Freedom of Air - Public Awareness of Outdoor Wood Boilers

Public Awareness and Reasearch of Outdoor Wood Boilers

News 2010

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 30, 2010

NY panel enacts outdoor furnace regulations

By: Photo News

December 30, 2010

 

ALBANY — New outdoor wood furnaces sold in New York state will have to comply with strict air pollution regulations approved by a state environmental board on Dec. 22.

The regulations, which take effect on Jan. 21, are designed to reduce pollution and adverse health impacts from the furnaces, also called boilers. The heaters are growing in popularity in rural areas because they save hundreds or thousands of dollars a year by using wood often harvested on the farmer’s or homeowner’s own land.

State Department of Environmental Conservation Acting Commissioner Peter Iwanowicz likened the regulation of the wood-fired furnaces to the switch to cleaner cars equipped with catalytic converters.

He said the new regulations prevent New York state from becoming a “dumping ground” for inefficient, polluting boilers that can no longer be sold in neighboring states that have enacted similar rules.

An outdoor wood furnace, which looks like an outhouse with a chimney, burns wood to heat water that’s piped to the home’s radiator system. It can also be used to provide the home’s hot water.

After public hearings this year, DEC shelved regulations that would apply to existing boilers. Iwanowicz said revised rules for existing boilers would be presented in public meetings.

A contingent of Assembly Republicans attended the environmental board meeting to oppose the new rules, which they said were rushed through without sufficient public comment.

DEC held public hearings throughout the state in June but has since modified the regulations.

Dean Norton, president of the state Farm Bureau, said the new regulations put a financial hardship on thousands of rural residents.

Several municipalities around the state have banned outdoor wood boilers altogether.

Iwanowicz said at least 20 companies make wood boilers that comply with the new regulations. He said the price is likely to come down due to increased competition when sale of the older, smoky furnaces are banned.

The new regulations ensure that wood furnaces will burn at least 90 percent cleaner than older models. Smokestack height requirements of 18 feet and property line setbacks of at least 100 feet, further ensure that neighboring property owners won’t be subjected to wood smoke, which contains fine particles linked to asthma, heart and lung disease, and other health problems.

Regulations also require that only seasoned, clean wood or wood pellets be used as fuel in both existing and new furnaces.

Burning of tires, trash, construction debris, waste oil, animal carcasses and various other things is prohibited.

Scott Santarella, president of the American Lung Association in New York, urged the DEC to quickly enact regulations for existing boilers.

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December 30, 2010

Furnace issue heats up as Assembly session nears

Maynard ‘startled’ by colleague’s support for ban

By JAMES MOSHER

Norwich Bulletin

Posted Dec 30, 2010 @ 10:45 AM

 

Hartford, Conn. —

The head of the General Assembly’s environment committee has written a bill that would ban outdoor wood-burning furnaces, surprising the panel’s vice chairman and setting the stage for a struggle that may pit energy consumers against public health advocates.

State Sen. Edward Meyer, D-Guilford, said he has written a concept bill that would ban all outdoor furnaces except for use on farms and in farmhouses. He plans to submit the bill to the legislative commissioner’s office in Hartford in the near future.

“It’s going to be very controversial,” Meyer said Wednesday. “We’ve determined that the furnaces do not have good air quality so we’re going for a ban.”

The committee’s vice chairman, Sen. Andrew Maynard, D-Stonington, was taken aback.

“My understanding is that we were going to continue working toward compliance with federal regulations,” Maynard said. “If Ed has decided to support a ban then I’m startled by that.”

Maynard, whose district includes Griswold, Preston, Plainfield, Sterling, and Voluntown, said he remains against a statewide ban, calling it “a blunt instrument.” Public health and people’s use of the appliances can be balanced, he said.

“We want to protect public health,” said Maynard, who was named chairman of the public health committee by Senate President Donald Williams, D-Brooklyn, on Tuesday. “With the proper performance standards, public health can be protected.”

Williams’ hometown of Brooklyn has been one of the flashpoints of the furnace issue. One furnace installed in late 2005 or early 2006, before state regulations for location and chimney heights were established, was the subject of well over 100 complaints to the state Department of Environmental Protection by a neighbor.

The neighbor, Wendy Rondeau, who lives at 36 Tatnic Hill Road, has complained the town’s Board of Selectmen is not doing enough to protect her health.

Through spokesman Lawrence Cook, Williams declined to comment Wednesday on Meyer’s bill because he hadn’t read it. Williams’ district includes Canterbury, Killingly, Putnam, Scotland, Thompson and Windham.

The legislation is being classified as a “committee bill,” meaning it will go forward from the environment committee in the session that begins Jan. 5. An attempt to ban furnaces was voted down in the environment committee during the Assembly session in early 2010.

Meyer expects his bill to be next taken up by the planning and development committee, headed by Sen. Steve Cassano, D-Manchester. A public hearing will be held by the environment committee some during the first three months of 2011, Meyer said. A similar hearing in 2010 lasted all day and featured dozens of witnesses.

An October report from several prominent medical authorities and organized by North Haven-based Environment and Human Health Inc. helped convince Meyer to go for a statewide ban, the senator said.

Wood smoke contains some elements that cause cancer, the medical authorities have said. Fourteen towns including Hebron, responding to medical concerns and resident complaints, have banned the furnaces. Yet both outspoken opponents and supporters have expressed preference for a statewide measure over town-by-town treatment. 

The health group’s president, Nancy Alderman, has been an persistent opponent of the furnaces, having testified at the 2010 public hearing. Her group has clashed with agricultural interests including the Connecticut Farm Bureau Association and its New London County branch. She expects that to continue.

“The bill will exempt farmers and their farm houses,” Alderman wrote in an e-mail. “However, that exemption will not stop the farm bureau from lobbying hard -- as they want to protect the timber growers.”

Steven Reviczky, a former Ashford first selectman and executive director of the Windsor-based Connecticut Farm Bureau, was recently picked to become secretary of agriculture by Gov.-elect Dan Malloy. During his time as director, Reviczky opposed a ban, citing the economic hardship furnace owners and forest owners would suffer. He declined comment Wednesday, because of his status between the bureau and commissioner’s office.

The battle over furnaces is taking on regional and class overtones, New London County Farm Bureau President Wayne Budney noted. Economic fairness has to be part of any solution, he said.

“We’re living in hard times,” said Budney, who owns Four Winds Farm in Lebanon. “People who live in Western Connecticut, where all this hoopla is coming from, are going to hurt people in Eastern Connecticut. The people that burn wood are not the wealthy. They are the people who are just getting by and, in some cases, having their homes foreclosed on.”   

Full Article:  CLICK HERE

December 29, 2010 (audio)

Opponents of Outdoor Furnaces Seeking State Ban

Melinda Tuhus, Public News Service – CT

December 29, 2010

NORTH HAVEN, Conn. - Smoke gets in your eyes...and in your throat and lungs, according to opponents of the shed-like structure known as an outdoor wood furnace. They are already banned in 14 Connecticut towns, but opponents are seeking a statewide ban.

A research organization, called Environment and Human Health, Inc., recently put out a report detailing what it sees as the health impacts, including respiratory problems and exposure to carcinogens. Nancy Alderman is the group's president.

"It is important that local towns do this, in order to protect not only the health of their citizens, but also property values. People who are impacted by these cannot sell their homes."

She says the state ban, proposed by state Sen. Ed Meyer (D-Guilford), would exempt farmers. Opponents of the ban say the problem can be handled with tighter regulations and more careful siting. Alderman counters that current regulations about setbacks from neighbors' property and the height of smokestacks are irrelevant, because the smoke comes out fairly cool and does not dissipate, but stays in a plume for about a half-mile.

"First of all, it doesn't matter how high the stack is, because the plume falls. And, because it goes for half a mile, a 200-foot setback just does not protect neighbors or neighborhoods."

Hamden resident Michael Bergman has used such a furnace for years, and says he has had no complaints from neighbors. To Bergman, it is a reasonable alternative to heating with fossil fuels, and he notes that the technology is constantly evolving.

"To place a ban on something which is changing at a time when alternative energy is a big deal is foolhardy, and unfair."

Alderman says her group took up the issue only after receiving desperate pleas from homeowners around the state who have been affected by smoke from the outdoor furnaces. The report is online at www.ehhi.org/reports/woodsmoke.

Full Article and Audio:  CLICK HERE

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December 26, 2010

Outdoor furnaces facing possible ban

By Christine Woodside, The CT Mirror

December 26, 2010

 

Connecticut is a state looking for renewable energy sources, where wood is in abundant supply. But one method of heating with renewable fuel, outdoor wood furnaces, could be all but banned under terms of a bill to be introduced next General Assembly session.

State Sen. Edward Meyer, D-Guilford, co-chair of the General Assembly's Environment Committee, said he has received so many complaints about the units, which resemble small metal sheds with round stacks, that he will introduce a bill to outlaw them for everyone but farmers.

"I was getting messages from homeowners who were extremely concerned about smoke that was coming into their homes from wood burning furnaces," Meyer said. The furnaces currently are banned by local regulation in 14 towns.

The Connecticut Farm Bureau will oppose Meyer's bill despite its plan to exempt farmers, said Steven Reviczky, executive director of the non-profit group representing about 4,000 farmers. He said wood harvesting itself is farming, and a ban would eliminate a market for locally-produced renewable energy.

Reviczky also said the exemption wouldn't cover farmers using outdoor furnaces to heat their houses. He called the proposed ban "applying a sledgehammer to the problem when a scalpel is what's required."

Current state law says outdoor wood furnaces must be located at least 200 feet from the nearest neighbor, and the smokestacks must be higher than the nearest roofline. A health advocacy group in North Haven said that in many cases, the smoke travels much farther than 200 feet before dispersing. Particulate pollution from wood smoke is linked to respiratory problems.

Meyer said that the 2005 state law "increasingly appears not to be relevant."

Outdoor wood furnaces, also known as hydronic heaters, aren't federally regulated in the way that wood stoves are. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requires newer wood stoves to be equipped with devices such as catalytic converters to cut back particulates going out the stack.

For outdoor wood furnaces, the EPA only suggests standards for cleaner burning. Twenty-three models of outdoor furnace now meet those standards, said David Deegan, an EPA spokesman in Boston.

"EPA is considering federal standards that reflect today's best demonstrated technology," Deegan said. He said a proposal would be out in June.

Nancy Alderman, the head of the non-profit organization, Environment and Human Health Inc., said that people who lived near outdoor furnaces came to them a few years ago, saying they could not stop the units' use through normal policy channels and that they were suffering from respiratory illnesses.

"These people are sick, and most of them can't sell their houses," said Alderman, who has previously lobbied for a bill to ban the units. EHHI's report on outdoor wood furnaces concludes that the units emit smoky plumes that hang in the air and then fall, rather than blowing up and away. Alderman believes that the basic design of these units is flawed.

"An indoor wood stove or fireplace, you put wood in it and it burns completely and hot. It will smoke quite a bit until it gets hot, but then it dissipates. An outdoor wood furnace never gets as hot," she said. "It's always cycling on and off. It heats a water jacket and then it's on and off, on and off, 24 hours a day, seven days a week."

The state does not disagree with this characterization. Jaimeson Sinclair, a supervising engineer in the state Department of Environmental Protection's air bureau, said that the fire burns cooler in outdoor furnaces because its function is only to heat a jacket of water around it, which in turn transfers heat from the unit to the house or other building via pipes.

"The fire doesn't burn at its normal combustion temperature," he said. "The water is removing heat from the fire too quickly."

Sinclair said that since the 2005 law limiting the siting and chimney heights went into effect, his office has fielded 932 complaints and issued 80 notices of violation. Of those, 16 owners were asked to fix or stop using their units.

He said his office does not have easily accessible data on how many individual units the 932 complaints covered because in some cases multiple calls were about one furnace. One in Brooklyn generated more than 100 complaints.

But Sinclair said the outdoor furnaces can be appropriate if sited in the right place. "It depends on the topography of your neighborhood." Thr DEP offers several factsheets on outdoor furnaces.

The 14 towns that have banned outdoor wood furnaces are: Granby, Tolland, Hebron, Woodbridge, South Windsor, Portland, Norfolk, Ridgefield, Haddam, Cheshire, West Hartford, Hamden, North Haven, and Avon.

A vocal opponent to a full ban is state Rep. Bryan Hurlburt, D-Tolland, who said he wants to preserve "a whole menu of options for people if they don't want to use oil." Hurlburt said the outdoor furnaces should be regulated, and that he is not sure regulations are strong enough now. But he said the complaints are far outweighed by the units operating without any complaint.

Even though the state does not have a list of how many outdoor furnaces are sold or operating, Hurlburg estimates it at a few thousand. He said that last year there were 120 units that were the subject of complaints. "At this point, I think a ban is a pretty strong tool, especially when you look at the fact that there are multiple thousand units," he said. "Banning them is overstepping what needs to be done."

Full Article:  CLICK HERE

December 26, 2010

New wood-burning boiler rules coming

By Julie Sherwood, staff writer Messenger Post

Posted Dec 26, 2010 @ 05:00 AM

 

New York State —

Despite widespread opposition from New York State Farm Bureau and several upstate lawmakers, the Department of Environmental Conservation Wednesday approved new restrictions for new outdoor wood boilers.

The DEC’s Environmental Board adopted new regulations that set “stringent performance standards” for new outdoor wood-fired boilers sold in the state.

The rules apply to all new boilers installed after April 15.

New guidelines ensure that new outdoor wood boilers burn at least 90 percent cleaner than older models, the DEC said.

In addition to ensuring cleaner burning, the new law will protect public health by ensuring boilers’ stacks “are high enough to disperse emissions, rather than having them blow directly into houses and other dwellings,” said Acting DEC Commissioner Peter Iwanowicz.

Though the DEC’s new law allows certain exceptions for farming operations, the state Farm Bureau launched a lobbying effort to prevent the rule changes, maintaining they will make heating more costly for farmers and other rural residents who rely on the outdoor wood boilers.

State Sen. Michael Nozzolio, R-54 of Fayette, Seneca County; and Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, R-129 of Canan-daigua, are among the lawmakers who sided with Farm Bureau on the matter. They criticized the DEC on several points, including the timing of the new rules.

“These regulations were hastily enacted at a meeting of the DEC’s Environmental Review Board that was announced just days before the vote, and without an opportunity for public comment,” stated Nozzolio.

“When the regulations were first proposed in October, DEC officials pledged to hold additional public hearings on the measure. None were ever scheduled.”

The DEC maintains it did considerable review of public comments and will hold meetings and public hearings in 2011 to address restrictions on existing wood boilers.

Full Article:  CLICK HERE

December 29, 2010

Wood boiler concerns fail to delay outcome

By Jim Planck

Hudson-Catskill Newspapers

Published: Wednesday, December 29, 2010 2:14 AM EST

 

ALBANY — Concerns from elected state officials and stakeholder agencies that the timing and subject of the NYS Environmental Board’s Dec. 22 meeting to adopt new regulations for outdoor wood boilers (OWBs) was, perhaps, not in the best interest of regulatory transparency or governmental trust did not change the outcome, with board members voting 13-0-1 for the adoption.

The state’s Environmental Board is comprised of the heads of 10 state agencies, plus six citizen members who are appointed by the Governor, so the total vote of 14 means two members were not present for the meeting.

As reported by Hudson-Catskill Newspaper’s John Mason in the Daily Mail’s on-line edition of Christmas Day, Dec. 25, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Acting Commissioner Peter Iwanowicz chaired the meeting, and expressed support for the regulations, stating it would help prevent New York from being a “dumping ground” for less efficient OWBs that present particulate problems to air quality.

Other state agencies represented on the board include Department of Health, Department of Transportation, Department of State, Department of Economic Development, Department of Labor, Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, Public Service Commission, Energy, Research and Development Authority, and Department of Agriculture and Markets.

It was, in fact, the head of the latter, NYS Ag and Markets Commissioner Patrick Hooker, who was the sole non-aye in the voting, and abstained instead.

The farming community across the state has been particularly vocal about the potential economic impacts of the new regulations.

However, one of the concerns expressed by the NYS Farm Bureau, as well as state-level elected officials, was not only the timing of the meeting, but that OWBs were to even be on the agenda.

In a Dec. 20 letter to Iwanowicz, NYS Senator James Seward (R- Oneonta) noted his concern for the process.

“I must also express my profound disappointment,” said Seward, “with the lack of transparency and public input surrounding the new proposed regulations.”

“To highlight the secretiveness of the process,” he wrote, “as of December 20, just two days before the planned vote, the new revised regulations were not even posted on the DEC website.”

“It is my understanding,” he said, “that during the October meeting of the Environmental Review Board, DEC promised to hold a new public comment period before a set of revised regulations would be enacted.”

“DEC failed to follow through on this promise,” Seward said.

“Instead, they have chosen to push the new regulations through without giving both legislators and the public the opportunity to review the proposal and provide comment,” he said, adding his request that the action not proceed until such comment period is held.

Similarly, NYS Assemblyman-elect Steven McLaughlin (R,C-Melrose), of the 108th Assembly District, which includes New Baltimore, said on Dec. 20 that the adoption of the regulations was “hasty and deceitful.”

“The latest move by the DEC to fast track regulation without a public comment period is another glaring example of government gone wrong,” said McLaughlin.

“The process the DEC has employed in trying to lay the groundwork for a regulation they know is burdensome and controversial, days before a major holiday and the inauguration of a new administration, only reinforces public distrust of government,” said McLaughlin.

“Public policy should be driven by transparency,” he said, “rather than deceit.”

It should be noted that there were, in fact, numerous public hearings on the proposed regulations across the state all summer long, but the problem is apparently that they were afterwards revised, with no opportunity for review.

In a second statement on the following day, Dec. 21, McLaughlin added, “I will continue to urge Governor-elect Cuomo to repeal these regulations if adopted, and will work with residents in my district who continue to be the victims of backroom deals, so that they may have a greater voice at the table.”

At the Dec. 22 meeting, in fact, the resolution to adopt the regulations was only able to be entertained after a motion was made, seconded, and approved to “waive the thirty day notice requirement,” as stated by Iwanowicz, because there is a procedural requirement that any materials the board is to act upon must be received by each member thirty days prior to the meeting vote.

Iwanowicz also indicated the atypical timing of the meeting when he told board members, “Thank you all -- to come here on such short notice.”

The meeting itself was only fifteen minutes long, with Iwanowicz adding at its end, “Travel back safely to where you came from. Thank you for coming.”

Full Article:  CLICK HERE

December 25, 2010

NY enacts new regs for new OWBs

By John Mason

Hudson-Catskill Newspapers

Published: Saturday, December 25, 2010

 

New outdoor wood boilers sold in New York state will have to comply with strict air pollution regulations approved by a state environmental board Wednesday.

The new standards will require that new OWBs burn 90 percent cleaner than the old ones, that their stacks be at least 18 feet high and that they be set back at least 100 feet from adjoining properties. Materials that can be burned are strictly defined.

The regulations, which take effect in 30 days, are designed to reduce pollution and adverse health impacts from the boilers. The heaters are growing in popularity in rural areas because they save hundreds or thousands of dollars a year by using wood often harvested on the farmer’s or homeowner’s own land.

State Department of Environmental Conservation Acting Commissioner Peter Iwanowicz likened the regulation of the wood-fired furnaces to the switch to cleaner cars equipped with catalytic converters.

He said the new regulations prevent New York state from becoming a “dumping ground” for inefficient, polluting boilers that can no longer be sold in neighboring states that have enacted similar rules.

He noted that an exception had been made for agricultural operations, where OWBs will have to be 100 feet from a neighboring home, rather than from the property line.

An outdoor wood furnace, which looks like an outhouse with a chimney, burns wood to heat water that’s piped to the home’s radiator system. It can also be used to provide the home’s hot water.

New York Farm Bureau President Dean Norton called the DEC “the grinch who stole Christmas,” because it “stepped way outside reasonable government protocol by bypassing public comment on a new set of regulations that will affect thousands of rural New Yorkers who heat their homes with wood boilers.

“These regulations come at a time when fuel oil prices are skyrocketing and with a harsh winter forecast,” he said. “DEC promised to hold a public comment period for the regulations they passed today. They didn’t.”

Taking the opposite point of view was the American Lung Association. In a press release, ALA President and CEO Scott Santarella said the association was pleased with this “step toward improving New Yorkers’ air quality and lung health.”

“While we are encouraged the board decided to move forward in approving new emission limits and setback and stack height requirements for new residential and commercial outdoor wood boilers,” he stated, “we continue to urge their action in adopting regulations which limit pollution from boilers now in use.”

The toxic smoke from outdoor wood boilers contains particulate matter, carbon monoxide, irritant gases and known or suspected carcinogens, such as dioxin, all of which have negative impacts on air quality and lung health, Santarella stated. 

“More New Yorkers have contacted the Lung Association about breathing problems they attribute to living near these devices than any other air quality issue,” he wrote.

Vice-President and Old Chatham farmer Eric Ooms was unhappy with the way the DEC went about the change.

“They had a public comment period in the summer and fall, and they were inundated,” he said. “At that time they announced they were going back to the drawing board, and they’d do nothing else without further public comment. The process stinks.”

He said it bears all the earmarks of “a group of people who won’t be around in 10 days trying to make their mark.

“Some of these regulations make sense, but the process is terrible,” Ooms said.

The regulations define a “new outdoor wood boiler” as one that commences operation on or after April 15, 2011. Particulate emissions for a residential burner are limited to .32 pounds per million British thermal units of heat output.

Full Article:  CLICK HERE

December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Keep all that wrapping, ribbons and out of fireplaces (OWBs mentioned)

By Guillermo Metz

December 24, 2010, 2:40 pm

 

Once all the presents are opened, what do you do with the gift wrapping, cards, ribbons, tape and tissue paper?

One thing you shouldn't do is toss it all into your burning fireplace.

Burning household garbage -- wrapping paper included -- in any combustion equipment, including a wood stove, outdoor wood boiler, or even burn barrels or an open burn, is illegal in New York state. And for good reason.

Wrapping paper is generally glossy, chlorine-bleached and colored with inks that, when burned, release a whole host of toxic chemicals. And if you have a catalytic wood stove, they can damage the catalyst.

And that's just the paper. The tape and ribbons are another source of danger if burned.

Even tissue paper should never be burned because it is usually chlorine-bleached and then colored with inks that are toxic when burned.

Wrapping also should not be tossed into older wood stoves.

It's estimated that more than 70 percent of the wood stoves still in use were made before 1990, when the EPA instituted regulations governing wood stove emissions.

Burning anything other than clean, dry wood (and a small amount of newspaper) will increase the toxicity of those particulate emissions.

Burning wrapping can release toxic chemicals.

Instead, you have four options: Most wrapping paper can be recycled, some can be composted, all of it can be reused, and some must simply be thrown out.

For a guide to what to do with the various kinds of paper and packaging, visit ccetompkins.org/wrappingpaper.

Full Article:  CLICK HERE

December 24, 2010

Environmental Board Approves Regulation for New Outdoor Wood Boilers Sold in New York State

By: GardenNews.biz

Dec 24,2010

           

DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION -

Environmental Board Approves Regulation for New Outdoor Wood Boilers Sold in New York State

 

Action Ensures New Models Will Burn 90% Cleaner than Old

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced that the Environmental Board today approved a new regulation that sets stringent performance standards for new outdoor wood boilers (OWBs) sold in the state. The regulation will go into effect 30 days after it is filed with the Secretary of State. The stricter guidelines will ensure that new OWBs burn at least 90% cleaner than older models.

"This is about ensuring that new outdoor wood boilers burn cleaner -- not only for people who buy OWBs and their families, but also for their neighbors. It's not unlike the switch to cleaner cars," said Acting DEC Commissioner Peter Iwanowicz. "It's also to ensure that OWB stacks are high enough to disperse emissions rather than having them blow directly into houses and other dwellings. That's important for public health. Also, we have listened to the agricultural community and made appropriate exceptions for farming operations."

The regulation approved today includes stack height requirements for new OWBs that will reduce the impact of emission plumes on neighboring property owners. In addition, new OWBs will be required to be set back a minimum of 100 feet from neighboring properties -- except for OWBs used in agricultural operations, which must be at least 100 feet from neighboring homes. Both new and existing OWBs will be subject to fuel restrictions that ensure that only appropriate fuels are used.

"The new guidelines the state has set on outdoor wood boilers is a necessary step in improving the process of burning wood as a renewable energy resource and is not to stop people from burning clean wood," said Village of Tupper Lake Mayor Mickey Demarais. "Trying to make our air cleaner and protect our residents is our responsibility and the Village supports establishing guidelines and standards on OWBs to make this happen."

"The new regulation on OWBs is a responsible move in the right direction without being overly intrusive on the public," said Elizabethtown Town Supervisor Noel Merrihew. "It's a good move to put together regulations for the manufacture of the OWBs. Outside the Hamlet areas the smoke can be a problem and this assures long term environmental benefits for our state."

"In the past, the Cattaraugus County Health Department has been asked by residents plagued by thick smoke emissions to intervene in neighbor feuds involving improperly sited or operated outdoor wood boilers," said Eric W. Wohlers, Environmental Health Director for Cattaraugus County. "In absence of an enforceable air quality standard, a uniform, statewide regulation to improve combustion efficiency and prevent improper siting of units, coupled with prudent enforcement requiring the exclusive use of proper wood fuel, should dramatically reduce the chance of neighborhood conflicts. There is a place for OWBs in rural New York, if they are responsibly operated and maintained. The new regulation will eventually eliminate those units that were grossly inefficient and were operated irresponsibly as backyard trash incinerators, and ultimately will be more protective of public health."

Provisions in the regulatory proposal to phase out the use of older OWBs and place restrictions on their use in the interim have been removed and will be addressed through a new public stakeholder process to develop a revised regulatory framework to address concerns of residents impacted by the operation of such units.

The text of the final rule before the Environmental Board is available on the DEC website. To obtain a copy of the complete rule package, email FOIL or it will be available on the DEC website after the Environmental Board meets on December 22.

Full Article:  CLICK HERE

December 23, 2010

DEC sets emissions control on new outdoor wood boilers

KIM SMITH DEDAM Press-Republican

December 23, 2010

 

ELIZABETHTOWN — A first phase of outdoor-wood-boiler regulation has been approved by the New York State Environmental Board.

The Department of Environmental Conservation says the rules will ensure that new outdoor wood boilers installed after April 15, 2011, will burn nearly 90 percent cleaner than older models.

The regulations do not apply to boilers in use now.

A separate review process for regulating existing systems will include a public-comment process, according to DEC spokeswoman Lori Severino.

BOILER GROWTH

DEC estimates 2,640 outdoor wood boilers were in use as of 2007, up from a count of 606 in 1999.

The new regulations require reduced emissions in the equipment and outline setbacks from neighboring property lines.

Most of the recent outcry fixed on DEC's initial plan to require replacement of existing equipment within 10 years of purchase, regardless of condition — a move many homeowners and farmers called overregulation.

Many users also challenged DEC regulation of stack height and setback requirements, saying zoning should be managed at the local level.

RULES PRAISED

Two local leaders applauded DEC's decision to move ahead with rules for new boilers.

Noel Merrihew, supervisor of Elizabethtown said Thursday that improving emissions standards for outdoor wood boilers does not preclude using wood for fuel.

"I can support the oversight to require manufacturers to improve their design. It takes the onus off the private owners, and I felt it was important to support the right for people to use wood.

'We certainly don't want to restrict the opportunity for people to use the resources that surrounds us in the Adirondack Park."

Village of Tupper Lake Mayor Mickey Desmarais also supported the new DEC regulations, calling it a step toward improving the option to use wood for fuel.

"Trying to make our air cleaner and protect our residents is our responsibility, and the village supports establishing guidelines and standards on outdoor wood boilers to make this happen," he said in a statement.

NO ADDITIONAL INPUT

Regulations of new outdoor wood boilers were not vetted through further public-comment sessions, but Severino said this part of the guidelines was not revised extensively following 11 hearings held throughout New York last summer.

Input for emissions performance standards came from manufacturers, Severino said.

And many of them have redesigned wood-burning equipment to burn cleaner.

BETTER MODELS

At Adirondack Hardware Company in Keeseville, Roger Long is a distributor for Central Boiler, a Minnesota-based company that makes several types of outdoor wood boilers.

He said the manufacturers are staying a step ahead of the emissions standards.

"Central Boiler saw this coming a couple years ago," Long said. "They came out with the E-classic models, and they have made improvements in the second-generation stove. They do fit New York state's new regulations.

"They were ahead of everybody else. And what I've been told (by manufacturers) is the country is going to adopt the EPA Phase 2 program in the next couple years."

The Environmental Protection Agency volunteer Phase 2 emissions-control program was launched in 2007, encouraging states to set guidelines achieve 0.32 pounds per million emissions per BTU heating output in outdoor wood boilers.

SALES IMPACTED

The row over DEC regulation has, however, impacted sales of the stoves this year, Long said.

"The controversy of not knowing what type of regulation is going to take place, I believe, has affected sales of outdoor wood boilers in 2010 because people are afraid of buying something if they can't use it.

"Now that New York state has adopted a rule, people understand if they can buy one or not."

The price of oil has the biggest impact on alternative fuel sources, he added.

"Any increase in oil prices is going to affect our business more than these regulations."

ADJUSTMENTS

In a statement announcing the regulatory move, Acting DEC Commissioner Peter Iwanowicz said it was made to ensure that outdoor wood boilers burn cleaner, "not only for people who buy outdoor wood boilers and their families but also for their neighbors. It's not unlike the switch to cleaner cars.

"It's also to ensure that outdoor wood boiler stacks are high enough to disperse emissions, rather than having them blow directly into houses and other dwellings. That's important for public health.

"Also, we have listened to the agricultural community and made appropriate exceptions for farming operations."

DEC CRITICIZED

The New York Farm Bureau called DEC's action disingenuous.

"Like the Grinch who stole Christmas, the DEC has stepped way outside reasonable government protocol by bypassing public comment on a new set of regulations that will affect thousands of rural New Yorkers who heat their homes with wood boilers," Farm Bureau President Dean Norton said in a statement.

"These regulations come at a time when fuel-oil prices are skyrocketing and with a harsh winter forecast.

"DEC promised to hold a public-comment period for the regulations they passed. They didn't.

'This is the government that has plagued Albany that we hope will change with the new administration."

The Farm Bureau intends to monitor the second phase of regulations, which will impact the use of existing outdoor wood boilers.

 

Article Inset: 

December 22, 2010

BRIEF: DEC passes outdoor boiler restrictions

Dec 22, 2010

 By: Watertown Daily Times -

 

 The state has passed regulations that will restrict the use of new outdoor wood-burning boilers statewide.

The Department of Environmental Conservation's Environmental Board met Wednesday in Albany to vote on a set of regulations that would require a 100-foot setback, 18-foot smoke stack-height and additional paperwork for dealers and manufacturers for boilers commencing operation on and after April 15.

Assemblyman-elect Kenneth D. Blankenbush was one of about 30 people who attended the 15-minute meeting.

"The assembly people were there to show support for the people in our districts," Mr. Blankenbush said. "We felt it was important to be there to show the members of the board that not everyone agrees with these regulations. Unfortunately, it was no surprise to me that they passed these regulations. We were not allowed to talk during the meeting but the commissioner asked us to meet with him in his office after the meeting. We voiced our concerns of the passing of these regulations and how it will affect small farmers in our area." DEC has said its reason for the regulations was not to inhibit agricultural use, but to ensure a cleaner atmosphere.

