Freedom of Air - Public Awareness of Outdoor Wood Boilers

Public Awareness and Reasearch of Outdoor Wood Boilers

News 2009 

This page is dedicated to any and all news stories we have found throughout the country and world that deal with Outdoor Wood Boilers.

      

 If at all you have found an article related to OWB's not already posted, please feel to let us know and we will post it. Contact us at freedomofair@yahoo.com.

December 29, 2009

Ban needed on outdoor wood boilers

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

By Nancy Alderman

AN outdoor wood-burning furnace, also known as an outdoor wood boiler, is essentially a small, insulated shed with a short smokestack. It burns wood that heats water that is then sent through underground pipes to heat a home or a building.

They emit smoke 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Outdoor wood furnaces are not to be confused with indoor wood stoves, which are tested and certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Outdoor wood furnaces are not tested.

Most outdoor wood furnaces employ very primitive combustion technology. As a result, they emit dense smoke that endangers the health of families and neighbors. The particles of wood smoke are so small that closed doors and windows cannot stop them from entering homes, even energy-efficient, weather-tight homes.

The use of outdoor wood furnaces has increased over the past few years, causing many complaints about their smoke making people sick.

The state Department of Environmental Protection’s Web site has a fact sheet that includes the question: “Are OWFs harmful to the environment and human health?”

The answer given: “Yes, OWFs produce a lot of thick smoke, which in addition to being a nuisance to neighbors, has serious health and air pollution impacts. Smoke from OWFs contains unhealthy amounts of particulate matter, dioxin, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, hydrochloric acid, formaldehyde and other toxic air pollutants. Exposure to smoke from an OWF can increase adverse respiratory and cardiovascular symptoms. Exposure to other pollutants listed above is associated with a diverse range of harmful health effects, including asthmatic sensitivity, lung illnesses and cancer.”

Because of the harmful impacts of these furnaces, the state of Washington has banned them. Four towns in Connecticut — Granby, Tolland, Hebron and Ridgefield — have banned them.

State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and the American Lung Association have called on the General Assembly to ban them statewide.

Because the furnaces are in a closed shed, one cannot see what is being burned. Although they are designed for wood, owners can add yard waste, packing materials, construction debris, household garbage and tires without anyone knowing.

Burning those substances is illegal. However, there is no way to know what is being burned. If these other substances are burned, it will increase the toxic and hazardous air pollutants.

Different states have tried to protect people from these furnaces by passing regulations. However, none of the regulations have proven to be effective enough to protect health. For instance, Connecticut has a setback regulation of 200 feet from neighboring property and it has a regulation that requires the smokestack to be higher than the roof peak of the nearest house within 500 feet.

Because of their basic design, it is possible that the furnaces can never be made safe. Their emissions problems are complicated by the fact they cycle between oxygen-deficient and oxygen-rich burning. The smoke that leaves the stack, irrespective of height, lacks the heat necessary for it to rise or to be diffused. The smoke falls to the ground.

Breathing air containing wood smoke has many harmful effects. It can reduce lung function and increase asthma, emphysema, pneumonia and bronchitis. It can aggravate heart disease, irritate eyes, lungs, throat and sinuses, as well as trigger headaches and allergies.

Environment and Human Health Inc. joins the attorney general and the American Lung Association in asking the legislature to ban outdoor wood furnaces.

Nancy Alderman is president of Environment and Human Health Inc., 1191 Ridge Road, North Haven 06473. E-mail: info@ehhi.org.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

December 29, 2009

Dolgeville firefighters battle wood pile fire (OWB the cause)

By Staff reports

The Evening Times

Tue Dec 29, 2009, 02:18 PM EST

Dolgeville, N.Y. -

Dolgeville firefighters were called to wood pile fire at 6028 State Route 167 in the town of Little Falls Monday at approximately 2:31 p.m.
According to Dolgeville Volunteer Fire Department Information Officer Roger Cromer, when the department arrived on scene they discovered a large wood pile next to an outdoor furnace on fire.

Firefighters, said Cromer, had to dig through the wood pile to totally extinguish the fire, which took some time.
The Salisbury Volunteer Fire Department was requested through mutual aid to respond with a tanker for extra water supply. Fire police were also utilized for traffic control.

The fire was reported by a passing motorist. The residence is owned by Todd Perkins.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

December 29, 2009

Furnace owners decry attorney general's call for ban (OWBs)

BY SAM COOPER REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

A call to ban outdoor wood-burning furnaces has owners of the devices all fired up.

Earlier this month, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal held a news conference asking the General Assembly to pass a statewide ban on the furnaces, also called hydronic heaters or outdoor wood boilers, which have been linked to respiratory disease.

The furnaces, which look like small, insulated sheds, use a wood-burning stove to heat a jacket of water which is pushed through buried pipes into a home. The hot water can be used to replace a traditional water heater, or circulated through a radiant heating system.

Critics say the furnaces, which often are used 24 hours a day, year round, are a major source of pollution which can lead to health ramifications for nearby residents, including bronchitis and pneumonia. State law already prohibits treated wood from being burned, and requires the furnaces be placed 200 feet from the nearest home not served by the unit.

Owners of the devices say a complete ban is unnecessary, and fails to take into account differences between newer models, many of which use a forced-air system to improve burning and reduce smoke, and older furnaces which allow wood to smolder.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

December 28, 2009

Hearing set in Coudersport on outdoor boilers

Star-Gazette

The Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board will hold a public hearing at 6 p.m. Jan. 13 at Coudersport High School, 698 Dwight St., to accept comments on a proposal to amend the Department of Environmental Protection’s regulations concerning outdoor wood-fired boilers.

The proposed amendments will establish emission standards and setback requirements for newly installed outdoor wood-fired boilers and written notice and record-keeping requirements for outdoor wood-fired boilers sold or leased after the effective date of the proposed regulation, according to a news release.

The proposed amendments will also establish stack height and fuel requirements for all new and existing outdoor wood-fired boilers operated in Pennsylvania, the release says. In addition, they will add definitions for British Thermal Units, clean wood, outdoor wood-fired boiler and Phase 2 outdoor wood-fired boiler, the release says.

Those wishing to present testimony at the hearing can register prior to the start of the hearing. The public comment period closes on Feb. 12.

For more information, call (717) 787-4526 or visit www.depweb.state.pa.us, using the keyword EQB.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

December 27, 2009

Warming with wood: cost-efficient heating or public nuisance? (OWBs discussed)

By Amanda Cuda, Staff Writer

Published: 11:30 p.m., Sunday, December 27, 2009

It wasn't always David Coles' intent to heat his Shelton home with wood. When the house was being built in the early 1970s, electric baseboard heating was installed. But, by the late 1970s, the price of electricity had gone up and Coles decided there were other, cheaper ways to get warm.

Like burning wood. Coles has heated his home with an indoor wood-burning stove for roughly 30 years. He cuts and splits the wood, most of which he gets from friends. He said several of his neighbors heat with wood, and it just seems to make sense to him. Even with the cost of a chainsaw -- to cut the wood -- and occasional repairs to his stove, he only spends about $500 to $600 a year to heat his home.

"It's just cheaper to heat that way, I think," Coles said.

Coles isn't the only one in the region burning wood to get warm. David Thornton, of Fairfield, has been heating with an indoor wood stove for roughly 40 years. Semi-retired from the tree removal business, Thornton said he originally chose wood-based heating because the fuel was readily available to him. "It was free heat, basically," he said. "And now I'm just wed to it."

Though Thornton, Coles and others stand by their wood, the smoke generated by wood-burning devices has many people hot under the collar. Those include Caesar Munoz, of Bridgeport, who said he frequently smells smoke from someone in his neighborhood burning wood. He's not sure who the culprit is, or whether the wood is being fired up in an indoor stove, an outdoor wood burning furnace, or some other device. But Munoz does know one thing.

"It makes me sick," he said.

Though he hasn't smelled the offender's stench yet this winter, he has multiple times in the past. The smoke irritates his throat, Munoz said and, beyond that, "it's just really annoying."

With the economy still grim, there has been a bump in people turning to wood to heat their homes, said Jerry Farrell, Jr. state commissioner of consumer protection. "Any time we go through an economic downturn, those are times when people do turn toward wood," he said. "It remains a very popular product."

Seasoned firewood in Connecticut is selling for about $220 a cord, but varies, depending factors such as the type of wood. A cord is a stack of wood measuring 4 feet high by 4 feet wide by 8 feet long. Farrell said, anecdotally, he's heard the price of wood is up this year due to increased demand, but didn't have hard figures. "We can say it's going up," he said. "Is it going wildly up? No."

At any rate, climbing prices aren't the only downside to heating with wood, as there are concerns that wood smoke emitted from some heating devices can be, at best, a nuisance and, at worst, dangerous. Of particular concern of late are outdoor wood burning furnaces, which many in the state -- including Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal -- see as serious health risk and generators of air pollution. Earlier this month, Blumenthal called on the state's General Assembly to ban the furnaces, which are essentially wood-fired boilers in a small, insulated shed with a smoke stack.

The furnaces heat water that is carried through underground pipes to heat a home or building. Blumenthal, along with representatives of the American Lung Association and the state-based nonprofit Environment and Human Health, Inc., assert that the thick smoke generated from these devices contain unhealthy amounts of various toxins, including particulate matter. These small airborne particles can become lodged in the lungs, making breathing difficult. Inhaling these particles can also lead to serious health problems for certain populations, including those with asthma, respiratory or heart conditions or other illnesses.

Three Connecticut towns -- Granby, Hebron and Tolland -- have already banned the outdoor furnaces, as has the state of Washington.

The problem with the furnaces lie in their basic design, said Robert Girard, assistant director of air enforcement for the state Department of Environmental Protection. The device consists of a "firebox" that holds the wood, surrounded by a jacket that contains the water. As the wood burns, it heats the water, which, in turn, heats the home. But this design produces a slower burning, cooler fire, which can create more smoke.

"The smoke really does permeate the whole neighborhood," said Nancy Alderman, president of Environment and Human Health. Alderman said her organization has received multiple complaints from families being made sick from wood smoke coming into their homes. Many of the complainants have suffered ailments from bronchitis, sinusitis and pneumonia due to the wood smoke, Alderman said, and end up seeking medical help.

Wood-burning stoves are less of a concern to environment and health advocates than the furnaces, though the stoves also, obviously, produce wood smoke. Girard said the wood stoves generally heat up faster than the outdoor furnaces, and, as result, produce less smoke. Newer stoves are especially efficient, as wood-burning stoves manufactured and sold after July 1992 are required to be certified by the Environmental Protection Agency.

EPA-certified wood stoves have been tested to meet stringent emissions requirements, and have been designed to burn more cleanly.

Even older stoves are not usually a problem, Alderman said, as long as the smoke isn't drifting into neighboring properties. If the chimney attached to a stove is high enough to allow for proper distribution of the smoke, and the homes in the neighborhood aren't too close together, complaints are typically minimal.

Fairfield Health Director Sands Cleary said he receives some complaints about wood smoke, and typically asks the offenders to cease and desist. People are usually cooperative, he said. "Most people, when they see it's blowing into a neighbor's house, they get it."

Neither Coles nor Thornton has received any complaints on their devices, though Thornton said he'd understand if the smoke bothered people. "Occasionally, it does look like Chernobyl, especially when you first start the fire," he said. "But, for the most part, it smells pretty good."

Full Article: CLICK HERE

December 26, 2009

Outdoor furnace hearing slated in Coudersport

Written by: Staff, Endeavor News, PA

With more people turning to outside wood-burning furnaces to heat their homes, a vexing question lingers.

Who should regulate the devices to protect neighbors from their fumes – the state, local governments, or nobody?

Opinions on the issue have been so split that the State Environmental Quality Board is having a hard time deciding what to recommend to lawmakers. That organization has extended its public comment period and has scheduled another public hearing on the issue, to be held at 6 pm on Jan. 13 at the Coudersport High School auditorium.

Citizens may also be heard by traditional mail or email until Feb. 12.

Written comments should be mailed to EQB, PO Box 8477, Harrisburg PA 17105-8477. Comments by email are being accepted at RegComments@state. pa.us. A subject heading of the proposal and a return name and address must be included in each email. If the sender does not receive acknowledgment within two working days, the sender should resubmit the comments.

Under the proposed regulations:

• A person may not purchase, sell, offer for sale, distribute or install a boiler unless it meets Phase 2 standards for efficiency.

• New boilers must be installed at least a minimum of 150 feet from the nearest property line.

• New boilers must have a permanently attached stack that must be at least 10 feet above ground and extend at least two feet above the highest peak of the highest residence located within 150 feet of the boiler.

• Existing boilers must also have a permanently attached stack that is at least 10 feet above ground and extend at least two feet above the highest peak of the highest residence located within 500 feet of the boiler.

• Only clean wood, wood pellets made from clean wood and certain home heating oil, natural gas or propane fuels can be used in the boilers.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

December 23, 2009

City council adopts rules for outdoor wood stoves

by Dan Sanderson-Staff Writer

Wednesday, December 23, 2009 2:20 PM EST

A month after passing a temporary moratorium on permitting outdoor wood burning stoves in Grayling, city officials have approved regulations recommended by the industry to allow the stoves to be used.

The Grayling City Council, at its regular monthly meeting last week, adopted an ordinance regulating wood burning stoves in the community.

Grayling City Manager David Thayer told the city council that within 24 hours after an article was published in the Crawford County Avalanche regarding the moratorium, an industry representative contacted him and sent a model ordinance for outdoor wood stoves.

Thayer said the ordinance recommended by the outdoor wood stove manufacturers was far more stringent than what city and fire department officials were considering.

Thayer said that city and manufacturers have the same vested interest as the industry, which is to have the outdoor stoves with up-to-date technology that addresses safety and efficiency.

The ordinance addresses:

- EPA Hyrdonic Heater Phase One outdoor stoves, which have a particulate emission limit of .60 pounds per million British Thermal Units.

- EPA Hyrdonic Heater Phase One qualified models.

- EPA Hyrdonic Heater Phase Two, which have a particulate emission limit of .32 pounds per million British Thermal Units.

- EPA Hyrdonic Heater Phase Two qualified model.

The setback for EPA Hyrdonic Heater Phase One qualified models must be located at least 25 feet from the property line and shall be located within 100 feet from any residence or business that is not served by the outdoor wood furnace.

A EPA Hyrdonic Heather Phase Two program qualified heater must be located on the property in compliance with manufacture's recommendation and shall be at least 50 feet from any residence of business not served by the outdoor wood furnace.

Outdoor Wood furnaces that are not EPA Hyrdonic Heater Phase One qualified must be 50 feet from the property line and 100 feet away from any residence or business not served by the outdoor wood furnace.

Chimneys must be two feet higher than the peak of the home or business served by the outdoor wood furnace or a neighboring home or business not served by the wood furnace.

Thayer said that stabilizing the chimneys is an issue that outdoor wood stove manufacturers still have to deal with.

Only natural, untreated wood, wood pellets, corn products, biomass pellets can be used in the wood stoves.

The burning of newspapers, tires, plastic materials, rubbish or garbage and wood that has been painted, varnished or contains resins or glue is strictly prohibited.

A person who has an existing outdoor wood furnace must operate the furnace within the manufacturer's specifications and must comply with the city's ordinance regarding fuel that may be burned in an outdoor wood furnace.

Thayer said that very few communities have adopted ordinances regulating outdoor wood stoves, adding that Grayling will serve at test site for the zoning regulations.

"The majority of cities are just outright banning them - period," he said.  "They're not even having the discussion."

Full Article: CLICK HERE

December 23, 2009

Lack of permit activity means a lay-off; city utility billing rates up (OWBs discussed)
BY DENISE MARTIN

Wyoming City Council handled the usual year-end stuff last week and enacted a new fee schedule recommended to ease red ink in the sewer system account. A city building department employee was also laid off, which wasn't usual.

In public comment: a resident asked council to refer to the planning commission a possible ordinance regulating exterior heating systems (boilers). He explained that other cities require exhaust systems above neighboring rooflines, which he wants Wyoming to mandate.

In his neighborhood on Everton Circle, he said an outside wood burner-boiler is so highly-polluting that interior air quality of his home is affected. When his system intake draws "fresh air" it is filled with smoke.

The Planning Commission will review possible ordinances that could regulate these heating devices located outside of structures, and address problems. The planning commission would hold a hearing and make a recommendation to council.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

December 22, 2009 (video)

Shelby City Council Postpones Enacting On Ordinance
 

originally posted on: 12/22/2009 2:19:27 PM

BY: WMFD News

Shelby City Council Monday night postponed enacting on an ordinance to regulate outdoor wood burning furnaces. Mayor Bill Freytag said more research must be done before any regulations can be put in place. Shelby City Council Monday night postponed enacting on an ordinance to regulate outdoor wood burning furnaces. 

Full Article: CLICK HERE

December 21, 2009

CALL FOR STORIES 

We want your thoughts on wood-based heating (OWBs)

Source: Connecticut Post

Do you heat your home with an indoor wood-burning stove or an outdoor wood-burning furnace? Or, are you annoyed by the smoke coming from a neighbor's wood-based heating device? We might want to interview you for an upcoming story.

If you fit into one of the above categories, please contact Amanda Cuda at acuda@ctpost.com or 203-330-6290.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

December 17, 2009

Comment period on wood burner boilers extended

January meeting added in Coudersport

POSTED: December 17, 2009

Source: Sun-Gazette

An additional hearing will be held early next year and the comment period will be extended to receive more public input on proposed wood fire boiler regulations, according to the state Environmental Quality Board.

State Sen. E. Eugene Yaw, R-Loyalsock Township, said the hearing is set for 6 p.m. Jan. 13 at Coudersport High School, 698 Dwight St. in Coudersport.

"I am pleased the EQB has scheduled this additional hearing," Yaw said. "One of the complaints most of the presenters at the Williamsport hearing voiced was that the EQB scheduled a hearing at 1 p.m. during hunting season."

Originally, the comment period was to end Jan 4.

The comment period for the proposal now will close Feb. 12, according to the Environmental Quality Board.

Written comments may be sent to the Environmental Quality Board, P.O. Box 8477, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8477 (express mail: Rachel Carson State Office Building, 16th Floor, 400 Market St., Harrisburg, PA 17101-2301). No fax comments will be accepted.

Comments also may be sent electronically to RegComments@state.pa.us. A subject heading of the proposal and a return name and address must be included in each e-mail. If the sender does not receive acknowledgement that the comments were received within two working days, the sender should resubmit his or her comments.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

December 12, 2009

Editorial: Ban wood burners until they're cleaned up

12/12/2009 11:50:02 AM

We're disappointed that the Austin City Council has defeated a proposed ordinance that would have banned city residents and businesses from installing and using outdoor wood-fired appliances.

Essentially, these wood burners are large boilers that can do a bang-up job heating a home or business, but can be a real problem for neighbors who happen to live downwind. There are three such wood burners in Austin, and the city has received hundreds of complaints about them. In one case, residents have started a petition to try to douse the flames that they say are sending smoke and pollution their way.

The problem with these burners is twofold:

• They are much larger and can burn much more wood than a conventional fireplace or indoor wood-burning stove, which means they emit a significant amount of fine-particulate pollution -- hundreds, perhaps thousands of times more pollution than a natural-gas furnace.

• They are free-standing structures, which means their smokestacks do not elevate the smoke above the level of neighbors' homes. If there is any wind, the smoke will stay near the ground and drift across property lines.

We're not suggesting that such burners be totally banned. For people who live in rural areas, with no neighbors within a quarter-mile, a wood-fired boiler can be a cost-effective heating option that won't infringe on the rights of others to breathe smoke-free air.

But within the city limits, people shouldn't be forced to endure a daily onslaught of smoke. It's unpleasant and unhealthy, and represents an intrusion on people's rights.

Council member Jeff Austin said he opposed a citywide ban because the technology used in these burners is improving, and that there may come a time when wood-burning outdoor boilers would not be a nuisance to neighbors. That might be true, but the technology hasn't reached that point yet. At the moment, these burners are a nuisance, and we encourage those who live near them to continue to make their concerns known to city officials.

The council has said the proposal to ban these burners is dead, but if they get enough phone calls, perhaps they'll bring it back to life.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

December 12, 2009

Wood Furnaces Don't Belong Here (OWB editorial)

December 12, 2009

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal should be commended for moving to protect the public health and quality of life by seeking a statewide ban on outdoor wood-burning furnaces [Page 1, Dec. 10, "State Tries To Clear The Air"].

For those unfamiliar with these large-scale furnaces, these units often emit massive clouds of smoke and particulates that move as a cloud along the ground and can blanket neighbors' homes and places of outdoor recreation.

As responsible public health groups have indicated, these furnaces do not belong in Connecticut — in any community of any size — because they can cause severe health problems.

Joe Cohen, Chester

Full Article: CLICK HERE

December 12, 2009

Outdoor furnace battle heating up

Written by: Staff, Endeavor News, PA

Citizens who want to comment on the proposed state regulations controlling outdoor wood-fired boilers will be able to attend a public hearing on the issue in Potter County sometime next month.

A date, location and time have not been announced, but Rep. Martin Causer announced this week that the state Environmental Quality Board has agreed to hold a hearing in Coudersport after New Year’s Day.

In the meantime, the board is accepting comments by mail or email until Jan. 4. Written comments should be mailed to EQB, P.O. Box 8477, Harrisburg PA 17105-8477. Comments by email are being accepted at RegComments@state. pa.us.

Under the proposed regulations:

• No new boiler could be sold, distributed or installed unless it meets “Phase 2” standards for efficiency.

• New boilers must be installed at least 150 feet from the nearest property line.

• New boilers must have a permanently attached stack that must be at least 10 feet above ground and extend at least two feet above the highest peak of the highest residence located within 150 feet.

• Existing boilers must have a permanently attached stack that is at least 10 feet above ground and extend at least two feet above the highest peak of the highest residence located within 500 feet of the boiler.

• Only clean wood, wood pellets made from clean wood and certain home heating oil, natural gas or propane fuels can be used in the boilers.

Pa. Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) is also considering a seasonal prohibition on the use of outdoor woodfi red boilers, which could have serious consequences for consumers who use the boilers to supply hot water to their homes and for milk house cleaning and use.

During a DEP hearing on the proposed rules last week in Williamsport, John Jordan of Emporium pointed out that his outdoor wood burner saves him fuel costs.

“I’m not going to stop (using) it,” he declared. Jordan said it’s his understanding that the emissions are no worse than those from a camp fire.

On the other hand, Eldred Township Supervisor Steve Patt said that an investment of thousands of dollars in a furnace doesn’t justify harming a neighbor’s health.

“A little foresight is good,” he added.

Kevin Stewart, representing the American Lung Association, said outdoor furnaces create high levels of emissions that can exacerbate medical problems for people suffering from asthma, emphysema, heart disease and diabetes.

Much of the debate focused on whether the issue should be left to townships, boroughs and cities to regulate. Stewart said he doesn’t think municipalities are equipped to regulate the use of outdoor furnaces.

Tioga Borough Councilman Ron Johnson said municipalities cannot be expected to regulate the problem. He said stricter laws are needed, but mostly to address property owners who currently have furnaces in the wrong locations.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

December 11, 2009

Village bans installation of wood boilers; regulates use of existing 2


By Robert Lachman
Published:
Friday, December 11, 2009 2:14 AM EST

The outdoor wood boiler controversy that has been raging in the village of Kinderhook in recent months may have been put to rest Wednesday night.

After a spirited, yet polite, public hearing the Village Board unanimously sided with residents who have complained of health problems and quality of life issues related to the boiler emissions. The village passed a new local law that would prohibit the installation of any new wood boilers in the village and strictly regulate the use of the two wood boilers that are now in use.

The new law reads, in part: “The Village Board ... believes that the utilization of outdoor wood boilers within the confines of the village may present unique issues and concerns regarding smoke, odors, particulates, chimney emissions, fire safety, wood storage related to (their use). It is herein found that (their) operation within the limits of the Village may create noxious and hazardous smoke, soot, fumes, odors and air pollution that can be detrimental to citizens’ health and can deprive neighboring residents of the enjoyment of their property or premises.”

During the public hearing phase of the meeting the sentiment ran heavily against the use of the boilers.

After reviewing the new law, village resident Paul Reinhardt said, “The law looks pretty good. The particulate matters and the carcinogens from these boilers are pretty toxic.” Reinhardt and other residents also questioned the length of time existing boilers could remain in use since the law, as written, allowed these boilers to remain in service for a period of 15 years. Other residents were unhappy with the length of time the burners could be used during the year. The law, as originally written, allowed wood to be burned in them from Sept. 30 to May 1.

Before the end of the public meeting wood boiler owner and village resident Mike Urbaitis, who felt unfairly singled out by the passage of the law, said, “The comments I heard were that it causes asthma and other health problems. How can you say my wood boiler causes all the problems in the village? There’s no more smoke than comes out of a chimney or a wood stove. I would like to keep using my wood boiler.”

Taking residents objections to the new law into account, Mayor William Van Alstyne and the members of the board amended the new law to allow existing boilers to remain in the village for 10 years instead of 15 and reduced the length of seasonal use from Nov. 1 to April 30.

“From the information I have received and balancing it out spring and fall is when you’re going to get the most smoke. I think we have to tighten it up,” Van Alstyne said, and at the end of the meeting the law was adopted.

In other village news the treasurer’s report revealed a $55,000 surplus in emergency disaster funds stemming from last year’s ice storm when FEMA used the fire house for four and a half days as an emergency shelter and reimbursed the village $39,000, as well as for the $26,000 sale of the fire truck that was damaged in the storm. This led to the ongoing issue of the town of Stuyvesant not renewing its contract for fire protection with the village. In October it was reported by the Register-Star that Van Alstyne said, “In the grand scheme of things $6,000 is not a lot of money,” when referring to the loss of Stuyvesant fire coverage. 

At Wednesday’s meeting Van Alstyne said it was definite the contract would not be renewed, at the loss to the village of $6,000. He was visibly upset at outgoing Kinderhook Town Supervisor Doug McGivney’s recent statement, also reported in the Register-Star, that McGivney was “disappointed that the mayor views $6,000 per annum as not enough money to be concerned about,” and that “the past 10 years has provided $60,000 toward the purchase of a replacement vehicle which was damaged during the FEMA storm and for which the village was not reimbursed.”


“I want to clear up a misconception reported to the Register-Star by Kinderhook Town Supervisor McGivney,” he said and went on to explain that FEMA did reimburse the town and the truck was sold. “Going forward I’d like to get the town to get together with the fire districts to review the boundaries. If McGivney has any questions I’ll be glad to talk to him about it,” Van Alstyne said.

Finally, the interior of the Kinderhook Village Hall is going to be renovated and construction is about to start.

“We got a $30,000 grant from the New York state Court Administration for the purposes of helping our court come into compliance with our mandates,” Van Alstyne said. Village Hall offices will be closed to the public on Dec. 18 and 19 to fix the ramp out in front and construction will start soon and should be completed by the end of February.

To reach reporter Robert Lachman call 518-828-1616, ext. 2266 or e-mail rlachman@registerstar.com.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

December 11, 2009

Wood boilers eyed for regulations

By Frank Konkel
DAILY PRESS & ARGUS

December 11, 2009

Outdoor wood boilers — once created for the specific purpose of heating farm houses — have become a viable heating option for rural and, in some cases, residential homeowners.

However, they create a conundrum for local municipalities because — unlike some states — Michigan has no laws in place to govern outdoor wood boilers and their plethora of cousins, including corn burners, outdoor wood furnaces and wood pellet stoves.

As a result, several Livingston County municipalities are taking a proactive approach in dealing with what is quickly becoming one of the most popular alternative-energy fads across the country.

"Our job is to secure and promote the public health and welfare of the village," said Pinckney Clerk Amy Salowitz.

Though the village hadn't received any complaints, Pinckney recently joined the Fowlerville and Howell as Livingston County municipalities that have banned outdoor wood boilers outright.

"We were taking a proactive approach to what could be a problem," Salowitz said.

According to Brian Brady, Upper Peninsula district supervisor for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality's Air Quality Division, the most frequently reported problem with outdoor wood boilers is the smoke that invades neighboring homes and yards.

It's a legitimate complaint, he said, because the vast majority of particulate matter released from unclean burning is "a chemical stew" of carcinogens less than 2.5 microns across in size, and is toxic to humans, especially asthmatics.

Couple that with the fact that Michigan has more outdoor wood boiler installations — at approximately 35,000 — than any other state, and it's easy to see how quickly problems arise.

For example, Hartland Township was prompted to pass a resolution strictly regulating the use of outdoor wood boilers in September, after at least one resident complained about the smoke coming from a neighbor's boiler.

Without a state law or local ordinance, all a resident is legally responsible for to install an outdoor wood boiler is a mechanical permit from the Livingston County Building Department. According to Livingston County Deputy Building Official Don Wilkinson, that permit ensures proper installation and plumbing for an outdoor wood boiler — but it doesn't cover specifics, such as the height of a smokestack or property setbacks.

Hartland Township's ordinance regulates those figures and more, joining Hamburg, Cohoctah, Deerfield and Putnam townships in regulating outdoor wood boilers. The ordinances of each township are grandfathered, so structures put in place prior to the ordinance can remain.

"It's always that difficult balance between individual property owner rights and the neighboring property owner's rights to enjoy their property without being encumbered upon," said Hartland Township Manager James Wickman. "In the use of outdoor boilers, there are too many circumstances where what's done is not always in the best interest of the township as a whole."

Howell Township resident and outdoor wood boiler owner Larry Methot feels local regulation isn't bad as long as it's "intelligent" and based on "common sense."

Methot, an industrial boiler technician, installed his Central Boiler unit in 2001 for $6,000. In three years, he said it "paid for itself," saving him close to $2,000 a year in utility bills.

"A good place to start is to look at the guidelines designed to regulate the use of the machine, that's a clear-cut standard," Methot said. "It gives townships the ability to reasonably enforce the installation common sense-wise. There's a lot of people out there who create their own problems."

Tree service owner Chris Hardwick said it made sense purchase an outdoor boiler last fall — replacing the natural gas he used before — especially since Hardwick was giving his junk wood away. Though a cord of wood is currently selling for $125, Hardwick gets his wood for free, further saving him money. The Hamburg Township resident said the move saves him several hundred dollars a month.

"To me, I think it's just an easier way of heating your home," Hardwick said. "It doesn't seem any different to me than a fireplace or wood stove in your house."

Livingston County municipalities that haven't enacted ordinances simply handle matters on a complaint-by-complaint basis. Oceola Township Supervisor Bill Bamber said his township has had a few complaints over the years, but nothing that couldn't be resolved by a "common-sense approach."

"Since we don't have an ordinance that applies to (wood boilers), there isn't much we can do except tell the person how to alleviate the problem," Bamber said. "What we look for is common sense, and asking our residents to use more consideration."

For the time being, Livingston County's local municipalities will dictate how Michigan's fastest-growing alternative-energy option is used. Brady said the DEQ has drafted legislation that would regulate outdoor units statewide. However, Brady said, he can't find a sponsor for the bill.

"The legislation would put everything on a level playing field," Brady said. "It's been languishing for two years, but we can't get a sponsor for it. Until we do ... we'll have controversy."

Contact Daily Press & Argus reporter Frank Konkel at (517) 552-2835 or at fkonkel@gannett.com.

 

Additional Facts

December 11, 2009

Conn. AG calls for outdoor furnace ban

Published: Dec. 11, 2009

2009 United Press International, Inc.

HARTFORD, Conn., Dec. 11 (UPI) -- Connecticut should ban outdoor wood-burning furnaces because of the smoke and soot they create, state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal says.

Blumenthal said Wednesday that the furnaces burn wood at low temperatures, the Hartford Courant reported. The furnaces are basically metal sheds holding wood-burning stoves surrounded by water, which is heated and then piped into a home.

"Complaints have dramatically proliferated as these furnaces become more prevalent -- more homeowners burning wood in outdoor furnaces to avoid the higher cost of oil or natural gas in tough economic times," Blumenthal said.

Three Connecticut towns have banned the outdoor furnaces. Under state regulations, they must be at least 200 feet from the nearest house and have smokestacks higher than the roofs of any homes within 500 feet.

The furnaces "spew toxic smoke 24 hours a day, seven days a week, sickening neighbors and contaminating neighborhoods," Blumenthal said. Some owners also use them to incinerate trash, adding to the problem.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

December 10, 2009

Blumenthal cites health concerns in call for ban on outdoor furnaces

By Jenna Cho

Publication: The Day

AG says he has received 'hundreds' of complaints

Outdoor wood furnaces, home-heating devices that have grown in popularity with the rise of oil and gas prices, "spew toxic smoke 24 hours a day, seven days a week, sickening neighbors and contaminating neighborhoods," according to state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.

On Wednesday, Blumenthal called for a state ban on outdoor wood furnaces, or standalone wood-fired boilers that heat water to warm homes and provide hot water. Washington is the only state thus far to have banned their use, Blumenthal said.

The state Department of Environmental Protection regulates outdoor-furnace installations but warns of their potentially harmful effects on human health and the environment.

The towns of Granby, Hebron and Tolland have banned their use at the local level.

"The wood itself has been tested and shown to have chemicals that at the very least can irritate the eyes and nose and lungs, and it has been shown to have small (particulate matter) that can lodge in lungs," Blumenthal said Wednesday. "The only question is how severe a hazard it is. ... We believe that it's sufficiently serious that there should be a ban unless, and until, these furnaces can be redesigned."

Locally, Matthew Abrams' complaint concerning his neighbors' outdoor wood furnace in Lyme has drawn attention to the issue. Abrams, who owns the property next door to Glenn "Chip" and Carol Dahlke's Ashlawn Farm, claims the Dahlkes' furnace "emits noxious odor and abundant smoke, affecting our health and well-being as well as that of the surrounding environment."

"We applaud the Attorney General's announcement to ask the General Assembly to ban, statewide, all such devices," Abrams said in a written statement Wednesday. "This issue is what drove us over the past few months to pursue a complaint document against Ashlawn Farm."

But Glenn Dahlke said outdoor wood furnaces are safe if used properly.

"I'm sure that there are people who abuse these, and they can be highly polluting," Dahlke said. "And there are people who use these in a responsible manner, and they live in an area where the smoke isn't going to blow over to the neighbor's yard."

'Hundreds' of complaints

Complaints such as the Abramses' on outdoor wood furnaces have been "in the hundreds" this year, Blumenthal said. He had no official tally on the number of complaints, and the DEP does not keep a record of how many outdoor wood furnaces are in use in the state. But complaints have come from residents all across the state, Blumenthal said.

"I became concerned about this issue because of the burgeoning number of complaints that both my office and the Department of Environmental Protection had been receiving," he said. "They are extraordinarily disturbed and concerned about the possible health effects, not to mention the nuisance of smoke and eye and throat irritation as well as possible longer-term, more serious health effects."

Outdoor wood furnaces are a popular alternative to the use of oil or gas to heat homes, but they emit more smoke than indoor wood stoves because they burn more slowly and at a lower temperature, according to the state of Wisconsin's Department of Health Services Web site.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency does not have emissions standards for outdoor furnaces as it does for indoor models.

Outdoor furnaces emit unhealthy levels of particulate matter, dioxin, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, hydrochloric acid and formaldehyde, according to a state DEP brochure on furnaces that includes the slogan "Don't Choke on the Smoke." One furnace can generate as much particulate matter as 3,000 to 8,000 homes that are heated with natural gas, according to the brochure.

The American Lung Association and the nonprofit Environment and Human Health Inc. (EHHI) have both supported a ban on the furnaces.

"Wood smoke contains many of the same chemicals as cigarette smoke," the EHHI stated in a press release Wednesday. "It is both an irritant and a carcinogen. It interferes with the normal lung development in infants and children. ... Wood smoke particles are so small that if the smoke is very close to a house, doors and windows cannot keep it out."

j.cho@theday.com

Full Article: CLICK HERE

December 10, 2009

Blumenthal Calls For Ban On Outdoor Wood Furnaces

HARTFORD — - Where there's smoke, there's fire — and, these days, a growing number of state residents fed up with their neighbors' outdoor, wood-burning furnaces.

State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal called Wednesday for a statewide ban on the furnaces, saying that too often they spew noxious smoke and are subject to misuse by people who burn materials other than wood.

The units are metal sheds with smokestacks and, inside, a stove with a water jacket around it. The furnace sends hot water through an underground pipe into, in most cases, a heat exchanger inside the home. The units sell for about $10,000 each.

The furnaces are banned in a number of Connecticut towns, including Granby, Tolland, Hebron and Ridgefield.

"Complaints have dramatically proliferated as these furnaces become more prevalent — more homeowners burning wood in outdoor furnaces to avoid the higher cost of oil or natural gas in tough economic times," Blumenthal said.

Problems arise, he said, because the units "burn wood at a relatively low temperature, emit huge smoke amounts close to the ground and send millions of small soot particles into the air. They have met no federal standards for safety and health."

In the past three years, the state Department of Environmental Protection has received 700 complaints about outdoor furnaces, agency spokesman Dennis Schain said.

A furnace maker said that if used properly, the latest models are viable alternatives to oil and natural gas. Keith Astrup, vice president of Minnesota-based Heatmor, said the industry has been working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for five years to adopt a standard emission-testing method and uniform state guidelines.

He said that the EPA is revising the regulations that cover indoor wood-burning stoves, and that he expects that the outdoor furnaces will, for the first time, be incorporated into the new language.

"As an industry, we're not dragging our feet and we're not opposed to emission limits," Astrup said in a telephone interview.

In Connecticut, outdoor furnaces must be at least 200 feet from the nearest residence, and the smokestack must be higher than the roof peak of any house within 500 feet.

But even with those precautions in place, Blumenthal said, outdoor furnaces tend to "spew toxic smoke 24 hours a day, seven days a week, sickening neighbors and contaminating neighborhoods. A ban is necessary unless and until these furnaces are completely redesigned — to stop their toxic impacts."

Granby banned outdoor furnaces in December 2006 after residents complained about a furnace in their neighborhood.

"There was an incredible amount of smoke — it was really affecting their lives," said Fran Armentano, director of community development. "We also found that it was constructed without a building permit and didn't conform with the DEP regulations, which wouldn't have really helped in this situation anyway."

Health advocates supported Blumenthal's call for a statewide prohibition by the legislature.

"Without a complete ban of these devices, there is really no way to protect the health of citizens in the state," said Nancy Alderman of the nonprofit group Environment and Human Health Inc. in North Haven. "Wood smoke has some of the same components as cigarette smoke, and therefore breathing wood smoke in 24 hours a day, seven days a week, is incredibly dangerous."

Full Article: CLICK HERE

December 9, 2009 (video)

Blumenthal Calls For Ban On Wood Furnaces

Residents Concerned About Soot, Smells

Source: WFSB News

People who own outdoor wood furnaces said they love them, but residents who love down-wind from people who have them said the devices pump out pollution.Residents also said they cause a lot of soot and smells that fill the air that can cause respiratory problems.Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said, "These wood burning furnaces emit the same toxins and carcinogens as cigarettes."The furnaces are self contained boilers that burn wood to heat water that is then pumped underground into homes for heat exchangers, water heaters and radiant floor systems.

Blumenthal said, "These wood burning furnaces emit huge amounts of smoke at low height close to the ground and therefore contaminate whole neighborhoods. Homeowners have the right to heat their homes with the lowest cost fuels, but not at the expense of the health and safety of neighborhoods as a whole."

Full Article: CLICK HERE

December 9, 2009 (video)

Concern 'burns' on outdoor wood stoves

Updated: Wednesday, 09 Dec 2009, 11:04 PM EST
Published : Wednesday, 09 Dec 2009, 7:42 PM EST

By: Sandra Reichman, WTNH

Hartford (WTNH) - Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has called on the General Assembly to ban outdoor wood-burning furnaces because of pollution.

"Outdoor wood-burning furnaces spew toxic smoke 24 hours a day, seven days a week, sickening neighbors and contaminating neighborhoods. A ban is necessary unless and until these furnaces are completely redesigned -- to stop their toxic impacts," said Blumenthal.

Three Connecticut towns -- Granby, Hebron and Tolland have already banned outdoor wood-burning furnaces. Washington state also prohibits the devices.

The American Lung Association and Environment and Human Health, Inc. (EHHI), a nonprofit health advocacy group, joined Blumenthal in urging the legislature to impose a statewide prohibition on the furnaces.

"Without a complete ban of these devices, there is really no way to protect the health of citizens in the state. Wood smoke has some of the same components as cigarette smoke, and therefore breathing wood smoke in 24 hours a day, seven days a week, is incredibly dangerous, " said EHHI President Nancy Alderman.

Indoor wood-burning furnaces are drastically different from indoor woods stoves, which are certified under federal standards and therefore should not be banned. For more information on if your stove is safe, visit the office of the Attorney General.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

December 9, 2009

Connecticut Attorney General Blumenthal Seeks to Ban Outdoor Wood Furnaces


By: WCBS Reporter Fran Schneidau

NEW YORK (WCBS 880)  -- The Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is calling for a ban on a means of home heating that a lot of folks these days are finding pretty economical.

WCBS Reporter Fran Schneidau says especially in the rural areas of Connecticut, small sheds with outdoor wood furnaces are popping up.

Their popularity is growing since they provide a more economical way of heating homes, but Blumenthal says the problem is they are emitting smoke and ash which can be highly toxic.

"These furnaces burning wood create smoke that spews 24 hours a day with many of the same toxins and carcinogens as cigarettes," said Blumenthal.

The American Lung Association has joined with Blumenthal in seeking a state-wide ban on these outdoor furnaces. They may join another state that has declared the ban, Washington.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

December 9, 2009 (official press release)

ATTORNEY GENERAL, HEALTH ADVOCATES CALL FOR STATEWIDE BAN ON OUTDOOR WOOD FURANCES

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2009

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal today called on the General Assembly to ban outdoor wood-burning furnaces, which continuously emit toxic smoke that sickens neighbors and pollutes neighborhoods.

The American Lung Association and Environment and Human Health, Inc. (EHHI), a nonprofit health advocacy group, joined Blumenthal in urging the legislature to impose a statewide prohibition on the furnaces.

Three Connecticut towns -- Granby, Hebron and Tolland -- have already banned outdoor wood-burning furnaces. Washington state also prohibits the devices.

Blumenthal said, “Outdoor wood-burning furnaces spew toxic smoke 24 hours a day, seven days a week, sickening neighbors and contaminating neighborhoods. A ban is necessary unless and until these furnaces are completely redesigned -- to stop their toxic impacts. Outdoor wood furnaces emit the same toxins and carcinogens as cigarettes. The smoke particles are so fine that they infest even the tightest houses and strongest lungs, contaminating bodies and homes.

“These furnaces are a major and malignant menace, causing whole neighborhoods not only sore eyes and throats, but serious chronic respiratory illnesses like bronchitis and pneumonia. They burn wood at relatively low temperature, emit huge smoke amounts close to the ground and send millions of small soot particles into the air. They have met no federal standards for safety and health.

“Complaints have dramatically proliferated as these furnaces become more prevalent -- more homeowners burning wood in outdoor furnaces to avoid higher cost oil or natural gas in tough economic times. Homeowners have no right to pollute their neighborhoods -- raising risks of serious disease requiring inhalers and steroids and other common medical treatment.

“These outdoor wood-burning furnaces are drastically different from indoor woods stoves, which are certified under federal standards and therefore should not be banned. A statewide ban on outdoor wood-burning furnaces will spare our state this threat to human health and the environment,” Blumenthal said. EHHI President Nancy Alderman said, “Without a complete ban of these devices, there is really no way to protect the health of citizens in the state. Wood smoke has some of the same components as cigarette smoke, and therefore breathing wood smoke in 24 hours a day, seven days a week, is incredibly dangerous. “

Contact: Christopher Hoffman or Tara Downes 860-808-5324

 ***END***

Full Article/Release: CLICK HERE

 

December 8, 2009

Regulating smoke (OWB editorial)

Source: Daily American 

The state has a difficult challenge in trying to regulate the use of outdoor furnaces.

The state Department of Environmental Protection is proposing regulations that address complaints about smoke and the burning of unusual items such as garbage in furnaces

The state has no regulations on outdoor furnaces, but is reviewing legislation to protect neighbors from the smoke.

The regulations would require furnaces that are sold to meet stricter air emissions standards. There are also specific requirements regarding the location of the furnace: They would have to be installed at least 150 feet from the nearest property line, and must have a permanently attached stack that extends at least 10 feet above the ground and at least two feet above the highest peak of the highest residence located within 150 feet of the furnace.

For residents with existing furnaces they must also have a permanently attached stack at least 10 feet above the ground, but the stacks must be at least two feet above the highest peak of the highest residence located within 500 feet of the furnace.

The proposed regulations would also require that furnace owners burn only clean wood, wood pellets from clean wood, home heating oil, natural gas or propane fuels.

Some local municipalities already have their own ordinances in place prohibiting outdoor furnaces in highly populated areas.

No one wants to live next a neighbor who has a furnace that is spewing smoke onto their property everyday. The challenge for the state will be to find something that makes sense for urban and rural areas a like.

It’s too big of a challenge for the state to come up with a regulation that best suits townships, boroughs and cities in one all-encompassing law.

The state should offer guidelines for the use of outdoor furnaces and let each municipality create an ordinance based on the needs and density of its inhabitants.

Regulating outdoor furnaces is more a local issue than a state-wide regulation.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

December 7, 2009

Outdoor wood boiler regs may be tightened

By LYDIA COTTRELL lcottrell@timesobserver.com

POSTED: December 7, 2009

 

The state Department of Environmental Protection is looking to slap some restrictions on outdoor wood boilers (OWBs), leaving one state senator concerned.

The proposed changes include:

New OWBs have to meet Phase 2 standards for efficiency.

New OWBs must be setback 150 feet from the nearest property line.

Existing OWBs must have a permanently attached smoke stack that is at least 10 feet above ground and extend at least two feet above the highest peak of the residence within 150 feet of the boiler.

New OWBs must have a permanently attached smoke stack that is at least 10 feet above ground and extend at least two feet above the highest peak of the residence within 500 feet of the boiler.

Only clean wood products and other acceptable materials can be burned in the OWBs. No garbage, plastic or painted woods, etc. are permitted to be burned in the boiler.

According to the DEP, the proposed changes are tied to a few different factors. First, data collected in 2005 revealed that Pennsylvania was sixth in the nation for number of OWBs, an estimated 12,000 units.

Additionally, research showed that even the smallest conventional OWB emits one ton of particulate matter annually, which is equivalent to 205 oil furnaces or 8,000 natural gas furnaces. However, new cleaner-burning OWBs, which meet Phase 2 standards, emit particulate matter equivalent to 20 oil furnaces or 800 natural gas furnaces.

State Sen. Mary Jo White (R-21), chairman of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, aired her concerns with the proposed rulemaking in a letter to the chairman of the Environmental Quality Board, an independent board that adopts all of DEP's regulations.

In the letter to Chairman John Hanger, dated Dec. 1, White wrote, "First, I am very concerned with the proposal to prohibit the use of outdoor wood-fired boilers (OWB) during summer months. Numerous constituents have contacted me who use their OWB to heat their water."

DEP spokesperson Teresa Candori said there was a provision in the draft form of the proposal which prohibit the use of OWBs during the summer months. However, she noted, "It was taken out before (the proposal) went to the Environmental Quality Board."

White was also concerned about the cost of the proposed regulations.

"I am also concerned about the potential incremental cost of purchasing Phase 2 OWBs," White wrote. "I encourage the (Environmental Quality Board) and the Department to examine and document these costs, as well as the potential fuel savings to homeowners that may recoup some of this additional upfront investment."

In the proposed rulemaking, the DEP estimated that older model OWBs cost between $8,000 and $18,000 while cleaner-burning models cost between $9,200 and $20,700.

In addition, the DEP figured the following costs for smoke stack changes:

Less than $85 for a 2-foot section of chimney pipe.

Less than $150 for a 4-foot section of chimney pipe.

Cost for stabilizing the smoke stack, if necessary.

White also questioned whether there would any exemptions to the proposed setback regulations and if the smoke stack requirement was applicable to the OWB owner's own residence.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

December 5, 2009

Comments welcome on outdoor burner regs- (Pennsylvania) 

Citizens who missed the public hearings on proposed state regulations controlling outdoor wood-fired boilers can still be heard. The state’s Environmental Quality Board is accepting comments by traditional mail or email from now until Jan. 4

Under the proposed regulations:

A person may not purchase, sell, offer for sale, distribute or install a boiler unless it meets Phase 2 standards for efficiency.

New boilers must be installed at least a minimum of 150 feet from the nearest property line.

New boilers must have a permanently attached stack that must be at least 10 feet above ground and extend at least two feet above the highest peak of the highest residence located within 150 feet of the boiler.

Existing boilers must also have a permanently attached stack that is at least 10 feet above ground and extend at least two feet above the highest peak of the highest residence located within 500 feet of the boiler.

Only clean wood, wood pellets made from clean wood and certain home heating oil, natural gas or propane fuels can be used in the boilers.

Written comments should be mailed to EQB, P.O. Box 8477, Harrisburg PA 17105-8477. Comments by email are being accepted at RegComments@state. pa.us. A subject heading of the proposal and a return name and address must be included in each email. If the sender does not receive acknowledgement within two working days, the sender should resubmit the comments.

Full Article:  CLICK HERE

December 5, 2009

State looks to regulate outdoor furnaces

By TIFFANY WRIGHT

Daily American Staff Writer

Saturday, December 5, 2009 9:23 PM EST

 

Residents may have to find another source to heat their home or make changes to their outdoor furnaces if proposed regulations by the state Department of Environmental Protection is approved.

The Pennsylvania DEP could adopt rules that would regulate the use and sale of outdoor wood furnaces.

“Currently there are no regulations at either the state or federal level for these types of facilities,” said John Repetz, a spokesman for DEP. “There are health concerns about the matter. There’s a very fine material that comes out of the smoke that could cause health problems deep inside the lung tissue and cause respiratory and heart problems.”

Complaints from neighbors who deal with the smoke and smell also were taken into consideration when proposing the regulations.

“Another thing that comes into play is that even though it’s labeled an outdoor wood burner people are using them as incinerators and burning other types of debris like animal carcasses and tires.”

The regulations would require furnaces that are sold to meet stricter air emissions standards. There are also specific requirements regarding the location of the furnace: they would have to be installed at least 150 feet from the nearest property line, and must have a permanently attached stack that extends at least 10 feet above the ground and at least two feet above the highest peak of the highest residence located within 150 feet of the furnace.

For residents with existing furnaces they must also have a permanently attached stack at least 10 feet above the ground, but the stacks must be at least two feet above the highest peak of the highest residence located within 500 feet of the furnace.

The proposed regulations would also require that furnace owners burn only clean wood, wood pellets from clean wood, home heating oil, natural gas or propane fuels.

The DEP’s Environmental Quality Board is currently collecting public comments on the issue until Jan. 4.

Somerset resident Dave Flick has submitted his comments regarding the issue to local political leaders like State Rep. Carl Walker Metzgar Jr. and Sen. Richard Kasunic. He recently attended a public hearing in Pittsburgh to present his opinions.

Flick said he is not in favor of the proposed regulations because some of the property stipulations do not seem feasible for rural areas.

“One of the big concerns is, depending on how much terrain there is, you have properties that are not causing a problem or not a nuisance because they are up wind ... and you might have a stack height of 70 to 80 feet in the air. It’d be nearly impossible to erect a stack like that on top of a furnace,” he said.

Also, smoke stacks that high would be difficult to clean regularly, he said.

Flick’s solution is for local municipalities to assess outdoor furnaces, rather than make a state-wide regulation.

“The state of Pennsylvania should not just try to rubber stamp a furnace under one law,” he said.

He thinks outdoor furnaces at rural household should have more lenient regulations than those in a borough or more developed town.

Jack Biancotti, Somerset Township secretary, thinks that the state should impose general guidelines, but let each municipality determine the specific rules.

“They have to tailor the regulations to suit their own individual circumstances,” he said.

Somerset Township has had an outdoor furnace ordinance since March 2006. He said the supervisors wanted to be proactive since at the time outdoor furnaces were becoming more popular.

“We were looking at this as a way of heading off some potential problems,” Biancotti said. “We have a mixed residential situation here where we have some areas that are rural and open and some that are very closely developed houses. Outdoor furnaces are most appropriate in wide open rural areas, but can create a nuisance for neighbors in highly developed areas.”

Jefferson Township enacted an outdoor furnace ordinance a year ago because of a limited number of neighbor complaints, according to township secretary Melanie Peters.

“We got sample ordinances from DEP and some other townships that already had an ordinance and we modified it,” she said.

Repetz said if DEP’s regulations should pass the state ordinance would take effect. If a local municipality has its own ordinance that is more stringent than the state, then the local ordinance would take precedence.

If the regulations pass, businesses that sell furnaces would be required to notify customers of the new rules and keep sales records for five years.

Matthew Stairs works for Twin Springs Heating in Somerset, which is also a distributor of Mahoning Outdoor Furnaces, and he said, it would not be difficult to keep sales records.

He does not think the regulations seem feasible.

“Some of the requirements are ridiculous. The circumstances don’t work for everybody,” he said. “I believe that a case by case regulation would be much better.”

But Stairs did say if the regulations are enacted it will help business.

“If anything it would help. That’s what we’re hoping,” he said.

Furnace owners say the alternative energy source is a way to save money, and Stairs agrees.

“We just did an installation for a family in Lincoln Township who was spending more than $6,000 for heating oil a year. And they were heating their home at 60 degrees,” he said. “We did their complete installation for around $7,000 and they’re able to burn wood they cut down on their farm. In a few years the furnace pays for itself.”

Flick said state regulations could prove to be a hardship for some families.

“I think there’s a lot of rural families in Pennsylvania that have limited needs and this is the only form of heat they can afford,” he said.

Once the public comment period ends the regulations could be revised. It then must be approved by a technical advisory committee and the Environmental Quality Board.

“If everything goes correctly it could be approved by late spring or early summer,” Repetz.

(Tiffany Wright may be contacted at tiffanyw@dailyamerican.com. Comment on the online story at dailyamerican.com.)

Full Article: CLICK HERE 

December 4, 2009

Township adopts rules for outdoor furnaces

By Christie Campbell, Staff Writer, chriscam@observer-reporter.com

People looking to save fuel this winter with an outdoor fuel burning furnace will have regulations to follow in South Strabane Township, mainly that the appliances will only be allowed in agricultural, A-1, zones.

An ordinance governing the use of outdoor furnaces was adopted by supervisors at a meeting in October. The ordinance does not apply to outdoor grilling or cooking with charcoal, wood, propane or natural gas.

The primary regulations include:

• Prohibited burning material includes furniture, garbage, tires, yard waste and the like;

• The appliance must be located at least 300 feet from the nearest neighboring building and at least 100 feet from the property line;

• It requires a permanent chimney which must be at least 5 feet above the height of a neighboring residence.

• The operator must obtain a permit from the township.

• The use of an outdoor fuel burning appliance is prohibited between June 1 to Sept. 1

• An outdoor furnace must display a tag signifying it meets standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Persons who violate the ordinance could be fined up to $5,000.

The board spent several months working on the new law, including hosting people from the industry who explained how the furnaces work.

Betsy Crumrine, who recently moved into the township and had pushed for the ordinance, thanked supervisors for taking action on it.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

December 4, 2009

City closes billboard ‘loophole’ (OWBs discussed in article)

The Tribune-Star
By Arthur Foulkes

The council also heard discussion at the “sunshine” meeting of a proposed ordinance to ban the use of outdoor wood or coal fired boilers or furnaces. These furnaces can cause more smoke than is appropriate for residential areas, some council members stated. However, members of the council also discussed limiting the ban, which would exempt burners already installed, to more densely populated parts of the city.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

December 4, 2009

Perth delays wood-boiler decision

By JOEL DITATA, The Leader-Herald

POSTED: December 4, 2009

PERTH - The Town Board made no decision on whether to regulate outdoor wood-burning boilers after a public hearing Thursday.

Supervisor Greg Fagan said the board will take its time.

"We're willing to take as long as it takes. It has become an emotional issue for both sides," said Fagan.

The town is considering a proposed law that would ban products such as painted wood, plastic materials, rubbish and newspaper from being burned in the boilers. The law would require the boilers to have smokestacks at least 18 feet above ground and 150 feet from the nearest property line. Only certain types of wood boilers could be operated in the summer.

If the town significantly changes the draft, the board would have to restart the process, said town Attorney Carmel Greco.

People use wood boilers to heat their homes. Wood-boiler opponents say the boilers create hazardous smoke. Proponents say the boilers give homeowners a less-expensive heating alternative.

Of the residents at the hearing, the majority was in favor of boilers.

Kevin Smitka, who owns Alternative Fuels, a town of Amsterdam business that sells wood boilers, said, "People have been burning wood since the beginning of time. Fossil fuels have a larger footprint on the ozone than any wood boiler."

Roger Tyler argued that outside wood boilers are more harmful to the environment.

He and his wife are asking the town to ban the outdoor boilers because of the smoke from a neighbor's boiler.

Gary Gutowski, Dave Altieri, Pat Centore and his wife, Dru Centore, all Perth residents, disagreed with the Tylers.

Gutowski said it's unfair for a law to be established for a minority of people who oppose the units.

"Why should a couple of people be able to change it? What if I didn't like dirt bikes and the noise they make, so I wanted to ban them? Would I be able to come in here and make you go through the same process?" Gutowski said.

Dave Altieri said he's done all he can to try to compromise with his neighbors.

"I put a 30-foot extender on top of my boiler and a 90-degree elbow pointing away from the one neighbor I have. I don't know what else I could do."

Pat and Dru Centore live on 380 acres of farmland. They said they don't see the purpose of removing their outdoor wood boiler when they aren't harming anyone.

"We have spent thousands of dollars to install our boiler. It does everything for us, not only heating our house, but it heats our swimming pool in the summer, also," said Dru Centore.

Councilwoman Gay Lewandowski said she's received complaints about wood boilers.

"There are more people that are not present who feel that the boilers are improperly being used. They have neighbors who burn garbage and other things. These are the people that are ruining the wood boilers for all," she said.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

December 4, 2009

Wood furnace law draws criticism from opponents

By MIKE REUTHER - mreuther@sungazette.com

Proposed stiffer laws to address use of outdoor wood furnaces drew derision from many landowners but support from others who say they want to breathe clean air.

The Department of Environmental Protection hearing in Williamsport, marking the fourth of public meetings held statewide this week, drew some 70 people, each of whom had a chance to testify during the more than 2-hour session.

Opponents expressed problems with provisions under the law calling for higher smokestacks and farther setbacks for the furnaces from adjacent properties.

They claim such provisions are burdensome, especially from a financial standpoint.

Sandy Mincemoyer of Watsontown said her family opted to go with a wood furnace for heating purposes as a means to save money.

"Electric is not feasible. Natural gas is not available," she said.

She said the new regulations are merely a "bully tactic" that targets relatively few landowners.

John Jordan of Emporium agreed that his own wood burner saves him fuel costs.

He has the burner to heat his swimming pool that he otherwise would not be able to use.

"I'm not going to stop it," he said.

Jordan said he is concerned about possible contaminants emitted by burning wood. At the same time, he said it's his understanding that the emissions are no worse than those from a camp fire.

Under the proposed regulations no fuel or material in a boiler could be used other than clean wood, wood pellets made from clean wood, home heating oil, natural gas or propane.

In addition, the regulations call for prohibitions on the sale, distribution of installation of wood-fired boilers unless they are Phase 2 boilers. Such furnaces could not be installed by a homeowner closer than 150 from the nearest property line.

The regulations further call for any boiler to have a permanently attached stack that extends at least 10 feet above the ground. However, the stack of any boiler on a property located within 150 feet of another residence must be 2 feet above the highest peak of that home.

Tim Owens of Mill Hall ridiculed the stack requirements and challenged other proposals under the law.

He claimed there exists just one outdoor furnace for every 80 people in the state. He said he failed to see any correlation between poor air quality caused by too many furnaces.

"How many complaints have we had? I want to see numbers."

Kevin Stewart, director of Environmental Health, American Lung Association, claimed that outdoor furnaces create high levels of air pollution.

Such pollutants, he said, can exacerbate medical problems for people suffering from asthma, emphysema, heart disease and diabetes.

The Lung Association, he said, supports stack heights proposed under the regulation.

He said municipalities are not equipped to regulate the use of outdoor furnaces.

However, state Rep. Garth Everett, R-Muncy, said local governments not only should regulate the issue, but in many cases already are.

A member of the House Environmental and Energy Committee, he said it's his belief that the stiffer laws are being proposed from politicians and others from urban and suburban areas who have little understanding of the issue.

"I'm not saying we don't need some reasonable regulations including Phase 2 burners as they become available." he said. "This is just something that's going a little too fast."

State Sen. E. Eugene Yaw, R-Loyalsock Township, said the setback requirements called for under the new regulations simply are not logical in his sparsely populated 23rd Senatorial District.

He called for local governments rather than the state to regulate the issue.

Tioga Borough Councilman Ron Johnson said municipalities cannot be expected to regulate the problem.

He said stricter laws are needed, but mostly to address property owners who have furnaces in the wrong locations.

Michael Ochs of Williamsport said "emissions from wood smoke are considerable" in the state.

He said municipalities should defer to state and federal government in regulating the use of furnaces.

Jim Marsh of Westmoreland County said the real problem is irresponsible furnace operators.

He said he is opposed to "blanket" regulations for everybody.

Eldred Township Supervisor Steve Patt said an investment of thousands of dollars in a furnace shouldn't prevent a neighbor bothered by smoke emissions from complaining.

"A little foresight is good," he said.

He called for municipalities to regulate the issue.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

December 3, 2009

Proposed wood-fired boiler rules anger owners, relieve neighbors

By Rick Wills

TRIBUNE-REVIEW NEWS SERVICE

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The state is considering stringent regulations for outdoor wood-fired boilers, devices some praise as great money savers but others say can be an irritating health hazard.

Regulations under consideration by the Department of Environmental Protection would require higher stacks for the boilers, prohibit installation of a boiler within 150 feet of a property line and ban use of boilers from May through September.

Many who use the boilers for heat and hot water say the regulations unfairly target them and fail to take into account emissions from indoor coal and wood furnaces.

"There are families that struggle to heat their homes. Please don't make affordable heat unaffordable," said Jerome Sorg of St. Marys in Elk County, at a hearing Wednesday in the Cranberry Township Municipal Building.

Ray McKrisky, an electrical contractor from Lower Burrell who sells the boilers, says his boiler saves him at least $2,500 every year. "I heat my home and an 8,000-square-foot warehouse with this," he said.

Requiring a smokestack for a boiler to be two feet above the nearest home simply would not be practical for McKrisky, who lives in a valley. "My stack would have to be about 85 feet high. That's about $30,000."

The DEP will consider the proposed regulations until Jan. 4, and then would submit them to the Legislature for review for implementation in the spring, said John Repetz, a DEP spokesman.

The agency says the boilers are a big source of particulate matter. A boiler emits as much as a ton of fine particulate matter each year — 205 times that of an oil furnace and 8,000 times that of a natural gas furnace, Repetz said.

In 2005, the last year for which figures were available, there were 1,200 boilers in Pennsylvania, a number that Repetz said has increased substantially.

"Their popularity really took off when oil prices spiked," he said.

For some who live near the boilers, regulation can't come fast enough.

"The smell is putrid. It is a toxic smell that is unbearable at times," said Maureen Myers of Jefferson in Somerset County, who lives near six of them.

Paul Laposky of Ligonier took up the matter with his neighbor who owns a boiler and with township supervisors, but said he got no response.

"This is a problem we have to deal with," he said. "There is a haze that blankets my home. I can't even open my windows."

Rick Wills can be reached at rwills@tribweb.com or 412-320-7944.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

December 2, 2009

Hearing focuses on proposed rules for wood-fired boilers

By Rick Wills
TRIBUNE-REVIEW

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Western Pennsylvania residents faced off over proposed state regulations for outdoor wood-fired boilers during a hearing today in Cranberry.

About 70 people attended the public hearing conducted by the state Department of Environmental Protection at the Cranberry Municipal Building.

DEP is considering regulations that would require higher stacks for the boilers and would prohibit installation of a boiler within 150 feet of the nearest property line.

"The smell is putrid. It is a toxic smell that is unbearable at times," said Maureen Myers of Jefferson, Somerset County, who lives near six of them.

Owners of the boilers say the boilers are great money savers

"There are families that struggle to heat their homes. Please don't make affordable heat unaffordable," said Jerome Sorg, of St. Marys in Elk County.

The regulations are being considered by the DEP until Jan. 4, and then would be submitted to the state Legislature for review.

Rick Wills can be reached at rwills@tribweb.com or 412-320-7944.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

November 28, 2009

EMC proposes municipalities adopt woodboiler regulations

By Paul Crossman

Published: Saturday, November 28, 2009 2:12 AM EST

Outdoor woodboilers have become a hot issue in towns and villages all over Columbia County in the past months, with some passing legislation to limit boiler use, and others adopting moratoriums to thoroughly consider the issue.

Because of the recent increase in outdoor wood boilers in Columbia County, the county Environmental Management Council studied the subject, and recently presented the county Planning, Economic Development and Tourism Committee with its recommendation for countywide legislation regulating the use of the boilers.


