Waste Oil Burning

Waste oil is any petroleum-based or synthetic oil that has come to the end of its usable life and needs to be disposed of. Used motor oil is an example of waste oil.

It Is Illegal to Burn Waste Oil in Allegheny County without a Permit

Burning waste oil is illegal in Allegheny County. Unlike heating oil, waste oil can contain numerous hazardous materials that enter our air when burned. Sources permitted to burn waste oil must undergo testing to determine that the act of burning oil will not release toxic pollutants into the air and will comply with federal air quality standards.

Many manufacturers of waste oil heaters advertise the savings that can be achieved by burning your own waste oil. This can sound enticing for garages or businesses that produce or receive waste oil, but burning without an Allegheny County Health Department permit is illegal. Businesses caught burning waste oil without the proper permit will be ordered to immediately stop the burning and may be fined.

If operating a waste oil furnace illegally, the money you anticipate in energy savings can be quickly lost.

Even if unburned, waste oil can harm the environment. Proper disposal is crucial. Waste oil can easily be recycled by certain facilities. Check out Earth911 or the DEP's recycling directory for more information and to find a waste oil recycling site near you.

How to Acquire a Permit to Burn Waste Oil

If you want to burn waste oil, you must apply for a permit from the Allegheny County Health Department. There is no guarantee that a permit will be issued.

In order to receive a permit, entities must be in compliance with Article XXI §§2102.09 and 2105.31(PDF, 2MB). If permitted, entities must pay an annual renewal fee or they will face fines once more for being in non-compliance with the regulation. For individuals or small businesses, this may not be economical.

All oil to be burned must be tested by an independent agency to check for toxic components. If toxic elements are present in the oil, it may not be burned. Testing costs are not covered by Allegheny County. Waste oil testing results must be presented to Allegheny County during the permit application process.

According to Article XXI §2107.12, sampling, analysis, and equipment testing to determine compliance with the waste-derived liquid fuel burning regulations under this Article shall be performed as specified in Chapter 52 of the Allegheny County Source Testing Manual(PDF, 402KB).