Full Article:  CLICK HERE

December 22, 2010

NY panel enacts outdoor furnace regulations

By: The Associated Press

DECEMBER 22, 2010, 4:51 P.M. ET

ALBANY, N.Y. — New outdoor wood furnaces sold in New York state will have to comply with strict air pollution regulations approved by a state environmental board Wednesday.

The regulations, which take effect in 30 days, are designed to reduce pollution and adverse health impacts from the furnaces, also called boilers. The heaters are growing in popularity in rural areas because they save hundreds or thousands of dollars a year by using wood often harvested on the farmer's or homeowner's own land.

State Department of Environmental Conservation Acting Commissioner Peter Iwanowicz likened the regulation of the wood-fired furnaces to the switch to cleaner cars equipped with catalytic converters.

He said the new regulations prevent New York state from becoming a "dumping ground" for inefficient, polluting boilers that can no longer be sold in neighboring states that have enacted similar rules.

An outdoor wood furnace, which looks like an outhouse with a chimney, burns wood to heat water that's piped to the home's radiator system. It can also be used to provide the home's hot water.

After public hearings this year, DEC shelved regulations that would apply to existing boilers. Iwanowicz said revised rules for existing boilers would be presented in public meetings.

A contingent of Assembly Republicans attended the environmental board meeting to oppose the new rules, which they said were rushed through without sufficient public comment. DEC held public hearings throughout the state in June but has since modified the regulations.

Republican Assemblyman-elect Ken Blankenbush, whose rural district in northern New York has numerous small farms and homes that rely on wood boilers, said the regulations will put a harsh financial burden on struggling families because compliant furnaces cost an estimated $10,000, more than twice what older models cost.

Several municipalities around the state have banned outdoor wood boilers altogether.

Iwanowicz said at least 20 companies make wood boilers that comply with the new regulations. He said the price is likely to come down due to increased competition when sale of the older, smoky furnaces are banned.

The new regulations ensure that wood furnaces will burn at least 90 percent cleaner than older models. Smokestack height requirements of 18 feet and property line setbacks of at least 100 feet, further ensure that neighboring property owners won't be subjected to wood smoke, which contains fine particles linked to asthma, heart and lung disease, and other health problems.

Regulations also require that only seasoned, clean wood or wood pellets be used as fuel in both existing and new furnaces. Burning of tires, trash, construction debris, waste oil, animal carcasses and various other things is prohibited.

Scott Santarella, president of the American Lung Association in New York, urged the DEC to quickly enact regulations for existing boilers, too.

"More New Yorkers have contacted the Lung Association about breathing problems they attribute to living near these devices than any other air quality issue," he said.

Full Article:
CLICK HERE

December 21, 2010

Annie Hornish: Laws and bills protect; hot topics include home heating and outdoor wood furnaces

By REP. ANNIE HORNISH

Published: Tuesday, December 21, 2010

In furtherance of serving the public interest, government has a protectionist role, particularly in forms of our criminal justice system, the Office of the Attorney General, and the Department of Consumer Protection.

From a legislative standpoint, many laws and bills that are considered deal with consumer protection. To illustrate, and here for your consideration, are two hot topics, both of which deal with home heating.

As a member of the Environment Committee, I supported efforts during the past two years to ban outdoor woodburning furnaces, or “OWFs”. Granby is one of ten municipalities that have banned OWFs, and New Hartford just last week declared a six-month moratorium on new OWF permits to allow time for research and possible OWF regulation.

OWFs are not the same as wood stoves, and unlike wood stoves, are not EPA-certified. They are boilers, devices that burn wood to heat water which then travels via pipes to heat a building. Critics claim that the incomplete burning makes OWF smoke emissions more polluting, and a contributor to respiratory illnesses and cancer. The American Lung Association has supported a ban.

Connecticut currently has a setback regulation of 200 ft with the additional requirement of a smoke stack that must be higher than the roof peak of the nearest house within 500 ft. However, the basic design of these products results in a dense exodus from the stack that often falls into the immediate area, directly affecting those living nearby.

Further, these units are essentially a shed, and so one cannot see exactly what is being burned. Concerns have been raised in the public hearing that some less scrupulous OWF owners burn other items (non-wood) that can deliver a myriad of toxicities.

OWFs are a great example of why, in general, external costs need to be considered. With OWFs, external costs include healthcare costs, property devaluation, and negative environmental impacts. These quality of life issues are precisely why I supported bills that would have the state step in and ban or limit the use of OWFs. (Most recently, I supported SB10-126, but this died in committee on a 12-17 vote.) I am sure that this topic will continue to be revisited, and with increasing education, the public interest will ultimately prevail.

For those few companies, however, who engage in questionable business practices, it is the responsibility of government to enact protections on behalf of the public that it serves.

Representative Hornish can be reached at Maryanne.Hornish@cga.ct.gov, or by phone at (860) 240-8522 (Capitol) or (860) 653-0729 (home). Please view our annual report at http://baystatehealth.org/annualreport

Full Article:   CLICK HERE

December 21, 2010

DEC plans to act on wood boiler regulations on Wednesday

December 21, 2010

By: The Post Star

 

The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation will act on their proposed regulations of outdoor wood boilers on Wednesday at 2 p.m., but DEC says the regulations that will be adopted are only for new outdoor furnaces not ones already in use.

DEC proposed these new regulation, which were designed to limit air pollution, in April.

The regs originally called for a ban on the use of the boilers between May 15 and Aug. 31 of each year in what’s known as the Northern Heating Zones, the counties of Essex, Saratoga, Warren and Washington counties. They also designated types of fuel that could and couldn’t be burned, along with establishing a maximum height for smokestacks.

The rules  banned the burning of garbage, treated wood, unseasoned wood, household chemicals, coal and animal carcasses. Only non-glossy and non-colored paper may be used to start the boilers, the proposed regulations state.

But after receiving more than 1,000 comments from the public, DEC said they were going to go back and revise their regulations, re-present them to the public and subject them to another round of public comment.

Now, DEC says they have devided their regulations between existing boilers and new boilers, and on Wednesday will only act on the regulations that pertain to new boilers.

An action, Assemblyman Tony Jordan, (R-Jackson),  said is unacceptable because DEC did not post their new regulations of new boilers on their website until today (Monday) and they are not easy to find.

“Here we are in the weaning hours of probably the political appointed at DEC and they’re trying to push through these regs without honoring the commitment and really without allowing us to understand what the impact is going to be,” he said.

DEC said their meeting will be open to the public, but will not be subject to public comments. A web cast of the meeting can be viewed after the meeting has ended on their website. http://www.dec.ny.gov/public/36245.html

If you want to see what the regulations of new outdoor wood boilers – http://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/69348.html

Full Article:  CLICK HERE

December 20, 2010

A little device is helping keep tabs on what you breathe in Fairbanks (OWBs discussed)

by Amanda Bohman / abohman@newsminer.com

December 20, 2010 

 

FAIRBANKS — A cluster of schools buses cough diesel exhaust in the parking lot of Randy Smith Middle School on a bitter cold December day.

Nicole Swensgardi raises her eyebrows and turns into the parking lot. She is on the hunt for air pollution.

The 30-year-old data collection technician is driving an unmarked newer-model Ford Escape with a funny-looking antennae sticking out of a back passenger window. It’s not an antennae exactly. It’s a pollution detector, or sniffer, as Swensgardi and some of her co-workers at the Fairbanks North Star Borough air quality office call it.


The vehicle provides real-time measurements of a harmful pollutant known as PM 2.5, tiny particulate matter that is belched out of chimney stacks and exhaust pipes and lingers when the air is cold. The pollutant cannot be seen with the naked eye. It’s about 28 times smaller than a human hair, which is what makes it so dangerous. Its minuscule size means it can lodge deep in the lungs. Studies show that over time it can make people sick.

A black box, about the size of a mail box, rests inside the Ford on the center console providing the PM 2.5 measurements, taken in micrograms per cubic meter of air. Swensgardi will later combine the PM 2.5 numbers with GPS and temperature information so she can map the pollution.

“We can see which areas of town are good and which are unhealthy,” she said.

As Swensgardi loops around the middle school parking lot and past the buses, she scrunches her nose says she is getting a “bump.”

“Yuck, diesel,” she said.

Swensgardi left the middle school, turned onto the Johansen Expressway and pointed to a business nearby that heats by burning pallets.

“We usually get a spike from them,” she said, “and the train, of course,” she added, nodding toward the railroad yard below.

Swensgardi headed toward the Watershed School in the neighborhood across from the Fairbanks International Airport, a pollution hot spot because of the amount of wood burning.


The numbers on the black box double, though they are still in the realm of what is considered decent air.

The next stop is across the Chena River at the Woodriver Elementary School. The borough is keeping an eye on the pollution there after numerous complaints.

Two homes across from the school have outdoor wood boilers. Some outdoor boilers are known to put out dense smoke.

On this day, one is putting out smoke that looks no different than neighboring chimneys. No smoke came from the smokestack of the second outdoor wood boiler a few doors down.


Swensgardi and her co-workers call the Ford the Sniffermobile. While it’s handy, it’s not the official means the borough uses to monitor air pollution for the purpose of complying with the federal Clean Air Act.

Official measurements are taken hourly from pollution detectors in downtown Fairbanks and in North Pole. Those numbers, averaged over 24 hours, help the borough determine whether to issue an air quality advisory, when people are warned to limit activity and takes steps to mitigate the pollution.

The Sniffermobile is used when people call with pollution complaints. It measures the PM 2.5 of the alleged polluter. In some cases, photographs are taken, and the information is put on file.

“It’s totally legal,” Swensgardi said. “We are allowed to sit at the end of someone’s driveway.”

In most cases, the borough has no power to take punitive action against polluters. New rules on chimney smoke opacity kick in next winter, but the rules are expected to be rolled back by the Borough Assembly in light of a successful ballot proposition prohibiting the borough from regulating how people heat their homes.

Once, last winter, Swensgardi was measuring PM 2.5 at Dawson Road and Lineman Avenue in North Pole and the number soared into the thousands. More than 100 micrograms means the air is bad. A thousand micrograms is horrendous.

Swensgardi said it made her feel sick.


“Sometimes, when I drive around and I see people riding their bikes, it concerns me,” she said. “I want to pull over and tell them, ‘Hey, the air is unhealthy right now.’ I am way more aware than anyone else because I have got the machine in my car.”

Full Article:  CLICK HERE

December 20, 2010

Wood boiler vote sparks concerns

Published: Monday, December 20, 2010

By WILLIAM J. KEMBLE, Daily Freeman

 

ALBANY — State Department of Environmental Conservation plans for an agency vote Wednesday on rules governing the installation of new outdoor wood boilers has New York Farm Bureau officials concerned  that end-of-year politics are at play.

Bureau spokesman Peter Gregg during a telephone interview said adopting any part of the regulations before Gov.-elect Andrew Cuomo is sworn in would be breaking promises to accept further public comment.

“We are very suspicious of the fact they are trying to maneuver through a set of regulations just a week before a new administration takes office,” Gregg said. “From our perspective it all seems very fishy.”

State spokeswoman Lori Severino said the process has included a year-long review of comments from public information sessions and further hearings are planned on rules for existing units.

“They are insinuating that we are rushing through this and it’s not that all,” she said.

“Between the public comment period and all the hearings that were set up through the summer and the reviews it was a very thorough process,” she said. “We did review all the comments and because of that we’re limiting what’s going before the (state environmental) board and the guidelines are being proposed to be set only for new outdoor wood boilers.”

Severino said additional hearings for regulations of existing boilers would not be set until after the Cuomo administration takes office.

New York Farm Bureau officials, who had issued a press release contending all units would be covered by the regulations, said they did not know the vote would only be for rules on installation of new units.

“We still don’t like it whether you have a new wood boiler or old wood boiler, the regulations that they’re proposing would affect both,” Gregg said.

“Objections that we have (include) the stack height, which they would require to be 18 feet and we feel that’s a dangerous height,” he said. “Many of our wood boilers are located in high-wind areas and an 18-foot stack height would be dangerous.”

Farm Bureau officials also oppose prohibiting use of boilers between April 15 to Sept. 30 in the Hudson Valley and between May 15 to Aug. 31 for Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Oneida, Oswego, St. Lawrence, Saratoga, Warren and Washington counties.

“Certainly there are many locations in the Hudson Valley where it gets plenty cold in late May or early September where you’d want to have your heat on,” Gregg said. “The other aspect to that is that many people use their wood boilers to heat their hot water.”

Full Article:  CLICK HERE

December 17, 2010

Regulation of new outdoor wood boilers moves forward

KIM SMITH DEDAM Press-Republican

December 17, 2010

 

ELIZABETHTOWN — Department of Environmental Conservation regulations controlling use of new outdoor wood boilers are moving forward.

They have been pulled out as a separate part of DEC rules set to monitor outdoor wood-heating equipment in general.

The regulations are scheduled to go before the Environmental Board at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

 

NEW, EXISTING SEPARATED

DEC spokeswoman Lori Severino said rules regulating existing outdoor wood boilers will get further public review, likely to include public hearings.

Only part of the new regulations are going to the Environmental Board, she said.

"We're going to be focusing on additional public-outreach process regarding key issues of existing wood boilers. Regulation specifying months of operation, the phase-out of existing units, stack height requirements — that's going to include a separate public-outreach process.

"The outreach process, with public hearings and stakeholder hearings with manufacturers, will happen after this goes forward."

 

RULES PROTESTED

New rules for both new purchases and existing outdoor wood boilers were spelled out in 11 public hearings last summer, which drew loud outcry from rural users, including farm and agricultural operators, who often heat water with the outdoor wood stoves year round.

In October, the Department of Environmental Conservation was poised to send the entire revised set of new rules to the Environmental Board but pulled back, suggesting a second public-comment period for their new rules was required.

 

'SNEAKY' MOVE

New York Farm Bureau has advocated hard for consistent public input on what most rural communities consider an affordable heating option, and they called the move to approval "sneaky."

They were not aware of the plan to separate regulations for new from existing outdoor wood boilers.

"We have not seen anything different than what they provided in October," Farm Bureau spokesman Peter Gregg said Thursday.

"It appears to us they are trying to sneak these regulations in before a new administration takes office in January. We view this as underhanded, and we're go looking at every remedy possible, including legal action."

State law requires a state agency to hold a public-comment period when major changes are being made to regulations, Gregg said.

"DEC is bypassing that protocol in what appears to us to be in violation of the law. They still need to hold a public-comment period."

What is going before the Environmental Board for consideration next week is focused on finalizing the provisions that are applicable to new outdoor wood boilers, Severino said, "and ensuring that clean fuels are used in outdoor wood boilers."

Full Article:  CLICK HERE

December 16, 2010

DEC to act on outdoor boilers

PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD NIXED: Modified version has several major changes not yet shared with public

By SARAH HAASE TIMES STAFF WRITER

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2010

 

ALBANY — Despite promising a second round of public hearings on the proposed regulations of outdoor wood-burning boilers, the state Department of Environmental Conservation's Environmental Board likely will act on a newly modified version Wednesday.

When the board met in October, it decided to take no action on the proposed regulations.

"I just want to note that there's been a change to the agenda," Stuart Gruskin,executive deputy commissioner and chairman of the Environmental Board, said at the Oct. 25 meeting. "A decision was made to receive additional public comment on the outdoor wood boiler rule, so that item has been removed from the agenda and will appear on a future agenda."

But DEC has changed its mind, despite outcry from the north country including state Sen. Darrel J. Aubertine, D-Cape Vincent, who in July pushed legislation through the Senate that would negate DEC's regulation of outdoor boilers. No matching bill passed the Assembly.

"There won't be a second round of public comment," DEC spokeswoman Lori M. Severino said. "These regulations went out for public comment several months ago and we've conducted a thorough review of them. All the comments were taken into consideration."

After reviewing more than 1,000 comments made during the monthlong period in June, DEC made several major changes to the regulations. Since October, additional changes were made, but they have not yet been released to the public.

Peter A. Gregg, communications director at the New York Farm Bureau, an organization that fought the original DEC proposal, said the actions of DEC are an example of government at its worst.

"We are very concerned that they are trying to sneak these regulations into effect," he said. "They are trying to sneak this by nine days before a new administration takes office. This is mid-level bureaucrats trying to shove through their agenda. They have not shared with us any of the changes that they have made since October."

No modifications have been shared with the public because the agency is still working on changes, DEC officials say.

Andrew E. Willard, Hermon, said he spoke with Ruth L. Earl, the executive secretary of the Environmental Board.

"She told me they were still working on the regulations and they were hoping to have a draft ready by late Thursday or early Friday, so they're obviously still working on them," he said.

Ms. Severino did not say what additional changes were made by DEC.

"The proposed regulations were modified. There were some changes made, but the Environmental Board didn't deem it necessary to hold another round of public comments," she said.

Among the first set of changes, existing boilers no longer would have to be phased out. The original proposal had required boilers in use by Sept. 1, 2005, to be replaced or removed by Aug. 31, 2015. The proposal also required boilers in use between Sept. 1, 2005, and April 14, 2011, to be replaced or removed within 10 years of operation. That also had been eliminated.

DEC's proposal continues to require stack heights at least 18 feet above ground. It is considering no longer requiring that stacks extend two feet above the peak of any roof within 150 feet of the boiler.

DEC also proposes changing the period during which boilers can be operated in the state's Northern Heating Zone, which includes Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties. Owners will not be allowed to use boilers from June 1 to Aug. 31. The original proposal called for a period beginning two weeks earlier, May 15.

DEC added 34 counties to the zone, up from 14 originally.

DEC would not say, however, whether any of the modifications had subsequently been changed.

Full Article:  CLICK HERE

December 13, 2010

Moratorium on outdoor boilers

December 13, 2010 by WLKM Radio

A six-month moratorium on the installation of outdoor, wood-fired boilers was approved by Three Rivers City Commissioners last week.

By unanimous vote, the measure was supported and goes into effect immediately.

Fire Chief Dan Tomlinson strongly backed the temporary moratorium, as it will give city officials time to decide how or even if Three Rivers wants to regulate the operations, he said.

Tomlinson said his concern is less on fire safety and more on health, as he’s aware some owners of the wood-burning boilers tend to burn items other than aged timber. Smoke from the boilers can be a nuisance if anything other than dry wood is burned.

Tomlinson said as far as he knows, there is only one wood-burning boiler within the city limits. Mayor Al Balog said the moratorium does not apply to owners of the lone burner in Three Rivers, but prohibits the construction of any new ones between now and early June next year.

Full Article:  CLICK HERE

December 8, 2010

 

Melrose trustee’s noncompliance fuels wood furnace enforcement discussion

by Matthew Perenchio

Posted: Wednesday, December 8, 2010 12:00 am

 

A Melrose Village Board trustee who has not been compliant with a wood furnace ordinance for three years fueled discussion of fairness last week.

Trustee Duane Steien has failed to adhere to a chimney height requirement outlined in the village’s outdoor wood furnace ordinance passed in 2008, but he’s been allowed to continue to burn.

The board discussed the matter at its Dec. 1 meeting and ultimately issued him a temporary permit so he could burn through the winter season and heat his home.

Steien’s wood furnace was brought up last month when resident Chris Nelson — a former trustee who helped inspect compliance with current Trustee Randy Ebert — presented the issue when Steien began using the furnace before the fall start date.

Ebert said Steien’s wood furnace was inspected in 2008 and 2009 and both times the stack did not meet the required height. Steien was to be inspected again last summer for a proper permit, but Ebert never did the inspection.

Ebert said he didn’t follow up on good faith that the requirements would be met and he became busy with other tasks. Ebert stressed the lack of inspection was not done due to preferential treatment.

“What I was hoping is that he would comply with that and he would raise the stack and take the necessary steps to make it conformed,” Ebert said. “I got busy doing other stuff, and I screwed up and I didn’t inspect it. He should have (made the changes) and I should have done the inspection.”

The ordinance states an outdoor wood furnace’s chimney height must be 2 feet above a neighboring residence’s peak if it’s within 300 feet. Steien said he’s added 3 feet twice to the chimney, but Ebert said the height is “not even close” to meeting the requirement.

The board allowed Steien to continue to use the current furnace through March 1 so it did not create a hardship during the winter months, but Steien asked for another month’s extension and questioned the reasons for current requirements. He said he wasn’t trying to get special treatment but said fuel costs have made it difficult for residents to afford other forms of heating.

“I’m not here to get special privileges to the ordinance,” he said. “Right now, times are pretty tough for everyone.”

Neighbor Connie Craig said she hoped the board would not make exceptions for a resident — let alone a trustee — who was not compliant with an ordinance. Nelson, who also attended the meeting, said he was surprised Steien had gumption to ask for another month after he was non-compliant for three years.

Trustee Tom Dobbs supported the temporary permit but said the board should not show favoritism and make sure it enforces the ordinance in the future.

“It’s going to be pretty hard to enforce any other ordinances if we don’t enforce this one,” he said.

The board voted 5-0 to grant the temporary ordinance. Steien abstained.

Wood furnace owners can burn outside the allotted time period with special board permission, which Ebert said Steien had.

Steien’s wood furnace is just one of two in the village of Melrose. The board spent a whole year discussing creating an outdoor wood furnace ordinance beginning in 2007 after health concerns arose regarding emissions.

Four such furnaces existed at that time and there was the expectation more would be added amid rising fuel costs. However, no more were put in place and two have since been taken down.

Ebert said the village’s only other wood furnace is near the village limits where a chimney height is not a concern because it is not within 300 feet of other residences.

The board agreed to send the ordinance back to the special committee that worked on it for discussion. The committee may consider tweaking outdoor furnace requirements given newer models may pose fewer health and pollutions risks.

Full Article:  CLICK HERE

December 8, 2010

Outdoor wood stoves a threat to neighbors' health

Published: Wednesday, December 8, 2010 

 

I wanted to comment on the article, "Report warns of dangers of outdoor wood furnaces" printed in the Connecticut Post. Although I don't live near an outdoor wood furnace, our family has dealt with wood smoke issues in our neighborhood. The article speaks of regulations; however, it is clear that setback regulations concerning OWFs are meaningless, since wood smoke is entirely controlled by wind. You can smell wood smoke in a neighborhood without any idea of the source.

OWF manufacturers are misleading the public by saying these are no worse than a wood stove. These devices are worse because they produce toxic smoke up to 24 hours a day, far exceeding wood stoves! And by the way, wood stoves also produce toxic smoke, so to compare one bad source to another and say that one is better than the other is ridiculous.

Currently, 13 towns in Connecticut have banned OWFs. The state of Washington banned OWFs and, hopefully, so will the state of Connecticut. It's obvious these OWFs do more harm than good in any town. OWFs may benefit the owner by producing low-cost heat, but they destroy whole neighborhoods, and reduce home values for everyone else.

Oh yeah, and let's not forget the manufacturers who couldn't care less about your health. They only want to make money! What are people who have smoke pouring into their homes supposed to do?

We need to educate the public toward the dangers of wood smoke, and what it is doing to our health.

Priscilla Miller

Milford, CT

Full Article:  CLICK HERE

December 8, 2010

Sufferers testify about ills of wood smoke in Fairbanks (OWBs discussed)

December 8, 2010

by Amanda Bohman  abohman@newsminer.com

 

FAIRBANKS — School counselor Dawn Brashear enjoyed good health until about two years ago.

That was about the same time residents near her school, Woodriver Elementary School, began installing outdoor wood boilers.

Now Brashear has chronic sinus problems, including a cyst, that doctors tell her is related to breathing air pollution.

Woodriver school is located off Chena Pump Road in west Fairbanks and lies in one of the community’s multiple air pollution problem areas.

Brashear was one of more than a dozen people who testified Wednesday before the Air Pollution Control Commission, an advisory panel to Borough Mayor Luke Hopkins.

The majority of testifiers called on government officials to maintain regulations on smokestack emissions.

The rules are set to go into effect next fall, but the approval two months ago of a proposition stating “the borough shall not ban, prohibit, or fine residents for the use of home heating devices” has put them in jeopardy.

The mayor sponsored an ordinance to roll back the emissions regulations to bring Fairbanks North Star Borough Code in accordance with the will of the voters. He called on the air pollution commission to weigh in before the measure goes to the Borough Assembly.

The pollution control commission approved a motion asking the borough legal department to come up with options for keeping emissions requirements in the law, particularly in cases when noxious smoke crosses property lines, bothering polluters’ neighbors.

About 25 people, including Assembly members Mike Musick and Diane Hutchison, attended the three-hour meeting.

Carolyn Leonard, who teaches at Woodriver school, said school officials have kindly approached one of the neighborhood’s polluters and they were rebuffed.


“We look out a window, and we watch one person poison us,” she said. “It kills me that this has gone on for two years.”

Terese Kaptur told the commission she suffers from chronic respiratory illness. One of her neighbors operates an outdoor wood boiler.

“I like to walk in the morning, and now I can’t anymore,” she said.

Patrice Lee, whose son has health problems, said her family is faced with the decision of whether to remain in Fairbanks or leave because of the air pollution.

“My neighbors, right now, somebody somewhere is burning coal. It’s acrid and stinky and nasty,” she said.

Jennifer Schmidt, a retired nurse who formerly served on the Board of Education, said she knows of three families driven out of Fairbanks because of the air pollution.

A doctor who was recruited to work in Fairbanks turned down the job because of the pollution, Schmidt said.

“I love Fairbanks. We thought we’d stay here forever. I don’t know now,” Schmidt said.

“Everyone deserves to breath clean air,” Mary Shields told the commission. “We can’t do anything about the temperature or the daylight, but we can do something about the air quality.”

Full Article:  CLICK HERE

December 8, 2010

Officials review outdoor furnace ordinance

Published: Wednesday, December 08, 2010

By DAVID HARE

 

UPPER SALFORD — Township officials Tuesday discussed an amendment to a state ordinance regulating outdoor wood-fired furnaces that the Department of Environmental Protection passed in October.

Planner Matt Schelly presented the township with a letter the Montgomery County Planning Commission sent to municipal managers outlining the changes.

"This regulation now applies to every resident in the state and impacts both municipalities that have not yet enacted ordinances and those that have," said Jon Lesher of the county planning commission in the letter dated Oct. 5.

According to the new regulations, an outdoor wood-fired boiler (OWB) must be installed at least 50 feet from the nearest property line, and must have a permanently attached stack. The stack "must extend a minimum of 10 feet above the ground and be installed to the manufacturer's specifications."

"If you bought a house that already has one of these old furnaces these have been grandfathered in," Schelly said. "But if you're installing a new furnace of this type then these regulations must be followed."

Also, the regulations do not apply if the furnace is intended for shipment and use outside the state or it was installed prior to the effective date of regulation, Oct. 2, 2010.

He further stated that DEP is the enforcing authority, not the township.

But as with new furnaces, old units must use "approved fuels" such as "clean wood" or wood pellets made from "clean wood," according to the DEP.

Home heating oil, natural gas or propane may also be used provided they comply "with all applicable sulfur limits" and are used "as a starter or supplemental fuel for dual-fired (OWBs)."

Full Article:  CLICK HERE

December 6, 2010 (opinion)

 

County needs courage and humanity for its leaders

Published: Monday, December 6, 2010 5:07 PM CST

 

Dear Santa Clause,

There are folks in La Porte County (145 plus) who own and operate outdoor wood-fired boilers, OWBs, HH, OWFs.

The problem is that these boilers emit invisible fine particulate matter. Called PM2.5, these particles are about 2.5 microns across, much smaller than the diameter of human hair (about 70 microns). PM2.5 is invisible, stays airborne for weeks, travels many miles and can enter closed dwellings.

Once it enters our lungs it never leaves and is known to cause cancer and exacerbate respiratory disorders such as asthma. Children are at the greatest risk.

If you do not believe me, call Tony Mancuso at the health department and ask him.

IDEM statement, January 2010: “Among wood burning appliances, outdoor hydronic heaters (OWBs) have the highest emissions of particulate matter and PAHs”. Additional info: www.cleanairlaporte.com

Unfortunately, the La Porte County Commissioners and Health Department have not effectively addressed this problem.

The ordinance they passed, 2007-10-B uses visible smoke opacity to measure and regulate OWBs. But the bigger danger is the invisible PM2.5 and other emissions, not the visible smoke.

We do not blame those that purchased OWBs. They believed they were buying cheap heat and were told that they would not be endangering their own health and the health of their neighbors.

But we do blame the commissioners and the health department for passing and ordinance that hardly addresses the real health problems surrounding OWBs.

Se we ask you, Santa, to bring La Porte County a present of humanity and courage that will enable our leaders to responsibly tackle the problem of OWBs and PM2.5. Until they find this courage our lungs, the health of our children, and our property values will remain at risk.

 

Thank you Santa

 

— James Donnelly

La Porte, IN

Full Article:  CLICK HERE

December 5, 2010

From Riverfront To Putting Affairs In Order (OWBs discussed)

December 05, 2010 By Tom Condon

 

A woman in New Hartford, Beth Terra, has again filed a complaint with the state Department of Environmental Protection about the smoke and foul smell from a neighbor's outdoor wood-burning furnace. If you are just joining this discussion, such furnaces are NOT indoor wood stoves — they are outdoor units with wood-fired boilers in small, insulated sheds with smokestacks that heat water that is piped elsewhere. Outdoor wood-burning furnaces are vile, dirty, a public health hazard. That's why 14 towns in the state, and hundreds across the country, have banned them.

The neighbor's smoky furnace is making Terra, a nurse, and her family sick. "Three of the children including myself and husband have sever headaches/nausea's/burning eyes/sore throats and my youngest is coughing like crazy," she wrote in the complaint. Some nights they can't sleep. Sometimes they must use medications they otherwise wouldn't need.

This is awful. She's been complaining about this for a couple of years. I've been to her house and she's right. That the town or the DEP can't put a stop to this is an outrage. The state regulations that regulate these things are inadequate. The legislature should ban them. For more information, see http://www.courant.com/owf.

Full Article:  CLICK HERE

November 27, 2010

Delayed rules hinder lung health

Scott Santarella – Guest essayist
Essays – November 27, 2010 - 5:00am
Rochester Democrat/Chronicle
 

 

It is extremely disappointing that the state Department of Environmental Conservation and Gov. David Paterson’s administration have allowed important regulations that have the ability to improve air quality and protect New Yorkers’ health to be further delayed. The tabling of the proposed regulations by the state environmental board did a terrible disservice to Rochester area residents who want to breathe clean air.

While the lung association supported the originally proposed regulations, we didn’t feel they went far enough. Regulations need to be adopted that address the toxic smoke coming from older outdoor wood boilers that are currently operating across the state.

More New Yorkers have contacted the lung association about breathing problems they attribute to living in proximity to these devices than any other air quality issue. The smoke from these furnaces makes it difficult for people to breathe, especially those with lung disease, and negatively impacts our air quality. In fact, last year Monroe County received an “F” for ozone in our State of the Air Report 2010.

On behalf of the 2.5 million New Yorkers who suffer from lung disease, the lung association will continue to advocate for implementation of the proposed regulations on new outdoor wood boilers that were tabled, as well as a phase out of all existing wood boilers. Furthermore, we will vehemently oppose any legislative attempt to limit state regulatory authority over these devices.

When our State of the Air Report showed that more than 12 million people are living in counties with failing air quality, we can’t afford to ignore major sources of pollution that impede lung health and hinder breathing.

Santarella is president and CEO of the American Lung Association in New York.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

 

November 18, 2010

For Castle Rock resident, where there’s smoke there’s ire

By: Michelle Leonard, The Farmington Independent

November 18, 2010

 

Castle Rock resident Pat Higgins is upset, and he’s not just blowing smoke.

