Suffolk County Announces First Uniform Geo Code in New York State

ligeoUpon its inception, the Long Island Geothermal Energy Organization (LI-GEO) recognized the critical need for standardization of geothermal system designs and installations. One of several committees established early on in the organization’s history was for Standards and Codes.

Independently, the Suffolk County Planning Commission (SCPC) decided to develop a fast-track permitting process for geothermal systems as it had previously implemented for solar and wind systems. Towards that end, SCPC contacted LI-GEO and together, the two organizations developed a draft model geothermal code framed around an initial code developed by the Town of Brookhaven, NY.

SCPC solicited input of key stakeholders on the draft model code, and LI-GEO incorporated the input received. The final code was adopted by SCPC on Oct. 1, and subsequently issued to various town and village municipal officials. During LI-GEO’s annual conference convened on Nov. 13, SCPC Chairman David Calone and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone officially rolled out the model code.

The primary objective of the geothermal code is to help municipalities evaluate proposed geo-thermal systems in residential and commercial settings. It is designed to allow for a more streamlined application process, and thus more expeditious review and approval of permits to install geothermal systems that satisfy certain basic criteria—specifically system type and site conditions.

The model code applies to typical systems installed in “non-sensitive areas”—as defined in the code—which comprise the majority of situations in which geothermal systems are being installed on Long Island. It is important to note that the code does not exclude other types of geothermal systems or installations at project sites that vary from the basic criteria. Situations not covered under the code will be addressed separately by the municipality. Access and review the model geothermal code here.

PSEG Long Island has committed to provide implementation assistance of $10,000 to each town-ship and $5,000 to the first ten villages with a population greater than 5,000 in Suffolk and Nassau that adopt the model geothermal code by March 31, 2015. For more information on PSEG Long Island’s implementation assistance, contact John Franceschina by email here, or by phone at: (516) 660-3049.

LI-GEO is planning a series of training and informational sessions on implementation of the code for municipal officials and others. Interested parties can contact John Rhyner by email here, or by phone at: (631) 406-9969.