According to EMC member Ed Simonsen, the proposal was well received by the committee, who unanimously voted to send it forward to the Columbia County Board of Supervisors.

“I’m very pleased with the response,” said Simonsen. “I think it’s the right thing to do.”

At the current time, there are no federal or state regulations governing the construction, installation, or use of outdoor wood boilers, and because of the potentially dangerous levels of particulate emissions, many people around the county feel that something needs to be done.

Though New York state has not passed any legislation regarding the boilers, the state Department of Environmental Conservation has prepared draft rules governing their use, and the Columbia County EMC feels that while these remain pending at the governor’s Office of Regulatory Reform — the same place they’ve been since December of 2008 — the county should do something to address the issue.

“Because OWB’s present both concerns about the quality of our air generally, and a significant potential for creating local nuisance,” states the council’s recommendation to the Board of Supervisors, “municipalities in our county may want to take steps now to control the use of OWB’s.” The recommendation goes on to say that as of June 2009, more than 70 local governments in New York have adopted local laws to deal with the issue.

The council recommends that Columbia County municipalities adopt local laws containing the following requirements:

n  Prohibit the sale and installation of OWB’s unless they carry the US EPA White Tag.

n  Limit the installation of OWB’s to larger residential/agricultural districts, for example, two acres or greater.

n  Mandate minimum setbacks from abutting properties of 100 to 200 feet.

n  Mandate minimum chimney heights of not less than 18 feet.

n  Prohibit the burning in OWB’s of anything but seasoned firewood.

n  Prohibit the operation of OWB’s between May 1 and Sept. 30.

n  Make provisions for phasing out non-conforming OWB’s.

Although this may seem like a lot of regulations, the majority of them reflect what many communities, including the town and village of Kinderhook, are already considering adopting.

“We spent many months reviewing and collecting background information before presenting our recommendation to the Planning, Economic Development, and Tourism Council,” Simonsen told the Register-Star, adding that he feels the recommendation the EMC has come up with will help give local towns a blueprint to work off of when considering legislation.

Simonsen also said that though there has been some talk of banning the OWB’s completely, the EMC doesn’t feel that this would be the correct solution to the problem, and believes the council’s recommendation is the most fair solution to both OWB owners and their neighbors.

To reach reporter Paul Crossman call 518-828-1616, ext. 2266, or e-mail pcrossman@registerstar.com.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

November 27, 2009

Summit County eyes renewable-energy rules (OWBs mentioned)

Code changes would emphasize the ‘general right' of property owners to use renewable energy

BY BOB BERWYN

SUMMIT COUNTY — Local officials are revamping development rules to establish guidelines for renewable-energy systems, including solar arrays, wind turbines, hydropower and even small wood-burning furnaces.

County codes currently don't specifically address some key questions about these emerging technologies,

said planning director Jim Curnutte. Updated code language could help foster more installations of small-scale renewable-energy systems.

The general thrust is to give property owners the right to use renewable-energy sources as long as there is no significant impact to neighbors or the environment.

“We want to strongly encourage the use of these things,” Curnutte said. “But it's never been clearly articulated in our code. There have been issues of uncertainty, if they're allowed here or allowed there.”

For solar arrays, the code changes make it clear they can be erected nearly anywhere on a property other than in the front yard between the house and the street.

As discussed at a work session last week, the changes would also specify that solar-energy installations can exceed the maximum building height in a particular zone district by 10 percent. Solar panels would also be allowed in setbacks (the buffer between property lines or, in some cases, sensitive areas such as rivers or wetlands).

All the new rules are still subject to additional review and public comments at upcoming planning commission meetings. Particulars on the renewable- energy system rules are available from the county planning department.

Full Article:Click Here 

November 25, 2009

Oshtemo adopts regulations on outdoor wood-burning furnaces

By Rebecca Bakken 

November 25, 2009, 12:18AM

OSHTEMO TOWNSHIP — Outdoor wood-burning furnaces are now subject to regulation in Oshtemo Township.

The Oshtemo Township Board of Trustees on Tuesday adopted an ordinance regulating such things as the size and location of outdoor furnaces, though some amendments are expected.

Township Attorney Jim Porter pointed out during a board discussion of the ordinance that it doesn’t specify what time of year outdoor furnaces can be used. The board voted unanimously to adopt the ordinance but agreed to pursue revisions regarding summertime usage, the allowable distance of furnaces from homes and what constitutes a nuisance.

Some residents at Tuesday’s meeting voiced concerns over whether they will be allowed to use their furnaces in the summer to heat water, as well as over distance requirements.

Chris Gallup said the requirement that furnaces be within 40 feet of the residences they serve is overly restrictive and unnecessary if other requirements, such as the distance from property lines, are met.

His father, Bob Gallup, said he is able to cut energy costs and pollution by using his wood-burning furnace to heat water year-round.

“My electric bill is going to go up,” he said, if he is forced to put a conventional water heater in his home because of seasonal restrictions on his outdoor furnace.

Resident Rick Potter, however, thanked trustees for adopting the ordinance and said smoke from neighbors’ outdoor furnaces can be a nuisance during the summer. The smoke sometimes gets so dense that he can’t keep his windows open at night, Potter said.

Residents who already have outdoor furnaces will have to obtain permits from the township to use them but could be exempted from some restrictions in the new ordinance. Porter said those seeking to have their furnaces “grandfathered” will still need to adhere to certain building codes and obtain permits that could cost up to $130.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

November 24, 2009

Arendtsville plans to restrict outdoor wood burners

BY JARRAD HEDES
Times Staff Writer
Published: Tuesday, November 24, 2009 7:37 AM EST

Arendtsville Borough Council has proposed an ordinance that would place setback and height restrictions on exterior wood-burning boilers.

According to Mayor Bill Hanne, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently established a draft ordinance with standards for outdoor boilers. Arendtsville re-scoped the ordinance for its own use and it is on track for vote at council’s Dec. 9 meeting.

Per the ordinance, new boilers must be at least 150 feet from property lines and buildings and stacks must be at least ten feet high or two feet above neighboring roofs, whichever is greater.

Existing boilers would be grandfathered and replacement units must meet EPA standards and be put in the same place the original unit was located.

“We looked at the guidance and opted to fit our circumstances,” Hanne said. “We have only one in the borough and it does not create a problem, but with approximately 50 percent of the borough in orchard land and thus potential development property the council chose to be pro-active and establish ground rules before we had a situation on our hands of devices creating air pollution issues.”

Other municipalities have taken similar measures in the past year, most recently Bendersville Borough, which opted to ban the outdoor burners altogether.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

November 24, 2009

City close to clearing up smoky issue

By Joel Stottrup

The air is still a little hazy for determining what exact restrictions could be coming for outdoor wood-burning boilers in the city of Princeton.

But the city council reduced some of the haze last Thursday when it took up the topic at its regular meeting that night. Princeton City Administrator Mark Karnowski had brought up the subject about a month ago for the council to consider. He explained then that he had seen a lot of e-mail from officials in various cities raising concerns about the smoke from such boilers as being detrimental to people’s health.

In fact the proposed ordinance that Karnowski had shown the council to consider went at great length to explain how wood-burning smoke can be damaging to the health when it is inhaled.

When the council looked at the topic again last Thursday, only three of the five council members were present — Mayor Jeremy Riddle, Paul Whitcomb and Dick Dobson. Absent were Lee Steinbrecher and Victoria Hallin.

Steinbrecher had worried, during the first discussion, that banning the outdoor wood-burning boilers could be too heavy handed. But he also suggested there could be a problem with wood debris piling up in a residence and ended up saying he wasn’t sure what should be done about the question of restricting or banning wood-burning boilers within city limits.

Such boilers, which transfer heat from the boiler to a structure, such as a home, through an underground water pipe, have become more popular in rural areas. Now it seems they have made their way into some cities.

The sample ordinance that the council looked at a month ago would have grandfathered in any existing exterior wood-burning boilers. That ordinance included the condition that once such boilers needed repair or stopped functioning, they could not be fixed nor replaced on the property.

Mayor Riddle, during discussion last month and last Thursday, indicated a preference to not be more restrictive than necessary. A month ago he wondered aloud if a tall enough smokestack on the boilers could be a solution, but questioned if that would work on a boiler.

Last Thursday Riddle suggested that exterior wood-burning boilers should not be allowed to go into areas of a city that have normal housing density. But he also said that there might be cases where such boilers could work out in city areas that do not have dense housing.

Karnowski said that recreational wood fires in wood pits also create smoke. However, Karnowski added, those fires are usually only going for roughly two hours, while a lot of outdoor boilers are running all day, every day of the week.

Karnowski did fulfill a promise he had made to the council a month ago to gather more information on the topic. The source he used to do that was Rachel Carlson, research attorney for the League of Minnesota Cities.

Carlson supplied Karnowski with copies of two ordinances on external woodburners — one from the city of Harmony and one from the city of Kennedy. She also included a story she wrote last year.

Both the Harmony and Kennedy ordinances begin with stating that breathing wood smoke is hazardous to the health of individuals and to the public beyond the property of the woodburner.

Both ordinances require a permit to install such furnaces on property in those cities, and include a lot of restrictions on the kind of fuel to be used. For example petroleum products would not be allowed to be burned in those stoves. The Kennedy ordinance specifies that only fuels can be used for which the outdoor boiler is designed. The Kennedy ordinance also prohibits any “dense smoke, noxious fumes, gas and soot, or cinders in unreasonable quantities.”

Carlson, in her story, notes that besides becoming more popular in rural areas, more cities have been receiving inquiries about installing them within their city limits.

In addressing the topic of whether there are dangers from such furnaces, Carlson mentioned that the New York state attorney general commissioned a study on outdoor woodburners or OWBs. The attorney general’s study concluded that OWB-smoke led to a variety of health symptoms including upset stomach, headaches, dizziness, respiratory effects and throat and eye irritation.

It also stated that it prevented neighbors from using their yards for normal activities such as gardening, hanging clothes out to dry and playing with children. Furthermore the study concluded that OWBs have left a residue and smoke odors on items inside homes and have set off carbon monoxide detectors.

Federal Environmental Protection Agency studies also indicate that OWBs produce more than 1,000 times more smoke than traditional interior gas and oil furnaces, Carlson noted.

One common problem, Carlson wrote, is the short stacks on the OWBs emitting a dense smoke very close to the ground and near windows and in areas where people circulate.

Furthermore, Carlson’s article states, more problems arise when people burn trash, tires or treated wood in the boilers and potentially release toxic chemicals into the air.

Karnowski indicated to the council that OWBs don’t appear to be an issue yet in the city of Princeton.

Council member Dobson said that his worry is that by allowing OWBs in the city, how will the city ensure what kind of things are burned in them. “And how much time can you take to enforce something that might blow back up in our face?” Dobson asked.

Riddle agreed that for the majority of the lots in the city, it would not make sense to allow these OWBs.

Council member Whitcomb brought up the scenario of an undeveloped area with OWBs, eventually becoming developed into high density housing within the city. In that case, could the city prohibit the use of the OWBs in that development, Whitcomb asked.

Karnowski yielded to Paul Dove, with the city consulting legal firm, Dove, Fretland & VanValkenburg, who was in the audience, to give an answer.

“I think it is possible to do something like that, but it would require some pretty strict language,” Dove responded.

Could the restrictions be done through zoning, Mayor Riddle asked.

“I think you could,” Dove answered.

Karnowski then said that judging by the discussion, he should draft a proposed ordinance that would ban OWBs in an R-1 residential district, but could be considered on larger lots. The ordinance would also prohibit OWBs if homes are constructed all around, Karnowski said.

Riddle, Whitcomb and Dobson agreed that is their consensus.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

November 22, 2009

New EPA campaign old news for Linn

Posted on Nov 22, 2009 by Adam Belz.

CEDAR RAPIDS — The Environmental Protection Agency has launched a campaign to encourage the reduction of wood smoke pollution, which puts the federal agency a few months behind Linn County.

Linn, one of only two counties in Iowa with an air quality division, has made headlines all year by insisting that owners of wood-fired boilers abide by decades-old regulations on particulate pollution. That resulted in an ordinance that requires modifications to many existing wood-fired boilers, and imposes setback and smokestack height requirements for all new ones.

The county outlawed burning yard waste within a quarter-mile of city limits of Cedar Rapids, Hiawatha or Marion in 2008.

The EPA campaign, called “Burn Wise,” is mostly educational. The Web site suggests burning only dry wood and making sure wood-burning stoves and boilers work properly. It also encourages owners to upgrade to EPA-certified wood-burners.

“It just looks like it’s a general, informational campaign,” said Jim Hodina, Linn County director of environmental services. “It could have been an intern’s project. There’s no program, there’s no funding behind this.”

Some residents, particularly Kay Lammers, a council member from Marion, have pushed for recreational fires in backyards to be outlawed or regulated in Linn County as well, but Hodina said that’s not on Public Health’s radar.

“As long as it’s a recreational fire, it’s not more than three feet, it’s perfectly legal,” he said. “That’s really going to be more of a private nuisance issue than a public health issue.”

Full Article: CLICK HERE

November 17, 2009

Burning ordinance fails to get unanimous vote

By Mike Rose | Austin Daily Herald

Published Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A proposed ordinance that would ban outdoor, solid-fuel burning appliances in Austin isn’t law — yet.

City council on Monday voted 4-3 to support the ordinance — which would prohibit outdoor stoves that burn solid materials, such as corn or other waste — but per the city’s charter, an ordinance needs unanimous approval to pass during it’s first presentation.

So, the proposal will have to come back to the next meeting, though it will no longer require a 7-0 vote to pass.

The ordinance was drafted partly as a reaction to a number of northeast Austin homeowners that complained about outdoor burning at a local pallet-making factory, community development director Craig Hoium said last month.

He said the homeowners have expressed concerns about excess smoke, especially when it gets sucked into homes through ventilation systems.

The ordinance would not, however, include natural-gas-fired fireplace logs, wood-burning fireplaces and wood stoves inside a property.

Also, outdoor, solid-fuel burning stoves installed and permitted by the city before the ordinance takes effect would be grandfathered in.

Councilman Jeff Austin — who, along with John Martin and Marian Clennon, voted against the proposal — said he thought the ordinance was too restrictive.

He added that with the way technology advances rapidly, it would not make sense for the city to ban the outdoor stoves.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

November 17, 2009

Clearing up a burning issue (OWBs mentioned)
 
By: Margaret Hartley

The state’s official ban on burn barrels went into effect last month and, in rural areas in particular, people are confused about what they are still allowed to burn, and when.

The point of the law is to keep pollutants, particularly dioxins and other cancer-causing chemicals, out of the air.

Burn barrels have long been a staple of the rural backyard, to get rid of brush and tree limbs. And when you ask burn barrel operators what they burn in there, they will invariably tell you it’s only paper and sticks, never old plastic bags.

My nose tells me otherwise. And now that there are more and more outdoor wood-burning furnaces, even more household garbage is getting turned into smoke. You can see it. You can smell it.
Burning plastics and other highly processed items — old furniture, for example — releases dioxins, toxic organic chemicals that contain chlorine. When you mix those plastics with treated lumber, bleached or colored paper and foam cups — all typical in burn barrels, the state Department of Environmental Conservation says — the smoke, vapor and ash can also contain cyanide, PCBs, volatile organic compounds such as benzene, furans, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and heavy metals.

If you live in a town or city of more than 20,000, burning trash in pits or barrels has been illegal in the state since 1972. The new law expands that ban to municipalities of under 20,000.

Still some exceptions

There are still exceptions to the no-burn rule. In most towns under 20,000 residents, it’s still OK to have a small fire circle to burn brush and tree branches (except during grass-fire season, March 15 to May 15). Backyard barbecue grills and maple sugar boiling houses are still allowed, as are ceremonial bonfires and the burning of flags.

And it’s still OK to burn organic agriculture waste, on site. That means dried corn stalks or the raked up pile of bean vines, not pesticides or that plastic that round hay bales are wrapped in. That last one caused some consternation among some dairy farmers, who typically got rid of the plastic by burning it. And it’s the major reason the Farm Bureau opposed the ban on burning, worrying about the added cost to struggling farms. The state has been working on a pick-up and collection system to help farmers dispose of their plastics.

Even things that seem harmless, like paper and old cardboard boxes, cause problems in the backyard fire circle. That’s because of coatings and inks, but also because an outdoor fire just isn’t hot enough to burn things completely. And incomplete combustion sends particulates into the air, and if you have asthma — or don’t want to get asthma — that’s not good to breathe.

Burn barrels or open fires rarely exceed 500 degrees, according to the DEC. A trash incinerator, on the other hand, burns at around 1,800 degrees, and uses scrubbers and filters on its stacks to further reduce emissions.

Inefficient process

“Pound for pound, household trash burned in a burn barrel gives off twice as many furans, 17 times as much dioxin, and 40 times as much ash as a permitted incinerator. A 1997 EPA study shows that a small number of households burning trash (between 2 and 40 households, depending on how much plastic and paper are in the trash) can produce as much dioxin as a 200 ton/day municipal incinerator,” the DEC says on its Web site.

The World Health Organization notes that dioxins are a particular problem because they are highly toxic and highly stable — which means they don’t break down easily. “In the environment, dioxins tend to accumulate in the food chain. The higher in the animal food chain one goes, the higher is the concentration of dioxins,” WHO says. A fire of 1,000 degrees is hot enough to destroy dioxins, the WHO says.

Don Hassig, director of Cancer Action NY, said the burn ban will go a long way toward reducing dioxins. “[B]anning open waste burning statewide is of great importance to all people who consume foods containing animal fat, including: dairy products, meats and eggs,” Hassig said in a prepared statement. “Current levels of dioxins in these foods impose a significant amount of cancer risk on consumers. . . . [Because] open waste burning is considered by U.S. EPA to be the largest source of dioxin releases to the environment, a burning ban is essential to accomplishing reductions in the quantities of dioxins in the food supply.”

If you’re used to using a burn barrel, cleaning up the air and reducing your children’s risk of cancer are good reasons to stop. That and the enforcement part of the new law, which includes potential fines of between $375 and $15,000.

And if you’re using an outdoor wood boiler — it’s never been OK (or legal) to throw your garbage in there.

Margaret Hartley is the Gazette’s Sunday and features editor. Send questions and comments to greenpoint@dailygazette.net.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

November 16, 2009

City considers ban on certain outdoor appliances

By Mike Rose | Austin Daily Herald

Published Monday, November 16, 2009

The City of Austin is considering banning outdoor, solid-fuel burning appliances.

City council is set to vote on a proposed ordinance Monday that would prohibit outdoor stoves that burn solid materials, such as corn or other waste.

However, the ordinance would not include natural-gas-fired fireplace logs, wood-burning fireplaces and wood stoves inside a property.

Also, outdoor, solid-fuel burning stoves installed and permitted by the city before the ordinance takes effect would be grandfathered in.

Community development director Craig Hoium said during an October council meeting that a number of northeast Austin homeowners had complained about outdoor burning at a local pallet-making factory.

He said the homeowners have expressed concerns about excess smoke, especially when it gets sucked into homes through ventilation systems.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

November 12, 2009

Weathersfield awards pact for new salt-storage building (OWBs mentioned)

By Mary R. Smith

Thursday, November 12, 2009

MINERAL RIDGE —

Trustees also warned residents against outside burning, which is prohibited by law. Numerous calls are being received about outside burning at the township office, Trustee James Stoddard said.

Fire Chief Randy Pugh said the standard course of action is to issue a verbal warning, then a written warning and then a citation to Niles Municipal Court. Fines can be between $500 to $1,000, at the discretion of the court.

Trustees will have a public hearing for proposed zoning amendments at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the township administration building. A zone change of properties located within McKinley Heights along U.S. Route 422 from Residential A, C, and Commercial B to Commercial C will be under consideration. Also to be reviewed is a new section on Outdoor Wood Furnaces.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

November 11, 2009

Wood boiler debate burns on in village

By Paul Crossman
Published:
Wednesday, November 11, 2009 2:13 AM EST

It seems the debate over outdoor wood boilers refuses to be put out in the village of Kinderhook, as community members crowded into a public hearing on Tuesday to make their thoughts heard on whether the Village Board should pass a local law banning the installation of new OWB’s, and limit the use of those already installed.

After hearing people discourse on both sides of the issue, the board decided against enacting the law by a vote of three to two, and instead voted to extend the current moratorium for another three months, to further examine the issues involved and fine tune the legislation.

One of the biggest issues raised by the two members of the community who own OWB’s was the fact that they didn’t feel the burning period stipulated in the law — October through the end of March — was long enough, and requested that it be extended through the end of April instead.

Though the moratorium was extended to account for just this type of discrepancy, the board seemed to feel the request was very reasonable, and changed that portion of the legislation to reflect the longer burning time before the meeting had ended.

Everyone at the meeting, including the two boiler owners and regardless of how they felt about the overall banning of the machines, did agree that there were certain regulations that had to be undertaken in order to make the boilers more acceptable to the community. Some such regulations already included in the proposed legislation are taller chimneys, yearly inspections, and burning only dry, seasoned wood.

Though this was the case, Mike Urbatis, one of the boiler operators in the village spoke up, saying that he has always done everything in his power to make sure his boiler is acceptable to both the environment and those who live around him, that he has already gone through the review and compliance process the new legislation would require, and that he still feels the law would put some unfair restrictions on his method of heating his home.

According to Urbatis, some of the major issues he has with the law (aside from the burning season being too short) are that new installation of any boilers would be completely banned, a fact that he says doesn’t make sense, as long as the new boiler is more efficient and cleaner than the boiler he currently has on his property. This would also apply to anyone who met whatever requirements the village deems appropriate to enact on the boilers, and as long as they met these stipulations, new installations should be allowed to all members of the community.

“If there are no real problems,” he told the board, “new installation should not be banned.”

Urbatis is also unhappy with the fact that if passed, the legislation would prevent him from expanding on his current installation, and the fact that inspection of the boilers must occur every year, and that a fee would be charged for each inspection.

He also went on to say that he believed the state publication “Smoke Gets in Your Lungs” contained some misinformation, and that the decision to pass the law shouldn’t be based solely on that report.

“As a responsible member of the community,” he said, “I also deserve protection under the law.”

This was agreed to by several other people who attended the meeting, saying that there was an alternate study which had recently been given to the board that used the same sources as the OAG study, and came to vastly different conclusions.

Another community member spoke up in favor of the law banning the boilers, saying that until the issue had been brought to light in the village, he had been unaware of the dangers of OWB’s, but after seeing the state report which said that particulate emissions on the boilers could exceed 1,000 times that of wood stoves, realized that something needed to be done.

This was seconded by another village resident, saying the board and the community had all the information from the state and the Attorney General’s Office for months now, and the night of the meeting was a little late to bring up conflicting reports which may or may not be as factual as that of the OAG.

The arguments went back and forth for more than half an hour before the public hearing ended, with both sides supporting different points of view — and in the case of alternate studies, even different sets of facts. It was because of these rifts in public feeling, as well as the need for possible changes in the law, that led the board to vote to wait and look into the issue further.

In the end, the vote to continue the moratorium instead of passing the legislation as it was written went through by the slim margin of three to two, with Mayor William VanAlstyne and Deputy Mayor Rich Phillips being the two no votes.

Discussion, and possibly another vote on the issue will occur at next month’s board meeting on Dec. 9.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

November 11, 2009

Rules for wood furnaces advance in Oshtemo Township

By Rebecca Bakken | Special to the Kalamazoo

November 11, 2009, 11:49AM

OSHTEMO TOWNSHIP — Outdoor wood-burning furnaces could soon be regulated in Oshtemo Township.

The Oshtemo Township Board of Trustees approved the first reading of an ordinance Tuesday to regulate the size and location of outdoor wood-burning furnaces.

The board will consider final approval of the ordinance at its Nov. 24 meeting.

Residents who already have outdoor furnaces will have 60 days after the ordinance goes into effect to obtain permits from the building department. Obtaining permits could exempt them from some of the restrictions in the new law.

Township attorney Jim Porter said those seeking to be grandfathered will still need to adhere to certain building codes.

The ordinance requires that outdoor wood-burning furnaces only be installed on properties of two acres or more and that only wood, agricultural seeds and manufacturer-approved fuels be used.

Furnaces must be at least 200 feet from any building not using the furnace and 50 feet from all property lines. Furnaces must be located in the rear yards of properties and within 40 feet of the residences they serve.

A chimney must be at least 15 feet from the base of the furnace, though lesser heights may be acceptable; the building inspector will decide case by case.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

November 10, 2009

Pennsylvania proposes regulations for outside wood furnaces

trackingBy Tim Hahn, Erie Times-News, Pa.

Nov. 10--EDINBORO -- Michael Reed is proud to keep his borough home warm with a renewable resource.

He said he is happy that his wood-fired outdoor furnace runs cleaner and more efficient than many systems that burn fossil fuel, and that he saves landfill space by burning some wood products that others had planned to throw away.

Reed is even tickled that the ashes from his furnace, which he sprinkles on his garden and on his lawn, have made his vegetables and his grass grow better.

"I've got no complaints," he said.

Except one.

Reed, the owner of Goldart Jewelers in Erie, is less than pleased that the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection might adopt rules that would regulate the sale and use of outdoor wood-fired boilers.

"If I have an efficient wood-burning furnace, they don't need regulations. What they need to do is put more regulations on people who burn coal. And did you ever try to get rid of nuclear waste? It's not easy," Reed said. "Are they really doing it for the environmental health of people, or are they really doing it for the taxes?"

It's all about the environment, according to the DEP.

Proposed amendments to state air-quality regulations that the DEP's Environmental Quality Board has drafted, and is currently collecting public comments on, would require all new furnaces sold to meet more stringent air emissions standards.

New furnaces must also be installed at least 150 feet from the nearest property line, and must have a permanently attached stack that extends at least 10 feet above the ground and at least two feet above the highest peak of the highest residence located within 150 feet of the furnace.
 

Those with existing furnaces must also have permanently-attached stacks at least 10 feet above the ground, but those stacks must be at least two feet above the highest peak of the highest residence located within 500 feet of the furnace.

The proposed regulations also require users to burn only clean wood, wood pellets from clean wood, certain home heating oil, natural gas or propane fuels, or other fuel that is approved in writing by the DEP. Wood that's been painted, stained or treated with preservatives cannot be used.

Sellers of furnaces would be required to properly notify their customers of these rules, and to keep sales records for five years.

The Environmental Quality Board is additionally seeking comments on whether the regulations should include language prohibiting the operation of outdoor furnaces between May 1 and Sept. 30.

The regulations have been touted as beneficial to Pennsylvanians because they would cut down on pollution and reduce the spread of particulates that have been linked to premature death and other health problems, according to the DEP.

The agency's regional office in Meadville has received 24 nuisance complaints regarding outdoor furnaces in the 12 counties it oversees since January 2007, agency spokeswoman Freda Tarbell said. The bulk of those complaints came from Mercer and Venango counties, although three dealt with furnaces in Crawford County, Tarbell said.

None of the complaints came from Erie County, she said.

DEP representatives go to the source of the complaint for "an educational outreach type of visit," where they discuss best practices for operating wood furnaces, such as what to burn and how high to have the stack, Tarbell said.

The DEP also visits the municipality where the offending furnace is located to make local officials aware of the complaint and to suggest possibly adopting a local ordinance to regulate the furnaces, she said.

Oil City is one of the few municipalities in this region to have such an ordinance. It was adopted in April after much review, in part because of complaints that officials had received about some outdoor wood-burners in the city, Oil City Councilman John Bartlett said.

Oil City's ordinance requires outdoor furnace users to obtain a permit from the city and to adhere to setback, stack height, fuel and other requirements, including one that prohibits their operation between May 31 and Sept. 1.

The biggest effect from the proposed rules for future buyers of outdoor furnaces that are growing in popularity in this region would be the cost of the units, said Bill Kelly, the owner of Heatmor Stainless Steel Outdoor Wood Burning Furnaces in McKean.

"I can't tell you how much, but it will be substantial," said Kelly, who sold more than 30 outdoor furnaces in 2008 but has seen his business drop a bit this year because of the slow economy.

The DEP states in its proposed revisions that nonqualifying furnace models cost between $8,000 and $18,000, depending on the size, and that the qualifying units are estimated to cost about 15 percent more because of changes made to improve efficiency and reduce emissions.

But the higher price should be offset by the new unit's efficiency, said David Hayes, who works for C&J Outdoor Furnaces in Cochranton.

"We have (a newer furnace) at the shop, and when we heated the shop last week we loaded up five pieces of wood that weren't split on Monday and it took us until Friday to burn it off," Hayes said.

No matter what regulations ultimately come into play in Pennsylvania concerning outdoor wood-burners, the restrictions won't be enough to make Brandy Poff change her mind about switching six years ago from propane to wood to heat her home and her husband's trucking company office on Route 285 in Espyville.

"It paid for itself within the first three or four years with what we saved in propane," she said.

TIM HAHN can be reached at 392-7821 or by e-mail.
 
Full Article: CLICK HERE

November 4, 2009

City places moratorium on outdoor wood stoves

 

 
 

Wednesday, November 4, 2009 1:58 PM EST

While the region is moving hot and heavy into the winter heating season, the Grayling City Council passed a temporary moratorium on permitting outdoor wood burning stoves in the city.

The city council, at its regular monthly meeting last week, referred the issue of developing standards for the placement of outdoor wood burning stoves to the Grayling City Planning Commission.

Outdoor wood burning stoves contain a water jacket and heat exchanger. Underground-insulated piping is used to push heated water into a home or other building. The stoves work in conjugation with existing heating sources to cut down on propane, natural gas and fuel bills. The outdoor wood burning stoves can be used to heat hot water through a water-to-water heat exchanger. Finally, the stoves can be used to heat multiple buildings such as houses, garages, sheds, greenhouses, workshops and barns without using other heating sources.

Graying City Manager David Thayer said very few communities in northern Michigan have developed zoning standards for outdoor wood burning stoves. Other communities have banned the use of wood burning stoves altogether.

Joe Duran, director for the Crawford County Building and Zoning Department, told city officials that the wood burning stoves must be 10 feet away from a home, Thayer said.

Thayer said city planners would be tasked with developing set back standards for the wood burning stoves from homes and neighboring homes. He added there also needs to set back standards for woodpiles used to fire the stoves.

Thayer said city and Grayling Fire Department officials fear sparks flying from the wood burning stoves and igniting the woodpiles or neighboring homes, especially in high density residential areas.

"Once one fire starts, it continues down the block," Thayer said.

Grayling Fire Department Chief Russ Strohpaul was in favor of placing the moratorium on outdoor wood burning stoves.

"What's good for one neighbor maybe too close for the next one," Strohpaul said.

City planners will also study the chimneys used by the outdoor wood burning stoves. Thayer said the chimneys need to be tall enough to get smoke up into the air stream to allow the smoke to dissipate. Thayer added there is one woman in the city that has sought hospitalization due to smoke coming from a neighbor's outdoor wood burning stove and she sleeps on her couch instead of her bedroom because of the smoke.

"It's not just a campfire," Thayer said. "This has become a very serious health issue."

 
 

Strohpaul added that planners must also consider there is an ordinance which prohibits burning in the city when developing standards for the wood burners.

"The safety aspect is the most important issue," Strohpaul said.

Thayer said he would seek input from city managers across Michigan for potential standards to follow. He hopes that planners can have the standards ready for city council's approval by January.

"We need to find an equal balance between homeowners and the neighbors and the potential risks," Thayer said.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

November 3, 2009

Council bans outdoor furnaces, but one woman just loves hers

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - The Greencastle Borough Council unanimously voted Monday to ban outdoor furnaces in the borough in a move members say was in the interest of preserving the health, safety and welfare of its citzens.

The council began debating the matter in September when Borough Manager Ken Womack suggested writing the furnaces out of the borough's code before any popped up in town.

"In an urban environment, these things are just not suitable," Womack said.

Open burning has been on the agenda for months as the council considers a ban that would assuage citizen complaints of odor and pollution.

Action on the ban remains in limbo while the council considers how to dispose of brush and yard waste if open burning is banned, Womack said.

In the meantime, furnaces jumped to the front of the queue when Womack suggested that the council at least act to prevent outdoor home heating sources before cold weather arrived.

Few members of council were familiar with the furnaces before Womack raised the issue.

"I know that they are quite smoky," Councilman Craig Myers said. "They are not really borough-worthy things."

Womack said the federal Environmental Protection Agency has not regulated what it terms outdoor wood-fired boilers. Likewise, the Air Pollution Control Act limits EPA authority to regulate household heating sources, Womack said in his policy briefing summary.

For some of Franklin County's rural residents, the furnaces have proven to be a clear solution to home heating.

Wendy Scott of Zullinger, Pa., uses an outdoor furanace to heat her four-story historic stone farmhouse off Scott Road.

"There is no way I could afford to heat four floors of this old house with electric heat," she said.

Sitting less than 100 feet from her back porch, the outdoor furnace put in by Scott and her husband, Georg, many years ago heats water that circulates into her home and pumps warm air through the vents.

Unlike on Scott's 90-acre farm, setbacks in the borough of Greencastle posed problems for the council when it debated the furnaces.

Because of the close proximity of homes in the Borough of Greencastle, Womack said the smoke, soot, fumes, odor and air pollution associated with the constant burning feature of the furnaces poses a health risk.

From the day Scott lights her furnace, she said it will burn continuously until warm weather comes back in the spring.

"The beauty of it is that on these mild days, I only have to fill my furnace every three days," she said. "In the heart of winter, I fill it every day."

While Scott's nearest neighbor is more than 10 acres away, she said she opposes an outright ban of the devices within a nusiance ordinance.

"Should there be some regulation, some discussion? Sure," she said. "But an outright ban of them as a nuisance, no. They can be regulated and maintained."

Still, she said she understands why in the close quarters of a borough, the smoke could, based on where the furnace is placed, become a nuisance.

"I would not want to be the neighbor when that smoke catches the wind," she said. "The smell of fresh burning wood is one thing, the smell of cresote is another."

Some council members expressed concern about residents burning substances other than wood in the furnaces.

Scott said her furnance is designed to only burn wood, but the manufacturer makes models that will burn other materials, including corn. However the list of what cannot be burned in Scott's furnace is longer than that which can be fed into the fire.

"There is a list of what you absolutely cannot burn in this furnance," she said. "It's, honestly, to avoid blowing the thing up."

Build-up of cresote, a sticky, highly flammable tar-like substance that forms when wood is burned, is a concern with the outdoor furnaces, she said.

Scott said she has to clean her furnace annually to avoid forming dangerous levels of cresote, she also has to empty five gallons of ash each week.

There is one benefit to having her heat source outside that Scott said she would not trade.

"I never have to worry about a chimney fire burning down my home," she said. "If a chimney catches fire in a borough, that could wipe out an entire row of houses. With these you eliminate that risk."

Outdoor furnaces like Scott's come with built in safety features.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

October 29, 2009

City council looking at possibility of regulating outdoor furnaces

By Joel Stottrup

Princeton City Council members looked at a sample ordinance last week that would prohibit the installation of outdoor woodburning furnaces in the city and classify existing ones as a nonconforming use.

The council (with member Dick Dobson absent) discussed the idea and then instructed Princeton City Administrator Mark Karnowski to research what other cities have done about such furnaces.

These heating devices sit outside and their principal fuel is wood. The furnace heats water that runs through an underground closed-loop pipe to bring heat into the home.

The impetus for having such an ordinance came out in the beginning of the sample ordinance that reads as follows:

“Whereas it is recognized and found that wood smoke is hazardous to an individual’s health and may affect the health of the general public when they are involuntarily exposed to the presence of smoke and,

An example of an outdoor stove, seen in rural Princeton this week.

“Whereas it is recognized that breathing wood smoke is a significant health hazard, particularly to children, elderly people, individuals with cardiovascular disease and individuals with impaired respiratory functions and,

“Whereas it is recognized that outdoor woodburning furnaces or external solid fuel-fired heating devices are designed and intended to be a primary heat source, and therefore burn and emit smoke on a continual basis,

“Whereas the population of the city of Princeton consists of a compact space with dense population and,

“Whereas significant fire safety risks are involved with units that are not properly installed or do not have proper safety equipment such as spark arresters, or are installed in close proximity to other buildings and,

“Whereas the City of Princeton recognizes the need to protect the public health and general welfare of the citizens, wishes to educate citizens affected by this (sample) ordinance and wishes to assist property owners and managers in maintaining compliance, now therefore the city ordains the following:”

The sample ordinance next defines outdoor furnaces, spells out the prohibition of  installing them and classifies any that were installed prior to such an ordinance being enacted as nonconforming.

It would mean that an already-installed outdoor furnace would not be allowed to be extended, enlarged, or expanded if the ordinance passed. Also, if the useful life of the preexisting outdoor furnace ends or the outdoor furnace would need repair to function properly, it would not be allowed to be replaced, and would have to be removed from the property immediately.

Council discussion

Karnowski brought up the subject at last Thursday’s council meeting. He explained that there had been a lot of conversation in recent weeks among various cities about it. Some residents in some cities have complained about the smoke from these furnaces, Karnowski said.

From e-mails he had gotten, he continued, there are a couple smaller cities that have allowed such furnaces if they have “higher smokestacks.“ But there weren’t cities the size of Princeton in the discussion that allowed outdoor furnaces in the residential area, he also noted.

There have been past concerns about the burning of leaves, one reason being allergens, Karnowski noted. “This (an outdoor furnace) is not much better,” Karnowski said. He added that he is not actively promoting the passage of such an ordinance but was only informing the council about what other cities have been discussing.

Karnowski suggested that he could quiz officials in cities who were not in on the conversation and see if they have a “different approach.”

“I struggle with it a little, that it comes close to infringing on people’s rights,” council member Lee Steinbrecher said about the sample ordinance. He mentioned that he knows of Princeton residents with interior wood stoves and fireplaces. “I don’t know how I feel,” Steinbrecher said.

Karnowski replied that indoor woodburning devices would not be included in the kind of ordinance being discussed.

“I realize that,” Steinbrecher answered.

Mayor Jeremy Riddle said he knows of three places in the city that burn used motor oil, indicting they were commercial. Riddle said he wondered if there could be a regulation that would require a certain minimum lot size or a minimum chimney height in order to have an outdoor furnace. Later, Riddle said that the furnace may not function as well if the chimney were very tall.

Council member Paul Whitcomb commented that some outdoor furnaces are designed well and some cheap ones aren’t.

Some have forced air to make them burn hot, Riddle said, referring to a cleaner burn, than if it was burning slow.

Steinbrecher said he could see wood debris and wood parasites as potential problems.

No one seemed to know if there were outdoor woodburning furnaces in Princeton city limits. But such furnaces are not uncommon in rural Princeton and have had the appeal of providing heat without having to locate the stove inside the home.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

October 23, 2009

Burn Notice Outdoor Furnace Law Enacted For Town of Crawford

 

 

CRAWFORD – After several months of debate and legal work on the matter, the Town of Crawford town board has approved a new local law to regulate the use of outdoor furnaces.

The reason for the law can be found in the first paragraph of it.

"Although outdoor furnaces may provide an economical alternative to conventional heating systems, there is a legitimate concern regarding the safety and environmental impacts of these heating devices, particularly the production of offensive odors, smoke and soot, and the potential health effects of uncontrolled emissions," it reads. "The permit for such uses is intended to ensure that outdoor furnaces are located, installed, and operated in a manner that does not create a nuisance and is not detrimental to the health, safety, or general welfare of the residents of the town."

From now on, residents of the Town of Crawford will need a permit before installing or using an outdoor furnace. In fact, there always was a need for a permit, says John Calaca, the Town Building Inspector.

There are also strict requirements regarding the location of an outdoor furnace. They must be set back at least 150 feet from the nearest lot line. They cannot be installed or operated within 200 feet of a residence, other than the house being heated by the furnace. They may not be installed within 500 feet of a hospital, school, daycare center, nursing home, or municipal park.

Moreover, if an outdoor furnace is to be installed less than 500 feet from a neighboring dwelling, the height of the chimney for the outdoor furnace must be at least as high as the peak roof elevation of the neighboring dwelling.

If you already have an outdoor furnace installed and your neighbor builds a residence, hospital, school, daycare center, or nursing home next door on what was previously an empty lot, and that new building is within 500 feet of your existing outdoor furnace, then you must extend the height of your chimney for that furnace to conform to the new law.

At the town board meeting on October 14, Al Robertson, the Democratic candidate for Town Highway Superintendent, asked, "Why should the owner of a furnace have to change his chimney when he isn't the person changing the condition?"

Town Supervisor Charles Carnes responded by saying that he thought there should be a public hearing on outdoor furnaces. Councilmember Larry Marshall, who works as a building inspector, said, "Chimneys should be regulated by chimney height. Better to have them be 28 feet to start, than have to come back later. We can avoid enforcement issues that way."

Marshall also said, "Don't rely on New York State to produce a law, because it will take two years to happen."

John Calaca, Town of Crawford Building Inspector, agreed with Marshall regarding the state of law in New York State. However, Calaca pointed to the most alarming potential problem with outdoor furnaces.

"Nobody should burn anything other than wood or the specified fuel for these boilers."

Burning garbage in an outdoor furnace will produce a deadly cloud of pollution, sometimes laden with dioxins, which come from vinyl plastics.

Thus, Calaca said, "We do need to have these things regulated and we need zoning on them. I also think we should have a public hearing, in case there are any issues or concerns."

At the town board meeting, the consensus of the board was that if problems arose with the new law, the board would address them later.

Full Article:CLICK HERE

October 21, 2009

Ordinance adopted on wood-fired burners, furnaces by Franklin Township supervisors

By GAIL MAHOLICK gmaholick@tnonline.com

Franklin Township supervisors on Tuesday night adopted an ordinance that will regulate where wood-fired outdoor furnaces can be located within the township.

Supervisors note in the ordinance that while wood-fired burners are an economical alternative to conventional heating systems, concerns have been raised regarding the safety and environmental impacts of these heating devises, particularly the production of offensive odors and potential health effects of uncontrolled emissions. The ordinance is intended to provide that outdoor wood-fired burners will be utilized in a manner that does not create a nuisance and is not detrimental to the health, safety and general welfare of the residents of Franklin Township.

The ordinance requires that a person planning to install an outdoor wood-fired burner must secure a permit from the township.

The permit can be suspended by the code enforcement officer if odors are detectable outside of the property on whose land the burner is located or if emissions interfere with the reasonable enjoyment of life on neighboring property. The permit can also be suspended if the emissions damage vegetation on neighboring property or if person does not burn approved (clean) wood.

Residents who already have an outdoor wood burner are required to secure a permit within a year. The cost of the permit fee is waived for the first year.

If the owner of the wood burner which is already installed does not secure a permit within a year, the person will have to meet requirements of the ordinance as if it was new construction. Present owners are grandfathered in, said Rod Green, board chairman.

The ordinance requires that anyone planning to install an outdoor wood burner must provide a plan showing all property lines and the distance between the outdoor wood burner and dwellings or occupied buildings on adjoining properties.

The burner must be at least 250 feet from any occupied building and must be located at least 150 feet from all property lines. The chimney of the new outdoor burner must extend at least two feet above the peak of the building it serves. The new owner must provide a copy of the manufacturer's specifications and instructions, which the applicant agrees to comply with and not alter at any time.

Green said the supervisors took a proactive approach because there are a few such outdoor wood burners in the township and they want to prevent any potential problems.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

October 21, 2009

Hartland Township restricts outdoor furnaces

BY FRANK KONKEL
DAILY PRESS & ARGUS

Hartland Township voted Tuesday to restrict the use of outdoor furnaces within the township.

The ordinance mandates that wood furnaces in the township must only be installed in the Conservation Agricultural District on a lot or parcel 10 acres or larger. The ordinance mandates that permitted fuels be used in wood furnaces — including firewood and untreated lumber — and that an outdoor furnace shall be at least 100 feet from the nearest lot line.

The chimney must extend at least 15 feet above the grade plane and at least two feet higher than the highest roof peak within 500 feet.

Hartland Township’s new ordinance also permits outdoor furnaces be used from Oct. 1
through April 30.

Hartland Township residents constructing new outdoor furnaces must file for a land-use permit through the township. Residents with existing outdoor furnaces must register it and have it inspected.

Hartland Township Manager James Wickman said the ordinance was prompted by
at least one formal complaint from a Hartland Township resident whose neighbor’s wood burner was “causing a problem.”

Full Article: CLICK HERE

October 20, 2009

Pleasant Prairie bans outdoor wood burners

Village is first county municipality to act
BY BILL GUIDAbguida@kenoshanews.com
October 20, 2009

PLEASANT PRAIRIE — New outdoor wood-fired furnaces and boilers will be prohibited under an ordinance amendment passed Monday night by the Village Board.

The amendment drafted by Fire Chief Paul Guilbert acknowledged the growing popularity of such self-contained outdoor units due to marketing pushing them as economical — and greener — alternatives to traditional fuels like natural gas, liquid propane and electric indoor heating.

Guilbert questioned such claims and listed safety and health concerns due to the inefficient burning of wood and the resulting smoke invading neighboring properties.

He said the furnaces and boilers were designed to be used in large, open spaces, not in densely populated areas.

In addition, Guilbert said the furnaces burn slower and cooler, contributing to the inefficiency and continuous generation of smoke, as well as creosote buildup, which can be a potential fire hazard.

While manufacturers recommend burning only clean, dry wood, there is nothing to prevent users from burning chemically treated lumber, painted wood and other products, effectively using the device as a rubbish incinerator.

Based on comparisons with other communities that regulate the devices, Guilbert said the best options were to ban new outdoor wood-fired devices altogether and to impose a $25 annual fee on existing units within the village.

Wood-fired outdoor ovens used for cooking are exempt from the prohibition, as well as from paying the annual fee. However, such ovens may be subject to certain restrictions similar to those covering existing wood-fired outdoor furnaces/boilers under the amended ordinance.

Pleasant Prairie is the first municipality in the county to pass such an ordinance, but the issue first was first brought up before the Wheatland Town Board in February by a resident who complained a daughter’s asthma was aggravated by smoke from a neighbor’s device.

At the time, Wheatland building inspector Tim Popanda called the outdoor furnace “an acceptable method of heat in the town” and said the property owner who installed the device burned only clean, dry wood, met setback requirements and met standards for its use.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

October 20, 2009

Village bans outdoor wood-burning furnaces

October 20, 2009

SPRING LAKE — The Village Council on Monday permanently extended its one-year moratorium on outdoor wood-burning furnaces by enacting a new ordinance prohibiting them.

Village Community Services Director Kathy Staton said she researched the issue and determined outdoor wood burners are not a land use that is consistent with living in a community with small lots.

Last December, Village Council unanimously approved a one-year moratorium on such devices.

The issue came to light last year when a South Street resident proposed an outdoor boiler for fuel efficiency.

Monday's unanimously approved ordinance bans all outdoor wood-burning furnaces in the village.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

October 18, 2009

Time is running out for wood burner owners

Dickinson Township residents who operate outdoor wood burners must register their current units in order to be included under the grandfathering provision in the township ordinance.

Last month, the board of supervisors adopted an ordinance regulating the outdoor wood-burning furnaces. Residents who currently operate a burner aren’t subject to all of the new regulations but must register their burners with the township.

The deadline is Nov. 9. Forms are available online at www.dickinsontownship.org or at the township building on Mountain View Road.

Full Article:CLICK HERE

October 17, 2009 (Pennsylvania proposed OWB Rules)

PROPOSED RULEMAKING

[ 25 PA. CODE CHS. 121 AND 123 ]

Outdoor Wood-Fired Boilers

[39 Pa.B. 6068]
[Saturday, October 17, 2009]

 The Environmental Quality Board (Board) proposes to amend Chapters 121 and 123 (relating to general provisions; and standards for contaminants) as set forth in Annex A. The proposed amendments would add four new terms and definitions under § 121.1 (relating to definitions). The proposed amendments would add provisions under Chapter 123 for the control of emissions of particulate matter (PM) from the operation of outdoor wood-fired boilers (OWBs).

 This notice is given under Board order at its meeting of September 15, 2009.

A. Effective Date

 These amendments will be effective upon publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin as final-form rulemaking.

 These amendments will be submitted to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a revision to the Pennsylvania State Implementation Plan upon final-form rulemaking.

B. Contact Persons

 For further information, contact Ron Davis, Chief, Division of Compliance and Enforcement, Bureau of Air Quality, 12th Floor, Rachel Carson State Office Building, P. O. Box 8468, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8468, (717) 787-9257 or Robert ''Bo'' Reiley, Assistant Counsel, Bureau of Regulatory Counsel, 9th Floor, Rachel Carson State Office Building, P. O. Box 8464, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8464, (717) 787-7060.

 Information regarding submitting comments on this proposal appear in Section K of this preamble. Persons with a disability may use the Pennsylvania AT&T Relay Service by calling (800) 654-5984 (TDD users) or (800) 654-5988 (voice users). This proposal is available electronically through the Department of Environmental Protection's (Department) web site at http://www.depweb. state.pa.us (Quick Access: Public Participation, then Proposals Open for Comment).

C. Statutory Authority

 This proposed rulemaking is authorized under section 5(a)(1) of the Air Pollution Control Act (APCA) (35 P. S. § 4005(a)(1)), which grants to the Board the authority to adopt regulations for the prevention, control, reduction and abatement of air pollution in this Commonwealth.

D. Background and Summary

 On July 18, 1997, the EPA revised the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for PM to add a new standard for fine particles, using fine particulates equal to and less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter (PM2.5) as the indicator. The EPA set the health-based (primary) and welfare-based (secondary) PM2.5 annual standard at a level of 15 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3) and the 24-hour standard at a level of 65 µg/m.3 See 62 FR 38652. The health-based primary standard is designed to protect human health from elevated levels of PM2.5, which have been linked to premature mortality and other important health effects. The secondary standard is designed to protect against major environmental effects of PM2.5 such as visibility impairment, soiling and materials damage. The following counties in this Commonwealth have been designated nonattainment for the 1997 fine particulate NAAQS: Allegheny (Liberty-Clairton), Allegheny (remainder), Armstrong, Berks, Beaver, Bucks, Butler, Cambria, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Greene, Indiana, Lancaster, Lawrence, Lebanon, Montgomery and Philadelphia.

 Subsequently, on October 17, 2006, the EPA revised the primary and secondary 24-hour NAAQS for PM2.5 to 35 µg/m3 from 65 µg/m3. See 71 FR 61236. On December 18, 2008, all or portions of the following counties in this Commonwealth were designated by the EPA as nonattainment for the 2006 24-hour fine particulate NAAQS: Allegheny (Liberty-Clairton), Allegheny (remainder), Armstrong (partial), Berks, Beaver, Bucks, Butler, Cambria, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Greene (partial), Indiana (partial), Lancaster, Lawrence (partial), Lebanon, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia, Washington, Westmoreland and York.

 The health effects associated with exposure to PM2.5 are significant. Epidemiological studies have shown a significant correlation between elevated PM2.5 levels and premature mortality. Other important health effects associated with PM2.5 exposure include aggravation of respiratory and cardiovascular disease (as indicated by increased hospital admissions, emergency room visits, absences from school or work and restricted activity days), lung disease, decreased lung function, asthma attacks and certain cardiovascular problems. Individuals particularly sensitive to PM2.5 exposure include older adults, people with heart and lung disease and children.

 A significant and growing source of PM2.5 emissions in this Commonwealth is from OWBs. OWBs, also referred to as outdoor wood-fired furnaces, outdoor wood-burning appliances, or outdoor hydronic heaters, are free-standing fuel-burning devices designed: (1) to burn clean wood or other approved solid fuels; (2) specifically for outdoor installation or installation in structures not normally intended for habitation by humans or domestic animals, such as garages; and (3) to heat building space or water by means of distribution, typically through pipes, of a fluid heated in the device, typically water or a water and antifreeze mixture. OWBs are being sold to heat homes and buildings and to produce domestic hot water.

 The emissions, health effects and the nuisance factor created by the use of OWBs are a major concern to the Department. The Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management has conducted stack tests on OWBs. Based on the test results, the average PM2.5 emissions from one OWB are equivalent to the emissions from 205 oil furnaces or as many as 8,000 natural gas furnaces. Cumulatively, the smallest OWB has the potential to emit almost 1 1/2 tons of PM every year. Of the estimated 155,000 OWBs sold Nationwide between 1990 and 2005, 95% were sold in 19 states, of which this Commonwealth is one.

 Unlike indoor wood stoves that are regulated by the EPA, no Federal standards exist for OWBs and the majority of them are not equipped with pollution controls. The EPA has initiated a voluntary program that encourages manufacturers of OWBs to improve air quality through developing and distributing cleaner-burning, more efficient OWBs. Phase 1 of the program was in place from January 2007 through October 15, 2008. To qualify for Phase 1, manufacturers were required to develop an OWB model that was 70% cleaner-burning than unqualified models by meeting the EPA air emission standard of 0.6 pound PM per million Btu heat input as tested by an independent accredited laboratory. Phase 1 Partnership Agreements ended when the Phase 2 Partnership Agreements were initiated on October 16, 2008. To qualify for Phase 2, manufacturers must develop an OWB model that is 90% cleaner-burning than preprogram, unqualified OWBs and meet the EPA air emissions standard of 0.32 pound PM per million Btu heat output as tested by an independent accredited laboratory. The emission standard established in the proposed rulemaking would be the Phase 2 emission standard described in the EPA voluntary program.

 The proposed rulemaking would help assure that the citizens of this Commonwealth will benefit from reduced emissions of PM2.5 from OWBs. Attaining and maintaining levels of PM2.5 below the health-based NAAQS is important to reduce premature mortality and other health effects associated with PM2.5 exposure. There are many citizen complaints regarding the operation of OWBs. This proposed rulemaking would reduce the problems associated with the operation of OWBs, including smoke, odors and burning prohibited fuels including garbage, tires, hazardous waste and the like. Reductions in ambient levels of PM2.5 would promote improved human and animal health and welfare, improved visibility, decreased soiling and materials damage and decreased damage to plants and trees.

 While there are no Federal limits for the OWBs that would be subject to regulation under this proposed rulemaking, section 4.2 of the APCA authorizes the Board to adopt regulations more stringent than Federal requirements when the control measures are reasonably necessary to achieve and maintain the ambient air quality standards. See 35 P. S. § 4004.2. These measures are reasonably necessary to attain and maintain the primary and secondary 24-hour NAAQS for PM2.5 in this Commonwealth.

E. Summary of Regulatory Revisions

 The proposed amendments add definitions under § 121.1 for the following four new terms—''Btu,'' ''clean wood,'' ''outdoor wood-fired boiler'' and ''Phase 2 outdoor wood-fired boiler.''

 Section 123.14 (relating to outdoor wood-fired boilers) is proposed to be added. In general, under subsection (a) regarding to applicability, beginning on the effective date of the regulation, the requirements of this proposal apply to a person, manufacturer, supplier or distributor who sells, offers for sale, leases or distributes an OWB for use in this Commonwealth; a person who installs an OWB in this Commonwealth; and a person who purchases, receives, leases, owns, uses or operates an OWB in this Commonwealth.

 Under subsection (b) regarding Phase 2 outdoor wood-fired boiler, person may not purchase, sell, offer for sale, distribute or install an outdoor wood-fired boiler for use in this Commonwealth unless it is a Phase 2 OWB.

 Under subsection (c) regarding setback requirements for Phase 2 outdoor wood-fired boilers, a person may not install a Phase 2 OWB in this Commonwealth unless the boiler is installed a minimum of 150 feet from the nearest property line.

 Under subsection (d) regarding stack height requirements for Phase 2 outdoor wood-fired boilers, a person may not install, use or operate a Phase 2 OWB in this Commonwealth unless the boiler has a permanently attached stack. The stack must meet both of the following height requirements: extend a minimum of 10 feet above the ground and extend at least 2 feet above the highest peak of the highest residence located within 150 feet of the OWB.

 Under subsection (e) regarding stack height requirements for existing outdoor wood-fired boilers, a person may not use or operate an OWB that was installed before the effective date of the regulation unless the boiler has a permanently attached stack. The stack must meet both of the following height requirements: extend a minimum of 10 feet above the ground and extend at least 2 feet above the highest peak of the highest residence located within 500 feet of the OWB.

 Under subsection (f) regarding allowed fuels, a person that owns, leases, uses or operates a new or existing OWB in this Commonwealth shall use only one or more of the following fuels: clean wood; wood pellets made from clean wood; certain home heating oil, natural gas or propane fuels; or other fuel approved in writing by the Department.

 Under subsection (g) regarding prohibited fuels, a person who owns, leases, uses or operates an OWB in this Commonwealth may not burn a fuel or material in that OWB other than those fuels listed under subsection (f).

 Under subsection (h) regarding regulatory requirements, a person may not use or operate an OWB in this Commonwealth unless it complies with all applicable Commonwealth regulations and statutes.

 Under subsection (i) regarding written notice, prior to the execution of a sale or lease for a new or used OWB, the distributor, seller or lessor shall provide the prospective buyer or lessee with certain information as more fully explained under this subsection.

 Under subsection (j) regarding recordkeeping requirements, the distributor, seller or lessor shall keep the records required under subsection (i) onsite for 5 years and provide the records to the Department upon request.

 In addition to the summary of the proposed rulemaking, the Board also seeks comments on whether any final rule should include a seasonable prohibition to operate OWBs between the dates of May 1 and September 30. There is concern that while owners and operators may operate these units at a reduced capacity during the summer months, their operation may nevertheless result in increased PM emissions. Consequently, the Board would like to receive comments on whether a seasonal prohibition is an appropriate means to address this air quality issue.

F. Benefits, Costs and Compliance

Benefits

 The citizens of this Commonwealth will benefit from these proposed amendments because it would help to reduce emissions of PM2.5 from OWBs. Attaining and maintaining levels of PM2.5 below the health-based NAAQS is important to reduce premature mortality and other health effects associated with PM2.5 exposure. There are also many citizen complaints regarding the operation of OWBs. Reductions in ambient levels of PM2.5 would promote improved human and animal health and welfare, improved visibility, decreased soiling and materials damage and decreased damage to plants and trees.

Compliance Costs

 The cost of complying with the new requirements includes the cost of designing, manufacturing and distributing an OWB model that meets the EPA Phase 2 emission limit. Currently, there are at least 10 models available Nationally that meet the EPA Phase 2 emission limit. Nonqualifying OWB models cost between $8,000 and $18,000, depending on the size of the unit. It is estimated that the cleaner units may be approximately 15% more expensive because of the changes made to improve the efficiency of these units and reduce their emissions. However, most of these qualifying models are significantly more efficient which means they will burn less wood to produce the same amount of heat, reducing the cost of wood purchases.

 Operators of existing OWBs would be required to ensure that the stack height complies with the requirements of the proposed rulemaking. Therefore, operators of existing OWBs may be required to extend the height of the existing stack. A review of the Hearthside Fireplace, Patio and Barbecue Center internet catalog indicated that the cost would be between $73 and $84 for a 2-foot section of chimney pipe and between $119 and $145 for a 4-foot section of chimney pipe.

Compliance Assistance Plan

 The Department plans to educate and assist the public and regulated community in understanding the newly added requirements and how to comply with them. This will be accomplished through the Department's ongoing compliance assistance program.

Paperwork Requirements

 There are some additional paperwork requirements associated with this proposed rulemaking that the regulated community would need to comply with, namely a written notice of information specified under § 123.14(i). Subsection (j) requires that the distributor, seller or lessor shall keep the records required under subsection (i) onsite for 5 years and provide the records to the Department upon request.

G. Advisory Committee Recommendation

 The Department worked with the Air Quality Technical Advisory Committee (AQTAC) in the development of this proposed rulemaking. At its May 28, 2009, meeting, the AQTAC recommended adoption of the proposed rulemaking. The Department also consulted with the Citizens Advisory Council on July 21, 2009, the Small Business Compliance Advisory Committee on July 22, 2009, and the Agricultural Advisory Board on August 19, 2009.

H. Pollution Prevention

 The Federal Pollution Prevention Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C.A. §§ 13101—13109) established a National policy that promotes pollution prevention as the preferred means for achieving state environmental protection goals. The Department encourages pollution prevention, which is the reduction or elimination of pollution at its source, through the substitution of environmentally friendly materials, more efficient use of raw materials and the incorporation of energy efficiency strategies. Pollution prevention practices can provide greater environmental protection with greater efficiency because they can result in significant cost savings to facilities that permanently achieve or move beyond compliance. The proposed rulemaking does not directly promote a multimedia approach. The reduced levels of PM2.5, however, will benefit water quality through reduced soiling and quantities of sediment that may run off into waterways. Reduced levels of PM2.5 would therefore promote improved aquatic life and biodiversity, as well as improved human, animal and plant life on land.

I. Sunset Review

 These regulations will be reviewed in accordance with the sunset review schedule published by the Department to determine whether the regulations effectively fulfill the goals for which they were intended.

J. Regulatory Review

 Under section 5(a) of the Regulatory Review Act (71 P. S. § 745.5(a)), on October 6, 2009, the Department submitted a copy of these proposed amendments to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) and to the House and Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committees (Committees). In addition to submitting the proposed amendments, the Department has provided IRRC and the Committees with a copy of a detailed Regulatory Analysis Form prepared by the Department. A copy of this material is available to the public upon request.

 Under section 5(g) of the Regulatory Review Act, IRRC may convey any comments, recommendations or objections to the proposed regulations within 30 days of the close of the public comment period. The comments, recommendations or objections shall specify the regulatory review criteria that have not been met. The Regulatory Review Act specifies detailed procedures for review of these issues by the Department, the General Assembly and the Governor prior to final publication of the regulations.

K. Public Comments

Written Comments—Interested persons are invited to submit comments, suggestions or objections regarding the proposed regulation to the Environmental Quality Board, P. O. Box 8477, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8477 (express mail: Rachel Carson State Office Building, 16th Floor, 400 Market Street, Harrisburg, PA 17101-2301). Comments submitted by facsimile will not be accepted. Comments, suggestions or objections must be received by the Board by January 4, 2010. Interested persons may also submit a summary of their comments to the Board. The summary may not exceed one page in length and must also be received by January 4, 2010. The one-page summary will be provided to each member of the Board in the agenda packet distributed prior to the meeting at which time the final regulation will be considered.

Electronic Comment—Comments may be submitted electronically to the Board at RegComments@state.pa.us and must also be received by the Board by January 4, 2010. A subject heading of the proposal and a return name and address must be included in each transmission. If the sender does not receive an acknowledgement of electronic comments within 2 working days, the comments should be retransmitted to the Board to ensure receipt.

L. Public Hearings

 The Board will hold four public hearings for the purpose of accepting comments on this proposed rulemaking. The hearings will be held as follows:

Department of Environmental  Protection November 30, 2009
1 p.m.
Rachel Carson State Office Building
Conference Room 105
400 Market Street
Harrisburg, PA 17101
Department of Environmental  Protection December 1, 2009
1 p.m.
Northeast Regional Office
Susquehanna Conference Rooms
 A and B
2 Public Square
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18711-0790
Cranberry Township Municipal  Building December 2, 2009
1 p.m.
2525 Rochester Road
Cranberry Township, PA 16066-6499
Department of Environmental  Protection December 3, 2009
1 p.m.
Northcentral Regional Office
Goddard Conference Room
208 West Third Street, Suite 101
Williamsport, PA 17701-6448

 Persons wishing to present testimony at a hearing are requested to contact the Environmental Quality Board, P. O. Box 8477, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8477, (717) 787-4526, at least 1 week in advance of the hearing to reserve a time to present testimony. Oral testimony is limited to 10 minutes for each witness. Witnesses are requested to submit three written copies of their oral testimony to the hearing chairperson at the hearing. Organizations are limited to designating one witness to present testimony on their behalf at each hearing.

 Persons in need of accommodations as provided for in the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 should contact the Board at (717) 787-4526 or through the Pennsylvania AT&T Relay Service at (800) 654-5984 (TDD) to discuss how the Board may accommodate their needs.

JOHN HANGER, 
Chairperson

Fiscal Note: 7-444. No fiscal impact; (8) recommends adoption.

Annex A

TITLE 25. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

PART I. DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

Subpart C. PROTECTION OF NATURAL RESOURCES

ARTICLE III. AIR RESOURCES

CHAPTER 121. GENERAL PROVISIONS

§ 121.1. Definitions.

 The definitions in section 3 of the act (35 P. S. § 4003) apply to this article. In addition, the following words and terms, when used in this article, have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

*  *  *  *  *

Btu—British thermal unit—The amount of thermal energy necessary to raise the temperature of 1 pound of pure liquid water by 1° F at the temperature at which water has its greatest density (39° F).

*  *  *  *  *

Clean wood—The term includes the following:

(i) Wood that contains no paint, stains or other types of coatings.

(ii) Wood that has not been treated with preservatives, including copper chromium arsenate, creosote, pentachlorophenol or the like.

*  *  *  *  *

Outdoor wood-fired boiler—

(i) A fuel-burning device that:

(A) Is designed to burn, or is capable of burning, clean wood or other fuels listed under § 123.14(f) (relating to outdoor wood-fired boilers).

(B) The manufacturer specifies for outdoor installation or installation in structures not normally intended for habitation by humans or domestic animals, including structures like garages and sheds.