Higgins is frustrated because he can’t find anyone that will listen to his concerns about the amount of smoke being produced by outdoor wood boilers in the township, especially in his neighborhood.

His house sits on a hill on Audrey Avenue. He moved the house there in December, 2007. It didn’t take long, he said, before he started to notice the lingering smoke that was being generated at a neighbor’s place a quarter of a mile away. It was hard for Higgins – who has asthma – to miss, especially when the smoke started rolling up the hill and coming into his own home.

 

Wood boilers

It is not illegal to operate an outdoor wood boiler. The stoves are frequently used to keep homes and water heated. Wood boilers resemble a small shed. They are designed to accommodate large wood loads that can burn for many hours without tending. Wood is placed in a firebox and ignited. Water in a reservoir that surrounds the firebox is heated by the flame.

The heated water passes through underground pipes and into the home, where it is circulated through the home’s heating system. Thermostats control the rate at which the fuel burns by controlling the amount of air that is supplied to the firebox. When the home reaches its desired temperature, the firebox is deprived of oxygen, causing the fire to smolder until more heat is needed and the process is repeated.

The wood boilers are considered a primary source for producing heat, but the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency advocates responsible use for the stoves, because the wood boilers emit harmful chemicals.

According to the MPCA’s web site, the fine particles – or “particulate matter” also known as PM – produced by outdoor wood boilers can trigger asthma attacks, much like the particles in secondhand smoke can.

The MPCA cites many findings from the Environmental Protection Agency on the matter. Among those, the EPA finds wood smoke contains carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds and particulate matter. Wood smoke PM contains wood tars, gases, soot and ashes, and can go deep into lungs or even pass through the lungs and enter the bloodstream.

Long term exposure, according to the MPCA, can lead to chronic obstructive lung disease, chronic bronchitis, increased risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.

The MPCA also discourages the burning of green or wet wood, plywood or particle board, treated wood, plastics, garbage, colored newsprint or magazines, or pesticide-treated seed. Those materials may release chemicals that are harmful to one’s health and the environment, according to the MPCA.

 

In need of help

Higgins said he approached his neighbors and asked them to burn more responsibly. He alleges that one, possibly two, of the neighbors are also burning trash in the wood boiler. One neighbor addressed the situation and is paying closer attention to the smoke his boiler is emitting, but Higgins said the other is ignoring the request.

In an effort to get some regulations established, Higgins went to the Castle Rock Township Board. So far, he said, the matter has not been addressed. He has sought opinions from Dakota County and even contacted state officials but nothing has come to light and he’s frustrated.

“I walk out of my house and up the hill and I’m out of wind,” he said. “It’s slowly killing me.”

Higgins has done quite a bit of investigation on the subject. He’s found that the city of Stillwater just passed an ordinance in March that declares outdoor wood boilers to be a public nuisance and prohibits their installation and continued use. Forest Lake, Oak Park Heights and Princeton also have regulations in place.

Given that, Higgins knows something can be done. It’s happened in other communities. He’d just like to see it happening a little closer to home. Especially, his home.

“You know how when you’re driving through the country and you get that whiff of air that reminds you of a Terry Redlin print and it makes you feel all warm and you smile? Try living with that scent in your home all the time,” he said. “So many people think it’s out in the country, nobody is out there so it doesn’t matter. But it does matter if you can’t breathe.”

Full Article: CLICK HERE

November 17, 2010

Glastonbury Reviewing Use Of Outdoor Wood Furnaces

DEP Says Thick Smoke They Produce Is Unhealthful

By PETER MARTEKA, pmarteka@courant.com

5:37 PM EST, November 17, 2010

 

GLASTONBURY — Following in the footsteps of neighboring towns, officials have begun reviewing the use of outdoor wood furnaces.

The use of the wood-fired boilers contained in a small, insulated shed have been banned by 14 towns, and the state Department of Environmental Protection has noted that the thick smoke they produce contains unhealthful amounts of particulate matter including dioxin, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, hydrochloric acid, formaldehyde and other toxic air pollutants.

Although the town has issued only three permits for the devices, Town Manager Richard J. Johnson and other town officials are looking into how to deal with the use of wood-fired boilers by residents. Currently the furnaces must be 200 feet from the nearest neighboring residence and the smoke stack must be higher than the roof peaks of residences within 500 feet.

"We are aware of the topic and the concerns residents have for wood-burning furnaces," Johnson said Tuesday. "We are working to bring more detailed information to the council so they can review their use."

The towns that have banned the furnaces are Hebron, Portland, Granby, Tolland, Woodbridge, South Windsor, Norfolk, Ridgefield, Haddam, Cheshire, West Hartford, Hamden, North Haven and Avon. Washington state has banned their use.

"Despite newer technology," resident T. Michael Morrissey wrote in a letter to Johnson, "the [furnaces] continue to represent a very serious health hazard and can negatively affect residential property values in the communities [in which] they operate. …Crude oil prices have begun to rise again and will inevitably rise in the future, causing some people to look for a less expensive way to heat."

Town council Chairwoman Susan Karp said Johnson will present the information at Tuesday's council meeting. The council will then decide what to do with the information, including whether to send it to the council's policy and ordinance review committee.

"We want to know how prevalent they are and the specific concerns," she said. "It's a concern and it's something we need to learn more about."

"The issues really revolve around the health and nuisance aspect of these," town Health Director David Boone said. "They burn continuously and emit particulate matter, causing major health concerns. … It's something that needs to be addressed. This might seem like an attractive alternative to fossil fuels, but it is not."   

Full Article: CLICK HERE

November 16, 2010 (opinion)

LETTER: Hazards of wood smoke

Published: Tuesday, November 16, 2010

By: Daily Freeman

 

Dear Editor:

New York has done a poor job of educating and protecting the public when it comes to the issue of wood smoke. Wood smoke is the new cigarette smoke. Wood smoke contains many of the same carcinogens as cigarette smoke, plus dioxins and fine particulate (see www.burningissues.org).

Twenty years ago, the Environmental Protection Agency thought it addressed wood smoke problems when it set emissions limits for indoor wood stoves. Those limits are 4.1 grams for new indoor catalytic wood stoves. Unfortunately, the emissions limits did not foresee the invention and increasing popularity of Outdoor Wood Boilers (OWBs).

The state performed tests on OWBs and issued a report, “Smoke Gets in Your Lungs in 2005”. It had emissions from OWBs of up to 269 grams. New York and other state went to the EPA requesting emission limits.

The EPA was lobbied by the manufacturers and no limits were set. Instead, the EPA has a voluntary program that has different phases. Phase II stoves allow OWBs to pollute four or more times that of indoor catalytic stoves. (The stoves are billed as 90 percent cleaner, but the reality is they do not meet the standards required of indoor stoves. Why not?) Why would the government take such a giant step backward in protecting our health?

After years of pressure from all sides, the state Department of Environmental Conservation issued a poorly worded rule (Part 247) during the summer. After intense lobbying by the state Farm Bureau, the rule was scuttled on Oct. 25.

State agencies need to step up to the plate and get the Legislature to understand the emissions of OWBs. The governor should issue an executive order placing a moratorium on installation of new OWBs and the Legislature needs to pass the same emissions statue that the state of Washington has had for 20 years. It is time for the state Legislature and agencies to represent the citizens, not the lobbyists.

New Yorkers need to pay attention to what is going on in Albany. Misinformation abounds by those with money, and the people are left unrepresented. In this case ,it is quite shocking that farmers would be such proponents of bad technology that dumps dioxins on their land and our food.

BONNIE LICHAK

Nassau

Full Article: CLICK HERE

November 15, 2010 (opinion)

Farm Bureau blocking your right to clean air

Messenger Post

Posted Nov 15, 2010 @ 10:16 AM


MPNnow.com —

Why is the New York Farm Bureau supporting outdoor wood boilers?

On Oct. 25, it applauded its role in blocking the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s weak attempt to get control over outdoor wood boilers.

Hasn’t the Farm Bureau read the state attorney general’s report, “Smoke Gets in Your Lungs,” which reports emissions from the boilers as high as 269 grams per hour?

Don’t they know the Environmental Protection Agency has been regulating indoor wood stoves for 20 years, and they are restricted to 4.1 grams per hour for catalytic stoves?

Doesn’t the Farm Bureau know wood smoke has many of the same carcinogens as cigarettes, plus dioxins and fine particulate?

New York needs an air emission standard, not an appliance regulation. The state of Washington has had emissions standards for 20 years

New York is 20 years behind the times, and the Farm Bureau wants to push for bad public policy. Does the Farm Bureau not care about the health of New Yorkers?

What a disgrace. They have lobbied until the DEC is tied in knots. Well done, Farm Bureau!

Bonnie Lichak

Nassau

Rensselaer County

Full Article: CLICK HERE

November 14, 2010 (opinion)

 

State must stop boiler pollution

Published: 12:00 a.m., Sunday, November 14, 2010

By: Times Union News


More than five years after the state attorney general's office issued its report, "Smokes Gets in Your Lungs," New York has done nothing to stop the heavy pollution of outdoor wood boilers.

Wood smoke is the new cigarette smoke. How long did it take for people to understand secondhand smoke and the health impacts? Now, the same thing is happening with wood smoke, which contains many of the same carcinogens as cigarette smoke, plus dioxins and fine particulate matter.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency required emission limits for indoor stoves 20 years ago, but outdoor wood boilers escaped regulation. The manufacturers lobbied and the EPA has a voluntary program that allows outdoor wood boilers to pollute four times or more than indoor catalytic stoves.

As sales have climbed in New York, the state has been left scrambling to stop the smoke.

The state Legislature should have passed emissions standards 20 years ago as the state of Washington did. Instead, we have the Department of Environmental Conservation shutting down these boilers one at a time and trying to figure out how to write a rule, with all the political pressure.

The DEC finally issued a rule last summer that would have allowed old stoves to operate for a set period, stopped burning in summer and blessed the EPA voluntary program stoves.

That was not good enough for the New York Farm Bureau. Now, the DEC will go out with an even more watered-down rule that will not address the highly polluting old stoves, extends the burn time and accepts the pollution of new stoves.

Sad, since we all thought someone was minding the environment.

 

Bonnie Lichak

Nassau

Full Article: CLICK HERE

November 13, 2010

Town Council OKs wood-burning furnace ban

Published: Saturday, November 13, 2010

By BARBARA THOMAS, For The Avon News

 

AVON — Following a public hearing Nov. 9, the Town Council voted to pass an ordinance prohibiting outdoor wood-burning furnaces.

The town had received a letter during the summer from a resident encouraging the ban, Town Manager Brandon Robertson said. The issue was referred to the Planning and Zoning Commission, which recommended that an ordinance be adopted.

Robertson said the furnaces are usually located in small, insulated sheds with smoke stacks, and the smoke emitted is considered unhealthy by the state Department of Environmental Protection. They heat water that is carried through underground pipes to heat homes or buildings. They may also be used to heat swimming pool or hot tub water.

The ordinance was passed despite the fact that there are no outdoor furances in town, or applications to put one in. Councilor Doug Evans questioned whether the ordinance was needed given that, but the P&Z Commission recommended it. No public comment was offered during the hearing.

The term “outdoor wood-burning furnace” does not include a fire pit, wood-fired barbecue or chiminea.

Full Article:  CLICK HERE

November 10, 2010

 

NY Marilla: Marilla Reconsiders Wood Boiler Law

Published: Wednesday, November 10, 2010 12:04 PM EST

by Adam Zaremski, East Aurora Advertiser


The Marilla Town Board will continue to examine its proposed outdoor wood boiler law, now that the state has delayed its own version, with the plan of passing something in the next few months.

In October, the board had tabled its law regulating wood boilers following comments from a Department of Environmental Conservation worker who said the state would pass a law, similar to the towns, before the end of the year. The Department of Environmental Conservation has revealed that the planned law will be tabled and re-drafted. Wood boilers are heating systems that burn wood to provide warmth for a home.

The delay will limit the town’s ability to control where and how the outside heating units can be placed in town. During a Nov. 2 work session, code enforcement officer Scott Rider told the board that a resident was looking to install a wood boiler on Winde Lane on a parcel with 70 feet of road frontage. Supervisor George Gertz said there was nothing the town could do at this time, but planned to get something in the books soon.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

November 4, 2010

Outdoor Furnaces: For and Against

November 4, 2010

By Terence P. Ward, Shawangunk Journal

 

ACCORD – This week, Rochester's Town Board passed Local Law 102, which regulates the use of outdoor furnaces. The law — which requires a permit to operate this type of furnace and regulates emissions and stack height — is being welcomed by some residents who have complained about odors, and criticized by others as too much regulation.

 

Concerns about wording addressed

The public hearing on the law was continued from last month so that the board could address some of the early concerns. Chris Kelder, who attended the first public hearing, had been concerned about requirements that furnaces be EPA certified. His own stove predates those regulations, and he was concerned that it would no longer be allowable under the new law. Among the changes made in the interim was language that makes it clear that the furnace must meet standards at the time of manufacture, rather than those in effect today.

The law also allows the building inspector to modify requirements on a case-by-case basis. This is "something not allowed often in law," explained Supervisor Carl Chipman, "a little bit of common sense." The inspector will, for example, be able to change the stack height requirements for a given furnace to ensure that a neighbor up a hill won't have an odor problem.

Resident Paul Cortright, an outspoken opponent of the law, was concerned that too much leeway isn't such a good thing; but board member Lynn Archer disagreed, saying that anyone having a problem with the building inspector could register a complaint. "That's why you have elected officials in the first place," said the supervisor.

 

State regulation or town law

Cortright's main concern is that the new town law is unnecessary, because the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is expected to hand down statewide rules after Election Day. "You can save us taxpayers the money for enforcement by using the state law," he said. Given that there have only been a handful of complaints, he feels that the town is jumping the gun.

"This law is preventative," said the supervisor, in contrast to the proposed DEC regulations. He explained that conditions are not the same throughout the state, and that this was a situation where a local law could do a better job than a blanket regulation.

Councilwoman Manuela Mihailescu also supports the idea of the town acting sooner than the state. "We cannot have a solution that says if they don't like it, they should move," she stated. Tavi Cilenti, the only board member to vote against the law, said that he's fed up with all the regulation. "We can't make a law every time someone says we should," he said. "We spoke out against over-regulation when we were elected," he explained when reached for comment.

Cilenti isn't the only elected official who feels that the Town Board is making a bad decision with the new law. Highway Superintendent Wayne Kelder told them, "You were elected to manage the town, not to control the people." People are tired of more laws, he went on, and cautioned the board not to assume that a lack of opposition at the public hearing should be taken as a show of support for the furnace law. "An awful lot of people are against it, people you didn't hear from," he said.

 

Issues of safety and economy

At the heart of the matter is the question of whether or not outdoor furnaces are safer, and cheaper to operate, than indoor ones. Supporters of the new law, which limits owners to burning untreated wood and manufacturer-approved fuels, believe that outdoor furnaces emit dangerous fumes. The owners of those furnaces point to the danger of chimney fires if wood is burned in the home, and say they prefer the security of keeping their homes heated from the outside.

Chris Kelder has a furnace at home and another at his business, Kelder Farms. He points out that piping 180 degree water into the house is much safer than having a fireplace or wood stove. Councilman Tavi Cilenti, who burns wood in his home, agreed with Kelder's sentiment, saying that "it's not if, it's when you're going to have a chimney fire."

The cost of heating by outdoor furnace is a contentious issue. Carol Fisher, whose neighbor uses one, believes that the additional cost to her isn't fair. She explained at the public hearing that she needs to use her air conditioner more in the summer because she needs to keep her windows closed against the smell. "I think wood stoves don't belong in a development," she said, claiming that oil is an affordable alternative for home heating.

Chris Kelder, who didn't make the continuation of the public hearing, is frustrated that outdoor furnaces are the only form of home heating that the town wants to regulate. "I hope the intent wasn't to limit the use of local fuels," he said.

It's about respect, according to Councilwoman Lynn Archer. "It's unfortunate that we have to put a law on the books for this," she said.

Tavi Cilenti claims that it's more about personalities, and that worries him. The law was drafted in response to a small number of complaints, and he feels that at the heart of it is a feud between neighbors. "What do we do the next time these people have a disagreement?" he asked.

Carol Fisher, whose one neighbor uses an outdoor furnace, claims that another neighbor's house "fills up with smoke" when the furnace is going. "I hope she doesn't have a heart attack over this," she said.

In a roll call vote, the Town Board approved the new law with Supervisor Chipman and members Archer and Mihailescu voting in support and member Cilenti opposing. Tony Spano was not present to vote on the matter. Owners of outdoor furnaces have ninety days to acquire the new permit.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

November 3, 2010

Officials in village of Grass Lake impose restrictions on outdoor wood furnaces

Published: Wednesday, November 03, 2010, 12:08 PM    

Shannon Maynard | Jackson Citizen Patriot

Residents in the village of Grass Lake will soon find it difficult, if not impossible, to own and operate an outdoor wood furnace.

The village council voted to adopt an ordinance Tuesday that puts restrictions on outdoor wood furnaces based on lot size and a house’s setback. When the ordinance goes into effect in 30 days, residents with fewer than 2 acres will not be allowed to burn wood in an outdoor furnace.

Village officials created the ordinance with the health of village residents in mind.

“We want to control the smoke (in the village),” village Manager Tom Nolte said.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

November 2, 2010

Outdoor wood furnace cause of house fire in Embden

November 2, 2010

BY ERIN RHODA AND DAVID LEAMING Staff Writers

 

EMBDEN -- An outside wood furnace was the cause of a fire that gutted a home on Bert Berry Road on Sunday.

The wood boiler, enclosed in a shed, caught fire Sunday morning, and the flames spread to the log-cabin-style home less than 20 feet away, said Anson Fire Chief Alan Walker.

The owner, Randy Oliver Jr., had installed the outside wood furnace after several chimney fires. "He figured an outside furnace would be the way to go, rather than lose the house to a chimney fire," Walker said. Unfortunately, the furnace wasn't far enough from the house.

"I have seen this happen before," Walker said. "We'd like to see them a considerable distance away from the home."

About 30 firefighters from Anson, Madison, Solon and Skowhegan fought the blaze for about an hour-and-a-half, which was hampered by the steel roof holding in heat and flames, Walker said.

"There's substantial damage to the roof," he said. "The structure is still there, but the inside is all water and smoke damage."

On Monday, Oliver said he was inside the home warming up after working outside. "I heard my draft horse, Bella, making noises outside in a nearby pasture and went out to see what was going on," he said. "When I got outside, all I saw was smoke and flames coming from the house. I grabbed my cell phone and called 911."

The home was insured and he said he is waiting to hear if it's a total loss. He said he and his partner, Nancy Woods, were uninjured.

When firefighters returned to the Anson station around 2:30 p.m., Walker said, they were already running late for the funeral of their former chief and 35-year veteran of the department, Daniel Caldwell. Firefighter's spouses brought them clean clothes, Walker said, and they went immediately to Madison Area Memorial High School for the service.

The Caldwell family understood the situation, Walker said. "The family had called us and said, 'You've got to do what you've got to do.'"

Full Article: CLICK HERE

October 26, 2010 (video)

Eco group finds outdoor furnaces a major hazard in Conn.

By Ann DeMatteo, Assistant Metro Editor

Published: Tuesday, October 26, 2010

 

WOODBRIDGE — Environment and Human Health Inc.’s latest study claims that outdoor wood furnaces are unsafe, and are filling the lungs of neighbors with the same toxins as cigarette smoke, including the carcinogens benzene and formaldehyde.

EHHI, a research and education organization made up of doctors and public health professionals, tested the air in four homes in Windham, Fairfield and Litchfield counties and concluded that the particulate matter that is emitted from the furnaces far exceeds what is considered healthy.

“I am really hopeful that the state will pay more attention to this, take the science and act on it, realizing that Connecticut has no choice but to ban outdoor wood furnaces just like Washington state has,” said EHHI President Nancy O. Alderman.

“We think the risks are such that such devices should not be allowed,” said David R. Brown, a public health toxicologist from Westport.

Manufacturers of outdoor boilers believe that it is unreasonable to ban the furnaces, which are an alternative energy product. Cleaner units are now on the market and purchasers can receive a $1,500 tax credit from the federal government through Dec. 31.

EHHI, based in North Haven, announced the study results Monday at Woodbridge Town Hall.

Brown explained that high levels of wood smoke particulate matter were present in every 24-hour period tested inside the homes where there are neighboring wood furnaces.

Brown used a monitoring device inside bedrooms or living rooms of the homes. The air quality monitor was hooked up to a laptop computer that kept track of the readings. EHHI measured the presence of two sizes of particles, those measuring 2.5 microns and 0.5 microns.

A micron is a unit of measure that is extremely small.

The study showed that a house 100 feet from an outdoor wood furnace had 14 times the levels of particulate matter as houses not near an outdoor wood furnace and nine times the levels of the federal Environmental Protection Agency air standards. A house as far away as 850 feet from an outdoor wood furnace had six times the levels of particulate matter as the houses not near an outdoor wood furnace and four times EPA air standards.

People who have described their symptoms to EHHI say they wake up at night with coughing, headaches, inability to catch their breath, continual sore throats, bronchitis and colds.

Levels of particulate matter that exceed the EPA standards are associated with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease attacks and hospitalizations, and are also associated with increased risk of cardiac attacks, Brown said.

“We are particularly concerned about wood boilers because of the carcinogens and fine particulate matter much like tobacco smoke, that lodges deep into the lungs,” said Dawn Mays-Hardy, director of health promotion for the American Lung Association, New England.

Alderman pointed out that some states have outdoor wood furnace “set-back” regulations of 100 feet, others have “set-backs” of 200 feet and some states have no regulations at all.

The state Department of Environmental Protection requires that any unit installed after July 8, 2005, be more than 200 feet from the nearest residence. The stack height of an outdoor furnace has to be higher than all the roof peaks within 500 feet of where the unit is.

Robert Girard, an assistant director at the DEP, said later Monday that the agency has asked the General Assembly to give the DEP the authority to adopt more stringent emission standards for outdoor wood furnaces.

he only emission standard for such units is a visible standard, Girard said.

Because neighboring states have the emission standards, one of the DEP’s concerns is that Connecticut will “end up as a dumping ground for the dirtier models.”

Particles of wood smoke are so small that windows and doors cannot keep smoke out, according to EHHI. Because wood smoke particles are so small, they are not filtered out by the nose or the upper respiratory system. Instead, these small particles end up deep in the lungs, Brown said.

For more information, visit www.ehhi.org.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

October 26, 2010

Environmental group: Outdoor wood furnaces unhealthy for neighbors

John Burgeson, Staff Writer

Published: 12:27 a.m., Tuesday, October 26, 2010

 

WOODBRIDGE -- It looks like a shed and it will keep your home warm all winter long without using a drop of foreign oil. So what's not to like?

Plenty, according to the public interest research group Environmental and Human Health Inc., which on Monday released a 50-page report that said outdoor wood furnaces -- or OWFs, as they're known in the trade -- spew toxic wood smoke that gets into nearby homes, making life miserable and unhealthy for neighbors.

The report, "Dangers to Health from Outdoor Wood Furnaces," says that smoke from OWFs gets into even tightly sealed homes more than 800 feet away, causing or aggravating a variety of lung diseases, including cancer.

"Outdoor wood furnaces use a flawed technology," said Nancy Alderman, EHH president. "It's a shed that burns wood 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It never stops."

But the OWF industry says that the EHH report doesn't recognize recent advancements made in wood-burning furnace technology, noting that the latest "Phase II" units are no more polluting than a traditional wood stove. "And, unlike a wood stove, our new E-Classic boiler will heat a whole house, not just one room," said Rodney Tollefson of Central Boiler, of Greenbush, Minn., one of the larger manufacturers of OWFs.

"The difference between the new Phase II units and the old ones is quite dramatic," Tollefson added. "It's about a 90 percent reduction, according to the EPA." The Phase II units hit the market in about 2008, he said.

An OWF consists of a firebox surrounded by a water jacket. The water, once heated, is pumped into the house, where it either warms the home directly, or it is sent to a heat exchanger to warm air for a forced-air system. They're also known as outdoor wood boilers, or OWBs.

Detractors of OWFs maintain that the water jacket keeps the temperature of the fire too low for complete combustion.

Companies that sell OWFs note that they reduce the nation's dependence on foreign oil and, since they burn a renewable fuel -- wood -- they don't contribute to global warming.

Tollefson also said that EHH report used flawed methodology. "The particulate counts that they are using is not a scientific method of measuring wood smoke emissions," Tollefson said.

The report was written by David Brown, a public health toxicologist who measured particulates in the air inside of four homes that were located close to an operating OWF. Two were within 200 feet, one was 240 feet distant and one was about 800 feet away.

"This report shows high intrusion of wood smoke inside of homes near wood boilers," Brown said. "The increased smoke levels are persistent, and they reach concentrations that produce health effects." His particulate measurements, he said, were measured in children's bedrooms. He added that Connecticut's 200-foot setback regulation, according to his studies, is essentially meaningless in preventing smoke intrusion in homes.

EHH maintains the state needs to ban OWFs because they suffer from an inherently bad design. Because the smoke leaving the unit is cool, EHH says, it produces a smoke plume that remains near ground level, and only dissipates if the breeze is especially strong.

"The smoke comes out a lot cooler than it does from a typical wood stove or a fireplace," she said, "so it does not dissipates, and threatens every house in its wake." She said EHH attempted to get the devices banned in the Legislature, "but we were not successful."

So, the group, she said, is attempting to get the devices banned in individual towns. To date, 13 towns, including Woodbridge, Ridgefield, Hamden and North Haven, have banned OWFs.

Connecticut requires a 200-foot setback for OWFs, and the height of the smokestack is also regulated. OWFs are banned altogether in the state of Washington.

"There are 167 towns in Connecticut, so we have a very long row to hoe," Alderman said.

"They're not smoke-belching appliances," Tollefson said. "And we fully endorse a suggested rule whereby new units would have to comply with Phase II standards."

Alderman said that it's an economic issue, too. "When someone near you gets one of these things, the value of your home drops to zero."

Full Article: CLICK HERE

October 25, 2010

Wood furnace regulations not sufficient, foes say

Supporters, legislators expect possible ban to be revisited next year

By JAMES MOSHER

Norwich Bulletin

Posted Oct 25, 2010 @ 02:27 PM

 

Woodbridge, Conn. —The battle to ban outdoor wood-burning furnaces is getting hotter as the weather gets colder.

Environment and Human Health Inc., a North Haven-based group that unsuccessfully sought a statewide ban on the furnaces earlier this year, on Monday released a report that reiterates its claims that wood smoke is dangerous to human health. The study, titled “The Dangers from Outdoor Wood Furnaces,” said current regulations are “not sufficient” to protect human health.

The report was released during a press conference in Woodbridge. Among those supporting the report are former Connecticut Public Health Commissioner Susan Addiss. Four high-profile physicians were among those endorsing the findings.

“In addition to the fine particle matter, wood smoke contains a number of organic compounds that are potential or recognized carcinogens,” said Dr. D. Barry Boyd, an oncologist affiliated with the Yale Cancer Center. “Exposure over time may raise the risk not only of chronic lung disease but also of lung cancer.”

Wendy Rondeau of Brooklyn participated in the study. She has filed numerous complaints with the state Department of Environmental Protection. Her actions have helped cause Brooklyn to register among the highest number of complaints statewide.

Rondeau said she brought her case to the Board of Selectmen two or three years ago but no action was taken. She sees a statewide ban as necessary to protect her family’s health.

“I’ve given up hope with the town,” she said. “Brooklyn hasn’t taken an active stand.”

Rondeau, who lives at 36 Tatnic Hill Road, said she plans to testify before the General Assembly’s Environment Committee next year as she did earlier this year. She plans to cite the study extensively.

The panel will likely have a public hearing next year, said state Rep. Ed Jutila, D-East Lyme, who is a member of the committee.

“I’ve heard from two or three people in my district about it,” he said. “The challenge is to find ways to protect people without completely choking off. Farmers depend on them. A ban would be very detrimental to farmers.” 

EHHI, headed by activist Nancy Alderman, offered earlier this year to support an amendment that would exempt farmers but farmers, to Alderman’s surprise, continued in opposition. The New London County Farm Bureau was among the strongest opponents. The bureau continues to favor fines and a case-by-case approach.

“She (Alderman) is not looking to compromise,” said Wayne Budney, who owns Four Winds Farm in Lebanon. “There are only four furnaces in the whole state not being used efficiently. I say let’s go after them and not punish everyone else.”

Sentiment for a ban has gained little traction in Eastern Connecticut, with Hebron being the only town to enact a ban. Eastern Connecticut is renowned for its ample forests and wood-burning history. Overall, 13 towns statewide have enacted bans.

“Firewood is an (important) economic renewable resource in New England,” Budney said.

The American Lung Association continues to view outdoor furnaces as “dangerous to human health.”

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, now running for the U.S. Senate, joined the lung association and others earlier this year in supporting a ban. Blumenthal later pledged to seek a compromise after a firestorm of protest from furnace sellers, farmers and other users, many of them in Eastern Connecticut.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

October 24, 2010

 

Board set to OK rules on boilers

REVISIONS MADE: County legislators want more public say

By ELIZABETH GRAHAM

TIMES STAFF WRITER

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 24, 2010

 

St. Lawrence County lawmakers want the public to have its say on a revised proposal regulating the use of outdoor wood boilers before state officials approve it.

The state Environmental Board could vote as soon as Monday on the Department of Environmental Conservation's proposed regulations. County officials sent a letter last week to DEC's Division of Air Resources requesting a public comment period before the revised rules are approved.

The original proposal called for boilers in use by Sept. 1, 2005, to be phased out by Aug. 31, 2015, and for boilers installed from Sept. 1, 2005, to April 14, 2011, to be phased out within 10 years. After considering public comments gathered in June, those requirements were removed, as was a requirement that smokestacks be two feet higher than any structure within 150 feet.

The proposal still requires smokestacks at least 18 feet high and cleaner emissions standards, and prohibits boiler operation in summer.

DEC officials have said the rules are meant to control air pollution and address complaints from neighbors of outdoor wood boilers that their air quality is being compromised. Some north country residents have said the rules are too onerous and pose a financial hardship for people who have to modify their boilers to meet the requirements or invest in water heaters that are not powered by wood boilers to comply with the summer prohibition.

"The regulations are more palatable, for sure, but I still don't think it's right for regulatory agencies to make the rules," said Legislator Frederick S. Morrill, D-DeKalb Junction.

Legislator Alexander A. MacKinnon, R-Fowler, said the public should have an opportunity to comment on the revised proposal before the Environmental Board makes its decision. State Sen. Darrel J. Aubertine, D-Cape Vincent, also called for public comment in a letter sent to DEC Wednesday.

DEC in the past has offered a second public comment period for revisions to proposed rules, such as before last year's passage of open-burning restrictions.

"It's very rare that they reissue for a second public comment period," said Lori M. Severino, DEC spokeswoman. "Since the changes were addressing the comments and it wasn't significantly rewriting the proposal, it wasn't put out again for public comment."

It could be too late for more comments, anyway, she said.

"The E Board could consider it, but I don't know whether they would at this point," Mrs. Severino said. "It would really prolong the rule-making process."

Full Article: CLICK HERE

October 23, 2010

New York State DEC Poised To Enact New Rules For Wood Furnaces

By Dave McKinley, WGRZ Buffalo

October 23, 2010

 After a year's worth of sometimes "heated" public hearings, NY's Department of Environmental Conservation is poised to pass new regulations regarding outdoor wood furnaces.

 

BUFFALO, NY - The New York Department of Environmental Conservation is about to enact regulations to ensure that new outdoor wood furnaces burn at least 90 percent cleaner than older models.

