Frequent Questions

What regulations govern which units may be used for burning off-specification used oil?


Used oil burners are subject to the regulations in Part 279 Subpart G, Standards for Used Oil Burners Who Burn Off-Specification Used Oil for Energy Recovery.

Off-specification used oil fuel may be burned for energy recovery in only the following devices:

- Industrial furnaces identified in §260.10
- Boilers, as defined in §260.10, that are identified as follows:
- Industrial boilers located on the site of a facility engaged in a manufacturing process where substances are transformed into new products, including the component parts of products, by mechanical or chemical processes
- Utility boilers used to produce electric power, steam, heated or cooled air, or other gases or fluids for sale
- Used oil-fired space heaters provided that the burner meets the provisions of §279.23
- Hazardous waste incinerators subject to regulation under Subpart O of Parts 264 or 265 (§279.61).

The used oil regulations include an exemption from the off-specification used oil burner requirements for used oil-fired space heaters provided the heater burns only used oil that the owner or operator generates or used oil received from household do-it-yourself (DIY) used oil generators (Memo, Bussard to Bosco; August 20, 1998 (RCRA Online #14280)).  To qualify, the space heaters must have a maximum capacity of 0.5 million Btu per hour and the combustion gases must be vented into the ambient air (§279.23).

Further information regarding the used oil management program is available at the following URL:

The regulations cited above are available online (40 CFR Part 279).

Memo, Shapiro to Nosenchuck; September 25, 1995 (RCRA Online #11944)
Memo, Bussard to Gansel; April 23, 1991 (RCRA Online #11601)
Memo, EPA to Stevens; October 17, 1989 (RCRA Online #13331)
Memo, Porter to Blair; September 22, 1988 (RCRA Online #13224)
Memo, Hales to Citizen; September 15, 1986 (RCRA Online #12738)
Memo, Williams to Ricci; June 30, 1986 (RCRA Online #12677)
Memo, Petruska to Ilgenfritz; February 13, 1986 (RCRA Online #12565)

These memoranda are available in the RCRA Online database.


Have more questions? Submit a request