Contact(s): Andrew Savagian, DNR communications, 608-261-6422
MADISON - Now that cooler weather has finally reached Wisconsin, the Department of Natural Resources is reminding commercial and industrial businesses about the necessary steps to properly burn used oil in space heaters.
"These guidelines are in place to protect public health and the state's natural resources," said Ann Coakley, DNR Waste and Materials Management Program director. "If businesses burn used oil in a space heater, there are requirements and limitations they should know about."
Coakley said that, while many companies burn used oil to save money on purchasing new fuel, they must comply with state and federal regulations, especially when burning used oil from other companies.
Commercial or industrial businesses may accept used oil from other businesses only if laboratory testing has shown the used oil to be "on-spec," which means it meets the specifications outlined in the regulations.
"We limit the sources of used oil that go into space heaters because those units are not equipped with air pollution control devices," Coakley said. "Space heaters must also be well maintained for proper burning. Black smoke is a sign that the space heater is not burning the used oil sufficiently."
Used oil is banned from landfills in Wisconsin and must be collected for recycling or reuse. Used oil can contain such metals as arsenic, chromium and lead as a result of being used in engines or other machinery. Used oil that is mixed with solvents, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) or other chemicals may be considered hazardous waste and is illegal to burn in a space heater.