According to the Attorney General there were over 14,000 sold in New York between 1999 and 2007.

The furnaces burn wood to heat water to a high temperature, which is then pumped into a home and used as a heat source.

But as the popularity of outdoor wood furnaces rose, so did concerns about air quality.

Many towns enacted moratoriums on them, until the DEC came out with its long awaited new rules.

Ray Pionessa of Country Woodburners in Newstead sells the units, and notes the models currently available to consumers must meet standards set forth by the federal Environmental Protection Agency. However, the new regulations would also only allow models certified by the DEC to be sold in New York State.

Pionessa, who gave testimony on the new regulations during a public hearing held this past summer, is relieved the DEC has revised an earlier proposal that would have forced many homeowners to replace older wood furnaces. After that plan was met with strong opposition in rural areas where wood-fired boilers are common, existing systems were grandfathered in.

"We received a lot of phone calls from customers wanting to know what was going to happen with their units and whether it would be seized from them or if they would have to buy new ones because they invested a lot of money in them," Pionessa said.

It is not uncommon for a homeowner to spend $10,000 or more on the purchase and installation of a unit, which under the right circumstances can pay for itself in perhaps five or 6 years.

Ron Mays of Lancaster estimates he's saved a few thousand dollars on heating bills since installing his outdoor wood furnace three years ago, but he admits it isn't for everyone.

He has to load his furnace twice a day, and also happens to be blessed with an inexhaustible supply of free wood.

"My brother's got a tree service so I get all the wood from him," he explained.

Were that not the case, Mays concedes he probably wouldn't heat his home in this fashion.

"I don't think it'd be worth it," Mays told WGRZ-TV.

The new regulations also require furnace smokestacks to be at least 18-feet tall.

This is an effort to reduce the amount of smoke effecting neighbors of those who use wood furnaces.

However, Pionessa says it's a rule that doesn't make much sense to him.

"It all depends on the weather conditions. I mean, sure, smoke generally travels up ...but on other days when you have a heavy air, the smoke is coming right to the ground no matter what you have," he said.

The most controversial new regulation may be the ban on operating the furnaces between May and September.

Peter Gregg of the New York Farm Bureau says his group will continue to fight the new regulations, in part because they restrict furnace use to cold months, and because many residents rely on wood boilers year-round for hot water as well as heat.

Because of this Pionessa says most of his customers retain a backup system of heat for their homes even after installing an outdoor wood furnace.

Mays, for example, while using his outdoor wood furnace for hot water as well as heat, maintains natural gas service to his residence not only to heat his water tank during the summer, but to supply his clothes dryer and kitchen stove year round as well.

But the seasonal use rule remains particularly troublesome to homeowners with wood furnaces in the Adirondacks and New York's North Country , where nights remain cool enough --sometimes into June -- to require residents to heat their homes.

The DEC acknowledges that, for now at least, there is no exception to the rule for any unusual streaks of cold weather.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

October 22, 2010

 

DEC revises rules for outdoor wood boilers

KIM SMITH DEDAM Press-Republican

October 22, 2010

 

RAY BROOK — A new set of regulations on outdoor wood boilers will go to the Environmental Review Board on Monday.

Released this week, the rules include changes made after public hearings last summer.

Chief among the changes made, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation would ban use of outdoor wood boilers in northern counties from June 1 to Aug. 31.

And by Oct. 1, 2011, DEC would require a minimum 18-foot stack height on existing boilers and "may require that the permanent stack extend up to two feet above the peak of any roof structure within 150 feet of the (boiler) when necessary to adequately disperse smoke."

The rules provide a list of five "approved fuels" for use in outdoor boilers.

Revised regulations contain an extensive list of specifications for the manufacture of new boilers, which require formal compliance notice. Delivery of each outdoor wood boiler would have to be reported to DEC within seven days.

The state will not have a second round of public hearings on these rules, as DEC engineers suggested it might last summer.

 

PHASEOUT REMOVED

The regulations remove a proposed phaseout of all existing outdoor wood boilers within 10 years.

But the issue isn't over.

Instead, DEC intends to establish "a new public stakeholder process" to come up with a "revised regulatory framework to address concerns of residents impacted by the operation of such units."

DEC spokeswoman Lori Severino said the stakeholder process would bring concerned parties, including environmental groups, outdoor wood boiler manufacturers and home users, to discussions in Albany.

The meetings would not be public, she said.

The phaseout was taken out of the rules," Severino explained. "But they (DEC) don't want to overlook the fact that older models are less efficient than newer models, so they're going to start a stakeholder process. The details have not been laid out, but it's going to be a meeting about the best way, easiest way to get newer models into homes."

The stakeholder process will search for ways "to address the phaseout without making it a mandate," Severino said.

"They would look to the most efficient way to use the older outdoor wood boilers and talk with manufacturers about some time frame or possibly incentives for phasing out older models."


NO MORE PUBLIC COMMENT

The revised regulations are not going back out for public comment because the changes weren't substantial, Severino said.

"The changes made weren't deemed necessary to go through the whole process again."

The New York State Farm Bureau holds a different opinion.

"DEC is going to do this Review Board proceeding, which is basically a rubber stamp," Farm Bureau spokesman Peter Gregg said Thursday.

"There are no further public hearings planned, so far, and that is what we are asking for. We feel that the changes are substantial enough that they should have another round of hearings and a comment period.

"The revisions, as written, are still going to prevent a number of people in the North Country from using their outdoor wood boilers. Grandfathered-in models can be used in the winter months, but not in the summer and not for heating water year round."

 

BAN EXCEPTIONS

The summer-use ban would allow a few exceptions:

▶ Boiler models certified by DEC and placed 100 feet or more from the nearest property line.

▶ Any boiler sitting at least 500 feet from the nearest property line or 1,000 feet or more from a school.

▶ An existing boiler on agricultural land larger than five acres sitting at least 500 feet from the nearest residence not served by the boiler or 500 feet or more from a property line not on agricultural land and 1,000 feet or more from a school.

The seasonal-use limit does not otherwise make exception for wood boilers used to heat water.

Severino they chose the dates based on a 10-year history of recorded temperatures.

If there were to be a severe, unusual cold spell, DEC would address it then, she said.

"There's no exception for cold weather in the rule right now."

 

COLD IN NORTH

The Farm Bureau doesn't agree with the three-month seasonal ban.

"In late June, it gets cold at night in the northern part of the state," Gregg said. "But the people who are drafting these regulations sit in very cushy offices in their brand-new building in Albany and are looking down their noses at the way we heat our homes.

"We feel DEC has an elitist attitude toward the use of wood boilers. We feel they are wrong."


OPINIONS HEARD

DEC says the final analysis took into consideration input from thousands of letters and commentary given in a series of 11 public hearings last summer.

In a statement released Wednesday, DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis said his staff "carefully reviewed and took into account all the concerns that were expressed during the rulemaking process and has developed this regulation to ensure that new outdoor wood boilers are cleaner and that existing boilers have a reduced impact on air quality."

The Farm Bureau is continuing to push for a legislative remedy.

The Senate already unanimously approved a bill to override the outdoor wood boiler regulation by giving jurisdiction to local municipalities. But the Assembly version went nowhere and may be reintroduced in January.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

October 21, 2010

Hearing on wood furnaces

By Cathy Dyson  

October 21st, 2010 1:31 pm

The Free Lance-Star

The Board of Supervisors plans a public hearing on Nov. 16 to include regulations about outdoor wood furnaces in its zoning ordinances.
The supervisors have been discussing the outdoor furnaces in recent months, particularly after a resident complained to several members. The resident told the supervisors that a neighbor’s outdoor furnace is so close to her property line—and blows so much smoke in her yard—that she can’t even sit out on her deck.

The proposed ordinance defines the furnaces, their use, what fuel should be burned in them and how tall their chimneys should be. The furnaces should be at least 50 feet from the property line and at least 100 feet from any residence not served by the furnace.
More information about the proposed ordinance is on pages 140-142 of the supervisors’ agenda for Oct. 19, shown here

Full Article: CLICK HERE

October 20, 2010

NY regulators ponder outdoor wood furnace rules

The Associated Press

October 20, 2010, 5:17PM ET

ALBANY, N.Y.

The New York Department of Environmental Conservation is about to enact regulations to ensure that new outdoor wood furnaces burn at least 90 percent cleaner than older models.

The regulations to be voted on by the state Environmental Board on Monday were revised from an earlier proposal that would have forced many homeowners to replace older wood furnaces. After that plan was met with strong opposition in rural areas where wood-fired boilers are common, existing systems were grandfathered in.

Peter Gregg of the New York Farm Bureau says Wednesday that his group will continue to fight the new regulations because they require an 18-foot smokestack and restrict furnace use to cold months. Gregg says many residents rely on wood boilers year-round for hot water as well as heat.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

 

October 20, 2010

DEC Submits Regulation for New Outdoor Wood Boilers Sold in New York State

By New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

October 20, 2010

ALBANY, NY (10/20/2010)(readMedia)-- The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced the submission of a regulation to the state Environmental Board for consideration at its October 25 meeting that will set stringent performance standards for new outdoor wood boilers (OWBs) sold in New York State. If approved, the regulation would go into effect 30 days after its filing with the state Secretary of State. The stricter guidelines will ensure that new OWBs burn at least 90% cleaner than older models.

"This is a positive and necessary step in our goal to improve air quality in New York State and protect the health of our residents," DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis said, explaining that DEC limited an earlier proposal in response to comments received during an extensive public outreach effort. "DEC staff carefully reviewed and took into account all the concerns that were expressed during the rulemaking process and has developed this regulation to ensure that new outdoor wood boilers are cleaner and that existing boilers have a reduced impact on air quality."

The regulation before the Environmental Board also includes fuel restrictions and stack height standards for existing as well as new OWBs which will reduce the impact of their emission plumes on neighboring property owners. New OWBs will be required to be set back a minimum of 100 feet from neighboring properties. A provision in an earlier proposal to phase out the use of older OWBs has been removed and will be addressed through a new public stakeholder process to develop a revised regulatory framework to address concerns of residents impacted by the operation of such units.

The rule shortens the period when OWBs cannot be used in the Northern Heating Zone – which includes all counties north and west of Dutchess, Ulster and Sullivan counties -- to the period from June 1 through August 31. The seasonal restriction for all other areas of the state will run from May 15 to September 30.

The text of the final rule before the Environmental Board is available at http://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/69348.html on the DEC website. To obtain a copy of the complete rule package before October 25, email foil@gw.dec.state.ny.us or it will be available on the DEC website after the Environmental Board meets on October 25.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

October 19, 2010

Parents ask school board to address air pollution at Woodriver

by Dermot Cole

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

October 19, 2010

Several parents, teachers and other school staff members testified before the Fairbanks school board Tuesday to ask that the school district deal with air pollution, especially outside and inside  Woodriver Elementary School.

Some said that the district needs to install air filters in the school because the smoke from two outdoor wood boilers close to the school is bad enough to create a cloud in the halls on many days. There have been dozens of complaints each of the past two winters to the borough because of the Woodriver smoke and on some days recess is canceled.

There were also concerns voiced about air quality in North Pole and in other parts of Fairbanks, such as near Randy Smith Middle School.

Other parents and grandparents said that the state Department of Environmental Conservation should be called upon to enforce state regulations to limit air pollution.

Jerry Norum, a former teacher and local government official, asked the school board to work with other local institutions to try to break the inertia and get community action in light of the recent borough vote to end any borough penalties for creating a nuisance with excessive wood smoke.

"The wind has changed direction and I won't say we're in a state of confusion," Norum said, it's a "state of reassessment."

There is a state regulation that has not been enforced, but it says that "no person may permit any emission which is injurious to human health or welfare, animal or plant life, or property, or which would unreasonably interfere with the enjoyment of life or property."

Afterwards, most of the school board members asked the school administration to become more involved. Superintendent of Schools Pete Lewis said it is a difficult situation, but he promised to get back to the board shortly with proposals.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

October 17, 2010

Town Board delays vote on boiler regulation

By Nancy Gish, SOUTHTOWNS CORRESPONDENT

Published: October 17, 2010

 

A vote on a proposed law regulating wood boilers in Marilla was delayed for possible revision after the Town Board heard from the state Department of Environmental Conservation, local residents and owners of the boilers.

During a public hearing prior to a board meeting last week, resident Richard Rose objected that some regulations were left out of the proposed law. Rose said he does not own a boiler but worries that prevailing winds could still affect his quality of life during the summer shutdown of the boilers, because some people still use them to heat water.

He said he didn’t like the distance between residences and schools because the prevailing winds could still blow in the windows of buildings and the type of fuel used should be addressed better.

Stanley Travis, owner and operator of a wood boiler for the past 12 years, agreed with Rose regarding the wind issue, but didn’t like painting the issue with such a broad brush.

“No one is behind me for half a mile. The DEC has had no laws yet, [just] preliminary hearings for people to give their comments. They [the DEC] will make rules,” he said.

Travis said that because there are no emission requirements yet that the board should hold off until the DEC acts and should use the state’s regulations as a base.

Larry Sitzman, head of air control for the local DEC office, said the DEC has held numerous public hearings on the outdoor boilers and received 5,000 comments statewide.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

October 14, 2010

Read new DEC regulations on wood boilers here

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2010

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has revised proposals that would restrict the use of outdoor wood boilers across the state. The DEC, however, would not make the revisions available to the public unless a Freedom of Information request was filed. The Times has obtained those revisions and is making it available here. CLICK BELOW TO READ

Full Article: CLICK HERE

October 3, 2010

Proposition A would extinguish effort to curb wood smoke pollution

by Dermot Cole / cole@newsminer.com


October 3, 2010

 

FAIRBANKS — Some of the supporters of Proposition A, which is on the local election ballot Tuesday, have made the claim that the borough is trying to regulate wood stoves out of existence in Fairbanks. They’ve raised the specter that we will soon have borough wood stove police.

The ordinance approved by the assembly in June is not a heavy-handed approach to this issue, despite what some alarmists are saying. The rules in place do not ban anyone from burning wood or prevent people from heating their homes.

Rep. Tammie Wilson and other sponsors, including assembly candidate Michael Dukes, call Proposition A the “Home Heating Protection Act.”

They want to overturn some reasonable regulations and a process under which $30 fines can be levied against those who create a public nuisance through excessive wood smoke pollution.

The $30 fine would not be triggered by an occasional cloud of smoke crossing a property line, but by serious pollution levels many times higher than the standard for clean air.

The assertion that the overall borough plan is focused on sanctions and punishment is incorrect. The $30 fine is the lowest one the borough has on the books, comparable to a parking ticket.

Before anyone is fined, the borough would have to give a warning. For a second offense, the fine would be $50.

Borough Mayor Luke Hopkins said he’s not going to have people driving around looking for smoke problems, just as the borough doesn’t have people driving around looking for zoning infractions. But he said he will respond to complaints where there are neighborhood problems.

The definition of nuisance is this: “No person shall cause or allow emissions of a solid fuel burning appliance that are injurious to human life or property or that unreasonably interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property. No person shall operate a solid fuel burning appliance in a manner so as to create a public or private nuisance.”

The “visible emissions standard” set by the ordinance, which would take effect a year from now, will not be difficult to meet.

It says that chimney smoke can be more than 50 percent opaque only 25 percent of the time. The exception is that when a cold stove is started, the smoke can be more than 50 percent opaque for the first 20 minutes of operation.

The borough regulations also have some sensible rules on where outdoor wood boilers can be installed in the future. Those already in place are grandfathered in.

New outdoor wood boilers must be at least 50 feet from a property line and 70 feet from anyone else’s house. They will be permitted only on lots of at least two acres, unless the Air Pollution Control Commission grants an exemption.

If you want a good reason to vote “no” on Proposition A, you can see one in the dark haze that is already visible over the valley on cool days when the air is still.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

October 1, 2010

'Clear Air Fairbanks' supporters rally today at Woodriver school

by Dermot Cole / cole@newsminer.com

October 1, 2010

 

FAIRBANKS — Supporters of the borough program to levy small fines against “nuisance” violators of the wood smoke pollution rules plan to rally today at the Woodriver Elementary School playground from 1:30-2 p.m.

‘Clean Air Fairbanks’ is an informal effort of people trying to raise awareness about the pollution problem and oppose Proposition A, said Sylvia Schultz, a local mom.

She said they have spent no money, but have invested time in trying to understand the issues.

The Woodriver site was chosen for a gathering in part because that is one of the neighborhoods where wood smoke pollution has become a major winter concern, she said, adding that this is not a school district event. She said the public is welcome to attend.

Schultz  said the borough rules, approved by the assembly earlier this year, are a reasonable way of dealing with those who create a nuisance.

She said she is concerned about the health effects of wood smoke when people don’t act responsibly and worried about the potential impact on the economy if Proposition A is approved.

She started a website, http://cleanair fairbanks.wordpress.com, to post information on the issue.

The Woodriver PTA called this week for a “no” vote on Proposition A, saying the outdoor wood boilers near the school have led to “a drastic and well-documented increase in hazardous air quality at our school.”

“In the past two years, the school nurse documented an increased number of children suffering from burning eyes, asthma, and respiratory disorders. Children remained indoors for recess on many occasions because the air quality was so poor,” the PTA said.

“Despite numerous complaints from concerned parents, the borough has been powerless to stop the noxious substances spewing from a few chimneys. The recently implemented fine system appears to be the only mechanism that currently exists to motivate people to improve the situation,” the PTA said.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

September 27, 2010

Outdoor furnace ban planned in North Haven

By Ann DeMatteo, Assistant Metro Editor

adematteo@newhavenregister.com

Published: Monday, September 27, 2010

 

NORTH HAVEN — Four items are on the agenda of the annual town meeting, set for 7 p.m. Tuesday in the North Haven High School auditorium, 221 Elm St.

The Board of Selectmen is asking residents to adopt, as a matter of health and safety, an ordinance that would ban outdoor wood-burning or wood-fired furnaces or boilers.

If the ordinance is approved, residents will not be able to construct, modify or install the outdoor devices. A fine of $250 will be imposed for each day of operation, the ordinance says.

Anyone who already has an outdoor furnace or boiler who uses them as the sole or primary source of heating a home or building or its water will not be in violation as long as the furnace is registered with the public works director within 60 days after the ordinance is approved.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

September 25, 2010

 

Indiana's first restrictions on outdoor heaters receive preliminary approval

By: Staff, The Paper, Montgomery County, IN

September 25, 2010

 

State Sen. Phil Boots (R-Crawfordsville) said today residents who use outdoor hydronic heaters, better known as wood boilers, will have a third public comment period to voice any concerns about restrictions that recently received preliminary approval by a state panel.

At a meeting earlier this month, the Air Pollution Control Board, a 12-member voting body of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), unanimously endorsed new requirements that would affect an estimated 8,000 Hoosiers.

"It's important for Indiana residents who use outdoor hydronic heaters to understand how they and their families will be impacted if these rules do, in fact, take effect," Boots said. "Often, home owners use wood boilers to eliminate the need for propane and to save money, especially during winter months."

Boots said the next step in the process is for IDEM to publish the proposed rule and notice of a third public comment period in the Indiana Register, an official publication concerning rules being proposed by state agencies. The comment period will be 21 days. The rule is expected to be taken to the board for final approval in February.

Key requirements being considered for final approval will include the following:

● New installations meeting the most recent EPA air quality standards;

● Seller/dealer giving notice of state rule to a buyer and mailing a signed notice to IDEM;

● Wood boilers not being used during June, July and August if a neighboring residence is less than 300 feet away; and

● Smoke stacks being 5 feet higher than any neighboring occupied building within 150 feet, but not having to be higher than 22 feet.

If adopted, IDEM officials said there will be a grace period for sellers and dealers, and the stack height requirements would become effective Aug. 31.

"I encourage residents who use outdoor wood furnaces to contact IDEM and get the information they need to do in-depth research on the regulations being considered," Boots said. "Then, if they have concerns about the new requirements, they can utilize the comment period to voice their opinions."

For more information, including an EPA list of cleaner hydronic heaters or IDEM's proposed regulations, visit www.in.gov/idem/6507.htm or call 1-800-451-6027.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

September 22, 2010

Zoning, wood burning requests come before council

By Brielle Schaeffer | Peninsula Clarion

Story last updated at 9/22/2010

Another Kenai resident, Carolyn Unger, who lives in the Woodland subdivision, presented to the council regarding another zoning request.

"I'm here to ask you to make an ordinance restricting where outdoor wood burning boiler furnaces are allowed," she said.

She said she was trying to enjoy a nice morning outside her house when the discharge from a neighbor's outdoor wood burning boiler furnace disrupted her day.

The emissions of these types of furnaces are toxic and can be harmful to humans and animals, Unger said.

She asked the council to consider regulation on these furnaces, like not allowing them on lots less than 80,000 square feet or any closer than 300 to 500 feet from a neighboring residence.

The council directed city administration to look into these citizens' requests.

Brielle Schaeffer can be reached at brielle.schaeffer@peninsulaclarion.com.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

September 22, 2010

Fairbanks borough pays to swap old wood stoves

by The Associated Press  1:42 a.m. AKDT,

September 22, 2010

FAIRBANKS, Alaska —

About a dozen people in the Fairbanks North Star Borough have taken advantage of a program to trade in wood stoves and outdoor wood boilers for upgraded versions.

The borough is spending a $1 million federal grant to help residents swap out the stoves and boilers for heating systems that emit less air pollution.

The Environmental Protection Agency determined that air in the borough's more populated areas violates federal standards for fine particulate matter.

Burning wood was the biggest contributor to the particulate problem.

The borough is paying $1,500 to qualified applicants willing to swap old wood stoves and $6,000 for hydronic heaters, also known as outdoor wood boilers.

About 150 more applications are pending.

Full Article: CLICK HERE


September 21, 2010

Fairbanks borough's wood stove exchange program is gathering steam

by Amanda Bohman / abohman@newsminer.com

September 21, 2010

 

FAIRBANKS — Chris Nickel bought an outdoor wood boiler two years ago to save money on home heating oil, but it wound up being more trouble than he had anticipated.

The appliance devoured 30 cords of wood each winter. Nickel, a salesman with a 4,000-square-foot house off of Hurst Road, said he slaved to keep it fed. When the wood ran out last winter and Nickel resorted to coal, his two children could no longer play in the backyard because the snow was coated in soot. A few times, winds carried noxious smoke to Nickel’s neighbor.

“It would look like the neighbor’s house was pretty well smoked-in,” he said. “I never did hear from them, but I did feel real bad knowing that if he came out of his house, it would be just smoke like crazy.”

Nickel traded in the boiler, plus an old wood stove, and purchased a pellet stove. He is one of about a dozen people who have replaced their solid-fuel burning devices using a new trade-in program sponsored by the Fairbanks North Star Borough. About 150 more applications are pending.

The municipality is paying $1,500 to qualified applicants willing to swap their old wood stoves. The cash payment for trading in hydronic heaters, also known as outdoor wood boilers, is $6,000.

The borough is also helping people who want to replace their chimneys or repair stoves approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The program includes tax credits worth up to $1,500.


The borough is spending a $1 million federal grant to help residents pay for the new heating appliances.

“I don’t think we will have any problem exhausting the funds that we have,” borough Air Quality Director Glenn Miller said. “This program has been very popular. Hopefully, we can show success in this program, and we can find some additional funds.”

The program is part of a larger endeavor to improve air quality in Fairbanks. The EPA has found that the air in the borough’s more populated areas violates federal standards for fine particulate matter, known as PM 2.5, by 2014. Studies show burning wood is the biggest contributor to PM 2.5.

Retired postal worker Anne Henry said she had wanted to replace her 1970s Vermont Castings stove for years.

“It had to be fed constantly,” she said.

Henry was burning up to eight cords of wood each winter, plus she purchased heating oil to keep her 2,300-square-foot home off Badger Road warm.

Now Henry has a Blaze King stove.

“I think it’s going to be a vast improvement,” she said. “We wouldn’t have been able to do the replacement without the help.”

Pharmacy technician Pat McIntyre also traded in an old Vermont Castings for a Blaze King. He lives in a 1,700-square-foot house off of Brock Road.

“I’d have to get up in the middle of the night and re-stoke it,” McIntyre said. “I’ve been wanting to upgrade my stove for years and I have not been able to. This program made it possible.”

Miller estimates the grant will pay for the replacement of about 400 old stoves. Officials would like to take out of commission about 3,000 old stoves in the borough.

“We still have a long way to go,” Miller said.

Contact staff writer Amanda Bohman at 459-7544.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

September 20, 2010

Boilers are the Target of New Law

Published: Monday, September 20, 2010 9:51 AM EDT

By Adam Zaremski

 

The Marilla Town Board expects to pass a new law that sets forth restrictions on outdoor wood boilers. Supervisor George Gertz said it was a way to promote health and safety measures within the town.

The new guidelines focus on what can be burned, chimney heights, and setback requirements. Gertz said the board did not want them in subdivisions or in the center of town, and the proposed law stipulates that no outdoor wood boilers would be allowed on parcels less than three acres. Each structure will also need a $25 permit before being installed.

A public hearing regarding the law will be held on Oct. 14 at 7:30 p.m.

Nearly everything but a few items will be banned from being burned in the boilers. The law allows for clean wood, which is wood that has no paint or stains on it, wood pellets that come from clean wood and non-glossy papers, such as newspapers, but only to start the boiler. Anything with plastic, coal, construction materials, chemicals, rubber or waste products are not allowed.

Most of the restrictions are the same for residential or commercial wood boilers, though there are differences with the setbacks from side and rear property lines. Residential boilers will have to be 100 feet or more from the nearest side and front lines, and 150 feet from the rear property line. Those distances are increased to 200 and 300 feet, respectively, for commercial boilers. None will be allowed in front of the principal structure of the property and all will have to have a minimum chimney height of 18 feet.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

September 16, 2010

Hatfield Township raises fees for developers, wood stoves

By Bradley Schlegel

Published: Thursday, September 16, 2010

 

Residents installing a wood burning stove are now required to pay an initial $60 fee, according to the manager. He said the charge would be required to make sure it is installed per the manufacturer's requirements and that the required setbacks are maintained.

An annual $25 fee is also required, Haines said.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

September 16, 2010

Hamden residents speak up about outdoor wood furnaces

By Ann DeMatteo

Published: Thursday, September 16, 2010

 

HAMDEN — A half-dozen residents spoke to the Planning and Zoning Commission Tuesday night about the effects of outdoor wood-burning furnaces, the majority of them saying that banning them outright was not a good idea.

As a result, the commission tabled an amendment to ban the backyard devices for further study on the topic.

The commission will review the matter Sept. 28.

The issue was before the commission because Nancy Alderman of North Haven, president of Environment and Human Health Inc., had approached Commissioner Ann Altman about why Hamden should ban the furnaces.

As a result, town planners put together an amendment to the zoning regulations that would govern the outdoor heating systems.

Environment and Human Health Inc. has been trying to get the wood-burning furnaces banned statewide because its proposed legislation failed at the General Assembly.

So far, 11 communities, including Cheshire, have banned outdoor wood-burning furnaces.

Because the smoke rises through a cooler pipe, the smoke hangs in a low plume for a half-mile and takes hours to dissipate, Alderman said.

The particulates can be carcinogenic and waft through nearby doors and windows.

Statewide, there have been 1,125 complaints about the outdoor furnaces and people have gotten sick from the smoke, according to the organization.

The town planning office late Tuesday received an e-mail from David McDonald, who works for Central Boiler Inc., a U.S. manufacturer of Central Boiler outdoor wood furnaces since 1984.

McDonald urged commissioners to consider that there are two sides to the story.

McDonald cited state law and other information, foremost of which was that outdoor wood-burning furnaces are already governed by state law.

“This state law already regulates placement of an outdoor wood-burning furnace in relation to all nearby residences, regulates chimney height and regulates proper fuel use,” McDonald wrote.

According to Alderman, the outdoor wood boilers are shed-like structures that heat water, which is then pumped into one or more buildings to provide heat. They emit 22 times as much smoke as indoor wood stoves, she said.

Michael Bergman of Woodstock Road said he has had an outdoor furnace for eight years, close to the yards of neighbors, and no one has complained.

He received a permit for an outbuilding from the town.

“The issue is more complicated. New ones are coming out that will burn much cleaner. There’s the issue of how high the stack is as it relates to the dispersal of exhaust in terms of complaints and health risks, and there’s the issue of what people are burning, which changes the composition of the exhaust,” Bergman said.

Resident Richard Janes said it’s too simplistic to ban the furnaces outright.

Speaking in favor of the amendment was resident Linda Mordecai. She also said the town should consider banning outdoor fire pits because they emit carcinogens, even when used properly.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

September 13, 2010

 

2 towns move to ban outdoor furnaces

By Ann DeMatteo, Assistant Metro Editor adematteo@newhavenregister.com

Published: Monday, September 13, 2010

 

Hamden and North Haven are taking steps to ban outdoor wood-burning furnaces because of their potential impact on public health and the environment.

The Hamden Planning and Zoning Commission will hold a public hearing Tuesday and then act on an amendment to the zoning regulations that would ban the furnaces. The meeting will take place at 7 p.m. in Thornton Wilder Hall of Miller Library, 2901 Dixwell Ave.

North Haven officials will present an ordinance to ban the outdoor furnaces at a town meeting to be held at 7 p.m. Sept. 28 at North Haven High School.

The North Haven-based Environment and Human Health Inc. has been in the forefront of trying to get the wood-burning furnaces banned statewide. Because a bill failed in the General Assembly this year, it is critical for towns to take action, said Nancy Alderman of North Haven, president of EHHI.

So far, Granby, Tolland, Hebron, West Hartford, South Windsor, Portland, Norfolk, Ridgefield, Cheshire, Woodbridge and Haddam have banned outdoor wood-burning furnaces. Farmers in northern Connecticut blocked the legislation, she said.

Also called an outdoor wood boiler, they are shed-like structures that heat water, which is then pumped into one or more buildings to provide heat.

The furnaces emit 22 times as much smoke as indoor wood stoves, Alderman said.

“A lot of people don’t know what they are. They are a relatively new technology,” she explained.

Assistant Town Planner Daniel W. Kops Jr. said that Hamden officials have received no complaints about the furnaces. No zoning permits have been issued either, leading officials to believe there are none yet in Hamden.

“The attempt is to eliminate a potential hazard before it becomes a hazard to the health of Hamden residents,” said Kops.

But the state Department of Environmental Protection received 214 complaints about wood smoke in North Haven from July 2005 to July 2010, according to Alderman. There have been 1,125 complaints statewide.

 

North Haven First Selectman Michael J. Freda said he has been working with Alderman, who has explained to him the “onerous aspects of the furnaces outside homes and the smoke and carcinogens in the air. We are working to bring forward this concept of banning them in North Haven. There are about six we would have to grandfather.”

Anyone who has had an outdoor wood furnance before the ordinance takes effect will have 60 days to register his furnace. Violators of the ordinance would have to pay $250 a day if they install one after the ordinance takes effect.

Hamden Planning and Zoning Commissioner Ann Altman asked the planning and zoning staff to create a zoning amendment that would ban the furnaces. Altman said that Alderman called her attention to the “serious health hazards of outdoor wood-burning furnaces. I agreed to work towards getting these furnaces banned in Hamden.”

Because the smoke rises through a cooler pipe, the smoke hangs in a low plume for a half-mile and takes hours to dissipate, Alderman said. “The particulates are so small that doors and windows (of nearby homes) can’t keep them out,” she said.

