Department of Environmental Conservation

Collection of Petroleum Bulk Storage Fees

Facilities with petroleum bulk storage tanks, such as certain businesses and apartment buildings, must comply with Department of Environmental Conservation regulations that are intended to protect against environmental contamination from leaking or spilled petroleum. Most of these facilities must register with the Department every five years and pay a registration fee. The Department is to remit these fees to the Stateís Oil Spill Fund, which pays for the cleanup of oil spills when the responsible party fails to do so. We determined that the Department was remitting the fees to the Oil Spill Fund in a timely manner. However, when we examined whether the Department was collecting all the fees that were due, we found that it was not. Based on information in the Departmentís database, as well as information provided to us from the Fire Department of the City of New York, we estimated that as much as $3.4 million of registration fees could be due for more than 5,530 facilities. We noted that the Department was supposed to take certain actions when facilities failed to renew their registrations, such as sending the facilities legal notices, scheduling hearings, and referring noncompliant facilities to the State Attorney Generalís Office for enforcement. However, we found that the Department generally was not taking these actions. We also noted that the Department could make more effective use of the civil penalty that may be assessed on facilities that fail to comply with the registration requirement.

For a complete copy of Report 2009-S-69 click here.