Cleghorn Oil (Mass Oil Line Upgrade Law)
(Chapter 453 of the Acts of 2008, as most recently amended in 2010)
This law has two major provisions that require:
- the installation of either an oil safety valve or an oil supply line with protective sleeve on systems that do not currently have these devices; and
- insurance companies that write homeowner policies to offer coverage for leaks from heating systems that use oil.
Who must take action?
Owners of 1- to 4-unit residences that are heated with oil must already have or install an oil safety valve or an oil supply line with a protective sleeve, as shown in the diagram above. Installation of these devices must be performed by a licensed oil burner technician. Technicians are employed by companies that deliver home heating oil or are self-employed. It is important to note that heating oil systems installed on or after January 1, 1990 most likely are already in compliance because state fire codes implemented these requirements on new installations at that time.
- Who is exempt?Homeowners are exempt from taking these leak prevention steps if:
- the oil burner is located above the oil storage tank and the entire oil supply line is connected to and above the top of the tank OR
- an oil safety valve or oil supply line with protective sleeve was installed on or after January 1, 1990, AND
- those changes are in compliance with the oil burning equipment regulations; a copy of the oil burner permit from the local fire department may be used to demonstrate compliance.
Not only is complying with the new law required, it makes good financial and environmental sense. Homeowners who take these preventive measures can avoid the disruption and expense that can be caused by heating oil leaks. A leak may result in exposure to petroleum vapors in your home. If the leak reaches the soil or groundwater beneath your house, then a cleanup must be performed to restore your property to state environmental standards. Leaks that affect another property or impact drinking water supply wells can complicate the cleanup and increase the expense. Each year, several hundred Massachusetts families experience some kind of leak.