(C) Heats building space or fluid, or both, through the distribution, typically through pipes, of a fluid heated in the device, typically water or a mixture of water and antifreeze.

(ii) The fuel-burning device may also be known as:

(A) Outdoor wood-fired furnace.

(B) Outdoor wood-burning appliance.

(C) Outdoor hydronic heater.

(D) Outdoor water stove.

*  *  *  *  *

Phase 2 outdoor wood-fired boiler—An outdoor wood-fired boiler that has been certified or qualified by the EPA as meeting a particulate matter emission limit of 0.32 pounds per million Btu output and is labeled accordingly.

*  *  *  *  *

CHAPTER 123. STANDARDS FOR CONTAMINANTS

PARTICULATE MATTER EMISSIONS

 (Editor's Note: Section 123.14 is new and printed in regular type to enhance readability.)

§ 123.14. Outdoor wood-fired boilers.

 (a) Applicability.

 (1) Beginning on ______ (Editor's Note: The blank refers to the effective date of adoption of this proposed rulemaking.) this section applies to the following:

 (i) A person, manufacturer, supplier or distributor who sells, offers for sale, leases or distributes an outdoor wood-fired boiler for use in this Commonwealth.

 (ii) A person who installs an outdoor wood-fired boiler in this Commonwealth.

 (iii) A person who purchases, receives, leases, owns, uses or operates an outdoor wood-fired boiler in this Commonwealth.

 (2) This section does not apply to a person, manufacturer, supplier or distributor who sells, offers for sale, leases or distributes in this Commonwealth an outdoor wood-fired boiler that does not comply with the Phase 2 outdoor wood-fired boiler particulate matter standards if the person, manufacturer, supplier or distributor demonstrates both of the following:

 (i) The outdoor wood-fired boiler is intended for shipment and use outside of this Commonwealth.

 (ii) The person, manufacturer, supplier or distributor has taken reasonably prudent precautions to ensure that the outdoor wood-fired boiler is not distributed to or within this Commonwealth.

 (b) Phase 2 outdoor wood-fired boiler.

 (1) A person may not sell, offer for sale, distribute or install an outdoor wood-fired boiler for use in this Commonwealth unless it is a Phase 2 outdoor wood-fired boiler.

 (2) A person may not purchase, lease or receive an outdoor wood-fired boiler for use in this Commonwealth unless it is a Phase 2 outdoor wood-fired boiler.

 (c) Setback requirements for Phase 2 outdoor wood-fired boilers. A person may not install a Phase 2 outdoor wood-fired boiler in this Commonwealth unless the boiler is installed a minimum of 150 feet from the nearest property line.

 (d) Stack height requirements for Phase 2 outdoor wood-fired boilers. A person may not install, use or operate a Phase 2 outdoor wood-fired boiler in this Commonwealth unless the boiler has a permanently attached stack. The stack must meet both of the following height requirements:

 (1) Extend a minimum of 10 feet above the ground.

 (2) Extend at least two feet above the highest peak of the highest residence located within 150 feet of the outdoor wood-fired boiler.

 (e) Stack height requirements for existing outdoor wood-fired boilers. A person may not use or operate an outdoor wood-fired boiler that was installed before ______ (Editor's Note:  The blank refers to the effective date of adoption of this proposed rulemaking.) unless the boiler has a permanently attached stack.

 (1) The stack must meet both of the following height requirements:

 (i) Extend a minimum of 10 feet above the ground.

 (ii) Extend at least 2 feet above the highest peak of the highest residence located within 500 feet of the outdoor wood-fired boiler.

 (2) If the existing outdoor wood-fired boiler is a Phase 2 outdoor wood-fired boiler, subsection (d) applies.

 (f) Allowed fuels. A person that owns, leases, uses or operates a new or existing outdoor wood-fired boiler in this Commonwealth shall use only one or more of the following fuels:

 (1) Clean wood.

 (2) Wood pellets made from clean wood.

 (3) Home heating oil, natural gas or propane that:

 (i) Complies with all applicable sulfur limits.

 (ii) Is used as a starter or supplemental fuel for dual-fired outdoor wood-fired boilers.

 (4) Other fuel approved in writing by the Department.

 (g) Prohibited fuels. A person who owns, leases, uses or operates an outdoor wood-fired boiler in this Commonwealth may not burn a fuel or material in that outdoor wood-fired boiler other than those fuels listed under subsection (f).

 (h) Regulatory requirements. A person may not use or operate an outdoor wood-fired boiler in this Commonwealth unless it complies with all applicable Commonwealth regulations and statutes including the following:

 (1) Section 121.7 (relating to prohibition of air pollution).

 (2) Section 123.1 (relating to prohibition of certain fugitive emissions).

 (3) Section 123.31 (relating to limitations).

 (4) Section 123.41 (relating to limitations).

 (5) Section 8 of the act (35 P. S. § 4008) regarding unlawful conduct.

 (6) Section 13 of the act (35 P. S. § 4013) regarding public nuisances.

 (i) Written notice.

 (1) Prior to the execution of a sale or lease for a new or used outdoor wood-fired boiler, the distributor, seller or lessor shall provide the prospective buyer or lessee with a copy of this section and a written notice that includes the following:

 (i) An acknowledgement that the buyer was provided with a copy of this section.

 (ii) A written list of the fuels allowed under subsection (f).

 (iii) A written statement that a person who owns, leases, uses or operates an outdoor wood-fired boiler in this Commonwealth may not burn a fuel or material in that outdoor wood-fired boiler other than those fuels listed under subsection (f).

 (iv) A written statement that even if the requirements set forth in this section are met, the installation and operation of the outdoor wood-fired boiler may be subject to other applicable Commonwealth regulations and statutes including the regulations and statutes listed under subsection (h).

 (v) A written statement that even if the requirements set forth in this section are met, the installation and operation of the outdoor wood-fired boiler may be subject to local regulations or local stack height or setback requirements that will further limit or prohibit the use of the purchased or leased outdoor wood-fired boiler.

 (vi) A written statement that the stack height and setback requirements provided under this section may not be adequate in some areas of this Commonwealth due to terrain that could render the operation of the outdoor wood-fired boiler a nuisance or public health hazard.

 (2) The written notice must be signed and dated by the buyer or lessee and the distributor, seller or lessor when the sale or lease of the outdoor wood-fired boiler is completed. The written notice must include the following:

 (i) The name, address and telephone number of the buyer or lessee.

 (ii) The name, address and telephone number of the distributor, seller or lessor.

 (iii) The location where the outdoor wood-fired boiler will be installed.

 (iv) The make, model name or number and date of manufacture of the outdoor wood-fired boiler.

 (j) Recordkeeping requirements. The distributor, seller or lessor shall keep the records required under subsection (i) onsite for 5 years and provide the records to the Department upon request.

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 09-1929. Filed for public inspection October 16, 2009, 9:00 a.m.]

October 15, 2009

Healthy Air Tip of the Month: Learn before you burn

For The Reporter

As cold weather sweeps in, more and more Wisconsinites turn to outdoor wood boilers to heat their homes.

Wood is a renewable fuel, and the operating costs of wood burners often seem lower than natural gas or electric heat. But we often overlook the cost to air quality.

Because outdoor wood boilers burn over long periods of time and can use green or partially dried wood, they can produce 10 times the smoke of other wood-burning heat sources. Burning wood produces more fine-particle pollution than burning coal, says UW-Extension Pollution Prevention Specialist David Liebl. Inhaling fine particles, even over short periods of time, can aggravate lung conditions like asthma and bring on heart attacks or arrhythmia.

At this time, there aren't many regulations governing residential wood burning. The amount of emissions can vary by the type of appliance, type of wood, moisture content, air damper setting and weather conditions.

Some municipalities have rules on where outdoor wood boilers can be located, restrictions on when they can be used (such as a ban during air quality alerts), or prohibit them outright.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has determined that neighboring residents are at risk of adverse health effects if they can see visible plumes or smell the wood smoke.

To minimize the risks, only clean, dry wood should be used as heating fuel. Because price and performance of wood as fuel can vary, residents do not always see the cost savings they hoped for.

The NEW Air Coalition recommends that residents learn as much as they can about wood-burning appliances before installing and operating them. The health of your family and your neighbors depends on it.

The Healthy Air Tip is a project of the NEW Air Coalition, a group of representatives from Fond du Lac County government, business and education working together to improve air quality and the health of county residents. Share your air quality best practices and learn more about countywide efforts at www.fdlhealthyair.com

Full Article:CLICK HERE

October 11, 2009

State of the Park (OWBs discussed)
Adirondack Council ranks, analyzes regional issues

By KIM SMITH DEDAM
Staff Writer

 

ELIZABETHTOWN — The Adirondack Council's annual State of the Park report weighs in on some 90 Adirondack preservation issues.

Some of the sharpest criticism in the report went to State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Pete Grannis for ruling that Old Mountain Road belongs to the towns of North Elba and Keene.

Adirondack Council's report says he "relied upon bad advice and incorrect information. His own regional staff has filed a formal request for a 'clarification,' hoping to avoid opening this road to motorized traffic."

The council gives DEC staff kudos for challenging the commissioner's judgment.

 OUTDOOR BOILERS

The council also nodded to town officials in Wilmington, Jay, Elizabethtown and Moriah for taking action to ban or limit outdoor wood-burning furnaces.

"I'm glad they've acknowledged us for that," said Wilmington Supervisor Randy Preston. "I've felt all along if we worked together more we would find common ground.

"Because of the state's inaction on wood boilers, our board felt we had to do something.

"I am deeply saddened, however, by the state's lack of logic in their new outdoor-burning (of trash) regulations. What they have done by stopping towns from obtaining permits to burn at town sites is create a fire hazard."

"We appreciate the acknowledgment of all the hard work and recognition for trying to do the right thing," Elizabethtown Supervisor Noel Merrihew said about his community's outdoor-boiler restrictions.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

October 11, 2009 (editorial)

Extinguish outdoor burners

Homeowners seeking an inexpensive way to heat their water or home should think twice before buying an outdoor wood burner. It could be more trouble, and more of a health hazard, than it's worth. And municipal officials would be wise to prohibit these problematic water- and home-heating devices altogether.

Smithfield Township's Zoning Hearing Board filed a brief in Monroe County Court of Common Pleas several years ago to fight an appeal of a decision the board had made shutting down a burner. The case involved a burner one family was using year-round, including during warm weather to heat swimming pool water. Nearby residents complained the smoke and fumes forced them to keep their windows closed, citing discomfort and health issues.

Smithfield adopted a stricter ordinance in 2007 and now bans warm-weather use of the burners. The ordinance allows them only on minimum five-acre lots, requires them to be at least 150 feet from a neighbor's property line and at least 300 feet away from an occupied structure on another property. They may burn only clean wood and can't be operated before Oct. 1 or after April 30. They must be permitted annually.

Trickier, though, is the section stating that burner emissions cannot be detectable beyond the lot where it is located. That is a tall order.

Unlike indoor fireplaces and outdoor barbecue grills, wood-fired burners tend to burn for days at a time. The fireboxes burn at as low as 50 percent efficiency, creating far more smoke than higher-efficiency burns. Fuel type and combustion temperature play a role in the kind of smoke the burners emit, and air temperature, humidity and wind affect whether that smoke affects neighbors. On quiet days, smoke from such a burner can accumulate like a thick pall. Think about Indian summer, when it's warm enough to rake leaves or plant bulbs in shirt sleeves, or spring days when rising temperatures and longer days tempt people out of doors. The slightest breeze could push smoke from a wood burner off the "home" property, forcing neighbors to close doors and windows. When neighborhood disputes already exist, wood burners only aggravate them.

Many of Monroe County's municipalities have adopted ordinances restricting the burners' use. But problems still arise. A recent letter to the editor complained about a burner — in Smithfield Township.

Wood smoke contains soot that becomes lodged in the lungs, leading to short-term or chronic cardiovascular problems, even cancer. Constant wood smoke is a threat to public health.

Much of Monroe County is now suburban. Even the strictest regulation of outdoor wood burners cannot guarantee that they will not affect neighbors' air quality. If burner owners don't understand that, municipal officials should.

Everyone is entitled to breathe clean air.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

October 9, 2009 (editorial)

Pulse of the People: Oct. 9 (OWBs the topic)

For The Record

Where is the regulation?

Who is in charge? Everybody and nobody. Where is New York State in protecting air quality? The rise in installations of Outdoor Wood Boilers is causing more and more municipalities to address air quality issues. Is this a municipality by municipality issue?

In 2005, the Attorney General’s Office issued, "Smoke Gets in Your Lungs." It stated an OWB emits 72 g/hr of fine particulate matter vs. .04g/hr for a gas furnace. Fine particulate matter gets in your lungs and causes health problems.

In 2007, David R. Brown released "An Assessment of Risk from Particulate Released from Outdoor Wood Boilers." Google it and you will wonder why OWBs are allowed.

In 2008, the AGs Office updated "Smoke Gets in Your Lungs." The state Health Department has air monitoring equipment documenting the degradation of air quality in areas with OWBs. The Department of State provides training to Code Enforcement Officials and directs them to use the Property Maintenance Code to shut down OWBs. The DEC has staff using Part 211.2 and 211.3 trying to perform opacity tests on the smoke emitted from OWBs. There are now an estimated 35,000 OWBs in this state. That's a lot of DEC staff time to stand in people's driveways with the sun behind them to do a test to prove what you already know about OWBs.

The AGs Office, DOH, DOS, and DEC all have civil servants that know the state should be banning the sale and use of OWBs because of the heavy smoke and particulate matter they emit. Recently DEC spokesperson Lori Severino said regulations could take years. It has been years. Those living downwind of an OWB can't help but ask why. People can be subjected to smoke year-round since these inefficient appliances are used to heat pools and hot tubs as well as hot water.

Would you want to live with constant smoke in your yard, home, and barn? Would you be happy if your children could not play in their yard because of smoke? What would you do if your family's eyes were burning and were plagued with respiratory illnesses caused by smoke? Laws are on the books, enforcement is impossible with opacity tests, and people continue to suffer ill health effects. Where is the proposed DEC regulation? Sitting at the Governor's Office now for more than seven months. How much pollution do you think the state’s inaction has now caused?

Bonnie Lichak

Nassau

Full Article: CLICK HERE

October 8, 2009

Greencastle Borough Council plans rules for outdoors burning

By ROSCOE BARNES III Staff writer

Although closer to making a decision on a proposed open burning ordinance for outside furnaces, Greencastle Borough Council still must deal with the issue of grass clippings and brush.

"We're still exploring alternatives for the public good," Councilman Harry Foley said Wednesday. "We're considering reasonable alternatives for typical open burning, such as brush and leaves."

It's a tough issue, in part because the local landfill does not have a permit that allows acceptance of grass clippings, Foley said.

In a 5-2 vote earlier this week, council authorized its solicitor to draft an open burning ordinance that would prohibit outdoor wood-burning stoves or furnaces. Councilmen Duane Kinzer and Craig D. Myers cast the dissenting votes.

Council's decision would not prohibit outdoor cooking or barbecues, according to Borough Manager Kenneth Womack. The public will still have a chance to comment on the ordinance before council makes a final decision, he said.

"The only thing we proceeded on is to have our solicitor draft an ordinance to prohibit outdoor wood-burning boilers," Foley said. "It does not include any other aspect of open burning, such as barbecues."

Foley said he has observed people setting small bundles of brush out with their garbage. Leaves, but not brush, can be taken to Tayamentasachta Environmental Center.

The center charges $1 a load for the leaves, Foley said. Grass remains a big issue.

A few months ago, council tabled a decision to adopt an amendment to its burning ordinance that would ban open burning for any use other than recreational and outdoor cooking. Council members mentioned their concern about the lack of provisions in the ordinance.

According to Foley, council's discussion of the issue was triggered by the concerns of residents who have breathing problems.

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Roscoe Barnes III can be reached at 262-4762 or rbarns@publicopinionnews.com

Full Article: CLICK HERE

October 5, 2009

Bell supervisors OK sending ordinance to solicitor for review (OWBs)
Monday, October 05, 2009
By Jane Elling Staff Writer


MAHAFFEY - Bell Township Supervisors held a workshop meeting on Sept. 12 to discuss details about an ordinance regulating outdoor wood and coal fired heaters. At Saturday's meeting, supervisors Kenneth Voris and Edward Elling approved sending the completed ordinance to Solicitor Ann Wood for review. Supervisor Steve Byers was on vacation. Details in the ordinance were taken from Sandy Township and Mahaffey Borough ordinances.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

October 5, 2009

Emmet County boiler issue on simmer

By Steve Zucker News-Review Staff Writer
Monday, October 5, 2009 9:42 AM EDT

CONWAY — Emmet County Road Commission officials will have to jump through some administrative hoops before they proceed with a plan to heat a garage with a wood boiler.

At Friday’s regular commission meeting, engineer-manager Brian Gutowski said the plan to save energy costs by heating the agency’s Levering garage with an outdoor wood boiler hit a snag recently when county building department officials balked at the unit chosen for the project because it lacks an Underwriters Laboratory (UL) certification.

Underwriters Laboratories is an independent product safety certification organization that gives certifications to products it says meets its safety guidelines.

Gutowski told the commission that he has spoken with the manufacturer of the boiler Hawkin Energy, which has said the product meets all safety standards, but the company didn’t want to spend the money to have its product UL certified.

Gutowski said the county building code does not include a requirement for a UL listing, but said his understanding was that county building department officials were being cautious on the matter because of an e-mail the road commission received last month from a downstate man. In the message, which Jackson County resident Roger Soldano also sent to numerous state legislators and officials, Soldano details his concerns about the effect smoke from such boilers has on the health of neighbors and discussed how he successfully obtained a court order forcing his neighbor to stop using a similar boiler unit.

Gutowski said the commission considered the message a not-so-veiled threat of possible legal action regarding the boiler.

Gutowski said he will try to “work something out” with county building officials, or the commission can file an appeal to the building officials’ findings. He added that the commission’s next boiler choice on the list is considered a low-quality boiler and has a higher cost.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

October 2, 2009

Lawrence Twp. works on new zoning rules (OWBs Discussed)
Friday, October 02, 2009
By Jeff Corcino Staff Writer

After speaking with William Lawhead, chairman of the board of supervisors, Yost said they decided against any additional regulations on outdoor furnaces at this time.


Lawhead said the state Department of Environ- mental Protection has a sample ordinance that municipalities can use to regulate outdoor furnaces or outdoor boilers that the township could adopt if township residents have issues with the outdoor furnaces.
Issues could arise from the use of outdoor furnaces because they can produce high amounts of particulate air pollution. According to DEP, studies have shown that one outdoor wood burning furnace produces particulate emissions equivalent to 205 oil burning furnaces or 8,000 natural gas furnaces.


The zoning hearing board recommended striking the term "junk yards" from the zoning ordinance altogether and instead classifying such facilities in three separate categories, recycling, scrap and salvage yards. Recycling centers would be facilities that collect aluminum and similar metals for recycling; scrap yards would be facilities for the collection of larger types of scrap metals; and salvage yards would be facilities such as an auto salvage yard.


Each type of facility would have its own permit that would have to be renewed on an annual basis.
The zoning hearing board also recommended that additional restrictions and regulations be placed on all these facilities, such as all lots have a minimum of five acres, no storage of scrap, machinery or equipment in the front or side yard areas, increase the setbacks by 10 additional feet, provide fencing around the property, and disallow processing or storage of hazardous materials being the same as defined by the DEP.


Lawhead said the supervisors will review the recommendations before making a decision.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

September 28, 2009

Lower Nazareth eyes sidewalk ordinance (OWBs mentoined)

SPECIAL TO THE MORNING CALL

September 28, 2009

In other business, Lower Nazareth is drafting a regulation governing solar and wind energy installations as well as outside wood-burning boilers used to heat homes. Tenges said the township has received a few requests for permits for these, and hopes to have something ready for board approval next month.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

September 21, 2009

Downstate man threatens to sue road commission if it installs wood boiler

By Steve Zucker News-Review Staff Writer

CONWAY — A Jackson County resident is trying to throw water on the Emmet County Road Commission's plans to heat its buildings with wood-fired boilers.

Earlier this month, the commission gave engineer-manager Brian Gutowski the green light to purchase a wood-fired exterior boiler for the commission’s Levering garage at a cost of about $13,000.

Road commission officials, who have been looking for ways to cut utility costs, estimate it will take less than two years for the boiler to pay for itself. After that, they expect to save about $7,600 per year on propane costs.

At Friday’s semi-monthly meeting, Gutowski told the commission that the boiler has been ordered, but since the last meeting, he has received an e-mail from a Jackson County resident threatening to sue the commission if it installs the boiler.

The e-mail sender, Roger Soldano, also recently sent an e-mail to the News-Review and several state government officials in which he included a May 2009 article form the Jackson Citizen-Patriot detailing his successful bid to obtain a court order barring his neighbor from using an outdoor wood boiler. Soldano has also filed a lawsuit against the Minnesota-based manufacturer of the boiler.

In both cases Soldano is claiming that smoke from his neighbor’s boiler has caused health problems for him and his wife.

Gutowski told the commission he would need to look into the matter further before making a recommendation on what, if any effect Soldano’s e-mail might have on the plans to install the boiler.

Soldano’s e-mail did not contain a telephone number and a return e-mail seeking comment was not immediately returned. Soldano has no apparent ties to Northern Michigan, however, the e-mail received by the News-Review asks that the devices be banned throughout the state.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

September 18, 2009

Board of Supervisors Approve Air Quality Ordinance

Source: Linn County Public Health, Linn County, Iowa

September 18, 2009

    On September 16, 2009, the Board of Supervisors approved the proposed rules modifying the Linn County Code Air Quality Ordinances.  This includes conditional requirements for existing Outdoor Wood Boilers that do not meet the emission standard of 0.6 lb/MMBtu.  In a September 9, 2009 amendment, the Board of Supervisors added a provision giving existing OWBs that do not meet the standard, three years to modify the height of the stack to provide for adequate dispersion.

 All installed OWBs that currently meet the 0.6 lb/MMBtu standard are currently in compliance and do not need to make any future stack modifications.

All new OWBs must meet the 0.6 lb/MMBtu standard for particulate matter emissions.  New units installed after October 1, 2009 cannot qualify for the exemption.  The Iowa Department of Justice (a.k.a. Iowa Attorney General's Office) is currently notifying OWB manufactures that units sold in Iowa must meet the Linn County and State of Iowa emission standard and that failure to do so could be consider fraudulent under Iowa's Consumer Fraud Act.

Additional provisions of the OWB portion of the ordinance are described in detail on this website.  Those provisions included a requirement to permit the OWB, limits the amount of wood that can be fired, and does not allow for operation during the summer in residential areas.

Linn County Public Health will be preparing a draft permit application over the week of September 21 and post for public review and feedback.  Please check back to www.linncleanair.org or call 319-892-6000 for more information.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

September 16, 2009

Common council discussing city’s union contracts (OWBs mentioned)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

By JODY McNICHOL

ONEIDA — It was a speedy agenda then into a closed-door meeting for the City of Oneida Common Council Tuesday night.

The topic for the executive session was collective bargaining for the police department and civil service employees which runs out at the end of this year, and the fire department contract, which expires December 3, 2010.

Before the doors were closed council discussed a street light request from Lynnburt Street residents and the amendment to city code regarding outdoor furnaces.

After councilors voted on a law to regulate outdoor furnaces used to heat boiler systems, they faced the question of whether a resident could get a variance or if the law could be amended.

The law, which allows the furnaces in the city’s outside district only permits the wood-burning furnace on parcels three acres or larger and requires them to be placed at least 200 feet away from the property line of the closest neighbor.

George Clark said he was considering installing one of the systems, but his lot is approximately 2.8 acres. With cornfields on three sides, his nearest neighbor is well outside the 200-foot minimum but residents have to meet both requirements for the outdoor unit.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

September 15, 2009

Mt. Holly passes burning ordinance

Staff Reports, Sentinel (Updating story from 9-14-09)

Be careful what you burn in Mt. Holly Springs.

Borough council passed an ordinance Monday regulating outdoor burning. According to the ordinance, it is intended to promote the health, safety and welfare and to safeguard health, comfort, living conditions and property values by regulating outdoor and open burning.

Council voted 4-2 to approve the draft without comment. Councilman Jim Collins and Councilwoman Suzanne Cornman voted against the ordinance. Councilwoman Deborah Brophy was absent.

According to the regulations, outdoor burning is defined as open burning or burning in an outdoor wood-fired boiler. Open burning means, “maintaining a fire where the products of combustion are emitted directing into the ambient air without passing through a stack or a chimney,” including a burn barrel.

Open burning is permitted in the borough under certain conditions. No trash may be burned. Leaf waste may be burned, but only in a non-combustible container and only a safe distance from a building, vegetation or other combustible material.

All open burning must be conducted in safe conditions by residents 18 or older, and only on the property on which the burning material was generated, according to the ordinance. The burner must remain in attendance during burning and fire extinguishing equipment should be readily available.

No burning my take place if the borough, county or state issues a burn ban, and no materials may be burned on any street, sidewalk or on the ice of a body of water. Open burning is limited from sunrise to sunset.

Under the new ordinance, borough residents may continue to grill or cook food on charcoal, wood, propane or natural gas grills.

Small outdoor campfires and fires for cooking, as well as those in chimineas and patio warmers are permitted so long as clean, dry wood is used and the fire does not cause a nuisance to neighbors.

The borough’s legislation also governs the use of outdoor boilers, otherwise known as hydronic heaters used to heat many rural homes across the county and state.

The wood-burning units are housed in a shed-like structure and are connected to a home furnace through underground piping and wiring. The burners can be used as fuel for the furnace and/or a water heater.

Full Article:  CLICK HERE

September 14, 2009

Mt. Holly passes burn ordinance

Be careful what you burn in Mt. Holly Springs.

Borough council passed an ordinance Monday regulating outdoor burning. The ordinance is intended to promote the health, safety and welfare and to safeguard health, comfort, living conditions and property values by regulating outdoor and open burning. Council voted 4-2 to approve the draft without comment. Councilman Jim Collins and Councilwoman Suzanne Cornman voted against the ordinance. Councilwoman Deborah Brophy was absent.

According to the regulations, outdoor burning is defined as open burning or burning in an outdoor wood-fired boiler. Open burning means, “maintaining a fire where the products of combustion are emitted directing into the ambient air without passing through a stack or a chimney,” including a burn barrel.

Read The Sentinel's Tuesday edition for more on this story.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

September 14, 2009

Mount Holly Springs passes ordinance governing outdoor wood-fired furnaces

by RICK SELTZER, Of The Patriot-News
Monday September 14, 2009, 8:16 PM

Mount Holly Springs Borough Council voted 4-2 to approve a burning ordinance regulating outdoor wood-fired boilers, outdoor burning and open burning in the Cumberland County municipality.

No residents provided public input on the ordinance, a stark contrast to nearby Dickinson Township, which passed a similar burning ordinance last week. A group of citizens protested a portion of Dickinson Township's ordinance regulating outdoor wood-fired boilers.

In Mount Holly Springs, Borough Council members James Collins and Suzanne Cornman voted against the ordinance. Council member Deborah Brophy did not attend the meeting.

The new ordinance restricts the use of outdoor wood-fired boilers, which are free-standing furnaces that can be used to heat homes or hot water for homes. It limits use of the boilers to a period between Sept. 1 and May 31 and requires boilers to be set back at least 500 feet from the nearest residential structure that is not on the lot on which the boiler is located. The ordinance also outlaws using wood-fired boilers to burn trash.

In addition, the ordinance prohibits the open burning of refuse and places conditions on burning leaf waste.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

September 10, 2009

 

Public meetings begin on N. Elba’s new land-use code (OWBs mentioned)

HEATHER SACKETT, News Staff Writer

POSTED: September 10, 2009

LAKE PLACID — The first of four public meetings on a new land-use code for the town of North Elba and the village of Lake Placid was held Tuesday night at the Lake Placid Middle/High School auditorium.

    The new code, which is a combination of a comprehensive plan with long-range goals and the minimal standards of a land-use code, will make it easier to increase housing stock, and protect the watershed, ridgeline and sensitive corridors. It would also tighten restrictions on sign standards, lighting and vegetative cutting.    

    The code is three years in the making and was developed with public input, said chairman of the seven-person Technical Steering Committee Dean Dietrich. The new code will replace the existing code, adopted in 2000. It will address issues that have cropped up in the last several years, Dietrich said, like second-home development and the lack of affordable housing.

    The public expressed a desire to maintain scenic overlays and avoid upland development on ridgelines, Dietrich said.

    “Some single-family dwellings must be reviewed,” he said. “That is a major change.”

    A permit would also be required for vegetative cutting at more than a quarter of an acre. There would also be a 10-foot no-cut zone along Lake Placid and Mirror Lake and limited cutting within 35 feet of the shore.

    “We understand we are putting an onus on the landowner,” Dietrich said. “We are claiming some jurisdiction in this area.”

    The new code would also reduce light pollution by limiting decorative uplighting and outlining buildings. Also banned would be sandwich boards and changeable message signs. The new code also calls for a temporary ban on outdoor wood boilers until better standards are developed for the devices.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

September 8, 2009

Air Quality Ordinance Update (OWBs)

Source: Linn County Public Health, Linn County, Iowa

September 08, 2009

The proposed modifications to the Air Quality ordinance cover a variety of regulatory items regarding updates that conform to recent changes at the State and Federal level.  However, public comment has been limited one specific issue of the regulation regarding residential wood heaters including outdoor wood boilers and how to exempt currently installed boiler that do not meet the 0.6 lb/MMBtu particulate matter emission standard.

 

August 18 – Public Hearing attended by all 5 Supervisors.  Public provided comments regarding proposal on a variety of items regarding the proposal.  The Linn County Public Health prepared a response to all comments received.  Click here to view response.

August 25th – Iowa Attorney General sent a letter to over 20 outdoor wood boiler manufacturers expressing concerns that consumers could not use their products lawfully and that consumers were protected under Iowa Consumer Fraud Act.

August 27 - 1st Reading was held at Board of Supervisor meeting August 27 (Thursday)

·         Board first considered a motion to give owners a 3 year implementation period rather than 1 year as proposed.  This motion passed 5 – 0.

·         A second motion to grant amnesty to all existing boilers was then made.  This motion passed 4-1, superceding the motion to provide a 3 year implementation period. 

August 31- 2nd Reading was scheduled.

·         Linn County Public Health provided a draft ordinance the conformed to the motion granting amnesty to all existing boilers.

·         Linn County Public Health provided comments on the outcome of granting amnesty, stating that owners would still be out of compliance with State regulations.

·         DNR Air Quality Bureau Chief Catharine Fitzsimmons spoke to the BOS stating the DNR would not approve the amnesty provision. Failure to comply with the State Implementation plan would also jeopardize the local program’s delegation authority and funding.

·         BOS voted to delay the second reading until Wednesday, September 9, so that they may further consider this information and DNR position.

September 9 – Board of Supervisors withdrew the motion granting full amnesty and voted of 3-1 to approve the original proposal with an ammendment providing owners of existing units three years to increase the stack height of the unit if so required.  Click here to view. This constitutes the first reading of the air quality ordinance.  Subsequent reading are now scheduled for September 14 (Monday) and September 16 (Wednesday).

September 14 – Board of Supervisors Meeting (Informal Session). The Board of Supervisors voted 4 -1 to approve the second reading of the proposed Air Quality Ordinance as approved on September 9.

September 16 - Board of Supervisors Meeting (Informal Session). This meeting will be held in the morning at 10 am in the Board Room on the Lower Level of Linn County West, 2500 Edgewood Road SW, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. 

Full Article: CLICK HERE

September 8, 2009

Dickinson Township passes burning ordinance regulating outdoor wood-fired furnaces

 by RICK SELTZER, Of The Patriot-News

Tuesday September 08, 2009, 11:19 PM

Dickinson Township supervisors passed an ordinance regulating outdoor burning tonight, deciding not to alter contentious restrictions governing outdoor wood-burning furnaces.

Supervisors Ray Jones and Allyn Perkins voted in favor of the ordinance and Supervisor Dan Wyrick voted against it. Outdoor wood-burning furnaces, which some township residents use to heat their homes and hot water, will now be subject to regulations including property line set backs and seasonal restrictions on burning.

Under the new ordinance residents will only be able to burn their furnaces between Sept. 15 and May 15. New stoves must be at least 200 feet from front lot lines and at least 100 feet from side and rear lot lines. They also must be at least 500 feet from the nearest residential structure on adjacent lots. Existing stoves will be grandfathered from those set back provisions for 30 years.

Anyone who owns a stove in the township must also have a waste disposal contract, a clause supervisors included to be sure stove owners do not burn trash. Wood-burning furnace owners will be required to register their furnaces with the township's zoning enforcement officer within 60 days.

Last month the provisions pertaining to wood-burning furnaces sparked a group of township residents to hire an attorney, Marcus McKnight, to help them oppose the ordinance at township meetings. McKnight said the group would support an ordinance that banned the burning of garbage in wood-burning furnaces, required damaged furnaces to be repaired promptly and required replacing furnaces with new clean burning units.

Members of the group objected to the ordinance's provision regulating the time of year furnaces can be burned, because it would render them useless as water heaters.

"We tried to make some positive suggestions to you about what we could support and we tried to point out some problems with the ordinance that is before you," McKnight said before supervisors voted. "The issue really is how do you, on a local level, enforce against existing units when property owners installed them in good faith? This is terrible legislation. It creates potential litigation."

Jones and Perkins said they believed the health risks of the furnaces were too great to ignore. The furnaces emit harmful particles into the air, they said.

"I think you're listening to us but you're not hearing us," Jones said. "I hear you but I cannot continue to endanger the health and well-being of your neighbors. You're selling today and not worrying about your future or your kid's future."

Full Article: CLICK HERE

September 8, 2009

Dickinson Township supervisors adopt ordinance regulating outdoor wood burners

Discussion on a Dickinson Township ordinance to regulate outdoor wood burning stoves smoldered for over two hours Tuesday night before supervisors voted 2-1 to adopt the ordinance.

“We’re not saying these stoves can’t be used, they just have to be in compliance with the ordinance,” Supervisor Ray Jones said.

Supervisor Dan Wyrick, who had expressed some concerns about the proposed ordinance last month, said he has studied the burners and that research led him to support the ordinance.

“I haven’t seen the documented details to support your (position),” he told residents who have claimed the burners are safe.

“I’ve read hundreds of pages on this subject,” added Supervisor Allyn Perkins. “These outdoor wood boilers put out a very large amount of PM2.5.”

PM2.5 refers to particulate matter that health experts say is unhealthy to breathe and can cause a variety of ailments.

But a group of residents who use the burners and their attorney criticized the proposed ordinance.

“We tried to make some positive suggestions and we tried to point out some problems with the legislation pending before you,” said attorney Marcus McKnight. “Your position is poor legislation is better than no legislation.”

“You think this is poor legislation, but it’s a good start,” Jones countered.

Jones said he understood the residents’ passions, but suggested their concern is shortsighted.

“You’ve all come here with a purpose,” Jones said. “We understand your purpose. But I think you have your blinders on and what you’re doing is causing harm to the community.”

Jones and Perkins voted for the ordinance, with Wyrick opposing it in its current form.

Full Article: CLICK HERE


September 8, 2009

Sentinel Morning Update: Burning ordinance debate heats up

The steel sheds that house outdoor furnaces look innocent enough. Most are fairly small structures with one door and a metal pipe protruding from the roof.

But proposed regulations governing the hydronic heaters used to heat many rural homes across Cumberland County are raising the temperatures of stove owners and putting some local officials on the hot seat.

A hydronic heater - also called an outdoor burner or boiler - is a wood-burning unit, typically housed in a shed-like structure with a metal chimney and sited several yards from a home. The burners are connected to a home furnace through underground piping and can be used as fuel for the furnace and/or a water heater.

Owners and manufactures of the stoves claim they lower or eliminate home heating bills and are environmentally friendly.

“What you are dealing with are a lot of people who can’t afford to heat their homes,” explained Gerald Barrick, who sells the stoves. He said the stoves, which range in price from about $5,000 to $15,000 and last 10 to 15 years, can save users thousands in fuel costs.

“Most people who get them have their own wood or access to wood at low prices,” Barrick said.

He said he’s done a lot of research on them in the six years he’s been selling them.

“If you burn the proper materials, they will burn clean,” Barrick said.

When they are used improperly to burn trash, he said, that’s when problems occur.

“That’s what smokes and stinks,” he said.

But according to federal, state and local officials, the burners are a source of pollution and must be regulated. The latest case is in Dickinson Township, where the board of supervisors is expected to enact legislation Tuesday designed to regulate the furnaces.

“Most of us feel we don’t have a need for that type of thing in the township,” Barrick said. “If you put regulations on what you can burn - and enforce it - that would be adequate.”

Outdoor wood-burning furnaces have become more common, especially in rural areas in the last few years. According to statistics from the state Department of Environmental Protection, in 2005 there were 12,000 of the burners across the state. Since heating fuel prices have increased, more residents are buying the burners as a way to save on costs.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

September 8, 2009

Outdoor wood burners pose concerns

The steel sheds that house outdoor furnaces look innocent enough. Most are fairly small structures with one door and a metal pipe protruding from the roof.

But proposed regulations governing the hydronic heaters used to heat many rural homes across Cumberland County are raising the temperatures of stove owners and putting some local officials on the hot seat.

A hydronic heater - also called an outdoor burner or boiler - is a wood-burning unit, typically housed in a shed-like structure with a metal chimney and sited several yards from a home. The burners are connected to a home furnace through underground piping and can be used as fuel for the furnace and/or a water heater.

Owners and manufactures of the stoves claim they lower or eliminate home heating bills and are environmentally friendly.

“What you are dealing with are a lot of people who can’t afford to heat their homes,” explained Gerald Barrick, who sells the stoves. He said the stoves, which range in price from about $5,000 to $15,000 and last 10 to 15 years, can save users thousands in fuel costs.

“Most people who get them have their own wood or access to wood at low prices,” Barrick said.

He said he’s done a lot of research on them in the six years he’s been selling them.

“If you burn the proper materials, they will burn clean,” Barrick said.

When they are used improperly to burn trash, he said, that’s when problems occur.

“That’s what smokes and stinks,” he said.

But according to federal, state and local officials, the burners are a source of pollution and must be regulated. The latest case is in Dickinson Township, where the board of supervisors is expected to enact legislation Tuesday designed to regulate the furnaces.

“Most of us feel we don’t have a need for that type of thing in the township,” Barrick said. “If you put regulations on what you can burn - and enforce it - that would be adequate.”

Fuel for thought

Outdoor wood-burning furnaces have become more common, especially in rural areas in the last few years. According to statistics from the state Department of Environmental Protection, in 2005 there were 12,000 of the burners across the state. Since heating fuel prices have increased, more residents are buying the burners as a way to save on costs.

DEP officials have not completed an official count since 2005 but estimate there are probably close to 20,000 of the units statewide today.

Hydronic heater emissions are cause for concern. Residential wood smoke contains fine particles, which can affect both the lungs and the heart.

“We have concerns about the amount of soot - or fine particulate matter - that comes from these burners, especially the older models,” said DEP Secretary John Hanger. “The older models in particular are a real threat to air quality.”

Just one of the older models of the outdoor units can emit the equivalent of 8,000 natural gas furnaces or 205 oil furnaces, he said.

It is the older hydronic units that worry the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

In January 2007, the EPA enacted Phase I voluntary standards for stove manufacturers to reduce emissions from the stoves by 70 percent.

“We developed a voluntary program to work with manufacturers to get them to redesign their units,” explained Gil Wood, environmental engineer with the EPA.

In October 2008, the EPA introduced Phase II voluntary standards to reduce the emissions by 90 percent.

The EPA classifies the newer burners as Phase II if they meet a particulate matter emission limit of 0.32 pounds per million BTUs of output and are labeled accordingly.

“We have over 10 units that can meet Phase II requirements,” Wood said. “They’re better, they’re cleaner, they’re more efficient.”

But even the cleanest-burning models still emit fine particulate matter.

“Even the newer models meeting EPA standards still emit a lot of soot,” Hanger said. One of the newer models can emit the equivalent of 800 natural gas furnaces or 20 oil furnaces.

“They are significant improvements, but still pose real issues,” Hanger said.

Proponents of the burners argue that fireplaces and wood stoves also emit soot.

“Burning wood indoors in a stove does emit some particulate matter, but the volumes are so much different,” Hanger explained.

A hot issue

Dickinson officials have been weighing an ordinance regulating the burners since February.

Supervisors have raised concerns about the smoke produced by the burners.

“We have to make sure the safety and health is maintained for the residents of Dickinson Township,” Supervisor Ray Jones told residents during a recent public meeting.

There have been several versions of a draft ordinance. The latest proposes setbacks dictating how far an outdoor burner must be from a neighboring home and requires the burners to conform to the latest EPA/DEP standards. It also requires those who own a burner to subscribe to a waste removal contract and it limits the use of the burners to Sept. 15 through May 15.

Last month, a group of residents who heat their homes with outdoor wood-fired boilers hired an attorney to represent them in their opposition to the proposed restrictions.

“You may have a legitimate concern about some aspects of these stoves, but to pass a law when the state and federal government is constantly changing their regulations as we speak makes no sense,” said the attorney, Marcus McKnight.

McKnight argued that there are state and federal incentives for the purchase of Phase 2 units, including IRS tax credits for biomass units that are at least 75 percent efficient, as well as state grants for alternative fuel units.

Most of the hydronic burners are designed to burn dry, seasoned wood. When “green” wood is used, it generates more smoke. The burners are not designed to burn household trash or construction debris, because that releases harmful chemicals and pollution and is in violation of many local and state laws.

Barrick said if township officials would create an ordinance that regulates what can be burned in the units, nothing more would be needed.

“Let’s make them meet the standards,” he said. “Diesel smoke has more pollutants in it than wood smoke. They’ve regulated idling, but they haven’t banned the trucks. You don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.”

Wood said the EPA acknowledges there is a lot of variety in local regulations on the hydronic units.

“The federal expectations set a certain level of standards. If a state or local (body) wants to do something more, that’s their choice. They know more about their local situation than we do,” Wood said.

Burning questions

Currently, there are no mandatory standards regulating the production, installation or use of the hydronic units. EPA’s standards are voluntary for manufacturers.

“I expect we will within the next few years have a federal requirement better than the Phase II emission level,” Wood said. “The manufacturers have actually asked for a federal regulation.”

Wood said the implementation of federal standards can take two years.

But parts of the units fall under the state Uniform Construction Code when new units are installed.

“The furnaces present a complex issue because they are not directly addressed by the UCC,” said David Smith, spokesman with the state Department of Labor & Industry. But Smith said the piping, mechanicals and wiring of the units must be inspected and approved.

The UCC regulations cover only those units installed after July 1999.

Because components of the stoves fall under the UCC, any ordinance or ordinance amendment regulating the stoves must be reviewed by Labor & Industry’s Bureau of Occupational & Industrial Safety prior to enactment.

Neither Dickinson’s draft, nor many of the other local municipalities that have updated or created an ordinance recently, have had L&I review their regulations.

No position

The Clean Air Board of Central Pennsylvania, a grassroots group dedicated to achieving clean air to protect the quality of life in the region, hasn’t weighed in on the wood burner issue.

“CAB has not taken a position of outdoor wood-fired burners,” said Duane Fickeisen of the CAB. “We recognize their potential as sources of fine particulate air pollution but have not researched them nor considered a position.”

The state DEP in September will begin public hearings on a rule that would regulate the hydronic burners statewide. Hanger said the department will look at current local laws and work with local government officials to ensure that the state and local regulations complement each other.

No dates have been set yet for the meetings, but interested citizens are encouraged to check the DEP Web site at www.dep.state.pa.us for updates.

“It is a matter of concern,” Wood said. “The bottom line is we encourage people who have the older stoves to consider changing that to one of the cleaner Phase II units and be respectful of the neighbors. People need to be mindful of how they provide heat for a home that does not endanger their neighbors.”


In Focus

The Dickinson Township supervisors are expected to finalize an ordinance regulating outdoor wood-burning boilers on Tuesday.

The board meets at 7 p.m. in the township building on Mountain View Road.

The draft ordinance proposes setbacks dictating how far an outdoor burner must be from a neighboring home and requires the burners to conform to the latest EPA/DEP standards.

It also requires those who own a burner to subscribe to a waste removal contract and limits the use of the burners to Sept. 15 through May 15.

Guidelines for outdoor furnaces

Some local municipalities already have guidelines in place to regulate the use of outdoor furnaces. Others have none. Regulations vary by municipality.

Borough of Carlisle

The borough has no ordinance regulating outdoor furnaces. It does have an ordinance that prohibits the burning of rubbish, solid waste, leaf waste or recyclables in either open or closed containers and prohibits open burning.

Hampden Township

On Jan. 29, Hampden commissioners enacted an ordinance to regulate outdoor burners. Use of the stoves is limited to the period beginning seven days after the Labor Day holiday and ending seven days before the Memorial Day holiday.

Boilers may only be used on lots of 3.5 acres or more and must be set back at least 200 feet from the front lot line, 100 feet from the side and rear lot lines and 500 feet from the nearest residential structure not on the lot where the boiler is located. Only clean, dry wood may be burned in the units.

There was no public opposition to the ordinance, according to township officials.

Middlesex Township

An ordinance regulating the outdoor boilers was enacted in December 2007. The boilers are permitted in selected zoning districts and must be sited on 3.25 acres of land or more. Setbacks are to be at least 200 feet from the front lot line and 100 feet from the side and rear lot lines and 500 feet from the nearest residential structure not on the lot where the boiler is located.

Use of the boilers is permitted only from one week after Labor Day to Memorial Day.

Monroe Township

Although the township has an ordinance regulating outdoor burning, Monroe has no ordinance specifically regulating outdoor furnaces. The burners are considered an accessory structure (like a shed) and must adhere to certain setbacks.

Borough of Newville

The burners are not regulated, but they must adhere to the zoning ordinance regarding noxious odors and smoke.

North Middleton Township

North Middleton enacted an ordinance regulating the burners in August 2008. The units are permitted on lots of at least 3.25 acres; they must be placed no less than 500 feet from the nearest residential structure not on the lot where the boiler is located; and they must be set back at least 200 feet from the front lot line and 100 feet from the side and rear lot lines.

Usage is limited to Oct. 1-May 1.

Silver Spring Township

The board amended its zoning ordinance on Aug. 26 to include the burners. They are permitted as an accessory use and must be set back at least 100 feet from the lot lines; must only be fueled with dry wood or wood pellets; and must not cause a nuisance.

South Middleton Township

South Middleton updated its outdoor fire ordinance in December 2008 to include provisions for outdoor furnaces. The units are permitted on lots of at least 3.25 acres.

Furnaces must be placed no less than 500 feet from the nearest residential structure not on the lot where the boiler is located, and they must be set back at least 200 feet from the front lot line and 100 feet from the side and rear lot lines.

Usage is limited to Oct. 1-May 1.

Furnaces are not permitted in the village, village-commercial and commercial and industrial districts.

Outdoor furnaces in existence prior to December are exempt from some of the new regulations.

West Pennsboro Township

Earlier this year, after receiving complaints about the furnaces, supervisors considered enacting an ordinance to regulate them. The proposal was met with criticism from stove owners who packed the board room to speak out against regulations. The board agreed to postpone indefinitely a decision on regulating the units.

State Department of Environmental Protection

The state DEP has created a sample outdoor wood-fired boiler ordinance that local officials can customize. The sample recommends (but does not require) municipalities either prohibit the units entirely or allow them to be operated with certain restrictions including:

• Only burners certified by the EPA as Phase II boilers are allowed.

• Only wood or other approved solid fuels may be burned.

• Burners must be installed at least 150 feet from the nearest property line and must have a chimney with a height of at least 10 feet above the ground and 2 feet above the highest peak of a home located less than 150 feet from the burner.

• Burners may only be used between May 1 and Sept. 30.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

September 2, 2009

Outdoor wood burning restrictions get bipartisan support in Dutchess

Source: Mid-Hudson News Network

POUGHKEEPSIE - Dutchess County Legislature Environmental Committee Chair Joel Tyner, (D-Clinton/Rhinebeck), says he and Republican legislator David Kelly concur on a compromise outdoor wood burning control measure.  Both lawmakers were scheduled to appear at the Dutchess County Supervisors and Mayors Association meeting to discuss the pending legislation to regulate outdoor wood-burning furnaces in Dutchess County.

Tyner says the law is not as strong he or his caucus would prefer, “… but it is a step in the right direction for over 200,000 people in our county who do not live in one of the six municipalities that have passed legislation on outdoor wood-burning furnaces”.  County Legislators Bill McCabe, Dan Kuffner, Tom Mansfield, and Steve White have all agreed to support the Kelly/Tyner compromise as at least a step in right direction.

OWB laws already have passed in Beacon, Beekman, East Fishkill, Hyde Park, Red Hook, and the Village of Rhinebeck.  The Tyner/Kelly law would not affect regulation passed in those municipalities.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

August 28, 2009

E'town moves toward ban on outdoor wood boilers

By ALVIN REINER
Staff Writer

ELIZABETHTOWN — The Elizabethtown Town Council intends to implement a ban on outdoor wood-burning devices within the hamlet area.

People who already have the boilers in place may continue to operate them.

As outlined in the proposed law, the ban is for "securing and promoting the public health, comfort, safety, welfare and prosperity of the town and its inhabitants."

Permits issued before the proposed law will be regulated and checked by the code-enforcement officer who can make a determination to suspend a permit, "based on any documentary evidence submitted, site inspections, his personal knowledge, interview with persons involved, of any other information he reasonably considers to be relevant."

The town code officer may confer with the public health officer to make a determination.

During its recent meeting, the Town Council voted to change the start date to Sept. 15, due to possible cooler weather.

Councilman Joe Martin gave a dissenting opinion as to the ban.

"I think it is a shame as the new devices may be a clean as a wood stove."

Supervisor Noel Merrihew countered, "We have hammered out and worked on this and have a workable document."

A public hearing on the proposed law is scheduled for 6 p.m. Sept. 16 in the Town Hall.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

August 27, 2009

K'hook places temporary hold on outdoor wood boilers

By Jamie Larson
Published:
Thursday, August 27, 2009 1:16 AM CDT
 
The installation of new outdoor wood boilers was officially banned in the town of Kinderhook Wednesday night, at a special meeting of the Town Board. Present board members voted unanimously for a new local law establishing a six-month moratorium on the devices, which experts say cause serious health risks.

The special meeting and public hearing beforehand were sparsely attended but the vote was the culmination of a months-long battle over the boiler issue. Those against OWBs based their opposition in part on information provided by State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s Office. The study stated that the slow burning boilers pose a health risk by emitting hazardous fine particle matter and chemicals such as carbon monoxide, chlorinated dioxin, benzene, and others.

The risk of these wood-fired water heaters, officials say, is increased by the boiler’s low smoke stacks which keep the toxins low to the ground where people and animals breath.

The Moratorium states that it’s purpose is, “to protect the public health and safety of the residents of the town of Kinderhook. By enacting the moratorium for a period of six months, the Town Board and the town of Kinderhook will have a reasonable time within which... to develop a local law to regulate or prohibit installation of OWBs.”

Town Supervisor Doug McGivney and board members stressed repeatedly how important it is for residents to understand the moratorium is only a temporary step while they craft the wording of a complete local law. They encouraged public impute in the potentially long process.

One issue McGivney said the law must address is whether existing OWBs would be exempt from regulation, a process known as “grandfathering,” or if they would have to phase  in systems such as catalytic converters to mitigate pollutant output. McGivney said at the moment he is leaning towards support of a law that would ban the boilers outright.

Councilman Peter Bujanow said over the time provided by the moratorium the town should look at all outdoor wood burning devices in a controlled way to make destinations about what they feel is acceptable and what may not be. Bujanow said he wanted to make it clear he wasn’t insinuating the town would ban all outdoor burning but look at the issue through a broader scope, taking devices like burn barrels and raised metal deck fireplaces into account as well. Planning Board member Jim Egnasher said from the audience that he felt all outdoor burning should be banned in the town.

“I do see a trend that’s out there in the public,” Bujanow said, noting he has a firepit in his own back yard, “there is an infatuation with outdoor burning. I think we should look at it as a whole.”

Councilman Michael Kipp said he was in favor of the OWB moratorium but warned officials shouldn’t go overboard and start banning other outdoor burning. “I think when we look at campfires there’s a question,” Kipp said, “There’s a boundary where we’re going too far.”

“I’m truly interested in beefing it up,” Councilwoman Mary Kramarchyk said, “with the burning of leaves and brush, we have a compost option. The Highway will come pick it up. I’ve smelled people burning garbage.”

After the comments from the board Kramarchyk moved to vote on the Moratorium, seconded by Bunjanow. All voted yes to adopt except Councilwoman Debbie Johnson who is away on vacation.

It was inaccurately reported Aug. 21, in the Register-Star that the moratorium had already taken effect. The moratorium does not officially take effect until it is filed with the Department of State today.
Full Article: CLICK HERE

August 25, 2009

Open house Wednesday on SLT zoning ordinance (OWBs discussed)

BY MARIE HAVENGA
mhavenga@grandhaventribune.com

SPRING LAKE — Spring Lake Township officials will host a zoning ordinance open house from 7-9 p.m. Wednesday at Barber School, 102 W. Exchange St.

Proposed ordinance language also calls for new rules regarding wind turbines and wood furnaces.

Hill said the ordinance update was long overdue.

"I don't think this has been updated since the late '80s," he said. "This version has additional graphics and is a lot more user-friendly."

Township Manager Gordon Gallagher said he encourages all citizens to attend Wednesday's unveiling of the proposed zoning ordinance.

"I encourage people to come and listen and have input," Gallagher said. "This is just another opportunity. (The Township Board) will vote on this in the next couple of months after we get some public input and review any changes that need to be made."

Full Article: CLICK HERE


August 21, 2009

Upper Nazareth to regulate solar panels, boilers

By: Tom De Martini

Upper Nazareth Township supervisors are continuing work on ordinances to regulate homeowners' use of solar heating panels and wood-burning boilers.

Solicitor Gary Asteak said Wednesday night that the planned solar panel ordinance is akin to a zoning law, since it will regulate how and where homeowners can mount such devices on their property. Asteak said the current draft essentially mimics a model ordinance released by the state Department of Environmental Protection.

The draft has been recommended by the township planning board and will be advertised for discussion by supervisors in late September or early October.

Supervisors are also awaiting planning board recommendations on a proposed wood-burning boiler ordinance that will regulate noise and smoke emanating from the machinery. Asteak said the planned ordinance will be a stand-alone law rather than a zoning ordinance as it is aimed at solving nuisances.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

August 21, 2009

K'hook fires boilers with moratorium

By Paul Crossman
Published:
Friday, August 21, 2009 1:15 AM CDT
 
Outdoor woodboilers seems a heated issue which, when touched upon, cannot be put out. Since no state or national law seems close to being passed, towns and villages across Columbia County have been forced to take legislation into their own hands.

Two weeks ago, the town of Kinderhook passed a six-month moratorium on the issue, and, quickly following suit, the village did the same, with a three-month time limit.

A moratorium means the board realizes a need for legislation, but feels that a “reasonable time period” is needed in to decide what form to take.

Both town and village realized something needed to be done after several studies — including one from the office of state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo —stated that OWBs emit more fine particulate matter than other heating sources. This is caused mostly by the low burning temperature, as well as long periods of smoldering wood when the boiler is not in full use.

Improper use, like burning garbage and waste, has also been a problem brought up by the boards.

“While OWBs are advertised as a clean and economical way o heat one’s house and water,” states “Smoke gets in your lungs,” Cuomo’s office’s study, “...they are among the dirtiest and least economical modes of heating, especially when improperly used.”

After complaints from many residents, both the village and the town realized some form of action needed to be taken.

“I am a member of the community who lives near one of the wood boilers,” said town and village resident Joan Blum previously. “Like many people, I was unaware of the effects of wood smoke until I started experiencing symptoms myself. It is unpleasant and uncomfortable to be around when wood boilers are operating. I couldn’t even open my windows.”

Village Mayor Bill Van Alstyne also believes that something needs to be done about the issue.

“I think there is obviously a condition here that has been introduced over the past several years that we haven’t had to address in the past,” he told the Register-Star. “It has impacted the neighbors [of those who own OWBs], and we have to look at that, but the people who installed them also did it in good faith, following all the village codes and regulations. Hopefully we can come up with a compromise... I think we can work something out.”

Though the town first passed a moratorium on the issue, the village has been debating the issue for much longer, even hosting an informational event with representatives from the Attorney General, the Department of Health, and the Department of state giving presentations.

This being the case, the village came to the decision that in the interest of dealing with the issue in a timely fashion, only a three-month moratorium was needed instead of six.

“We wanted to do it in an expedited manner,” said Van Alstyne, “and [a three-month moratorium] helped cut down on bureaucracy. We determined this would be the best method, knowing that we could renew it if necessary.”

Though it is possible to get a three-month extension if the Town Board has not enacted legislation by the end of the moratorium, Mayor Van Alstyne is hopeful that the village won’t need it.

“We talked about it last month,” he said, “and at the next board meeting members will have had time to assess the situation and see how other towns are handling it and come to a consensus. Then we can pass the legislation.”
Full Article: CLICK HERE

August 20, 2009

Officials discuss wood-burning rules for Missoula County (OWBs discussed)

By MICHAEL MOORE of the Missoulian

A revision to Missoula County's wood-burning regulations is still crawling toward the finish line, but a Thursday meeting on the regs took a detour.

The proposed regulation changes, which first surfaced in April, involve wood burning outside the air stagnation zone, which is basically Missoula proper.

Health officials say the changes are needed to keep Missoula in compliance with federal health standards regarding the fine particulate pollution caused by wood burning.

Missoula is on the threshold of violating those particulate standards, and now the EPA is expected to lower the standards, making a violation more likely.

In general, the proposed regs would require people who live outside the stagnation zone and want to install a new woodstove to get a permit and install a newer, clean-burning stove. The proposals also would regulate in some way wood-fire boilers and biomass heating systems.

The discussion of how best to regulate such systems provided the avenue of detour at Thursday's meeting of the Air Pollution Control Board.

The detour wasn't so much a discussion of what pollution threshold ought to be applied to biomass heaters - although there was some of that - as it was talking about the basics of Missoula's air quality.

The gist of that conversation concerned divergent viewpoints held by Missoula County health officials and state and federal officials whose jobs essentially revolve around burning wood.

The crux of the issue is this: Both the U.S. Forest Service and the state Department of Natural Resources and Conservation have programs that promote biomass heating systems.

The DNRC's Angela Farr, for example, works with the state's Fuels For Schools and Beyond program, which has put biomass boilers in 10 school systems.

She thinks the health department is considering particulate standards that would make it nearly impossible for school districts to install biomass systems.

At the same time, the county allows at least 1,000 inefficient woodstoves in private homes to continue burning. Homeowners have to scrap such stoves if they sell the home, but otherwise their use is grandfathered.

Why not create a swap program that would get rid of those old stoves and solve part of Missoula's particulate problem, Farr asked?

That would create room for biomass heaters, both Farr and Dave Atkins, who works for the Forest Service said.

Farr stressed the merits of efficient wood burning, noting the financial savings to schools and the lack of reliance of fossil fuels.

Still, at least part of her argument struck pollution control board member Alan Gabster, a Missoula cardiologist, as questionable.

Why, he asked, would you advocate building a biomass heater in a place where wood burning already causes health problems?

"Might some places be better for burning than others?" he asked Farr.

Of course, Farr said, but Missoula could go a long way toward meeting federal particulate standards by shuttering its remaining inefficient woodstoves. And that, she said, would leave room for the new technology in more efficient woodstoves and biomass heaters.

"I believe they're being too strict," she said of the proposal to regulate biomass with one of the nation's strictest particulate standards.

Of course, the discussion over those standards isn't closed, and the department has already made changes to other proposals deemed too heavy-handed.

"We've still got a ways to go there," said Ben Schmidt, an air quality specialist with the health department.

Off the table for now at least is creation of some sort of program that would swap inefficient woodstoves operating inside the stagnation zone for newer, cleaner-burning stoves.

It's not that such an idea doesn't have merit, Garon Smith, chairman of the air pollution control board said.

It might, particularly if money was available to finance such a program. But that discussion was never on the table in the first place and would require a whole new set of meetings and hearings.

"But I think out attention has been drawn to that," Smith said.

For now, though, the board and health department will continue working on regulations on wood burning outside the stagnation zone.

The board's next meeting will be in September.

Reporter Michael Moore can be reached at 523-5252 or at mmoore@missoulian.com.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

August 20, 2009

BOH enacts wood boiler regulations

The Board of Health Monday voted to enact regulations regarding air pollution control from wood boilers.

The BOH is prohibiting the use of outdoor wood boilers between June 1 and Sept. 30. Owners of existing wood fired boilers must apply for a joint permit within 60 days of the passage of these regulations or cease operation until a permit is obtained. The permit will be jointly issued by the Board of Health and the Building Department.

All new boiler permit applications must be accompanied by a stamped, engineered plan showing setbacks to all abutting property lines and buildings. A permit is required to install an outside boiler from the Board of Health and Building Department. All new installations may only be a unit approved by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. For new boiler installations proven to be greater than 1,000 feet from a neighboring dwelling or structure, the Board of Health reserves the right to allow a waiver to the owner for the shut down period if the unit is the owner's only source of domestic hot water.

Any permit for an outside boiler may be suspended if the board determines a nuisance condition has occurred. Once permitted, the boiler must be installed within one year from the date of permit approval. Property owners applying for a permit may request a variance, and abutter notification is required for property owners within 500 feet of the boiler. Existing boilers must be 500 feet from a neighboring dwelling or structure. Current boiler owners who are not in compliance with the regulation may apply for a variance from the Board of Health. Anyone operating a boiler must allow agents of the Board of Health access to the unit for purposes of conducting inspections to ensure compliance with this regulation.

The boiler regulation was prompted by complaints from Bigelow residents Jason and Liz Hilton that a boiler owned by neighbors Craig Bacon and Stephanie King was sending billowing smoke onto their property and into their home.

Between June 4 and July 16 the Harvard School of Public Health surveyed the Hilton residence. When UVC (UV absorbing carbon) significantly exceeds the BC (black carbon) it is know as the effect of wood burning. The report states "since UVC levels that were observed were higher then their corresponding BC values, these peaks were most likely due to wood burning in the area."

Full Article: CLICK HERE

August 19, 2009

Dutchess lawmaker proposes regulating outside wood burning furnaces

Source: Mid-Hudson News

POUGHKEEPSIE – With two days of hot, summer weather behind us with questionable air quality, Dutchess County Legislature Environmental Committee Chairman Joel Tyner Tuesday proposed imposing regulations on outdoor wood burning furnaces.

Tyner said other areas have imposed their own rules, and Dutchess County should consider it as well.

“Different communities have done different things. Rockland and Suffolk County have passed regulations, you’ve got the Republican majority in East Fishkill and Beekman, Village of Rhinebeck, and you have Democrats in Hyde Park,” he said.

Tyner said with a high rate of asthma in Dutchess, it would behoove the county to regulate those outdoor furnaces.

Full Article:  CLICK HERE

August 19, 2009

Additional Meeting Planned on Wood-Burning Boiler Issue

August 19, 2009

Going After Grants in Putnam Valley (OWBs mentioned)

Plus a rare moment of agreement between Tendy and Davis

With the summer now in full swing, one might think that heating buildings would be the last thing on anyone's mind. This was not the case, however, at the Putnam Valley Town Board's August 12, 2009, workshop, which led off with a hearing about the regulation and operation of wood boilers. Residents and board members seemed comfortable that the "third time would be the charm," in settling this oft-discussed issue, but it was not to be.

The idea of regulating these outdoor boilers, used by some residents for winter heating, and others for commercial purposes, gained traction in many communities last fall. Concern continues to be expressed about the proposed law's allowable period of use conflicting with unseasonable cold weather. Yearround commercial users fear an adverse impact upon revenues. The board maintains that applications for variance, provided in the proposed law, will adequately address those concerns.

Discussion of the mechanism of the law concluded that the zoning board would be the more appropriate town agency to receive and rule on requests for variances. Town Attorney Bill Zutt informed the board that this seemingly simple change would nevertheless trigger an additional public hearing. The board scheduled the fourth public hearing in advance of the September 9 meeting, with a vote scheduled for September 16.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

August 18, 2009 (video)

A Compromise on Wood-Burning Boilers in Residential Areas?

By Becky Ogann

KCRG News

August 13, 2009

City wood-boiler proposal revised

By MIKE ZUMMO, The Leader-Herald

POSTED: August 13, 2009

GLOVERSVILLE - After the vote on a local law to regulate the use of outdoor wood-burning boilers in the city wound up in a tie, 6th Ward Councilman Ray Hindes Jr. made some additions to the proposed law and plans to bring it up at the next council meeting.

Hindes brought the proposal back to the council Tuesday and changed the dates on the months of operation. The new proposal states that an outdoor wood-burning boiler shall be operated between Oct. 1 and April 30.

