while they are engaged in work on a roadway. This exemption is intended to allow these operators to effectively perform their work on the roadway.

 

Additionally, subparagraph (iii)(B) of paragraph (1) is being amended to include a specific exemption allowing refuse collection vehicles working on behalf of the City of New York to drive in a bicycle lane. They may only drive in the bicycle lane while collecting refuse and recyclable material.

 

Finally, subparagraph (iv) is being amended to clarify that the intent of the subparagraph is to apply the exemption from the traffic rules to workers and vehicles working on behalf of the City of New York, the State of New York or the federal government.

 

 

Subject: 

Opportunity to comment on proposed amendment by the Department of Transportation of rules relating to snow and garbage removal.

Location: 
DOT
55 Water Street 9th Floor, Room 931A
New York, NY 10041
Contact: 

Margaret Forgione
DOT Manhattan Borough Commissioner
59 Maiden Lane, 37th Floor
New York, NY 10038
212-839-6210

Proposed Rules: Closed to Comments

Agency:
Comment By: 
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Proposed Rules Content: 



 Click here (.pdf) for the complete text of the proposed rule.