Alderman said she knows of people in the state who have gotten sick from the wood smoke. Symptoms include sore throat, burning eyes, bronchitis and asthma. Over a longer period, the emissions can be carcinogenic and can affect the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. “The particulates are so small that they go deep into the lungs,” Alderman said.

“It is so important for the towns to do this to protect property values as well as people,” she said.

The American Lung Association of New England supports restrictions that would better protect those who live in the vicinity of the furnaces, according to Alderman. The Quinnipiack Valley Health District is endorsing Hamden’s amendment, Kops said.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

September 13, 2010 (opinion)

 

Sickened by fumes from wood boiler

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2010

 

I applaud Scott Santarella`s recent letter to the Times about outdoor wood boilers. Our neighbor has one, which runs year-round. My husband and I were each sick twice this spring with bronchitis and pneumonia. I am convinced it was because of the terrible fumes and smoke we were forced to breathe in day after day, night after night, from the outdoor wood boiler. We would open our windows at night, only to wake up later smelling those awful fumes and have to close the windows. Sometimes, when we were sleeping, we didn't realize we were breathing in the fumes until it was too late, and our respiratory systems would be in shambles.

We are people who love the outdoors and try to spend as much time outdoors as we can; however, we cannot do this anymore because our prevailing wind comes from our neighbor's direction three-quarters of the year. One morning I was trying to have my coffee on our porch, but had to come in because of the fumes.

It became unbearable during the hot and humid weather when we couldn't open our windows, and we had to suffer in the heat. It's not fair that we can do nothing while our health suffers.

I do hope some rules and regulations are put in place, and that they are enforced.

Sally L Huillier

Brownville

Full Article: CLICK HERE

September 9, 2010

Outdoor stoves are discussed

September 9, 2010 

By: WLKM Radio, 95.9

The subject of outdoor wood-burning stoves drew a fair amount of discussion Tuesday by Three Rivers municipal officials.

During talks centering on modifications to the city’s zoning ordinance, the matter of the outdoor stoves was raised. Mayor Al Balog and commissioners agreed a ban may be too strong of a measure, but regulations of some form may be warranted, they concurred.

Fire Chief Dan Tomlinson addressed commissioners and said according to information he has collected, wood-burning furnaces are cited as the top source of air-quality complaints, according to the Department of Natural Resources and Environment.

Enforcing air-quality standards would be a difficult task, he said.

Ordinances regarding wood-burners in other communities will be researched and a report is expected to be delivered later.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

September 8, 2010

Gun Plain Township restricts outdoor furnaces

By Daniel Pepper

Interim Editor

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 1:47 PM EDT

 

Gun Plain Township has decided to restrict outdoor furnaces to only the less-densely populated parts of the township.

Township board members voted at their Thursday, Sept. 2, regular meeting to approve an ordinance to that effect, which was passed by the planning commission.

Supervisor Mike VanDen-Berg said the intent was to keep the outdoor furnaces only in areas where they wouldn’t bother neighbors. The furnaces usually heat homes with hot water by burning wood and create a particulate that can hang in the air more than a conventional wood furnace.

“Basically, they can’t have them in the front yard,” VanDenBerg said. “This puts a little bit more of a control on where they can do it.”

The outdoor furnaces are allowed on land that is zoned agricultural or R-1, or that is zoned R-2 and is larger than five acres. The R-designations in the township zoning runs from R-1, low density residential, to R-3, high density residential.

“We have a lot that are R-2, but they’re more than five acres,” he said. “We figured that with that amount of land, it wouldn’t bother anyone.”

Township clerk Marty Meert asked why there had been a change in the original proposal.

“Why did they agree to have it in R-2?” Meert said.

VanDenBerg said he’d been behind that.

“We weren’t, but I pushed for R-2 because there are so many parcels in the township,” he said. “Some are up to 60 to 70 acres and why should we restrict them when they don’t have neighbors to bother?

“The main thing we wanted was to keep it out of R-3.”

VanDenBerg said it would be allowed in the majority of the township, because the R-3 zone only amounts to some areas near the City of Plainwell.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

September 8, 2010

Norwalk outdoor furnace talks put on the front burner

By: Annie Zelm

September 8, 2010

 

After a heated discussion, the city will likely regulate outdoor furnaces, but it won't ban them altogether. Norwalk Council on Tuesday discussed three proposals on the subject, but only two remain under consideration after a third failed.

One of the remaining proposals would allow the furnaces — basically wood burners that heat a home's interior from outside — to be built within the city if they meet certain specifications. Another proposal still on the table would ban the wood burners from being installed in the future but would make an exception for existing ones as long as they meet the standards.

The proposals can still be changed, tabled or turned down.

An outdoor furnace dealer said a ban would be an attack on his business, while a Norwalk resident who was affected by a neighbor's wood burner said the smoke often would make its way into his house.

Councilman Shane Penrose pointed to data from the Wisconsin Department of Health and Human Services that showed the type of smoke created by outdoor furnaces is different and can aggravate health problems such as asthma.

Although the department doesn't suggest banning them, it says the furnaces should be heavily restricted and are more appropriate for rural areas because of the required distance from neighboring houses.

Council plans to discuss two of the ordinances at its next work session.

Full Article CLICK HERE

September 6, 2010

Wood stoves a hot issue for some

By: Carleta Weyrich, The People’s Defender

September 6, 2010

 

With a growing demand for outdoor wood-fired boilers and increasing complaints from neighbors who live near operating units, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has drafted rules to regulate the boilers.

Outdoor wood-fired boilers are furnaces designed to heat an entire home. They are bulk-loaded with wood that is burned, and the heat is transferred through a firebox surface to a surrounding water reservoir. The water is then piped through the rooms for heat. What OEPA hopes to regulate is the smoke coming from the chimney of the boilers.

"These rules are preliminary," Linda Fee Oros, a spokesperson for OEPA, said Tuesday. "We put the drafted rules out for comment. We have received a lot of comments, and we are evaluating them. After making adjustments, we will re-issue a proposed rule. There will be another comment period and a public forum. We hope to have the final rule in place by the end of summer."

Highlights of the preliminary rules are:

• Establishes requirements for acceptable fuels such as "clean wood" that does not have paint, stains or other types of coatings, and wood that has not been treated.

• Two phases of emissions testing: phase I limits emissions from boiler smoke stacks to .44-pound of particulate per million BTU, effective six months after the effective date of the approved rules; phase II limits emissions to .32-pound of particulate per million BTU, and would become effective on July 1, 2010. (One BTU equals the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water from 59 degrees Fahrenheit to 60 degrees at a constant pressure).

• Installation of the boilers would have to be no less than 200 feet from a property line.

• A permanent smoke stack would have to extend at least five feet higher than the peak of any roof structure located within 150 feet of the boiler.

• No boiler could be used from April 15 to Sept. 13 of any year, unless the boiler is certified to meet the emission limits.

• If an existing and installed boiler in a restricted area does not meet the emissions standards, setback and stack height requirements, it would have to be removed or rendered inoperable by July 1, 2010.

(Restricted area means within the boundary of any municipal corporation, plus a zone extending 1,000 feet beyond the boundaries for populations of 1,00 to 10,000 or a zone extending one mile beyond the municipality if it has a population of 10,000 or more).

• In unrestricted areas (any area outside a restricted area), the boilers would have to meet the setback and stack height requirements or be removed or rendered inoperable by July 1, 2015.

Citizens interested in commenting on the proposed rules should contact the OEPA Public Interest Center by sending a letter to P.O. Box 1049, 50 West Town Street, Suite 700, Columbus, Ohio 43216-1049; or by calling 614-644-2160.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

September 5, 2010 (opinion)

 

Restrict wood boilers

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 5, 2010

 

Now that the public hearing process has concluded, it's time for the Department of Environmental Conservation to swiftly adopt their proposed rules to restrict the use of outdoor wood boilers so north county residents can breathe easier. Further delay in implementing reasonable stack requirements and setback limits would be a terrible mistake that would adversely affect public health. The emissions from outdoor wood boilers create dirty pollutant-laden air that hinders people's ability to breathe and can cause serious health problems. These proposed regulations would improve air quality and go a long way toward protecting New Yorkers' health.

With the winter months quickly approaching, many New Yorkers who live close to outdoor wood boilers will suffer through another winter breathing in unhealthy air pollution. While some municipalities have chosen to regulate the devices on the local level, others have chosen to hold off on local action in anticipation of a statewide rule.

According to the Lung Association's 2010 State of the Air Report, more than 12 million New Yorkers live in counties where unhealthy air threatens their lives and health. It's time for all New Yorkers to be granted some protection and relief from the pollution caused by outdoor wood boilers. For the millions of New Yorkers with lung disease, that relief can't come soon enough.

Scott T. Santarella

Albany

The writer is president and CEO, American Lung Association in New York.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

September 2, 2010

State drafting 1st rule on wood boilers

Niki Kelly | The Journal Gazette

September 2, 2010

INDIANAPOLIS – After five years of intense debate and discussion, the state’s first rule regulating outdoor wood boilers got initial approval Wednesday from the Indiana Air Pollution Control Board.

Another public comment period is planned for October, with possible final adoption in February. The rule wouldn’t take effect until mid-2011.

Almost 8,000 outdoor wood boilers – also known as hydronic heaters – dot the Indiana landscape, providing a cheaper alternative for heating homes and water. But state environmental officials said they also bring health hazards and can be a nuisance for nearby neighbors.

More than 700 comments on the rule have poured into state offices this year alone.

During Wednesday’s public hearing, people spoke both for and against the rule, calling it either too harsh or too lenient.

“This seems more like embracing than regulating,” said James Donnelly of LaPorte. He said his family has not been able to enjoy their home since their neighbor installed his own heater.

Outdoor wood boilers consist of a firebox near a house. Some sit inside a shed-like structure, while newer units can stand alone.

Wood is burned 24 hours a day and is used to heat both the water and home through pipes that run below ground to the house. The boiler can also be used to heat other buildings, swimming pools and hot tubs.

For Hoosiers with an abundant wood supply, the cost savings can be significant. But state air-quality officials said the devices can emit enough particulate matter to exceed public health standards. This can have short-term and long-term health effects on residents – especially children, older adults and those with asthma or other breathing difficulties.

Frank Moore, president of Hardy Manufacturing Co. in Mississippi, which makes the boilers, said the Indiana Department of Environmental Management should wait until federal standards are issued. He said the rules could increase the cost of the heaters and put them out of reach for many consumers.

“I think we need to take this one step at a time,” he said.

There are three major provisions to the rule. Two of them would become effective when the rule does next year if it is given final approval.

The first limits emissions by requiring that new units bought or installed be certified through the federal Voluntary Outdoor Hydronic Heater program. Cost increase can be $3,500 a unit, according to IDEM.

The second requires a higher stack on existing units so that smoke can clear neighboring homes within 150 feet. Essentially, the stack has to be 5 feet higher than the peak of the roof of the nearby occupied building. But there is a maximum stack height of 22 feet.

This part of the rule would have a compliance date of Aug. 31, 2011.

The third is a summertime ban on operating existing units if they are within 300 feet of an occupied building on neighboring land.

The ban runs from June 1 to Aug. 31 – a time when neighbors often have windows open or children play outside.

 

Full Article: CLICK HERE

September 2, 2010

Debate will continue over wood boiler rules

September 2, 2010

BY GITTE LAASBY, (219) 648-2183

 

Another public comment period will be necessary before officials can adopt rules for use of outdoor wood-fired boilers. That means Indiana's first state-wide rules may not be adopted until February.

The Indiana Air Pollution Control Board voted unanimously Wednesday to preliminarily adopt Indiana's first state-wide rules. But so many changes have been made since the last draft that a new comment period will be needed.

Wood-fired boilers, or hydronic heaters, are freestanding appliances that look like a small shed with a short smoke stack. Through underground pipes, they burn wood or fuel to heat or provide hot water for homes and other structures.

Air pollution from the units are a concern because it contains carcinogens, and soot that can aggravate asthma, other respiratory illnesses, lung disease and cardiovascular diseases. Older adults, people with heart- and lung disease and children are sensitive to soot pollution.

The proposed rules will require new units to burn cleaner and emit less soot, but the time period that the units can be used will be longer than critics hoped.

Environmentalists and neighbors wanted a nuisance provision to limit bothersome smoke, but that was not in the rules that the state Department of Environmental Management proposed.

"IDEM has not included nuisance provisions because they are difficult and costly to enforce. While they sound like a great idea, in practice, they tend to be subjective and are too difficult to implement," IDEM said in response to comments submitted.

In a previous draft, IDEM suggested banning operation of the units from May through September, which coincides with open burning laws. But in the latest draft, IDEM shortened the ban period to June through August.

"To address this concern with heating needs, especially for the elderly, IDEM is proposing to change the dates," IDEM said in response to comments from residents. "IDEM understands that this will lessen the relief that some people need because they are impacted by nearby units, but this is a statewide rule and other requirements in the rule will help."

Jodi Perras, executive director of Improving Kids' Environment, said her organization had two main concerns about the proposed rules, including the shortened summer-time ban.

"May through September... people ought to have an alternative source if they need the heat in those months. You're right in the middle of ozone season and air quality is already bad," she said. "Indiana air quality is bad enough year round. Particulates, which is a concern for me, is a problem in the winter and summer, but in May through September, we've got some more air quality problems in Indiana."

IKE's second issue is that while IDEM maintained that a stack must be five feet taller than a neighbor's building to ensure that smoke is dispersed, the agency added a 22-foot maximum.

"IDEM's saying their 22 feet is enough for a one-story house, but they're assuming everything's flat," Perras said. "An arbitrary 22 feet, there's no basis for it."

The rulemaking has been underway since 2005. IDEM spokeswoman Amy Hartsock said a third public comment period is tentatively scheduled for October. She said a public hearing followed by another vote of the Air Pollution Control Board could happen in February 2011.

 

Inset of Article

 

Proposed new rules

Here's the skinny on the proposed new rules for wood-burning boilers or hydronic heaters:

 New units would need to be certified to meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's emission limit of 0.32 lbs/MMBtu heat output.

Existing units located within 150 feet of an occupied building, but not located on the same property as the unit, would need to have a stack height at least 5 feet taller than the peak of the roof of the occupied building. Maximum height is 22 feet.

A summertime ban will prevent people from operating existing units located within 300 feet of an occupied building (not on the same property) from June 1 through August 31. Units more than 300 feet away from an occupied building on another property, and units that meet EPA's new air pollution standards, can operate year-round.

All outdoor heaters must burn clean wood or other approved fuel, and meet a 20-percent opacity limit.

(Source: Indiana Department of Environmental Management.)

Full Article: CLICK HERE

September 1, 2010

Indiana panel gives preliminary OK to state's first restrictions on wood-fired boilers

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS 

First Posted: September 01, 2010 - 4:03 pm

INDIANAPOLIS — A state panel has given its preliminary approval to Indiana's first restrictions on outdoor wood-burning furnaces used to heat homes and water.

Members of the state Air Pollution Control Board unanimously endorsed the rules Wednesday for wood boilers used by an estimated 8,000 Indiana residents. The panel could give its final approval in February.

These rules are intended to protect residents from irritating clouds of smoke older wood boilers can release. Among other provisions, they would ban the use of those older units in June, July and August if an occupied residence is less than 300 feet away.

Activist Jodi Perras of Improving Kids' Environment says the rules give Indiana the power to help residents who are "being smoked out" by a neighbor's boiler.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

September 1, 2010 (Canada)

Wood Burning Furnace Sparks Grass Fire

Written by Ministry of Natural Resources   

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010 - 04:04:32

 

An Ontario man has been fined $150 and has been ordered to pay $2,500 toward fire suppression costs after his wood-burning furnace sparked a grass fire.

Dean Kellar of Dance Township pleaded guilty to using a wood-burning furnace outdoors outside a restricted fire zone when conditions were not safe to operate.

The court heard that on April 13, 2010, Kellar was working in his garage when he noticed that the shed containing his wood-burning furnace had caught fire. The flames were spreading to surrounding grass and structures. A neighbour reported the fire to the Ministry of Natural Resources Fort Frances District office. Ministry fire crews were dispatched and were able to control the blaze before it reached any homes. The only building lost to the fire was the one nearest the wood-burning furnace.

A Ministry of Natural Resources conservation officer at the scene determined that the wood-burning furnace was the cause of the fire. It was also within five metres of a forested area and within two metres of flammable materials. The furnace did not have a spark arrestor.

Justice of the Peace Pat Clysdale-Cornell heard the case in the Ontario Court of Justice, Fort Frances, on August 13, 2010.

The best protection against loss, damage or injury due to wildfire is prevention. Don't be the cause of a wildfire. Check out the Home Owner's FireSmart Manual.

To report a natural resources violation, call 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667) toll-free any time or contact your local ministry office during regular business hours. You can also call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

Full Article: CLICK HERE

August 25, 2010

Norwalk council considers regulating fire pits, outdoor wood burners

By Annie Zelm

Created 08/25/2010

 

Outdoor furnaces are already rare in most cities, but they could soon become a thing of the past in Norwalk.

City council debated legislation on Tuesday that regulates the furnaces in varying degrees — from banning them altogether to allowing them under certain conditions.

An outdoor furnace is any device requiring solid fuel — including fire pits and outdoor wood burners — that supplies heat to a house.

The smoke and other emissions from those structures can pose a health hazard because of the smoke and other emissions, officials said.

Norwalk safety services director Linda Hebert said the city received complaints related to four exterior furnaces in the past two years, and at least one or two still exist today.

The city imposed a moratorium on the furnaces in 2008, which is set to expire this year. Although the EPA issued guidelines on exterior furnaces, it does not provide any uniform regulations to municipalities, Hebert said.

The regulations are only likely to affect a few residents, and some council members said the city should ban the furnaces altogether so there's no confusion.

Council member Shane Penrose recommended council look closely at an ordinance that bans their installation but would not apply to furnaces already in place. Violators could be subject to a fine of up to $500 or 60 days in jail, according to that ordinance.

"It is a different smoke, and it can do a lot of damage," Penrose said. "I think we need to send a clear message: They are not designed for use in the city."

Other council members, including Dwight Tkach and Scott Krichbaum, said they didn't like the idea of banning outdoor furnaces entirely.

The regulations proposed in the other ordinances — requiring them to be no closer than 75 feet from property lines and at least 300 feet from another house, for instance — would prohibit most residents from having them anyway, they pointed out.

Other council members questioned how any of the ordinances could be enforced.

Norwalk law director Stuart O'Hara said the problem could be dealt with as a nuisance complaint from neighbors if the outdoor furnaces emit a noxious odor or cause visibility problems.

But unless neighbors could prove someone is burning an illegal item, such as rubber, he said officials would need a search warrant to enter the property.

Fire officials said the furnaces aren't a fire hazard if they're used properly — most of the calls the fire department receives involve neighbors burning waste.

Council plans to consider all three ordinances at its next meeting, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Sept. 7.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

August 17, 2010

Much fire over smoke: Comment on outdoor wood-burner rules slows decision

Published: Tuesday, August 17, 2010

By WILLIAM J. KEMBLE
Correspondent

 

ALBANY — A state Department of Environmental Conservation spokeswoman Monday said reviews of about 2,000 comments on proposed rules governing outdoor wood-burning boilers could mean the issue remains unsettled through April 2011.

Spokeswoman Lori Severino during a telephone interview noted there was no shortage of concern on both sides.

“Some things we get no comments on what’s proposed, some will get a handful, some will get a few hundred, and once it’s over 1,000 it’s considered a lot,” she said.

Severino said another round of public hearings could be set if significant changes are made in the proposed rules.

“When we did the open burning proposal they reissued it with the changes and it’s possible that could happen again with this one where they make some changes to what was initially proposed,” she said.

Severino said state Department of Environmental Conservation review processes have not been slowed by budget constraints but that could change under recent state retirement incentive offerings.

New York Farm Bureau officials in June were among several groups waging a campaign against the proposed regulations on stack heights, setback limits, and months of use for outdoor wood-burning boilers. They estimate it will cost about $200 per four-foot section to meet proposed state regulations that would have a minimum 18-foot stack height.

Under the proposal there boiler stacks would have to be a minimum of 2 feet above the peak of any roof of a structure located within 150 feet of the boiler.

Regulations would prohibit use of boilers between April 15 to Sept. 30 in the Hudson Valley and between May 15 to Aug. 31 for Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Oneida, Oswego, St. Lawrence, Saratoga, Warren and Washington counties.

Local laws regulating outdoor wood-burning boilers have been adopted in Hurley and Rosendale, where officials responded to complaints that the units had been creating health concerns for neighbors.

However, officials in other towns have been waiting for state action to avoid developing regulations that would have to be enforced while budgets are tight. In Catskill, discussions between neighbors was encouraged during a recent public hearing.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

August 10, 2010

.Skyview Drive-In owner seeks change in outdoor burning law

Council member wants to re-examine law allowing outdoor burning

BY JOE GIESSLER  The Eagle-Gazette Staff

August 10, 2010

LANCASTER -- The owner of a local historic business implored city leaders to re-examine a law that permits the use of outdoor wood-fired furnaces.

Skyview Drive-In owner Walt Effinger, who addressed the City Council at its meeting on Monday, said the smoke from a nearby outdoor boiler is creating thick smoke and making his customers sick. He called the Lancaster Fire Department during the most recent incident on Friday.

"The smoke was so thick, you could not even hardly see the picture on my screen," he told the council. "I just hope the council finds a way to regulate this and hopefully here soon. If we lose customers, we'll lose our business and Lancaster will lose an American icon."

The Lancaster Fire Department responded to the 2400 block of East Main Street at 9:14 p.m. Friday. According to the report, fire officials found an unattended wood burner behind a residence causing a "large amount of smoke." There was wood and coal inside the burner, according to the report.

An excerpt from the report's narrative reads, "We then drove past the drive-in to see how bad it was, and you could not drive by (without) wanting to put your windows up."

Lancaster Fire Assistant Chief Dave Ward, who was at the council meeting, said the issue was out of the department's hands.

"The wood boilers are an (Environmental Protection Agency) issue, not a fire department issue," he said.

The council initially debated the issue of outdoor wood-fired furnaces in the fall of 2009. A change to the law, which would have prohibited the installation or use of an outdoor wood-fired furnace within the city limits, was withdrawn in an October meeting.

There are three new council members who were voted in after the proposed law change was dropped. Among them is Councilwoman Wendy Garbrandt, R-5th Ward, who said she would like the law re-examined and potentially changed.

"We need to figure out something where these (furnaces) are not providing a nuisance to neighbors or businesses," Garbrandt said.

Council President Ken Culver, D, suggested the issue be addressed by the law committee, which also reviewed the issue last fall.

Law Director Terre Vandervoort said she feels the law committee has discussed the issue, completed the research and would come to the same conclusion.

I respectfully feel this is council's decision," Vandervoort said. "This council can either regulate them or you don't."

She added that if the council chooses to regulate either the furnaces or what can be burned in the heaters, a decision must also be made on who will enforce the changes.

The Law Committee agreed to review Effinger's concerns and consider recommending a revision of the current law.

The next meeting of the Law Committee will be 4 p.m. Aug. 18 at the Law Director's Conference Room, 123 E. Chestnut St.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

August 8, 2010

Smoke regs ahead

Hamilton Twp. residents urged to testify at state hearing on outdoor furnaces.

By MELODY ASPER For The Evening Sun

Posted: 08/08/2010 01:00:00 AM EDT

 

While Hamilton Township has asked the state for help in dealing with smoke from outdoor wood-fired furnaces, a lawmaker says township residents might be able to help the state decide what regulations to put in place.

State Rep. Will Tallman, R-Reading Township, appeared this week before Hamilton Township supervisors to alert residents about a hearing to be held Thursday, Aug. 19 in Harrisburg. On that day, at the state Department of Education building on Market Street, the Independent Regulatory Review Commission will hear comments from citizens ahead of its recommending rules governing all outdoor woodstoves.

"You folks in Hamilton Township are going to have a unique opportunity to influence regulations that are just in the process of being made," Tallman said. " (The state Department of Environmental Protection) is currently working on regulations which will strictly regulate outdoor wood furnaces and they want to hear from you."

Currently, DEP has no laws on its books governing outdoor furnaces, Tallman said. And township officials have expressed frustration in the past that their pleas for state help in dealing complaints about furnaces in the township have gone unanswered.

Tallman said that it is important for concerned residents to write letters voicing their concerns about outdoor wood fired furnaces, and any problems they might have had with them. The deadline for submissions in Aug. 18, he said.

Last month, the issue of wood-fired furnaces brought more than 50 residents to the supervisors' meeting to voice concerns about smoke in the area of Gun Club Road, which some residents have taken to calling "Smoky Hollow."

Residents say outdoor furnaces on properties owned by David Lease are used to burn trash and other debris rather than clean wood, resulting in "injurious and noxious" smoke. The residents say the furnaces are used year-round to supply heated water to several apartments. At Monday's meeting several residents presented a large poster filled with 11 photos showing an intense smoky barrier billowing around homes on Gun Club Road. The fronts of the homes could barely be seen through the smoke.

Dan Diehl, 125 Gun Club Road, who said he lives right across the road from the furnaces, commented on the photo display.

"The pictures don't do it justice," said Diehl. "I can see a house in those pictures and I can't see the house sometimes because of the smoke."

eith Trainee, who said he has lived at 120 Gun Club Road for 19 years, agreed with Diehl.

"It's appalling. When you drive down the road you think you have entered a thick dark fog, but it's not fog it's smoke," said Trainee. "In the morning the smoke is so thick you can't see the back of the school buses and you can't see the kids getting on the buses."

Several other residents also spoke at Monday's meeting. However, not everyone agreed with the assessment of the majority of the audience.

Carole Englebert, 170 Gun Club Road, is a tenant in one of Lease's apartments and lives next door to the furnaces. Englebert said that although she and a nephew who lives with her are severe asthmatics, they have never been bothered by the smoke.

"It's not affecting us and we spend a lot of time outdoors," said Englebert. "I don't see what the issue is. And who can say what direction this smoke (on the photos) is coming from?

Township zoning officer Ron Balutis said, however, that the photographs made it readily apparent that the smoke was coming from Lease's outdoor furnace chimney.

"I have had numerous complaints about the smoke and in following up on those complaints I have been in many homes on Gun Club Road," Balutis said. "I have stood in the living room of those homes and couldn't see the couch because the smoke was so thick inside the house."

After hearing more residents complaints, Tallman said it would be to the advantage of anyone affected send letters immediately so they can be considered prior to any regulations being instated.

The state has been working on producing regulations for outdoor wood stoves since November 2009, said Tallman, and presently has a 180-page document that will be part of the evidence presented at the IRRC hearing.

Residents can also sign up to be on the agenda to speak at the 10 a.m. hearing, but because it likely will be well-attended, it might be best for groups to appoint just one or two spokesmen.

Tallman said it's more important for interested residents to provide the IRRC with written comments and photos to be considered at the hearing. Those written comments must be received by Wednesday, Aug. 18.

David Lease said he will be writing to the IRRC, too, and hopes to attend the meeting to register his comments with the board.

"I am concerned with what new laws will be going into effect and I am willing to comply," Lease said. "I am ready to clean the water, the air, whatever needs to be done -- but then I would like to see every housetop with a chimney to be capped off. What is fair for one should be fair for all."

IF YOU GO

What: Independent Regulatory Review Commission hearing on outdoor wood-fired boilers

When: Thursday, Aug. 19, 10 a.m.

Where: Pennsylvania Department of Education building, 333 Market St., 14th floor, Harrisburg

To testify: Prior registration is required. Write to Environmental Quality Board, DEP-IRRC outdoor wood fired boiler review, P.O. Box 8477, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8477 or call IRRC contacts Michele Tate or Randall Adams at (717) 783-8727.

TO SUBMIT LETTERS

Anyone wishing to send comments or pictures to be considered at the hearing should send them to Environmental Quality Board, DEP-IRRC outdoor wood fired boiler review, P.O. Box 8477, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8477, or by e-mail at: regcomments@state.pa.us.

All comments must be received by Wednesday, Aug. 18, and will appear on the Independent Regulatory Review Commission's website: www.irrc.state.pa.us.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

August 2, 2010 (opinion)

Private property rights extend to the air

by Dermot Cole

Fairbanks Daily News

 

August 2, 2010

 

The claim that prohibiting the borough from dealing with wood smoke is going to force the state to battle the Environmental Protection Agency makes no sense.

Rep. Tammie Wilson led the charge to get a measure on the borough ballot in October that says, “The borough shall not ban, prohibit, or fine residents for the use of home heating devices.”

Wilson’s group, called “North Star Land Owners,”  contends, “A property owner should retain the right to heat one’s dwelling in the most reasonable or affordable manner as determined by the property owner.”

Wilson wants no regulations or rules on how homes are heated, arguing that this is government at its worst.


The problem here is that Wilson and the North Star Land Owners don’t recognize that the “right to heat one’s dwelling,” may conflict with the right of someone else to breathe clean air. 

Instead, they say, “The concern for air quality is subordinate to the need for warmth.”

It is a disservice to oversimplify this debate and say we can either heat our homes while inhaling smoke or freeze to death while inhaling fresh air. 

This is not the North Star Land Owners vs. the North Star Air Breathers.

If the fumes from your outdoor wood boiler are making it impossible for some other property owner to enjoy his or her property, there should be a mechanism to balance these competing interests.  That’s what the ordinance the borough assembly approved is all about. It is not the draconian measure Wilson is making it out to be.

If Wilson’s plan is approved, your next door neighbor would be free, as far as the borough is concerned, to burn railroad ties, used motor oil, garbage, tires, or put out enough smoke to turn the neighborhood into a smokehouse.

 

It’s not good public policy to declare that the “right to heat one’s dwelling” is the only issue at stake.


It would be like saying that any rules or regulations on the location of septic tanks and wells are inappropriate because property owners should be free to get water into and out of their houses in any way they see fit. To protect the public health, we have regulations in place.

With the stagnant air over much of Fairbanks, the air pollution question is also one that transcends property lines and requires a balanced approach.

The idea behind Wilson’s initiative campaign seems to be that if we declare ourselves powerless to do anything about wood smoke pollution, the state will step in and all Alaskans will rise up in horror at the prospect that a state agency would demand that people in Fairbanks use dry wood. The Legislature and governor would then fight the feds to prevent anyone from trying to clean the air in Fairbanks.

Rick VanderKolk, who works as “policy director” in Wilson’s legislative office, says “The state needs to fight the EPA on our behalf."

Perhaps Wilson, along with Rep. Jay Ramras and other legislators who are claiming “the state will fight the feds,” have received a promise from the major candidates for governor that they would act that way? Don’t hold your breath.


What’s more likely is that a majority of the Legislature, backed by the governor, would never put federal road funding for the rest of the state at risk because of  what would appear to be a refusal by Fairbanks to take even the most modest steps to support clean air.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

August 2, 2010

 

Ban on outdoor wood boilers in Londonderry Twp. to continue

Published: Monday, August 02, 2010, 9:44 PM

By: BARBARA MILLER, The Patriot-News

 

The ban on new outdoor wood boilers that Londonderry Twp. imposed last spring will be permanent, the supervisors said Monday night.

In March, the supervisors imposed a ban until fall, which would allow time for developing an ordinance based on state and federal regulations. With state and federal laws on the boilers still not in place, the township planning commission decided it wants the ban to continue indefinitely, said Peter Henninger, township solicitor.

The planners voted 3-0 for the ban, even though one had a relative with an outdoor wood boiler, Henninger said. The biggest concern was controlling what people burn in them, Henninger said, plus the fact that they issue the highest level of pollutants of any heating system.