Hindes, 1st Ward Councilwoman Robin Wentworth and 4th Ward Councilwoman Ellen Anadio voted for the proposal, while 2nd Ward Councilman John Castiglione, 3rd Ward Councilman James Robinson and 5th Ward Councilman Matthew Myers voted against it at the July 28 meeting.

Councilman-at-Large James Handy was absent.

"I think it's important that if anybody has any other changes they would like to see to express them before we put it up for a public hearing," Wentworth said.

Robinson questioned a provision in the law that says an inspection of an outdoor wood-burning boiler can take place at any time. The council agreed to change that to between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Castiglione continued to voice his opposition to the proposal, stating the houses in most parts of the city are too close to each other to allow for wood-burning boilers. Smoke from the boilers has caused widespread concern.

"I just think we're asking for problems, healthwise, if we allow this," he said. "If people want to burn wood, let them get a wood stove in their house or a pellet stove or something of that nature, which we know is pretty safe."

Full Article: CLICK HERE

August 13, 2009

Birdsboro council hears complaints about outdoor furnace

- By Chris Reber

Smoke from a Birdsboro man's outdoor furnace caused a serious problem for a boy who lives nearby, borough council has been told.

At Monday's meeting, the board authorized its code enforcement officer to look into the furnace on Hay Creek Road.

It did so after Dale Kingsbury of the 100 block of Hopewell Street said his 7-year-old son was hospitalized last winter for an asthma attack caused by smoke from the furnace.

The family's doctor advised them to move, he said, but Kingsbury's wife has spent six years assembling a backyard studio for her work as a muralist.

"I feel like I have to move out of my house for the sake of my son's health," Kingsbury said.

Kingsbury showed council photos of the furnace's wood pile, which he pointed out contained treated and painted wood. He asked the board to consider regulating the outdoor furnaces.

Councilman Neil McCauley said the furnace would not be affected by a new ordinance but the borough could regulate the fuels.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

August 10, 2009

Brutus passes new outdoor furnace law

By Kathleen Barran / The Citizen

Monday, August 10, 2009 11:37 PM EDT

WEEDSPORT - Outdoor furnaces sparked little interest among Brutus residents, none of which attended a public hearing in the town Monday night.
While no one voiced support or opposition to the proposed regulation of outdoor furnace installation, the town board passed the measure unanimously.

The new law limits outdoor units to protect residents' health, safety, comfort and general welfare. A permit from the code enforcement officer is required to install and operate an outdoor furnace/wood boiler within the town.

Allowed locations for older models (Phase I or earlier) are only Agricultural-Residential, Commercial/Light Industrial, Industrial and Special Development zoning districts. They must be set back at least 25 feet from the nearest side and back property lines and can't be any closer than 100 feet from any occupied structure without an outdoor furnace. They can't be put in a front yard.

Chimneys have to be two feet taller than any other residence within 300 feet, and they have to have spark arrestors or conform to spark release restrictions.

Newer models (Phase II) are allowed in any town zoning district. Setbacks are the same as any accessory structure.

Installation of both older and newer furnaces has to meet all safety codes and comply with manufacturers' instructions.

Only seasoned firewood and untreated lumber can be burned in both. Neither model will have to be modified as a result of any new construction or changes.

Outdoor furnaces existing before the law can remain as long as they burn the proper fuel and control sparks. Brutus now has 12 outdoor furnace units.

Harmful emissions could be reduced by 70 percent in Phase I units, but new Phase II units will take out 90 percent.

Environmental Protection Agency monitoring services must be in place to eliminate problems for the town in monitoring the Phase II units.

Phase I units end by March 2010, James Hotaling, town supervisor, said; then only Phase II furnaces will be available.

Failure to comply with the law is punishable by a maximum fine of $500 and/or imprisonment for not more than 30 days for the first offense. Each day a violation occurs is considered a new and separate offense.

Last April, the village of Weedsport voted in a six-month moratorium on outdoor furnaces which is independent of this town law. The village moratorium expires in October.

Staff writer Kathleen Barran can be reached at 253-5311 ext. 238 or kathleen.barran@lee.net
 
Full Article: CLICK HERE

August 8, 2009

New Outdoor Furnace Regulations Adopted

WKZO News

KALAMAZOO -- A new ordinance will take effect this coming week effectively banning the addition of outside wood stoves and furnaces to most homes inside the city. Existing ones would be grandfathered if they passed inspection, but the new rules, that they be placed at least 300 feet from the nearest neighbor and only on 3 acre lots would ban them from most areas of the city.

Barbara Clydesdale says she lives next to one now and its no joy. Duane Heddinger, who sells them, says the new ones are much cleaner and greener and homeowners should have the option.

But commissioners went along with the recommendation of the staff and the environmental concerns committee, which did extensive research, and approved the strict new requirements.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

August 7, 2009

Perth board to weigh wood-boiler measure

By ZACH SUBAR, The Leader-Herald

POSTED: August 7, 2009

PERTH - Town officials will look to review a possible seasonal ban on wood-burning boilers before next month's meeting.

Supervisor Greg Fagan provided the Town Board with a packet of information regarding the controversial heaters.

The packet included information from the Environmental Protection Agency on the boilers, testing results that have been done on them and information from the state on what the boilers can do.

He said the board would discuss how far wood boilers should be set back from buildings.

Several town residents have called for a summer ban on the boilers, saying the smoke that comes from them has an awful smell and can trigger health problems.

Others have called for a total ban on them. But many who own wood boilers say they save them a lot of money on their heating bills.

The state has published material warning against the use of wood boilers. A 2008 report from the state Attorney General's Environmental Protection Bureau office said "outdoor wood boilers produce thick, acrid, foul smoke that permeates buildings and homes, causing not only a nuisance, but also environmental degradation and health problems."

That same report said wood boilers have four times the emissions of conventional wood stoves at 72 grams per hour, as opposed to 18 grams per hour.

After Town Board members review all the information regarding the boilers, Fagan said the board may be ready to make a judgment on what it should do with the boilers.

"If everyone can get through this in the next month, we can be entering into some real serious discussions about what we want to do here," Fagan said.

There is no statewide ban on wood boilers, but the state Department of Environmental Conservation's regulatory agenda, which lists laws that could be proposed for adoption during this calendar year, contains a regulation that would restrict outdoor wood-boiler use.

Several local municipalities, including the town of Mayfield and Dolgeville, already have enacted seasonal bans on the heaters. The Gloversville Common Council deadlocked on a vote last month to restrict their use, and Fort Johnson has enacted a six-month moratorium on the devices while its leaders decide what actions to take.

Fagan, who heats his own home with a wood boiler, has said the board likely would go along with a seasonal ban if the law were crafted in an agreeable fashion.

Zach Subar covers rural Fulton County news. He can be reached at ruralnews@leaderherald.com.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

August 6, 2009

BOH affirms wood boiler regs

Regulations banning outside wood boiler use during summer months were affirmed by the Board of Health at their meeting on Monday night.

There will be a final hearing on the regulations on Aug. 17, health board agent Randy Mizereck said. After that hearing, the town will notify the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection that the regulations were adopted. At that point, the town will have the state's backing to enforce the wood boiler regulations.

A violation of the wood boiler regulations would go to a magistrate hearing at the State Housing Court, Mizereck said. That court can issue an injunction against a homeowner or impose a fine. The town has no mechanism for fining violators.

The regulations were adopted in response to a petition signed by 108 residents and a health board hearing where 40 residents, including several wood boiler owners, showed up to air their concerns.

As of Aug. 1, new wood boilers must be units already approved by Mass DEP. Permit applications for the boilers must include a stamped, engineered plan showing setbacks to all abutting property lines and buildings. The permit must be approved by the health board and the town building department.

Owners of the dozen or so existing wood boilers in town must apply to the health board and the building department for a joint permit. If the boiler is the homeowner's only source of domestic hot water and is more than 1,000 from the nearest neighbor, the homeowner may request a waiver to the seasonal ban. The board also reserves the right to suspend the permit for any boiler that is determined to be a nuisance.

Board of Health Chairman Scott Gilroy and member Nathan Locke said they did not anticipate ever enacting a total ban on the boilers. Vice Chairman Karin Leonard was not present at the meeting.

"A seasonal ban is logical," Mizereck said.

Craig Bacon, 24 Bigelow Road, whose boiler was the impetus for the petition circulated by his neighbors Jason and Liz Hilton, attended Monday's board meeting.

He has complied with the seasonal ban, he told the board, and said he is using oil for his domestic hot water and to heat an indoor lap pool.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

August 5, 2009

Wood boilers concern Esopus councilwoman

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

By WILLIAM J. KEMBLE

 PORT EWEN — The Esopus Town Board is considering a proposal to regulate outdoor wood-burning furnaces amid concerns about their potential for creating health and environmental hazards and conflicts between neighbors.

At a Town Board meeting Tuesday, town Councilwoman Deborah Silvestro said such concerns should be addressed before residents begin installing the units.

“It’s just to protect the densely populated areas,” she said. “Some of the (furnaces) are extremely dirty. They contribute to asthma conditions in adults and children.”

Silvestro noted that the towns of Hurley, Gardiner, and Rosendale have adopted regulations governing the furnaces following surges of opposition from residents.

“You can wait until you have a problem, but then it’s hard to correct it,” she said.

“Some people are using them to heat their water year round,” Silvestro added. “So you have these devices pumping out smoke all through summer, when people have their windows up.”

Information on the number of wood-burning furnaces already in use in the town of Esopus was not readily available.

Supervisor John Coutant said there have not been enough complaints in town to justify local regulations.

“Since I’ve been in office there’s been one complaint about an outside wood-burning furnace,” he said. “If it becomes a problem, then it’s time to address legislation.”

Under the proposed regulations:

• The furnace would have to be at least 10 feet from the building that it heats.

• A minimum setback of 50 feet from adjoining property lines and at least 100 feet from any residential or commercial structure would be required.

• A chimney at least two feet higher than the roof of any building within 200 feet would be required.

• Furnaces could be installed only on properties containing at least 40,000 square feet.

• Only seasoned hardwood could be used as fuel. Owners would be prohibited from burning painted, treated or coated wood, coniferous or soft wood, rubbish and garbage, plastic, rubber, newspaper, cardboard, and printing paper.

• Wood piles would have to be covered to keep them dry.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

August 4, 2009

Supervisors strike existing burners from ordinance

By Andrea Ciccocioppo, Sentinel Reporter, August 4, 2009

Last updated: Tuesday, August 4, 2009 9:34 AM EDT

After taking the heat again for more than an hour, public opinion finally sparked a resolution by Dickinson Township supervisors on an ordinance governing outdoor wood-fired burners.

The draft ordinance proposes setbacks dictating how far an outdoor burner must be from a neighboring home and requires the burners to conform to the latest federal and state standards. It also requires those who own a burner to subscribe to a waste removal contract and it limits the use of the burners to Sept. 15 through May 15.

A standing-room-only crowd of about 50 residents packed the township building to air their concerns over the proposal.

“You’ve got a whole room of taxpayers telling you we are not for it,” said resident Erik Tack. “Should we be pleading? No. You guys should be listening. That’s what you were elected to do.”

Hot issues

“I own a woodstove,” added resident Drew Stewart. “I do not have nearly that much property. There’s no place on my property I can set my stove to meet your setback requirements.”

“The reasoning behind the setbacks is to protect the neighbors from this device,” Supervisor Ray Jones explained.

In the initial draft, the board intended to require current boiler owners to apply for a $35 zoning permit to continue to operate their current stove, as long as it met the ordinance, or pay about $500 for a permit to relocate the stove so that it meets setbacks.

Tack said he spent about $11,000 late last year on a new boiler, only to find his won’t meet the setback requirements.

Resident Dennis Calaman wanted to know the reasoning behind the ordinance.

“We have to make sure the safety and health is maintained for the residents of Dickinson Township,” Jones said. “That’s the reason why I’m working on this, to protect the residents of Dickinson Township. We’re not saying you can’t have them. They just must meet the requirements.”

More fuel needed

Jones admitted he was not sure exactly how many burners are in use in the township.

“Before you do anything, you ought to know how many of these things are in the township,” said resident Phillip Thompson. “You’re hard at work on a problem that hasn’t been sized to any extent.”

Thompson and several others urged the board to conduct a survey to find out how many burners are in use in the township and whether they are a nuisance or source of pollution.

After hearing from about a dozen residents, the board agreed to take another look at allowing current boiler owners to be exempt — at least for now — from the new guidelines.

“Is there some way we can do this to register the stoves, but not require permits, and if we do that, as long as unit is in use, have some grandfathering?” Supervisor Allyn Perkins asked.

“I think some provision does need to be made to get a handle on what’s out there,” Jones said. “My concern is how do we get these stoves registered?”

Perkins and Jones voted to direct solicitor Ed Schorpp to draft a final ordinance governing new burners only.

They asked Manager Ron Reeder and Codes Enforcement Officer Larry Barrick to work on making sure all residents with existing burners register those burners. Those will not need to conform to the new ordinance, but an ordinance revision could be made in the future to address existing burners.

Supervisor Dan Wyrick was absent.

The board is expected to enact the ordinance regarding new burners at a future meeting.

“We don’t operate in a vacuum here, but we are proactive,” Jones said, thanking residents for their input. “I’m glad you came out. You are the subject matter experts.”

Full Article: CLICK HERE

August 4, 2009

Sentinel Morning Update: Dickinson residents argue burning ordinance

By staff reports, August 4, 2009

Last updated: Tuesday, August 4, 2009 9:34 AM EDT

After taking the heat for more than an hour for the second meeting in a row on an ordinance governing outdoor wood-fired burners, public opinion finally sparked a resolution by the Dickinson Township supervisors.

The draft ordinance proposes setbacks dictating how far an outdoor burner must be from a neighboring home and requires the burners to conform to the latest EPA/DEP standards. It also requires those who own a burner to subscribe to a waste removal contract and it limits the use of the burners to Sept. 15 through May 15.

A standing-room-only crowd of about 50 residents packed the township building to air their concerns over the proposal.

“You’ve got a whole room of taxpayers telling you we are not for it,” said Erik Tack. “Should we be pleading? No. You guys should be listening. That’s what you were elected to do.”

“I own a woodstove. I do not have nearly that much property. There’s no place on my property I can set my stove to meet your setback requirements,” said Drew Stewart.

“The reasoning behind the setbacks is to protect the neighbors from this device,” explained Supervisor Ray Jones.

In the initial draft, the board intended to require current boiler owners to apply for a $35 zoning permit to continue to operate their current stove, so long as it meets the ordinance, or pay about $500 for a permit to relocate the stove so that it meets setbacks.

Tack said he spent about $11,000 late last year on a new boiler, only to find his won’t meet the setback requirements.

Dennis Calaman wanted to know the reasoning behind the ordinance.

“We have to make sure the safety and health is maintained for the residents of Dickinson Township,” Jones said. “That’s the reason why I’m working on this to protect the residents of Dickinson Township. We’re not saying you can’t have them. They just must meet the requirements.”

Full Article: CLICK HERE

August 3, 2009

Middleport preps for 150th anniversary, updates property maintenance ordinances (OWBs mentioned)

n the first ordinance, the borough brought itself up to date with the 2009 International Property Maintenance Code.

The cost of building maintenance permits was also increased. For the first $1,000 of work, the permit rate has changed from $5 to $10. For each additional $1,000 of work, the rate has changed from $2 to $5.

The second ordinance prohibits the outdoor installation of hydronic heaters, known as wood-burning heaters or stoves, on properties smaller than two acres. Similar ordinances have been a recent trend in local municipalities.

At July's meeting, the council passed an ordinance regulating resident maintenance of sidewalks and curbs at their property. There had not previously been any ordinance delegating those responsibilities.

Full Article: CLICK HERE 

August 2, 2009

Issues reaches 'boiling' point in Holliston

By Aaron Wasserman/Daily News staff

The MetroWest Daily News

Posted Aug 02, 2009 @ 09:52 PM

HOLLISTON —

Only two people came to the first of two public hearings the Board of Health held last spring before banning outdoor wood-fired boilers, but since then, interest in the topic has spiked.

At the most recent hearing, the boardroom was filled, and at least 14 people submitted written testimony through last week, including a manufacturer of such boilers in Minnesota, its lawyer in Albany, N.Y., and the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation Inc.

While the board originally held the third hearing for procedural reasons, it's now being lobbied by the owners of the two wood-fired boilers in town and the manufacturer, Central Boiler Inc., to relax the regulations.

The topic, given the number of responses and geographic breadth, seems to have drawn more interest than any issue since problems erupted at the Covanta waste transfer station in town. This debate, officials say, is fortunately much more civil than the one over Covanta.

Among the unexpected items in the growing file about wood-fired boilers are aerial photographs of such a boiler taken by G. Leslie Sweetnam of Woodstock, Conn. He said he is concerned about the pollutants such boilers release and posted photos on the Web to "make them available to anyone who might want to use them in this sort of issue."

The written testimony generally splits into two camps. Neighbors of a boiler on Highland Street that irritates people encourage board members to keep the ban in place, including for ones already operating in town. The boiler owners, manufacturer and Farm Bureau Federation are requesting the board at least allow boilers in town that meet state environmental standards created last year.

The state regulations set emissions limits for any new boilers, govern where they can be placed on a property, and limit what time of year they can operate. They do not ban them outright, as the town's rules do.

Also in dispute in the testimony is how environmentally friendly the boilers are. Wood is a renewable energy source, but its burning emits particles that can cause respiratory and other health problems, and can create haze. However, Central Boiler's lawyer argues it has three new models whose emission levels meet state and federal environmental standards.

"Although there is some dispute about the extent to which OHH units pose an actual threat, it is clear that a significant potential threat exists," wrote David Nersessian, a neighbor of the Highland Street boiler, using another term for them. "This alone justifies a total ban on OHH units."

Doug Gillespie, the Farm Bureau Federation's executive director, wrote that to stop someone from using an existing system would be unfair.

"Rising input costs associated with on-farm energy consumption are having devastating impacts on farm profitability and viability," he wrote. "Many of our farmers are utilizing this type of equipment to help with their energy costs."

The Board of Health may have more time than originally thought to resolve the issue because the owner of the Highland Street boiler, Jim Taralli, has told them he won't use his next winter while out of the country on business. When he returns, he wrote, he will upgrade his boiler and test it to see if it meets state standards. If it doesn't, he'll stop using it, he said.

The next hearing on the topic is Aug. 6.

(Aaron Wasserman can be reached at 508-626-4424 or awasserm@cnc.com.)

Full Article: CLICK HERE

July 30, 2009

Council is deadlocked on boilers

By KAYLEIGH KARUTIS, The Leader-Herald

POSTED: July 30, 2009

GLOVERSVILLE - A local law regulating the use of outdoor wood boilers in the city failed to pass Tuesday night when the Common Council deadlocked in a 3-3 vote.

First Ward Councilwoman Robin Wentworth, 4th Ward Councilwoman Ellen Anadio and 6th Ward Councilman Ray Hindes voted in favor of the local law. Second Ward Councilman John Castiglione, 3rd Ward Councilman James Robinson and 5th Ward Councilman Matthew Myers voted against the proposal. Councilman-at-large James Handy was not present for the meeting, thus tying the vote and leaving the proposal dead in the water.

Councilmembers expressed a desire to rework the legislation and possibly vote again on it at a later meeting.

Hindes has been pushing for some sort of regulation on the devices for months. At past council meetings, Hindes said he believes legislation is important because more people may purchase a boiler in the next few months in preparation for winter. Without legislation, he said, there will be no guidelines for residents. City code requires boilers be placed 100 feet from any property line, which prevents them from being placed on most city properties.

One resident in the city has an outdoor wood boiler, Fire Chief Douglas Edwards said. The city established a moratorium on boilers in December 2007, but that expired in mid-2008.

At past meetings, several councilmembers expressed concern that regulating the devices would put additional financial hardship on residents who want to use them to save money.

In Fort Johnson, officials have enacted a six-month moratorium on the devices while they consider what action, if any, to take next. A group of officials and residents are set to make a presentation to the Board of Trustees regarding the topic at a future board meeting.

Kayleigh Karutis covers Gloversville news. She can be reached at gloversville@leaderherald.com

Full Article: CLICK HERE

July 30, 2009

Northfield Center gets to work on outdoor furnace rules

Posted by Calvin Jefferson July 30, 2009 22:47PM

NORTHFIELD CENTER The township's Zoning Board says that within the next three months it should have in place a new resolution to regulate the installation and operation of outdoor wood furnaces for homes here, including the materials owners can burn in them.

Board members on Monday began crafting the resolution using a similar ordinance passed last year by the City of Orrville in Wayne County, but they also decided to ask township trustees to extend a six-month moratorium on the installation of the heating devices as they work on the new measure.

"Rather than reinvent the wheel, we will use the ordinance for the City of Orville," Zoning Board member Jim Youel explained. "It follows the sample code (prescribed by the Ohio EPA), and we can just take it and tweak it for our own purposes."

Meanwhile, Township Zoning Inspector Donald Saunders ensured the board that its resolution would not be threatened down the road by any EPA rules for wood burning furnaces, because there will be none.

"The EPA is not going to put a set of standards together; they told me that," Saunders said. "They are only going to put out recommendations."

The Orville ordinance sets parameters for what can and cannot be burned in any new or existing furnace, allowing fuels including natural untreated wood, wood pellets, corn products, biomass pellets, or "other listed fuels specifically permitted by the manufacturer's instructions such as fuel oil, natural gas, or propane backup."

Prohibited fuels include treated wood, rubbish or gar bage, any plastic materials, rubber, tires, newspaper or any paper with ink and "any other items not specifically allowed by the manufacturer or this provision."

The Northfield Center Zoning Board said it will recommend in its resolution that coal is allowed to be burned only in furnace models approved for coal-fuel by their respective manufacturers.

The Orville ordinance also establishes setbacks for EPA OWHH Phase 1 Program qualified furnace models, on which the Northfield Center Zoning Board is focusing for its resolution.

Those models have been EPA OWHH Phase 1 Program qualified and meet EPA OWHH Phase 1 emission levels.

In Orville, an outdoor wood furnace must be located at least 25 feet from the property line and its chimney must "extend at least 2 feet above the peak of the residence it serves if neighboring residences not served by the furnace are located within 300 feet or the chimney shall extend at least 2 feet above the peak of any residence not served by the furnace within 100 feet, whichever is greater."

The Orville ordinance further institutes that the city can have owners make modifications to existing outdoor wood furnaces that create "a verifiable nuisance, as defined by local or state law."

While enforcement of any resolution would be the responsibility of the township, the zoning board was still aware of the tricky nature of ensuring residents abide by a resolution for outdoor wood furnaces.

"It will be difficult to enforce, but that should not stop us from getting something on the books," Zoning Board member Greg Yakich said.

When violations are suspected, the EPA can perform air sampling to get an idea what fuel is being used in a furnace, according to Saunders. The township also is allowed to prosecute furnace-related cases in its municipal court instead of a county court, which will expedite prosecution.

"In Summit County courts, there are too many criminal cases and (issues dealing with outdoor wood furnaces) would be considered minor cases," Saunders said.

The zoning board said it will first hold a public hearing on the resolution before it submits a final resolution to the trustees, who would also discuss the measure before a public audience.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

July 27, 2009

Outdoor furnace ban to be considered

NEWS NIAGARA REPORTER

LOCKPORT — A law that would ban the use of outdoor furnaces to heat homes in crowded residential areas is being considered by the Town Board.

A draft of the law, suggested by Building Inspector Brian M. Belson, was presented to the board last week.

Councilman Mark C. Crocker said he would be willing to sponsor it at the Aug. 5 board meeting. That would trigger the scheduling of a public hearing, probably Sept. 2.

Belson said the measure would bar outdoor furnaces in R-1 and R-2 zones— one-and two-family residential areas — if the burner is within 100 feet of another house.

The ban would not apply to agricultural zones.

The law would cover all outdoor furnaces regardless of what they burn.

Wood is the most common fuel, but other combustibles are sometimes used.

Town Attorney Daniel E. Seaman said, “I’m not recommending you regulate what is burned. It would be an enforcement impossibility.”

Belson said the town code already requires a permit for the outdoor burners.

“There’s not a lot right now, but they’re becoming more popular,” Belson said.

“The issue with those is, they give off tremendous amounts of smoke. They don’t usually have high stacks.”

In more heavily populated areas, an outdoor furnace could be 30 to 40 feet from a neighbor’s house, although Belson said the law wasn’t triggered by any complaints his office has received.

Smoke can also bother the user.

“There’s a guy on Old Dysinger Road. When he fires it up, his own house is engulfed,” Belson said.

tprohaska@buffnews.com

Full Article:  CLICK HERE

July 27, 2009

Moriah adopts outdoor wood stove law

People who own outdoor wood burners in Moriah can no longer install and run them as they please.

By LOHR McKINSTRY

Staff Writer

July 27, 2009 03:28 am

MORIAH — After months of wrangling, the Moriah Town Council has decided to regulate outdoor wood burners in the community.

The town was responding to numerous citizen complaints when it passed the law that tells owners of the controversial outdoor woodstoves when they can use them and how far they must be from a neighbor's home.

Even existing stoves must now be at least 50 feet from the edge of the owner's land and can only be operated eight months out of the year.

Fines for non-compliance can be as high as $200 a week.

Moriah Town Supervisor Thomas Scozzafava said he and the Town Council did extensive research before drafting and passing the new law.

"We tried to strike a balance between people who have outdoor wood burners and people who don't. With these hard times, we don't want to restrict people, but you still have to be cognizant of your neighbor. I feel this law will work well in this area."

He said the Town of Moriah is unique in that it has four hamlets outside the Village of Port Henry — Mineville, Witherbee, Moriah Corners and Moriah Center.

"So you have areas with close proximity of homes. The technology of these stoves has been getting better, and the newer ones are less problematic. The gasification units are more efficient."

Outdoor wood burners contain a steel firebox surrounded by a water reservoir and cost several thousand dollars. They heat and circulate water throughout a residence.

The circumstances will be taken on a case-by-case basis when there are issues, Scozzafava said.

"We're not trying to shut down your outdoor wood burner, but you have to respect your neighbor's rights, too."

Violations of the law carry a $200 fine, and each week of illegal operation can be considered a separate violation.

Many of the complaints in Moriah stemmed from the Grover Hills subdivision in Mineville, where several people installed outdoor wood stoves that neighbors said filled the area with smoke.

Moriah's law says if an outdoor stove is a verifiable nuisance, modifications must be made, such as extending the chimney height or relocating the stove further from the property line.

Although the stoves must be 50 feet from the property line, they must be 100 feet from any residence not served by the stove.

New stoves must now be installed with a chimney height no less than two feet above the roof peak of any home not served by the stove. Only wood may be burned in the stoves, and they may only be used from Sept. 15 to May 15.

Scozzafava said the town held several public workshops to draft the law, then public hearings before adopting it.

"We tried to get as much participation as we could from the community. This is an issue throughout the Northeast. Right now it's a checkerboard of regulations."

Some municipalities have banned outdoor wood stoves entirely, while others have severely restricted them.

The State Department of Environmental Conservation is working on regulations that would supersede local laws on the stoves, Scozzafava said.

A 2005 report from the State Attorney General's Office said the stoves they tested produced as much particulate pollution in an hour as 45 cars or two diesel trucks.

E-mail Lohr McKinstry at: lmckinstry@pressrepublican.com

Full Article: CLICK HERE

July 24, 2009

Holliston boiler flap has residents fired up

By Aaron Wasserman/Daily News staff

MetroWest Daily News

Posted Jul 24, 2009 @ 12:28 AM

HOLLISTON —

Residents last night debated the health effects of outdoor wood-fired boilers, which the Board of Health has scrutinized.

Board members voted in May to ban all wood boilers, including existing ones, in town, but held a hearing last night as they deliberate whether to modify the new regulations. The rules are stricter than ones adopted by the state.

The issue arose last winter when a boiler on Highland Street created problems for neighbors. It was the only known wood boiler in town until last night, when a Hill Street man told board members he started using one last winter.

All but one of the neighbors of the Highland Street boiler spoke in favor of the ban, describing smoke lingering over the neighborhood and the smell permeating their homes. However, the boiler on Hill Street does not seem to create similar problems, prompting its owner, Tim Donohue, to argue against a townwide ban.

"It doesn't make sense to ban something. It makes sense to fix something that doesn't work right," Donohue said. His boiler, which heats his house and a barn where he extracts honey, complies with state regulations.

Members of the Agricultural Commission also warned against an outright ban, saying farmers are considering them, among other renewable energy options, to control costs. They also suggested an agricultural exemption, which is part of other town and state regulations.

Board of Health Chairman Richard Maccagnano said members will take written testimony for another week and discuss the issue again at their Aug. 6 meeting. While they already voted for a full ban, which has also been adopted in several other Massachusetts towns, the state Department of Environmental Protection needs to approve it before it takes effect.

At issue was whether a wood-fired boiler qualifies as clean, renewable energy. Owners said they, in part, use them to reduce oil consumption, but others in the crowd said a renewable energy source isn't necessarily free of harmful health effects.

Outdoor wood boilers can emit heavy smoke, which contains particulates that could cause respiratory and other health problems. The smoke can also create a haze that limits visibility, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection.

"My experience is these devices are intrinsically unsafe and unhealthy, and we would be lacking in our stewardship of our children's health to allow this in a residential area in our town," said Brian Ogilvie, who lives near the Highland Street boiler.

Health Agent Ann McCobb in February cited the owner of the Highland Street boiler, Jim Taralli, for air pollution. He installed his system in 2006.

Taralli's lawyer last night argued for regulation of boilers, and allowing Taralli to try to improve his system with new equipment, "rather than overreaching with a ban."

The board is not aware of every outdoor wood boiler already in town because someone does not need a permit or to notify town officials to use one.

(Aaron Wasserman can be reached at 508-626-4424 or awasserm@cnc.com.)

Full Article: CLICK HERE

July 23, 2009

Ridgefield bans outdoor woodburning furnaces

Written by Macklin Reid, Press Staff

Thursday, 23 July 2009 06:10

Outdoor wood-burning furnaces — which may lower heating bills, but spread smoke — have been banned in Ridgefield.

After a year-long moratorium on the auxiliary heating plants, the Planning and Zoning Commission on July 14 adopted an outright ban on outdoor wood-burning furnaces, sometimes called “OWFs.” The alternative heat sources had been gaining some popularity statewide during the oil price run-up that peaked last summer.

The big concern with them is smoke.

“Although oil prices may go up and the demand for the OWFs may increase,” Town Planner Betty Brosius wrote in a memorandum to the commission, “houses in Ridgefield are in close proximity to one another and there are very few locations within the town where the furnaces can be placed to operate without smoke intruding into neighboring properties.”

Although the state does regulate the outdoor furnaces, Ms. Brosius said, “evidence from other towns suggests that compliance with state regulations does not always ensure that there will be no smoke problems.”

Before last year’s ban, one outdoor furnace had been installed in town, and drew complaints from neighbors unhappy with the smoke. It was put in without permits, Ms. Brosius said, and did not meet state rules on chimney height.

In the year that there’s been a moratorium, there have been no further inquiries about outdoor furnaces, she said.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

July 23, 2009

Towns tackle issue of outdoor wood-burning boilers

By Francesca Olsen
Hudson-Catskill Newspapers
Published:
Thursday, July 23, 2009 11:43 PM CDT
An informational outdoor wood boiler seminar Thursday night attempted to clear the air on some confusion about wood boilers, possible restrictions and real environmental dangers.

Because of an active debate in the village of Kinderhook over whether wood boilers should be restricted, banned or left alone, village Code Enforcement Officer Glenn Smith and the Columbia-Greene chapter of the New York State Building Officials Conference set up the informational meeting at the Academy for Christian Learning in the town of Kinderhook.

The room was packed before the start of the seminar, with local code enforcement officials, town supervisors and board members, and residents whose concerns ranged from what wood boiler smoke did to water and soil to what the state Department of Agriculture and Markets might have to say on the topic. The meeting was open to the public, but questions were limited to public officials.

About 80 municipalities in New York state have passed local legislation either restricting the use of wood boilers or banning them completely; most of these laws allow pre-existing wood boilers to keep burning, but limit their use seasonally.

Thick packets of reference information were available to the public, including a report from Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo and the Environmental Protection Bureau. Samples and summaries of local laws from surrounding counties and municipalities were also distributed, including the full text of a town of Red Hook local law banning wood boilers.

Ronald Piester, director of the New York Department of State Division of Code Enforcement, gave a presentation for code enforcers on how to better approach the topic. Residential, mechanical and property codes can be confusing in wording. Piester mentioned the interchangeable use of the words “equipment” and “appliance”.

“Some individuals see that outdoor wood boiler as another stove that is somehow attached to an existing residence,” he said. This is not the case. Additionally, distance separation regulations do not apply to appliances or equipment.

“It’s not considered a stove, an accessory structure, or a building,” said Piester. Residential and mechanical codes have specific requirements for appliances. They must be listed and labeled for outdoor installation and must be built to a certified standard. “An outdoor wood boiler cannot simply be constructed by scrap metal,” Piester said.

A wood boiler also has to be installed according to the standard and guide of it’s manufacturer. Its against the code to cut corners.

Regulatory code does exist that restricts discharge of steam, smoke or particulate waste onto the property of another individual or tenant.

“What we know is we’ve got to clarify this particular section of the code,” Piester said, adding that the state Division of Code Enforcement is reviewing the language and trying to find a way to clarify the code. Appliance location is not addressed; the regulatory code mostly focuses on installation.

Piester said the most important documents regarding the installation and regulation of outdoor wood boilers are the manufacturer’s installation instructions at this point.

“We are working with the municipalities to try and give assistance to all of you,” said Piester.

A provision does exist that allows municipalities to adopt a code that is more restrictive than the state’s current documentation, but it must be reviewed by the state Code Council. Another way to enact change in a small community is to change zoning standards, which are not subject to Code Council review.

Piester encouraged local code enforcement officials to make proposals to amend the state code as well. “That is an avenue that’s open to anyone,” he said, adding that to date, over 2,700 changes have been submitted for the national building code.

  For more information, visit the Columbia-Greene chapter of the New York State Building Officials Conference at http://nysboc.webs.com/.


Full Article: CLICK HERE
 

July 22, 2009

Outdoor Wood Boilers: Appropriate Technology or Deadly Device?

July 22, 2009

Holliston health board to review wood-fired boilers

By Aaron Wasserman/Daily News staff

The MetroWest Daily News

Posted Jul 22, 2009 @ 05:19 PM

HOLLISTON —

The Board of Health holds a second hearing tomorrow night on new rules that ban outdoor wood-fired boilers in town. The hearing begins at 7:30 p.m., in Town Hall, and the board’s regular meeting starts at 7 p.m.

Board members approved the regulations two months ago, but they still need the state Department of Environmental Protection’s confirmation. The rules would ban all boilers in town, including already existing ones, and require owners decommission them within 30 days of the rules taking effect.

 The only Holliston family that uses such a boiler has protested the new rules, saying they unfairly ban boilers that comply with state regulations and were installed before the Board of Health’s vote in May.

Outdoor wood boilers can emit heavy smoke, which contains particulates that can cause respiratory and other health problems, according to information from the Department of Environmental Protection. The smoke also can create haze that limits visibility.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

July 21, 2009

No decision on outdoor boilers code for Dickinson Township

By Andrea Ciccocioppo, Sentinel Reporter, July 21, 2009

After an hour and a half of discussion and public input, Dickinson supervisors have again agreed to delay action on a proposed ordinance regulating wood-fired outdoor boilers.

The board first visited the issue in February and had more than an hour of discussion before a packed board room then.

On Monday, about a dozen residents turned out to express their concerns over the ordinance, which regulates when the burners may be used, what kind are acceptable and where they may be placed.

According to the draft ordinance, Dickinson would limit the use of outdoor burners to October through May. It includes a provision that requires all wood-fired outdoor boiler users to subscribe to a waste and recycling contract.

It allows does not allow existing burners to be “grandfathered” under any former rules or regulations.

The board began the discussion on the ordinance without copies of the draft available to the public, so township treasurer Laura Portillo, who is also the designated open records officer, left the meeting to make copies for some of the residents in attendance.

Burning questions

After some discussion by the board, residents began asking questions about what they were reading and hearing.

“I’d like to know how many outdoor burners there are in this township,” resident Dennis Calaman said.

“Irrelevant,” Chairman Ray Jones replied.

“How many complaints have you had about them?” Calaman asked.

“Irrelevant,” Jones said.

“How many fires have been caused by them?” Calaman asked.

“That probably merits an answer ... I don’t see our fire chief here ... I’d say very few,” Jones replied.

“Are you suggesting we not do something because something didn’t happen?” Jones asked Calaman. “We’re trying to create a safe and healthy environment for the public.”

“What do the outside stoves do that the inside stoves don’t?” Calaman wondered.

“It’s easy to incinerate garbage in the outdoor stoves,” Supervisor Allyn Perkins suggested.

Smoke screen

Perkins said he thinks the board was attempting to work with the concerns of the residents.

“I want it to be the least restrictive while at the same time achieving the goals we want to achieve,” Perkins said.

He said those goals include preventing garbage from being burned in them as well as regulating particulate matter.

“It’s disturbing to see the South Mountain covered with smoke,” Perkins said. “DEP is highly critical of these wood burners.”

“The contents of what goes in should be restricted, not the burners,” resident Erik Tack said. “If there’s a problem with one person, deal with it, don’t restrict residents who are using them as they are intended.”

“Shouldn’t we know what’s causing that smoke?” asked Drew Stewart. “It seems like a good bit of a stretch to blame the smoke clouding the mountain on wood-burning stoves.”

Grandfather time

Ken Giffhorn objected to the time limits on the burners’ use.

“I’m speaking both as a citizen, but also as chairman of the planning commission,” Giffhorn said. “When we discussed this initially, a time period was not considered. A lot of people are using this for hot water. To deny these people their use or require them to have an additional source is unreasonable.”

But Perkins wondered how many stove users do not have back-up systems.

“These things only became popular within the last few years,” he said. “Most of these folks had electric or gas-fired water heaters prior ... I’m not sure this alleged burden is as big of a concern as we’re making it.”

Perkins again argued for a happy medium.

“I think it would be reasonable to try to strike a balance between using these things, but giving some protection to residents,” he said.

Fred Deitch wondered about the “grandfather” clause and whether his boiler would be affected. He said when he installed his burner, he was told it would be exempt from any future restrictions.

“Thank you for bringing that forward. We probably should consider having a grandfather clause,” Jones said.

“We have discussed it,” Perkins said.

“I guess I was asleep,” Jones replied. “I’d like to revisit the issue of grandfathering. I don’t recall the specifics.”

Extinguished for now

No residents in the audience spoke in favor of restricting the use of burners and at least one supervisor questioned the need for an ordinance.

“I’ve sat here for the last few months hearing about this. I’ve had a discussion on this more than once,” Dan Wyrick said. “I don’t see this as a problem, although I understand there are a lot of issues out there.”

Wyrick said he doesn’t think the ordinance is bad but, “I’m yet to be convinced that people who are doing the right thing aren’t going to be harmed in order to protect someone else.”

Jones said he expects to address the ordinance at the Aug. 3 meeting. Wyrick said he will not be able to attend that meeting, so it may be up to Perkins and Jones to conclude the issue.

“We’ve heard a number of concerns tonight,” Jones said. “I think we need to take these concerns into consideration and bring it up at a future meeting.”

Full Article: CLICK HERE

July 20, 2009

Proposal Would Establish Strict Rules for Outdoor Furnaces

WKZO News

KALAMAZOO - The issue of outdoor furnaces has been a hot topic in the townships where the neighbors have complained about the smell and the smoke.

Kalamazoo City Commissioners will receive a proposed ordinance Monday evening that would all but ban them from most city neighborhoods. The furnaces burn wood, coal or corn and can pose health and safety problems, according to the language in the city's proposed ordinance.

The new rules would require that a homeowner own a 3-acre parcel and install the furnace at least 350 feet from the neighbor's house.

There aren't many homes in the city that could meet those specifications.

City commissioners will receive the ordinance Monday evening, and vote on it next month.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

July 19, 2009 (editorial)

Breathe deeply

Borough must remain involved in air quality

Published Sunday, July 19, 2009

Fairbanks residents have more time to take a few deep breaths and consider how to deal with our sooty air, now that the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly has delayed consideration of an agreement with the state.

Those deep breaths should calm the over-excited, some of whom claim the borough administration wants an outright ban on wood stoves.

The borough is advocating no such policy; the opposite is the case. The borough is seeking authority to be involved in the process so drastic measures are not imposed from on high by the federal government.

The federal government kicked off the controversy two years ago when it tightened the nationwide standards for fine particulates in the air. That tightening puts Fairbanks air out of compliance with the rules on many days during the winter.

In some cases, the public is legitimately suspicious about the alleged dangers of pollution at the regulated levels found in this country. Standards often are written so only tiny increased risks occur after decades of constant exposure to pollution levels well above the standards. The cost of such caution can be extremely high.

However, recent science has made a good case for reducing fine particulates in the air. The effects of bad air aren’t enormous — we don’t see people keeling over in the streets — but there is a well-established correlation between very low levels of fine particulates and poor health.

As a result, we have good reasons to seek better air. Achieving this does not require a ban on all wood burning. It might require some general limits on the burning of wood, coal or other material in inefficient, poorly designed stoves.

If that doesn’t solve the problem, the borough might need to prohibit wood or coal burning during bad air days by those who have oil or gas heat alternatives.

The borough administration is not even advocating a ban on the outdoor wood-fired boilers that produce a disproportionate amount of the particulates.

Rather, it is considering the adoption of common emission limits for those and other wood stoves, combined with financial incentives to replace existing poorly performing boilers, within the parts of the borough where air quality is a problem.

These are the kind of targeted, reasonable measures the borough can help implement. If the borough is not at the table, though, we are more likely to see more blunt bans imposed by the state and federal governments.

It’s time for the borough to get involved.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

July 18, 2009

City might buy site in Oshtemo Township for well field (OWBs mentioned)

by Kathy Jessup | Kalamazoo Gazette

Saturday July 18, 2009, 6:00 AM

KALAMAZOO --

In other business Monday, the commission will hear a first reading of a proposed ordinance amendment requiring permits and certain installation standards for outdoor furnaces.

The city's Environmental Concerns Committee has endorsed the proposed ordinance.
Officials say outdoor furnaces can cause "health and safety problems" and create air pollution.

The proposed ordinance defines an outdoor furnace as a "boiler, stove, furnace or other appliance designed, intended or used to provide heat and/or hot water" that is fueled by burning "wood, coal, corn or other type of solid fuel" and that's located outside a structure intended for humans or domestic animals.

Monday's commission meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the second-floor chambers at Kalamazoo City Hall, 241 W. South St.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

July 17, 2009

Outdoor wood boiler meeting finalized

By Paul Crossman
Published:
Friday, July 17, 2009 11:31 PM CDT

Despite several small setbacks, the date and location of the Kinderhook outdoor wood boiler meeting is now set, and will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Academy for Christian Learning in the town of Kinderhook.

For nearly two months, debate has been raging in the village of Kinderhook about possible legislation regulating or even banning the use of outdoor wood boilers within village limits. Because of this, village Code Enforcement Officer Glenn Smith and the Columbia Greene chapter of the New York State Building Officials Conference have taken it upon themselves to set up an informational meeting for legislatures from Kinderhook and the surrounding towns to help best decide what the best course of action might be.

For those who don’t know the new location, Smith said it is located 2.2 miles north of the Kinderhook traffic circle, on route 9 and 9H, and approximately two miles south of exit 12 off I-90.

The changes were made for a variety of reasons, including possible structural problems with the original location — the Kinderhook Village Hall — and the fact that interest in the meeting is much greater than initially expected.

A press release sent out by the group states that “the unregulated installation of these devices has posed a problem in many local communities, and the need for informed legislation is rapidly becoming a necessity.”

Because of this, Smith has invited several different people to speak, including Ronald Piester, the AIA director for the NYS-DOS Division of Code Enforcement; Judith S. Schreiber, Ph.D., the chief scientist for the Environmental Protection Bureau; and the author of a definitive essay on boiler emissions, and John David Wood from the New York Department of State.

Originally, the meeting was also supposed to include a representative from an OWB manufacturer, but according to Smith, after an initial positive response on the subject the company could not be reached again.

Smith said he considers this only a small setback to the overall meeting. “We just have to go forward with what we have,” he said. “They never got back to me.”

This development should make at least some Kinderhook residents happy, as many were upset about an OWB manufacturer being invited to speak at the meeting in the first place.

“The DOH and DEC would have no reason to be biased against the wood boilers,” an anonymous Kinderhook resident told the Register-Star. “It’s enough to have them give the facts. We don’t need companies there who have every reason to lie.”

The entire meeting will be open to the public, but participation will be limited to town and village legislatures.

For more information about the event, go to www.nysboc.webs.com.

To reach reporter Paul Crossman, call 518-828-1616, ext. 2266, or e-mail pcrossman@registerstar.com.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

July 17, 2009

Clifton Park town board to hold hearing on outdoor boilers

By: Glenn Griffith , Community News

CLIFTON PARK - The town will hold a public hearing July 20 on adding a section to the town code regulating outdoor wood-burning boilers.

This will be the second public hearing on the issue.

The outdoor boilers are used by some as an alternative means of heating private homes. The units are independent of the house and connected only to the home's water line.

They should not be confused with interior wood-burning stoves or fireplaces.

The town has nothing in its code at present to regulate the outdoor boilers. A second public hearing is required because the proposed law received major changes from the initial version discussed this spring.

Town building director Steve Myers said he suggested the town establish some type of regulation after he received a notice from the New York State Department of State declaring the outdoor boilers a zoning issue rather than a building department matter.

"We don't have many of them in town right now, maybe five or six," Myers said, "but some downstate municipalities ran into problems with requests for them when fuel prices were skyrocketing."

Myers believes it is a good time to see what the public and the board feel about putting some regulation into place.

"I get about one call a month asking about them," he said. "If someone wanted to put one in we'd probably require a permit and go out and check the connection to the house when it was set up. That would be about it."

In the new proposal, the outdoor boilers are limited to conservation-residential zones, and are required to be on property with a minimum of four acres with specified setback from the nearest lot line. They are also required to meet federal Environmental Protection Agency standards, have minimum smokestack heights, burn only permitted fuels, and be used only after obtaining an installation permit.

Town attorney Tom McCarthy said the proposed law is based on one being used in the Town of Queensbury. He sees the law as relieving the town's building department of being burdened with making interpretations on the boilers and putting their regulations clearly into town code.

McCarthy and Myers are interested to see what the public and the board think of the issue.

"This law is a simpler version than the one we presented in March," McCarthy said. "And if it goes into the code the ZBA will be authorized to grant variances and waivers."

Full Article: CLICK HERE

July 16, 2009

Health board restricts outdoor wood boilers

The Rutland Board of Health Monday voted unanimously to adopt Outdoor Wood Boiler Regulations for the town. This action is allowed under the home rule provisions of Massachusetts General Law, members noted.

The regulation prohibits the use of boilers between the dates of June 1 and Sept. 30. However, the Board of Health has reserved the right to allow a waiver if the unit is the owner's only source of domestic hot water and is at least 1,000 feet from a neighboring dwelling or structure. A variance would be required if it is closer.

Homeowners with existing wood boilers must apply for a permit within 60 days of passage of these regulations or cease operation until a permit is obtained. Permits will be issued jointly by the Board of Health and the Building Department. New wood boilers can only be units that are approved by Mass Department of Environmental Protection.

The regulations were adopted following a petition submitted by 108 Rutland residents as well as a request by Jason and Liz Hilton of Bigelow Road who were present at the meeting. Jason Hilton stated that the outdoor wood boiler owned by his neighbors, Craig Bacon and Stephanie King, is commercial with the capacity to heat 24,000 square feet. The unit is located approximately 620 feet from the Hilton home, he said.

Citing Massachusetts General Laws, Hilton said the boiler is possibly injurious to his family as well as to the public health. Liz Hilton stated that although the summer ban will help the situation it will not solve the problem. "We are advocating for our children," she said. The Hiltons are currently awaiting an air quality report from The Harvard School of Public Health.

In response to neighbors' questions, Thomas O'Rourke, a Department of Environmental Protection Engineer, said burning carrion in the boiler is against the law. The board has scheduled another hearing on August 3 to affirm last night's action.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

 

July 15, 2009

A burning health issue between neighbors

WOOD FURNACE AT CENTER OF DISAGREEMENT

 

By Kevin J. MacLean CORRESPONDENT

RUTLAND —  The outdoor wood boiler at their neighbor's house is off for now, and for that Jason and Elizabeth Hilton are happy, knowing their children are breathing clean air.

And if the owners of that neighboring house at 25 Bigelow Road, Craig R. Bacon and Stephanie C. King, turn their boiler back on before Sept. 30, they will be in violation of regulations adopted Monday by the Board of Health.

But for the Hiltons, while the summer-burning ban is welcomed, it comes a little too late. They have felt trapped inside their home for two years as the odor of burning wood has seeped in — and they say this issue is far from over.

“It's always been about our children's health,” said Mrs. Hilton, 35, while sitting inside her buttoned-up home at 34 Bigelow Road on a sunny, 75-degree day earlier this month when their neighbors were still using the boiler. “This is not a neighborly dispute. This is not personal.”

Mr. Hilton, 37, said he and his wife, who are both teachers in the Wachusett Regional School District, are tired of living in worry about the smoke that has forced their windows shut but still finds ways to seep into their house, giving them headaches and sore throats.

The issue is the commercial-size outdoor wood boiler that Mr. Bacon and Ms. King use to heat their home in the winter and their indoor pool in the summer. According to the Hiltons' measurements, the boiler is 503 feet away from their property.

Mr. Bacon has a certificate of compliance issued by Rutland's building inspector for the boiler, which has a rating of 1.2 million BTU. The boilers cost as much as $10,000 to set up, but once installed, owners need to pay only for the wood to fuel the burners.

Mr. Bacon is a homebuilder and land developer. Ms. King is the Board of Health agent in Barre and a member of the Rutland Planning Board and Conservation Commission.

The Board of Health held a public hearing at the end of June to hear what folks had to say about the use of outdoor wood boilers. About 40 people attended. The Hiltons submitted a petition, signed by more than 100 residents, urging the board to ban the use of the boilers from April 1 through Oct. 1, unless the owner can document a 1,000-foot protective zone.

The final regulations adopted by the board Monday are far less restrictive. The summer ban runs from June 1 to Sept. 30, but an owner can apply for a variance to burn during the summer.

“If Mr. Bacon fires up his boiler, we will know and he will have violated the summer ban,” Scott Gilroy, chairman of the Board of Health, said yesterday. “We will know because his neighbors will tell us.”

Those neighbors described the conditions they have been living with in a letter to the Board of Health earlier this year.

“We have lived with an unacceptable nuisance and annoyance of foul odors, smoke, and particulate matters … for two summers now,” Mr. Hilton wrote. “Because of the continued operation of this unit, we are afraid to leave our windows open at night because the odors and particulate matter blow into our children's windows.”

The Hiltons have two children, Grace, 2, and Maxwell, 15 months. According to Mrs. Hilton, Max has been diagnosed with elevated blood platelet counts, which she said could be related to the wood smoke.

Because of increased risk of cancer, asthma and other health problems, the state last year imposed rules governing how outdoor wood boilers can be used. Those rules, which took effect in December, set emissions limits for any new boilers, govern where they can be placed on a property and limit the time of year they can operate, depending on location and the smokestack's height.

Outdoor wood boilers can emit heavy smoke containing particulates that can cause respiratory and other health problems, according to information from the Department of Environmental Protection.

The boilers resemble small sheds and burn wood to heat water, which is piped underground to the nearby home or other structure to provide heat and hot water.

In mid-June, the Department of Environmental Protection issued a notice of noncompliance against Mr. Bacon, indicating the wood burning unit at 25 Bigelow Road was “operated in a way to generate excessive smoke and off-site odors” and “causing or contributing to a condition of air pollution.”

Rutland's Board of Health issued a cease and desist order around the same time.

Mr. Bacon's response to the order was that the “issue is becoming extremely annoying,” and that the reality of it was that he was not the problem.

“One person with too much time on his hands and a personal agenda has blown this out of proportion,” Mr. Bacon wrote in a letter to the Board of Health. “I have $23,000 invested in my entire system, which I designed within all rules and regulations in mind.”

Mr. Bacon questioned how the Board of Health determined that his boiler had adversely affected air quality.

“The cease and desist order was sent because of psychotic, crybaby antics that I have dealt with for years with the Hiltons,” Mr. Bacon wrote. “There is no proof that emissions from my, or any other, wood furnace has been at unsafe levels anywhere, anytime.”

Mr. Bacon said in a telephone interview Monday that the state DEP had cleared the noncompliance order and inspected his boiler, and that the manufacturer had cooperated fully by providing the appropriate documentation.

“Everything is all set here. The order was lifted by DEP,” Mr. Bacon said.

But according to enforcement official Michelle Delemarre at the state DEP, that is not the case.

“No, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection has not conducted an inspection of Craig's outdoor wood fired boiler,” Ms. Delemarre wrote in an e-mail Monday. “I am unaware if Central Boiler sent a representative out to inspect the unit.”

She said Central Boiler — the outdoor wood boiler manufacturer — did send an e-mail indicating the unit used by Mr. Bacon is rated at less than 1 MM BTU/hr.

“However, MassDEP has not been provided with any actual test data to demonstrate the rating,” Ms. Delemarre said.

At the Hiltons' request, the Harvard School of Public Health has been monitoring the air quality inside and outside their home, to analyze particulate matter contained in the wood smoke. “Harvard told us that data they collected was extremely higher than air quality in downtown Boston,” Mr. Hilton said. “That is a harmful level.”

The Hiltons also have consulted David R. Brown, a public health toxicologist and science adviser to Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management, of which Massachusetts is a member.

While waiting for local and state agencies to address their problem, the Hiltons have spent close to $2,000 purchasing two air purifiers with high-energy filters for their children's bedrooms. All they are asking at this point, they say, is to have officials inspect Mr. Bacon's boiler to determine if it is within regulations.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

July 15, 2009

City audit scheduled for Aug. 1 (OWBs mentioned)

By JODY MURPHY, jmurphy@newsandsentinel.com

July 15, 2009

Parkersburg, WV

Lucy Phillips and Jerry Kreinik voiced concerns on wood burning stoves and furnaces. Phillips asked council to consider developing a set of codes to regulate the heating devices. City Attorney Joe Santer said that would be difficult, citing the lack of guidelines or emissions criteria from the Environmental Protection Agency.

"We don't have the ability or the skill to define these things," he said.

Full Article:  CLICK HERE

July 14, 2009

Brutus nears planning board agreement

By Kathleen Barran / The Citizen

Tuesday, July 14, 2009 12:16 AM EDT

WEEDSPORT - A couple of longstanding issues in the Town of Brutus are close to resolution - the Joint Planning Board and outdoor furnaces.

The town also discussed proposed Local Law No. 3 on outdoor wood furnaces.

Town Supervisor James Hotaling said manufacturers asked the Environmental Protection Agency to come on board and advise them on developing cleaner burning units.

Hotaling said Phase I units could reduce harmful emissions by 70 percent, but a new Phase II unit will take out 90 percent.

If the monitoring services of the EPA are in place, Hotaling said, “the Phase II units will eliminate the headaches on our part.”

He noted Phase II units are available locally.

By March 2010, he said, the Phase I units end and only Phase II furnaces will be available.

The local law would then only be a matter of checking to make sure the new units are installed according to manufacturer's specifications with the same rules as any other accessory structure.

“As a practical matter,” he said, “we're not going to bother people putting in new units.”

The town now has 12 outdoor furnace units.

The board unanimously resolved to accept the proposal and move forward to the next phase, to hold a public hearing on the issue at the August meeting.

The town law does not address outdoor furnaces in the village of Weedsport.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

July 8, 2009 (editorial)

Health is affected by wood boilers

We contacted the Rutland Board of Health and Board of Selectman last September because we lived with the nuisance of an outdoor wood boiler for the entire summer last year. Our neighbors Craig Bacon and Stephanie King have a commercial-sized outdoor wood boiler that they run all year long. In the summer it heats their domestic hot water and indoor swimming pool. According to Google Earth this unit is approximately 420 feet from the start of our front yard and 620 feet from our home. Because of the topography and the size of this unit, we often smell the foul smell in our home and on our property. The Fire Department, a selectman, friends, neighbors, and family members have all smelled the odor in our yard and in our home and witnessed this unit in operation. We are forced to close our windows at night and often during the day. The town issued a cease and desist on this unit and the owners did not stop burning. They ignored this town order for 12 days and the BOH did nothing to stop them from burning.

We feel the health of our two young children is being impacted by this unit. The Harvard School of Public Health has been monitoring the air quality at our home. Dr. David Brown, a Connecticut toxicologist who studies outdoor wood boilers, analyzed the data and found particulate matter levels to be "extreme" at our home on several days during the monitoring. These levels are directly linked to asthma attacks, heart attacks, and certain cancers.

Before we realized how harmful this unit was, we asked our town to consider a summer ban on these units during the non heating months, from April 1 to Oct. 1. Last Monday the Rutland BOH held a hearing and there were many residents there to support this ban. At this hearing we presented the BOH with two petitions signed online by 108 Rutland residents and 162 non-Rutland residents. The Building Inspector said there were twelve of these units in town and three illegal ones. There were approximately eight boiler owners from town at the hearing. Out of these owners all but two, our neighbors being one, had stopped burning for the summer.

The BOH had a meeting immediately following the public hearing and decided to water down the summer ban to June 1 to Aug. 31 and rescinded the two cease and desist orders they gave out prior to the hearing. There are some communities in Massachusetts that have banned outdoor wood boilers altogether. Chairman Gilroy incorrectly stated that no other state had regulations except Massachusetts. The state of Washington has banned outdoor wood boilers completely. After all the studies we have provided the BOH, Chairman Gilroy compared these units to the campfires he grew up around. He also seemed overly concerned with the financial burden of raising a stack on an outdoor wood boiler, despite evidence presented to the Board of Health that raising the stack will not alleviate the harmful emissions from outdoor wood boilers. We would like Chairman Gilroy to assess these monetary questions.

What is the price of breathing clean air in your own home and yard?

What is the price of a lifetime of asthma treatment?

What is the price of a lung transplant?

What is the price of chemotherapy for cancer treatment?

What is the price of losing a child prematurely due to stroke, heart attack, or cancer?

What is the price of lost time with your children?

Chairman Gilroy also mentioned the fact that one study contradicts another study. Which studies is he referring to? Were they peer-edited studies like David Brown's? Or are they from manufacturing companies that hired lawyers and engineering firms as "experts" to counter peer-reviewed articles? It appears that Chairman Gilroy has not critically read any of the studies we have provided the Board of Health, nor taken this matter very seriously.

This is not a neighborly dispute. It is not personal. It is a matter of health and safety. Despite character attacks by our neighbors, we have not attacked their character. We are parents trying to protect our children from a now confirmed health hazard through air quality testing at our home. Will you help us Chairman Gilroy, or is money more important than the health of our children?

If you would like to visit our website to learn more or contact us, please visit: http://web.me.com/jason_hilton/ CURE_OWBs/Welcome.html.
Jason and Liz Hilton
Rutland

Full Article: CLICK HERE

July 8, 2009 (editorial)

Wood boiler should be tested by state

We have to understand that there is a major difference between the amount of pollution from an existing wood boiler and an approved Mass DEP wood boiler. The wood boiler manufacturers understood how much pollution their existing units produced and voluntarily developed and produced new units that produce 90-percent less pollution. The new Mass DEP has approved three residential units that heat the same amount of water by burning less wood, heating more water, and producing less pollution.

Stephanie King's and Craig Bacon's existing commercial-sized outdoor wood boiler located at 25 Bigelow Road in Rutland was not manufactured to the new EPA standards.

First, this commercial sized unit produces pollution that is a nuisance and even more so in the summer time. Craig stated at the June 8, 2009 select board meeting that he and Stephanie use their commercial-sized outdoor wood boiler to heat their indoor swimming pool and domestic water. The summer time weather conditions contribute to the pollution coming across the valley into my niece and nephew's home. I saw large amounts of smoke, 48 hours after the cease and desist was delivered in hand, that was extremely thick and looked like smoke from a structure fire. Stephanie and Craig should let Mass DEP test their commercial-sized boiler.

Why was burning still allowed at Stephanie's and Craig's boiler? Stephanie is a Board of Health agent and when she crosses the town line she starts to "protect the environment from disease and pollution" in Barre. In Rutland she refused to follow a legal order from the Town of Rutland. Stephanie serves as the chairman of the Conservation Commission; how can the Conservation Committee hand out a cease and desist order when she does not follow the Board of Health orders? She also is an elected member of the planning board in town.

This is wrong that they continued to burn and I hope you, the Rutland Board of Health, look past Stephanie's association with the Conservation Commission, Planning Board, and Barre Board of Health and shut this nuisance down once and for all.

C. Pat Schmohl, Jr., RN

Arline Drive, Rutland

Full Article: CLICK HERE

July 7, 2009

Perth officials consider limiting use of wood boilers

By ZACH SUBAR, The Leader-Herald

POSTED: July 7, 2009

PERTH - Town officials are considering restrictions on the use of outdoor wood-burning boilers to heat homes.

Supervisor Greg Fagan said several residents have expressed concern at meetings about smoke produced by the boilers.

Wood boiler proponents have said the devices are a cheaper alternative to heating with oil over the long term. But the boilers have raised significant environmental concerns locally and across the state.

A 2008 report from the state Attorney General's Environmental Protection Bureau office said "outdoor wood boilers produce thick, acrid, foul smoke that permeates buildings and homes, causing not only a nuisance, but also environmental degradation and health problems."

That same report said wood boilers have four times the emissions of conventional wood stoves-72 grams per hour, as opposed to 18 grams per hour.

More than 61 municipalities, including Dolgeville and the town of Mayfield, and two counties have imposed some sort of restriction on wood boilers.

Many others, including Gloversville, are considering restrictions.

The Environmental Protection Bureau report recommends the state Department of Environmental Conservation require all municipalities to conform to certain wood boiler regulations.

The DEC has not done so yet, but DEC spokeswoman Lori Severino said Monday the agency's regulatory agenda, which lists laws that could be proposed for adoption during this calendar year, contains a regulation that would restrict outdoor wood boiler use.

Fagan, who heats his own home with a wood boiler, said he expects the potential ban to become a relatively regular topic of discussion at town meetings in the near future.

He said the board needed time to discuss the issue before formally considering a resolution to restrict the use of wood boilers, at least during the warm-weather months.

Some residents are clamoring for a year-round ban, but Fagan said the board likely will not take that stance.

"I think the whole board would probably go along with a seasonal ban if the law's crafted right," he said.

 Full Article: CLICK HERE

July 7, 2009

Town’s sewer system billing policy to change(OWBs mentioned)
By Kyle Weaver

Scandia, MN

Wood boilers

After a lengthy discussion, the board approved an amended version of its Outdoor Wood Boiler ordinance.

The ordinance requires newly installed wood boilers to obtain a permit from the township and requires that the boilers:

• Meet EPA Phase 2 “White Tag” standards and

• Have a minimum chimney stack height of two feet above the nearest residential roof, except where doing so would prevent the reasonable function of the stack.

• Be set back at least 500 feet from the nearest residence other than the one it serves.

• Be restricted to operation between Oct. 1 and March 31.

• Burn only clean fuels as defined in the ordinance.

• Emit only clean smoke, of less than 20 percent opacity.

A number of the provisions in the ordinance, including most of those listed above, apply to existing wood boilers as well as new ones.

After a public hearing, the town’s planning commission discussed the ordinance at length in May, but could not come to a consensus on the matter and forwarded it to the town board without a recommendation.

The board’s vote was 2-1 in favor of the ordinance, with Voedisch against, in disagreement with the setback requirement.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

 

July 6, 2009

New hearing set on outdoor wood boilers in Holliston

By Aaron Wasserman/Daily News staff

The MetroWest Daily News

Posted Jul 06, 2009 @ 09:59 PM

HOLLISTON —

The Board of Health has scheduled a second public hearing later this month on its new regulations banning outdoor wood boilers.

Board members approved the rules in May, but Health Director Ann McCobb said the second hearing is required to implement them. The hearing is scheduled for July 23, at 7:30 p.m. in Town Hall.

Holliston's regulations prohibit any new boilers from being installed and require that any now in use be taken down 30 days after the new rules take effect. Anyone who violates the rules will be fined $100. A $200 fine would be assessed for a second violation and $300 for any others after that.

The regulations go further than recently implemented state ones, which set emissions limits for any new boilers, govern where they can be placed on a property, and limit what time of year they can operate, depending on location and the smokestack's height.

About 35 Massachusetts towns have their own regulations for outdoor wood boilers, including Bellingham and Westborough, according to information from the Department of Environmental Protection.

The only Holliston family that appears to use such a boiler has objected, saying the new rules unfairly ban boilers that comply with state regulations and were installed before the Board of Health wrote new ones.

"It seems unfair and even unconstitutional that I would be forced to give up my property when I met all requirements at the time of installation," wrote Jim Taralli in a letter to Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Laurie Burt, asking to have his $20,000 system grandfathered.

