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Released October 16, 2009



Loan Program Established to Assist Low-Income
Homeowners in Registering Oil Tanks

The Provincial Government today announced a new loan program to assist low-income homeowners throughout the province register their oil storage tank systems.

Administered by Newfoundland Labrador Housing (Housing), the intent of the Oil Tank Replacement Program is to provide assistance to low-income homeowners (households with a total annual income of less than $22,397) to allow them to have their oil tanks registered in accordance with the Heating Oil Storage Tank System (HOST) regulations. HOST regulations were introduced in 2002 in consultation with industry and the general public, following a record number of domestic heating oil spills in 2001.

"The Williams Government understands that low-income homeowners do not have ready access to the financial resources to provide for the cost of replacing their oil tanks," said the Honourable Susan Sullivan, Minister of Human Resources, Labour and Employment. "Many low-income families are not able to borrow the required funds from banks or arrange the financing through private companies. This new program provides an alternative for these homeowners to finance the cost of registering their oil tanks and repay this amount with limited financial burden."

Loans will be available up to a maximum of $1,200 for the island portion of the province and $1,500 for Labrador per household. These loans will have an affordable monthly repayment amount of $25.

"At the end of the day, this government’s main concern is for the well-being and safety of our residents," said the Honourable Dianne Whalen, acting Minister of Transportation and Works and Minister Responsible for Newfoundland Labrador Housing. "Non-compliant tanks are dangerous to homes and the families that reside within. It is imperative that oil storage tanks are compliant with current regulations, and the Provincial Government is pleased to assist those in need through this new program."

July 31, 2009, was the deadline for homeowners to register their oil storage tanks. At that time, the Provincial Government advised that it would be willing to work with homeowners who still have unregistered systems but had made arrangements to have their systems registered. This variance under Section 17.(2)(a) of the Environmental Protection Act allows oil companies to deliver oil to existing unregistered systems provided there are arrangements in place to have the systems registered by May 2010.

For homeowners in the communities of Nain, Hopedale, Postville, Makkovik and Rigolet on the north coast of Labrador, the deadline for oil tank registration has been extended to the end of the 2010 shipping season.

"Residents of remote north coast communities in Labrador face extreme geographic and climate challenges in accessing both replacement tanks and inspection services," said the Honourable Patty Pottle, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and MHA for Torngat Mountains. "This extension will assist in their efforts to make the necessary arrangements to complete the registration process."

Since April 2002, more than 5700 low-income homeowners across the province have received a $300 grant from the Department of Finance to offset the cost of replacement of fuel oil tanks. Newfoundland Labrador Housing, as part of the application process for the new Oil Tank Replacement Program, will obtain the homeowner’s consent to request the $300 grant from the Department of Finance to use toward the total replacement cost with the difference financed through the loan program. The combination of the $300 grant and the $1,200 loan ($1,500 in Labrador) should cover the cost of the oil tank replacement.

"The Provincial Government has been assisting low income homeowners pay for oil storage tank replacement for some time," said Minister Sullivan. "The loan program announced today is an additional alternative for those homeowners who may have trouble securing financing to cover the total cost of a new tank as well as repaying that financing. With cold weather almost upon us, I would recommend that anyone needing to avail of this program contact Newfoundland Labrador Housing as soon as possible."

For more information on this program, contact Newfoundland Labrador Housing at www.nlhc.nl.ca or call 709-724-3136, 724-3277 or toll-free 1-877-628-5670. Information is also available at any regional Housing office.

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Media contacts:

Jennifer Collingwood
Director of Communications
Department of Human Resources, Labour and Employment
709-729-0753, 690-2498
jennifercollingwood@gov.nl.ca
John Tompkins
Director of Communications
Department of Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs
709-729-1674, 728-7762
jtompkins@gov.nl.ca
Roger Scaplen
Director of Communications
Department of Transportation and Works
709-729-3015, 697-5267
rogerscaplen@gov.nl.ca
Jenny Bowring
Manager, Communications
Newfoundland Labrador Housing
709-724-3055
jmbowring@nlhc.nl.ca

 

BACKGROUNDER
The Oil Tank Replacement Program

The OTRP is a Provincial Government loan program that offers loans to assist low-income households replace their substandard residential oil heating tanks as required by law.

By May 31, 2010, all oil tanks must meet the industry standards of the Heating Oil Storage Tank (HOST) Regulations, 2002. However, because residents of Nain, Hopedale, Postville, Makkovik and Rigolet on the north coast of Labrador face extreme geographic and climate challenges in accessing both replacement tanks and inspection services, the deadline for oil tank registration in these communities has been extended to the end of the 2010 shipping season (approximately November 2010).

Who is eligible?
Households with a total annual income of less than $22,397 are eligible.

Proof of previous year’s income for applicant and co-applicant must be enclosed with each application.  This information will be accepted in the form of a Notice of Assessment (standard tax assessment from Canada Revenue) for the applicant and co-applicant or "Option C" (certified copy of an individual’s tax return) - either of which can be obtained by contacting Canada Revenue Agency at 1-800-959-8281

How much assistance is available?
Eligible households may qualify for a loan of up to $1,200 on the island, and up to $1,500 in Labrador. Qualified households will also be eligible for a $300 grant through the Department of Finance that will be applied against the total cost of tank replacement.

What is the repayment rate?
The loan repayment rate is $25 per month.

What is the law?
The HOST Regulations came into effect in 2002. After July 1, 2009, it became illegal for homeowners to operate unregistered tanks and for oil companies to refuel them. At that time, the Provincial Government advised that it would be willing to work with homeowners who still have unregistered systems but had made arrangements to have their systems registered. This variance under Section 17.(2)(a) of the Environmental Protection Act allows oil companies to deliver oil to existing unregistered systems provided there are arrangements in place to have the systems registered by May 2010.

A registered tank will have a brass tag riveted on to its vent pipe and the owner will be provided with a registration certificate.

How do I apply?
Application must be made to Newfoundland Labrador Housing. Applications will be processed in the order that they are received. Application forms are available online at www.nlhc.nl.ca, or at any regional Housing office. Inquiries may be made directly to:

709-724-3136
709-724-3277
Toll-free 1-877-628-5670

Who can replace oil tanks?
For more information contact your local oil delivery server for a list of licensed inspectors.

Visit http://www.env.gov.nl.ca/env/Env/PollPrev/petroleum_storage/cwli.pdf or telephone: 709-729-2664.