Existing outdoor wood boilers are grandfathered and may remain in place, Henninger said. Jim Foreman, township code enforcement officer, said he knows of at least three in the township. The locations of outdoor wood furnaces will be mapped for the township, said Steve Letavic, township manager.

The boilers burn wood at low temperatures in a shedlike structure, heating water that is piped into a home for heat and hot water. Neighboring Conewago Twp. is also considering a ban.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

July 30, 2010

Boiler ordinance concerns Lower Moreland resident

Published: Friday, July 30, 2010

By Jesse Reilly
Staff Writer

Even though the township passed an ordinance regulating outdoor wood-burning boilers, Lower Moreland resident Len Gelman said the board’s decision does nothing to alleviate the issues his family is facing.

“What good is a law when it doesn’t solve a problem,” he asked two weeks after it was passed.

Although the ordinance requires Frank Gil, his neighbor and operator of the boiler, to comply with parts of the ordinance, Gelman said it doesn’t stop the smoke from affecting his family.

“This does nothing for me,” he said. “I was hoping the board would understand the grave health affects associated with this and they would understand but they didn’t.”

Boilers that were installed prior to the passage of the ordinance must comply with several parts of the ordinance — they cannot only be operated between May 1 and Sept. 1, only seasoned wood can be burned in the boiler and a locked fence must be erected no more than 10 feet from the boiler.

Residents looking to install a boiler would be faced with a few additional requirements including obtaining a permit and submitting to an annual maintenance check.

Outdoor wood burning boilers first came to the board’s attention in April when Gelman, and his wife, Nonna, gave an emotional account of the problems they encountered since the boiler’s installation.

“The first night we thought our house was on fire,” Gelman told the board at a meeting in the spring. “There was smoke everywhere.”

Since the first night the couple reported health issues including headaches, coughing and shortness of breath for them and their three children.

According to a handout from the Gelmans, the boiler generates smoke that “contains two tons of particulate matter per year, is so heavy that it never leaves a yard and has a rancid stench.”

Particulate matter emissions, it continued, “cause a host of health problems ranging from short-term health risks such as eye, nose, throat and lung irritation, to long-term health problems including asthma, pneumonia, heart disease and an increased risk of cancer.”

“I have a doctor’s note from my children’s pediatrician that says the symptoms they had were because of the smoke,” Gelman said, adding that about 10 days after the boiler was turned off in May, the majority of the symptoms ceased.

Because the boilers are not run during the summer months, Gelman said things are finally returning to normal for his family but his concern is that it won’t be long-lived.

“We are big time dreading September,” he said.

With what he believes is a worthless ordinance, Gelman said he is looking into a couple different ways to solve the problem.

“I am already working with the state’s Department of Environmental Protection,” he said. “They’ve been out to my house on numerous occasions and will be back once that boiler is turned back on.”

Shortly after reaching out to state Rep. Tom Murt, the legislator introduced House Bill 2596, the Outdoor Wood-Fire Boiler Act, that would provide safeguards for residents living with or near a boiler.

The proposed legislation is currently in front of the environmental resources and energy committee, Murt said, adding that he is hopeful they will consider it after Labor Day.

“I am concerned for my constituent and feel this is an issue that needs to be discerned as quickly as possible out of a concern for public health and safety,” he said.

If new regulations were to come down from the state, Bob Schadegg, the township’s zoning officer, said Lower Moreland’s ordinance could be amended or nullified.

“What would happen to this ordinance would depend on the language of the state,” he said. “It could supersede all or some of our requirements.”

Although Gelman said the device was not properly installed per the manufacturer’s regulations, Schadegg said he is confident it was.

“It required a mechanical permit because it was associated with providing heat and was installed per the manufacturer’s specifications,” he said. “Our inspection service was extremely thorough.”

But if nothing else works, Gelman said he has obtained counsel and would look into receiving injunctive relief.

“I don’t want to drag this into court because it’s expensive and emotional, but the township has hung me out to dry,” he said.

Gil did not return a call for comment.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

July 30, 2010

187 boiler gripes recorded since '01

OUTDOOR FURNACES: DEC officials say other complaints may have been filed elsewhere

By SARAH HAASE

TIMES STAFF WRITER

FRIDAY, JULY 30, 2010

During the past 10 years, the state Department of Environmental Conservation has recorded fewer than 200 complaints about outdoor wood-burning boilers.

Kassim Salih, an environmental engineer for DEC, responded to a Times freedom of information request.

He wrote in his response that a total of 187 complaints were reported throughout the state between January 2001 and May 2010 and logged by DEC.

The Times previously reported that DEC records showed that north country residents made 24 of those complaints.

DEC is developing statewide regulations for outdoor wood boilers. Included in those regulations are setback requirements, smokestack height requirements, phase-out rules and seasonal restrictions.

Stephen W. Litwhiler, DEC spokesman, said, "DEC isn't the only entity which receives complaints about outdoor wood boilers. The type of nuisance smoke that is the typical complaint is often a local issue and many people contact their municipal officials. Since there are dozens of municipalities around the state which have implemented their own outdoor wood boiler ordinances, I would say they have been receiving quite a few complaints."

DEC held a number of public hearings during June and July, and Mr. Litwhiler said the comments and letters received are now being compiled.

"Albany is now reviewing comments and is expected to be out with responses by the end of the summer," he said.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

July 29, 2010

Furnace ban approved

Published: Thursday, July 29, 2010

By JUSTIN KLOCZKO, West Hartford News

 

WEST HARTFORD – Officials are not aware of any outdoor wood-burning furnaces in town, but no such furnaces will ever be allowed within town limits after the Town Council passed a ban in a 7-2 vote Tuesday evening.

The proposal by Deputy Mayor Tim Brennan and Mayor Scott Slifka will ban outdoor-wood burning furnaces, which look like small insulated sheds that can emit carcinogenic fumes.

But in order for the ban to become law in West Hartford, the town’s planning and zoning commission will now have to approve it.

Wood-burning furnaces are regulated by the state Department of Environmental Protection and are often found in more rural parts of the state.

“I think the best approach with as dense a residential population as West Hartford is to ban them outright,” said John Bonee, a former councilor, at Tuesday’s public hearing concerning the wood-burning proposal. “There’s virtually no way to police it.”

Brennan said he is seeking to ban such furnaces after a friend of his was “smoked out” of his own home because a neighbor had an outdoor furnace.

Roger Smith, a member of the state’s Clean Energy Taskforce, said the state government hasn’t done enough to ban the furnaces. A state statute to prohibit them in 2005 died in committee.

The DEP says it is aware of the nuisance these furnaces can cause, but reminds owners that it can be used as a clean source of energy, as long as garbage or any other hazardous debris aren’t burned.

Burning dry, well-seasoned wood in an appropriate location – at least 200-feet away from any home, the DEP said, is the most effective way to use the furnaces without having them disturb neighbors.

Chris Jensen of Mainline Heating and Supply, which services 1,300 outdoor wood furnaces to Massachusetts, Rhode Island and throughout the sate, said newer, more efficient furnaces are greener and have a relatively smaller fire box than older models.

The DEP suggests using EPA-certified wood stoves, which emit 70 percent less particle pollution than models made before 1990 and are more than half as energy efficient.

“There are units now that burn cleanly that should not be banned,” Jensen said. “The new outdoor wood furnaces should not be lumped with everything else.”

Town Manager Ron Van Winkle said if the town would not ban them, then it would have to specifically regulate them, which is hard to do. It’s a tough issue for local zoning officers to enforce, Van Winkle said.

The ban does not seek to prohibit chimneys, fire pits, indoor stoves or grills.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

July 29, 2010

West Hartford Says No To Outdoor Wood Furnaces

Worries About Health Effects Of Fine Particles

July 29, 2010|By BILL LEUKHARDT, bleukhardt@courant.com

 

WEST HARTFORD — — Outdoor wood-burning furnaces are now officially banned.

By a 7-2 vote late Tuesday night, the town council passed an ordinance prohibiting outdoor wood furnaces anywhere in town because of the potential pollution and nuisance the devices can produce if not used properly. There are no outdoor furnaces now in town.

West Hartford is the 11th municipality in the state to bar these furnaces.

Republicans Denise Hall and Steve Adler opposed the ban, saying that the council had too much information to review and needed more time before making a decision that could affect some state businesses.

"This is really unnecessary regulatory enforcement," Adler said."I think we're pulling the trigger on this a little bit prematurely."

But proponents of the ban, led by Mayor Scott Slifka and Deputy Mayor Timothy Brennan, said the restriction was needed to keep furnances out. Slifka said it's important to prevent anyone from installing a device that has the potential to cloud a neighborhood with thick smoke.

"What we're going for here is an ounce of prevention," Brennan said.

Council member Rob Durbin, who supported the new ordinance, said the ban could be revisited if new technology makes outdoor furnaces a viable alternative for residents.

The vote was preceded by a two-hour hearing during which speakers argued both sides of the issue.

Roger Smith of Clean Water Action, a nonprofit statewide environmental health group, said a ban is rational for densely populated West Hartford because these furnaces can emit large amounts of unhealthful fine particles and have triggered more than 700 complaints since 2005 from state residents living near these devices.

Chris Jensen, who works for Mainline Heating & Supply in Ashford, one of the state's largest alternative energy companies, said the town didn't need to impose a ban because the new outdoor furnaces burn cleanly and that state rules would likely block any furnace installation in this dense community.

He said wood pellet-fired boilers would be his suggestion for West Harford homeowners seeking an alternative to fossil fuel.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

July 29, 2010

 

Outdoor wood boiler rules being drafted

 

Phyllis Cook, Staff reporter, Journal Press


The King George Board of Supervisors last week unanimously voted to give the go-ahead for a formal review of draft rules to address the use of outdoor wood boilers in King George. 

The issue has been under review since last fall, after complaints had come to light about some users of wood boilers who have them installed close to property lines, creating a smoke nuisance for near neighbors.

Jack Green, Director of Community Development, had first provided reports to supervisors in the end of 2009.

Outdoor wood boilers are also called outdoor wood furnaces. They are freestanding units that provide heat and hot water for residences employing them.  They heat water by burning wood or other fuel, 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

The hot water is generally circulated to and from the home through underground, insulated piping. Once inside the home, the heated water circulates through heat exchangers, radiant floor tubing, or radiators to warm the home and/or to provide hot water for residential use.

Problems can be caused for nearby neighboring property owners under current rules, which allow locating them as an accessory structure with only a three-foot setback from side and rear property lines.

Outdoor wood furnaces are currently unregulated, so they are allowed also to spew smoke close to the ground without the requirement of a chimney to raise the smoke above rooftops.

Homeowners who operate outdoor wood furnaces on some large acreage properties cause no evident problems to their neighbors, if outdoor wood furnaces are not sited near the property line.

But a few homeowners who operate outdoor wood furnaces on smaller lots can cause a smoke-filled outdoor environment for near neighbors, making enjoyment of neighboring yard and deck areas unpleasant.

One of the elements in the proposed zoning ordinance text amendment would require chimneys to be used on outdoor wood furnaces when houses are within 300 feet on neighboring properties.

 

TEXT AMENDMENT PROPOSED    


There are several requirements being proposed for the county to regulate the use of outdoor wood furnaces.
Green told supervisors the proposed setback distances come straight from the best practices recommended by the outdoor wood furnace industry.
The text amendment is proposed to limit the use of outdoor wood furnaces to property zoned Limited Agricultural (A-1) or Rural Agricultural (A-2).
In addition:
~ It would require a setback of at least 50 feet from the property line.  
~ It would require outdoor wood furnaces to be located at least 100 feet from any residence that is not served by it.
~ The outdoor wood furnace is to be located on the property in compliance with manufacturer’s recommendations and/or testing and listing requirements for clearance to combustible materials.
~ Chimney heights for any outdoor wood furnace must extend at least two feet above the peak of any residence (not served by the outdoor wood furnace) within 300 feet of it.
~ Fuel burned in an outdoor wood furnace shall be only natural wood, wood pellets, corn projects, biomass pellets or other listed fuels specifically permitted by the manufacturer’s instructions such as fuel oil, natural gas or propane backup.

PROCESS    

The next step in the process is for the county attorney to provide a legal review.
Following that, the proposal for a Zoning Ordinance text amendment is expected to be advertised for a public hearing by the Planning Commission, followed by a vote on whether or not to recommend the amendment for adoption by the Board of Supervisors.  
Supervisors will then advertise and hold an additional public hearing prior to action to adopt or not adopt the proposed text amendment.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

July 25, 2010

Wood boilers prompt talk of regulations

By Nancy Gish

Updated: July 25, 2010, 6:37 AM

The Town of Marilla wants to get a handle on the use of wood boilers — free-standing outdoor furnaces.

Though the state Department of Environmental Conservation is considering regulations on the boilers, Town Board members last week discussed town-specific regulations, including setbacks, restrictions on what material can be burned, penalties for offenders and where they can be installed.

Officials said the boilers, which are used to heat water and buildings, have drawn resident complaints because of smoke and other odors and in some instances, boiler owners have burned animal waste, garbage and other “fuels” — something town officials plan not to tolerate.

Minimum lot sizes for boilers will be three acres, town officials said. Supervisor George Gertz said a dozen boilers currently operating in Marilla would be grandfathered on setback regulations but not for rules over what can be burned.

Board members plan to study other towns’ regulations and will hold a public hearing before a law is adopted.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

July 23, 2010

New Franklin council stresses no legislation passed without public knowledge

By Ashley Linville

The Suburbanite

Posted Jul 23, 2010 @ 10:10 AM

 

New Franklin, Ohio

A representative from the Ohio EPA came to the New Franklin council meeting to address outdoor wood burning stoves and boilers.

The presentation addressed the stoves and boilers contribution to fine particulate air pollution. Currently there are no regulations for these units. The Ohio EPA would like there to be local regulations on how these boilers and stoves are installed, what types can be used and a possible a designated burning season. Possible legislation is being looked into.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

July 21, 2010

Lower Moreland approves boiler ordinance

Published: Wednesday, July 21, 2010

By Jesse Reilly
Staff Writer

Even though only one township resident has an outdoor wood-burning boiler, the Lower Moreland Board of Commissioners approved an ordinance and its meeting July 13 to regulate its use.

Wood-burning boilers are wood-fired water heaters that are located outside and used to heat homes and water.

Issues regarding the boilers first came to the board’s attention at a meeting in April when residents Len and Noona Gelmen said they were experiencing a number of problems with their neighbor, Frank Gil’s, boiler.

“The first night we thought our house was on fire,” Len told the board at that meeting. “There was smoke everywhere.”

Since the first night the couple reported health issues including headaches, coughing and shortness of breath for them and their three children, including a 7-month old.

According to a handout from the Gelmans, the boilers generate smoke that “contains two tons of particulate matter per year, is so heavy that it never leaves the yard and has a rancid stench.”

Particulate matter, it continued, “causes a host of health problems ranging from short-term harms such as eye, nose, throat and lung irritation to long-term health problems including asthma, pneumonia, heart disease and increased risk of cancer.”

Although the Gelmans have voiced concern at each meeting following the one in April, a number of other residents near the Gil’s house had no idea it was there.

“I believe I am the second closest to the burner and I just thought it was someone’s fireplace,” John DiMarzio said. “I never saw smoke, nothing was ever blown into my property, it was never a problem.”

DiMarzio’s wife, Lois, agreed.

During months-long discussions, board members were concerned with the fact that the boiler is outside and the possibility that kids could get into it, as well as the welfare of neighboring residents due to potential smoke.

Although the commissioners talked about completely banning the boilers in the township, Solicitor Ross Weiss said he did not believe they had the power to do that.

“You cannot give someone a permit then adopt an ordinance against it and go back and say that they can’t do something that they have already been permitted to do,” he said at an earlier meeting. “It’s an ex post facto law.”

Weiss also said that if something can be regulated it cannot be completely banned.

According to the ordinance, boilers cannot be used on lots smaller than 3 acres. They cannot be installed within 100 feet of the building they are heating or within 400 feet of the nearest residence. The boilers, the ordinance continued, must comply with all federal, state or local environmental standards and can only be operated between May 1 and Sept. 1.

All operational boilers must be enclosed in a locked fence no further than 10 feet from the boiler.

According to Bob Schadegg, the township’s zoning officer, the boiler would require annual inspection and the fence surrounding the apparatus would be similar to the requirements around a swimming pool.

Before the ordinance was unanimously approved Gil told the board he was disappointed with its decision.

 

“I think it is unconstitutional to change the policy retroactively,” he said. “I am the only person in the township with a boiler and I did comply with everything that was requested [when the boiler was installed].”

But Gelman, who has been fighting or an ordinance for months, said he was relieved by some of the requirements.

“Enough is enough,” he said. “Kids play in yards in direct view of the boiler, everyone sees the smoke.”

Full Article: CLICK HERE

July 6, 2010 (opinion)

There are health reasons for regulating outdoor wood furnaces

TUESDAY, JULY 6, 2010

Your June 29 article on outdoor wood boilers featured extensive quotes from three persons against proposed state Department of Environmental Conservation boiler regulation. Some views expressed by these persons were simplistic, contradictory, egocentric and reveal serious flaws in the "one size fits all" mantra against boiler regulation. Yet no responses were provided by two DEC experts on boilers and air quality mentioned in the article. Since these experts apparently were not invited to respond, I will.

Ellisburg native Larry Colton empathizes with those who cannot open their windows during the summer. But he doesn't want the government to tell him not to use his boiler in the summer. "It's common sense," he says. So he admits that some boiler owners foul their neighbors' air during the summer but, in the name of "common sense," opposes oversight on summer boiler use. He is to be congratulated for his common sense.

A neighbor's complaints in Antwerp led the DEC to pay Christopher Liscomb and his boiler a visit. He will add 2 feet to his 10-foot-high smokestack "to appease his neighbor." The laughable possibility of this remedying the situation might result in neglect of a fundamental question: What about the very idea of having outdoor wood boilers within village limits? Isn't anyone (other than the DEC) concerned about what we — including infants, children, and the infirm elderly — are drawing into our lungs most of the year?

Robert Petteys treads the worn path of contrasting upstate and downstate when legislative threat looms. It's different up here. He thinks, "People who are going to put a boiler in a highly populated area like Long Island . . . should have their heads examined." This is a ploy. Population density is not the issue. The issues (plural) are the effects of living near a boiler-anywhere. Later he adds: "I don't want to get into any arguments with my neighbors or anything, but I do want my right to use my boiler." Is Mr. Petteys referring to his neighbors in the upstate village of Lyons Falls, which boasts a population of approximately 600? I guess it isn't so different up here. He begs a good question, though: Is the right to use an outdoor wood boiler more fundamental than the right to breathe in some relatively clean air from time to time? The answer is obvious to anyone who doesn't need their head examined.

 

Michael A. Tissaw

Norwood

Full Article:  CLICK HERE

July 5, 2010

 

Catskill village officials mull whether wood boiler rules are needed

Published: Monday, July 05, 2010

By Ariel Zangla
Freeman staff

CATSKILL — Village officials are looking into whether the municipality should enact regulations regarding outdoor wood boilers.

During a Village Board meeting last week, President Vincent Seeley read part of a resolution adopted by the Greene County Legislature opposing proposed state regulations regarding outdoor wood boilers. He said he did not believe the Village Board needed to act on the resolution, but he asked Building Inspector Michael Ragaini and Fire Chief Jack Ormerod to look into the issue of outdoor wood boilers in the village and determine whether the municipality needs to adopt regulations governing their use and placement.

Ragaini said there are currently no outdoor wood boilers in the village, but he believed officials should sit down and discuss regulations. He said, for instance, the boilers should not be permitted in certain residential areas where the population is denser. Ragaini said the village could look at a regulation based on acreage.

The use of outdoor wood boilers is not an issue right now, Ragaini said, but it could be in the future because of rising fuel oil prices.

Seeley asked that recommendations regarding the issue be prepared by August.

Last month, the Greene County Legislature adopted a resolution opposing new regulations being considered by the state Department of Environmental Conservation for outdoor wood boilers.

The proposed regulations would establish emission limits and siting requirements for the boilers and phase out existing units by Aug. 31, 2020, in favor of newer, more efficient ones.

The county’s resolution states in part that outdoor wood boilers can provide a cost-effective alternative to heating with fossil fuels and that no other state has required existing units be taken out of service. The resolution also states that while the state is seeking comments on its proposed regulations, Greene County does not support the requirements being considered.

The resolution further states that the Legislature supports efforts to protect the use of properly installed and operated outdoor wood boilers and the property rights of their owners. It also states the county “strongly opposes this new proposal and believes it should be regulated on a local level, consistent with local zoning and land use regulations.”

Full Article: CLICK HERE

June 28, 2010

Rosendale wood-boiler law has smooth first season

Published: Monday, June 28, 2010

By WILLIAM J. KEMBLE

Correspondent

 

ROSENDALE — Relative calm marked the first heating season under a local law intended to address complaints that smoke from outdoor wood-burning furnaces was affecting neighbors.

“It went quite well,” town Code Enforcement Officer David Massimi said recently. “There are nine outdoor wood boilers in town. The heating season ended April 15. We got complaints that two people were continuing to use their stoves (after April 15), both people were reminded of the time frames, and both stoves were put out immediately.”

Massimi said there were no complaints about excessive smoke during the winter.

“That was a surprise because part of the town ordinance mandates that the town maintain two people certified to read smoke opacity,” he said. “So the building inspector and I have been certified ... and have the training but haven’t been called upon to use it.”

Wood-burning furnaces under the code are limited to an average of 20 percent opacity for six consecutive minutes during a one-hour period. The opacity level is allowed to be at 40 percent for the first 20 minutes when starting a unit.

Massimi said there has not been any formal review of whether some locations appear better suited for outdoor furnaces than others.

“There is one outdoor wood boiler right off of (state) Route 32 in Bloomington and for whatever reason at that particular location the smoke tends to hang,” he said.

The enforcement review comes as rules proposed by the state Department of Environmental Conservation have stirred increasing opposition among owners of existing outdoor wood furnaces, Greene County lawmakers, and several state representatives. Use would be prohibited from April 15 to Sept. 30 in the Hudson Valley and from May 15 to Aug. 31 for Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Oneida, Oswego, St. Lawrence, Saratoga, Warren and Washington counties.

State regulations would also be adopted for stack heights and setback limits, which led state Sen. James Seward, R-Oneonta, to issue a press statement outlining concerns that property owners would be unfairly deprived of a cost-effective way to cut energy use.

“The regulations place unreasonable siting restrictions on outdoor wood boilers for much of the year,” he said.

“Forcing citizens to return to fossil fuels for a significant portion of the year would be more costly and inconvenient,” Seward said. “I dare say, given that coal may account for some power generation in New York, that forcing people to return to electricity or other fuels could be more environmentally deleterious than the use of wood. New York’s forests and wood farms are thriving. Wood should be encouraged because it is a renewable resource.”

Seward also described the proposed state requirement to end use of some existing boilers as “draconian and unwise.”

Use of outdoor wood boilers has drawn praise for municipal cost savings at a water treatment plant from Catskill village Department of Public Works Superintendent Lewis O’Connor, but he said existing rules can leave neighbors feeling as though there is little support. He contends the proposed regulations are an overreaction and clarification of existing law during disputes between neighbors could resolve many of the problems.

“The DEC in making this law is like being in kindergarten and if one or two people have a problem they are going to slap everybody on the wrist for it,” he said.

“There are rules right now that DEC has for clean air and if (neighbors) feel their clean air is being encroached on they can call DEC,” O’Connor said. “I think the first thing they’ve got to do is make an honest attempt with solving the problem with their neighbor. If not, then file a complaint with DEC.”

O’Connor said local officials should become familiar with state regulations.

“Let the code enforcement officer find out just what the DEC can do and then go from there,” he said.

“Get our local people involved, try to get our code enforcement officer out there while the problem is going on,” O’Connor said. “Let them find out if there actually is a problem or not, and let them find out how to handle the problem.”

Larry Federman, a Palenville resident and Catskill town Planning Board member, is among people who have had problems with a neighboring wood-burning stove resolved after talking with the owner. He agreed that local action can have better results than changes in state rules and that state officials do not have enforcement budgets for additional rules.

“The state approach might be a little bit too broad and I don’t agree that the regulations should be 100 percent in the state’s hands because they are too short-staffed to have any kind of enforcement capability both in the field and in the legal department,” he said.

“For the most part people who are using these (boilers) are operating these and located them according to manufacturers’ specifications,” Federman said. “It’s due people who have not taken into account where their neighbors are located and where their smoke is going and who feel these are a way to get rid of any kind of burnable material, such as garbage, yard waste, green wood, who have caused regulations to be looked at.”

Full Article: CLICK HERE

June 23, 2010

More Support Needed Against Wood Boiler Regulations

Source: The Post-Journal

POSTED: June 23, 2010

To the Readers' Forum:

I attended the public hearing at JCC North Campus about the proposed regulations about outside wood boilers.

I was disappointed at the turn out. I thought there would be more people that would have attended.

All I can say is shame on you. We all need to stand up for this and if we don't, what is next?

I will however say that everyone who did attend did a great job standing up for our rights and had a lot of real good points to make to the DEC. I really hope that the DEC and powers that be really take this seriously. It is not too late to still voice your concerns and opinions to the NYSDEC.

Bill Gilkinson

Mayville

Full Article: CLICK HERE

June 19, 2010

Smoky feuds: New Indiana rules would place restrictions on wood-fired boilers

RICK CALLAHAN Associated Press Writer

 June 19, 2010

 

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana's first proposed restrictions on outdoor wood-burning furnaces used by rural homeowners use to heat their homes are nearing a vote before a state panel.

The Indiana Air Pollution Control Board could vote on preliminary approval of the rules as soon as July 13, with final approval possible by early next year.

But people who use these outdoor wood-fired boilers to heat their homes during cold weather and provide hot water aren't thrilled. One provision would ban their use in June, July and August if an occupied residence is less than 300 feet away.

Supporters of the rules say they're long overdue because smoke wafting from the furnaces can worsen breathing problems in the elderly, children and others.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

June 15, 2010

Town hall focused on wood boilers

By Colin DeVries

Hudson-Catskill Newspapers

Published: Tuesday, June 15, 2010 12:34 AM EDT

 

CATSKILL — The temperature was rising during a town hall-style meeting with 127th District Assemblyman Peter Lopez to discuss proposed state regulations on outdoor wood boilers.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has proposed outdoor wood boiler regulations to set stack height, emissions standards and setbacks from property lines.

Furnace owners are not happy.

More than 70 Saugerties area residents showed up at the Saugerties senior center on Market Street to speak out against the proposed regulations.

Victoria VanEtten, of Saugerties, organized the event to spread awareness about the potential economic hardship regulations could impose, as well as the long-term impacts.

“I’ve had my own boiler for 14 years,” said VanEtten, who is disabled and bound to a wheelchair. “I’ve used clean wood for mine. We should have local laws and go after those people who violate them, not statewide restrictions.”

VanEtten started the Saugerties-based Wood Burners’ Alliance last year after the town’s comprehensive plan committee proposed an outright ban of the wood-fueled heaters.

She compared such a ban to banning all motor vehicles because a few drivers abused them.

“No, you go after the people who violate the laws,” she said.

Lopez, R-Schoharie, heard concerns from about a dozen residents during the meeting, many of them stressing their disappointment with state government.

“This issue has really come to a head now,” Lopez said. “A meeting like this provides urgency.”

Lopez said he has received letters and calls about this issue throughout his seven-county district, which includes the bulk of Greene County (except for the towns of Coxsackie and New Baltimore, which are represented by Assemblyman Tim Gordon, I-Bethlehem).

Though he has been dealing with state budget and other issues as a priority lately, Lopez said he has begun fulfilling his due diligence and hopes to sponsor legislation to combat the DEC regulations soon.

Lopez said a bill recently proposed by State Senator Darrel Aubertine, D-Cape Vincent, of the North Country’s 48th Senate District, has the hallmarks of a bill he would sponsor.

Lopez would like to see a grandfather clause put in place to allow current owners to keep their boilers running, enable retrofitting of old boilers to meet federal Environmental Protection Agency standards and allow for home-rule control by municipalities.

Richard and Denise Miller said they were worried they might lose their horticulture nursery and livelihood if their two boilers are ruled inoperable.

“We couldn’t run our business without burning wood,” Denise Miller said. “We couldn’t afford to.”

Brian Carmody said when he attended a recent DEC public hearing about the proposed regulations in Albany, there were major concerns about the question of who was currently manufacturing boilers that met the proposed DEC emission standards.

“No one,” Carmody said the reply was. “In their question and comment paperwork they’re saying they’re not asking for an outright ban, but if you’re saying that nothing can be built that will satisfy the requirements than you are banning it.”

Lopez encouraged everyone who attended the meeting to write to the DEC with solid fact-based arguments supporting their position and copy the letters to him and other state legislators.

He said he will work on legislation to protect owners while encouraging energy independence, use of local heating supplies and protecting our neighborhoods.

The nuisance issue, Lopez said, should also be considered as it was something which could not be ignored, though it is something which should be settled locally and between neighbors.

A public hearing on outdoor wood boilers will be held at Catskill Town Hall on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.

Written comments will be accepted by the DEC until July 2. They can be mailed to: John Barnes, P.E., NYSDEC Division of Air Resources, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-3251.

An upcoming regional DEC public hearing and information session date has been scheduled for 5 p.m. June 21 at the Norrie Point Environmental Center, Margaret Lewis Norrie State Park, 256 Norrie Point Way, Staatsburg.

Other dates scheduled are posted online at http://www.dec.ny.gov/enb/20100421_not0.html

For further information on the proposed regulations log on to http://www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/64459.html

To reach reporter Colin DeVries please call 518-943-2100 ext. 3325, or e-mail cdevries@thedailymail.net.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

June 14, 2010

Fireboxes ignite demand, debate

State seeks summer ban, other curbs

Niki Kelly | The Journal Gazette

 

INDIANAPOLIS – You might have noticed some small wooden sheds or metal boxes adjacent to homes and spouting smoke while driving in more rural areas, even if you didn't exactly know what they are.

Almost 8,000 of these outdoor wood boilers – also known as hydronic heaters – dot the state landscape, providing a cheaper alternative to heating Hoosier homes and water.

But state environmental officials say they also bring health hazards and can be a nuisance for nearby neighbors.

That led to state efforts to regulate the furnaces for the first time – starting back in 2005. The longer-than-usual attempt to formulate a rule shows just how passionate many Hoosiers are about the subject.

This year alone, more than 700 comments have poured into Indiana Department of Environmental Management offices – most decrying the effort.

"I'm concerned that they are going to over-regulate," said Carl Casebere, 73, of Butler. He has had an outdoor wood furnace for five or six years and wrote to IDEM in opposition to the rules. "I don't want them to go overboard with this like they do with other things."

But IDEM officials said they aren't trying to ban the boilers, as many Hoosiers fear.

"This rule is necessary to ensure that Indiana residents are able to use outdoor hydronic heaters that are protective of air quality and that post the least threat to human health," according to an IDEM fact sheet.

The Indiana Air Pollution Control Board will conduct a public hearing on the matter July 13.

If there are no snags in the process and the board gives final approval to the rule in November, it would likely take effect early next year.

Outdoor wood boilers – or hydronic heaters – consist of a firebox that is near a house. That box sometimes is placed inside a shed-like structure and a newer unit can stand on its own.

Wood is burned 24 hours a day and is used to heat both the water and home through pipes that run below ground to the house. It can also be used to heat other buildings, swimming pools and hot tubs.

For Hoosiers with an abundant wood supply, the cost savings can be significant.