"Further, I believe that this proposed regulation is aimed directly at me because I have the only (outdoor wood boiler) in Holliston," he also wrote.

Taralli, who was out of the country on business the first time the Board of Health held a hearing on the matter, said he plans to attend July 23.

(Aaron Wasserman can be reached at 508-626-4424 or awasserm@cnc.com.)

Full Article: CLICK HERE

July 3, 2009

Brockway considers outdoor furnace limits

By:  Courier Press/Tri-County 2009

The Brockway Borough council continued discussing a proposed outdoor furnace ordinance Thursday.
Councilman Joe Antonuccio said one of the changes to the ordinance the committee would like to see is exemption furnaces in garages.
The committee, which consists of Antonuccio, Councilman Ed Horner and Secretary Laurie Wayne, also favors changing the chimney height from 20 feet to 12 feet and setback distances to 35 feet from the front and 10 feet from the sides.

Antonuccio said another issue he has with the ordinance is the section that says, "in no event shall smoke or fumes from any outdoor furnace enter a building or property that borders the property the furnace is located or operated on."
"That's almost impossible," Antonuccio said.

Assistant solicitor Ross Ferraro said that language is in the ordinance so if there is a problem with a furnace that is overly smoky, a neighbor would be able to do something about it.

Antonuccio said the "no smoke" rule seems like it is putting unfair restraints on people who own outdoor furnaces, restraints that aren't put on those who burn wood or coal inside their homes but still emit smoke from their chimneys.

Ferraro said when he was writing that portion of the ordinance, he viewed it as a clause to address nuisance smoke. He said he would look at it, reword it and present it to the committee for review with the other changes.

Antonuccio said the committee would like to see existing furnaces grandfathered. Solicitor Ed Ferraro said people with furnaces would have to get a permit, but wouldn't have to move or modify their furnaces to meet the standards of the ordinance. They would, however, have to comply with the list of materials that are permitted to be burned or prohibited from being burned.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

July 2, 2009

Residents push for wood boiler ban

RUTLAND - A Board of Health meeting that was looking for input on possible wood-burning boiler regulations drew a turnout of more than 40 residents in Community Hall on Monday night.

"This meeting is strictly informational," Health Board chairman Scott Gilroy said. "We'll try to do this as quick and easy as possible without any bloodshed."

The health board had issued a cease and desist order on two of the outdoor boilers just 12 days before the hearing. The order was due to be lifted on the hearing date. Stephanie King and Craig Bacon, 25 Bigelow Road, and Charles Gove, of 309 E. County Road, own the boilers that were ordered to be temporarily shut down.

Jason and Liz Hilton, 34 Bigelow Road, first contacted the board in September about the boiler operated by King and Bacon.

"We are asking for a non-heating ban in the summer months," Liz Hilton said. The foul-smelling smoke and its irritating particulates have forced them to close their windows in the summer months, she said. They feel the boiler is having an adverse effect on the health of their children.

"The house is 80 degrees in the morning because the windows are closed," she said.

The Hiltons brought a petition signed by 108 residents supporting the ban during the summer months and proposing that all wood-burning boilers be located at least 1,000 feet from other residences.

Data collected by employees from the Harvard School of Public Health at her home showed high levels of particulate matter on three mornings in June, Hilton said.

"That is a harmful level," she said. King and Bacon are operating a commercial size boiler, she claimed. Hilton noted that King was the health board agent for the town of Barre and that town operated with a summer ban on the boilers.

King said she did help write the boiler regulations for Barre, but did not believe that her boiler would produce an adverse health effect for the Hiltons.

"We're more than 500 feet away. This is because her son has an illness and they're trying to find anything to blame it on," she said.

Outside the meeting, Hilton said that her 14-month-old son has high blood platelet counts and that she has read studies that the condition can be affected by wood smoke.

An outdoor wood boiler is housed in a shed and is vented by a chimneystack. The boiler has a wood-burning firebox and is surrounded by a water jacket. The wood in the firebox heats the water in the surrounding jacket that is then pumped through insulated underground pipes into the residence. Once in the residence the water heats the home through radiators or a heat exchanger duct system. The system can also be used to provide a house with hot water. If an owner chooses to burn large logs, green wood or even non-wood products especially smoky conditions can develop.

"The boilers burn sooty and emit a lot of particulates. When you reduce the load, when it's not at full combustion, it's worse," Thomas O'Rourke, 4 Julie Ann Circle said. O'Rourke identified himself as a former air pollution control engineer for the state.

"I support a ban. They're no good," he said.

To date, the only town regulation in place for wood-burning boilers requires a homeowner to get a permit from the town building inspector.

Building Inspector Harry Johnson told the meeting he believes there are 15 wood-burning boilers operating in town, but only 12 of them have permits.

Several wood boiler owners at the meeting said they did not operate theirs during the summer months.

Rick Thebeau, 4 Nate's Way, agreed with a proposal for a summer ban.

"I support the ban, I wouldn't want that coming into my yard. I have a 2-year-old and a 4-day old. It sounds like some people in this room turn them off in the summer anyway. That's the neighborly thing to do," Thebeau said.

Gilroy said the Department of Environmental Protection had been to the Hilton residence and to his understanding, has had weekly contact with them for the last month.

The board plans to have a draft of regulations by Aug. 1, Gilroy said. The board will also research current and proposed state regulations on the boilers.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

June 28, 2009

Peru finalizing wood-boiler regulations

By JEFF MEYERS
Staff Writer

PERU — Town councilors moved a step closer to finalizing the town's regulations on outdoor wood boilers.

Officials held a public hearing on the issue during its latest regular meeting, accepting comments from the community on a few proposed revisions to a law that was originally approved a year ago.

"Since then, with help from everybody's input, we've looked for ways to be less restrictive while still meeting our goals to protect our residents," said Town Supervisor Donald Covel as he opened the public-response session.

One revision was designed to eliminate seasonal restrictions on open wood boilers, he noted. The original law required owners to shut down in the spring and reopen the burners in the fall, but officials felt that was too restrictive considering how cold it can be in the North Country spring, Covel noted.

He also said there will be no restrictions on boilers used for commercial use.

The revisions also stipulate that spark arrestors must be included on wood boilers unless the manufacturer recommends against the use of them.

Covel suggested that residents could use a letter from the manufacturer stating that, but town attorney Donald Biggs said the owner must have a standardized written recommendation for the model in question, not just for the owner's specific boiler.

The town has also renewed the 90-day grace period for current owners to apply for a permit for existing boilers without penalty.

When Covel opened the hearing to the public, no residents had specific comments, though one man said his lawyer was "taking care of that."

E-mail Jeff Meyers at: jmeyers@pressrepublican.com

Full Article: CLICK HERE

June 26, 2009

Schoolcraft to regulate wind generators (OWBs mentioned)

By Laura Mead

POSTED: June 26, 2009

MANISTIQUE - Residents of Schoolcraft County who are interested in installing wind generators will soon have to abide by an ordinance. Because of increasing interest in alternative energy, the Schoolcraft County Board of Commissioners approved setting up guidelines for wind generators at its meeting Thursday.

It is still undecided whether there will be an ordinance for outdoor wood burners.

The board approved the adoption of a wind generator ordinance. There was more concern in regards to what the public's reaction would be towards an ordinance on outdoor wood burners.

"I kind of feel it's necessary (to hold another public hearing) for the outdoor wood burner," said Board Chair Jerry Zellar. "Burning wood is a way of life here."

"Wood is also a local business and the money always stays here," added Commissioner John Zellar.

Lang said the problem with having no guidelines for a wood burner is if a chimney isn't high enough the smoke stays low to the ground.

"You're handcuffing a lot of people," said Zellar. "There are several people in the area who sell them."

Lang said outdoor wood burner distributors in the area were in favor of the ordinance because when the wood burners cause problems between residents, it reflects negatively on them.

LaFoille said he did not personally see the need for another public hearing, however, he would not be opposed to it.

The board voted 4-1 to hold a public hearing on the wood burner ordinance, with LaFoille voting no. The public hearing was scheduled for the next county board meeting July 21.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

June 25, 2009

Ohio City's Proposed Ordinance To Ban Mascot Advertising (OWBs mentioned)

June 25, 2009 4:53 a.m. EST


Windsor Genova - AHN News Writer

Tallmadge, OH (AHN) - The Tallmadge city council in Ohio has proposed a nuisance ordinance that will ban businesses from parading dancing employees dressed in costumes along sidewalks to advertise their establishments.

The ordinance was introduced apparently due to public complaints against distracting advertising strategies, including carrying of signs to invite customers.

Law Director Penny Taylor, who introduced the ordinance, said some people also raised concerns about the dangers posed by such advertising to drivers and for making the appearance of Tallmadge Circle unsightly, according to Ohio.com.

Councilman James Donovan told Ohio.com he supports the mascot ban saying, "It's like a cartoon show out there. It's terrible."

The ordinance also covers barking dogs, playing musical instruments in public, nude swimming, dropping objects from highway overpasses, window peeping, public begging, immoral and indecent acts, and other annoying behavior. It also sets distance of outdoor wood boilers from homes.

June 23, 2009

New rules address woodboilers, other nuisances in Tallmadge

by Joanne morris

Tuesday June 23, 2009, 1:33 PM

It would be difficult for residents reviewing a new nuisance ordinance for Tallmadge Township to find a possible objectionable action that was not addressed.

Barking dogs, playing musical instruments in public, nude swimming, dropping objects from highway overpasses, window peeping, public begging, and almost any other immoral, indecent, or just plain annoying behavior is all covered under the new law.

The more colorful offenses, however, didn't garner as much discussion at the Township Board meeting last week as a seemingly tamer subject - outdoor wood boilers.

One big question that Clifford "Tip" Bronkema had was what zoning areas the woodboilers would be allowed in. Bronkema said the ordinance should be "more clarified on where you can position it," within the township.

The ordinance language didn't specify whether woodboilers could be used in residential or other non-agricultural zonings.

Clerk Lenore Cook said the ordinance was specifically written to allow anyone who can meet the 150-foot setbacks to use woodboilers. "They didn't want to eliminate a whole part of our township," she said. "If I can meet this 150 (feet) I can have a woodburner.

She said the positioning of woodboilers was "a very touchy subject," and the township had closely considered all ramifications before crafting the ordinance language.

Although the ordinance language allows a woodboiler to be placed " as close to your own home as what a pole barn could be," which is about 10 feet, the boiler must be 150 feet from any neighboring houses, Cook said.

Trustee Gerald Walt said people already using woodboilers would be "grandfathered" in and would not have to meet setback requirements.

New wood boilers would require zoning and mechanical permits before being installed.

Mike Eppink, a trustee and assistant fire chief, said he was in favor of the outdoor wood boilers because they are less of a fire hazard than indoor heating devices.

"Get these things out of the house, and it cuts the problems down to nothing," he said.

The new ordinance presents a long list of items that may not be legally burned in a woodboiler, including yard waste, green wood, trash, and tires.

At the meeting, trustees approved adding language to clarify that wood boilers could be used in any township zoning, a long as setbacks are met.

Violating the wood burner rules - or any violation of the nuisance ordinance - would be considered a municipal civil infraction, which carries a fine or not less than $250 for first offenses and $500 for repeat offenses, she said.

At the meeting, Bronkema said he didn't think some of the more major offenses "should be in here (the nuisance ordinance), because our police department should be taking care of it."

However, Trustee Matt Fenske said the ordinance provides "easier and faster" recourse for the township to deal with nuisances. " I think it speeds up the process to address the infraction," he said.

Being charged with a civil infraction wouldn't negate other county or state charges stemming from the same crime, Cook said.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

June 19, 2009

Wood-burning boiler issue raised during Tug Hill forum

TOWN OF LEE — The economy, changes in the farming community, and regulating wood-burning boilers were among topics at a public forum Tuesday night on issues in the Tug Hill area.

The gathering, which sought feedback on a recent survey of Tug Hill residents’ opinions of the region, was attended by six people, said Katie Malinowski, associate director of natural resources for the state Tug Hill Commission. She said two attendees were from the general public, while others at the Lee Town Hall session were local government officials including Lee Supervisor John Urtz.

The discussion, said Malinowski, included forces that contribute to job scarcity locally, and the difficulties in overcoming that. Also addressed was the trend for consolidations of local farms, and how to regulate wood-burning boilers while avoiding problems with neighbors, she said. Lee officials are considering such regulations, and Malinowski said her organization will provide data from other communities.

The session was the fifth of seven forums in the Tug Hill region regarding the survey, which was conducted in March by the commission and the region’s five councils of government. The final two are Thursday night at Redfield Fire Hall and June 25 at Martinsburg Town Hall. Among categories in the project, which generated nearly 1,000 completed surveys, were the economy, land use, government regulations and infrastructure.

Attendees at each forum are being asked to fill out another brief survey that followed up in more detail on some survey topics, Malinowski said. A summary will be presented after the forums.

The largest forum turnout was 15 people at a Boonville session last month, while the Lee turnout was one of the smallest, Malinowski noted. She observed that Lee is on the edge of the Tug Hill region, and residents may not identify themselves with it as closely as others do.

A total of 12 towns in northern Oneida County are part of Tug Hill, which is located roughly in the triangle formed by Watertown, Rome and Syracuse.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

June 18, 2009

Learn about outdoor wood boilers at upcoming info meeting

KINDERHOOK — For the past several weeks the historic village of Kinderhook has been in turmoil over the possible enactment of legislation banning or limiting the construction and use of outdoor wood boilers (OWBs) due to negative health effects. Though no laws have yet been passed, the Village Board has been looking at regulations passed by other towns around both the state and the country, and the boilers have been a hot issue during several board meetings.

For this reason, Glenn Smith, the village code enforcement officer and vice president of the New York State Building Officials Conference, has decided to hold an informational meeting for town and village officials in an effort to help clear some smoke on the issue and come up with the best possible solution for all members of the village.

The Columbia Greene chapter of NYSBOC is sponsoring the meeting, which will include representatives speaking on behalf of other towns that have banned OWBs, as well as presentations about their benefits from different manufacturers. Also speaking will be Ron Piester of the Department of State, Code Division, Jerry McDonald from the New York State Department of Health, and possibly a representative of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. It will occur 7 p.m. July 23 on the second floor of the Village Hall at 6 Chatham St. and will be open to the public, though participation will be limited to the legislators.

“NYSBOC thought it would be topical to have an informational forum,” Smith told the Register-Star. “This will be a proactive, municipal event. This is what we’re all about.”

The issue of the possible negative health effects of these boilers was first brought up during Valatie’s April board meeting, which was attended by several members of the community that thought their quality of life was being brought down by the acrid smoke of the boilers, as well as owners and supporters of the boilers themselves who don’t believe legislation should be passed against their use. Arguments grew somewhat heated and spilled over into May’s meeting, during which the board and members of the public discussed many of the positive and negative aspects of OWBs.

“The outdoor wood boilers are only partial combustion, which is what creates the problems,” said Joan Blum, a member of the community who lives near an OWB, during May’s meeting. “I can attest that at times it smells like [her neighbor is] burning tires in it. The odor is terrible.”

Other residents disagree, and seem to feel that all regulations regarding the installation and use of the boilers are perfectly acceptable.

“I’m proud of my wood boiler,” said Mike Urbaitis. He explained that the boiler helps keep heating costs low and that he operates it primarily in cold weather. Construction and installation of his wood boiler met or exceeded all requirements, and Urbaitis said that since he followed all applicable rules, he should not be forced to shut the machine down. He went on to say that the OWB represents a serious commitment in both time and money, and it would be a significant setback to him if its use was disallowed.

At the end of May’s meeting the Village Board agreed that something needed to be done, but decided not to pass any legislation owing to the belief that nothing could be done until quantitative evidence against the boilers was produced. At this point, Village Mayor William Van Alstyne promised the public he would have someone from the DEC or DOH come and test the boiler emissions as soon as was feasible — which means probably not until the winter, since most boilers are inoperative during the summer months — and the board decided to look at legislation passed by other towns in New York and the surrounding states in order to help get a better idea as to possible solutions to the problem.

Though the going is slow due to the inability to test the boilers in the summer and the problem that pleasing one faction of the community will invariably cause upset with another, this informational meeting may be the first step in finding a solution which can be, at the very least, acceptable for everyone.

“The problem is that the legislators don’t have the information they need,” said Smith. “This will help them make lucid, viable decisions for their towns.”

To reach reporter Paul Crossman, call 518-828-1616, ext. 2266, or e-mail pcrossman@registerstar.com.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

June 18, 2009

Washington County News Briefs (OWBs mentioned)
Thursday, June 18, 2009

Supervisors have been considering an ordinance to regulate outdoor wood-burning fireplaces, in response to complaints from people who are upset with the smoke and odor caused by their neighbors' burners.

Betsy Crumrine, 615 N. Wade Ave., has asked about the issue at several meetings. She told supervisors one wood fired boiler in her neighborhood is a nuisance because the smoke doesn't dissipate, resulting in an odor.

Supervisors are studying a draft ordinance prepared by solicitor Thomas Lonich.

Ed Larson, owner of Larson's Wood Heat, was invited to speak to the board during its June 9 meeting.

He said the fireplaces should be used to burn dry, seasoned logs, as opposed to creosote logs, green wood, trash, tires and newspapers. The wrong materials are what cause excessive smoke. Others can burn materials such as coal and organic fuels.

Mr. Larson suggested an ordinance contain specifics, such as the distance in feet such a fireplace must be from a neighbor's house.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

June 18, 2009 (editorial)

Regulate boilers

Air quality problems require action on solid-fuel heaters

Published Thursday, June 18, 2009

Outdoor boilers fired by wood, coal or other solid fuels threaten the air quality in Fairbanks, but an outright ban on the devices isn’t the proper reaction. The Fairbanks City Council made the right choice last week when it agreed to prohibit the installation of new boilers only temporarily.

The council prohibited new boilers until it comes up with regulations that guide their use.

Some governments have banned boilers, but others have adopted regulations to limit their effect upon air quality. Regulation is the logical course, because not all boilers are all bad.

Testing data show that, if used properly, some boilers emit fewer fine particles than modern, efficient non-catalytic woodstoves. Given that fact, it’s hard to justify a ban on all boilers without a parallel ban on such woodstoves.

Neither ban would be a good policy. Local governments in Fairbanks should maintain room for wood burning because it can be an economical, relatively clean source of heat that is based on a renewable, abundant resource.

However, given the trouble the Fairbanks area will have in meeting new federal air particulate standards and given the unpleasant smoke created by some stoves, regulation of emissions from solid-fuel heating devices is needed.

That’s is essentially the conclusion of the most comprehensive local study of the issue, conducted for the Fairbanks North Star Borough by the Cold Climate Housing Research Center.

“An emission limit applied to both prospective sales and existing devices has distinct advantages over a device ban and moratorium combination,” the center said in its report. “The primary advantage is that it applies a standard based on desired emission levels and not by device class, the latter of which can result in clean devices being unduly restricted.”

The center recommended an emission standard of 7.5 grams per hour for all such devices. That’s the standard the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requires non-catalytic woodstoves to be capable of meeting. Some newer outdoor boilers can meet that standard as well, if operated properly.

Of course, not all owners will run their heaters properly. To address that likelihood, many governments, while adopting emission standards, also have adopted “public nuisance” rules. The rules usually cap the measurable density of the smoke. So when a nice new boiler starts belching, authorities have a fair, consistent way to shut it down. The housing research center recommended adoption of this sort of policy as well.

Minimum stack heights and mandatory setbacks from property boundaries are other ways in which governments have limited the effects on neighbors.

Even with strict regulation of outdoor boilers, Fairbanks might find itself unable to meet the federal standards for fine particles in the air. The particles will not only harm the health of local residents but also block the permits necessary for future business and government activity. A number of other steps — short of an outright ban on wood heat — might be necessary, but regulation of outdoor boilers should be the first step.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

June 17, 2009

Holliston wood boiler ban needs state DEP approval

By Aaron Wasserman/Daily News staff

The MetroWest Daily News

Posted Jun 17, 2009 @ 12:29 AM

HOLLISTON —

The Board of Health has voted to ban outdoor wood boilers that heat houses or other buildings, though the new regulation needs the state Department of Environmental Protection's approval.

Board members crafted the regulations after attending a state workshop on the boilers and after Highland Street residents complained about the effect on the air quality caused by one house's boiler, said Health Director Ann McCobb. The Highland Street house is the only known one in town with such a boiler, she said.

Jim and Gail Taralli, who own the house with the boiler, said they did not know about the new regulations until a Daily News reporter told them yesterday, and they object to the restrictions.

Outdoor wood boilers can emit heavy smoke, which contains particulates that can cause respiratory and other health problems, according to information from the Department of Environmental Protection. The smoke also can create haze that limits visibility.

Wood-fired boilers are typically enclosed in a shed and heat water piped in to warm another building.

Holliston's regulations prohibit any new boilers from being installed and require that any in use be taken down 30 days after the new rules take effect. Violators will be fined $100. A $200 fine would be assessed for a second violation and $300 for any others after that.

The Tarallis use their boiler to heat a studio where Jim, 56, creates wooden bowls in his spare time. At their house, in a residential neighborhood in the south end of town, leftover wood from large piles used for bowls and boards powers the boiler. They said they've spent about $20,000 on the system.

"It's not something we want to stop using, because of the money we've invested," said Gail Taralli, Jim's wife. "What do we do with the $20,000 we've put in here? Say, 'You win?"'

"There has to be some grandfathering, instead of saying we don't want any in Holliston," said Jim Taralli, who had just returned from a three-month tour as a civilian engineer on a Navy ship in Asia.

The state last year also imposed its own rules governing how outdoor wood boilers can be used, but the town's are more stringent. The state's rules, which took effect in December, set emissions limits for any new boilers, govern where they can be placed on a property, and limit what time of year they can operate, depending on location and the smokestack's height.

About 35 Massachusetts towns have their own regulations for outdoor wood boilers, including Bellingham and Westborough, according to information from the Department of Environmental Protection.

The rules include a mix of measures, such as dismantling existing boilers, allowing existing ones and new installations only with specific permits, and preventing new ones from being installed. State officials have previously allowed rules that require existing boilers to stop operating.

In Adams, a model for Holliston's regulations, health officials said there were four wood-fired boilers operating when the Board of Health there approved new regulations a couple of years ago banning existing boilers.

Scott Koczela, Adams' code enforcement officer, said yesterday three of the four owners voluntarily stopped using their boilers, but one had to be ordered to do so. He said no one has filed a legal appeal.

(Aaron Wasserman can be reached at 508-626-4424 or awasserm@cnc.com.)

Full Article: CLICK HERE

June 17, 2009

Brecksville: New ordinance regulates wood burning boilers

Posted by Mike Kezdi, Sun News -- mkezdi@sunnews.com June 17, 2009 11:41AM

BRECKSVILLE -- Residents wishing to install a wood-burning boiler will have to comply with city regulations. A new section of the outdoor wood burning ordinance will now take care of these alternative heating sources.

City Law Director Paul Grau drafted the legislation after a resident notified City Council of the potential of a wood boiler being built next door to him. The boiler in question allegedly was going to heat a swimming pool.

That caused City Council to take a look at what, if any ordinances, the city had.

"This was really a unique thing," Building Commissioner Scott Packard said.

According to Grau, through some research with the Environmental Protection Agency, wood burning boiler manufacturing Web sites and other state ordinances, these units tend to be used in rural settings.

"Most people who generally use a boiler are on a large lot," Grau said.

In fact, the Building Department only was aware of two such boilers in the city, and those are in areas where gas is not readily available.

"This is something that we have not had in our laws," Mayor Jerry Hruby said. "We want to insure the health, safety and welfare of the community with this ordinance."

The new section of the ordinance was approved at the Tuesday night regular City Council meeting.

Insert from article: 

WOOD BOILER REQUIREMENTS

USE: Boilers meeting nationally recognized safety standards (UL, ANSI, etc.) can be used only for the heating of a building between Oct. 15 and April 15, unless the ambient air temperature drops below 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

FUEL: Seasoned wood, wood pellets or corn

SETBACK: 30 feet from the structure that will use the boiler, and 250 feet from any structures not serviced by the unit

STACK HEIGHT: No lower than 2 feet and no greater than 4 feet above the roof peak, and a total height between 16-35 feet above ground

PERMIT: Permits are required from the Brecksville Building Department. Call (440) 526-2630 for information.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

June 16, 2009 (opinion)

Outdoor furnaces cause health problems

I applaud Frederick Cullop, Town of Lee, for bringing to the attention of the Lee Town Board the issue of outdoor wood-burning furnaces.

We live approximately 200 feet from an outdoor wood-burning furnace. It has caused me extended health issues due to pre-existing conditions. We’ve had a family member have an asthma attack due to excessive smoke out in our yard.

We can’t open our windows without this smell filling our house, sit on our porch, walk in our yard. We’ve complained, but to no avail.

I feel before any such device is constructed the people in the immediate vicinity be consulted due to pre-existing health problems they may have that will be aggravated by the smoke before being allowed to construct such an outdoor furnace.

— Janet Kirk, 4810 Route 69, Town of Lee.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

June 12, 2009

Twinsburg Township: Trustees disallow new outdoor furnaces

Posted by Amanda E. Garrett June 12, 2009 09:05AM

TWINSBURG TWP. The future of outdoor furnaces here will go up in smoke July 3.

On June 3, township trustees passed a resolution by a 2-1 vote that prohibits outdoor furnaces.

The resolution does not affect outdoor furnaces that are already installed, but beginning July 3, the resolution will ban the installation of all new furnaces.

Ohio law requires townships wait 30 days before implementing new zoning regulations.

Outdoor furnaces have become increasingly popular in rural areas in recent years. The furnaces -- sometimes known as outdoor wood-fired boilers -- are used primarily to heat homes. Many homeowners use them to cut down on electricity and natural gas costs.

The furnaces have become controversial in recent years because of concerns about air pollution, smoke and a bad smell coming from them.

Trustees passed the resolution on the recommendation of both the Twinsburg Township Zoning Commission and the Summit County Planning Commission.

Township Manager Robert Kagler said the zoning commission looked carefully at the resolution for several months.

The commission's work included a presentation from the Akron Regional Air Quality Management District on the effect the furnaces have on the environment.

During a public hearing before the vote, resident Dennis Boyle said his outdoor furnace helps him save a considerable amount of money on utility bills.

"I know this won't affect me because my furnace is already installed, but I don't think its fair to prohibit other people from getting one," he said.

"I understand regulating the use of the furnaces, but I don't understand prohibiting them. That's like banning outdoor fires altogether. It just doesn't make sense."

Trustee Thomas Schmidt voted against the resolution because he felt prohibiting the furnaces was too restrictive. Residents who live in rural areas have a large amount of property and should not be prohibited from installing furnaces, he said.

"Personally, I don't think we should ban something because its difficult to regulate," he said. "I think we're bright enough and resourceful enough to regulate this."

However, Trustee Carol Gasper said the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency's lack of action on regulations puts the township in a difficult position.

"It's difficult for a township like ours to regulate something that should be done by the Ohio EPA," she said.

The Ohio EPA has proposed guidelines for regulating the furnaces, but they have not been implemented because of opposition from state legislators and the outdoor-furnace industry, Kagler said.

Gasper said the trustees can revisit the issue if the state legislature would pass the EPA regulations.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

June 11, 2009

Peru close to outdoor-boiler law


By JEFF MEYERS
Staff Writer

PERU — Town officials are close to finalizing a new law that would regulate the use of outdoor wood boilers within town lines.

Councilors have been focused on the issue for more than a year and recently received a third revision to an amendment to the current law from Town Attorney Donald Biggs.

They have set a public hearing for the amended version for 6:30 p.m. Monday, June 22.

The town has moved to establish regulations for outdoor wood boilers to “ensure the proper siting, operation and performance of outdoor wood-burning devices in order to protect public health and environment,” the proposed legislation states.

The latest version adjusts wording to the sections on spark arresters and screening to reduce wood-boiler visibility, Biggs said during the council’s recent meeting.

According to the law, outdoor wood boilers must include functioning spark arresters unless the manufacturer’s recommendations or written instructions state otherwise, he noted.

Also, outdoor boilers must be screened so they are “substantially invisible” from nearby roadways, the proposed law states.

Beyond that, the legislation identifies several specifics identifying the permitting process for town residents who own outdoor wood boilers, including the location of the boiler, the size and location of a chimney stack and the types of permitted fuels.

Copies of the revised proposed law are available at the Town Hall.

Biggs and several councilors also noted that the upcoming public hearing will be limited to questions and comments concerning those two revisions only.

The town has already held public hearings on the bulk of the information the legislation contains, he noted.

E-mail Jeff Meyers at:

jmeyers@pressrepublican.com

Full Article: CLICK HERE

June 11, 2009

Residents applaud wood-burner ordinance

Kingston Township enacted regs last year in response to respiratory complaints.

By Rebecca Bria rbria@timesleader.com
Staff Writer

KINGSTON TWP. – North Lehigh Street resident Mark Albrecht and several of his neighbors thanked township officials Wednesday night for their help in creating a wood-burner ordinance.

Supervisors enacted an ordinance to regulate the use of outdoor wood burners in March 2008 after residents on the street complained of respiratory problems from heavy smoke that was emitted from a nearby wood burner.

The residents say they were in court on May 20 about the burner’s violation of the ordinance in front of county Judge Peter Paul Olszewski, who ruled in their favor. Township solicitor Ben Jones helped prepare the litigation.

The burner is owned by Ed Gryskevicz, of North Lehigh Street. Gryskevicz told the supervisors in 2008 that he purchased his burner two years before because it became too expensive to heat his home solely with electricity.

The wood-burner ordinance requires owners of existing furnaces to register their units with the township and have them inspected by the code enforcement officer to determine compliance with its manufacturer’s installation specifications and use instructions.

The inspection must be made within 90 days of the effective date of the ordinance. It also requires owners of new burners to purchase a $40 permit and have the unit inspected within 30 days of the installation.

Violations of the ordinance result in a fine of up to $500, plus prosecution costs.

In other news, supervisors tabled a motion to adopt an emergency ordinance that would amend an existing ordinance to designate an ambulance association as the township’s first responder.

All township emergency medical services calls are currently handled by the Kingston Township Ambulance & Rescue Association.

It was unclear as to what the amendment to the ordinance would be. Township Manager Kathleen Sebastian said the matter is not ready for public discussion.

Because the motion was tabled, or postponed, by law it must appear on the agenda at next month’s regular supervisors’ meeting.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

June 10, 2009

South Strabane mulls ordinance on outdoor fireplaces
Wednesday, June 10, 2009

South Strabane supervisors said last night they have been considering adopting an ordinance to regulate outdoor wood-burning fireplaces. The board was responding to complaints from residents upset with the smoke and odor caused by their neighbors' burners.

Betsy Crumrine, of North Wade Avenue, has attended several meetings and asked about the issue. She told supervisors during their April 28 meeting that there's a wood fired boiler in her neighborhood which has become a nuisance because the smoke doesn't dissipate.

Township solicitor Thomas Lonich has prepared a draft ordinance and submitted it to the board. Supervisors wanted to wait before proceeding with an ordinance until they could get more information on the issue.

Ed Larson, owner of Larson's Wood Heat, last night provided the board with the outdoor wood furnace best-burn practices, according to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association. The biggest problem he has with his customers is when they don't follow directions on what to burn, he said.

The furnaces should be used to burn dry, seasoned logs, as opposed to creosote logs, green wood, trash, tires and newspapers. The wrong materials are what cause excessive smoke, he said. Other furnaces can burn materials such as coal and organic fuels such as corn and soybeans.

Mr. Larson suggested an ordinance contain specifics such as a furnace must be at least 100 feet from a neighbor's house and the chimney must rise at least 2 feet above a neighbor's roof line.

Mr. Lonich said he also could include in the ordinance a stipulation that an owner can only burn fuel that is recommended by the manufacturer.

Freelance writer Crystal Ola can be reached in care of suburbanliving@post-gazette.com.

June 9, 2009 (editorial)

LETTERS: Obamas' date night, wood smoke and more (OWBs mentioned)

No burn

The towns of Bayville and Huntington are right on when it comes to limiting smoke exposure from bonfires and outdoor wood-boilers. Wood smoke is highly carcinogenic, including emissions from fireplaces. Smoke is not clean; it is never green.

When you burn wood, you expose your family, your neighbors and the Long Island community to a host of health problems, including asthma and lung cancer. More Long Island towns should get on board.

Gina Florentino-James

Full Article: CLICK HERE

June 9, 2009

Fairbanks puts wood boilers on back burner

Council temporarily forbids installation of controversial heaters

Published Tuesday, June 9, 2009

FAIRBANKS — After a four-hour meeting, the Fairbanks City Council voted 5 to 1 to prohibit the installation of outdoor hydronic heaters, commonly known as wood boilers, until the council is able to develop and adopt clear standards regarding the heaters.

The council essentially agreed it needed to do more homework before placing a complete ban on commercial and residential hydronic heaters.

Almost 30 city and borough residents came out to protest an ordinance that would ban outdoor hydronic heaters within city limits by October 2014.

“The reason this ordinance came forward is because of the calls that we received from residents in the city who were complaining about outdoor hydronic heaters and the impact they had on households,” Fairbanks Mayor Terry Strle said following a seven-minute break after three hours of public comments Monday night. “These hydronic heaters are designed for rural areas and clearly, city lots are not rural lots.”

According to city officials, more than 20 hydronic heaters are used for commercial and residential heating within city limits.

Strle calls the hydronic heaters a threat to public safety, citing the negative impact these stoves have on the local air quality.

The majority of those protesting the ordinance live outside city limits and did not own hydronic heaters but spoke in fear of future bans on wood burning and other heating devices.

Tammie Wilson, a borough assembly member, testified as a public citizen and explained her opposition with the ordinance, line by line.

“It doesn’t make sense to me,” she said. “We have no current alternative affordable energy, should we not help each other be less dependent on the government. People are putting these in because they can’t afford oil.”

Bob Boswood, who refers to himself as the chief cook and bottle washer for Fairbanks Auto Trim and Design, is against the ordinance.

He uses a hydronic heater at work and sells them in the borough.

“You have no evidence to prove that an outdoor wood boiler hurts our air quality more than others,” Boswood said. “Shame on you,” he said to the council. “It’s wrong because there are systems out there that can burn clean and meet EPA standards.”

Boswood said his company invested $57,000 in a wood boiler.

“As of October 2014, you’re going to make me a criminal because I’m not taking it out,” Boswood said. “To say I’m sick of the government interfering with my life is a minimal statement.”

Councilwoman Stiver nodded in approval as Boswood noted he was against the ban on outdoor wood boilers.

“’I think you’re absolutely right,” Stiver said. “I don’t want anyone’s torn down; I’m against the ban. We need to know more.”

Donna Brady Robertson is a heating and ventilation contractor for Sun Air Sheet Metal in Fairbanks and suggested the city gather more data to figure out just how much hydronic heaters impact the air quality.

She spoke against the ordinance, calling it misplaced.

“I believe we need to determine a prescriptive type of program where we set a level of particulate or emissions and use that as a performance standard for these heaters,” Robertson said.” There are ways to handle most of the problems that have been brought up. It’s important we look at air quality but this approach is premature and ineffective.”

Stiver asked if it wouldn’t be reasonable for the city to go back and research which hydronic heaters would meet air quality standards and in the meantime, place a ban on the installation of any new heaters in the city.

Following a seven-minute break, city officials offered their two cents on the matter.

“We had a lot of complaints, and that’s where this started,” said Steve Shuttleworth, building official for the city of Fairbanks. Shuttleworth has served the city building department for the past 29 years and said he received more complaints about hydronic heaters in a 10-week period than ever before during his tenure with the city.

“To do nothing is absolutely wrong, and that’s where this thing started — complaints from the public, taxpayers.” Shuttleworth quoted a former public protester who said the best government is one closest to the people.

“With that, the council needs to make a decision tonight but to do nothing is also not right,” he said. “These things were not intended to be put in a metropolitan urban area.”

Shuttleworth reminded the council that hydronic heaters are completely banned in the state of Washington, and the state of Oregon strongly recommends against the use of hydronic heaters and suggests they be used only in very rural settings.

“I think they have a great purpose and that was to go in a rural setting, but they don’t belong in a city,” Shuttleworth said. “It’s not easy coming up here and saying something that goes against the grain but decisions have to be made on facts and not on emotions.”

Members if the council discussed the ordinance through

11 p.m.

“We’ve received quite a bit of information about what different states have done,” Councilman John Eberhart said. “I think there is an issue, I’ve had complaints two winters ago about coal dust and his smoke and his wife was a cancer patient and really upset. I think there are issues both ways here.”

Stiver said she would like to see an alternative ordinance that rids the city of poorly manufactured stoves for better-quality stoves.

“The problem is the economy, too,” Stiver said. “My concern is it’s about heating homes, and I do believe economically these guys feel the crunch.”

Stiver recommended the council forego the ordinance and pursue more research on the stoves before placing any restrictions.

Councilman Jerry Cleworth made the same recommendation.

“Up until two weeks ago I don’t think we ever discussed any of this,” he said. “This is a blanket ban on commercial and residential and I’m not willing to go there.”

“We haven’t studied it, we haven’t talked about it,” he said.

Councilwoman Emily Bratcher, said she is a proponent of the ban on hydronic heaters because she views it as a win-win for everyone in the city.

“It’s going to provide education for folks who currently have wood boilers, and it’s also an opportunity for experts to explain to the public just how big a deal this is,” Bratcher said. “We’re all in favor of efficient and affordable energy, but these stoves are not efficient. Wood stoves are efficient, outdoor boilers are not, and we have to draw the line at perceived affordability and what ultimately becomes a public health.”

“Let’s take our time and get it right,” Councilman Bernard Gatewood said.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

June 9, 2009

Fire up Grill, Clarion lifts ban (OWBs mentioned)

By: Rodney L. Sheridan

 

With some restrictions, of course.

Clarion Borough Council June 2 amended its outdoor burning ordinances to allow some recreational and ceremonial burning.

However, the use of any new outdoor fuel burning appliances and devices is prohibited.

The ban on outdoor fuel burning devices is aimed at larger oil, coal and wood burning furnaces detached from the home or business they are used to heat.

Such existing furnaces can remain in use, however, the furnace must be equipped with a flue or chimney at least 35 feet tall. Existing outdoor furnaces also must be at least 25 feet away from any adjacent structure.

Operation of outdoor furnaces is prohibited between May 1 and September 31 of any calendar year.

Also, should any existing outdoor furnace be dismantled, demolished or decay more than 50 percent, it cannot be repaired or rebuilt and put back into service.

Grilling OK now

Technically, by the letter of the law, cooking outdoors was illegal in Clarion Borough until the June 2 approval of the ordinance amendments.

Also illegal were any ceremonies involving an open flame, such as Boy Scout ceremonies for the disposal of U.S. flags.

Recreational fires used for cooking or for “sitting around the camp fire” are now legal, but with restrictions.

Materials for such fires are limited to natural gas, propane, charcoal, untreated wood, dried tree branches, logs or fire logs.

Also, no recreational fire or ceremonial fire can be built directly on the ground.

Ceremonial fires must be approved by borough council.

Recreational fires must be contained in chimaeras, fire bowls, patio bowls, fire pits, recreational fireplaces, traditional barbecue grills, manufactured barbecue grills, outdoor fireplaces or barbecue barrels.

Clarion Borough Council member Elaine Moore said the amendment to the outdoor burning ordinance is especially timely.

“With the economy the way it is, people are staying home this summer – ‘stay-cations’ they’re calling them – and they want to be able to cook outside,” said Moore.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

June 8, 2009

Wood boilers becoming heated debate in Salisbury

By JOHN FLOWERS

SALISBURY — Outdoor wood-fueled boilers (OWBs) have suddenly become an incendiary topic in the town of Salisbury, where the planning commission has proposed a temporary ban on the smoke-producing heating devices.

The suggested moratorium ­

one in a series of draft interim zoning regulations now being reviewed by town selectmen — is being praised by some residents as a means of promoting better air quality in town, but is being panned by other citizens who argue they should be able to install whatever heating units they want on their own property.

Salisbury selectmen hosted an informational meeting on the subject on Jan. 10, a gathering attended by around 40 people, including two air quality experts from the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

“Some people were concerned; no one said let’s shut (OWBs) down,” Salisbury Selectman John Beattie said of public feedback at the meeting.

OWBs have become a more popular home heating source in recent years as the cost of fuel oil has risen. They are located outside of the home, business or greenhouse they are heating. They typically possess a large firebox that is surrounded by a jacket filled with water. Burning wood within the firebox heats the water, which is then circulated into the homes through underground pipes.

Unfortunately, outdoor wood boilers have a tendency to smoke — profusely, at times. And it is not just in Salisbury that public officials are taking notice; the state is also considering greater regulation of the devices.

Phil Etter, an environmental analyst with the DEC who attended the Jan. 10 gathering in Salisbury, explained that most OWBs employ very primitive combustion technology. He said when the water I circulating through the furnace reaches a preset upper limit — usually around 180 degrees Fahrenheit — the air supply to the fire is cut off, cooling the fire so the water won’t overheat. The furnace operates in this “idle” mode until the water temperature hits a lower set-point and the air supply is re-established.

Etter noted the lower burning temperature, coupled with the substantial amounts of unseasoned or wet wood some people stoke into their boilers, can create dense plumes of smoke.

“They are generally cold fires, so there is inefficient combustion,” Etter said. “You have a lot of wood smoldering away.”

It’s a dense smoke that, in many cases, gets discharged from short stacks. As such, the smoke can hug the ground as it wafts into neighboring yards and homes.

“They are easy to operate poorly,” Etter said of OWBs.

It was in 1997 that the state adopted rules that placed some restrictions on where people could situate OWBs on their property. Those rules prohibit OWBs from being installed within 200 feet from someone else’s residence. The rules also state that if an OWB is within 500 feet of another residence, the stack of that OWB must be higher than the roof of the structure the boiler is heating.

A new rule on the DEC’s drawing board would establish, for the first time, some emissions standards for OWBs. That rule would prohibit retailers from selling OWBs in Vermont that do not meet a “particulate matter emission limit of 0.2 grains per dry standard cubic foot of exhaust gas corrected for 12 percent CO2 for newly manufactured outdoor wood-fired boilers.”

“It would require manufacturers to improve combustion technology to pass emissions standards,” Etter said.

He noted that communities in other states — such as Massachusetts and New York — have already passed laws regulating OWBs. Maine, he said, is also dealing with the issue.

Some manufacturers already make OWBs that would conform to the proposed Vermont standards, according to Etter.

“We don’t want to be going backwards, in terms of air quality,” Etter said.

Salisbury officials concede there are only a handful of OWBs in town right now. Still, the planning commission thought it would be a good idea to draft some rules to prepare for a future when the boilers — and associated complaints — may become more numerous.

“We thought of it as a health situation that concerned the whole town,” said commission member Martha Sullivan.

Beattie said an OWB moratorium could be justified in certain neighborhoods in Salisbury. But he believes that an ideal outcome would be for the state to pass rules governing the boilers rather than individual towns passing their own regulations. And Beattie stressed he does not want to see residents denied the chance to own OWBs; rather, he would like to see manufacturers and retailers deliver products that are more environmentally sensitive and that would not create health hazards for surrounding neighbors.

“I recognize the industry will only produce safe and efficient OWBs when there is pressure from the state and individuals that are interested in seeing that happen,” Beattie said.

Selectmen will decide within the next few weeks whether to adopt the planning commission’s interim zoning regulations. The board could also reject some or all of the regulations, or send them back to the commission for reworking.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

June 8, 2009

Wood furnaces a heated issue in Hegins

BY REBECCA ZEMENCIK
STAFF WRITER
Published: Monday, June 8, 2009 4:13 AM EDT
HEGINS — Outdoor woodburners were a hot topic at a June 1 meeting of the Hegins Township supervisors.

Despite lengthy discussion at meetings over the past two months, the supervisors have not yet taken action on an ordinance regarding the burners.

Township solicitor David Rattigan on June 1 presented a proposed ordinance, including changes from the previous month, but owners of outdoor burners are still not happy with the ordinance and would still like to see things changed.

“I would like to know why we, the owners of these woodburners, can’t sit down with the supervisors and the solicitor to come up with an ordinance that suits all of us,” said Gerald Zimmerman. “We the taxpayers should have a right to say what’s in the ordinance.”


Supervisor Susan Troup said meetings give the public a chance to express their thoughts and views on the ordinance. She said the ordinance isn’t ready for adoption and supervisors are still gathering information.

“This is a hostile act against a certain group of people,” said township resident Keith Koppenhaver. “These burners are safe to use, but if this ordinance passes with some of these items listed they are going to become unsafe.”

Koppenhaver said there is a line in the ordinance that states if the unit isn’t used for seven to eight months, the township can come in and remove the unit.

“What gives you the right to come onto my property and remove my unit?” said Koppenhaver. “I may have to go serve in Iraq again and then my unit will not be used while I am away, so who are you to threaten me and remove my unit. You need to sit down with us privately and discuss this.”

Township resident Kristy Lettich attended the meeting to express her concerns about the outdoor burners.

“What happens when you’re living near one of these units where the owner isn’t burning what should be burned in them?” said Lettich. “The stuff stinks, my laundry stinks, my dog stinks, my patio furniture stinks. It’s not fair to me to deal with the stink. I’m not saying the burners should be banned, but I do believe some regulations need to be imposed and I would like to know that someone will be monitoring what is being burned in these things.”

Full Article: CLICK HERE

June 2, 2009


Greencastle considers addition to its regulations on open burning (OWBs)

By ROSCOE BARNES III Staff writer

Greencastle Borough Council held off this week on adopting an amendment to a burning ordinance that would prohibit open burning for any use other than recreational and outdoor cooking purpose, as well as the use of exterior furnaces as a source of heating for building.

Council considered authorizing Solicitor Sam Wiser Jr. to draft and advertise an amendment to Chapter 95 of the borough's code.

In a discussion on the issue, a number of council members voiced concern about the lack of provisions in the ordinance. Some raised possible scenarios that could occur with regard to burning in the borough.

"They were concerned that if we outlaw the burning, there is not a provision for them to get rid of leaves and brush," Borough Manager Kenneth Womack said Tuesday. "I'm going to look into what might be done about that."

Bernie Gomez Cling, a resident of 246 E. Madison St., told council that it would be taking on a risk if it allowed open burning in town.

Councilman Paul Schemel asked council about the reasons for the proposed ordinance.

Wiser replied that, in addition to the borough receiving requests on the issue, the new ordinance would allow the borough to be proactive in dealing with it.

Wiser, who also serves as solicitor for Mercersburg, mentioned a case in Mercersburg that drew a lot of attention in 2008.

At the time, 25 people signed a formal nuisance complaint about smoke coming from a wood boiler furnace on Linden Avenue. Neighbors told Mercersburg Borough Council that the furnace was a health hazard and offensive, and the smoke violated their rights.

Roscoe Barnes III can be reached at 262-4762 or rbarnes@publicopinionnews.com.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

June 2, 2009

Sandy Twp. adopts furnace ordinance

June 2, 2009

Sandy Supers Adopt Outdoor Furnace Ordinance

June 2nd, 2009
Steven McDole, correspondent
 

DUBOIS - After two years the Sandy Township Supervisors came to their conclusion regarding outdoor furnaces. In a four to one vote the ordinance was adopted by the township on Monday night.

There was one amendment to the ordinance since the last supervisor meeting. The last day for seasonal usage of outdoor furnaces in the more residential zones was moved back to May 31 instead of the prior May 14 after comments made during the public hearing. Other than this the ordinance was passed by all supervisors with Supervisor Dave Sylvis as the sole nay.

“One of the things I am not in favor of is the burn dates,” said Sylvis.

His opposition was to the origin of the ordinance in complaints about smoke being a nuisance to neighbors. Between June 1 and Sept. 15 wood furnaces can still be used in R-1 and R-U zones, just under restricted hours.

“I feel this ordinance was to get rid of a nuisance,” said Sylvis.

Most the of the supervisors admitted in the second public comment section that the ordinance wasn't perfect. However it could be amended and changed as time went on.

Before the ordinance passes there were still comments by Sandy Township citizens. Some supporting and some opposed to the ordinance. Most complaints were those given and answered in previous meetings. There were some changes.

Two citizens came forward to the supervisors on the grounds the ordinance was infringing on their rights and freedom.

“As a supervisor we are custodians of people's health as well as rights,” said Jim Jeffers at the end of the meeting.

“The ordinance was passed for the residential areas with houses 20 feet apart,” said supervisor Mark Sullivan.

The supervisors mentioned a few times that this ordinance had been created after hearing constant complaints over a few outdoor furnaces. Lacking any regulations the township had to create this ordinance so they could do something over the few who were being a nuisance.

“As for other furnaces, they'll be addressed as complaints come in,” said Jeffers in response to the repeated question of why outdoor furnaces seemed singled out as opposed to indoor furnaces.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

June 2, 2009

Sandy Twp. passes outdoor furnace rules

Tuesday, June 02, 2009
By Josh Woods Staff Writer

DUBOIS - Sandy Township Board of Supervisors approved an ordinance regulating outdoor wood-fired hydronic heaters at its meeting last night, following months of discussion.

The ordinance passed by a vote of 4-1, with Chairman Brady LaBorde, Jim Jeffers, Ray Anderson and Mark Sullivan voting in favor and David Sylvis voting against it. The outdoor wood-fired hydronic heater ordinance provides that all outdoor furnaces must be constructed, established, installed, operated and maintained in conformance with the manufacturer's instructions.

Resident Dan Molnar objected to the ordinance during the meeting's public comment period, questioning what gave the supervisors the right to charge him to use alternative fuels. He concluded that township residents are permitted to burn coal and wood inside of their homes and that the real issue at hand was the chimney height of outdoor furnaces.

Supervisor Sylvis responded, saying the purpose of the ordinance was to protect the health and safety of the township's residents. The ordinance does require residents to pay for a permit, he said, and the purpose of the permitting process is for the township to have a record of what is being installed.

The ordinance sets forth chimney heights for any new outdoor wood-fired hydronic heater models that are not Environmental Protection Agency OWHH program qualified. The chimney of any such OWHHs are to extend at least two feet above the peak of any residence not served by the outdoor wood furnace located within 300 feet of it.

Mr. Sylvis voted against the ordinance although he is in favor of it, citing a provision that allows for burning during the summer. New or existing OWHHs not meeting or exceeding EPA OWHH phase 2 program standards located in the township's residential and residential urban zoning districts may be operated only between Sept. 15 and May 15 for the purpose of heating a residential structure. However, if the OWHH is used for heating domestic water for residential purposes including providing water for a swimming pool it may be operated during the hours of 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. from June 1 through Sept. 14. Outdoor furnaces may be operated in all other township zoning districts year-round.

"The ordinance is designed to take the nuisance (of smoke) away," said Mr. Sylvis. "If they're still allowed to burn from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the summertime I think we're still going to have a problem."

In addition, the ordinance outlines what type of materials may be burned and determines setback distances. Wood that has been painted, varnished, coated or pressure-treated, rubbish or garbage, plastic materials, rubber, newspaper, cardboard and paper containing ink or dye products are prohibited from being burned.

New OWHH models not EPA OWHH phase 2 program qualified must be located at least 50 feet from the property line and at least 100 feet from any residence that is not served by the applicant's outdoor furnace. New EPA OWHH program 2 qualified models or future EPA approved models that have a particulate emission level lower than 0.32 pounds per million Btu must be located at least 25 feet from the property line and at least 50 feet from any residence that is not served by the applicant's outdoor furnace.

During public comment, residents Daryl and Larry Duttry spoke out against the ordinance. Larry Duttry said the township should not bow to the pressure of EPA regulations and shouldn't take away the residents' freedom. Additionally, Ned Fye asked the supervisors consider adding a heating exemption for periods of weather when there is a frost warning.

Residents Don Snedden and John Carlson spoke in favor of the ordinance. Mr. Snedden said that without an ordinance in place it would be difficult for some residents to have fresh air at night. He said that he lives near an outdoor furnace and his wife has been forced to put a washcloth over her face due to heavy smoke that enters the windows of his home.

Mr. Carlson concurred, stating his wife has asthma and has been taken to the hospital four times due to heavy smoke caused by outdoor furnaces. The smoke also made it difficult for him and his wife to hang clothes outside to dry, he said.

Mr. Jeffers said the ordinance is needed because, as supervisors, the board is responsible for protecting its residents' health, as well as people's rights. Without the ordinance, he said, the township has nothing on the books to protect residential areas from potential health risks associated with outdoor furnaces.

"I think this is a good starting point," said Mr. Jeffers. "This isn't the best and it isn't the end. The ordinance can certainly be amended."

Full Article: CLICK HERE

June 1, 2009

Antwerp man indicted; police say he had spycam in bathroom (OWB mentioned)

MONDAY, JUNE 1, 2009
 

Dennis J. Koerick Jr., 44, of 35558 Pulpit Rock Road, faces two counts of second-degree unlawful surveillance and one count each of tampering with physical evidence and making a punishable false written statement.

Mr. Koerick is accused of using the tiny camera between Dec. 10 and 15 and then burning it and a computer in an outdoor wood-burning boiler before police could question him. He is further accused of telling police Dec. 18 that he was unaware that a camera was installed in his bathroom.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

 

May 28, 2009

Outdoor wood boilers banned

An ordinance that prohibits outdoor wood boilers was approved May 18 by the Savage City Council.

Since November 2008, there has been a moratorium on outdoor wood boilers until city staff could study the best way to regulate the devices. Smoke and emission problems have been associated with the use of outdoor wood boilers and many cities in the metro area have banned them because of the nuisance.

Although city staff is not aware of any outdoor wood boilers being used in Savage, there have been some inquiries at city hall from residents, according to a memo to the City Council from Senior Planner Terri Dill.

The devices have increased in popularity recently due to rising costs for standard heating methods. The boilers typically look like a small shack with metal siding and are most often used on larger, more rural lots because of the smoke they generate, according to Dill.

The ordinance specifically classifies the wood boilers as a nuisance under the section of the city code about public nuisances affecting health.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

May 26, 2009

Tallmadge considers 'proactive' approach to control 'nuisances' (OWBs mentioned)

by Advance Newspapers
Tuesday May 26, 2009, 11:22 AM
 

Heating a home with an outdoor wood boiler could be an attractive idea in tough economic times, but Tallmadge Township officials want to make sure residents are only burning safe items as fuel.

A nuisance ordinance under consideration by township trustees would require a permit for outdoor woodboiler use. The new rules would also establish what things could and could not be burned in one.

Tallmadge Township Planner Greg Ransford said a zoning and mechanical permit would be required to operate an outdoor wood boiler. A wood boiler would be defined as "something that produces heat for an interior space," he said.

He said the ordinance would not apply to fire pits or bonfires, which are currently allowed.

Treated wood, garbage, plastic, and other dangerous substances would be outlawed for burning under the new rules, because of the smoke and fumes they create.

Besides wood boilers, the new ordinance would cover a variety of other "nuisances," ranging from dog barking and construction noise to disorderly conduct, public urination, and swimming in the nude, said Tallmadge Township Clerk Lenore Cook.

Although these aren't major issues now, "you kind of hear what other townships or cities are having a problem with," she said.

Ransford said dog barking and construction noise sometimes causes problems, and the township wants to make sure other issues are addressed early. "We're being a little bit more proactive here; we're trying to address these in advance," he said.

The proposed ordinance will come up for a second review and possible vote by trustees at their June meeting. Interested residents can view the proposed ordinance language on the township's Web site.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

May 25, 2009

Huntington approves ban on outdoor wood-burning devices

The Huntington Town board has unanimously approved a measure to ban outdoor wood-burning devices beginning in January.

The banned devices, which resemble outdoor sheds with a tall smoke stack affixed at the top, burn wood to heat water that is pumped through underground pipes to a home's plumbing and heating systems and sometimes even pools.

The measure was passed during the town board meeting of May 19.

"These devices are incredibly carcinogenic," said board member Susan Berland, sponsor of the legislation. "The emissions that these things let off are awful and have been banned in other states."

The measure says the only time the units, sometimes called outdoor wood-boiling furnaces or outdoor wood boilers, would be allowable would be during an emergency or natural disaster.

Burt Tobin, a distributor of the devices through his company Catskill Boiler Company in upstate Greenville, said the ban makes sense in Huntington and other densely populated areas.

"Unless someone is sitting out on 5 acres of land somewhere, a [outdoor] wood boiler has no place," said Tobin, who lived in Brooklyn and attended Hofstra. But he said there should not be an overall ban because in rural communities, including the East End of Long Island, the units are beneficial and economical.

In 2006 Berland sponsored legislation that defined what could - and could not - be burned in all wood-burning devices, and limited the use of outdoor wood-burning devices.

"People who use them often throw everything into these things to burn," Berland said, "from soup to nuts, things that you are not supposed to burn," such as painted wood and even solid fuel.

The ban only applies to outdoor wood-burning devices that are used to heat indoor spaces, swimming pools or hot tubs.

"You can still have wood-burning stoves in your home, you can still have fire pits outside, barbecues, it doesn't ban any of that," Berland said. "Just this one type of device which is really bad for the environment."

Berland said currently no one in the town has a permit to have such a device. Anyone found to have one will receive a first-time penalty of between $250 and $1,000. Second or subsequent offenders will receive a penalty between $1,000 and $2,500.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

May 22, 2009

Judge prohibits outdoor wood boiler in Henrietta Township dispute

by Fredricka Paul | Jackson Citizen Patriot

Friday May 22, 2009, 11:23 PM

A lengthy dispute between Henrietta Township neighbors was resolved this week, resulting in one family not being allowed to use an outdoor wood boiler.

Circuit Court Judge Chad Schmucker ruled that Richard and Julia Cady cannot use the wood boiler, which he believes was a nuisance and health hazard to neighbors.

The Cadys represented themselves in the civil trial in which they were sued by the Jackson County Health Department.

Wood boilers, increasingly popular in rural areas as energy costs rise, transfer heat through water lines from an outside structure to a home for both space and water heating.

The judge also prohibited Cady from incinerating trash, debris and other materials in backyard burn barrels.

Schmucker said the Cadys did not break any laws and that the boiler was properly installed but produces smoke, which can be a nuisance to neighbors.

Richard Soldano, 53, testified he started having headaches in 2003, before Cady built his home, because Cady frequently burned garbage in barrels on his property.

Since then, he's had chest pain and trouble breathing after being outside when the wood boiler is operating.

Soldano's wife has had a chronic cough, and Soldano said he has asthma and a chronic lung condition. Doctors have attributed the conditions to smoke inhalation and warned against the dangers of breathing smoke.

"We are very pleased. It is what we asked the court to do," said Bob Grover, the lawyer for the health department. "I hope it finally resolves problems between neighbors that have been going on for five to six years. I am not optimistic, but hopeful."

Full Article: CLICK HERE

May 21, 2009

Outside wood-fired furnaces facing limitations

The city's Legislative and Regulatory Committee will not recommend banning the use of outdoor wood-fired furnaces. However, detailed restrictions will be applied and current furnace owners may be required to comply with the ordinance in the future.

An actual ordinance is yet to be drafted or approved. The Legislative and Regulatory Committee, which is the city's main rule-making body, asked city attorney Andy Voigt on Thursday to draft an ordinance and bring the draft to the committee in June.

The committee then will approve or change the draft before it is passed on to the full Common Council, which will have the final say on the issue.

The Legislative and Regulatory Committee has been discussing the matter as a result of several dozen complaints over the smell and smoke from two outdoor wood-fired furnaces in the city.

The Common Council passed a 90-day moratorium on the installation of new outdoor wood-fired furnaces last month in order to buy city officials more time to study whether to ban them outright in the city limits.

With minimal discussion, the committee decided Thursday that a ban was not the proper way to go.

"I believe there are some areas in the city where they could be useful," said Michael Oszman, committee member.

However, further restrictions are needed, several members said.

"There's been enough complaints by people that something is wrong," said Martin Havlovic, committee member.

After a lengthy discussion by committee members and Portage Fire Chief Clayton Simonson regarding the safety and community nuisance of using outdoor furnaces, these are some of the recommendations that were given to Voigt to include in his draft:

• Outdoor furnaces must be at least 50 feet away from all property line boundaries.

• They cannot be placed in front of or on either side of a home. They only can be placed in a backyard.

• Furnaces must be no closer than 50 feet from any flammable structure.

• They must be at least 100 feet away from any neighboring house not being served by the furnace.

• The furnace's chimney must be at least two feet above the roof line of any neighboring house within 300 feet of the furnace.

• All furnaces must have child-proof locking devices on them.

• Owners must store corn or other food used to fuel the furnace inside.

Additionally, the committee decided to change the current ordinance to include all outdoor furnaces and not just those that are fueled by wood.

It was also discussed that all furnaces be required to meet annual inspections; however, a final decision on this has yet to be made. If an annual inspection is required, current furnace owners would have five to 10 years to come into compliance with the new ordinance.

Carol Heisz, committee chairwoman, said using a furnace on a small property bothers her and she is in favor of prohibiting this.

"I think it's just too densely populated in that area," she said.

Many recommendations made came from viewing similar ordinances from other municipalities.

Simonson said he knows of only six outdoor furnaces in the city.

Despite the current low number of outdoor furnace owners, the committee as well as the fire chief expects the number to rise this winter as individuals try to save money on heating their home or water.

"As the economy goes down, people are going to be opening up their fireplaces or investing in these furnaces," Simonson said. "I anticipate more complaints this winter."

Full Article: CLICK HERE

May 19, 2009

Sandy Township Reviews Updated Proposed Outdoor Furnace Ordinance

May 19th, 2009
Steven McDole, correspondent
 

DUBOIS - With the room full enough that some had to wait out in the foyer, Sandy Township Supervisors held a public hearing on outdoor furnaces.

With Supervisors Jim Jeffers and Mark Sullivan not present for the meeting Monday night it was decided to table the actual vote on the ordinance would occur at the June 1 meeting so that all five could give their opinions on the matter.

“It seems for 18 months it was a permanent feature of our tabled business,” said Township Manager Dick Castonguay at the start of the meeting.

Castonguay had written the ordinance based off of voluntary guidelines by the Environmental Protection Agency and those of other states.

The ordinance outlines the need for permits. As of Monday's meeting a fee set in stone for a new furnace, but there would be no fee for a permit on an existing outdoor furnace. The ordinance outlines how far from the property lines the burner has to be, flue height and what days of the year they can be used fully. It also covers what can be burned and that wood needs to be covered.

For people living in R-U and R-1, residential zones mostly near the City of DuBois, the wood burner can only be used between Sept. 15 and May 15 each year as currently written. There is an exception for homes that use the wood burner to heat water and pools. These wood burners are only allowed to burn, emitting smoke will be seen as burning, between the hours of 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Most of Sandy Township PRD and R-A zoned.

There were a few people who worried about the precedent this would set.

“How long before you start coming in to look at indoor furnaces?” asked Darell Duttry of Sandy Township.

In a similar vein, a few asked about the difference between an outdoor furnace and an indoor furnace. The answer was that indoor furnaces tend to dissipate the smoke better due to design, almost always have a high flue by design and the complaints leading to the creation of the ordinance stems from outdoor furnaces.

The ordinance will be up for vote at the next meeting with an amendment allowing for some flexibility concerning the May and September 15 dates. These dates had been picked on average dates using past weather statistics, but after talking to the citizens who attended the hearing it was decided to allow for some flexibility on years with unusually late cold snaps.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

 

May 19, 2009

Staunton man dies after being injured in fire (OWB the cause)

Mistakenly puts gas on wood-burning stove, causing flash

An 81-year-old Staunton man died today, a day after being seriously burned when he mistakenly threw gasoline onto a fire at his house, causing it to flash.

Don Willhoit, 81, of Staunton died at 4:46 a.m. at Memorial Medical Center Burn Center in Springfield.

Willhoit was flown from Staunton Community Hospital Monday morning after he was burned at his residence at 3220 Willhoit Airport Road at 6:12 a.m.

Willhoit had been starting an outside wood burning furnace Monday morning when he accidently grabbed a gas can instead of a can with diesel fuel. When he poured the gas on the fire, the gas flashed, seriously burning him.

Sangamon County Coroner Susan Boone said Willhoit died from burns to 80 percent of his body.

Williamson Funeral Home in Staunton is handling arrangements.

Full Article:CLICK HERE

May 18, 2009

Man burned when he pours gasoline on fire (OWB the cause)

The Telegraph
 

STAUNTON - An 81-year-old man was burned seriously Monday morning when he accidentally poured gasoline on flames in an outdoor wood-burning furnace, authorities said.

The incident occurred just after 6 a.m. at a home about 3 miles northwest of Staunton in the 3200 block of Wilhoit-Airport Road.

The Macoupin County Sheriff's Department said the man's identity wasn't being released until police were sure all family members had been notified about the accident, Chief Deputy Bart Hassard said.

Hassard said a deputy responded to a call to the address at 6:12 a.m. Monday. When the deputy arrived, the victim already had been taken to Staunton Community Hospital, Hassard said. The deputy went to the hospital, where he spoke to the injured man's family, as well as the Staunton EMTs and firefighters who had responded to the scene.

"The man had gone to start an outside wood-burning furnace and accidentally grabbed the gas can, instead of a can of diesel fuel, and poured gas on the burning wood, and the gas flashed, seriously burning the victim," Hassard said.

