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Proposed Rules: Closed to Comments (View Public Comments Received:1)

Agency:
Comment By: 
Tuesday, January 3, 2017
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, including fuel oil, a combustible liquid.

 

Currently, Section 3405-01 of the Fire Department’s rules (Title 3 of the Rules of the City of New York) allows mobile heating and power generating trailers to operate with a citywide permit, and sets forth permit, supervision, and design and installation requirements. The rule was originally developed in response to the use of these trailers to serve buildings whose heating or electrical systems were undergoing major repairs or replacement and were taken out of service.  The trailers are typically parked on the street and connected to building utilities by piping or electrical lines.

 

Permitting of Mobile Trailers for Outdoor Gatherings

 

When the current rule was promulgated, the Fire Department did not envision that these trailers would be used at public gatherings like street fairs and festivals near large numbers of people, cooking operations, and other activities where their presence may potentially pose a danger to others. In response to this unanticipated use of these trailers, the Fire Department is proposing to amend the rule to clarify when the citywide permit may be used and what it authorizes, and to specifically provide that a site-specific permit, different from the one used for building heating and electrical systems, is required for mobile heating and power generating trailers used at street fairs, bazaars, carnivals, concerts, festivals, and similar outdoor gatherings.

 

Additional Capacity Permitted

 

The Fire Department additionally proposes to amend the rule to increase from 550 gallons to 1200 gallons the fuel oil storage capacity permitted on mobile heating and power generating trailers.  Trailers with 1200-gallon tanks have become the industry standard; use of such trailers has been allowed by the Fire Department by modification (variance) without incident.  Although the rule would allow the on-site storage of a substantial additional amount of fuel, the risk of fire and fuel spills is greatest when the tanks are being filled.  During peak usage, when the equipment is in constant operation, a 550 gallon tank may need to be refueled daily.  The larger tank reduces the need for frequent fueling and therefore reduces the risk of fire or spills.  Accordingly, the Fire Department has concluded that 1200-gallon capacity trailers should be allowed, eliminating the need for special applications and additional fees to obtain permission to use larger tanks.

 

Elimination of Certificate of Fitness Requirement For Most Uses

 

The Fire Department further proposes to amend the rule to provide that mobile heating and power-generating trailers only need to be supervised when connected to a high-pressure boiler.  Personal supervision of most residential heating systems is no longer required by the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) now that use of #6 fuel oil has been virtually eliminated for environmental reasons and replaced by fuels that do not require pre-heating.  Personal supervision by a DOB-licensed operating engineer continues to be required by DOB for high-pressure boilers.  Accordingly, under this proposal, the requirement of a certificate of fitness would be eliminated where no high-pressure boiler is involved.

 

Rule Clarifications

 

The proposed rule includes two clarifications.  First, the section would be amended to make clear that it applies only to mobile heating and power generating trailers with storage for more than 10 gallons of combustible liquid fuel on the trailer or in the equipment mounted thereon, which  require a permit as set forth in FC105.6 .

 

Second, the scope of the rule would be amended to clarify that a mobile trailer with heating and power generating equipment that stores 10 gallons or less of combustible liquid fuel (or no fuel) in or upon the trailer, but is fueled by an off-vehicle temporary tank, is subject to the permit requirement applicable to combustible liquid fuel storage in the tank (also set forth in FC105.6), rather than the permit requirement applicable to mobile trailers.

 

To summarize, the proposed rule:

 

1.    Clarifies the authorization granted to operate mobile trailers under a citywide permit and makes clear that use at a street fair requires a site-specific permit to address the fire safety concerns associated with operation at such an event;

 

2.    Allows larger (1200-gallon) tanks to be installed on such mobile trailers instead of the current 550 gallon tanks;

 

3.    Eliminates the supervision requirement except for use of such mobile trailers in connection with high-pressure boilers;

 

4.    Clarifies that the rule applies only to mobile heating and power generating trailers that require a permit – that is, trailers with storage for more than 10 gallons of combustible liquid fuel on the trailer or in the equipment mounted thereon; and

 

5.    Clarifies that a mobile trailer with heating and power generating equipment that stores 10 gallons or less of combustible liquid fuel (or no fuel) in or upon the trailer, but is fueled by an off-vehicle temporary tank, is subject to the permit requirement applicable to combustible liquid fuel storage in the tank, not the permit requirement applicable to mobile trailers.

 

Working with the City’s rulemaking agencies, the Law Department, and the Office of Management and Budget, the Office of Operations conducted a retrospective rules review of the City’s existing rules, identifying those rules that will be repealed or modified to reduce regulatory burdens, increase equity, support small businesses, and simplify and update content to help support public understanding and compliance. Portions of this proposed rule amendment were identified through this initiative.

 

Text that has been deleted is indicated by [brackets].  Text that has been added is underlined.

 

“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: 

Storage and Use of Fuel Oil on Mobile Trailers for Heating and Power Generation

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

No contact

Download Copy of Proposed Rule (.pdf): 

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