The rules do not cover indoor wood or pellet stoves or fireplaces, which are already federally regulated. They also don't cover outdoor fire pits.

Scott Deloney, chief of the IDEM Office of Air Quality, said that each unit can emit enough particulate matter to exceed the public health standards.

This can have both short-term and long-term health effects on residents – especially children, older adults and those with asthma or other breathing difficulties.

"A number of Hoosiers have neighboring units that are not controlled very well, and it has become an unbearable nuisance," Deloney said of complaints received by IDEM. But without rules, there is no remedy.

Rep. David Wolkins, R-Winona Lake, said the units started getting very popular when fuel prices skyrocketed several years ago.

"These things came on the scene real quickly and no one knew anything about them and there were no rules and regulations," he said.

The original units burned very slowly and released a high level of emissions, or particulate matter, into the air.

"The earlier ones are pretty nasty things and that's what caused all the complaints. They would smoke up the whole neighborhood," said Wolkins, who serves on several environmental commissions.

But he said that newer units are quite efficient and release much less emission.

Originally, IDEM considered requiring owners of the units to acquire a special state permit, Wolkins said.

"I think IDEM was being overzealous in the beginning. I'm pleased that they have stepped back a bit and taken a proper approach," he said.

The rule contains three major provisions.

The first sets emission limits by requiring that new units purchased or installed be certified through the U.S. EPA's Voluntary Outdoor Hydronic Heater program. These Phase 2 units cost between $8,495 and $10,495, according to IDEM, which is a $3,500 increase from a non-Phase 2-certified unit.

Deloney said the increased cost is balanced by a higher-efficiency unit that is more durable and reliable, with a longer warranty.

The more controversial section of the rule relates to existing units.

It first requires a higher stack on the unit so that smoke coming from it can clear neighboring homes within 150 feet. Essentially the stack has to be 5 feet higher than the peak of the roof of the nearby occupied building. But there is a maximum stack height of 22 feet.

The cost of a stack-height extension could be as high as $815, according to IDEM, though many people would be able to do it on their own for much less.

Deloney said the increased stack height is necessary to disperse the pollutants coming from the smoke. Originally, he said, the rule had no maximum height. This was changed because there was concern about the stability of the stack.

There also is a summertime ban on operating the units if they are within 300 feet of an occupied building on neighboring land. The ban runs from June 1 to Aug. 31 – a time when neighbors often have windows open or children play in the yard.

Deloney said originally the ban included May and September, but it was dialed back in consideration that the boilers provide heat to homes that might be necessary during those months.

But homeowners with nearby neighbors still would not be able to use the units to heat their hot water during June, July and August.

The rule also requires all units to burn clean wood or other approved fuel. This is a specific prohibition against some people who burn their trash.

Deloney said 12 states have regulations on the devices and many states let local authorities regulate them. Indiana has several urban counties, for instance, that ban them altogether.

Jodi Perras, executive director of Indianapolis-based Improving Kids' Environment, said the rule simply puts in place some common-sense requirements and officially gives IDEM authority over the units.

She would prefer the summertime ban to include May because it is the start of the ozone season and is when the state's air is at its worst.

"The proposed rule in our view doesn't go far enough," Perras said. "But at least it's a step in the right direction."

nkelly@jg.net

Full Article: CLICK HERE

June 12, 2010

Assembly sets wood smoke fines far below other borough penalties (OWBs discussed)

By Dermot Cole

06.12.10 - 01:58 am

 

FAIRBANKS — One of the questions put to borough officials during a forum on wood smoke pollution was this:

“Isn’t there enough existing laws on the books to take care of neighbors with outdoor boilers being rude to their neighbors and not burning the proper material? Don’t you already have that without having to go through all this?”

The long and the short answer is no.

That’s why there has been no action taken against people who have smoked out their neighborhoods on numerous occasions during the past few winters. The borough had about 150 complaints last winter and could do nothing about them except make a record of who called and when.

Some of those were repeated complaints about particular problems, such as the smoke that repeatedly blanketed the area in and around Woodriver Elementary School, a problem the school district has failed to address.

Other complaints were the natural result of situations in which neighbors put high-polluting wood boilers on tiny lots next to someone else’s property line, used low stacks that emit smoke 8 feet off the ground and burned green wood.

The proposed $300 fine for a first offense, rising to $500 for a second offense, was reasonable and in keeping with other borough fines, most of which are $300.

The assembly approved an amendment to move the decimal point one place to the left on the schedule and assess fines at or below the parking ticket level.

The assembly decided that wood smoke that creates a nuisance for neighbors deserves a $30 fine on the first offense, rising to $50 on the second offense.

This makes wood smoke pollution, which can be a major nuisance, the borough offense with the lowest penalty. Even “unlawful open burning” will trigger a $300 fine.

Assembly members had discussed deleting all the fines from the wood smoke ordinance, which would have been akin to a declaration that excessive wood smoke is not a nuisance.

As it is, they say it is a bit of a nuisance, but only one-tenth as bad as illegally abandoning a vehicle, which comes with a $300 fine.

Experience will show whether minuscule fines will be enough to force a change in the behavior of the small number of people who are likely to refuse to stop smoking out their neighbors.

In cases where wood smoke is a nuisance, there has to be a way to respond to it when saying “Please fix this problem,” is not enough. 

A fine is not the first step. The borough would contact the person responsible for the smoke and try to work something out. There are lots of ways to reduce pollution while still allowing people a way to heat their homes.

Some people will just blow off any suggestion that they are creating a nuisance for other property owners, even when everyone who lives nearby knows otherwise.

The issue here is that no one has the right to force their neighbors to breathe polluted air when there are ways of dealing with the problem.

There also is the matter of protecting property values and property rights. If you live next door or down the block from someone who is filling the air with wood smoke on a regular basis, this will decrease the value of your property.

Dermot Cole can be reached at cole@newsminer.com or 459-7530.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

June 12, 2010

Outdoor wood boilers create health risks

Source: Watertown Daily Times

Saturday, June 12, 2010

 

The American Lung Association in New York strongly disagrees with the Watertown Daily Times' assertion that outdoor wood boiler regulations proposed by the state Department of Environmental Conservation are heavy-handed ("Proposed DEC rules will cost owners," June 3).

The emissions from these devices create dirty pollutant-laden air that hinders people's ability to breathe and can send people to the emergency room. Make no mistake, the pollutants these boilers emit are a threat whether you live in a metropolitan area or in a rural part of the north country.

Opponents of restricting the use of outdoor wood boilers have argued that these devices are a costly investment and that a change in the rules would be burdensome to owners. Those of us who support these regulations have heard the pleas of asthma sufferers who are convinced their symptoms have been exacerbated by emissions from outdoor wood boilers. One needs only to talk with an asthma sufferer who has been rushed to the emergency room to learn how burdensome and downright frightening it is to be unable to breathe.

Emissions from outdoor wood boilers contain unhealthy amounts of particulate matter. High levels of fine particles in the air have been linked to premature death in seniors, lung cancer, asthma attacks and heart attacks in those with pre-existing disease. By adopting strong new regulations, we have the ability to improve air quality, protect all New Yorkers' health and prevent undue suffering on the part of those with lung disease.

More than 12 million New Yorkers live in counties where unhealthy air threatens their lives and health. We can and must do more to protect the public health by protecting the air we breathe. The Lung Association is committed to working with the DEC to ensure the most protective public health regulations are implemented. Only then will all New Yorkers be able to breathe easier and enjoy the cleaner air that they deserve.

Scott T. Santarella

Albany

The writer is president and CEO of the American Lung Association in New York.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

June 10, 2010 (opinion)

State should regulate the wood boilers

Source: Watertown Daily Times

Thursday, June 10, 2010

There seems to be much sentiment against the recently suggested regulations on outside wood burners in the media recently. People are upset about the "unreasonable" costs on the homeowner to implement the stack height, location distance to other buildings and efficiency levels required by the proposed new regulations. Others are saying this should be a local issue and that a "one size fits all" approach is not appropriate. As one who has lived near one of these units for many years, I have a few observations on all of this.

The height of my neighbors' chimney was less than 2 feet and its location to my yard and even home was certainly less than 100 feet. Smoke from his burner often permeated my yard and my home. At times one could not even open the windows on a hot day because of this smoke or sit in one's own yard. I have respiratory problems today, and I believe that the proximity to this burner was a contributing factor.

I contacted my town supervisor and council about this on several occasions but they lacked the intestinal fortitude to even become involved in all of this. If the local levels of government are not willing to act on this health and environmental issue properly, then it is up to the state to properly respond to the needs. To say it should be a "local" issue is basically to say that nothing will be done and people will continue to suffer from the smoke, odor and related health issues that improperly installed and used wood burners will bring.

The state regulations should be reasonable, but there should be state regulations as many local governments don't have the knowledge or desire to deal with this issue.

 

Dr. Joseph Perry

Lowville

Full Article: CLICK HERE

June 10, 2010

Outdoor wood boilers targeted

DEC formulating new rules

By FRITZ MAYER

 

NEW YORK STATE — Outdoor wood burning boilers have become increasingly popular in rural areas over the past 10 years or so, but proposed new regulations may price some rural residents out of the market.

The NY Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is formulating new rules regarding the boilers that are scheduled to go into use in April 2011. One provision requires new boilers to be located 100 feet or more from the nearest property boundary line, and to be equipped with a permanent smokestack extending a minimum of two feet above the peak of any roof structure located within 150 feet of the boiler and no less than 18 feet above ground level.

If a property owner happens to be near a building that is 35 feet tall, the smokestack will have to rise to 37 feet, and that can run into some serious money, according to Dean Norton, president of the New York Farm Bureau.

Norton, who held a conference call with reporters on June 1, said each four-foot section of the type of pipe needed to construct a smokestack sells for $200. So, it’s not hard to imagine it will cost more than $1,500 to bring some boilers into compliance, and that does not include the cost of guy wires or other stabilization devices.

There are roughly 10,000 outdoor wood boilers in NewYork, and the regulations proposed by the DEC would require those put into use before September 1, 2005 be replaced or otherwise put out of service by April 15, 2011. Moreover, boilers that have gone or will go into service by April 15, 2011 and that are not certified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must be shut down by August 31, 2020. (A list of certified boilers, also called hydronic heaters, is available at www.epa.gov/burnwise/owhhlist.html )

Norton said the practical effect of these rules would be to force people to get new boilers while the old ones are still working. He drew an analogy using cars: “Say you own a Ford Explorer; New York State is telling you that Ford Explorer is illegal now, you have to buy a Honda Prius, and you have to pay for it,” he said.

Lori Severino, a DEC spokeswoman, said the proposed rules are meant to primarily improve air quality. According to the EPA, some of the older models of outdoor boilers produce 10 times as much pollution as indoor woodstoves. Severino also said the DEC has received an increasing number of complaints in recent years about the boilers causing health problems to neighbors who might have conditions such as asthma.

This point was mentioned by two reporters on the conference call with Norton. The reporters said complaints from neighbors in small hamlets in rural parts of the state have often come up in public meetings. Norton said most of the boilers in use in the state had never sparked a complaint.

Another concern for Norton was that the new rules will prohibit the use of the boilers from April 15 through October 15, which would leave those who use the boilers to create hot water out in the cold during six months of the year.

The proposed regulations can be accessed at the DEC web site, www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/51986.html

Public comments are being accepted until July 2, 2010. Residents may write to: John Barnes, P.E. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Division of Air Resources, 625 Broadway, 2nd Floor Albany, New York 12233-3251, or emails may be sent to 247owb@gw.dec.state.ny.us.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

June 9, 2010

DEC Wood Boiler Hearing Is June 17 (Opinion)

Source: The Post Journal

June 9, 2010

 

To the Readers' Forum:

The DEC of NYS is proposing to institute new regulations on outdoor wood boilers commencing April 15, 2011.

Many of these regulations are common sense, such as materials allowed to be burned, not allowing smoke from a burner to enter a neighbors home or to impair visibility on a highway. Other regulations could be construed by some as infringing on citizens rights.

Beginning April 15, 2011, all wood burners sold in this state will be certified by the DEC and all existing wood burners will have to be brought into compliance. All existing burners will have until Oct.1, 2011, to install a smokestack that is at least 2 feet higher than the tallest building within a 150-foot radius. Burners put into service before Sept. 1, 2005, must be replaced or taken out of service by Aug. 31, 2015. Burners installed after Sept.1, 2005, have until Aug. 31, 2020, to be replaced. In addition, wood burners cannot be used between April 15 and September 30.

If you feel that you would like more information on these proposed regulations, the DEC will hold a public hearing on Thursday, June 17, 2010. It will be held at the JCC Training center room 117 at 10785 Bennett Road (Route 60) Dunkirk, NY. There will be an information session beginning at 5 p.m. and the public hearing will be from 6-8pm.

Larry Barmore

Gerry

Full Article: CLICK HERE

June 7, 2010

Wood Boiler Debate Heats Up

Opponents Criticize DEC’s Involvement

By Sharon Turano, sturano@post-journal.com

Posted June 7, 2010

 

A debate about proposed state Department of Environmental Conservation regulations for outdoor wood boilers is heating up as New York Farm Bureau and DEC officials' opinions differ about the matter.

New York Farm Bureau staff held a news conference Tuesday to speak out against proposed outdoor wood boiler regulations in rural New York.

"We are concerned with the direction the DEC is taking," said Dean Norton, president of New York Farm Bureau, which, he said, has 30,000 members across the state, many of whom use boilers as their choice for a heat source. Norton said the new restrictions could cost thousands of dollars to retrofit units so they comply, or, he said, people may choose to eliminate the cost to retrofit and choose fuel or gas instead.

Jeff Williams, deputy director for Farm Bureau's division of public policy, said a statewide initiative, such as changing state regulations, does not work for solving concerns some have about the boilers and pollution. Instead, Williams said, he thinks the state should leave regulating them up to local governments.

"It's a one-size-fits-all initiative," Williams said. "It doesn't make much sense to us.''

Norton said "taking a broad brush" like he said the state is doing is not what Farm Bureau officials think should happen.

"This is some overreaching," he said, adding the regulations are putting an unfunded mandate on homeowners, whose budgets are already tight.

Norton also said there are more emissions from limousines and cars. DEC regulations are already on the books to help if there are problems with outdoor wood boilers.

"Why are we looking at things people can't afford?" he asked.

"They've already got red tape in the drawer they could use," Norton said about rules he said the DEC has in place about outdoor wood boilers.

Instead, he said, the regulations are a way of increasing bureaucracy at a time when there is no money for added state enforcement.

The DEC reports, however, the proposed regulations that were released in April, would "dramatically cut pollution" by reducing air quality impacts from boilers. Pete Grannis, DEC commissioner, said the proposal will help ensure new outdoor wood boilers are cleaner and that existing ones are used in environmentally sound ways. He said they were proposed due to visible air pollution and public complaints and seek to reduce the impact of smoke plumes on neighbors.

The proposals can be viewed at www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/64459.html and consist of emission limits on outdoor wood boilers along with setting minimum distances new boilers would have to be located from neighboring properties. Fuel restrictions, stack heigh requirements and a nuisance provision for both new and existing outdoor wood boilers are also part of the proposals. The rule bans the use of existing boilers in the summer when neighbors are likely to be outside and have windows open unless the existing unit meets new requirements. The rule would eventually phase out existing units that do not comply with new standards.

The DEC is proposing to phase out existing outdoor wood boilers by Aug. 31, 2020.

The proposals have been applauded by the American Lung Association in New York.

Eleven hearings throughout the state will be held to get pubic comment on the regulations, with each running from 6 to 8 p.m., although information sessions will be held at each from 5 to 6 p.m. at each location including one to be held Thursday, June 17, at Jamestown Community College's training center, Room 117, 10785 Bennett Road, Route 60, Dunkirk.

Written comments can be submitted to state DEC Division of Air Resources, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-3251 or e-mailed to 247owb@gw.dec.state.ny.us.

The public comment period on the proposals will run through July 2.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

June 3, 2010

Potsdam seeks input on boilers

OUTDOOR FURNACES: Town officials welcome public comment on proposed DEC regulations

By LARRY ROBINSON

JOHNSON NEWSPAPERS

THURSDAY, JUNE 3, 2010

 

POTSDAM — The Town Council is hoping to get an earful of advice from residents regarding the use of outdoor wood furnaces when it meets June 10.

Town Supervisor Marie C. Regan said she plans to take the concerns of local constituents with her to Saranac Lake on June 23 when she attends a state Department of Environmental Conservation public hearing on a proposed state law regulating outdoor wood boiler use.

Some of the regulations being proposed by DEC for outdoor furnaces include a requirement to place the units at least 100 feet from neighboring properties. The state is also proposing that wood boiler smokestacks stand at least 18 feet high or two feet higher than the roof line of a neighboring home.

The town of Potsdam has spent more than six months trying to craft a local law of its own that would govern how and where outdoor furnaces can be used in the municipality, but that draft ordinance has been put on hold while town officials wait to see what the finalized version of the state's proposed law will look like.

It's for that reason that Mrs. Regan said she is encouraging as many people as possible to attend Thursday's Town Council meeting to voice their opinions on the subject.

"We have some real concerns about the DEC's law, and we know that the public has too, so basically what we are going to do during public comment on Thursday is to ask for people to give us their thoughts," Mrs. Regan said. "We are going to write them down and then relay those concerns at the DEC hearing. We want to be able to get a sense of what our citizens feel about the matter and try to relay those concerns to the state."

Mrs. Regan said the town board is already on record supporting the use of wood boilers in the community, and the board understands a need to oversee their operation. However, she said some of the rules being proposed by DEC don't make sense.

For example, Mrs. Regan said the DEC's proposed wood boiler regulations would not require those installing an outdoor unit in the town to get a building permit.

Potsdam planning officials say there are about 20 outdoor boilers in operation. Mrs. Regan said at the very least she hopes the state will allow local municipalities to have some local involvement on the installation of future boilers. She said otherwise, town officials will be hard pressed to even know where the units are located in town.

A DEC hearing on the proposed regulations will be held today at the Dulles State Office Building in Watertown. A public informational session will be held at 5 p.m., with a public comment period from 6 to 8.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

June 1, 2010

Outdoor boiler regulation hearing set

Source: The Tribune - McClatchy-Tribune

Posted on: Tue, 01 Jun 2010 06:05:39 EDT

 

State Sen. Brent Steele encouraged Hoosiers with opinions on newly proposed regulations for outdoor wood-burning furnaces to attend a public hearing this week.

The Bedford Republican said the Indiana Air Pollution Control Board -- a voting body of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management -- will conduct a hearing at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Columbus East High School Auditorium, 230 S. Marr Road, Columbus.

"This will be the first meeting where Hoosiers can voice their opinions directly to the board," Steele said. "It's an opportunity for those who may be affected by these new requirements to attend and express their thoughts before the board makes its final decision."

Among new regulations to be considered by the 12-member environmental board include chimney height requirements for outdoor wood burning furnaces. The proposed rule would require smoke stacks to be 5 feet higher than any neighboring building that is within 150 feet.

Board members will also discuss the use of outdoor heaters during the summer months. Under the proposed rule, the heater could not be used from June through August if it is within 300 feet of another building.

Newly manufactured units would have to follow new EPA guidelines as well if the board approves the new rules. IDEM says the new units would meet updated EPA air quality standards.

Steele said for information about the public hearing and proposed regulations, visit IDEM online: www.in.gov/idem/6507.htm

Full Article: CLICK HERE

May 28, 2010

OWF Study Conducted

Four Homes Assessed, High Emissions Found

By Rich Hosford, Villager Staff Writer

May 28, 2010

 

A new study argues what many people living near outdoor wood burning stoves already knew, the levels of smoke they emit can be dangerous not only to those who own them, but to neighbors as well. The nonprofit organization Environmental and Human Health

Inc. (EHHI), of New Haven, recently finished a series of air quality tests in four homes of people whose neighbors have and use outdoor wood burning stoves. The report was written by Dr. David Brown, a public health toxicologist for EHHI and an adjunct professor of Applied Ethics at Fairfield University.

In the study, Brown wrote, EHHI measured the “most hazardous components” of wood smoke, particulate matter 2.5 (PM 2.5) and particulate matter 0.5 (PM 0.5) inside the homes of people living adjacent to homes that use outdoor wood burning furnaces (OWFs). Brown said while conducting the study, there was “no doubt that emissions from the OWFs are entering these homes.

The study showed that emissions from OWFs entered neighboring homes at all hours of the day and night, contaminating the air inside of the house. Emission levels were particularly high during the night, when residents of the home are normally asleep.

However, it is simply not the presence of particulate matter that Brown and his colleagues at EHHI evaluated. They also looked into the relative levels of these particulates.

According to the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for particulate matter 2.5, the air quality is “good” when exposure particle counts are between 0 and 45 counts over 0.01 feet squared. Exposure particle counts between 95 and 140 is “unhealthy for sensitive groups” and an exposure particle counts over 195 is “very unhealthy” for all people.

In the homes tested, the exposure particle counts for particulate matter 2.5 were, at their highest points, 250 for the first house, 550 for the second, 500 for the third and 350 for the fourth. The study of each home lasted for three days. The results for the particulate matter 0.5 counts were similarly significantly higher inside the homes near the furnaces than in normal homes. According to Brown, these results show “dangerously high

levels of smoke particulates inside the OWF impacted house at all hours of the day, especially at night, compared to normal houses.”

The owner of one of those homes, Kathy LeBlanc, of North Grosvenordale, said she was not surprised to learn that her house had levels of particulate matter far higher than what the federal government labeled “very unhealthy.” She said that for the past few winters,

she had been dealing with headaches, shortness of breath and heart palpitations whenever her neighbors used their outdoor woodburning furnace. LeBlanc has been working for months to get the word out on the dangers of OWFs based on her own experiences and observations.

“I don’t feel validated because I knew they were dangerous; the fumes were so strong,” she said, when asked about the study. “I feel like it was one more step. This sort of study should have been done a long time ago.”

LeBlanc isn’t alone in having problems with a nearby OWF. Along with the particulate matter study, EHHI also took testimony from other people living near these furnaces. Suzan Converse, of Weston, said that though nobody in her family had suffered upper respiratory illness before, after spending a day outdoors in their property while their neighbor’s furnace was running, they all developed bad coughs.

Wendy Rondeau, of Putnam, said in the report that the smoke from her neighbor’s OWF continuously enters her home during the winter “The putrid smell and black smoke would cross our property line, come into our home through windows, doors, air conditioners and even our dryer vent,” she said.

Rondeau said the smoke has caused her and her family medical problems.

“Our two young daughters and I began experiencing breathing problems that led to bronchitis, pneumonia, and several sinus and upper respiratory infections,” she said. “After many visits to our doctor and visits to our local emergency room, the pulmonary doctor found a decrease in my lung function.”

Rondeau said that because the smoke is sometimes so thick in her yard, she cannot allow her children to play outside. She also drives them down the driveway to the bus stop so they can stay inside the car and away from the smoke.

According to the EHHI study, the concern of people living near OWFs is valid. Brown said components of wood smoke are similar to smoke from cigarettes. Both are carcinogenic and respiratory toxins, he wrote, and wood smoke contains fine particulate matter, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, sulfur dioxide and various irritant gases such as nitrogen oxides that can scar the lungs. Wood smoke also contains chemicals known or suspected to be carcinogens, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and dioxin.

“Wood smoke interferes with normal lung development in infants and children,” he wrote. “It increases children’s risk of lower respiratory infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia. The particles of wood smoke are extremely small and therefore are not filtered out by the nose or the upper respiratory system. Instead, these small particles end up deep in the lungs where they remain for months, causing structural damage and chemical changes.”

Brown said fine particles increase the risk of heart disease and strokes. The EPA warns that for people with heart disease, even short-term exposures have been linked to heart attacks.

Outdoor wood burning furnaces are regulated in the Connecticut, but not to the degree Brown, LeBlanc and other in the testimony would like to see.

According to the Connecticut DEP, Connecticut law states that any furnace installed after July 11, 2005, the time when the law went into effect, has to adhere to three strict guidelines. The first rule is that OWFs must operate on wood that has not been chemically treated and that any other material burned would be a violation of the Public Act and installation, and operation must be conducted in accordance with the manufacturer’s written instructions. The second is that an OWF must be at least 200 feet from the nearest residence not being served by the unit. The third is that the chimney from the OWF must be at least as high as the roof peak of residences within 500 feet, up to 55 feet in height.

The law also states that all OWFs, no matter when they were installed, must not emit visible smoke that crosses property lines at ground level in any way that could diminish the health, safety or enjoyment of people using a building. The smoke must also not have opacity of more than 20 percent for six minutes or of more than 40 percent for one minute, or create nuisance odors that cross the property line.

However, these rules are not stringently enforced, mostly due to lack of personnel in the agencies responsible for monitoring them. DEP spokesman Dennis Schain said one of the issues with enforcement is that to take action, a member of the department has to personally be present when a suspect OWF is operating to conduct the opacity tests.

A Connecticut State Senate bill to ban outdoor wood burning furnaces was squashed in committee on Friday, March 19.

In his report, Brown said the current system of enforcement in the state is inadequate.

Connecticut’s current regulatory approach has failed to address the health risks from OWFs,” he said. “The approach has been enforcement through inspection and issuing of notices of violation when smoke is visible. That technique has failed to either detect violations of OWFs that occur at night or to determine the seriousness of the problem.”

Brown ends his report by suggesting that the use of these furnaces “needs to be restricted in Connecticut until better technologiesare found.”

LeBlanc agrees. She said she would like to see a moratorium on all sales of OWFs until cleaner models are available and to have the restrictions on how close one can be installed to a neighbor’s property increased and to have the laws enforced. She said she would also like to see the government become more proactive in testing the effects of the devices.

“These sort of tests should not be left up to nonprofits,” she said. “With all the money the government spends on treating diseases and health problems, you think this would be a priority. Right now they are allowing emissions that are affecting people in the state and not doing anything about it. That really bothers me.”

Not willing to wait for the government to act, LeBlanc is attempting to organize concerned citizens into a group. She has started the a coalition for clean air she is calling “Breathe Connecticut.” She said anyone interested can either call her at (860) 481-5571 or e-mail her at breathct@sbcglobal.net

Rich Hosford can be reached by phone at (860) 928-1818, ext. 112, or by e-mail at rich@villagernewspapers.com

Full Article: CLICK HERE 

May 28, 2010

Hearing set on wood-burning boiler rules

Source: The Daily News, New York

Published: Friday, May 28, 2010 11:05 AM EDT

 

BATAVIA -- A public hearing on proposed restrictions on outdoor wood-burning boilers will be conducted June 14 at Genesee Community College.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley, R-Batavia, who is critical of the plan, urged residents to attend the hearing, which begins with an information session at 5 p.m. and continues the hearing from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Conable Technology Building, 1 College Rd.

The Department of Environmental Conservation proposal looks to place new regulations on operating requirements for both new and existing outdoor wood boilers. Under the new restrictions, outdoor wood boilers would have to be at least 100 feet from neighboring properties and would have to be at least 18 feet in height.

"While I appreciate this proposal and its efforts to improve the environment and air quality across our state, I am concerned that it could substantially increase costs on Western New Yorkers who rely on outdoor wood boilers for home heating," Hawley said in a news release. "With most new outdoor wood boilers costing thousands of dollars, these new restrictions could be unaffordable for many people whose boilers meet current DEC regulations."

The DEC will conduct public hearings across the state and will give informal information sessions on the newly proposed regulations. During these information sessions, the public will have the opportunity to express their concerns and ask questions about the potential new regulations and their impact on the community.

"It is my hope that through this open dialogue, the DEC and residents will be able to come up with an effective and less costly proposal," Hawley said.

On the Net:

Proposed restrictions on wood-burning boilers are detailed at: www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/64480.html

Full Article: CLICK HERE

 

May 27, 2010

Biofuels Combustion & Wood Boiler Policy Symposium (OWBs mentioned)

May 27, 2010

Source: Clarkson University     

A symposium on biofuels combustion and wood boiler policy background on will be held during the Northeast Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society at SUNY Potsdam on Thursday, June 3, at 1 p.m.

Given the recent local interest in proposed DEC rules on wood boilers and the likelihood that EPA will enact similar rules soon, village, town and county officials for example may wish to attend the symposium to get additional information.

Philip K. Hopke, Bayard D. Clarkson Distinguished Professor and the director of the Center for Air Resources Engineering and Science at Clarkson University, and Ellen Burkhard, senior project manager at the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), are the session organizers.

For registration information, please see http://www.nerm2010.org.

Here is a description of the Solid Biofuel Combustion: Efficiency and Emissions symposium:

There is an increasing interest in the combustion of solid biofuels (i.e., wood pellets, wood chips, crop pellets) to mitigate global warming and reduce costs relative to fossil fuels.

Conventional outdoor wood boilers waste more than half the energy of wood fuel and emit significant amounts of pollutants. Advanced wood-boiler units developed in Europe can achieve thermal efficiencies greater than 80 percent and produce less than five percent of the particulate emissions of inefficient wood boilers typically used in the U.S.

These advanced systems are commonly called staged-combustion or gasification boilers. There are state-of-the-art combustion systems that provide high thermal efficiency and greatly reduced emissions, but they have not been widely used or characterized for their performance in the United States.

To respond for the interest in these systems, studies have been initiated across the northeastern states to characterize existing boilers as well as the newer designed high-efficiency systems.

This symposium will bring together researchers who are currently involved in the study of wood combustion systems and their impacts on emissions. The results of studies on both conventional and advanced boiler systems will be presented and provide the opportunity for researchers in this field to share results with each other.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in six alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

Full Article: CLICK HERE

May 19, 2010

Burners: Where there is smoke, there's ire

The use of outdoor wood burners has been popular in rural areas but not in suburbs, including Inver Grove Heights.

By JOY POWELL, Star Tribune

Last update: May 19, 2010 - 11:18 PM

 

The Inver Grove Heights City Council will soon begin a one-year moratorium on new installation of outdoor wood burners.

But resident Armando Lissarrague isn't breathing a sigh of relief yet.

He wants the council to ban all outdoor wood burners permanently or else set tough regulations, including how far one can be situated from a property line.

After Lissarrague complained to the city about his neighbor's smoke blowing onto his property last winter, Inver Grove Heights became the latest south-metro suburb to consider banning the controversial burners, which a few residents use to heat their homes, at least partially.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says such burners produce at least 3,370 times more smoke than do traditional interior gas and oil furnaces. The emissions can cause eye and nose irritation, breathing difficulty, wheezing, coughing and headaches, the EPA says.

The Inver Grove Heights council will use the moratorium to stop new installations while learning how other communities regulate outdoor wood furnaces, said City Administrator Joe Lynch.

Most popular in rural areas, the units are housed in tiny shacks with a smokestack, and are 30 to 500 feet away from a home or a building.

Inside the shacks, a water jacket surrounds the firebox and heat exchanger. Heated water is circulated via underground pipe to a house or building, and in one case, to an Inver Grove Heights swimming pool.

The city has asked staff members to draft an ordinance regulating the burners. That could include the stacks' height, distance from property lines, where they are allowed in accordance with land use rules, where they could be operated and any permits needed, Lynch said.

The staff looked at ordinances from 15 other metro cities. Some, including Stillwater, Burnsville and Savage, ban them except for those grandfathered in. Others regulate them with performance standards and go after wood burners and boilers as a nuisance because of their emissions.

Among four outdoor wood burners or boilers known to operate in Inver Grove Heights, it's the one next to Lissarrague's home on Albavar Path that's drawn heavy criticism, mostly from him.