According to a broadcast from the ARCH Air Medical Services Inc. helicopter, the man sustained second- and third-degree burns over 73 percent of his body and was being flown to Memorial Medical Center in Springfield.

maggie_borman@thetelegraph.com

Full Article: CLICK HERE

May 18, 2009

City may review legislation for wood boilers

By KAYLEIGH KARUTIS, The Leader-Herald

POSTED: May 18, 2009

GLOVERSVILLE - City officials are scheduled to discuss possible legislation governing the use of outdoor wood boilers in the city at an upcoming Common Council work session.

Sixth Ward Councilman Ray Hindes broached the topic at a work session last week. Hindes provided information to the council at a past meeting and said he would like to get some legislation in place governing the installation and use of outdoor wood boilers in the city.

"I think we need to get something on the books," he said.

Fire Chief Douglas Edwards said the city only has one outdoor wood boiler.

Hindes said he believes legislation is important because more people may purchase a boiler in the next few months in preparation for winter. Without legislation, he said, there will be no guidelines for residents. Current code requires boilers be placed 100 feet from any property line, which prevents them from being placed on most city properties.

Fifth Ward Councilman Matthew Myers said some lots on the outskirts of the city are large enough.

Hindes said the city may decide to ban wood boilers in the city, but Myers and 3rd Ward Councilman James Robinson both objected to that idea.

Myers and Robinson pointed to the money savings that comes from heating water with a wood boiler.

Mayor Tim Hughes said some legislation requires the stack on a boiler be several feet higher than any building in a certain vicinity, which would mean stacks on boilers in more developed areas in the city could be multiple stories.

The city established a moratorium on boilers in December 2007, but that expired in mid-2008.

At the time the moratorium was established, council members said a state Department of Environmental Conservation study on the health effects of boilers should be finished by the time the moratorium expires.

During that December 2007 meeting, Edwards said boilers can create many more times the smoke than oil or gas furnaces and can present a health hazard.

Hughes suggested the council revisit the possible legislation at next month's work session, but Hindes stressed he would like to discuss the issue further and possibly act on it at the council's meeting May 26.

Kayleigh Karutis covers Gloversville news. She can be reached at gloversville@leaderherald.com

Full Article: CLICK HERE

May 12, 2009

Outdoor wood boilers get some residents heated

Village Board to discuss the use of OWBs at upcoming meeting

By Paul Crossman

KINDERHOOK — Though outdoor wood boilers have not been popular enough in America to cause a stir until recently, due to the growing costs of other forms of energy they have lately been popping up around the country in ever-increasing numbers.

It is this increase which is starting to make residents of Kinderhook begin to take a stand against their use in the local community. Several members of the village already met to express their concerns at April’s Village Board meeting, and plan to do so again at the next meeting 7 p.m. Wednesday at Village Hall.

Dealers which sell these wood boilers generally advertise them as the cheaper, more economically friendly choice, but this doesn’t seem to be the whole story. According to people forced to live near the boilers — which are about the size of a typical garden shed — the smoke and fumes tend to stay close to the ground, especially in the winter. This forces friends and neighbors to have to deal with the potentially dangerous emissions given off by the machines.

According a study titled “Smoke Gets In Your Lungs” released by the Office of the Attorney General in 2005 and revised in 2008, sales of these outdoor wood boilers have tripled since 1999, with approximately 14,500 outdoor wood boilers (OWBs) sold in New York state from 1999 to 2007, and more than 188,000 nation-wide.

The study found that “while OWBs are advertised as a clean and economical way to heat one’s house and water, OWBs emit fine particulate matter in much larger amounts than other heating sources, and are among the dirtiest and least economical modes of heating, especially when improperly used.”

It goes on to say that even when properly used, OWBs emit between four and 12 times as much fine particle pollution as conventional wood stoves, 1,000 times more than oil furnaces, and 1,800 times more than gas furnaces.

“Such emissions are significant,” the study states, “because fine particulate matter pollution has both short-term and long-term health effects on respiratory and cardiac health. Of special concern are nearby downwind neighbors who may be exposed to highly elevated levels of particulate matter.”

These hazardous emissions have already prompted many towns and villages in New York to either completely ban outdoor wood boilers, or severely restrict their use.

According to concerned Kinderhook resident Joan Blum, there may already be laws in place which would — at the very least — restrict the use of wood boilers in the village. She says the local zoning code prevents offensive noises and odors, and the state property maintenance code prohibits the discharge of smoke and odor onto adjacent properties.

“I am a member of the community who lives near one of the wood boilers,” Blum told the Register-Star. “Like many people, I was unaware of the effects of wood smoke until I started experiencing symptoms myself. It is unpleasant and uncomfortable to be around when wood boilers are operating. I couldn’t even open my windows.”

Blum did go on to say, though, that she believes the owners of the two wood boilers in the village are good people who aren’t intentionally trying to upset anyone. “They just don’t understand the effects on health,” she said.

The village’s code enforcement officer has reportedly received a large volume of complaints regarding the smoke emitted by OWBs from village residents, and according to Blum, seven residents made their complaints heard during April’s Village Board meeting, and asked the board to ban their use.

“Last week we woke up to a house full of smoke,” village resident Warren Applegate told the Register-Star. “My domestic partner is chemically sensitive ... and was forced to leave the village and stay at a hotel for three days. There are times when the whole neighborhood smells like a summer camp in the woods.”

Applegate and others like him are convinced that while outdoor wood boilers are fine for people out in the country with a lot of land, they should — unquestionably — not be allowed in residential areas like Kinderhook.

“We are firmly convinced that these burners should be banned,” said Applegate.

Village Mayor William Van Alstyne agrees that something definitely has to be done. “We are still in the process of examining different types of legislation that will address this problem,” he said. “We will come up with something.”

Though he freely admits that the wood boilers are becoming a major issue in the village, Van Alstyne expressed his belief that before coming to a final decision it is important to hear the views and opinions from people on both sides of the issue.

This subject will be brought up again at the Village Board meeting Wednesday. Sample legislation and information given by residents will be reviewed, and all members of the village and surrounding community are invited to attend.

“I really hope this meeting can put the matter to rest once and for all,” said Blum, who said the board should decide not only to ban the installation of future wood boilers in the village, but to pull the plug on those already in use.

To reach reporter Paul Crossman, call 518-828-1616, ext. 2266, or e-mail pcrossman@registerstar.com.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

May 19, 2009

Man burned when he pours gasoline on fire (OWB the cause)

The Telegraph
STAUNTON - An 81-year-old man was burned seriously Monday morning when he accidentally poured gasoline on flames in an outdoor wood-burning furnace, authorities said.

The incident occurred just after 6 a.m. at a home about 3 miles northwest of Staunton in the 3200 block of Wilhoit-Airport Road.

The Macoupin County Sheriff's Department said the man's identity wasn't being released until police were sure all family members had been notified about the accident, Chief Deputy Bart Hassard said.

Hassard said a deputy responded to a call to the address at 6:12 a.m. Monday. When the deputy arrived, the victim already had been taken to Staunton Community Hospital, Hassard said. The deputy went to the hospital, where he spoke to the injured man's family, as well as the Staunton EMTs and firefighters who had responded to the scene.

"The man had gone to start an outside wood-burning furnace and accidentally grabbed the gas can, instead of a can of diesel fuel, and poured gas on the burning wood, and the gas flashed, seriously burning the victim," Hassard said.

According to a broadcast from the ARCH Air Medical Services Inc. helicopter, the man sustained second- and third-degree burns over 73 percent of his body and was being flown to Memorial Medical Center in Springfield.

maggie_borman@thetelegraph.com

Full Article: CLICK HERE

May 19, 2009

Staunton man dies after being injured in fire (OWB the cause)

Mistakenly puts gas on wood-burning stove, causing flash

An 81-year-old Staunton man died today, a day after being seriously burned when he mistakenly threw gasoline onto a fire at his house, causing it to flash.

Don Willhoit, 81, of Staunton died at 4:46 a.m. at Memorial Medical Center Burn Center in Springfield.

Willhoit was flown from Staunton Community Hospital Monday morning after he was burned at his residence at 3220 Willhoit Airport Road at 6:12 a.m.

Willhoit had been starting an outside wood burning furnace Monday morning when he accidently grabbed a gas can instead of a can with diesel fuel. When he poured the gas on the fire, the gas flashed, seriously burning him.

Sangamon County Coroner Susan Boone said Willhoit died from burns to 80 percent of his body.

Williamson Funeral Home in Staunton is handling arrangements

Full Article: CLICK HERE

May 19, 2009

Sandy Township Reviews Updated Proposed Outdoor Furnace Ordinance

May 19th, 2009
Steven McDole, correspondent
 

DUBOIS - With the room full enough that some had to wait out in the foyer, Sandy Township Supervisors held a public hearing on outdoor furnaces.

With Supervisors Jim Jeffers and Mark Sullivan not present for the meeting Monday night it was decided to table the actual vote on the ordinance would occur at the June 1 meeting so that all five could give their opinions on the matter.

“It seems for 18 months it was a permanent feature of our tabled business,” said Township Manager Dick Castonguay at the start of the meeting.

Castonguay had written the ordinance based off of voluntary guidelines by the Environmental Protection Agency and those of other states.

The ordinance outlines the need for permits. As of Monday's meeting a fee set in stone for a new furnace, but there would be no fee for a permit on an existing outdoor furnace. The ordinance outlines how far from the property lines the burner has to be, flue height and what days of the year they can be used fully. It also covers what can be burned and that wood needs to be covered.

For people living in R-U and R-1, residential zones mostly near the City of DuBois, the wood burner can only be used between Sept. 15 and May 15 each year as currently written. There is an exception for homes that use the wood burner to heat water and pools. These wood burners are only allowed to burn, emitting smoke will be seen as burning, between the hours of 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Most of Sandy Township PRD and R-A zoned.

There were a few people who worried about the precedent this would set.

“How long before you start coming in to look at indoor furnaces?” asked Darell Duttry of Sandy Township.

In a similar vein, a few asked about the difference between an outdoor furnace and an indoor furnace. The answer was that indoor furnaces tend to dissipate the smoke better due to design, almost always have a high flue by design and the complaints leading to the creation of the ordinance stems from outdoor furnaces.

The ordinance will be up for vote at the next meeting with an amendment allowing for some flexibility concerning the May and September 15 dates. These dates had been picked on average dates using past weather statistics, but after talking to the citizens who attended the hearing it was decided to allow for some flexibility on years with unusually late cold snaps.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

May 12, 2009

Fairbanks considers eliminating outdoor furnaces

Proposed ordinance would spur their removal by providing financial incentive

Published Tuesday, May 12, 2009

FAIRBANKS — City officials say they plan to draft an ordinance that would require all outdoor wood and coal furnaces to be registered with the city and be removed within about five years with the help of some sort of financial incentive.

“We’d like to do this sooner rather than later, before more people invest in these stoves,” Fairbanks Mayor Terry Strle said during a work session Monday night.

Though details of the ordinance haven’t been developed, the city wouldn’t be the first to restrict the use of the furnaces.

The state of Washington has outlawed them, and Oregon has severely restricted their use in urban areas.

Juneau issues fines to individuals who use the furnaces when there is an air quality alert.

Outdoor wood and coal furnaces, said Fairbanks borough air quality specialist Jim Conner, are a problem because a single outdoor furnace produces as much smoke as 10 indoor wood stoves.

“A couple hundred of the outdoor (furnaces) is like a couple thousand wood (furnaces) in the area, and that’s beginning to make an impact,” Conner said.

City officials estimate about 20 furnaces would be affected by the ordinance.

“This past winter was a real eye-opener in respect to the amount of complaints our department received,” City Building official Steve Shuttleworth said. “The common denominator was outdoor wood (furnaces).”

At least six are in the Hamilton Acres neighborhood, which is a densely populated area.

“There is an extremely high concentration of particulate matter and everyone in the area is affected by it,” Borough Transportation Director Glen Miller said. “They were never designed to be installed in residential areas. They were meant to be used as secondary heat sources in rural areas, but unfortunately, when the price of oil jumped, everyone was looking for alternative heat sources and they became popular.”

Miller estimates there are more than 300 outdoor wood and coal furnaces in the borough.

“In some cases, residents are being smoked out of their houses and schools are telling asthmatic children not to come to school,” he said.

The Environmental Protection Agency has designated the Fairbanks region as a non-attainment area in terms of air quality. This means the high level of particulate matter floating in the atmosphere creates dangerously poor air quality, especially in cold weather.

Improper wood burning is one of the problems with the furnaces.

“If wood is burned properly, it isn’t that bad, but the problem is that people aren’t burning it properly and that creates a lot of smoldering,” Conner told the council. “People aren’t using the right fuel, their wood isn’t seasoned, it’s wet, and if it’s smoldering then it is producing a lot more particulates.”

The outdoor furnaces are a greater health hazard than indoor wood-burning stoves for a number of reasons, Miller said. The biggest of these is their short smokestacks, which keep emissions low to the ground.

According to the state of Washington’s Department of Ecology, all wood smoke is harmful because fine particles from smoke can seep deep into the lungs and cause health problems including asthma, lung diseases, heart disease and even death.

“Secondly is the volume of wood these things consume,” Miller said.

Outdoor wood furnaces can require as much as 20 cords of wood per winter, Miller said.

One cord is equivalent to 128 cubic feet.

“They use probably ten times what a standard wood stove uses,” he said. “The problem is most people don’t plan ahead to burn 10 to 20 cords so they end up burning green wood or stuffing anything they can in there whether it’s treated lumber or other materials that emit toxins.”

City officials plan to introduce the ordinance for a first reading during next Monday’s council meeting.

“We don’t want to have any more in the city,” Strle said. “It’s a tough decision — people did it to save money, and it’s expensive.”

Outdoor wood furnaces cost anywhere from $8,000 to $20,000, plus the cost of installation.

Strle suggested using financial incentives, possibly from a $90,000 fund of EPA money, to help rid the city of the furnaces.

“If handled properly, I really think you’ll find more good come out of this than negative,” Shuttleworth said. “If we approach this from a positive standpoint and get people to recognize it, I think this will take care of itself.”

Councilman Bernard Gatewood seconded that remark, and added that the city needs to move fast on the issue.

“It does seem like it might be a problem for the community in the very near future,” he said.

Insert within text:

It’s easy to get tripped up by the jargon of wood and coal furnaces, so here’s a guide to picking apart the terminology.

Officially, they’re known as hydronic heaters, meaning they heat water to heat a home. They’re best known as wood boilers, even though many can burn coal, and some don't boil anything — they force heated air into the house from outside.

The term furnace includes heaters that warm water — which is used in heating elements like radiators — and those that warm air directly.

Confused yet?

Wood boilers also sometimes are called stoves, even though you can’t cook on them and they’re completely different from wood stoves, which won’t be covered by the proposed ordinance because they pollute less.
 
 
Full Article: CLICK HERE

May 12, 2009

Public Notice (Cumberland Township, PA) 
 
 
Ordinance

NOTICE
NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN, that the Board of Supervisors of Cumberland Township, Greene County, Pennsylvania, intends to pass at a special meeting of the Board to be heId on Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 2:00 p.m. at the Cumberland Township Municipal Building the following ordinance:
AN ORDINANCE OF THE TOWNSHIP OF CUMBERLAND, GREENE COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA, FOR THE PREVENTlON AND CONTROL OF AIR POLLUTION FROM THE USE OF OUTDOOR WOOD-FIRED BOILERS, ALSO KNOWN AS OUTDOOR WOOD-FIRED FURNACES, OUTDOOR WOOD-BURNING APPLIANCES, OR OUTDOOR HYDRONIC HEATERS; DEFINING CERTAIN TERMS USED HEREIN; PROVIDlNG FOR REGULATIONS, EXCEPTIONS, ENFORCEMENT ORDERS, RESPONSIBILITY OF OWNERS AND OPERATORS, PENALTIES, UNLAWFUL CONDUCT, PUBLIC NUISANCES, AND VALIDITY.
A copy of this Ordinance may be examined by any citizen at the Office of the Secretary/Treasurer of Cumberland Township, Monday through Friday of each week between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. and the Law Library in the Greene County Courthouse, Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, each day until adoption.

Debra Rush, Secretary-Treasurer
Cumberland Township


Appeared in Observer-Reporter on Tuesday May 12, 2009.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

May 1, 2009

Sagamore Hills sets zoning meetings (OWBs mentioned)

Posted by staff May 01, 2009 09:55AM

Categories: Advisories

The Sagamore Hills Township Zoning Commission will continue to hold monthly meetings to consider zoning rules for hydronic heaters (outdoor wood heaters) and wind turbines.

Meetings are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. May 26, June 29 and July 23. All will be held at the Township Safety Center, 11551 Valley View Road.

For more information, contact zoning inspector Mary Kanieski, (330) 467-0900, Ext. 1. Office hours are 9 a.m. to noon Tuesday and 9 a.m. to noon and 7-9 p.m. Thursday.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

April 29, 2009

Communities have different rules for outdoor furnaces

Published Wednesday April 29th, 2009

MIRAMICHI - The doctor may soon be out as some communities around the province look at banning the use of outdoor furnaces.

A Neguac couple recently won an injunction against their neighbour which forced him to stop using his outdoor furnace known as a Wood Doctor.

Although Neguac doesn't have a bylaw banning the furnaces, some communities have banned them because of problems raised by the smoke they emit when in use.

Rogersville mayor Bertrand LeBlanc said there was situation in his community where one of the furnaces caused problems, but it was more a case of being considerate to his neighbours.

"The one that had it here it was just a small parcel of land and he was kind of really close to the other neighbour so it was always blowing downwind."

The situation resolved itself in Rogersville when the furnace owner moved, but before that the smoke from his furnace was coming from more than just wood, he said.

"He was burning rubber. He was burning everything."

LeBlanc said the village considered enacting a bylaw to control the use of outdoor furnaces within the village limits.

"It was really to ban them, I think it was, with a grandfather clause that you can't take those that already have them."

People who lived on the same street as the furnace owner couldn't open their windows or hang their laundry when it was in use and although it was only one neighbour who was vocal at first the rest of the street eventually got involved, he said.

"As soon as the one person tried to complain it kind of took off."

LeBlanc said he witnessed the effects of the smoke first-hand.

"When I went to the house one day he wasn't complaining for nothing. It was for real."

The village of Memramcook took the lead in the province when it passed a bylaw in November 2006 to ban solid fuel combustion appliances.

Memramcook municipal clerk Monique Bourque said they adopted the bylaw because they received a lot of complaints from the community.

The bylaw also sets out rules for what furnace owners can burn, sets guidelines for the darkness of smoke and requires the furnaces not cause a nuisance.

Once the bylaw was in place, the village held a meeting with people who were able to keep their furnaces under a grandfather clause so they could educate them on what they should and should not burn, she said.

"We had a few incidents after that where people didn't burn necessarily the right thing and got a visit from the Department of the Environment."

Bourque said there was one place where the school bus would have a hard time seeing because of the smoke some days.

"Those problems were addressed and in the last year I haven't heard a lot of complaints so people are respecting that."

Full Article: CLICK HERE

April 29, 2009

New rules expose ozone threat (OWBs mentioned)

 

Though federal standards got tougher, area's air quality actually improved

 

By BRIAN NEARING, Staff writer

Click byline for more stories by writer.

First published: Wednesday, April 29, 2009

 

ALBANY — Sometimes, you don't know how bad you had it until much later. That's the case for Capital Region air pollution.

 

The number of days in which the region experienced unsafe levels of atmospheric ozone more than tripled under the latest report from the American Lung Association. But it's not that the air suddenly got much worse in fact, air quality is getting better. Instead, the bump was due to the federal government's decision to toughen its ozone standard.

 

"The pollution that we have been breathing is more dangerous than we had thought before," said Janice Nolen, a vice president with the American Lung Association. "We have had more unhealthy air for a longer time than we had appreciated. But overall, we have seen some declines."

 

The number of days with unsafe levels of ozone an oxygen molecule formed through a combination of fossil fuel exhaust, sunlight and temperature has decreased over the last decade, even when measured by the stricter government standard.

 

Much of that drop has been caused by stricter federal rules adopted during the Clinton administration that required coal-fired power plants to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxide, a prime ingredient of ozone. Many power plants are concentrated in the Ohio River valley, where emissions can drift over the Northeast.

 

Nolan spoke at a telephone news conference on the Lung Association's 10th annual nationwide air quality report, which is based on findings from a network of air quality sensors run by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state agencies such as New York's Department of Environmental Conservation.

 

In addition to ozone, there are sensors that measure particulate matter small particles of suspended solids or liquids that also are linked to the burning of fossil fuels.

 

Last year, the EPA tightened its ozone standards, which since 1997 had set the limit of ozone exposure that a healthy person can tolerate without risking health problems. Ozone can cause lung damage, and aggravate respiratory illnesses like asthma, emphysema or bronchitis.

 

In Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga and Schenectady counties, there were 53 days between 2005 and 2007 in which unsafe ozone levels exposed people to health problems, according to the Lung Association report.

 

That's compared to just 15 unsafe days under last year's report, which covered 2004 through 2006, and was done under the old EPA standards.

 

But if the new standards were applied to the earlier period, there would be 96 unsafe days a more than five-fold increase.

 

If the new standards were applied to data from the previous three-year report (covering 2003-05), the number of unsafe days jumps from 25 to 80.

 

Michael Seilback, a state Lung Association vice president, said the group wants to reduce ozone levels further by having the state require pollution controls on older diesel-power trucks, as well as banning outdoor open burning and outdoor wood boilers used for home heating.

 

From May to September, the DEC issues ozone alerts, which advise people to limit strenuous outdoor work or exercise. The state also urges people to use mass transit or carpool instead of driving, as automobile emissions account for about 60 percent of pollution that causes ozone.Federal ozone standards could drop again. Last month, the Obama administration asked a federal appeals court to delay proceedings over pollution limits for smog to give EPA time to determine whether to revise the Bush-era standard.

 

Environmental groups have sued to have the federal standard set even lower, while industry groups want a higher limit.

 

While the Bush EPA tightened ozone standards to 75 parts per billion, replacing the former standard of 84 ppb, critics said that ignored its own scientific advisory committee, which recommended a standard of 70 ppb or lower.

 

Brian Nearing can be reached at 454-5094 or by email at bnearing@timesunion.com.

 

What forms ozone?

 

When gasoline and coal are burned, nitrogen oxide gases and volatile organic compounds are released into the air. During warm, sunny days of spring, summer and early fall, NOx and VOC are more likely to combine with oxygen and form ozone. During those seasons, high concentrations of ozone are often formed during the heat of the afternoon and early evening, and are likely to dissipate later in the evening as the air cools.

 

Unsafe air

 

The number of days in the Capital Region with unsafe levels of ozone jumped after new stricter federal standards went into effect. Figures show the number of unsafe ozone days, while those in parentheses show the number of unsafe days under the old standard.

 

Yearsunsafe days

 

2005-2007 53

 

2004-0696 (15)

 

2003-0580 (25)

 

Source: American Lung Association annual State of the Air reports for three-year periods

 

Full Article: CLICK HERE

April 29, 2009

A clear-cut problem: Xcel Energy upsets Oak Park Heights residents with unannounced tree removals (OWBs mentioned)


(Created: Wednesday, April 29, 2009 1:22 PM CDT)

OAK PARK HEIGHTS -

In other business, the council...

adopted an ordinance restricting the construction and use of outdoor wood boiler systems, as recommended by the Planning Commission. The new restrictions do not apply to outdoor fireplaces or fire pits, or to indoor fireplaces and wood stoves. An earlier version of the ordinance would have limited the amount of firewood that could be stored on a given property, but that language was removed by the planning commission after several citizens voiced concerns.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

April 29, 2009

 

 

 

In other business, the council...

adopted an ordinance restricting the construction and use of outdoor wood boiler systems, as recommended by the Planning Commission. The new restrictions do not apply to outdoor fireplaces or fire pits, or to indoor fireplaces and wood stoves. An earlier version of the ordinance would have limited the amount of firewood that could be stored on a given property, but that language was removed by the planning commission after several citizens voiced concerns.

April 29, 2009

New rules expose ozone threat (OWBs mentioned)

 

Though federal standards got tougher, area's air quality actually improved

 

By BRIAN NEARING, Staff writer

First published: Wednesday, April 29, 2009

 

ALBANY — Sometimes, you don't know how bad you had it until much later. That's the case for Capital Region air pollution.

 

The number of days in which the region experienced unsafe levels of atmospheric ozone more than tripled under the latest report from the American Lung Association. But it's not that the air suddenly got much worse in fact, air quality is getting better. Instead, the bump was due to the federal government's decision to toughen its ozone standard.

 

"The pollution that we have been breathing is more dangerous than we had thought before," said Janice Nolen, a vice president with the American Lung Association. "We have had more unhealthy air for a longer time than we had appreciated. But overall, we have seen some declines."

 

The number of days with unsafe levels of ozone an oxygen molecule formed through a combination of fossil fuel exhaust, sunlight and temperature has decreased over the last decade, even when measured by the stricter government standard.

 

Much of that drop has been caused by stricter federal rules adopted during the Clinton administration that required coal-fired power plants to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxide, a prime ingredient of ozone. Many power plants are concentrated in the Ohio River valley, where emissions can drift over the Northeast.

 

Nolan spoke at a telephone news conference on the Lung Association's 10th annual nationwide air quality report, which is based on findings from a network of air quality sensors run by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state agencies such as New York's Department of Environmental Conservation.

 

In addition to ozone, there are sensors that measure particulate matter small particles of suspended solids or liquids that also are linked to the burning of fossil fuels.

 

Last year, the EPA tightened its ozone standards, which since 1997 had set the limit of ozone exposure that a healthy person can tolerate without risking health problems. Ozone can cause lung damage, and aggravate respiratory illnesses like asthma, emphysema or bronchitis.

 

In Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga and Schenectady counties, there were 53 days between 2005 and 2007 in which unsafe ozone levels exposed people to health problems, according to the Lung Association report.

 

That's compared to just 15 unsafe days under last year's report, which covered 2004 through 2006, and was done under the old EPA standards.

 

But if the new standards were applied to the earlier period, there would be 96 unsafe days a more than five-fold increase.

 

If the new standards were applied to data from the previous three-year report (covering 2003-05), the number of unsafe days jumps from 25 to 80.

 

Michael Seilback, a state Lung Association vice president, said the group wants to reduce ozone levels further by having the state require pollution controls on older diesel-power trucks, as well as banning outdoor open burning and outdoor wood boilers used for home heating.

 

From May to September, the DEC issues ozone alerts, which advise people to limit strenuous outdoor work or exercise. The state also urges people to use mass transit or carpool instead of driving, as automobile emissions account for about 60 percent of pollution that causes ozone.Federal ozone standards could drop again. Last month, the Obama administration asked a federal appeals court to delay proceedings over pollution limits for smog to give EPA time to determine whether to revise the Bush-era standard.

 

Environmental groups have sued to have the federal standard set even lower, while industry groups want a higher limit.

 

While the Bush EPA tightened ozone standards to 75 parts per billion, replacing the former standard of 84 ppb, critics said that ignored its own scientific advisory committee, which recommended a standard of 70 ppb or lower.

 

Brian Nearing can be reached at 454-5094 or by email at bnearing@timesunion.com.

 

What forms ozone?

 

When gasoline and coal are burned, nitrogen oxide gases and volatile organic compounds are released into the air. During warm, sunny days of spring, summer and early fall, NOx and VOC are more likely to combine with oxygen and form ozone. During those seasons, high concentrations of ozone are often formed during the heat of the afternoon and early evening, and are likely to dissipate later in the evening as the air cools.

 

Unsafe air

 

The number of days in the Capital Region with unsafe levels of ozone jumped after new stricter federal standards went into effect. Figures show the number of unsafe ozone days, while those in parentheses show the number of unsafe days under the old standard.

 

Yearsunsafe days

 

2005-2007 53

 

2004-0696 (15)

 

2003-0580 (25)

 

Source: American Lung Association annual State of the Air reports for three-year periods

 

Full Article: CLICK HERE

April 24, 2009 (Canada)

Neguac couple gets reprieve from smoke

Published Friday April 24th, 2009

By Ryan Ross
ross.ryan@miramichileader.com

NEGUAC - A Neguac couple can breathe a sigh of relief after a court order forced their neighbour to remove an outdoor furnace.

For almost five years smoke from the furnace blew into Camille and Monique Breau's yard, leaving them unable to enjoy their property.

"We are some glad it's all over," Breau said as he walked in the fresh air outside his home Wednesday.

The Breau's problems started when their neighbour Alderice Godin put an outdoor furnace on the edge of his property near their garage.

The initial court documents stated the furnace was on a lumber business property and they used it to burn materials from the business.

Pictures of the furnace show thick smoke rising up from the chimney, only to settle back down near the ground as the wind blew it over to the Breau's property.

One picture showed smoke so thick it blocked out the building across the road, as though a thick fog had rolled in to hide it.

But for the Breau's, the constant smell was the biggest problem as it left them unable to spend time in their yard or even hang laundry.

"You can't compare it to anything," Camille said.

Along with the pictures, Camille documented everything on video over a span of several years. In one video the blue sky was visible to either side of a plume of smoke while the rest of his yard was covered in a grey haze.

A different video shows the smoke rising high above the yard before falling back to earth behind a five feet tall hedge, while another shows a panoramic view of the yard covered in the same grey smoke.

As avid gardeners, the Breaus used to spend a lot of time in their yard, but Camille said there were days Monique would leave their greenhouse because of the smoke.

"It was hell. Pure hell."

On another occasion the couple had guests who wanted to pitch a tent in the backyard, but they couldn't stand the smell of the smoke.

"We told them to come in the house."

Thin yellow strips now line the house where the years of smoke stained the white siding.

Although he didn't think they suffered any lingering health effects from the smoke, Camille said the smell would sometimes make them sick.

"You'd get a bit of nausea sometimes from smelling that."

The Breaus have a short walking trail on their property and Camille said they could still smell the smoke at the far end of the trail when the furnace was in use.

As he tried to find a resolution to their problem, Camille sent his first letter to the Environment Minister in 2005, but the reply said there were no regulations in place for the type of furnace his neighbour was using.

With a stack of documents on his kitchen table, Camille pointed out letter after letter sent to municipal, provincial and federal officials, with replies to most of them.

He never received a reply from Miramichi Bay-Neguac MLA Carmel Robichaud, even though he sent her letters and the Environment Department correspondence stated they sent her copies of their replies.

Camille even wrote to provincial ombudsman Bernard Richard who looked into the issue, but couldn't do anything to help.

One letter he received from Environment Canada confirmed the type of furnace his neighbour was using emits more fine particles than typical wood stoves, oil furnaces and natural gas furnaces.

Another from the provincial Environment Department said they were forming a standing committee to look at the issue.

Camille kept every letter, did his own research on the issue and wrote everything down in journals as he tried to get the problem resolved, all of which he used in his court case.

"That's what saved me," he said.

It wasn't the first time he had seen one of the furnaces either. On the other side of his property one of the neighbours has a furnace he has seen blow smoke in the other direction so he had an idea of what to expect when Godin set his up.

"You can't even describe the feeling that anyone would light it," he said. After taking the issue to court, a judge sided with the Breaus and issued an order for Godin to remove the furnace, known as a Wood Doctor, by March 31.

"We were in a celebrating mood, let me tell you," Camille said.

Camille said he would talk to people about his problems with the furnace and they would wonder if it was really as bad as he said.

"They don't know unless they are here when the smoke was here."

But even though his problem has been resolved, Camille plans to continue to fight against the use of the outdoor furnaces.

"For sure I wouldn't wish on anyone what I went through. You wouldn't wish that on your worst enemy."

Despite his problems, Camille said he wasn't out to get his neighbour. He just wants someone in the government to do something about the furnaces.

"I shouldn't have to fight. They should be the ones."

He said he is frustrated the people he contacted in the various levels of government couldn't do anything to help.

"They have no power. They even tell me that on paper."

Along with all his other documents, Camille had newspaper clippings showing a few communities in the province have either banned use of the furnaces or were considering a ban.

"I'm sure at some point they're going to have to do something about them," he said.

Godin was contacted, but said he did not want to comment at this time.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

April 23, 2009

Council OKs 90-day moratorium on new outdoor wood-fired furnaces; they may be banned completely

The Portage Common Council passed a 90-day moratorium on the installation of new outdoor wood-fired furnaces in order to buy city officials time to study whether to ban them outright in the city limits.

Some Council members sought a one-year moratorium Thursday, but an amendment to a resolution with the shorter time period was approved on a 4-3 vote.

The Legislative and Regulatory Committee, which has been discussing the matter as a result of several complaints over the smell and smoke of the outdoor wood-fired furnaces, is expected to continue to research the issue in May. That committee is the city's main rule-making body and would potentially draft any new ordinances related to the furnaces.

The Council, however, would have the final word.

Council member Addie Tamboli, a member of the Legislative and Regulatory Committee, said Thursday that it is important to send residents a message that an investment in such furnaces would not be advisable right now.

"In the meantime, what we did not want to have happen is for somebody to go out and spend their tax return or whatever it may be on an outdoor wood-fired furnace and then have us two months from now decide that we wanted to ban them like all other communities are doing," she said.

Tamboli, and Council members Rick Dodd and Carol Heisz, chairwoman of the Legislative and Regulatory Committee, supported the one-year moratorium. They voted against the amended resolution, which passed 4-3.

Mayor Ken Jahn led the effort to shorten the time period and argued that it was important to give residents an idea of what the city intends to do sooner rather than later.

"I think moratoriums are a way to get by without doing our homework," Jahn said. "If we felt that this was an issue, then we should have had some solutions presented to Council."

He continued, "We have 90 days to get it done. That allows people at the end of the summer to still make their investment (for a furnace before winter)."

Jahn called the furnaces "a very important issue" for some people, but signaled he was open to an extension of the moratorium if more time is needed to draft an ordinance at the end of the 90-day period.

Legislative and Regulatory Committee members appeared to be leaning toward increased restrictions Thursday.

Heisz said that she doesn't believe they are appropriate in the city limits where houses are close to each other.

City Inspector Mark Jankowski also has recommended that they be banned and told the committee that most surrounding communities have moved or were moving in that direction.

The big question may be whether the committee wants to institute a complete ban and force those in the community who have the furnaces to remove them.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

April 21, 2009

Sandy adopts comprehensive plan  (OWBs mentioned)
Tuesday, April 21, 2009

DUBOIS - Sandy Township Board of Supervisors adopted the Northwest Regional Comprehensive Plan at its meeting last night.

The multi-municipal effort encompasses Brady, Huston and Sandy  townships,  Falls  Creek Borough  and  the  City  of DuBois.

The plan will be used by the township as a guide to future planning and development, and may be utilized when applying for future grant funding.

The township is moving forward with a proposed draft ordinance dealing with hydronic wood-fired outdoor furnaces.

A copy of the ordinance was presented to the Board of Supervisors and county planning commission earlier this month for review, and township secretary Barb Hopkins said a public hearing has been scheduled for May 18 at 7 p.m. at the municipal building.

Action will be taken on the ordinance at the May 18 Board of Supervisors meeting following the public hearing.

Full Article:  CLICK HERE

April 21, 2009

Brush fire destroys house in Lyndon

April 21, 2009

LYNDON, Vt.—Dry, windy conditions across Vermont are being blamed for brush fires, including one that destroyed a house in Lyndon.

Vermont State Police Detective Sgt. Fred Cornell says the fire Monday in Lyndon -- believed to have started with an outdoor wood furnace -- spread because of high winds, engulfing a multifamily home on Burrington Bridge Road. There were no injuries.

In Sheldon, at least five acres of woods burned Monday in a blaze of undetermined origin near Rice Hill Road. No one was hurt, and no structures were damaged, according to WCAX-TV.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

April 19, 2009

Alaska legislators scrambling as session winds down (OWBs mentioned)

Published Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Senate did give a nod to a bill sponsored by Rep. John Coghill, R-North Pole, allowing municipalities like Fairbanks to offer property tax credits for residents who improve air quality. Fairbanks and Juneau face federal restrictions because of high levels of PM 2.5, or particulate matter 2.5 microns in diameter or smaller. The programs allowed under the bill could be an incentive to homeowners to replace outdoor wood-fired boilers and other stoves that contribute heavily to PM 2.5 levels.
 
Full Article: CLICK HERE

April 16, 2009

Spilled Ashes Cause Fire that Destroys Maine Home

A Maine fire investigator has concluded that ashes spilled in front of an outdoor wood boiler were the cause of a wind-driven fire that destroyed a home in Wales.

No injuries were reported as some 50 firefighters battled Monday's blaze at the two-story log cabin-style dwelling. All that remained of the home were a large fieldstone hearth and two chimneys.

Assistant Fire Chief Tony Siderio said high winds forced flames ignited by ashes from the outdoor boiler to the home, 50 feet away. Laurie Harris, who lived in the home, was away at the time.

Firefighters were able to keep the fire from spreading to a half-dozen other homes in the Oak Hill Road area.

Information from: Kennebec Journal

Full Article: CLICK HERE

April 15, 2009

Sagamore sets moratorium on wind turbines, outdoor boilers

Sagamore Hills Trustees voted earlier this week to enact a six-month moratorium on the installation of wind turbines and outdoor wood-burning water heaters.
The moratorium is meant to give the township time to come up with basic zoning regulations for such devices, Trustee Chairman Jim Hunt said. Regulations could include items such as minimum setback distances such equipment would have to be from buildings, as well as the height of chimneys required for boilers, he added.
Hunt said those who install such devices during the moratorium would be charged with a zoning violation and ordered to remove the equipment.
For more on this story, see the April 25 edition of the News Leader.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

April 14, 2009

Proposed fees could fund Vigo County Air Pollution Control Department (OWBs mentioned)

IDEM did not renew contract with Vigo unit

By Howard Greninger
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE Several businesses and the Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce oppose a county ordinance that would establish new local fees on air pollution sources, while several county residents and a small business advocate support the move.

The fees would largely fund the Vigo County Air Pollution Control Department after the Indiana Department of Environmental Management did not renew a contract with the department, ending the contract March 31.

The Vigo County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday staged a public hearing at the Vigo County Annex to gain input on the proposed ordinance. Nearly 50 people attended the hearing.

Environmental lawyer Janet McCabe, who worked in IDEM’s air quality office from 1993 to 2004, serving the last five years as IDEM’s assistant commissioner for air quality, said Vigo County should retain a local air pollution control agency.

“Air quality control in this country started at the local level. This [Vigo County] agency predates IDEM and predates the federal Clean Air Act and local inspectors have been implementing air ordinances for many years,” McCabe said.

She said public health is most important.

“Complaint response is a key responsibility of these local agencies. IDEM will not be able to respond to complaints as quickly as the local air agency. They have said that. Their approach to responding to complaints is to contact the person; they may visit; they may send a letter out within 30 days; that is their expectation of themselves,” McCabe said.

“This [county] agency gets out to that complaint that day or the next day. If it is open burning or a nuisance odor, it will not be there 20 days from now. If a person is not there to try to identify it, they will not be able to address it,” she said.

Susan Schram, who lives in the 2000 block of South Center Street, said she has complained about an outdoor wood boiler near her home, something she said needs to be addressed by local officials.

“We need clean air and we need clean water to survive as a community. I would like to ask that we maintain this service in our community because nobody from another area is going to care if the air is dirty here…,” Schram said.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

April 14, 2009

Fire consumes Wales home (OWB cause of fire)


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

WALES - Discarded embers from an outdoor wood boiler ignited a fire that destroyed the log home of Al and Laurie Harris on Morin Road on Monday afternoon.

More than 5 acres were scorched due to gusting winds and dry conditions, officials said. Gusting winds and dry conditions quickly fanned the fire, officials said, igniting 5.7 acres of woods.

"It's devastating, but at least no one was hurt," said Al Harris, who built the home 20 years ago.

No one was home at the time the fire broke out.

A neighbor reported the fire when a wood boiler was checked at 2:21 p.m.

Ten fire departments responded to the blaze, including Sabattus, Wales and Manchester. A Forest Service helicopter made water drops to help douse the flames.

"We did OK once we got water," Sabattus Fire Chief Don Therrien said.

"[The wind] was a major factor because it helped fan the fire faster than on a normal day," Wales Assistant Fire Chief Tony Siderio said. "We're in the beginning of forest fire season."

Fire crews ran a 4-inch water line to a hydrant on Oak Hill Road and were able to contain the fire after about two hours, saving the Harris' camper that sustained some heat damage.

"The big concern - the fire is all out - is knocking down the hot spots," Siderio said. "The surface is dry and a couple of old trees are burning."

The Wales Fire Department was expected to remain at the scene to monitor hot spots into the night.

The fire danger was classified as high by the Maine Forest Service in central and southern Maine until 7:02 p.m. Monday. It was still at least moderate in the rest of the state, except areas covered by snow.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

April 14, 2009

Another article regarding the above story

Blaze guts home, threatens others (OWB the cause of fire)

BY CRAIG CROSBY
Staff Writer

WALES -- A woman is homeless after a wind-driven fire destroyed her house and threatened several others in the Oak Hill Road area Monday.

Only a large fieldstone hearth and two chimneys remain after fire ripped through the home at 10 Morin Drive -- a narrow dead-end dirt driveway off Oak Hill Road -- and took off into nearby grass and woods.

Laurie Harris lived in the home, which she owns with her husband, Al Harris, said Tony Siderio, assistant chief of the Wales Fire Department.

Siderio said he was unsure if the two-story log cabin-style home was insured.

Nobody was home when the fire broke out, and nobody was injured fighting the blaze that scorched about 3 acres of woods as it raced down a steep hill toward Route 197.

It took approximately 50 firefighters and an aerial firefighting helicopter more than two hours to bring the fire under control, and another hour before it was completely out.

"A half dozen homes in the area were threatened," Siderio said.

The fire also significantly damaged a large camper trailer parked near the Harris' home.

An investigator with the State Fire Marshal's Office determined the fire started from ashes spilled in front of an outdoor wood boiler that stood about 50 feet from where the home once stood, Siderio said.

"With the high winds, it turned it into woods and forced it toward the house," he said.

Fire engulfed the house and had spread into the woods by the time firefighters arrived.

Firefighters quickly called in mutual aid. Nearly 50 firefighters from eight towns, including from as far away as Lewiston and Lisbon, had been called for assistance. A Maine Forest Service helicopter made several trips dumping thousands of gallons of water on the blaze as it was pushed down the hill by winds that gusted to 40 mph.

Wind "was a major factor," Siderio said.

Firefighters attacked the blaze from the top of the hill; from below, where they staged along Route 197; and from the middle.

When it was exhausted, streaks of sweat and soot dripped off the firefighters as they trudged their way up the hill carrying hoses and equipment.

"Everything from (the destroyed home) down a quarter of a mile was going," said Lisbon Fire Chief Sean Galipeau.

The National Weather Service had posted fire warnings for much of southern and central Maine due to the high winds and dry conditions. Wind poses an extra danger in the spring before plants have had a chance to green up.

The remainder of the week also appears dry, though less windy.

The forest service posts current fire danger data on its Web site, MaineForestService.gov.

"We've been having fires all over the state already," said Ranger Arthur Lavoie of the Maine Forest Service.

Craig Crosby--623-3811, ext. 433

ccrosby@centralmaine.com

Full Article: CLICK HERE

April 12, 2009

Legislative bill touts tax credits for clean air (OWBs mentioned) 

Published Sunday, April 12, 2009

JUNEAU — A bill offering property tax credits in exchange for air quality improvements in cities like Fairbanks met with unanimous House approval Friday, and now goes before the Senate.

Sponsored by Rep. John Coghill, R-North Pole, House Bill 121 would allow municipalities to draft plans giving property tax credits for improvements that help improve air quality. Eligible cities would be those that fail to meet federal air quality standards governing emissions of particles less than 2.5 micrometers in size, also called PM 2.5s.

“It’ll be a good deal for Fairbanks and Juneau,” Coghill said. “We know they’re going to be under pressure.”

If the bill becomes law, municipalities would have the discretion to draft tax credit plans, including specifying what improvements are eligible.

Pollution is an increasingly weighty concern in Fairbanks, which sits in a geological bowl that is subject to winter temperature inversions. Those inversions force pollutants low, where they build to levels that fail to meet Environmental Protection Act standards and pose a health risk.

Fairbanks faces serious restrictions on federal projects and funding — including expansion of military activities — unless the area can meet the EPA’s more stringent air quality standards. Juneau also copes with air quality problems.

A report issued earlier this year by the Cold Climate Housing Research Center in Fairbanks found that the leading residential source of PM2.5 emissions is wood-fired hydroponic heaters, including outdoor wood boilers. Residential heating sends about 700 tons per year of PM 2.5 into the air around Fairbanks, center spokesman Ryan Colgan said.

While details are still under discussion, the borough wants to reduce the number of EPA non-compliant wood stoves by thousands during the next five to 10 years. The property tax credit would be an incentive.

“Fairbanks has a unique issue,” Coghill said. “The prices of fuel are so high, and people were laying out huge investments in stoves that are later on going to have to be taken out. It’s a good thing for the community to say, we will help you get back to a cleaner-burning stove.”

Fairbanks Reps. Scott Kawasaki, Jay Ramras and Mike Kelly are among the bipartisan cosponsors.

Support also came from the Alaska Municipal League and Fairbanks North Star Borough.

A similar bill is sponsored by Sen. Joe Paskvan, D-Fairbanks, and co-sponsored by Sen. Joe Thomas, D-Fairbanks. Their version is lingering in the Senate Finance Committee.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

April 9, 2009

Supervisors choke wood-fired boiler rules

Board presented with arguments for and against the proposed regs.

By MELODY ASPER

For The Evening Sun

Posted: 04/09/2009 01:00:00 AM EDT



Strict air-pollution rules that called for penalties of up to $25,000 for the misuse of outdoor wood-fired boilers also were tabled Monday night by Hamilton Township supervisors, despite support from at least some residents.

Dozens of residents - proponents and critics of the boilers - spoke out on the issue during a 3 ½-hour meeting. A group of residents brought in 25 pictures that showed smoke completely encompassing homes and yards near Gun Club Road, and even the road itself.

"That's what I've had to live with for the last 10 years," said Brian Shaffer, of Spangler Road, pointing to the photos. "Why should I have to breathe the unhealthy air so someone can save money on heating his apartment houses."

The residents blamed the smoke in the pictures on two outdoor furnaces that are used to heat two apartment buildings owned by David Lease.

"We totally support this ordinance," said Barry Howe of Gun Club Road. "We have been plagued by smoke (from an outdoor furnace) for 20 years and it's to a point that the smoke is infiltrating people's homes."

However, several residents who own residential outdoor furnaces countered that the proposed ordinance goes too far. The proposal called for all outdoor furnaces to be upgraded to meet current Environmental Protection Agency standards and have chimneys at least 5 feet higher than the rooftop of any residences within 500 feet.

Both requirements would be impossible, said Doug Fishel of Berlin Road, who

owns an outdoor furnace and also sells them.

 

"There's no way to upgrade to make existing furnaces EPA efficient. The technology does not exist. It's like taking a Yugo and trying to make it into a Cadillac, there's just not enough metal there," said Fishel. "And you've never seen smoke coming out of those chimneys that are burning properly."

 

Fishel also said that the ordinance's mandate for taller chimneys could lead to explosions caused by intense steam build-up, or smokestacks falling down in high winds.

 

Doug Miller, of Berlin Road, who also has an outdoor furnace for more than 20 years, said that one of the problems with the furnaces being used on Gun Club Road is probably not the design, but instead the wrong type of wood is being burned.

 

"Over the years I learned one major lesson. You do not burn wood chips," said Miller. "But if you burn good wood it will smoke for just 10 minutes and then it will burn all day and night with a blue flame and no smoke."

 

Township code enforcement officer Ron Balutis agreed. "Where I lived previously, I owned an outdoor furnace myself with no problems," Balutis said. "And out of the (400) or 500 outdoor furnaces I've seen, none have had the problems that Mr. Lease's has."

 

Lease, who was at the meeting, discounted the views of the residents and township officials, adding that his furnaces are operating properly.

 

"I don't know what the township's problems are, but if you are saying I have to get rid of my wood stove, there will be a lawsuit," Lease cautioned.

 

Several residents reacted by asking the township to make the ordinance address the issue of furnaces being used for a commercial operation such as apartments. Other residents continued to plead that something be done to correct the present situation.

 

"My wife doesn't go outside unless she goes from the house to the car because of the smoke. She can't breathe. We live in the country and we can't enjoy it," said Harold Senter of Gun Club Road. "You've got responsible people and you've got people who just don't give a damn. We need the township to help us."

 

Senter's statements were followed by a round of loud applause from the audience. The supervisors unanimously tabled the ordinance and said that they would review it taking into consideration all the comments, for and against.

 

Board chairwoman Steph Egger said that the supervisors and the township solicitor will work on rewriting the ordinance before bringing it back to a future meeting.

 

Full Article: CLICK HERE

April 8, 2009

Sandy Supers Present Overhauled Draft of Outdoor Furnace Ordinance

April 8th, 2009
Steven McDole, correspondent
 

DUBOIS - Sandy Township released a new draft of the outdoor wood furnace ordinance at their Monday meeting. It outlines allowable chimney height, what is allowed to be burned, set backs, burn dates and permit application.

Once in effect the ordinance, as it is written, will require outdoor furnace owners to have a permit to operate their outdoor furnaces. Existing furnaces have less requirements than new furnaces installed, but require contacting the Sandy Township Code Enforcement Office.

Before a new furnace can be installed owners have to turn over their manuals to make sure the furnace is installed according to instructions. If guidelines in the manual are stricter than those of the ordinance, the manual has to be followed before the ordinance.

Existing furnace owners are also required to turn over their manuals if a code enforcement officer asks to see it to make sure it was properly installed.

All furnaces will have to follow or exceed EPA OFF Phase 2 Program standards if they wish to burn year round in all zones. Several residential zones will limit furnaces that don't meet these standards to only be usable between Sept. 15 and May 15 for building heating. If used to heat water then an exception is made for the hours between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. between those two dates.

Burn materials have to be neatly stacked and kept covered up, and is limited to: untreated wood, wood pellets, corn products, biomass pellets and other items if listed as burnable in the manual. Some forbidden materials include wood with pain or varnish, newspapers, cardboard, rubber, food and garbage.

“We tried to make accommodations for both sides, and I'm still open for recommendations,” said Sandy Township Manager Dick Castonguay.

Castonguay estimated that the public hearing would be around May 18 if things keep up at their current pace.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

April 8, 2009

Outdoor furnace ordinance ready for review in Sandy Twp.

April 8, 2009

Courier Express Staff

DuBOIS - The outdoor furnace ordinance in Sandy Township is finally ready for public review.
Township Manager Dick Castonguay said at Monday's supervisors meeting that after a number of proposals and revisions, the ordinance is ready for review. He said he has spoken with the township solicitor and recommends it be considered as an amendment to the township's zoning ordinance.
The next step is to send it to the county and township planning commissions for their review and then schedule a public hearing.
The supervisors agreed to schedule a public hearing for May 18.
Copies of the draft ordinance are available at the township office.
Castonguay said anyone with comments on the ordinance should let him know.
"We have made some adjustments to try and be fair to both sides," he said. "We are still open to suggestions."
The ordinance will regulate the construction, establishment, installation, operation and maintenance of outdoor wood-fired hydronic heaters. It outlines proper fuels, setbacks and chimney heights for the heaters.
Those who have outdoor furnaces installed prior to the ordinance's effective date must apply for a permit from the township's code enforcement office within three months of the effective date.
Residents who want to install an outdoor furnace after the effective date will also have to obtain a permit.
Any authorized officer, agent, employee or representative of the township who presents credentials may inspect the property for compliance, according to the ordinance.
The township's zoning and code officers and police officers will enforce the ordinance. Violators will be subject to a fine of not less than $500 and not more than $1,000, plus costs, and in default of payment, to a term of imprisonment not to exceed 30 days.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

April 8, 2009

Zoning resolution enters final stage with public (OWBs mentioned)

 

Instead, the trustees and zoning board focused for the May primary or the next November voting date.

A second public hearing was needed by the Zoning Commission, though, after some language regarding wood burning furnaces and signage needed to be changed. At the request of attorney Andy Beech, the commission offered a second public hearing to ensure the finalized plans could be examined.

The commission reviewed the finalized materials themselves in mid-January before the second public viewing in February.

If everything is deemed satisfactory at the May public hearing by the trustees, the resolution will be put on the November ballot.

Full Article:  CLICK HERE

April 7, 2009

Sandy Township lauds police officers for stopping deadly attack

(OWBs Mentioned)

Tuesday, April 07, 2009
By Josh Woods Staff Writer

Following the presentation, the board of supervisors moved forward with its outdoor furnace ordinance. Mr. Castonguay provided the public with a draft copy of the ordinance that would regulate the construction, establishment, installation, operation and maintenance of outdoor wood-fired hydronic heaters. The ordinance outlines proper fuels, setbacks and chimney heights for the heaters.

Also, under the proposed ordinance, individuals who wish to continue using outdoor furnaces installed prior to the ordinance's effective date must apply for a permit from the township's code enforcement office within three months of that date.

People who wish to install an outdoor furnace after the effective date would also have to obtain a permit from the code office.

The draft ordinance provides right of entry and inspection to any authorized officer, agent, employee or representative of the township who presents credentials and sets forth the township's zoning and code officers and police officers as the individuals who may enforce the ordinance. Violators of the ordinance would be subject to a fine of not less than $500 and not more than $1,000, plus costs, and in default of payment, to a term of imprisonment not to exceed 30 days.

Mr. Castonguay said that the draft would be under planning commission's review and that parts of the ordinance would require the township to update some of its current codes. He predicted a public hearing would be held at the board of supervisors' May 18 meeting.

"If anyone has comments on the ordinance, please feel free to stop by and see me," said Mr. Castonguay. "We've made adjustments to it before. It's certainly still open for discussion."

Full Article: CLICK HERE

April 7, 2009

Pocono Township tinkers with two burning ordinances

TANNERSVILLE — Pocono Township supervisors approved two changes to local ordinances on Monday night, expanding outdoor burning hours to remove brush and regulating outdoor wood furnaces at township homes.

Supervisors voted 3-0 to expand legal hours for outdoor brush burning to 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays and from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesdays. The vote also scrapped a requirement that controlled fires to remove brush from properties take place at least 50 feet from property lines or roads.

In another vote, supervisors voted to enact a new ordinance to regulate outdoor wood furnaces. That new ordinance was passed 3-0 and requires the furnaces to be 150 feet from property lines and roads and 200 feet from occupied structures on other lots.

Existing furnaces are not subject to the new regulations, but township officials ask that residents who already own an outdoor wood furnace apply for a no charge permit.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

April 7, 2009

Boiler ordinance sparks heated debate

The Gazette
adam.belz@gazettecommunications.com

 
CEDAR RAPIDS — A hundred people showed up last night to talk wood-fired boilers at Roosevelt Middle School, after the crowd outgrew the Public Health building across the street at 501 13th St. NW.

The Linn County Board of Health on April 22 will take another look at a proposed ordinance that would ban many outdoor wood-fired boilers. The devices have become popular as a cheap way to heat homes and water. More than 2,700 were sold in Iowa between 1990 and 2005.

Monday's meeting was designed for opponents of the boilers to get a chance to speak their minds, after supporters of the boilers dominated a March meeting. But the crowd was again overwhelmingly made up of people who own wood boilers and they directed much of the discussion, which stretched for nearly three hours.

Jim Hodina, air quality division supervisor for Linn County Public Health, gave about an hourlong presentation explaining the science behind the proposed ordinance. The crowd — most of whom have invested some $10,000 in a wood-fired boiler — peppered Hodina with questions about particulate matter, BTUs, federal regulations and all kinds of figures.

Jackie Moore, who lives west of Mount Vernon and says her neighbor has a wood boiler 15 feet from her house, said stiffer regulation is needed.

"When that thing fires up, I have to leave my flower garden, which I enjoy, and move to another part of my yard," she said. "Location is everything, because it infringes on a neighbor's rights."

The key questions in the meeting came down to details. What should be the required setbacks for the boilers? What's more important as a guideline, the property line or the nearest residence? How will health officials regulate boilers that emit varying levels of particulate matter? What if a boiler-owner's neighbors is OK with the boiler?

Harold Hensel, a man from rural Mount Vernon who's been on a campaign against wood-fired boilers for months, spoke for about 20 minutes.

"Wood smoke is an air pollutant," he said.

He warned of dangerous dioxins, another byproduct he called "brain fog," and the mustard gas produced when some treated materials are burned.

Several When he mentioned global warming, the mostly-hostile crowd burst out laughing.

Another meeting is scheduled for tonight at 6 p.m., and owners and operators of wood-fired boilers are invited to bring their concerns.

Smoke from wood-fired boilers is linked to coughing, decreased lung function, aggravated asthma, chronic bronchitis, irregular heartbeats, Jim Hodina said. He said the ordinance is now being considered because health officials did not until recently realize how much particulate matter wood-fired boilers emit.

"It's a trend," Hodina said. "It's an emerging issue, and we have new information."

Full Article: CLICK HERE

April 5, 2009

Boiler owners steamed over new law

Special to The Herald News
Posted Apr 05, 2009 @ 08:13 PM
 
FREETOWN —

Former Selectman John S. Ashley’s father designed an outdoor wood boiler in 1973 and resents the fact his boiler does not comply with new state regulations.

This was the sentiment of a group of outdoor wood-fire boiler owners who met with the Board of Health in late March about the new regulations that went into effect March 1.

But the protesters received good news at that meeting: Their boilers would be considered “grandfathered” and they would simply have to comply with the directives of Health Agent Paul Bourgeois to meet the state regulations. However, if they fail to comply with Bourgeois’ wishes, they could face a $50 fine.

But Ashley said it might be difficult.

Citing the new regulations, Ashley noted that his father’s boiler needs to be at least 275 feet from his home. Right now it is only six feet away. The smokestack also violates the regulations, Ashley said, because it is not two feet higher than the roof of the house.

But health board members, who are also selectmen, stressed that current wood boiler owners have no need to fret. Board of Health Chairman Lawrence N. Ashley said they would only have to pay a fee if they fail to come into compliance Bourgeois’ recommendations.

“It is too late to discuss if these regulations are good, bad or different,” Bourgeois said. “Now fortunately, or unfortunately, we have to enforce them.”

Both Board of Health Chairman Ashley and health board member Jean C. Fox said the major health concern is what people choose to burn inside the smoke stacks.

In the past, people have put tires and other strange objects into the boilers, said Ed Brightman, of Brightman Lumber Co. That ruins the reputation of those who use wood boilers effectively, he said.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

April 1, 2009

Selectmen address Freetown's new boiler rules

April 01, 2009 6:00 AM

FREETOWN — In response to owners' questions about new regulations for outdoor hydronic heaters, selectmen said Health Agent Paul R. Bourgeois will look at new and older boilers and address concerns individually.

The town adopted new state regulations for the boilers, which took effect March 1.

Regulations sat that boilers must be at least 50 feet from the property line and 75 feet from the nearest occupied dwelling that is not served by the unit. They limit the height of the smokestack, depending on their distance from neighbors. Commercial units must be located 275 feet from the property line and at least 300 feet from the nearest occupied dwelling not served by the unit.

Selectmen will institute a $50 fee for inspections of new boilers, and when the health agent has to make repeated trips to ensure the boilers' compliance.

Owners of older boilers will not have to pay a fee for a first inspection.

"I understand the need for regulations in certain places in town," resident John Ashley said after a recent selectmen's meeting. "My dad put (a boiler) in to save money years ago. He has 12 acres, and we have never had a problem."

Ed Brightman, who has two boilers to serve his lumber business, said residents ought to use the devices properly.

"A lot of people abuse them," he said. "They put pressure-treated wood and tires in there. They are not supposed to be used to burn trash. You are supposed to only put firewood in them. The people that have abused the machines have caused problems for the rest of us."

Selectman Lawrence N. Ashley called for "mutual cooperation" between residents and officials to make sure outdoor boilers are installed and operated safely.

According to a fact sheet produced by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, boilers can produce heavy smoke and expose people to toxic particles.

The fact sheet and the new regulations have been posted on the town Web site.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 30, 2009

We are not sure if an OWB caused this fire, but the way the article was written we believe an OWB was the culprit. Check out the video below!

 

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE NEWS STORY

 

Wind pushes Dunbar grass fire

By Dan Swanson
Nebraska City News Press

Sustained winds of 20 mph, dry grass and cornstubble combined Monday as fire spread across the Gene and Cheryl Hobbie farm in rural Dunbar.

Dunbar Assistant Fire Chief Jason Burr said wind pushed the fire across a cornstubble field and into a grass field about a half mile away by the time firefighters arrived.

Two Dunbar tankers and quick response grass rigs were joined by firefighters and equipment from Nebraska City and Syracuse. Burr said firefighters first concentrated on holding flames back from Hobbies’ house and outbuildings at  4363 G Rd.

A pond west of the burning grass field helped contain the fire to about 140 acres. Farmers joined in with tractors and disks to create a fire line on Jeff Thoms’ pasture to the east of the fire.

Gene Hobbie said embers from a wood furnace may have started the field on fire.

Nebraska City firefighters were dispatched at 1:50 p.m. Dunbar firefighters remained on the scene until shortly before 5 p.m.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 30, 2009

State on right track with outdoor wood boiler regulations (opinion)

Owners of outdoor wood boilers are fired up about regulations the state Department of Environmental Conservation is working on that would restrict their use of the money-saving alternative heating systems.

The boilers are used in place of gas- or oil-fired furnaces for steam or hot-water heating systems. As a story in the last Sunday’s Gazette indicated, they work great and produce considerable savings, but they also generate air pollution. And because their stacks are shorter than the average chimney, only six to 10 feet high, the pollution doesn’t dissipate well. So it can create not just aesthetic issues but serious respiratory problems for users as well as neighbors. (Burning wood produces lots of carbon monoxide and benzene, which is bad news for people with asthma and other respiratory woes. And that’s just clean wood; tossing a piece of varnished or chemically treated wood or other waste material on the fire makes the emissions even more toxic. Doing so is illegal, but virtually impossible to enforce. Thus, it’s virtually an honor system.)

A number of communities across the state, including some in this region, have imposed moratoriums on new boilers, as well as regulations governing setback requirements and stack height, among other things. The regulations under development by the DEC would reportedly mirror some of these. They would obviously add to the cost of some installations while rendering others illegal, which is why people have been bombarding DEC and newspapers including this one with letters of protest.

But the regulations are needed. The federal Environmental Protection Agency passed voluntary guidelines for manufacturers a couple of years ago, and some of the furnaces now on the market burn cleaner as a result. But not all. And cleaner really isn’t clean enough: The units still produce about three times more smoke and up to three times as much fine particulate matter as traditional wood stoves (equipped with catalytic converters).

Proponents of these furnaces like to say that wood was around as a heat source long before heating oil and natural gas, and that’s certainly true. But there were a lot fewer people around in those days and air pollution wasn’t yet a twinkle in some industrialist’s eye. Even in a relatively sparsely populated, rural area, one or two wood boilers can make a huge difference in air quality. The sooner the state regulates them, the better.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 29, 2009

City might restrict outdoor wood-fired furnaces

The city's main rule-making committee is considering placing a ban on outdoor wood-fired furnaces.

The Legislative and Regulatory Committee, which revises and writes ordinances for the Common Council, has been looking into the furnaces as a public nuisance and public safety issue.

"Is it appropriate in the city limits, where homes are one on top of the other, or is it more of an out-in-the-country (use), where you have more than 50 feet in between two homes?" committee chairwoman Carol Heisz said recently. "That is what is driving me. I would not want one of these on either side of me."

The discussion was driven by a resident complaint that the smoke from a neighbor who has a furnace was obtrusive. That was followed up by the city inspector suggesting that the furnaces were a safety issue.

He said that they were being banned and removed by many communities in the area.

The committee is still discussing whether the city should take a stand on the furnaces and, if so, how strict to be.

The discussion is expected to continue in April when the committee meets again. Any ordinance that the committee comes up with would have to be approved by the Common Council.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 29, 2009

Herald News Update: Section Government (OWBs mentioned)

By Jeffrey D. Wagner

Sun Mar 29, 2009, 05:06 PM EDT

Freetown-

In other town news, the Board of Health last week voted on an inspection fee of $50 for those who install outdoor wood boilers or furnaces in town.

Selectmen said that those who install new boilers have to pay a $50 inspection fee while those who have boilers that are grandfathered in will not have to pay.

Board of Health Chairman Lawrence N. Ashley said they would only have to pay a fee if they fail to come into compliance with Building Commissioner Paul Bourgeois’ recommendations to bring them into compliance with new state regulations, they will have to pay a fee of $50. 

Recently, the state Department of Environmental Protection has passed regulations for outdoor wood boilers and furnaces.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 28, 2009

Lung Association Disagrees with Claim (OWBs discussed)

To the Readers' Forum:

The March 16, edition of The Post-Journal included an article titled ''State Changing Burning Regulations'' which highlights proposed regulations regarding outdoor wood boilers. In the article, Assemblyman Parment is quoted as saying, ''... it's excessive regulatory framework for outdoor wood burners,'' and that, ''they're not causing any problems.''

With this the American Lung Association in New York could not disagree more.

Outdoor wood boilers are wreaking havoc across New York, polluting the air and making breathing difficult for New Yorkers forced to breathe the smoke they produce.

Wood smoke emissions contain components such as carbon monoxide, various irritant gases, and chemicals known or suspected to be carcinogens, such as dioxin. Burning wood in close proximity to residential housing, without setback or stack regulation, creates a corridor for dirty aid.

Without regulating the location or height of an outdoor wood boilers chimney, it is likely that the wood you burn may create toxic smoke that your neighbors are forced to breathe.

The health effects of wood smoke exposure include increased coughing, wheezing and asthma attacks, increased hospital admissions for lower respiratory infections, and difficulty breathing. Moreover, population studies have shown that young children are among those most likely to be affected. Wood smoke can also be linked with a variety of other health effects, including increased risks of emergency room visits and hospitalizations for cardiopulmonary conditions and premature death.

According to the American Lung Association's 2008 State of the Air report (www.alany.org), Chautauqua County received a failing grade for air quality with dangerously high levels of ozone. Add in the high level of particulate matter generated by outdoor wood smoke, and you have a recipe for dirty, dangerous air.

Simply said, the negative health consequences from outdoor wood boilers outweigh the money saved from heating with wood.

Michael Seilback

Vice President,

Public Policy & Communications

American Lung Association in New York

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 28, 2009

Wood boiler movement could be damped by pollution regulations

Published Saturday, March 28, 2009

FAIRBANKS — One type of home heating system has drawn far more attention from neighbors, public officials and health advocates this winter than others.

Sales of hydronic outdoor heaters — commonly referred to as outdoor wood boilers (many also can burn coal) — spiked last summer following a dramatic rise in oil prices. Increased use also led to an increase in complaints from the neighbors of those with systems, which can emit thick plumes of soot, particularly if fuels are used improperly.

Officials at the Fairbanks North Star Borough and the Alaska Legislature are writing and considering rules that would tighten emission standards for home heating systems and issue tax breaks for residents who upgrade their less-efficient systems. A possible borough ordinance also could clamp down on outdoor boilers that emit enough to be a nuisance to neighbors, Borough Mayor Jim Whitaker said.

Compounding the situation is Fairbanks’ poor air quality, which has placed it on the Environmental Protection Agency’s hit list of communities with chronic problems with “particulate” air pollution — soot and dust from a blend of sources.

A report in February by the Cold Climate Housing Research Center suggested wood stoves, and particularly outdoor wood boilers, are the biggest culprits when it comes to particulate pollution coming from homes. The report also indicated an aggressive pollution prevention program could halve borough air pollution.

The borough, which paid the research center $20,000 to conduct the study, has been preparing to respond to the EPA’s decision to list Fairbanks as a problem polluter. Ryan Colgan, who helped draft the study, said chief among the recommendations is a future cap on emissions from coal- and wood-burning heating systems, including outdoor boilers.

“Complementary to that (would be) an incentive program to help people make the change,” he said.

Interior lawmakers are looking to find room in state lawbooks for the tax-incentive program. Two bills in play in Juneau would let the borough give residents a property tax break if they take steps to improve air quality by trading up for a better home heating system. Under the rules of the bills, the tax credit would be based on a percentage of the cost of the improvement, and further details would be up to the borough.

“Each municipality will establish the eligibility, conditions and other criteria for a tax credit by passing ordinances that will (be) based on local public input and specific community conditions,” Rep. John Coghill, one of the bill’s sponsors, said in a statement after proposing the bill.

Local officials and boiler distributors already have met to discuss the issue. Rob Richards, whose store sells two models of outdoor boilers, said local officials have done a good job of educating those using wood-fired heating systems to avoid burning wet, “green” and improperly dried wood, which he blames for much of the neighbor-to-neighbor issues.

But Richards suggested the prospect of new regulations presents a balancing act between the need for air quality and the need to heat one of the coldest places in the United States.

“If wood is not an acceptable heat (source), something needs to be made available to these people,” he said.

Early this winter, a number of residents or parents called public air quality officials to complain about smoky air in the West Fairbanks neighborhood surrounding Woodriver Elementary School.

The school sits across the street from a pair of homes with outdoor boilers. School employees and parents raised concerns that children could be breathing air thick with particulate pollution.

Public air-quality specialists have since placed a monitoring station in the school’s parking lot to keep a nose on air quality in the neighborhood. The white trailer that houses the station takes up part of four parking spaces and has a tall metal antenna that rises almost to the height of the lot’s overhead lighting.

“I think the borough’s doing the right thing to follow up on the anecdotal reports, to say, ‘Let’s go look at what’s going on,’” said Jeff Mann, the school’s new principal, of air concerns in the neighborhood. “Woodriver is in a community, and I would bet that if there are air quality concerns, it’s not just at Woodriver but is a community thing.”

There are a number of wood boilers on the market, and a handful of dealers around Fairbanks sell them. Models range from expensive, high-efficiency wood boilers to more economic, less-efficient ones, but Richards — himself the owner of a boiler, which he uses when oil hits a certain price — stressed that much of a boiler’s efficiency comes from the type of fuel the owner uses. For many Fairbanks homeowners, a cheap heating system is a necessity, not an option, he said.

Contact staff writer Christopher Eshleman at 459-7582.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 26, 2009

Outdoor wood boiler law passed in town of Jay

HEATHER SACKETT, News Staff Writer

 AU SABLE FORKS — After a lengthy public hearing and discussion that grew heated at times, the Jay town board passed a law regulating the use of outdoor wood boilers.

   The law, passed 4 to 1, came at a special meeting Tuesday night. The new local law is less strict than previous drafts and will allow residents to burn wood during the months of May and September, provided they do it between sunset and sunrise. The use of OWBs is banned during the summer months and during the day in the months of May and September. The ban is from May 1 to Sept. 30.

    “We felt most people wouldn’t have their windows open (if it was cold enough to use a wood boiler),” Jay town Supervisor Randy Douglas said. “We are trying to be more accommodating.”

   The lone “no” vote came from councilwoman Amy Shalton. After the meeting, she told the Lake Placid News that she is not against regulating OWBs. She said she voted no because she would have liked to have had some items under the “penalities” section clarified as well as add a date for compliance with the new law.

   The law requires any new OWB to be at least 250 feet from another residence not served by the OWB. If no residence exists on the adjoining property, the OWB can be no closer than 150 from the adjoining property line. The law also requires that if an existing OWB is located within 249 feet of a residence or business not served by the OWB, the stack height must be at least two feet higher than the peak of that building and have a stack fan.

   The punishment for violating the law is a fine of up to $250 and up to 15 days in jail. Subsequent violations carry a fine of up to $1,000 and 15 days in jail.

   The board heard from several people who were against the law as it was written. The heated discussion spilled over from the 6 p.m. public hearing into the 7 p.m. meeting.

   “I feel personally ... like you guys have got your hands in my pocket stealing my money,” said Jay resident Eric Carey. “I probably will not vote for any of you. That’s how strongly I feel.”

    Douglas said Carey later apologized to the board for his remarks.

   But one resident advocated regulating OWBs, especially in more densely populated areas, like the hamlet of Au Sable Forks.

    “It’s an automatic nuisance,” said Jim Sorrell.  “(The smoke) is always there. We can’t get away from it. You can’t protect yourself.”

   OWBs have been touted as a means of providing heat and hot water at a time when the price of oil is unpredictable. But they have also been criticized for contributing to poor air quality and causing health problems, especially when used incorrectly.

   Regulating the use of the devices proved a time-consuming and sometimes contentious process for the Jay town board. Last fall, the town formed an ad hoc committee to study the issue and make recommendations to the board. In September a five-month moratorium was enacted on wood boiler permits. Last month, that moratorium was extended by another two months to April 11.

   Several residents objected to the fact that there is no date for which residents who already own an OWB must come into compliance with the new law. Jay attorney Dan Manning agreed that the law should include a deadline for compliance.

   “I think that’s very important,” he said. “It’s not in there and it should be in there.”

   But the board decided to vote on the law Tuesday because revisions would mean another month's delay with another public hearing, another extension of the moratorium and little additional helpful feedback from residents, Douglas said.

    “Is it a perfect law? Probably not, but I think we’ve been fair,” Douglas said. “It’s important for us to pass the law and obviously we are going to give people time to come into compliance.”


    Douglas said there currently are about 50 existing OWBs in the town of Jay.

 Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 26, 2009

Nuisance ordinance drafted in Hamilton Twp.(OWBs mentioned)

By MELODY ASPER

For The Evening Sun

The proposal to tightly regulate wood-fired furnaces and boilers isn't the only ordinance being considered by Hamilton Township that deals with air pollution.

Air pollution also is covered by the township's proposed nuisance ordinance. That ordinance would prohibit any activity causing "injury, damage, hurt, inconvenience, annoyance, or discomfort to others in the legitimate enjoyment of their rights of person or property, which results in trespass or which causes pollution of the air, water or lands."

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 25, 2009

Jail, fines for furnace misuse?

By MELODY ASPER

For The Evening Sun

Hamilton Township might adopt an ordinance that would tightly regulate outdoor wood-fired furnaces and boilers, making misuse punishable by $2,500 per day in fines or time in jail, and giving the township authority to issue civil penalties up to $25,000 for violations.

The 11-page ordinance is the township's attempt to address recent complaints by residents who say they have been negatively affected by smoke from existing boilers.

The ordinance would provide "for the prevention and control of air pollution from the use of outdoor wood-fired boilers," would require permits for the installation and operation of all such furnaces.

Violating the ordinance would be a summary offense punishable by fines of up to $2,500 per day of violation, plus court costs. In default of fine payment, violators can be sentenced to imprisonment for 90 days for each separate offense.

In addition to the fine and costs, the township could also assess civil penalties of up to $25,000 per day for each violation.

According to the ordinance, the determination of the civil penalty will depend upon several factors including damage to air, soil, water or other natural resources, the cost to the township and the violator's history of compliance. Township officials began last year to explore an ordinance regulating wood-fired furnaces and boilers after several residents near Gun Club Road and Berlin Road complained about excessive smoke and fumes polluting the neighborhoods near their homes.

Some of those residents said they and their families had been plagued by asthma and other respiratory conditions from breathing smoke.

The residents complained that the outdoor furnaces and boilers, which are used to heat homes and supply them with heated water, are used year-round, producing fumes and toxins that keep them from enjoying their own yards or even be able to open their windows.

Several residents near Berlin Road also complained about smoke from at least one outdoor furnace in that area.

Township officials said they confirmed that the furnaces adjacent to Gun Club Road were emitting excessive smoke and pollution throughout an area about a quarter-mile in circumference, which includes dozens of residential homes.

The Berlin Road furnaces are in a more rural area thus not affecting as many residences, said the supervisors, but sometimes the smoke from those furnaces has produced a "fog" across Berlin Road that reaches to neighboring Route 94.

The proposed ordinance mandates specific locations, designs, permits, installation, operation and maintenance of all outdoor furnaces.

It would apply to boilers and furnaces already in existence, said chairwoman Supervisor Steph Egger.

One of the new ordinance regulations demands that outdoor wood-fired furnaces and boilers must be designed and built by a licensed manufacturer.

Conversion of other types of furnaces or appliances for such use, or fabrication of the furnace/boiler by the owner is prohibited, including those already in existence, Egger said.

Installations of the furnaces will also be strictly regulated with none being allowed within 100 feet of a property line. Additionally, the chimney of the furnace/boiler must extend at least 5 feet about the highest residential roof that is within 500 feet.

 

IF YOU GO

 

What: Public hearing on the proposed ordinance regulating outdoor wood-fired furnaces and boilers.

When: Monday, April 6, at 7 p.m.

Where: Hamilton Township building, 272 Mummert's Church Road.

 

AT A GLANCE

The air-pollution ordinance being considered by the Hamilton Township supervisors calls for violators to be fined up to $2,500 per day and sentenced to up to 90 in jail per offense, and calls for civil penalties of up to $25,000 per day for each violation.

According to the ordinance the determination of the civil penalty will depend upon:

- damage to air, soil, water or other natural resources

- financial benefit to the person in consequence of the violation

- deterrence of future violations

- cost to the township

- the size of the source or facility

- compliance history of the source

- the severity and duration of the violation

- degree of cooperation in resolving the violation

- the speed with which compliance is achieved

- whether the violation was voluntarily reported

- any other relevant factors.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 25, 2009

Where there's smoke, there's... a new ordinance: OPH considers restricting residents' outdoor wood-fired heating systems

 

By ANDREW WALLMEYER

awallmeyer@acnpapers.com

(Created: Wednesday, March 25, 2009 12:30 PM CDT)

 

 

OAK PARK HEIGHTS - Looking to get out in front of what could be a bothersome issue, Oak Park Heights officials will consider how the city should regulate wood-fired boiler, stove and furnace systems that are separate from the structures they heat.

 

Councilman Mark Swenson first raised the issue in January, noting that such external heating systems are becoming increasingly popular.

 

After learning that the units would likely fall under the city's relatively permissive accessory structures ordinance, the City Council directed staff to propose an amendment addressing the external heating systems explicitly.

 

City Planner Scott Richards returned Tuesday with a draft ordinance that would require such outdoor wood-burning heating systems:

 

    * be located at least 100 feet from all property lines and at least 300 feet from neighboring homes.

 

    * have chimneys at least two feet taller than the nearest neighboring home.

 

    * meet the Environmental Protection Agency's "Phase II" emission standards.

 

    * be operated only between Oct. 1 and April 1.

 

 

      The draft ordinance would also prohibit citizens from storing more than two cords of firewood on their property. (A cord measures 4x4x8 feet.)

 

      Hearing that, some council and audience members said they thought a more reasonable figure would be 10 cords, estimating that to be about what it would take to heat a moderately sized house through the winter.

 

      "Have there been any complaints on this?" asked Greg Freeman, who said he likes to heat his garage with a wood-burning stove. "I think it's real rare. ... In our area, there are a lot of people that have quite a bit of wood, and it's kept neat and clean and I don't see a problem with this."

 

      Councilman Les Abrahamson agreed.

 

      "I don't see this as a problem, and I don't foresee limiting the amount of wood someone can keep on their property," he said.

 

      Seeking to allay concerns that the city would prevent people from using existing stoves and fire pits as they have been, Mayor David Beaudet said the scope of the proposal is quite limited.

 

      "The intent of this ordinance is not to deal with the typical campfires or neighborhood get-together fires, it doesn't have any effect on stoves inside existing structures and it doesn't mention fireplaces," he said.

 

      Council members were generally supportive of the proposed restrictions on outdoor wood-burning furnaces, but several said they wanted to get more citizen input on the matter before adopting an ordinance.

 

      The council ultimately decided to refer the issue to the Planning Commission, which will hold a public hearing on the matter at its April 9 meeting. The council is expected to next consider the subject on April 28.

 

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 25, 2009

City wrestles with caring for furnaces

Yvonne Klinnert, Stillwater Courier
Published Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Answering the tough questions before they’re asked is the goal of discussions underway in Oak Park Heights regarding outdoor wood burning furnaces. Officials Tuesday emphasized that any zoning ordinance amendment the city enacts would be designed to ease safety concerns, not to outlaw the furnaces, which can drastically cut heating costs.

Some of those questions might be how close a furnace can be to a neighbor, what pollution control efforts will be in place, and how much stored wood might be “too much.”

A public hearing on proposed regulations will be scheduled for an upcoming planning commission meeting.

One condition almost certain to make it into an ordinance is a requirement that furnaces be qualified under the EPA Phase II Program, a voluntary program for manufacturers of the heaters making them 90 percent cleaner than older, unqualified models. EPA Phase II Program units have a white “hang tag” and emit less fine particle pollution, according to the staff report delivered to the Oak Park Heights City Council Tuesday. They cost about 15 percent more than unqualified units.

Location requirements are another issue for the council to decide. City Planner Scott Richards researched ordinances in several other communities that require a 100-foot setback from property lines, and noted that a furnace placed at a great distance away from the home being served isn’t as efficient as one placed closer.

The council also briefly discussed whether the amount of wood being stored should be limited. A few residents in the audience spoke to that issue, saying it wouldn’t be unusual for a homeowner to go through 10 cords of wood in a season. The city doesn’t currently regulate the amount of wood stored on a property, only that it be kept neatly stacked, Richards said.

Other issues to be determined are whether the outdoor furnaces should be allowed to be used only April 1 through Oct. 1, whether screening will be required, and chimney heights.

None of the regulations being discussed will apply to indoor wood stoves or outside fire pits. “The intent of this ordinance is not to deal with a typical campfire, neighborhood get-together fire,” said Mayor David Beaudet. “It doesn’t have any impact on existing wood burning stoves or fireplaces.”

Councilmembers Mark Swenson and Les Abrahamson said they didn’t want to get into regulating the amount of wood being stored on a property. “It was never a problem in the first place,” Swenson said.

The council agreed the proposed ordinance amendment should be posted on the city’s Web site for viewing. The council directed the issue to the planning commission for review and to hold a public hearing.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 24, 2009

Iowa regional news and notes (OWBs mentioned)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Linn County mulls limiting wood-burning furnaces

MOUNT VERNON, Iowa -- Linn County officials may outlaw most smoky wood-burning furnaces out of concern they could pose health hazards.

A county ordinance still being developed by the county health department would ban the outdoor wood furnaces from homes with nearby neighbors.

County health officials said pollution produced by the furnaces cause respiratory and heart problems.

The county has been close to Environmental Protection Agency limits on particulate matter in the air. If they eclipse those limits, residents could face tougher emissions regulations.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 22, 2009

Wood boilers debate heats up
 

By Sara Foss
Gazette Reporter

— Last heating season Ken Czachor spent $4,000 on fuel oil.

This season he hasn’t spent any.

The difference?

A $9,000 wood boiler, which Czachor installed last fall. He cuts wood on his Schoharie property and uses it for heat and hot water. “It’s a big savings,” he said. “In this day and age, people can’t afford to spend the money for oil.”

Now Czachor worries that the state Department of Environmental Conservation will pass regulations restricting his use of his outdoor wood boiler.

“The state, like always, has to put their nose into everything,” said Czachor, maintenance supervisor for the state Office of General Services. “We’ve got a good thing going, and they want to stop it.”

A regulation that would establish siting and stack height criterion and emission standards for outdoor “wood-fired hydronic heat systems” is under development, but has not been formally proposed, according to Lori Severino, a DEC spokeswoman.

The American Lung Association of New York supports regulating outdoor wood boilers. Michael Seilback, the organization’s vice president of public policy and communication, said complaints about wood boilers are on the rise.

“Here at the Lung Association, we’re receiving more and more calls from the public,” Seilback said. “You can put a boiler in your yard and reap the benefits, but that same wood that’s being used to heat your water is also putting out pollutants. Those pollutants can trigger wheezing. They’ve been linked to premature deaths. It’s not just a nuisance. It’s a public health issue.”

Seilback said wood boilers lack the high chimneys of fireplaces, which means that emissions are more likely to drift into neighbors’ yards.

John Sheehan, a spokesman for the Adirondack Council, echoed Seilback’s concerns. “It’s a local ambient air quality issue,” he said. “The stacks are very low. The emissions are not carried off by prevailing winds.”

Some municipalities have either passed wood boiler regulations or are considering them. Port Henry, Tupper Lake and Saranac Lake have banned the installation of new furnaces; other communities have mandated that only wood be burned in the boilers.

“It’s difficult to regulate what’s going into them,” Sheehan said. “They either need to be designed in a different way, so that they’re more efficient, or they shouldn’t be used.”

Czachor and a number of other local residents have sent letters complaining about outdoor wood boiler regulation to newspapers and legislators throughout the state.

The letter campaign was organized by Michigan-based Hawken Energy, the company that sold Czachor his wood boiler.

Michael Moltrup, a Hawken dealer based in western New York, said the outdoor wood boiler emissions are safe. “This is no different than your grandfather and great-grandfather burning wood to heat the house.”

Moltrup said he began selling the furnaces last year, and that business has been good because of the “energy situation.”

Czachor said many Schoharie County residents are installing wood boilers. “I could see this being a problem if you did it in a residential area, but this is a rural area.”

An outdoor wood boiler is a freestanding stove placed outside the home that heats water.

It contains a large firebox for logs, a reservoir to heat water and a short chimney.

The DEC Web site says, “Neighbor and owner complaints about these units are growing!” and then lists the reasons outdoor wood boilers are bad for the air. “One emits the same pollution as 1,000 oil furnaces,” the site says. “Smoke can trigger asthma attacks and other problems.”

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 19, 2009

Stop use of outdoor wood-burning boilers (opinion)

Harold Hensel
Cedar Rapids


Please contact the Linn County Board of Supervisors and request a moratorium on outdoor wood-burning boilers. There is no regulation of these polluters. They probably will not meet particulate matter rules when enforced or future carbon-dioxide emission rules.

Outdoor wood-burning boilers are different from wood-burning stoves indoors. The outdoor units are designed with larger “pots” that allow cooler and longer-burning fires that produce incomplete combustion. The pollution that these units belch is horrendous. A larger door and burning area encourage burning other things. The emissions travel miles, including into Cedar Rapids. They are popping up all over in the county. Central City has a moratorium on them.

It is more than an inconvenience to people living close by. It is a health hazard and a violation of rights. The poison gases drive people out of their yards. It gives them headaches, sore lungs, sore eyes and other symptoms of smoke inhalation.
It sets off smoke detectors. There is no way to keep the smoke outdoors. It comes through doors, closed windows, attics and drier vents. Clothes get smoky. The whole house smells like smoke. Imagine trying to live like this for weeks and months. Some have said they want to sell and move away but they don’t think anyone will want to buy their properties.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 17, 2009

Cressona restricts outdoor furnaces

CRESSONA — The borough on Monday added its name to a growing list of municipalities that restrict the use of outdoor furnaces.

BY DAMIAN GESSEL
STAFF WRITER
dgessel@republicanherald.com
Published: Tuesday, March 17, 2009 4:12 AM EDT

CRESSONA — The borough on Monday added its name to a growing list of municipalities that restrict the use of outdoor furnaces.

Cressona leaders said they haven’t yet had major problems with outdoor furnaces, but the new ordinance is designed to keep it that way.

“This is to avoid problems,” Councilman Robert Barr said.

Councilman Lyle Frehafer added, “We don’t see (outdoor furnaces) as practical for families.”

Solicitor Thomas Lisella pointed out that people often use the furnaces to burn questionable fuels, polluting surrounding areas with foul-smelling, sometimes toxic smoke.

“We are concerned about the types of fuel you can burn. People seem to burn everything from animal waste, to wood, to kerosene products,” he said.

The ordinance, adopted unanimously Monday, states that outdoor furnaces are allowed only on properties no less than five acres in size and may not be located less than 50 feet from the nearest adjacent property. It also allows for only natural gas, propane, home heating fuel, coal or wood to be used as fuel, explicitly prohibiting industrial waste, treated lumber, railroad ties, rubber, toxic chemicals and a number of other items from being burned.

Residents wishing to use an outdoor furnace must also now secure a permit from the borough, on penalty of a $500-per-day fine.

Cressona joined Ringtown, Port Carbon, Pottsville, Mechanicsville, Girardville and a number of other municipalities in restricting the usage of outdoor furnaces.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 17, 2009

Linn County mulls limiting wood-burning furnaces

MOUNT VERNON, Iowa - Linn County officials may outlaw most smoky wood-burning furnaces out of concern they could pose health hazards.

A county ordinance still being developed by the county health department would ban the outdoor wood furnaces from homes with nearby neighbors.

County health officials said pollution produced by the furnaces cause respiratory and heart problems.

The county has been close to Environmental Protection Agency limits on particulate matter in the air. If they eclipse those limits, residents could face tougher emissions regulations.

"If these wood boilers close down that ceiling, it shuts down growth and development," said Curtis Dickson, the county's public health director.

The devices have become popular as a cheap way to heat and more than 2,700 have been sold in Iowa between 1990 and 2005.

As few as five of the furnaces in a quarter-mile radius produces the same particulate pollution as coal-fired boilers at large energy plants, according to the county public health department.

Mike Snyder, who owns a wood-fired boiler and sells them, was skeptical of that claim.

"I think if you've got five really good stoves, it wouldn't come close to that coal burner," he said.

Only boilers certified by the EPA would be allowed, a standard that few of the furnaces meet.

If approved, owners would likely have three to five years to replace or upgrade the boilers.

The ordinance is expected to go before the county board of supervisors in April.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 14, 2009

Town holds off on long-term trash deal (OWBs mentioned) 

By Jeffrey D. Wagner

Sat Mar 14, 2009, 07:13 PM EDT

Freetown -

Selectmen also approved regulations for outdoor wood burning boilers or furnaces.

Health board members have noted the importance of regulating these types of boilers and furnaces as some homeowners are turning to these options to curb home heating expenses.
Selectmen agreed that $50 should be the price of an inspection fee. However, selectmen are not sure at this time as to whether the town should charge residents who currently own these boilers or furnaces.

Selectmen Chairwoman Lisa A. Pacheco noted that owners should be called in to discuss the matter.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 10, 2009

Northern Cambria bans outdoor furnaces

By SUSAN EVANS
The Tribune-Democrat

NORTHERN CAMBRIA Borough Council members began considering restrictions on outdoor furnaces Monday night, but ended up banning them altogether.

Only existing outdoor furnaces – and only those that do not pose a nuisance – will be allowed in the borough, council members decided.

“I personally inspected one situation and went to the block the furnace is in. It smelled so bad,” said Councilman Wilbur Kelly. “This woman had to leave her house because of the smell, and that’s not right. They just don’t work in this terrain.”

The vote was unanimous to ban the units, but with the understanding that existing outdoor furnaces are “grandfathered.”

In restricting the furnaces, Northern Cambria joined other area jurisdictions that either ban them or have outdoor-furnace regulations.

“We do allow them, but there are restrictions,” said Dan Penatzer, Ebensburg’s borough manager.

“They must be 40 feet from the closest neighbor’s property line,” Penatzer said, “and the minimum lot size is 40,000 square feet.”

Nanty Glo, Somerset Borough, Berlin and Salisbury ban outdoor furnaces altogether.

The restrictions and bans come as municipalities in the region are working to eliminate or reduce the impact of the outdoor furnaces, which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says can create wood smoke that is harmful to the elderly, pregnant women and others with certain medical conditions.

Ordinances generally regulate flue heights, smoke emissions and how close an outdoor furnace can be to structures.

Fuel must be natural wood, coal or another approved material, and it should be dry.

“The climate here is against it, too,” Kelly said. “People burn damp wood, and it stinks.”

Northern Cambria Borough, solicitor Dennis Govachini said he will draft a new ordinance banning the outdoor structures.

Somerset Borough considered restrictions late last year, but ended up imposing a ban instead. Somerset officials said that an outdoor furnace was installed and presented “a significant problem with air quality and quality-of-life issues.”

In Cambria Township, Supervisor Robert Shook said the ordinance regulating outdoor furnaces is an issue of property management, especially in the Colver and Beulah Road areas.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 8, 2009

Emissions cloud future of wood-fired boilers

By Peter B. Lord

Journal Environment Writer

ASHFORD, Conn. — Scott Bradley proudly boasts that he is so opposed to dependence on foreign oil that he hasn’t bought a drop of heating oil in 12 years. Yet he keeps his house and his Mainline Heating and Supply store in the 70s every winter. He stays warm by burning native wood in hefty fireboxes called outdoor wood furnaces.

Bradley has become one of the top sellers of the country’s leading brand of such furnaces, Central Boiler, from his store in this wooded community about 20 miles from the Rhode Island line. He figures he has sold more than 1,300 in the last 12 years, including 400 to 500 to Rhode Islanders.

The furnaces pump heated water underground through insulated pipes to nearby buildings. Bradley says they are efficient and clean if operated properly. By his rough calculation, the stoves he has sold save about a million gallons of heating oil every year.

Unfortunately, he concedes, some are misused, just as some people drive cars improperly.

And as the stoves become more popular, more people are complaining that sooty smoke is invading their houses, making their lives miserable.

Two self-proclaimed victims of one of those stoves testified before the Rhode Island House Environment and Natural Resources Committee recently. Steve and Susan Charette, of Foster, said they haven’t been able to take their toddlers outdoors since last summer, when a neighbor fired up his outdoor boiler. They demanded state regulations to control emissions from such stoves.

North Smithfield and Woonsocket passed ordinances last year. Smithfield, North Kingstown and Narragansett are considering their own this year. Connecticut and Massachusetts have enacted regulations. Now, the Rhode Island House says it plans to act with its own legislation.

It may be come as a surprise to some that Central Boiler doesn’t have a problem with that.

Former Attorney General Dennis J. Roberts II represented the company at the hearing in Rhode Island and said his client would support state regulations, with some amendments.

“This company is the largest manufacturer of this product,” said Roberts. “My client is very amenable to [Department of Environmental Management] regulations.”

DEM Director W. Michael Sullivan told the committee that if it wants the state to regulate the boilers, it will have to pass a law. Sullivan said his legal advisers don’t believe DEM is empowered to regulate residential boilers.

Sullivan said such a law should address boiler operations and the fact that many of the ones causing problems were installed without local permits and without guidance from licensed professionals.

Considering the time it takes to write regulations based on new state laws, he urged the legislators to act quickly so the DEM can be prepared to regulate the stoves by next fall.

Charette provided a video of the smoke billowing from his neighbor’s boiler.

“It’s not just a nuisance, it’s terrorism,” said Charette. He said he has taken his neighbor to court.

He said the General Assembly should declare a moratorium on boiler sales until it develops truly tough emission standards.

Charette said Europeans have developed the technology to clean up emissions from the stoves, but boiler makers have resisted that in the United States.

Susan Charette tearfully told the committee she is concerned about her twin toddlers.

“I can’t go outside with my kids. I can’t do anything with them,” she said. “I don’t know if you can imagine what that’s like.”

Molly Clark, of the American Lung Association, said the boilers not only cause asthma, they emit particles that cause other health problems for those who breathe them.

“The lung association isn’t opposed to wood burning as such, but it is against wood burning that is not properly controlled,” Clark said.

Representatives Raymond E. Gallison and Douglas W. Gablinske, both Bristol Democrats, are the lead sponsors of legislation to regulate the boilers. A different version failed last year. Gallison said at the hearing that he wants minimum stack heights and setbacks for the stoves. And he wants them installed only by licensed plumbers and electricians. He also wants to ensure compliance with federal emissions standards.

“In my opinion, it’s deplorable and we need to regulate it and regulate it now,” Gallison said.

Gablinske added: “We have a great interest in getting this passed before it explodes. It is a huge problem, and it will explode.”

Committee chairman Jan Malik agreed. “This is a big issue and we need to nip it in the bud.”

The only dissenting speaker was Al Bettencourt, of the Rhode Island Farm Bureau. He’s not opposed to some regulation, he said, but he’s concerned that the bill goes too far. What’s more, he asserted some boilers give off steam that people might mistake for smoke.

To Bradley, the wood boilers are practically a way of life — a way to rid the country of its dependence on foreign oil. He figures he saves 500 gallons of oil a month just with the boiler at his store.

The boilers are so big, you can feed them entire logs, rather than more expensive split wood.

When heating oil prices soared past $4 a gallon, he said, he got lots of new customers desperate to find another fuel.

“You wouldn’t believe how many customers we have and how much they love their boilers,” said Bradley.

“People are the problem — if they don’t burn responsibly,” he said. “It’s like people have the right to bear arms, but not to shoot people.”

“Wood smoke is dangerous,” said Bradley. “But so is cigarette smoke. Or fumes from your car.”

Despite the drawbacks of burning wood, Bradley insists they pale in comparison with the environmental costs of drilling for oil, transporting it, refining it and then burning it. And look at the costs of oil spills. You don’t get wood spills, he noted.

“Oil drove our country to its knees,” Bradley said.

Using the boilers on small lots is unthinkable, Bradley agreed. So is using a short smoke stack, or burning anything other than clean wood. Also, they should not be operated in the summer.

Bradley said he is concerned about having to comply with a variety of town regulations or outright bans. But moves by some states to require more efficient boilers don’t worry him. His company makes them too, although they cost more.

To see the boiler bill, go to: www.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText09/HouseText09/H5218.pdf.

plord@projo.com

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 7, 2009

Wood-burning boiler policy revisited

Saturday, March 07, 2009
By NANCY H. GONTER
ngonter@repub.com
 

MONSON - The Board of Health is considering whether to change its regulations for outdoor wood-burning boilers in light of state regulations that have gone into effect.

Health Agent Lorri A. McCool said the town can have regulations that are more restrictive than the state regulations that went into effect on Dec. 26, 2008.

A public hearing on the issue was held on Wednesday and the 15 people at the meeting expressed a variety of views about the boilers. The board will take up the issue again at its March 18 meeting, McCool said.

"They haven't made up their mind about anything specific," McCool said.

In some cases, the state's rules are more restrictive that Monson's regulations but in other cases are less restrictive, McCool said.

In 2007, Monson required that all owners of the wood boilers register them with the town. So far, a total of 30 boilers have been registered, she said. A moratorium on new boilers imposed in 2007 is still in place.

Monson's regulations allow boilers to be operated from Oct. 15 to April 15, while the state regulations allow operation from Oct. 1 to May 15.

Kenneth J. Pevay, of 224 Munn Road, who has two neighbors with wood boilers, said he spoke at the hearing to urge the board not to accept less stringent regulations.

"I'm concerned about my property value when I go to sell my house," said Pevay, who has a wood stove but says it produces much less pollution than wood boilers.

"I'm not against the burning of wood," Pevay said.

McCool said she thought the public hearing on the regulations went well.

"Everyone was very positive and gave their opinion. It was productive," McCool said.

The new state regulations allow only the most efficient boilers to be sold in the state and that existing boilers meet new standards that limit how close their smokestacks can be to the nearest home or business.

The wood-fed boilers are typically placed in small insulated sheds with short smoke stacks. They heat water that is piped into a building to supply heat and hot water.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 6, 2009

Lawrence Twp. discusses zoning updates (OWBs discussed)

Friday, March 06, 2009
By Jeff Corcino Staff Writer

The township has also been receiving a lot of complaints about the operation of outdoor furnaces, and William Lawhead asked if the township should place restrictions on them to keep people from placing them in densely populated residential neighborhoods, such as Goldenrod.

Code Enforcement Officer Zachary Lawhead said most of the complaints with outdoor furnaces stem from people installing smokestacks that are too low, or from people burning garbage and other inappropriate materials in them.

William Lawhead said a representative of Mahoning Outdoor Furnaces met with them and said if outdoor furnaces are installed and operated according to manufacturing specifications there would be no problems with them.

Mr. Naddeo said the township could implement a requirement that outdoor furnaces be installed and operated according to the manufacturer's specifications and that they be inspected by the township. However, it was unclear whether manufacturers have a standardized minimum smokestack height.

It was suggested that the township could require that the smokestack be at least as high as the roofline of the home it serves to make them comparable with indoor wood-burning stoves.

Zachary Lawhead was asked to research ordinances other municipalities have enacted regulating outdoor furnaces so the township can review them.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 6, 2009

A Closer Look at LT's Zoning/Code Meeting (OWBs discussed)

Steven McDole, correspondent

In response to complaints being made to the municipality the topic of outdoor furnaces came up. As of the moment the closest ordinance on the books to dealing with furnaces, according to Code Enforcement Officer Zachary Lawhead, is one that forbids starting fires on township roads.

After discussing the complaints the representatives from each of the three groups felt that most of the problems stemmed from a root cause; people either burning garbage or not using manufacturer's recommended flue heights. The furnaces when used properly rarely cause complaint.

As such an ordinance requiring furnaces to simply follow the recommended manufacturer's installation and maintenance should solve most problems. It would also prevent potentially conflicting rules for outdoor furnaces, corn burners, wood burners, etc.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 5, 2009

Outdoor furnace remains fiery issue in Clifton

By Sarah Young, Staff Correspondent, River Falls Journal
Published Thursday, March 05, 2009

Tempers flared at the March 3 Clifton Town Board meeting as a discussion concerning Warren Quade’s outdoor wood boiler again took center stage.

Quade’s neighbor, Jerry Dockendorf, N6385 1297th St., who has brought complaints about the wood boiler to the Town Board in the past, remains upset that Quade hasn’t yet removed the boiler as the board mandated him to do.

“It burns every day,” Dockendorf said. “Every day.”

The town has issued several citations to Quade, N6904 County Road F, since December, ordering the removal of the outdoor wood boiler that has been operating on a road easement between his property and Dockendorf’s.

According to Dockendorf, Quade brought the stove from Prescott in November 2007 and used to burn items like corn, oil-soaked pallets and soap bottles. Dockendorf said Quade stopped using the stove in April 2008 but brought it out again in November.

According to the town’s lawyer Bob Loberg, each citation demands the removal of the stove within 30 days of receiving the citation, which doesn’t necessarily mean the person will comply.

Loberg advised the board to keep sending the citations in hope that the mounting fines will convince Quade to remove the stove.

“You think if a guy gets a batch of 30 to 40 tickets at $150 each, why that’s $6,000,” Loberg said.

Supervisor Gregg Eggers made clear that the stove was installed after an ordinance was passed prohibiting people to use an outdoor boiler in a high density population area.

After hearing those points, Dockendorf was not appeased and continued to make complaints and question the board’s effectiveness in taking action.

“(The stove) actually could be called a safety hazard if you have children playing and something were to go wrong,” Dockendorf said. “It’s not even technically on his property. It’s on the road easement.”

Supervisor John Rohl said he spoke with Quade earlier, who did not want to appear at the meeting because he felt he would accomplish nothing and would end up arguing.

Rohl also said Quade wants to appeal to the Variance Committee to see if use of the stove could be grandfathered in since he claims to have had it before the ordinance went into effect.

Loberg explained this is not a zoning issue, which is what the Variance Committee handles, but a violation of an ordinance.

Rohl said he has been to Quade’s at least three times. Rohl thought only wood and nothing else was being burned and that it didn’t smell bad.

Eggers disagreed, as did Dockendorf, both of whom said the smoke was toxic and unhealthy.

Dockendorf said he has been showing neighboring lots to prospective buyers and the stove and smoke are the first things they ask about.

“I’m just here to follow up and resolve this so I can sell those lots,” Dockendorf said. “They’re gorgeous lots.”

He said people building $500,000 homes don’t want to smell the smoke from the stove the minute the weather turns cold.

Eggers thanked Dockendorf for his descriptions and said the board would follow Loberg’s advice concerning the matter.

Loberg said if the continued citations don’t work, the board might want to threaten Quade with an injunction. Quade could face jail time if the fines aren’t paid.

Eggers said once Quade realizes he can’t appear before the Variance Committee, the citations should work.

“This late in the season, does it make sense to use taxpayer money to file an injunction when it may be resolved by the next heating season?” Eggers asked. “It will take time, but it will be taken care of.”

Still not satisfied, Dockendorf demanded to know how long the process will take, but Chair Leroy Peterson said no one knows at this time and that the board will keep on it.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 4, 2009

KARMA!

Man's foot crushed under wood boiler


By LOHR McKINSTRY
Staff Writer

PORT HENRY - Rescue crews worked here Wednesday morning to free a man those foot was trapped under a wood boiler.

A 3,600-pound outdoor wood boiler fell on a man’s foot while he was delivering the item in Port Henry.

The unidentified driver for Estes Express Lines from the Albany area had possible broken bones in his foot.

Moriah Ambulance Squad took him to Moses-Ludington Hospital in Ticonderoga for treatment.

Port Henry Fire Department personnel and property owner Carl Gibraldi jacked up the truck’s lift gate to free the man's foot.

Moriah Town Police investigated.

Full Article: CLICK HERE


March 4, 2009

Oak Park Heights seeks regulation for wood-burning furnaces

Julie Kink, Stillwater Courier

If you live in Oak Park Heights and you’re thinking of investing in an outdoor wood-burning furnace – better wait until the city figures out how it plans to regulate the systems.

While an all-out ban seems unlikely, city officials spent some time Tuesday, Feb. 24, trying to be proactive in addressing the possible health and nuisance concerns of outdoor furnaces, or hydronic heaters, whose popularity is gaining as home owners look for lower cost alternatives to traditional heating methods.

Hydronic heaters (also called outdoor wood heaters or outdoor wood boilers) are typically located outside the buildings they heat in small sheds with short smokestacks. They burn wood to heat liquid that is piped to provide heat and hot water to homes and other buildings.

In January, council members directed staff to research regulations and ordinances in other communities, noting that cities across the nation are taking a closer look at the potential health issues of the devices.

”While it may seem harmless and cost-effective, outdoor wood burning systems pollute the air and often result in nuisance complaints,” the city’s planner’s report states. “There is plenty of research to attest to the harmful effects of smoke emitted from outdoor wood burning systems. According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), wood smoke contains toxins and other particles that are harmful to human health. … The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) advises that careful consideration should be given to the placement of outdoor wood burning furnaces as the smoke that is emitted contains toxins which are known to cause cancer.”

City Planner Scott Richards researched regulations in Burnsville, New Ulm, New Prague, Forest Lake, Battle Lake, and several cities outside Minnesota. Most metropolitan cities, he noted, do not have specific outdoor wood-burning system ordinances, but rely on public nuisance ordinances to regulate the issues.

While Burnsville and New Prague have prohibited the burners, New Ulm, Forest Lake and Battle Lake have regulations requiring the systems meet certain standards involving setbacks from other homes and other issues.

Noting that Forest Lake requires the furnaces to be set back at least 300 feet from any buildings not on the same property, Richards pointed out that would be tough to achieve in Oak Park Heights where lots are smaller and homes are closer together.

City Administrator Eric Johnson said he wasn’t aware of Oak Park Heights having any of the furnaces now – the council is addressing it to be proactive.

Mayor David Beaudet said he would support an ordinance requiring setbacks from neighboring homes, as well as requiring the device meet EPA standards, perhaps involving building inspections.

Councilmember Les Abrahamson said he would like more information regarding the price of the units, and whether the lower cost units meet voluntary EPA standards, so he could determine before an ordinance is enacted whether it would be making the systems cost prohibitive for residents.

Councilmember Mary McComber, on the other hand, questioned why the council was looking at the issue. “If there isn’t a problem,” she asked, “why are we looking at this?”

Councilmember Mark Swenson said the city needs to clarify how the present nuisance ordinance applies or doesn’t apply to the furnaces, defining the rules enough “so if three people [in a neighborhood] put them in, we don’t have neighbors saying, ‘why did you allow this?’” He expressed concern about homeowners spending the money to buy a furnace and then not being allowed to use it. “We’re not trying to say don’t do it, we’re trying to make sure that the rules are defined before they do it,” he commented.

One resident, Elise Clay, said she obtained quite a bit of information from the EPA Web site, saying the newer models comply with EPA standards giving off 70 percent less particle smoke than older versions. “Instead of just banning something,” she told the council, “there are always ways to uphold safety and environmental regulations through fines and tickets if they’re not adhered to. I think the only people who would put a stove like this in would be somebody who had 100 to 300 feet from the house and meet all the regulations. We’re concerned about the fact that something’s being put down before it’s been a problem.”

Bill Selb, another resident, recommended the city study more closely how Forest Lake – with its large lake lots – controls the systems.

The council tabled the issue for further information on costs of the systems and clarification on recommended distances to the home served and other homes. It will be discussed again at the council’s second meeting in March.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 3, 2009

West Penn Twp. supervisors adopt outdoor heating and burning ordinance

By CASSANDRA KANE tneditor@tnonline.com

The West Penn Township Board of Supervisors ratified an ordinance Monday night regulating the use of outdoor heating and burning appliances.

The Outdoor Solid Fuel Burning Furnace and Heating Appliance ordinance, the first ordinance of 2009 enacted by the board, requires residents to obtain permits for the installation and operation of any furnace, stove or boiler positioned outdoors and designed to burn solid fuels, including wood, wood pellets, coal and corn.

Permits will be granted only on lots where a distance of 100 feet from any boundary line can be maintained. Any outdoor burning unit must have a minimum chimney height of five feet higher than the roof structure of any residence within 200 feet that is not served by the ordinance.

Additionally, if an appliance becomes damaged, owners have 90 days to remove the appliance and replace it with a new unit. All appliances also must be produced by a manufacturer that participates in the Environmental Protection Agency Outdoor Wood Hydronic Heaters Phase 1 or Phase 2 Voluntary Partnership Program or a comparable program.

The board first tabled the measure last October but met resistance from citizens already operating such outdoor burning units. Together with the West Penn Planning Commission and public input, the board refined the provisions regarding existing units and placed the ordinance on display for public view in February.

As per the new ordinance, all owners of existing outdoor solid fuel burning furnaces and heating appliances have 60 days to apply for a permit. These furnaces or appliances, however, do not need to comply with the 100-foot-boundary-line provision or be produced by an EPA-approved manufacturer. They do need to be brought into full compliance with the ordinance's other conditions within 90 days. Those that do not comply will be registered as nonconforming devices.

Any township resident who violates provisions of the ordinance could face fines of up to $500.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 3, 2009

Outdoor furnace ordinance still in draft mode
By Josh Woods
Staff Writer

DUBOIS - An ordinance regulating outdoor furnace use in Sandy Township continues to be drafted, Township Manager Dick Castonguay said at yesterday's Board of Supervisors meeting. Mr. Castonguay has presented a second draft copy the ordinance to Solicitor Greg Kruk, who will review it, make comments and return it for modifications. The ordinance regulates burn materials, emissions and flue heights.

Vacancy Board Representative Don Snedden asked if the ordinance would outline the diameter a flue must be. Mr. Castonguay indicated the diameter was not specifically outlined but would be subject to the manufacturer's recommendations for use.

Resident Roger Peace inquired about a section of the ordinance that asks residents to keep burn materials dry and rodent- and insect-free. Mr. Peace wanted to know if residents with indoor wood-burning stoves who store wood outside were subject to similar rules. Mr. Castonguay said he believed it to be so, but would check to make sure the township was "being fair to everybody."

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 3, 2009

Furnace ordinance back on front burner

Progress is being made on the outdoor furnace ordinance in Sandy Township.
Township Manager Dick Castonguay said at Monday's supervisors meeting that he has sent a second draft of the ordinance to the township's solicitor for his review.
"I am waiting for his comments on it," Castonguay said. "As soon as I get it back, I will make the modifications and make copies of it available."
Castonguay said he will get it ready for a public hearing and adoption, if that's the direction the supervisors want to go.
Resident Don Snedden asked if the ordinance will include diameter of flue.
Castonguay said it does not at this point.
"I don't have anything on that," he said. "I haven't seen anything from the EPA on that or from Vermont or any of the other states we've gotten information from."
Castonguay said the ordinance says the furnace will have to be in compliance with the manufacturer's recommendations, but he will look further into Snedden's suggestion.
Snedden also asked if all wood must be covered and rodent-free.
Castonguay said it does.
Asked if that will apply to wood for other furnaces as well, such as woodburners in houses, Castonguay said, "Yes, we will not discriminate."

Full Article: CLICK HERE

February 26, 2009

Public hearings on zoning amendments set (OWBs mentioned)

2/26/2009 - West Side Leader

By Anne Dennée

Bath Township officials have scheduled a public hearing on proposed changes to six sections of the township’s zoning resolution.

All of the proposed changes fall under Article III, which covers general zoning provisions. The hearing is set to take place March 16 at 5:30 p.m. in the trustees’ meeting room at the Administration Complex, 3864 W. Bath Road.

At a Feb. 23 Bath Board of Trustees meeting, Zoning Inspector/Administrator William Funk requested the public hearing on zoning amendments, as recommended by Bath’s Zoning Commission, in the following areas:

Outdoor wood-fired boilers: Under the proposed new rules, wood-burning furnaces that are typically used for heating homes would require a permit and would be limited to homes in the R-1 (Residential) and R-2 districts on lots of 2.5 acres or more. The boilers also would have to sit back at least 200 feet from all property lines, be located in the side or rear yard within 15 feet of the principal building and comply with all Environmental Protection Agency regulations.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

February 25, 2009

Burning questions turn up the heat at Wheatland town meeting

BY JILL TATGE-ROZELL
jrozell@kenoshanews.com

WHEATLAND — The use of outdoor wood-burning furnaces fueled heated opinions before the Town Board Monday.

Sherry Schultz, who has circulated a petition to ban this type of furnace, said town officials denied her request to put the issue on their agenda and then filled the room with people they knew supported the continued use of wood-burning furnaces.

“The good ol’ boys put out an APB for people to come out and say anything they could against us,” Schultz said. “They won, and we didn’t even get a chance to fight.”

Town Chairman Jeff Butler said town officials must listen to all sides. As for the petition signed by 70 people, Butler said not all who signed were from Wheatland and “petitions don’t really mean much.”

“I’m sorry she feels we stacked the meeting,” Butler said. “We did not do that. We didn’t call these people to come.”

Butler said people learned about the issue because of the petition. When he called on people to speak by name it was because he knows them, not because he planted them there.

For Schultz, the issue is a matter of health. She presented a letter from her daughter’s doctor indicating fumes from a neighbor’s outdoor wood-burning furnace are detrimental to the girl’s health.

Schultz said she first attempted to address this issue as a public nuisance, as the town ordinance specifically identifies the escape of smoke, soot, cinders, noxious acids, fumes, gases, fly ash, industrial dust or other atmospheric pollutants as such a nuisance.

But building inspector Tim Popanda said the “public” part of the ordinance requires it to be a nuisance to more than just one person. He said no other neighbors have complained. He also collected wind data for 156 days after the installation of the furnace and said the wind was blowing toward Schultz’s property on 30 of those days.

“It is an acceptable method of heat in the town,” Popanda said, adding the residents who installed it meet the setback requirements and the standards for its use.

Popanda had a representative from the state Department of Natural Resouces check the furnace in question to see if any waste was being burned in it.

“They found only clean wood on the site and in the burning chamber,” Popanda said.

Butler said there are also 13 homes with fireplaces in the neighborhood, as well as backyard bonfire pits. He said it would be difficult to enforce this as a nuisance violation without more proof, and any new ordinance to ban the furnaces would most likely include a grandfather clause that wouldn’t help Schultz anyway.

“She has to prove this is what is polluting her house,” Butler said. “She needs to do an air quality study.”

After Monday’s meeting, however, Schultz said she doesn’t believe she will get anywhere with this.

“They won, and we didn’t even get a chance to fight,” Schultz said. “They stopped us every step of the way. I just want to move and get away from here as fast as I can.”

The family plans to put their home up for sale and began looking for a new home Tuesday.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

February 22, 2009

Rosendale ready to deal with outdoor wood-burning furnaces

By WILLIAM J. KEMBLE
Correspondent ROSENDALE — The Town Board has scheduled a March 4 public hearing on a proposal to regulate outdoor wood-burning boilers.

According to the proposal, the boilers, also known as hydronic heaters, originally were intended and designed for use on farms but are “increasingly being used as an alternative to conventional heating systems in residential areas.”

Hydronic heaters can “pose significant health and environmental risks due to high particulate emissions and emissions of other toxic pollutants, even when clean seasoned wood is burned,” the legislation says. “Regular exposure to smoke can cause long-term human health problems, including cardiovascular disease, chronic lung conditions and premature death.”

Short-term effects of exposure, the legislation says, include eye, nose; throat and lung irritation, coughing and shortness of breath; and asthma attacks.
“The pollution problem associated with hydronic heaters is further aggravated by the burning of wet, damp or green wood, processed wood or garbage,” the legislation says. “Hydronic heaters are also one of the less economical modes of heating, with high initial costs and lower heating efficiencies relative to conventional heating systems.”

Under the proposed regulations, boiler owners would be required to have a permanent chimney that is 2 feet higher than the peak of buildings within 150 feet, and units would have to be placed at least 150 feet from property lines.

Existing units also must meet federal and state standards, according to the legislation, but owners would have a one-year grace period to comply if assistance programs are available to fully offset the cost for upgrades that use “cleaner-burning technologies.”

The law would allow home heating oil or natural gas to be used as “starter fuels” but would require the primary fuel to be “clean, dry wood” or “wood pellets made from clean wood.”

The law also would limit smoke plumes from any heating appliance to an average of 20 percent opacity for six consecutive minutes in any one-hour period.

Rosendale implemented a moratorium on the installation of new units in October, and the ban lapsed briefly before it was reinstated last month.

The March 4 hearing will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Rosendale Community Center on state Route 32.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

February 22, 2009

Wood-burning stoves: Smoke-related complaints, health problems on the rise

HARTFORD, Conn. — Jodi Blanco said she never got sick until her neighbor installed a wood-burning stove a few years ago.

Now she has been ill for more than a month, she wakes up coughing in her sleep, and her two young children are plagued by breathing problems.

But she can't get anyone to do anything about it, and she's not alone.

"My daughter missed a whole week of school, and my son has a continual runny nose and watery eyes, and he's complaining he doesn't feel good all the time," said Blanco of East Windsor, Conn. "When I open the bay window in front, I can smell the smoke. It's coming in my house, and it's making us sick."

An increasing number of people are firing up wood stoves, furnaces and fireplaces as a hedge against rising heating bills, but wood fuel, steeped in history and romance, has become a health hazard for many.

Even though the number of complaints is growing, the laws regarding wood-burning devices are limited, and there has been little that health and environmental officials can do.

For all the poetry and nostalgia surrounding fireplaces and wood stoves, their smoke is loaded with toxic compounds and particles that have been associated with cancer and severe respiratory problems.

States nationwide are reacting, in some cases banning wood burning entirely on days when air quality is poor. That can happen in the winter when temperature inversions—cold air staying close to the ground below warmer air above—keep polluted air from dispersing.

The worst offenders are outdoor wood furnaces, which typically produce a dirtier smoke than wood and pellet stoves. The units are supposed to be at least 200 feet from other homes and have a smokestack higher than surrounding rooftops, and owners are only supposed to burn clean wood.

John Tarquinio, owner of Fireside Supply in Hebron, Conn., said stove and furnace sales shot up in 2008 when fuel prices spiked. He agreed that misuse can be a problem.

"It needs to be regulated, to be looked at. It needs to be cleaned up," he said.

When Dorothy Alderman and her husband moved to Andover Lake, just a few people among her 100 or so neighbors burned wood, and then only occasionally. A few years ago, that started to change.

"One day, I saw 26 houses with smoke coming out," Alderman said. "It's not just, 'Let's make a fire on the weekend,' it's all the time."

The smoke began to bother her and eventually led to a permanent medical condition, parosmia, in which her sense of smell is so damaged that she cannot stand even slight hints of smoke.

In 2006, after 20 years on the lake, she and her husband decided to move. Now they live in Hebron, which has banned the installation of outdoor wood furnaces.

The Hartford Courant

Full Article: CLICK HERE

February 22, 2009

House hearing on environmental bills (Rhode Island)

Peter Lord, Environmental Journal

Environmental bills written to regulate outdoor wood boilers, stop bird hunting along the west shore of the Providence River in Warwick and Cranston, ban certain beverage containers and incinerators, and set new green building standards are set to be heard Wednesday by the House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources.

The hearing is scheduled to begin after the House adjourns, in Room 207 at the State House. The House convenes at 4 p.m. and has a short agenda.

The wood boiler bill sets limits on the types of materials that may be burned, authorizes local building officials to regulate nuisance boilers, and after July 1 prohibits the sales of boilers other than the Phase I and Phase II boilers certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

February 18, 2009

Hearings tonight on wind turbines, wood boilers in Spring Lake Twp.

BY MARIE HAVENGA
mhavenga@grandhaventribune.com

The township's Planning Commission will also seek public input tonight on outdoor wood boilers.

"We're looking at putting some minimum standards on them," Hill said of the outdoor boilers designed to heat homes. "We're going to allow them in a couple of districts in the township, and make sure we have some decent regulations and require decent-sized stacks on them."

The ordinance would permit outdoor wood boilers only in agricultural and rural estate zoning districts, according to Hill.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

February 18, 2009

Roanoke County fire in outside wood furnace causes $28,000 in damages

Roanoke Co. Fire and Rescue news release
Published: February 18, 2009

An outside wood furnace, housed in a detached outbuilding caused a fire yesterday afternoon that resulted in $28,000 in estimated damages.

Roanoke County Fire and Rescue was dispatched to the 2700 block of Brogan Lane just after 5 p.m. yesterday for a reported structure fire. When firefighters arrived, they found a detached outbuilding that was fully involved in flames. It took career and volunteer fire crews from the Fort Lewis and Masons Cove stations about 30 minutes to bring the fire under control. The building is considered a total loss.

The Fire Investigator has determined that the flu pipe from the furnace became so hot that it ignited the wood constructed outbuilding. The fire then spread to house, which was about 35 feet away, causing only the vinyl siding to melt. Damage estimates are figured to be $28,000 including the outbuilding and its contents, as well as the furnace and the minimal damage to the house.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

February 17, 2009

California, PA Council votes to condemn properties for Maglev project
(OWBs mentioned)

During public comment, community member Annelise Carleton-Hug complained about outdoor wood boilers within the borough. She said there are at least two of the wood boilers in use in the borough, one of them near her house. She, along with a few of her neighbors, attended the meeting to bring the matter to the attention of council.

"It's a nuisance, but it's more than a nuisance," Carleton-Hug said. "It's a health issue. I urge council to make an ordinance to regulate," she continued.

Carleton-Hug claims that the yellowish-brown acrid smoke from the boiler gets into houses in the area, causing an odor. She said she can't wear her contact lenses and her 4-year-old wakes up in the middle of the night because of it. The smoke has even reached the Orchard Street Preschool, where Carleton-Hug takes her daughter, on occasion.

Council said it will discuss the matter at its committee meeting on the first Thursday of the month. Durdines did tell Carleton-Hug that it wasn't possible to have an ordinance prepared by next month's council meeting.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

February 17, 2009

Dickinson Township considering boiler ordinance

By Andrea Ciccocioppo, Sentinel Reporter, February 17, 2009Residents packed the Dickinson Township municipal building Monday to air concerns over a proposed ordinance regulating wood-fired outdoor boilers.

“This is certainly a subject that’s a concern to the residents, because we’ve got a full house,” Supervisor Dan Wyrick observed.

After more than an hour of discussion, the board unanimously agreed to direct the township’s solicitor to draft an ordinance and make appropriate amendments to any other township ordinance, such as the burn ordinance, which could be affected.

“I think we need to be a proactive, as opposed to a reactive, board,” Chairman Ray Jones said. He said one of the board’s main concerns is to protect neighbors of such wood burners and to eliminate the possibility of a nuisance complaint.

Dickinson’s proposed ordinance would limit use to October through May but would include a provision that requires all wood-fired outdoor boiler users to subscribe to a waste and recycling contract.

“Sometimes, these are used as incinerators,” Supervisor Allyn Perkins explained. “I think that’s bad for the community.”

But Wyrick disagreed.

“It seems unreasonable to make the mandate that a trash removal contract and use of recycling services remain part of this,” Wyrick said during the discussion.

The board also discussed limiting the size of lots on which boilers could be placed to a minimum of 10 acres but disagreed on that as well.

“It seems to me the issue of lot size could go away,” Perkins said. “If you rely on setback distances, that’s really a better way to handle the issue.”

Residents were concerned with the proposal because of the lot-size restriction as well as the trash suggestion.

“Dickinson Township has so many areas where you have two acres of ground surrounded by farmland,” said Jonathan Reisinger. “You’re inhibiting that person’s right to heat their home in an efficient way.”

“You can’t treat us all like children,” said Blaine Debler. “I’d hate to see anyone be penalized for the actions of just a few who burn trash.”

“We’re not South Middleton,” said David Brown. “What we elect you to do is for our best interests, but not to over-regulate us. Another law is just something else to break.”

“What is the harm we’re preventing by putting this ordinance together?” Wyrick wondered. “Are we looking at something we really don’t need or are we looking at something that’s going to provide a benefit?”

He said that rules are needed.

“None of this seems to matter until Party A and Party B come to us (with complaints)… and now it’s an issue we need to resolve,” Wyrick said. “To me, that’s enough reason to have a rule book.”

The next step will be for the board to review the draft ordinance before it is voted on.

“Because we’re going to take a critical look at the ordinance Mr. Schorpp draws us for us, I’m in agreement,” Wyrick said. “I’m not convinced completely that we need this ordinance yet. I want to see what we end up with.”

Full Article: CLICK HERE

February 17, 2009

Burning Problem (OWB Editorial)

By: The Day

The increased use of wood stoves to provide home heat is sending more particulate pollution into the air, but lawmakers should approach with caution any attempt to regulate the problem.

Along with an increase in the use of wood-burning stoves have come increases in health and environmental concerns.

Burning wood sends more particulate matter into the air than burning oil, and far more than natural gas. According to the state Department of Environmental Protection, a wood stove with Environmental Protection Agency certification produces as much pollution as 2,000 homes using gas. An outdoor wood furnace can produce as much pollution as 3,000 to 8,000 homes using gas.

When oil prices spiked last summer, more homeowners turned to wood as their primary heating source. Wood stove sales shot up. And while oil prices have retreated temporarily, they will almost certainly increase again, providing a continued incentive for wood burning.

The National Weather Service has issued several poor air-quality alerts this winter across southern New England, a warning usually associated with hot, humid summer days. But winter weather can produce temperature inversions, with cold air trapped in valleys and warm air layered above. Along with the cold air, the inversion traps particulates from burnt wood.

While the state and municipalities should not ignore the situation, they must proceed cautiously in trying to regulate wood burning. A bill now in the legislature, for example, would classify wood smoke as a nuisance, giving local health officers and law enforcement the authority to act on complaints. That could become a real headache for municipal governments and serve as another unfunded mandate.

The better solution is education on the proper use of wood and pellet stoves and continued technological advancements that burn more efficiently and cleanly. Outdoor wood furnaces are the biggest polluters, and aggressive DEP enforcement of rules governing their use is appropriate.

And the government needs to continue promoting clean alternatives, such as solar and geothermal heats.

Wood-burning has it benefits; it is a renewable fuel. Fossil fuels such as oil and gas are finite. But wood should not become the primary fuel source.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

 

February 17, 2009

Lysander Wood Boilers

By: Erin Smith

The town of Lysander will hold a public hearing regarding consideration of a local law regulating the use of outdoor wood boilers in the town at 7 p.m. March 9 in the town hall, 8220 Loop Road, Radisson. Issues to be discussed include keeping wood boilers out of residential areas, requiring permits for installation and grand-fathering existing boilers.

Full Article:  CLICK HERE

February 11, 2009

Proposed outdoor wood burner regulations limit types that can be purchased by Marylanders

Sarah Moses
Cumberland Times-News

OAKLAND — Proposed regulations would restrict which outdoor wood burners can be purchased by Maryland residents, but this could mean greater sales for businesses in the state.

“They’re moving forward (with the regulations) because they are becoming problems,” Rodney Glotfelty, director of the Garrett County Health Department, said at the county commission meeting Tuesday. “We’ve been giving (the Maryland Department of the Environment) input on them. It’s not a terrible problem in Garrett County. Most are in remote areas here. What the law is now going to regulate is what you can sell to those in state.”

Glotfelty said he understood that businesses would be able to sell the boilers to out-of-state residents, even if they didn’t meet standards for in-state residents.

The issue grew to higher prevalence as eastern counties began to encounter more of the wood burners and the smoke and pollution that can accompany them. Glotfelty said that while there had been a push for legislative action, the MDE felt it could handle the situation better by creating regulations that would allow only certain types of the wood- burning boilers to be used in the state.

The new regulations would restrict units sold in Maryland to .60 pounds of particulate matter per million BTU of heat for a year after they go into effect. The following year, the units would need to be .32 pounds per million BTU.

He said this would not restrict the types of burners that could be sold in the state, as long as they are sold to someone in a state without these types of restrictions.

Tobie Kinsinger of Central Boiler had expressed concern that the proposed regulation would limit his business and ability to compete with other states. After hearing Glotfelty’s explanation, he said that the new regulation would be less restrictive, as his business currently cannot sell any outdoor wood burners to anyone from the state.

This would not prevent residents from traveling out of state to purchase a wood burner that is not approved through the new regulations, Glotfelty said, but that it would open up the market to businesses in state to sell qualifying burners.

Glotfelty said he expects the new regulations to be enforced on a complaint basis and that a business that sells a boiler not meeting the standards to someone in Maryland could face fines.

Fred Holliday, county commission chairman, said he hopes the regulations would allow for units already in use unless there are complaints against them, though there has been no talk of grandfathering in older units.

Glotfelty said owners of the wood boilers may avoid complaints by following the manufacturer’s guidelines. This means to burn only seasoned wood, he said. He added that complaints would be more likely during warmer months when people are more likely to have windows open.

A public hearing on the proposal will be held March 18 in Baltimore.

Contact Sarah Moses at smoses@times-news.com.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

February 11, 2009

Early morning fire guts man's home

Jackson Citizen Patriot

A Parma Township man was sleeping through a house fire early Tuesday morning when neighbors roused him by beating on his back door.

Neighbors saw flames and smoke at 4000 Gardner Road shortly before 2:30 a.m. and awoke a man who lived alone in the one-story house, the fire victim said, declining to give his name.

The fire apparently started at the rear, east corner and was burning on the side of the house near an outdoor wood-burning furnace when the home owner got outside, he said.

The blaze shot through the walls and roof, gutting the small house. The homeowner said he had lived in the home since 1983 and had insurance. He is living with a family member in the area.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

February 9, 2009 (video)

Judge tells man in Republic not to use woodburning furnace

by Paula Morehouse, KY3 News

REPUBLIC, Mo. -- There's no ordinance against wood burning stoves but the City of Republic ordered a homeowner to stop using his. The city says the stove is creating a nuisance.

"It forces the air from the stove through the house,” John Young said as he showed a reporter his heating system.

Young loves his system. Compared to central heating, he says his outside wood burning stove saves him about $200 a month. All was going well with the new device -- or so he thought.

"We had three individuals make complaints to the city that the smoke that was being produced from his outdoor wood furnace was causing them health problems,” said Ron Dirickson, Republic’s city attorney.

Young was served with a citation and had to make his case in court.

"It didn't go well at all. The judge deemed it to be a nuisance and ordered me to stop burning wood,” he said.

Before taking the matter to court, the city sent an inspector several times during the day to see just how much smoke was churning from the stove. According to the city attorney, the inspector never found anything unreasonable until he made a nighttime visit.

"There was a noticeable difference in the smell from the smoke and you could smell it inside the people's house,” said Dirickson.

There are no ordinances in Republic regulating outdoor wood burning stoves. But the city attorney says that doesn't matter if the device creates problems for others; it then becomes a nuisance and that is a violation.

"I feel it's very unfair,” said Young.

Young says, if it were just him, he could get by with a cooler house. But he has an 6-year-old son (not 8 as the video report said mistakenly) to think about.

"With a kid here, I can't do it -- it's too much,” he said.

If Young violates the order, he could face criminal action, including a fine and/or jail time. He has 30 days to appeal the ruling, which he plans to do.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

February 6, 2009

Outdoor furnace ban considered
Friday, February 6, 2009
BY DENISA R. SUPERVILLE
NorthJersey.com
 
WOODCLIFF LAKE — The Borough Council is considering an ordinance to ban outdoor wood-burning furnaces.

The ordinance, passed on first reading at Monday's Borough Council meeting, calls for fines as high as $500 a day or imprisonment for as long as 90 days, or both, for those who violate the regulation by building and operating outdoor wood-burning furnaces.

Residents will have an opportunity to comment during a public hearing at the municipal building Feb. 18.

The ordinance is meant to signal that outdoor wood-burning furnaces are not permitted accessory structures in Woodcliff Lake, Borough Attorney Mark Madaio said at the meeting.

"We want to be a little bit proactive about the use of those, because they tend to be a little bit dirtier, a little bit noisier," he said. "Maybe they are appropriate in West Milford or somewhere on very large properties, but they would not be here," he said.

No one in Woodcliff Lake currently is using an outdoor wood-burning furnace, said Nick Saluzzi, the construction code official for Woodcliff Lake and neighboring Park Ridge. There are at least two in Park Ridge, he said.

"The properties are just too small in Woodcliff Lake and Park Ridge for these things," Saluzzi said Tuesday. "They produce a tremendous amount of smoke and pollution. These things are fine for houses that are on three or four acres."

If the ordinance is approved, those who currently use outdoor wood-burning furnaces can continue to do so.

But they will be barred from using lighter fluids, gasoline or chemicals to light the furnaces. If a furnace is not used for seven months, the borough will not allow the owner to restart operation.

E-mail: superville@northjersey.com

Full Article: CLICK HERE

February 6, 2009

Brockway considering burn ordinance

BROCKWAY - Brockway Borough Council will mull over the specifics of its burn ordinance and discuss it again next month.
Thursday, assistant Solicitor Ross Ferraro gave the council a sample ordinance and a list of specifics within the ordinance for consideration.
Some of the elements of the ordinance Ferraro told the council to think about include how it wants to define an outdoor furnace. He suggested a definition such as, "Outdoor furnace is defined to include those outdoor furnaces which are enclosed by a structure and separated from the house."
Location is another important part of the ordinance.
The council is asked to consider how far away from the property line the furnace is, how far away it is from the structure it is serving and how far it is from the neighbor's occupying structure.
Ferraro suggested 50 feet, 25 feet, and 300 feet, respectively.
Chimney height is another important measurement to be set by the ordinance.
Ferraro suggested the council consider 20 feet above the furnace and roof of the occupied structures on adjoining properties.
Another stipulation local municipalities with ordinances have included is the time of year it can be burned, as well as what kind of material can be burned.
Ferraro recommended Oct. 1 to April 30. He also said it is important for the ordinance to say residents can't burn rubbish, garbage, waste oil, asphalt, treated or painted wood, any plastic, rubber or material which is recyclable.
The council must also set a penalty associated with the ordinance. Ferraro suggested a fine not less than $500 nor more than $1,000.
Lastly, the council needs to decide how it would like to handle existing furnaces.
Ferraro suggested pre-existing furnaces should be in compliance with the ordinance within 90 days, with the exception of what is allowed to be burned. This part of the ordinance would be effective immediately.
Existing furnaces could be grandfathered in with regard to their existing location.
Once the ordinance is passed, it will involve a permitting process so the borough can keep track of who has a furnace and where they are located.
Police Chief Doug Johnson asked how many furnaces exist within the borough.
The council members came to conclusion there are two, one that is in use and one that is not.
"Times are getting tough and with the price of gas going up, people might start using them (outdoor furnaces). We're not prohibiting them, not at all," Solicitor Ed Ferraro said. "At least if someone puts them in, you'll be able to say you have to do this so you don't bother your neighbor."

Full Article: CLICK HERE

February 6, 2009

Woodshed fire in Clinton Township

By: Eric Quade

 

An outdoor boiler caught fire Thursday afternoon at the Danny Miller residence in Clinton Township, and the surrounding woodshed and chopped wood were all lost in the blaze. The fire was reported at 4:48 p.m. and firefighters cleared the scene about an hour later. Almena Fire Chief Greg Rayment said it is unclear exactly why the boiler fire got out of control in the first place.

 

Firefighters were able to keep the fire from spreading and destroying piles of uncut logs as well as a nearby machine shed. Once firefighters had cleared that scene, they were called out to the Sean Klatt farm near Poskin for a skid-steer loader that was on fire. That vehicle was a total loss.

 

Full Article: CLICK HERE

February 4, 2009

Abler: Crosslake wood burner moratorium explained (editorial)

This wasn't a knee jerk reaction, but has been a continuing topic of discussion at planning and zoning meetings for the last year or more. The city staff and commission members have conducted wide ranging research on this issue and I believe I was the one who made a motion to ask the city council to enact the moratorium.

The purpose of the moratorium is to provide a reasonable period of time for the city to study the issue further. The city could then ban the outdoor burners, permit them without restrictions or permit them with conditions and restrictions.

For the person who wanted to bet money that this was the result of a "connected" person, you lose. If you wish to become "connected" yourself, you're invited to attend our meetings. The public can always speak on any item on the agenda and their opinions can also be offered during the public forum.

Unfortunately, we hardly ever see "the public" at our meetings.

Pete Abler,

Chair, Crosslake Planning and Zoning Commission

Full Article: CLICK HERE

February 4, 2009

Snow and ice wreak havoc in county (OWBs mentioned)

This is one of the major points we have pointed out in our OWB brochure!

Harold and Sally French of Poplar Ridge Road, Malta, lost power around noon on Wednesday. Their home is heated with an outdoor furnace, but it was rendered useless without electricity to power the fan to heat the house. Two days into the power outage, they were able to obtain a generator which helped to heat the house and provide water to the bathroom.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

February 4, 2009

Mayor Fox, council answer the ‘burning question’

 

By JONAY CORLEY, Editor

 

For centuries people have been using wood burning stoves to produce heat to warm their homes in spite of the many hazards and nuisance cause by smoke output. But recently, with the invention and addition of wood burning boilers to some homes, residents in Paden City have sought the guidance of the mayor and city council on the issue.

 

One resident in particular, Sue Flesher, spoke openly during the most recent regular session meeting. “I’d like to thank you all for working so hard on the outdoor wood burners,” Flesher stated, “but there are a couple things I still have a concern with. You really need to take some careful consideration into the burners that are already in existence. I have two on my street. And as you all know it is very uncomfortable at times. It’s really a health hazard and unless we can come up with something that is going to benefit our whole community, the only recourse I have is to file nuisance complaints.”

 

Flesher went on to quote the ‘Clear Air Act of 1970’ claiming the right to breathe clean air.

 

“I have the right to have my windows open. I’m not begrudging anyone if they want to heat with a wood burner but, they could put it in their house and run it through their chimney.” she added. “There are things that can make it better for your neighbors like attaching a blower to it or raising the stacks.”

 

She asked for the council’s consideration. “We all need to work together because I have just as much a right to open my windows as other people have to use wood burners to heat their homes.”

 

Flesher also stated concerns with regard to what is being burned in the wood burners and asked the council to consider stipulations on what type of wood should be burned in the burners. “It is recommended that people burn only seasoned wood; not wood that is sitting outside getting wet,” she said. “I know it’s going to be hard to have someone police that. I have seen people put leaves in there and that is not what is supposed to be in there. I know you don’t want to ban these burners, but they have banned cigarette smoking in some places and I am getting some of the same chemicals from these burners that I would get from a cigarette.”

 

“The EPA told me my only recourse is to file a nuisance complaint and I don’t want to be the nasty neighbor. But I want to be out on my deck and I want to open my windows when I want to. I don’t want to stuff a towel under my door so the smoke doesn’t come into my house.” Flesher concluded.

 

Linda Duke, a wood burning neighbor, added her two cents to the public forum, stating, “We put seasoned wood in our burner. It hardly ever produces any smoke. Occasionally we have problems lighting it and then it will produce a little smoke, but normally you can’t see any smoke coming out of the burners.”

 

She continued, “If someone complains the smoke is harmful to them, they need to bring some documentation to a city council meeting that backs up anything they have suffered because any of the wood smoke that comes out of any wood burning stove in a house. If they have a problem that has been documented by a doctor or they have had something happen to their personal belongings, they need to come to a meeting and they need to document it before they show up complaining.”

 

“We have walked around at night with our dogs. There are other people in this town who have wood burning stoves in their homes or right on the edge of their homes and I have witnessed a lot more wood smoke coming from them than I do from my own,” she said.

 

Restating her original point, Duke said, “If someone has a medical condition documented by a doctor, they need to provide that information to the city council, otherwise this matter needs to be dropped, because people have been inhaling wood smoke for centuries.”

 

Duke’s husband Charlie commented, “I am trying to secure a small piece of tower to raise the stacks. It’s not going to do much good because a low pressure system will just drive the smoke to the ground. But I’m going to try to help out by raising it.”

 

Mayor Bill Fox said, “We are not going to outlaw these things. This is something that is sold out on the market; it’s got safety features on it. Just look at the people in Paducah, Ky., and look at some of the people down in Alabama who will not have electricity for six weeks. What are those people doing down there? We don’t know that the future holds for any of us. If you can afford a wood burner and you have access to wood — a lot of people may be doing that down the road. For us to tell them they can’t do that...we do not have that right.”

 

“What we need to do is legislate, make guidelines and stipulations for safety. We need to say we want the stacks so high; you need to burn a certain type of wood; it’s not a garbage incinerator — and all of these things are going to be incorporated into building this ordinance. We are not going to ban these things. We’re not going to do it.” said Fox.

 

Later the council as a whole entertained and accepted the first reading of the ordinance entitled: Outdoor wood burning stoves/furnaces; and providing specific penalties, article 1761.

 

Councilman Clyde Hochstrasser had a few questions with the ordinance in regard to existing boilers. “Are they going to have to move existing boilers? I don’t believe we touched on that.”

 

Fox replied, “No, they are grandfathered in.”

As for the height of the stacks, all wood burner must have stacks that rise above the neighboring dwelling, even those already in existence.

 

The months of operation according to the proposed ordinance was Sept. 1 though May 31. The council decided to amend that language to state wood burners could be used Oct. 1 through May 1, unless the wood burner is the only source of heat for hot water tanks.

 

Full Article: CLICK HERE

February 4, 2009

Outdoor wood boliers now regulated in Madison

There were concerns over air quality
By CC-Madison Staff/The Associated Press
Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A surge in sales of outdoor wood boilers, cheaper alternatives to oil and gas home heating, has neighbors fuming over the smoke they produce and states and towns rushing to regulate them.

The Madison City Council has just passed a law that essentially bans the stoves.

New units are no longer allowed.

About 27,000 wood boilers have been installed throughout Wisconsin in the past decade because of skyrocketing fuel prices, experts say. Some burn barely 50 percent efficient and some were installed too close to neighbors, critics say.

"They tend to smoke a lot," said Neil Baudhin, an air quality supervisor for the state Department of Natural Resource. "If you can smell it, your nose is detecting some kind of chemical."
Some people have complained that illegal materials, including trash and tires, get burned, Baudhin said.

Homeowners in Madison who already own one now have to buy a $50 permit to continue using it. Use is limited to the days between October 16 and March 31.  The smoke stack needs to extend at least five feet above the highest neighboring rooftop.

There are only a handful of these furnaces in Madison, according to city officials.  The goal of the ordinance is to steer people toward more neighbor-friendly alternatives before the problem gets worse.

In an hour, an outdoor wood boiler can emit as many tiny particles of pollution as 1,800 natural gas furnaces, according to published reports.

February 2, 2009

New state rules in place

By Jack Dew, Berkshire Eagle Staff
Monday, February 02
Owners of outdoor, wood-burning boilers must comply with a new set of state regulations meant to prevent neighbors from being exposed to pollution.

The boilers were long unregulated by the state and are still not regulated by the federal government.

But as energy prices have risen, the boilers have popped up with increasing frequency along the Berkshire country side, small metal huts with smokestacks, hooked to houses by a pipe.

The new rules regulate emissions from the boilers, require that they be a certain distance from neighboring homes, set smokestack guidelines, and mandate that some can only be used during the heating season.

The "new regulations establish strict limits on particle emissions and will ensure that the operation of these units will not degrade air quality for citizens across the commonwealth," said Laurie Burt, commission of the Department of Environmental Protection.

The boilers burn wood to heat water that can then heat a home. Because they burn at a relatively low temperature, the units are efficient but produce a heavy smoke, environmental officials said, leading to concerns that nearby residents will be exposed to harmful pollution.

The boilers also use short smokestacks — generally 6 to 10 feet high — so the heavy smoke has a tendency to linger near the ground, increasing the chance of exposure.

Now, a new set of state regulations have taken effect. As of Dec. 26, all new heaters are required to meet a strict standard for particulate emissions.

Heaters bought before that date must be retrofitted with smokestacks at least two feet higher than any rooftops within a 150-foot radius; this rule doesn't apply, however, if the only rooftop is that of the boiler's owner.

Any unit that is within 500 feet of another residence is only allowed to burn during the heating season — Oct. 1 through May 15.

Ed Coletta, a spokesman for the DEP, said the boilers have "been on our radar screen for a number of years now" and was not simply a reaction to their increasing popularity.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

 

January 30, 2009

Neighbor: Boiler smoke led to harassment

By Nick Sambides Jr.
BDN Staff
 

MILLINOCKET, Maine — A year-old dispute between neighbors over an outdoor wood boiler has culminated with a restraining order on the boiler’s owner, officials said Friday.

John McLaughlin of Somerset Street accepted and District Court Judge Kevin Stitham approved the order barring McLaughlin from having any direct or indirect contact with Carlene George-Adams; from harassing, threatening or otherwise abusing George-Adams; and from going upon her property, according to an order signed Wednesday.

McLaughlin also had sought a restraining order against George-Adams, but that was withdrawn, according to George-Adams’ attorney, Michael Harman of Millinocket.

When a call was made to McLaughlin’s home Friday, his wife said he wasn’t there and she would not comment on the dispute.

According to George-Adams’ petition for a restraining order, the dispute began in 2007 when she complained to town officials of the smoke emitting from McLaughlin’s wood boiler.

McLaughlin was served the town’s first outdoor boiler violation notice in May 2007, but has not been cited for any violations since.

But George-Adams said in her petition that her complaint to town officials led to an intermittent campaign of harassment by McLaughlin against her. In the document, she alleges screaming confrontations involving foul language; snow shoveled onto her walkway and driveway; trash burned in barrels and pits to upset her; false and derogatory comments posted about her on local Web sites under a pseudonym or nickname; and pets being squirted with water from hoses.

“She has suffered a good deal of difficulty because of this,” Harman said Friday.

George-Adams kept a five-page, single-spaced diary on her computer, which she claims is a record of the bad behavior. Boundary disputes also occurred.

At one point, George-Adams took pictures of McLaughlin in which she said he was shoveling snow into her driveway. Those pictures would have been used had McLaughlin taken the civil court case to trial, Harman said.

Under the town’s wood boiler ordinance, which went into effect Nov. 26, 2006, all outdoor wood-fired boilers can operate from Oct. 15 to April 15. They also must be at least 50 feet from a neighboring home, be rated to burn no more than 27.4 grams of particulate matter per 100,000 Btu per hour, and be at least 24 inches above the roof line of the closest neighboring home.

McLaughlin has told town officials that he uses the boiler to heat his home. His use of the boiler this winter is properly permitted, and no recent complaints have been made against it, said Michael Noble, the town’s zoning enforcement officer.

Harman said that Millinocket police have been notified and been investigating the harassment complaints against McLaughlin. No charges have been filed.

nsambides@bangordailynews.net

794-8215

Full Article: CLICK HERE

January 28, 2009

Burnsville City Council talks dogs in animal ordinance changes (OWBs Mentioned)


(Created: Wednesday, January 28, 2009 10:14 PM CST)

In other business:

- The council approved an ordinance identifying outdoor wood boilers as a nuisance. The issue was brought up last fall after neighbors complained about the boiler of one resident, Chris Giles, on Williams Drive. Since then Giles has discussed with the city what he uses in his boiler and how he uses it to heat his home. He is willing to filter his exhaust to continue using his boiler. The city will allow him to keep his unit for now. Giles never applied for permits for the boiler that he has had for the last four years.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

January 28, 2009

Wood boilers topic of heated E'town debate

By ALVIN REINER
Staff Writer

ELIZABETHTOWN — The second public hearing about proposed legislation on outdoor wood boilers continued to fan the flames on both sides of the issue.

Elizabethtown Supervisor Noel Merrihew said the session was designed "to take comments and testimony to help the board to get a better idea" what to do.

ALREADY COVERED
Resident Gail Durand felt the proposed law was redundant.

"Remedies are available, and Elizabethtown can take civil action," she said, noting, "A house is less likely to burn down if there is an outdoor wood boiler. There are lots of permits to burn waste oil in the community."

She also questioned what documentation was available to make sure wood furnaces are properly used.

SMELL
Maggie Bartley said she had been following the issue "with great interest. I'm pleased that the Town Council took time to listen and revise the law."

She said Town Council member Ken Fenimore "did an excellent job in researching this. People living in close proximity to one are affected by it."

Bartley referred to an outdoor boiler on Water Street that she said could be smelled at the Post Office in Elizabethtown.

HEALTH ISSUES
The preponderance of evidence against outdoor wood boilers was presented by Elizabethtown health officer Dr. Charles Moisan.

"I'm in favor of banning OWDs in the hamlet (though) it's easy to understand why people want them."

Moisan cited several main reasons for the ban, which included the topography of a valley and temperature inversions.

"We have three (boilers) in the valley and get complaints. There are no federal or state guidelines. There's not only the smoke but particulate matter, like cigarette smoke.

"How can we control what is burned in them, like garbage?"

Moisan pointed out that in the hamlet of Elizabethtown houses are very close together. Just like individuals who bought stock, Moisan said, those who bought outdoor boilers "made a bad decision. That's how life goes. They should be out within 30 days or at least by springtime."

BAN 'WRONG'
Faced with the increases in the price of fuel, Dennis Aubin installed an outdoor wood boiler.

"If you burn good hardwood, it pretty much alleviates the smoke," said Aubin.

"To take a broad brush and ban all of them is wrong," said Bill Hubschman, who lives a few miles outside the hamlet and does not burn wood.

He referred to the Town of Jay's approach, which will shut down boilers that have substantiated complaints.

NUISANCE
Mal Hackett was also concerned about the wood boiler on Water Street, as well as the proposal of 200 feet from the adjoining home. He felt a person could place a wood boiler within a few feet of the property line and still affect a neighbor.

Merrihew said that if someone is creating a health nuisance, the health officer could be called without having a zoning law.

"We've met with the DEC and APA. All seem to agree that this hamlet is not the best place to have OWDs."

COUNCILOR COMMENTS
Town Council member Mike McGinn was in support of keeping the boilers that are currently in place. He advocated a "three strikes and you're out" policy for offenders.

Another Town Council member, Joe Martin, said he's "still on the fence."

He said his daughter's family, who lives adjacent to him, has an outdoor boiler due to the high cost of oil.

"They're close to me, so I smell it. If they are installed properly, I'm all for it."

Merrihew welcomed any written comments, which, along with the meeting input, will be taken under advisement when the Town Council meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 17.

E-mail Alvin Reiner at: rondackrambler@yahoo.com

Full Article: CLICK HERE

January 26, 2009

Palmerton prepares to fill police vacancies (OWBs mentioned)

|Special to The Morning Call

Council also revised the borough burning ordinance, which bans outdoor furnaces, boilers and any heating equipment not built entirely inside the building it's warming.

The ban doesn't apply to barbecue pits, chimneys, smokers used to cure or flavor foods, or similar devices for outdoor recreation.

A draft of the ordinance council considered in October would have prohibited the burning of wood or any fuel except gas and charcoal outside, but several residents protested, prompting the changes.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

January 24, 2009

Do you want Wellsboro to have severe air pollution problems??

Wellsboro Borough Council is currently considering an ordinance to restrict the use of

outdoor woodburning

furnaces (OWFs). These are not the same thing as ordinary indoor

wood stoves. The proposed ordinance covers ONLY OWFs, which typically work by heating

water which is then used to heat the main building as well as provide hot water. The

proposed ordinance does not cover traditional indoor wood stoves in any way whatsoever.

What's so different about OWFs then?

All wood produces smoke when burned. What makes the OWFs different is that they

typically are capable of producing around ten times the heat output of an indoor wood

stove, and as such, apart from maybe in the depths of winter, the rate of burning has to be

controlled. This is done by restricting the air supply, so that most of the time the wood is

smoldering at a much lower temperature than if there was a plentiful air supply. They also

emit the smoke close to ground level – close to the windows of their neighbor's homes, in

other words. Their owners also tend to run them all year because in summer, they heat hot

water. Because they burn at a lower temperature, OWFs also emit a much greater number

of small particles than ordinary indoor wood stoves; you cannot see these small particles

but they lodge in your lungs, and then enter your bloodstream from there. It's just like

being exposed to secondhand cigarette smoke, all day and all night long.

Why is Wellsboro especially vulnerable to air pollution problems?

Because we are located in a shallow bowl, with hills closely grouped around the town, any

smoke (or other air pollution) that is emitted here stays here a long time.

What's wrong with wood smoke, anyway?

Wood smoke is a known cause of heart disease, strokes, lung cancer, and emphysema. It

also greatly worsens asthma, and brings on asthma attacks. Young children, the elderly,

and those with preexisting

respiratory conditions (allergies, asthma, etc.) are the most

vulnerable, but wood smoke can sicken even healthy young adults. (See references listed

on the other side of this page.)

Will keeping all my windows closed solve the problem?

No, unfortunately. No house, no building, is tight enough to keep out the small particles in

wood smoke. Even when you cannot smell the smoke, those particles can enter your home

(and then your lungs, and your childrens' lungs). And of course, people want and need to

be outdoors occasionally. Keeping your windows closed all the time isn't healthy, either, as

indoor air pollutants will then build to unhealthy levels. The OWFs tend to be used 12

months of the year; and their pollution is at its worst in the warm weather when they are

burning at a lower rate.

What can I do about it?

The Wellsboro Borough Council will be holding another workshop on the subject some time

in January, exact date to be arranged, presumably in the Municipal Building, 28 Crafton

Street. Please come! If you absolutely cannot come to the workshop, please write to the

Council and tell them that you want to breathe clean and healthy air! You can drop a letter

off at the Municipal Building. You can email the Council at borowell@epix.net. If you're

currently being affected by an OWF, it's important that you write to the Council to complain

about it – they seem to set great store by complaints received!

Where can I get more information?

See the references on the reverse of this flier, or our WWW site at

www.betterwellsboro.org/cleanair/cleanair.html or phone Brian and Pat Meadows at 7245172

any

day, but only between 8 am and 8 pm, please.

References / Further Information

(there is, of course, much additional information linked from these websites)

http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/869341/an_assessment_of_risk_from_particulat

e_released_from_outdoor_wood/index.html?source=r_science

One of the most damning papers on OWFs you could wish to see, Central Boiler issued legal

threats to Dr. Brown if the paper was published. Fortunately the CT Attorney General's

office threatened to countersue

and the paper was published. (These facts were confirmed

via an email

exchange with Dr. Brown.) You can see the impressive qualifications of Dr.

Brown and his team at http://www.healthriskconsultants.com/hrcteam.html

Photographs of OWFs in operation.

http://burningissues.org/carwww/

pdfs/OWB_SMOKE%20PHOTOS.pdf

A 2005 article by the NY State Attorney General's office, “ Smoke Gets In Your Lungs” .

http://www.oag.state.ny.us/press/2005/aug/August%202005.pdf

An EPA article on the health effects of wood smoke

http://www.epa.gov/woodstoves/healtheffects.html

Another EPA article stressing the dangers of the very fine (less than 2.5 micron) particles

which will get into your home if you're in range of a wood stove

http://www.epa.gov//ttn/naaqs/pm/pm25_index.html

Guidance for local government and public health officials on the use and regulation of

outdoor wood boilers from the state of Wisconsin's Department of Health

http://www.dhfs.state.wi.us/eh/HlthHaz/fs/waterstoves.htm

Fact Sheet: Regulatory Impact Analysis Of EPA's Final Revisions to the National Ambient Air

Quality Standards for Particle Pollution (Particulate Matter)

http://epa.gov/pm/fs20061006.html

A whole list of EPA actions and supporting materials for their Fact Sheet (previous

reference)

http://www.epa.gov/particles/actions.html

A paper by Washington State's Department of Ecology flagging the dangers of wood smoke.

This paper is from 1997, the dangers were known even then, and note the extensive list of

references at the end. http://www.ecy.wa.gov/pubs/92046.pdf

EPA publication “ Particle Pollution and Your Health”

http://www.epa.gov/airnow//particle/pmcolor.

pdf

NESCAUM (NorthEast States for Coordinated Air Use Management) report on Outdoor WoodFired

Boilers.

http://www.nescaum.org/documents/assessmentofoutdoorwoodfiredboilers/

20061031owbreport_

revisedjune2006appendix.

pdf/

Central Boiler again resorted to attorneys to try to get this last report withdrawn, you can

see the exchange of letters, including NESCAUM's pointbypoint

refutation, at

http://www.nescaum.org/documents/assessmentofoutdoorwoodfiredboilers/

January 24, 2009

Toledo Council flips vote and approves city charge card (OWBs mentioned)

By CHARLEY TOWNSLEY, CENTRAL IOWA PRESS

January 24, 2009

In other business, Jim Little, 307 E. High St., told council members he would like to install an outdoor wood furnace at his residence. Little had an advertisement flyer for a local distributor of the furnaces. The council's only concern was smoke emission.

Little said there were two types of furnaces on the market, he had looked at. His intention is to install the type that captures the smoke back into the system and emits virtually no smoke.

One requirement is the chimney of the furnace must extend above the roof line of neighboring homes, much like a traditional furnace chimney does now.

The council will be developing some guidelines to draft into an ordinance for outdoor furnaces, but based on the discussion with Little, saw no reason for him not to proceed.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

January 23, 2009

Burning Ordinance Changed

By TERRY AHNER tahner@tnonline.com

After months of debate, Palmerton has modified an ordinance to regulate where burning may occur in the borough.

Borough Council on a 6-0 vote Thursday agreed to adopt changes to its burning ordinance. Councilman Richard Nothstein was absent.

Council adopted the changes to the ordinance without any additional discussion.

An addition to the ordinance now states that "no person shall install or use any furnace or heating apparatus that is not installed entirely within the building which it is heating. The includes free-standing furnaces and boilers where the heat is transported to other structures. This does not include barbecue pits, chimneas, smokers used for curing and flavoring foods, or similar outdoor recreational burning appliances."

Borough Manager Rodger Danielson previously said the ordinance doesn't ban the use of wood for outdoor fires, nor does it limit fuels in chimneas and manufactured fireplaces.

In October, council agreed to table changes to the ordinance after several residents voiced concerns over some of the alterations.

That decision came after council on a 5-2 vote in September agreed to advertise for the adoption of the ordinance.

Danielson previously said that while the borough hasn't been inundated with complaints of people burning outdoors, the matter had been an issue at times.

The borough reviewed samples of similar ordinances from other municipalities prior to its decision.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

January 22, 2009

Narragansett may ban outdoor furnaces

NARRAGANSETT — Outdoor wood furnaces are gaining in popularity because they can economically produce hot water and heat and dramatically reduce oil consumption during the winter.

But if you live in Narragansett, any plans you might have to install an outdoor wood furnace may soon be snuffed out: the town is considering an ordinance that would prohibit the installation of the furnaces in residential neighborhoods.

Town Manager Jeffry Ceasrine raised the issue during a workshop with members of the Town Council earlier this month. He said that the town is concerned about smoke, odors, neighbor disputes and other problems that might arise if more residents install furnaces. Any ordinance formally brought before the council might be modeled on a similar ordinance in Smithfield that severely restricted the use of outdoor wood burners, Ceasrine said.

“There are a list of setbacks that effectively restrict them from residential zones,” Ceasrine said. “I’m concerned that if we don’t limit these things, we’ll end up at the next step with some potential issues.”

It is unclear how many residents have outdoor wood furnaces in town. The most visible one is at Sunset Farm on Point Judith Road – a town-owned property – where farm manager Jeff Farrell said that the outdoor furnace at the farm spares him hundreds of gallons of oil every year and dramatically improves his ability to heat the farmhouse.

“I couldn’t afford to heat the house any other way,” Farrell said. “The wind blows right through the house. If we got rid of the furnace, the town would have to pay my heating bill. I can make ice cubes by the upstairs windows.”

Sunset Farm is an expansive property with enough breathing room to avoid smoke problems with neighbors. But on some days, atmospheric pressure keeps the smoke from drifting upward. Instead, the smoke spreads sideways, occasionally shrouding Point Judith Road in a hazy cloud.

Town Solicitor Mark A. McSally said that low-hanging smoke might not be a problem on a farm or in the countryside, but in the Pier or dense neighborhoods, outdoor furnaces are inappropriate.

“The problem is the smokestack height,” McSally said. “When you have a stove inside the house, the stack goes out to the top of the house. With the furnaces, it’s not much higher than the unit. It’s great out in the country, but I’m not sure about an R-10 zone.”

Resident Russell J. Matuszek said that he has been affected by a nearby outdoor wood burner, but he still can’t find the source.

“All summer long when the wind is blowing from the southwest, someone’s burner causes soot to land on my deck and patio furniture,” Matuszek said.

Newer outdoor wood burners claim to meet strict EPA guidelines for emissions and utilize designs that recycle and reburn smoke, significantly reducing emissions. They are more expensive, however, and some critics of the burners say that many owners burn garbage, tires, pressure-treated wood and other hazardous materials in their furnaces.

Although oil prices are significantly lower now than last summer, wood dealers report strong demand for seasoned cordwood this winter. Wood prices spiked to nearly $400 a cord this fall and settled back to between $250 and $300 once fuel prices dropped.

Outdoor wood furnaces contain a storage tank filled with water. The water is heated by the fire and transported to the house through insulated underground pipes. Many systems tap into an existing basement furnace to prevent it from powering on.

McSally said that the town is in the process of drafting the ordinance changes and should have something on the council’s agenda in the coming weeks.

“The idea is to do something before the horse is out of the barn,” McSally said.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

January 16, 2009

Outdoor pellet boilers draw attention

By Kevin Miller

AUGUSTA, Maine — State environmental regulators are seeking public comments on a plan to impose setback requirements on outdoor furnaces that burn wood pellets.

In 2007, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection adopted new rules that set emissions standards for outdoor wood boilers and limited how close the increasingly popular heat sources could be placed relative to property lines and neighboring buildings.

In subsequent legislation, lawmakers directed the department to expand those rules to include outdoor boilers that burn pellets rather than cord wood.

The department and the Board of Environmental Protection are seeking public comment on a proposal to require setback requirements of 100 to 270 feet depending on the emissions rating of the unit.

The department also is proposing a lower setback requirement — 20 feet from the nearest property line and 40 feet from the nearest dwelling — in order to encourage consumers to install the cleanest-burning units. It is on this lower setback proposal that the department is seeking most comments.

The DEP originally proposed setting that emission limit at 0.20 pounds of particulate per million Btu of heat output. But on Thursday, board members changed that to comply with a recommendation from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for an emissions limit of 0.06 pounds per million Btu.

Board members opted to proceed with the stricter emissions limit with the understanding that they could go back to the higher limit, if necessary. The EPA has certified one outdoor pellet boiler that would meet the 0.06 emissions limit.

“There have been so many problems with outdoor wood boilers, and I believe in being as cautious as possible, particularly when we are dealing with something new,” said board member Wing Goodale.

The DEP adopted emissions caps and setback requirements for outdoor wood boilers after the state received dozens of complaints from neighbors who said they were being inundated by smoke from neighbors’ units.

But state officials point out that is a small percentage of the total number of outdoor wood boilers that have been installed in the state in recent years as consumers seek cheaper, homegrown alternatives to heating oil.

kmiller@bangordailynews.net

Full Article: CLICK HERE

January 15, 2009

Napoleon Township Board regulates wood heaters

by Jackson Citizen Patriot

Thursday January 15, 2009, 7:01 AM

 

An ordinance regulating installation and maintenance of outdoor furnaces used to heat indoor spaces or water has been approved by the Napoleon Township Board.

The law requires the wood-fired heaters to burn only clean, natural wood or the manufacturer-recommended fuel source. Refuse or yard waste cannot be burned in the furnaces, according to the ordinance.

The burners can only be placed on properties zoned as agricultural or rural residential land and must be at least 300 feet from the nearest residence that the furnace user does not own. Heaters must be at least 20 feet away from the nearest structure and 50 feet from any property line.

The ordinance further requires a burner have an attached, permanent chimney extending at least as high above the ground as the height of the roofs of all residences within 200 feet of the furnace and not on the same property.

Outdoor furnaces are becoming increasingly popular, experts say, but opponents argue they are inefficient polluters, which can negatively affect neighbors' health.

Other townships have enacted regulations, including Henrietta, Liberty and Blackman townships. Some municipalities, such as Jonesville, have banned the wood-fired heaters.

Napoleon Township board members approved the ordinance unanimously Tuesday.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

January 13, 2009

Plattsburgh Town Eyes Outdoor Wood Boiler Law

Michael Henrich

he Town of Plattsburgh council could vote on a proposed law regulating outdoor wood boilers as soon as next Tuesday, Jan. 20, according to Town Supervisor Bernie Bassett.

The law would require a permit to install an outdoor wood boiler and restrict where and how it could be used. 

"That's really what this is about," Bassett said of residents' safety.  "It's protecting the rights of everybody by having some control and a safe, clean community."

Restrictions include:

  • - Only properties larger than 2 acres would be permitted to install outdoor wood boilers
  • - Chimneys must be at least 20-feet tall
  • - Boilers must be at least 200 feet from the nearest property line
  • - Use permitted from Sept. 5 to May 31

Penalties range from up to $500 in fines or 10 days imprisonment for a first offense, to $1,000 in fines and up to 30 days imprisonment for subsequent offenses.

"It's gotta be taken seriously," Bassett said.  "Obviously, that's the extreme."

Resident Derek Juvert said he disagreed with the proposed law.  He said the cost of a permit goes against the point of getting an outdoor wood boiler: saving money.

"Some government laws are not necessary, like this one," Juvert said.  "This is kind of dumb."

Jayson Criss, another town resident, said he knows people with outdoor wood boilers that do not only burn wood.

"If they're gonna burn garbage in them, they're gonna have to zone it and put regulations [into place]," Criss said. 

The proposed law would also ban the burning of materials other than firewood and untreated lumber.

A final public hearing is scheduled for Jan. 20 at the Town of Plattsburgh offices.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

January 12, 2009

Mass. issues tough new regulations for outdoor wood boilers

by The Republican Newsroom

Monday January 12, 2009, 2:06 PM

By STAN FREEMAN

sfreeman@repub.com

Superceding a patchwork of local ordinances, the state has issued tough new regulations for outdoor wood boilers, which can be prolific polluters and a serious threat to neighbors' health.

As of Dec. 26, only the most efficient boilers could be sold in the state, and existing boilers will have to meet new standards by March 1 that will limit how close their smokestacks can be to the nearest home or business.

The new regulations, which will be administered by the state Department of Environmental Protection, "establish strict limits on particle emissions (for new models) and will ensure that the operation of these units will not degrade air quality," said Commissioner Laurie Burt.


Also called outdoor hydronic heaters, these wood-fed boilers typically are placed in small, insulated sheds with short smoke stacks - usually less than 10 feet tall. They heat water that is piped into a home or business to supply heat and hot water.

When located in rural areas, conflicts with neighbors are usually minimal. But in some urban and developed suburban areas of the Pioneer Valley, homeowners have installed the sheds close to other houses and operate them year-round, sending constant streams of particle-laden smoke into neighbors' yards and open windows, sometimes just yards away.

Wood smoke contains particles of varying sizes and a variety of toxic substances, such as carbon monoxide and benzene. Breathing these pollutants for any length of time can lead to illnesses, including aggravated asthma, chronic bronchitis and irregular heartbeats.

In the absence of state or federal laws regulating wood boilers, cities and towns across the commonwealth in recent years created their own laws to restrict use. Holyoke, Chicopee and Longmeadow are among the municipalities that banned the boilers entirely. Northampton, Belchertown, West Springfield, Hampden and Monson are among the communities that placed restrictions on their use, including a ban on operating them outside the heating season.

"Those communities that have more restrictive regulations that have been approved by DEP can still enforce them. But local regulations have to be at least as restrictive as the state standard," said Edmund J. Coletta, public affairs director for the agency.

Under the new law, some existing wood boilers will have to be altered, he said. "The existing units that are 150 feet or less from another residence will have to have smokestacks at least two feet higher than the peak of any roof within 150 feet. You're not going to have to move it, but you have to have a smokestack high enough that smoke can get up into the wind and disperse."

Also, existing units within 150 feet of another residence can only be operated during the heating season, Oct. 15 to May 15, Coletta said. Existing units located 150 feet to 500 feet from another residence do not have to alter the stack height but can only be operated Oct. 15 to May 15.

The wood boilers that now can be sold in the state are dramatically more efficient at converting the potential energy in the wood to heat, and thus they are less smoky and polluting, which are byproducts of inefficiency, said Charles R. Patenaude, of Hilltown Alternative Energy in Shelburne Falls, which sells the approved models.

"You take what I regarded to be the best of the previous generation and you were doing well to get 65 percent efficiency. Some of the ones on sale six months ago only got 45 percent. Now, you're running about 90 percent efficient to meet the new requirements. They've done a total redesign of the product," he said.

Nevertheless, the boilers do produce smoke and he believes the best candidates for outdoor wood boilers are people with their own wood lot "who live outside a city or a thickly developed suburb."

One who fits that profile is Al E. Bissette, of Granby. He recently installed one of the boiler models that meets the state standard, the E-Classic 2300 by Central Boiler, on his 25-acre horse farm.

"We absolutely love it. It's so efficient. Most of the time, the smoke that comes out of it is minimal. When it needs to fire up, you'll see smoke but it's mostly white," he said.

The boiler sits about 75 feet from his house and nearly 1,000 feet from the nearest neighbor. The Bissettes have two young boys, and the impact of the boiler smoke on their health "is not a concern," Bissette said.

"We felt comfortable that the efficiency was so good that the impact was minimal. When I was a kid, we had a wood stove and every time you opened the door to load it up, there was a little puff of smoke out into the room. That was more dangerous. We don't get any of that. Everything is outside," he said.


Wood boiler regulations
Here are some of the standards for wood boilers as set in new state regulations:
• As of Dec. 26, only the cleanest burning wood boilers could be sold in the state, those that emit less than .32 pounds of particulate matter for every million BTUs of heat produced.
• Existing outdoor wood boilers that do not meet the new state emission standards cannot be operated between May 16 and Sept. 30 unless they are more than 500 feet from the nearest occupied dwelling.
• An existing wood boiler located within 150 feet of an occupied dwelling it does not serve (such as a neighbor's house) must have a smokestack at least two feet higher than the peak of any roof structure within 150 feet. Owners of such wood boilers have until March 1 to comply.
• It is unlawful to operate a wood burner in such a manner that the smoke from it exceeds an average of 20 percent opacity for two minutes in any one-hour period.
Source: State Department of Environmental Protection

Full Article: CLICK HERE

January 11, 2009

Outdoor wood-boiler law proposed in Town of Plattsburgh

By DAN HEATH
Staff Writer

PLATTSBURGH -- The Plattsburgh Town Council will hold one more public hearing on proposed wood-boiler regulations.

Local Law 1 of 2009, the Town of Plattsburgh Outdoor Wood Boilers Local Law, is intended "to ensure outdoor wood boilers are utilized in a manner that does not create a nuisance and is not detrimental to the health, safety and general welfare of the residents of the town."

Town of Plattsburgh Code Enforcement Officer Steven Imhoff said numerous municipalities in New York state have adopted similar regulations, sometimes only after problems arise.

"We're trying to be proactive rather than reactive," he said. "We're trying to take care of our residents."

KEEPING CONTROL
Town Supervisor Bernie Bassett said it's important that as homeowners look at alternative sources of home heat, the decisions they make are implemented safely and properly.

"We want to make sure there is some control. The Outdoor Wood Boiler law is an attempt to keep everybody safe and protect the rights of others."

Under the local law, an outdoor wood boiler is defined as "any equipment, device or apparatus, or any part thereof, which is installed, affixed or situated outdoors for the primary purpose of combustion of fuel to produce heat or energy used as a component of a heating system providing heat for any interior space."

All outdoor wood boilers are to meet Environmental Protection Agency emission standards and have received certification of EPA approval.

PERMIT NEEDED
Those who want to operate an outdoor wood boiler need to receive a permit from the Town of Plattsburgh Department of Codes and Zoning.

Firewood and untreated lumber are the only allowed fuel sources. Firewood does not include leaves, needles, vines or brush smaller than 3 inches in diameter.

Outdoor wood boilers are allowed only in the town's R-2, R-3 and R-4 zoning districts. Those districts can be viewed on the town's zoning map, which can be seen on the town Web site, www.townofplattsburgh.com, under the link to the Town Codes and Zoning Department.

REQUIREMENTS
Wood boilers will only be permitted on lots of two acres or larger. They must be at least 200 feet from the nearest property line.

Chimneys must be at least 20 feet high. The boiler can only be used from Sept. 5 to May 31.

Each unit must be equipped with a spark arrestor.

Existing outdoor wood boilers are allowed to remain in operation as long as the owner gets a permit within one year of the date the local law takes effect. They are exempt from a number of the provisions.

Town Code Enforcement officials will be responsible for making sure outdoor wood boilers are in compliance.

PROBLEMS
Permits can be revoked if a codes official determines:

Excessive emissions.

Malodorous air contaminants detectable off property.

Emissions that interfere with the reasonable enjoyment of life and property of others.

Emissions that cause damage to vegetation or property.

Emissions that are or may be harmful to human or animal health.

FINES
Violations can result in fines of not more than $500 or up to 10 days imprisonment for a first offense.

Subsequent offenses can result in fines of up to $1,000 and up to 30 days imprisonment.

The public hearing is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 20, at Plattsburgh Town Hall, 151 Banker Road.

The local law is expected to be voted on during the Town Council meeting that follows the public hearing.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

January 9, 2009

Outdoor wood boilers under fire
By NICK HEYNEN
608-252-6126
nheynen@madison.com

Who doesn't love the smell of a wood fire? The scent of a burning oak or maple log can brighten even the dreariest winter day.

But a growing trend has some Madison-area residents holding their noses.

The problem is a home furnace called an outdoor wood boiler. The furnaces are designed to burn wood, wood pellets or corn in an outdoor shed, heating water that is piped into the house.

Unlike a wood stove or a campfire, however, wood boilers give off copious amounts of smoke. And that is prompting the Madison City Council to consider regulating the furnaces.

"When the thermostat is calling for heat (some outdoor boilers have) a blower that fans the flames on the fire and heats up the water," said Jon Standridge, chairman of the Commission on the Environment in Madison. "When the thermostat doesn't call for heat anymore, it shuts that air off and the fire smolders and it becomes a really smoky irritation to neighbors and anyone near it."

The proposed bill would ban all new residential outdoor wood boilers within the city.

Madison residents who already own a wood boiler would have to buy a $50 permit to continue using it, would be limited to using it between Oct. 16 and March 31 and would have to have a chimney extending at least five feet above the highest neighboring rooftop.

Building inspectors and public health officials would also be given broad leeway to rule that an existing boiler is creating a nuisance to neighbors, said Ald. Larry Palm, 15th District, who sponsored the proposed law.

The boilers have gained in popularity as homeowners seek alternatives to high-priced gas heat, said Rodney Tollefson, vice president of Central Boiler in Minnesota, one of the biggest manufacturers of outdoor furnaces.

The fuel also is a renewable resource. In 2005, Wisconsin ranked second only to Michigan in the number of boilers sold, with more than 20,000 units statewide, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Yet, even when properly used, wood boilers emit an average of about 12 times more particulate pollution than indoor wood stoves, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

That's fine for rural areas, but is "completely inappropriate" in cities like Madison, said John Hausbeck, a 13-year veteran epidemiologist and supervisor with the Madison/Dane County Public Health Department.

"They are clearly a nuisance in urban areas," he said.

Hausbeck said he believes there are fewer than five outdoor wood boilers operating in the Madison area, but he said the purpose of the legislation is to steer people toward more neighbor-friendly alternatives before the problem gets worse.

Tollefson said his company doesn't oppose some regulation, but he said an outright ban would not be appropriate.

Some of the company's models comply with the strictest level of emissions standards set by the EPA, he said, adding that problems in urban areas were more likely caused by user error than the boiler's design.

"I don't think they're going to get rid of cars in the near future because somebody uses them wrong," he said. "I feel this should have the same consideration."

Full Article: CLICK HERE

January 9, 2009

Burnsville homeowner feels the heat over outdoor wood boiler

Complaint likely to result in ban on wood furnaces
By Jessica Fleming
jfleming@pioneerpress.com

On a clear day, driving down Williams Drive near Judicial Road in northern Burnsville, you can't miss the smoke.

It billows from the chimney of a little building that contains an outdoor wood furnace Chris Giles uses to heat his home. His family has heated the home this way for decades, but that may soon change.

A neighbor has complained, and the Burnsville City Council likely will pass a ban Jan. 20 on outdoor wood boilers, which is what the heater Giles uses is commonly called.

Giles, 41, said he is amazed the city would pass an ordinance aimed at just one property.

"Where does it stop?" Giles asked. "Are they going to ban fireplaces or fire pits?"

The difference between a fireplace and a wood boiler, though, is that a boiler runs all day, said city spokesman Jim Skelly. Other cities, including New Prague, have banned boilers in recent years. Forest Lake banned the units in high-density residential areas. And environmentalists say the smoke from a boiler, especially an older model like the one Giles uses, which was installed in 1994, can be overwhelming and irritating.

"I can't say for certain whether they are a health hazard," said John Seltz, supervisor of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's air policy unit. "But (the smoke has) chemicals that could irritate mucus membranes — similar to burning vegetation of any kind, including tobacco."

Giles, who works in construction, said he's willing to install a $1,000 scrubber to help

purify the smoke his boiler emits.

He gets his wood for free from a wood company and said today's gas prices would pinch his budget.

Giles said the people who live on either side of his just-more-than-half-acre lot have not objected to the smoke, but he thinks a resident who lives behind him has complained. City staff members did not answer requests for the neighbor's name.

City officials say they are trying to work with Giles. At a recent work session, council members were told that since the Giles family hadn't applied for permits to install the boiler, there wasn't a legal way to grandfather his unit into an ordinance. The council then discussed the possibility of a future legal settlement that could allow Giles to keep the boiler for a limited time with modifications to reduce the smoke nuisance.

Burnsville Mayor Elizabeth Kautz said the council was doing its best to find an acceptable solution.

"We have to be cognizant of how this affects the neighbors living around him," Kautz said. "It's about living in a community and being respectful of the neighbors around you. We want to find a solution."

Reid Kubesh, president of Aqua-Therm heating, the brand of Giles' boiler, said newer boiler models are environmentally friendly, efficient and designed for urban areas. Wood is a renewable resource, he said, and European countries have been using clean-burning wood boilers for 20 years.

"The biggest advantage of a boiler is to gain independence from oil or gas," Kubesh said.

However, Kubesh said, Giles' unit is one of the older models that emits more smoke. Typically, he said, such units are used in a rural setting where the property owner has 5 acres or more of land.

Giles' family has deep roots in the city. His father, Ed Giles, was the first public works director for Burnsville, and his brother, Dave Giles, lives in the city, too. His parents owned the house before Chris Giles, and his father installed the home's first wood boiler in the 1980s to free the family of high gas prices.

Dave Giles, who works for the Dakota County highway department, said he is insulted by the actions of the council.

"It just cranks a guy off," he said. "We've lived in that house 40 years. Come out and help him, work with him. You're public servants; that's your job."

Jessica Fleming can be reached at 651-228-5435.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

January 8, 2009 (video)

Fulton Bans Outdoor Furnaces

Story Published: Jan 8, 2009 at 5:45 PM EST

By Haley Hinds WTVH, Syracuse, NY

 People are taking every measure possible to reduce winter heating costs. But if you live in Fulton, you'll have one less option available when it comes to heating your home. City officials just passed a new law banning the installation of outdoor furnaces and wood boilers. While they're a popular heating source in rural areas, in close knit neighborhoods, the smoke can pose significant health threats. Fulton Mayor Ronald Woodward has gotten numerous complaints about thick smoke blanketing homes surrounding outdoor furnaces. "People are quite vocal," said Mayor Woodward. "If someone else is affecting their quality of life and their property, they'll call."

Because the state has no regulations in its building and fire codes, Fire Chief Anthony Gorea created a law to ban them. The Fulton Common Council passed the law on Tuesday. "The biggest concern is the pollution or the particulates that are coming out of the stacks, getting concentrated in the neighborhoods," said Gorea. Homeowners who already have a boiler installed can still use the system, but they'll need to get a permit, only operate the system between October 1st and May 31st, and have properly functioning spark arrestors.

The law only allows firewood and untreated lumber to be burned. Burning garbage or cardboard could cause serious respiratory problems. If you are caught burning anything illegal, your permit could be revoked and you could face hundreds of dollars in fines. The law is currently being reviewed by the state and should take full effect in just a few weeks.

Full Article:  CLICK HERE

 

January 7, 2009

State cracks down on outdoor wood boilers

GHS
Posted Jan 07, 2009 @ 09:16 PM
 

New statewide regulations established about two weeks ago by the Department of Environmental Protection will limit the amount of pollution emitted by outdoor wood-fired boilers, an issue area towns have tried to tackle in recent years.

"Mass. DEP's new regulations establish strict limits on particle emissions, and will ensure that the operation of these units will not degrade air quality for citizens across the commonwealth," said Laurie Burt, commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection. "Only heaters with advanced emission technology can be installed in Massachusetts, protecting the quality of life for all residents."

Outdoor wood-fired boilers, also known as outdoor hydronic heaters, are located outside the buildings they heat, in small, insulated sheds with short smokestacks usually 6 to 10 feet tall, according to the state. They burn wood to heat water to heat buildings, greenhouses and swimming pools.

Bellingham officials began enforcing its own set of rules last year, banning the installation of any new wood boilers.

Health Agent Mike Graf said the initiative resulted from both neighbors' complaints and concerns from board members.

Wood boilers "have been proven to generate an unnecessary amount of contaminants and they are shown to burn less cleanly than indoor heaters," Graf said. "They cause too much pollution to justify the minimum savings."

Wood smoke contains particles of varying sizes and a variety of toxic substances, such as carbon monoxide and benzene. Health effects include decreased lung function, increased respiratory irritation, aggravated asthma, chronic bronchitis and irregular heartbeats, according to the state.

In Bellingham, about six households use the outdoor wood boilers. Those families must obtain a permit through the Board of Health and abide by a burning season from Nov. 1 to April 30.

The new state regulations widen the burning season from Oct. 1 to May 15. However, Bellingham residents must obey the rules imposed by the town.

"Our (regulations) are more restrictive," Graf noted.

He said summertime use causes much more pollution and leads to neighborhood complaints.

When the air is warmer, the smoke does not dissipate as much as it would in the winter, Graf said.

In Milford, Public Health Director Paul Mazzuchelli said the "nuisance and potential health hazards" prompted officials more than a year ago to establish separate, more stringent rules in town.

Outdoor wood boilers must be operated under a town-issued permit and cannot be used within 75 feet of a home or within 500 feet of any other structure, Mazzuchelli said.

"The way the residential area in Milford is so densely populated, it makes it nearly impossible to have one," he said.

Mazzuchelli is aware of one household in Milford using an outdoor wood-fired boiler.

Under the new state regulations, which went into effect on Dec. 26, only heaters that meet the new standard for particulate emissions can be sold for installation in Massachusetts.

Only a few states restrict hydronic heater pollution. There is no federal emissions standard for these devices.

Hopedale Health Inspector Leonard Izzo said town officials there recently imposed regulations for wood boilers.

"It's a preventative action," said Izzo, who is aware of one permit issued for wood burning.

"Our (regulations) run pretty close with the state's," Izzo said. "We've tried to make the rules uniform throughout the whole area so everyone has same opportunities to use the permits and live in good fashion."

Homes within the small community are also bound to space regulations, said Izzo, which makes it difficult to fit an outdoor wood boiler for a homeowner's use.

"We are trying to protect the environment, homeowners and neighbors," he said.

Michelle Laczkoski can be reached at mlaczkos@cnc.com or 508-634-7556.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

January 6, 2009

West Virginia Wood Furnace Ordinance Passed

by AER Staff on Tuesday 06 January 2009

Bayard, W.Va., has become the latest community to issue an ordinance regulating the use of outdoor wood furnaces.

The Mineral Daily News-Tribune reports the Bayard town council unanimously passed a measure that requires permits to be granted for outdoor wood furnaces. Effective since Jan. 2., no Bayard resident will be able to receive a permit to operate an outdoor furnace unless the manufacturer's installation and operation compliance requirements are fully met. Furnaces must also be at least 25 feet from adjacent property lines and at least 100 feet from any residence not using the furnace. The ordinance also prohibits the burning of non-wood items, including garbage and food wastes, in the furnace.

Enforcement of the ordinance may not be too problematic, as there are currently no outdoor furnaces in Bayard, and it is uncertain if any new installations are being planned.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

January 6, 2009

B'ville Boards - Fire District Approved (OWB's mentoined)

Erin Smith 01/06/09

Wood boilers approved
Van Buren recently passed legislation regarding outdoor boilers.

Individuals wishing to install an outdoor boiler must obtain a permit from the Van Buren Codes officer. The intent is to allow homeowners with the right area and fuel supplies to install and operate an outdoor boiler in a safe and effective manner. All residents with outdoor boilers are required to burn clean wood or fuel in their boilers and to follow manufacturer’s guidelines when installing. Individuals with existing outdoor boilers are not affected by the legislation, however, if residents want to install a new boiler, they are also required to acquire a permit from the town.

Officials originally focused on outdoor wood boilers, but expanded the legislation to include corn and other bio-degradable fuels.

“We wanted to allow an option, a variety,” said Howard Tupper, Van Buren councilor.

Officials decided to address the issue because the state was going to pass a law requiring more stringent guidelines.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

January 5, 2009

Wood-stove rules should be mandatory throughout valley


Monday, January 05, 2009

Sunday brought some relief from the days of heavy pollution that darkened the skies last week, as an impermeable barrier of warm air settled like a lid over the Grand Valley.

The photograph on GJSentinel.com showed a crisp and clear morning view across to the Bookcliffs etched against a blue sky. But even on this sunny day, by afternoon, when I walked above the city, a haze had settled into the valley and the sky above the cliffs was tainted with brown haze.

While Sunday’s haze was mild in comparison to the thick smog of the previous week, it nevertheless can remind us that air quality is not an occasional problem that comes with the winter inversions. No amount of polluted air is beneficial, though small amounts may do minimal damage to healthy people. However, to those who suffer from respiratory diseases, especially children, even small amounts of pollution make their problems worse.

Dirty air is not a new issue for this valley. Over the years the county and municipalities have worked to reduce the effects of winter air pollution. Much of the haze over the Grand Valley in winter comes from wood-burning stoves and fireplaces that do not comply with Environmental Protection Agency emission standards. As our continuing problem with polluted air demonstrates, these efforts have been insufficient to curtail the emissions from wood smoke.

A decade ago, the city of Grand Junction adopted the strictest ordinance in the valley against non-conforming wood stoves and fireplaces. When inversions can cause high levels of pollution, the city imposes a mandatory no-burn requirement for non-EPA-certified, solid-fuel-burning devices. It also forbids the installation of non-certified stoves in new or remodeled structures, and requires that when property changes hands, any non-complying heaters be removed or replaced with clean burning stoves.

Similar regulations were adopted by Mesa County and the communities of Fruita and Palisade, with the major exception that the no-burning policy was made voluntary rather than mandatory. The failure of voluntary compliance is evident in the heavy pollution that blankets the valley during winter inversions. It is a law without teeth, more ignored than obeyed, judging from the haze in the air on bad days.

Though for some people the smell of wood smoke in the air evokes memories of a warm hearth, it is not harmless. In addition to greenhouse gasses, burning wood releases more than 200 chemical substances, including 14 carcinogens and 40 toxic pollutants harmful to human health. Keeping wood smoke to a minimum is a public health issue.

In the 10 years since the ordinances were adopted, circumstances have changed enough to suggest it is time to revisit the decision to make it voluntary to curtail wood smoke when air quality is diminished. While the number of non-conforming stoves may not be growing, neither do they seem to be phasing out.

Meantime, other contributing sources of pollution are increasing. The growing population brings more motor vehicles to emit exhaust and stir up dust, more businesses in a growing community add to pollution problems, and other new sources of pollution continue to emerge.

For example, the number of outdoor wood-fired boilers to replace gas or electric heating systems, is reported to be on the increase. These highly polluting furnaces will not be approved within the city, but are not currently regulated in the county.

The expected expansion of gas drilling to areas along the Bookcliffs and between Whitewater and Delta could have a profound effect on Mesa County air quality. If the county is to avoid non-attainment with EPA air-quality standards, it needs to take steps to lower pollution from other sources before drilling increases.

The most expedient step the county commissioners could take would be to make no-burn days mandatory when conditions justify it. Unfortunately, our regulation-averse local politicians are unlikely to revisit the issue if they can avoid it. Only when we fall into EPA non-attainment status will that option be taken off the table. Maybe then we will breathe clean air again.

Bill Grant can be reached at wgrant@bgsu.edu.

Full Article: CLICK HERE


January 5, 2009

Bayard ordinance would regulate outdoor wood burning

By JEAN BRAITHWAITE
News-Tribune

BAYARD, W.V.a. - BAYARD — The final reading of an ordinance that will regulate the use of outdoor wood furnaces in Bayard was adopted by a unanimous vote of council members and is now on the books of community codes and laws.
Mayor Steve Durst stated that at the present there are no outdoor furnaces in Bayard, although several years ago there was one located in the community that caused concern from nearby neighbors about excessive smoke.
“This is a health and safety issue for our town and we want to nip this in the bud before any future installed furnaces become a problem,” Durst said.

After the effective date of January 2, and according to the ordinance, no person living in Bayard may construct, install, or operate an outdoor furnace unless compliances for installation and operation set forth by the manufacturer of the furnaces are fully met.
Durst stated that the manufacturer’s owner’s manual and installation instructions for a proposed new outdoor furnace in the community will need to be reviewed by him as a permit process is initiated.
The review will determine the verification of laboratory testing and safety standards of the furnace.
Also included in the ordinance is the exact location of the outdoor furnace on the owner’s property.
The furnace must be at least 25 feet from adjacent property lines and at least 100 feet from any residence not served by the furnace.
Durst mentioned that it could be difficult to install an outdoor stove in the community because the average building lot size is 40 feet by 90 feet, although some residents have a combination of several lots together to make a larger area for their homes.
The height of the chimney is covered in the ordinance and must extend at least two feet above the peak of any residence situated within 300 feet and not served by the furnace.
If future new construction should take place within the 300 feet limit and not serviced by an existing outdoor furnace, the outdoor stove owner will have 30 days to add to the chimney requirements.
Specifically named fuel sources for the outdoor furnaces include natural untreated wood, wood pellets, corn products, biomass pellets, or other listed fuels according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Among the lengthy listing of prohibited fuels is wood that has been painted, varnished or coated or pressure treated with preservatives and contain glues or resins as in plywood or other composite wood products.
Other items not to be burned in the furnaces are garbage, rubbish, food wastes, plastic material as nylon, PVC, polystyrene, urethane foam, rubber including tires, newspapers, cardboard, or any paper with ink or dye products, and coal.
Stiff fines can be levied on any furnace owner at $250 for each violation of the ordinance, and if no remedy is handled within a time frame of seven days, additional fines will be given.

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January 5, 2009

Stove regulations to be scrutinized

Monday, January 05, 2009
By JOHN APPLETON
jappleton@repub.com
 

BELCHERTOWN - The Board of Health will compare its regulations on outdoor wood-fired boilers with the state's rules when it meets tonight at 7:30 in Town Hall.

"We have been saying that once the state comes out with its final regulations, we would look at how they compare," said Gail L. Gramarossa, chairwoman of the board, last week.

The board passed its regulations in July 2007.

They require that anyone using an outdoor wood-fired boiler for heat should have at least four acres of property, and for the boiler to be no closer than 200 feet to another property line.

They also require that the boilers meet federal emissions standards.

The state Department of Environmental Protection announced its regulations on Dec. 23.

Gramarossa said the board may make changes in the town's regulations when members study the state rules, but she does not expect it to happen.

"We cannot be any weaker than what the state law says; we can be stronger," she said.

One example of a difference between the two sets of regulations is that the state allows some installations of outdoor boilers as close as 50 feet from a neighbor's property line.

"My personal feeling," said Gramarossa, "is after the lengthy public discussion that we have had, we would want to stick with the regulations we have, particularly since we educated the community about them and people went to lengths to comply and seek variances."

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January 3, 2009

New regulations for various land-use issues still being considered

By KERRY McAVOY /The Leader-Herald

AMSTERDAM - The Town Board is continuing with a plan that will update its zoning ordinance to address a wide variety of land-use issues.

Town Supervisor Tom DiMezza said Friday the plan is probably about 120 days away from being finalized. The town still has to undergo a New York State Environmental Quality Review process before the plans can be finished.

"We are still working with Delaware Engineering, and they are still receiving comments," he said.

Last year, the town passed several moratoriums on things like outdoor furnaces, solar-energy buildings and wind towers until zoning regulations to address the issues were put in place.

The Town Board put a halt on the erection of energy-generating windmills in June. The town had received one application for a windmill and decided to accept that application.

This gave engineers at Delaware Engineering time to put regulations and standards in place for the green energy sources.

In its proposal, Delaware put wind energy into two categories based on height and purpose. Small, single windmills could be put up in residential zones to supplement energy coming from a regular power grid. Large wind farms for selling wind energy would only be permitted in agricultural zones. The restrictions and regulations on these types of wind farms will be much more stringent.

The Town Board passed a six-month moratorium on solar storage devices in October to fit the new type of green energy device into its zoning regulations.

Under the proposed regulation, those new solar buildings would be allowed as an accessory to a property in any district.

The buildings would have to meet certain height and width requirements in order to obtain a building permit from the town Planning Board.

Outdoor furnaces, also known as wood boilers, would be allowed in residential and agricultural districts under the proposed regulations. The furnaces would have to meet minimum smokestack-height standards, and building permits would be required for the devices.

DiMezza said there were several public comments made at a hearing last month about the new wood boiler rules. He said Delaware has also got several e-mails and letters about the rules.

Any existing wood boiler would be grandfathered in under the new zoning rules, but permits would need to be issued. DiMezza said this has been an issue for some residents.

He said the town is being as thorough as possible when creating the zoning rules, to avoid any trouble with potential lawsuits that could result from the new regulations.

"We're not afraid of a lawsuit because we know we are on solid ground," DiMezza said.

DiMezza said Kathleen Tatara of Delaware Engineering, who is working on the new regulations, said the state is creating its own regulations for wood boilers that may end up being stricter than what the town is doing.

Should the state put regulations in place, the town would need to follow those rules.

Kerry McAvoy covers Montgomery County. She can be reached at montco@leaderherald.com

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