"When the unit is being used, sometimes the smoke settles at ground level, and then if the wind changes direction, it comes right toward our home, and it winds up inside our house," Lissarrague said. "Once it gets inside our house, we smell smoke. We start coughing, our eyes water, we get sore throats."

Lissarrague, 60, said his coronary disease and his family's allergies make them all the more sensitive to the smoke.

His neighbor, Doug May, said he believes that he and Lissarrague could resolve the issue without all the controversy or the city legislating,

May said he has not used his boiler much. And whenever the wind shifted toward Lissarrague's home or there was a temperature inversion, he shut it down, May said.

"I don't believe that they are the nuisance that my neighbor's making it, but quite honestly I want it to all go away," he said. "This year, I managed it better. I haven't had it on since the end of March, and I believe Armando would agree that he had hardly any smoke after the end of January."

May said at first, his stack was 8 feet tall, and atop a 4-foot-high shed. He added 6 feet and next winter will add another 8 feet so that the stack will rise 24 feet and better disperse smoke on his five-acre wooded lot. Lissarrague also has a 5-acre lot.

Lissarrague said that if no ban is enacted, he wants his neighbor's unit to be moved farther from the property line. He asks that any outdoor burner be 300 feet from the property line and 500 feet from the nearest neighboring home, and that smokestacks be at least 2 feet higher than any neighboring home within 500 feet.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

May 19, 2010 (video)

DEC proposes requirements for outdoor wood boilers

Source: WSYR 9 News, Syracuse

Last Update: 5/18 11:53 pm

 

Onondaga (WSYR-TV) - The State Department of Environmental Conservation has proposed new operating requirements for both new and existing outdoor wood boilers.

The legislation would regulate emission standards and smokestack heights as well as prohibit boilers from causing a public nuisance.

The proposed state regulations would require boilers to be at least 100-feet from neighboring properties, and smokestacks would have to be at least 18 feet high. Some towns already have outright bans on the boilers, while the Town of Onondaga is currently considering one.

Tim Wilkinson dream came true when he set up a wood boiler and slashed his winter heating costs. Four years ago Wilkinson traded in his heating bill for an outdoor wood boiler. "Our bill used to be between $400 and $600 and the delivery charge," he said. "Now I use a minimal amount of gas, which they charge us $25 a month for, and $80 to deliver those $25 of gas."

It seemed too good to be true, until Wilkinson found out the Town of Onondaga proposed legislation to ban the outdoor furnaces. "Now all of a sudden there's a few people - three or four or a half dozen - complaining that they're being smoked out by their neighbors and somebody's burning trash," Wilkinson said.

But Onondaga residents are not the only ones complaining. Statewide concerns about the emissions and locations of the boilers have caused the Department of Conservation to put new regulations on the table.

One state proposal requires smokestacks to be at least 18-feet from the ground and at least two-feet higher than the peak of the nearest building, in an effort to cut back on nuisance complaints.

"I added another stack because when I bought mine, the smoke didn't go up what I thought was far enough and I didn't want my neighbors complaining. So, I put another four foot stack on it and now its somewhere between 16 and 18 feet right now," Wilkinson said.

Wilkinson says he's willing to comply with new regulations, as long as it doesn't mean getting rid of it.

The DEC is accepting written comments on the issue until July 2, 2010.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

May 16, 2010

IGH considers wood burner moratorium

By: Danielle Cabot

May 16, 2010

 

The Inver Grove City Council is pursuing a 12-month moratorium on outdoor wood burners within the city.

The council passed a first reading May 10.

The moratorium is in response to an initiative by a resident on Albavar Path, who says his neighbor's outdoor wood burner regularly lays a blanket of smoke across his property and has affected the health of his family.

Four wood burners exist in city limits, according to staff, and two are on Albavar Path. Existing burners would not be affected by the moratorium.

An outdoor wood-burning furnace, or an outdoor wood boiler, burns wood in a controlled combustion chamber resembling a small shed. The energy produced can heat water sent through underground pipes to heat a building, or be connected to a forced-air system. Smoke is released through a chimney attached to the chamber.

However, the "OWB"s can vary in efficiency, with the least efficient models producing volumes of smoke and particulate matter in the air. More efficient models limit the amount of smoke produced, but burn through wood fuel more rapidly.

The ban will give the city time to consider whether to pass an ordinance limiting their placement. Another option would be to ban the power source entirely.

Numerous groups and coalitions have formed across the country in recent years to try to pass ordinances or outright bans on OWBs to address health and quality-of-life concerns, including Take Back the Air, a group based in Edina.

Following lengthy discussions in the council's working groups, city staff prepared the moratorium expecting it to be passed unanimously upon a first reading. However, at the request of council member Rosemary Piekarski Krech, the council and staff will take two weeks to consider the measure and vote on a second and final reading at their meeting May 24.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

May 15, 2010

Outdoor wood boiler discussion continues

By John Mason

Published: Saturday, May 15, 2010 2:12 AM EDT

 

Outdoor wood boilers need to be weighed against the alternatives before being regulated out of existence. That was the message delivered to the Kinderhook Town Board Monday by a local OWB owner.

Mike Urbaitis built, owns and maintains one of the two OWBs in Kinderhook Village. He constructed his boiler, which heats two houses and a greenhouse in the center of the village, as an alternative to fossil fuel. His plea couldn’t have been more timely, coming as the world tries to contain the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

But not everybody sees it his way: Kinderhook Village has outlawed OWBs after 2020, and at Monday’s meeting, Kinderhook Town Board members heard a presentation on OWB regulations, as they explore the town’s options.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation is working on regulations that would phase out “existing wood boilers” by 2020 and is accepting comments through July 2. A public hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. June 8 at 625 Broadway in Albany, with a public information session at 5 p.m.

During the public comment period, Urbaitis urged the Town Board to regulate, rather than banish, the OWB.

A member of the Palmer Engine and Hose Company, he described two oil burner failures that occurred in the village last fall.

“One was a residence in which a woman remained in the house a full night and day before she moved an object and saw the distinct ring showing a deposit of unburned fuel,” he said. “I was doing work at the house, and I saw the film myself. She had to have every object in the house cleaned down to the stones in the cellar, at a cost of $15,000.”

Urbaitis said the second incident was in the village square, and when he responded as a fireman, “thick smoke was pressing against the windows and the square was blue with the haze of unburned fuel oil. This condition lasted a full half-hour. Everyone there got a good lung full of that smoke, and my head was banging for the rest of the night. So it’s true that no system is perfect, but my boiler can’t cause that sort of hazard.”

Urbaitis asked the town to “take a leadership position ... by allowing wood boilers to operate,” and suggested that stack requirements and a burn season be put in place.

Monday’s meeting kicked off with a power point presentation by Ron Piester, director of the Division of Code Enforcement and Administration for the state Department of State. He addressed the state regulations regarding OWBs and how local regulations might interact with them.

Under the state Mechanical Code, he said, while there is little information about OWBs themselves, there’s a wealth of information about their installation. The unit must be listed and labeled, he said, specifically designed and installed properly, “not just patched together.”

Under the state Property Maintenance Code, article 302.6, Piester said, a building faces the hurdle that “pipes, ducts, conductors, fans or blowers shall not discharge gases, steams, vapor, hot air, grease ... upon abutting or adjacent public or private property or that of another tenant.”

He said it was up to the code enforcement officer to make sure this condition is not violated, and said his office provides technical assistance in applying the code.

The town’s options, Piester said, are:

n  To develop criteria for application of the Property Maintenance Code, with guidelines for the CEO.

n  To adopt a local law under the authority of Executive Law Article 18, subject to review and approval by the New York State Code Council.

Over the long term, Piester said, the town could amend its codes. Most importantly, he said, the town should support its CEO’s education. Code enforcement officers are the “silent heroes,” he said, making sure buildings “are built safely, stand the test of time and are built so emergency personnel know what they are getting into.” CEOs, he said are required to take 24 hours a year of training.

“My feeling is, I don’t think they should be banned,” she said. “Who is the CEO to come into my house and say ‘No?’ It’s a communist thing.”

Piester said the state Code Council is not thinking of banning them, and that 302.6 was developed in a national context and applies to all types of exhaust from buildings.

Speaking in favor of Urbaitis were Mike Rexhouse and Dick Morell. Rexhouse said Urbaitis, whom he has worked for, cuts his own wood locally, clearing and maintaining areas in exchange for wood so he doesn’t need to transport his fuel thousands of miles.

He said there is a small amount of smoke when the wood is first put in, which is replaced by steam after a minute or two, and when the unit is up to temperature, with proper use, there’s no smoke at all. 

“We have an opportunity here,” he said. “I’m disgusted by this whole experience; our state officials are encouraging the dying fossil fuel industry.”

Morell said he had never experienced any obnoxious odor from Urbaitis’s boiler.

While mines collapse in West Virginia and Siberia, glaciers are melting and the North Pole is turning into a lake, he said, “our government is more interested in outdoor wood boilers than in the people creating the problem.”

The board voted to extend the town’s moratorium on OWBs for another three months while the law is being hammered out. Councilman Peter Bujanow said the code committee is considering how the DEC’s laws differ from the ones they are proposing.

“We don’t ban them,” he said. “We allow them in certain zones.” The committee is also considering requirements for setbacks and stack heights, and distinctions between residential and commercial units.

Full Article: CLICK HERE



May 14, 2010

Outdoor furnaces outlawed in Cheshire

By: Staff, Republican-American

Friday, May 14, 2010

 

CHESHIRE — The town has banned the use of outdoor wood-burning furnaces.

The Planning and Zoning Commission made the decision earlier this week in a split vote.

With the vote, Cheshire becomes the 10th town in the state to ban outdoor wood-burning furnaces, said Dawn Mays-Hardy, director of health promotion and public policy for the American Lung Association. The association is one of the organizations that has been pushing for the ban for health reasons. "I wanted to thank them," said Mays-Hardy, who lives in town.

The state has received about 700 complaints in the past three years, according to Department of Environmental Protection records. It's not clear whether any of them were from Cheshire.

A hotly contested proposal that would have outlawed the furnaces statewide died after it failed to make it out of the legislature's Environmental Committee in March.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

May 13, 2010

PZC Mulls Change In Zoning Regulations

by Josh Morgan

May 13, 2010

 

The Planning and Zoning Commission is deliberating a change to the zoning regulations that would allow for yearly extensions for the north end development proposal, up until 2018.

Later in the evening, the PZC did render a decision on banning the construction of new outdoor wood burning furnaces, which passed 7-0-2. Dawson and Commissioner Louis Todisco recused themselves from the vote.

A few weeks ago, the PZC appeared ready to vote on the banning of the furnaces, but a furnace manufacturer submitted information at the last minute and members wanted a chance to review the documents.

"I did not find that information convincing. They sit behind houses and are less likely to be monitored and is a general nuisance to neighbors," Cobern said. "Property rights do not extend to annoying and harming your neighbors with smoke and fumes."

The banning of new furnaces is not retroactive and residents that currently utilize this method of heating will not be forced to remove their units, as long as they can provide documentation that it was purchased before May 10, 2010. PZC Chairman Sean Strollo stated that, years ago, he had been interested in purchasing an outdoor wood furnace, but then thought better of it because of the safety risks.

"I believe this is in the best interest of the general public," he commented.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

May 13, 2010

Bancroft burn victim in serious condition (OWB the cause)

By: Staff, Stevens Point Journal

 May 13, 2010

A 33-year-old Bancroft woman is in serious condition today at a Madison hospital after she was burned Wednesday putting wood into a wood boiler outside her home in 8500 block of Farmers Road.

Portage County Sheriff’s Deputies, Bancroft Fire and EMS, DNR Fire, and Whiting

Firefighters were dispatched to the home at 2:47 p.m. Wednesday after a report of a wild fire with possible injuries.

The woman was flown to Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Marshfield and later transported to the University of Wisconsin Hospital.

The flames that burned the woman also started a small grass fire, but it was quickly extinguished.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

May 12, 2010

Regional Planning Commission amendments (OWBs discussed)

By: Staff, The Suburbanite

Posted May 12, 2010 @ 08:37 AM

 

Jackson TWP, Ohio

At the May 4 meeting of the Stark County Regional Planning Commission (RPC), denial was recommended for three township zoning amendments and one approval. The approval was recommended to an amendment proposed to Bethlehem Township Zoning Resolution modifying their Compliance Certificate section. An amendment was proposed to the Washington Township Zoning Resolution which would add regulations for both outdoor hydronic furnaces and small wind energy systems. RPC recommended denial with the suggestion that modifications be made to the text amendment.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

May 11, 2010

Perth puts seasonal ban on wood boilers

By JOEL DiTATA, The Leader-Herald

POSTED: May 11, 2010

 

PERTH - The town last week adopted a law that will regulate the use of outdoor wood-burning boilers and includes a three-month ban on the units beginning at the end of this month.

Wood-boiler users, however, can apply for a free waiver from the ban from town Code Enforcement Officer Mark Concilla, but approval from neighbors also is necessary.

Owners have until May 31 to submit their applications and receive approval from their neighbors.

The new law also says:

All furnaces must be constructed and maintained within the guidelines of the manufacturer's instructions and the requirements of the local law.

The owner of any new outdoor wood furnace shall produce the manufacturer's owner's manual or installation instructions to Concilla for review before installation.

If any existing boilers are creating a verifiable nuisance, they will be given the opportunity to modify the unit to eliminate the nuisance or cease the unit until steps are taken to alter the unit.

In case of a conflict, the local law requirements apply unless the manufacturer's instructions are more strict, which would result in those instructions being applied.

All new outdoor wood boilers shall be laboratory tested and listed to appropriate safety standards.

At March's board meeting, officials supported the three-month ban. The ban will last until Labor Day.

The first public hearing was held in December 2009 after residents Nancy and Roger Tyler requested a full ban on the boilers. The couple said they suffer from health problems, and the smoke from a neighbor's unit makes their conditions worse.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

May 10, 2010

Council: Storm water ordinance to be amended (OWBs discussed)

BY LEONARD HAYHURST  Staff Writer

May 10,2010

 

COSHOCTON -- The ordinance to create a storm water program fund for the city of Coshocton will be amended before its final reading and a vote…...

Discussion also was conducted at the last work session about outdoor wood fire boilers that sit outside homes because the devices create heavy, low-level smoke that could be a nuisance to neighbors.

Stenner said the state of Ohio has left it up to cities on how to regulate or ban the devices.

"We should not allow them," Fire Chief Mike Layton said. "I truly believe they're going to be a big nuisance."

Layton said the Ohio EPA recommends 200 feet setback from property lines for installation, which would make them impossible to install in city limits. He said regulations could be relaxed to 25 feet.

"I just don't think they're right for in town. If you live out in the woods someplace, they're great, but they're just not for in town. We get enough smoke complaints as it is," Layton said.

Layton said New Concord and Twinsburg have ordinances banning the devices and Fostoria has an ordinance regulating the devices. The banning ordinances of these cities will be reviewed and used to draft legislation for Coshocton likely will be introduced for consideration at the next work session.

Layton said two known devices are on the outskirts of the city now -- one on 20th Street and one at Cantwell Creek Garden Center -- that could be allowed to remain under a grandfather clause in the ordinance.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

May 7, 2010 (Canada)

Black cloud to lift from École Champlain (OWBs)

By: Staff, Canada East

Published Friday May 7th, 2010

 

Air quality at École Champlain was once again on the agenda at Moncton city council this week.

This time, complaints were levelled at thick clouds of black wood smoke apparently coming from a nearby factory.

"There's no such thing as good smoke," Fire Chief Eric Arsenault said at the council meeting. He added while most people think wood smoke is safe, in large quantities it is unhealthy.

The city passed a recommendation this week to ban all "outdoor wood burning appliances" used to heat buildings. These are large-scale wood furnaces that heat buildings by heating air and water that flows through pipes in the building.

The bylaw would not ban backyard wood stoves. Only large-scale heating furnaces used mainly in industrial buildings would be targeted.

"Businesses will be notified and given time to convert to natural gas or some other kind of heating," said Councilor Pierre Boudreau. The first reading of the wood furnace ban bylaw will be at the next city council meeting May 17.

Last year, residents of the MacAleese Lane area, and parents of École Champlain students, signed a petition against dust and fumes from nearby asphalt and recycling plants. For years, air quality has been an issue for the school, built within an industrial zone.

The provincial health and environment departments at a council meeting last year said the fumes were within provincial guidelines.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

May 6, 2010

Catskill board will hear public’s views on outdoor furnaces

Published: Thursday, May 06, 2010

By WILLIAM J. KEMBLE
Correspondent

CATSKILL — The Town Board has set a public hearing for 5:30 p.m. June 16 on the need for a local law governing the use of outdoor wood-burning furnaces.

Town Supervisor Peter Markou said Tuesday that town Planning Board member Larry Federman requested the hearing.

“He is resident of the hamlet of Palenville and he approached the board to have us consider a local law doing something about wood furnaces,” Markou said. “So, I’m giving him his public hearing.”

Officials said there is no information available on the number of outdoor wood-burning furnaces being used in the town, and no record of complaints. But Federman said there at least six units in use, including one by a neighbor.

“The one that affects me directly is less than 500 feet from my house, and last summer it was (used) almost every day,” he said.

Federman said his family has been unable to sit outside “and we can’t keep our windows open in the summertime” because of smoke from the unit. He said proposed state regulations would prevent wood-burning furnaces from being used during the summer and would address health issues stemming from poor industry standards.

“Right now there are no guidelines by the state,” he said. “The state has opened a public comment period on proposed regulations.”

“The problem is the first generation of these units can put out 20 to 30 times the amount of carcinogenic smoke as a residential wood stove,” Federman said. “The health issues are obviously the number one reason I’m looking for some kind of guidance in regulating these units.”

In February, Councilman Michael Smith said the units are an inexpensive way to heat homes.

“That’s a significant consideration that we can take into view when we’re looking at the economy that we have now,” he said. But Smith was also concerned that the outdoor furnaces could become a nuisance in some parts of town.

“I see in Palenville open burners that are right next door to residences that don’t have open burners,” he said. “We need to investigate, from any number of points of view, whether open burners are appropriate in connection with their use in a tight suburban community.”

Full Article: CLICK HERE

May 5, 2010

Lower Moreland residents say wood boilers create health hazards

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

By Jesse Reilly

 

A week after the Lower Moreland Board of Commissioners learned about problems with outdoor wood boilers in the township and directed its solicitor to look into neighboring municipalities’ ordinances on the issue, board President Francis Devinney said the township was not ready to take any action at its meeting April 21.

“We are not prepared to authorize anything,” he said. “Now it is on our radar but it needs more work.”

The issue was first addressed at the board’s April 13 meeting when residents Len and Noona Gelman, living next door to someone with an outdoor boiler, told of the problems they were having because of it.

“The first night we thought our house was on fire,” Len told the board. “There was smoke everywhere.”

Since the first night the couple reported health issues including headaches, coughing and shortness of breath for them and their three children including a 7-month-old.

“His lungs will not develop properly,” Noona said through tears. “It is a definite health risk.”

According to a handout from the Gelmans, the boilers generate smoke that “contains two tons of particulate matter per year, is so heavy that in never leaves the yard and has a rancid stench.”

Particulate matter emissions, it continued, “Causes a host of heath problems ranging from short-term health harms such as eye, nose, throat and lung irritation to long-term health problems including asthma, pneumonia, heart disease and an increased risk of cancer.”

Although board members expressed serious concerns for the family, township Solicitor Rick Weiss said there were several things to take into consideration.

“A question is whether or not the township can prohibit the use and my opinion is that it cannot,” he said.

According to Weiss a use cannot be totally banned unless it cannot be regulated. With an ordinance the boilers can be regulated.

With the boilers only used in the fall and winter months, the township has a few months to work through an ordinance, but according to Weiss, an ordinance might not help the Gelmans because he does not believe that existing boilers will fall under the new ordinance.

“You cannot give someone a permit then adopt an ordinance against it and go back and say that they can’t do something that you have already permitted them to do,” he said. “It’s an ex post facto law.”

That explanation didn’t seem good enough for Commissioner Emily Jane Lemole who expressed great concern when first hearing about it.

“When environmental laws change we all have to change even already existing things,” she said. “I don’t know why we can’t do that.”

Going further the commissioner said she didn’t believe the boilers were appropriate for the township.

“Maybe they are OK in rural areas but they do not belong here,” she said. “I don’t know how we can allow something that is such a hazard to people’s health, even with an ordinance, these people [the Gelmans] are still going to suffer.”

The Gelmans’ neighbor and owner of the boiler, Frank Gil, attended the meeting, but when questioned, told the board that he was simply there to listen.

The issue is being discussed in the state’s Department of Environmental Protection.

“If DEP thought it was harmful they would have prohibited it,” Weiss said.

Although the Gelmans said they have been negatively affected by the boiler, a number of other neighbors attended the board’s April 21 meeting speaking in favor of the device.

“I believe I am the second closest to the burner and I just thought it was someone’s fireplace,” John DiMarzio said. “I never saw smoke, nothing was ever blown into my property, it was never a problem.”

DiMarzio’s wife, Lois, agreed.

“Burning oil is not natural,” she said. “We are complaining because he is burning wood in a fireplace.”

Still the Gelmans pushed for relief.

“Smoke is bad for you, it’s a proven fact, it’s not up for debate,” Len said. “I didn’t know you could take away my right to good heath.”

Although Weiss told the couple to look into other options including legal counsel or contacting the DEP, Noona said the steps had already been taken.

“They [DEP] sent us to you. They are suggesting that urban areas take a stand against the boilers and I strongly suggest the township does,” she said. “If you don’t have the duty to do something about this who does?”

With the discussion seeming to go in circles, Devinney cut off debate and decided it would be further discussed at next month’s meeting.

“I will be at every meeting,” Len said. “I am not going away.”

Full Article: CLICK HERE

May 5, 2010

Outdoor wood furnaces back on city's plate

By SCOTT SEITZ - Reflector Staff Writer

 Wednesday May 05 2010, 12:21pm

 

Norwalk city officials spent a good deal of time about two years ago discussing all aspects of outdoor wood furnaces.

Before city council could adopt any official legislation on the subject, the state indicated it would make the decision.

Now, two years later, it appears the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has decided that individual cities can decide the issue on their own.

So it's back to square one for Norwalk.

"My initial thought is about the state," Councilman Shane Penrose said.

"I am disappointed, but not surprised that they didn't act," he added.

"I remember being told they will have something in a few months. Then it was 'next fall' and then it was 'sometime soon.' After all of that they end up kicking it back to us," he said.

"Looking through my materials I still have item number 08-010a with my 'active' legislation, so I believe that is the piece tabled for this," Penrose said.

"My initial thoughts on the furnaces themselves as that they really don't make much sense to be in the city limits," Penrose said.

"I know we have grand fathered the few currently in existence, but that makes sense given our lack of prior legislation and the investment it represents for those homeowners. That said, these can be very tough on neighbors and I believe the set backs we were most likely to adopt when we first explored this were fairly restrictive for housing in the city," he said.

"That would be the direction I would be in favor of this time around as well. These just don't make sense in any neighborhood where your neighbors are even remotely close," Penrose said.

Councilman Harry Brady, who was not on council for the discussion two years, still is familiar with the topic.

"I know we don't have that many of them in the city, only a handful," Brady said. "But it would be very difficult for me to step in and tell someone, no, you can't heat your home this way," he added. "I know there are two sides to the issue and I think it's worth reviewing again."

Brady said now is a good time to review this.

"What's the difference between an outdoor wood furnace and indoor wood burner," he said. "Smoke is smoke. I hope we will take this up and review it. We're past the peak of the heating season. We need some regulations before next winter."

Full Article: CLICK HERE

May 5, 2010

Proposed rules on wood boilers topic of hearing

Source: The Daily News

Wednesday, May 5, 2010 10:30 AM EDT

 

BATAVIA -- A hearing on proposed outdoor wood boiler regulations will be conducted June 14 at Genesee Community College.

The new regulations are designed to dramatically reduce pollution, State Department of Environmental Conservation officials said in a news release.

The proposed new rules are in response to visible air pollution and numerous public complaints, officials said. They're designed to reduce the impact of smoke plumes on neighbors.

The new rules would include emission limits on new OWBs to be sold in New York. They would setting a minimum distance at which new OWBs can be located from neighboring properties. Certain fuel restrictions, stack height requirements and a nuisance provision for both new and existing outdoor wood boilers are also being considered.


The proposed regulations would also ban the use of existing boilers in summer ,when neighbors are likely to be enjoying the outdoors and have their windows open, unless the they meet the requirements for new OWBs or setbacks. The rules will eventually phase out the use of existing units that don't comply with the new standards.

The hearing will be conducted 5 to 6 p.m. in room T102 of the Conable Technology Building. It's one of 11 being conducted statewide.

The public comment period ends July 2.

The new regulations are available on the Web at www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/64459.html.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

May 5, 2010

Law may regulate wood-burning furnaces

Lockport Town Board to hold public hearing

Published : Wednesday, 05 May 2010, 8:35 AM EDT

 By: Shannon Ross

 

LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WIVB) - If you own a wood-burning furnace, you'll want to read this.

The Lockport Town Board will be holding a public hearing Wednesday on a local law that would regulate the use of those furnaces.

That law would ban the installation of a wood burning furnace anywhere within 150 feet of another home.

Wednesday's meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Town Hall on Dysinger Road.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

May 5, 2010

It’s a hot issue

By Gretchen van Nuys

Published: May 5, 2010

 

Wantage — Emotions ran high over the topic of whether and how to handle the use of outdoor furnaces during a spirited discussion at the Wantage Township’s April 29 meeting. Residents both for and against a proposed law described their own experiences with outdoor furnaces.

“My neighbor next door has an outdoor furnace, and the smoke is unbelievable,” said Billie Aikens. “I’ve been dealing with burning toxic garbage year-round,” she said, adding that she is unable to open her windows or sit outside her house no matter how beautiful the weather because of the smoke.

The township’s proposed outdoor furnace law, already the subject of much debate, was voted down April 29. It will now go back to the Land Use Board for fine-tuning.

There is no deadline on this, but the measure is expected to return for a vote in an updated form within a month or so.

“The Land Board discussed this and decided to make some changes,” said Deputy Mayor and Land Use Board member Bill DeBoer.

The proposed law was created as a way to regulate the use of outdoor furnaces, after residents had expressed concerns about their safety and impact on the environment.

It’s personal

Speakers told their stories during last week’s meeting.

“Nobody should ever have to breathe anyone else’s garbage and smoke like what pours into my house,” Aikens said. “It’s horrific, it really is. It would be different if you had 10 acres and it didn’t affect anybody.”

Another resident argued that law-abiding outdoor furnace owners should not be penalized for the actions of others.

“I live on three acres, and I own an outdoor wood stove,” said Paul Kimble. “If an outdoor furnace is used properly, there’s nothing coming out of it that will hurt you people; it should be no problem.” Kimble disagreed with the now-defeated proposal to permit outdoor furnaces only on properties of five acres or more. He believes existing legally-installed outdoor furnaces should be grandfathered in. “I followed the rules and got my permit,” he said to the mayor and committee members. “If you make me pull this out — and it costs me $15,000 —I’ll send you the bill.”

Full Article: CLICK HERE

May 3, 2010

 

Town of Onondaga considers outdoor wood boiler ban

WSYR News

Last Update: 5/03 10:18 pm

Town of Onondaga (WSYR-TV) - Another local town wants to outlaw outdoor wood boilers. Monday night, the Town of Onondaga heard from neighbors about the proposal.

The concern is the wood boilers affect local air quality, and emit too much smoke. The town codes officer says there are only 18 wood boilers that they know about right now. Those would be grandfathered in for a few years if the law passes.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

May 1, 2010 (Opinion)

New York must ban outdoor wood boiler stoves

Source: Times Union

First published in print: Saturday, May 1, 2010

 

Five years ago, the state attorney general's office issued the report, "Smoke Gets in Your Lungs." It stated that outdoor wood boiler tests showed emissions in some cases of more than 260 grams an hour of fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) compared to indoor wood stove emissions of 2 to 4 grams an hour.

Now, the state Department of Environmental Conservation has issued a regulation that is a sham because the DEC cannot monitor what people will burn in these stoves.

It is a sham because the EPA Phase II stoves that DEC will allow are not "cleaner" burning because the test used to certify used kiln-dried red oak.

Who uses kiln-dried wood in a wood stove?

Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (of which New York is a member) reports these stoves can emit 95 grams of PM 2.5 an hour and receive certification.

Where is the leadership in New York? Asthma rates are rising in children. DEC's budget is shrinking and it can't see that these stoves are a major health problem. The only answer is a ban.

Go to the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management website and read this report: http://www.nescaum.org/documents/source-characterization-of-outdoor-wood-furnaces

Then send your comments to DEC telling it to do its job and protect New York's air.

Bonnie Lichak

Nassau

Full Article: CLICK HERE

May 1, 2010

Area’s air quality still gets an ‘F’ (OWBs mentioned)

Lung association’s new report finds some improvement

Sam Shawver, sshawver@mariettatimes.com

May 1, 2010

 

The American Lung Association's 2010 State of the Air report rates the Marietta and Parkersburg area 25th among the top 25 most polluted cities in the U.S. for year-round particle pollution.

Despite that there were some positives in the report.

"Washington County is one of the more polluted areas in Ohio, but the good news is that it's getting better," said Shelly Kiser, director of advocacy for the American Lung Association in Ohio.

Washington County still received an "F" for the number of days in 2009 that local residents breathed levels of ozone above limits recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The color-coded Air Quality Index is used to rate the amount of pollution in an area on any given day. Green indicates good quality, yellow means moderately good, orange is unhealthy for individuals with sensitive respiratory systems, red is unhealthy for everyone and purple represents a very unhealthy atmosphere.

"Last year the county had 41 days in the orange range and one day in the red," she said. "This year you had 29 days in the orange, and zero days in the red zone."

Still, the improvement was not enough to bring the county's letter grade up to a "D."

Only Medina County in Ohio had no unhealthy days last year.

Kiser said the State of the Air report looks at two main sources of pollution that can affect humans - ozone and particulates (microscopic particles of pollutants) that can enter and damage the respiratory system.

According to the 2010 report on year-round particle pollution, people in the Marietta and Parkersburg areas were breathing 17 micrograms of particles per cubic meter of air between 2000 and 2002, but that figure had dropped to 14.6 micrograms per cubic meter between 2006 and 2008.

Areas with particle pollution above the 15 micrograms per cubic meter level are given a failing grade. But 14.6 is still not low enough to keep Marietta and Parkersburg out of the most polluted cities list.

"We continue monitoring throughout the year, and air quality is definitely continuing to improve in that area," said Heidi Griesmer with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

But she added that by law the U.S. EPA reviews air quality standards every five years, and in 2009 proposed tightening the ozone standard, which would make it even more difficult for Marietta and Parkersburg to make the grade.

Marietta Mayor Michael Mullen said that while the State of the Air report contains important health information, it can also have a negative impact on communities.

"Anytime we get a negative report, it has an effect on our ability to attract businesses and people," he said. "And being located in a valley that captures pollutants from area industries just exacerbates the problem."

Mullen said the nation is recognizing the need to change from burning fossil fuels to using healthier renewable energy sources, and the local area is continuing to make improvements in air quality.

"We're making a lot of progress, and I'll stack our low crime rate, natural resources, and great cultural standards against all other areas," he said. "In balance there's no other place I'd rather live."

Lowell-area native Joretta Nicholas heard about the area's negative reputation in terms of air quality several years ago when a New Orleans doctor several years ago told her that her home region had a nickname.

"He said they sent oncologists up here for training and they called this area 'Cancer Alley,'" she said. "I said 'You mean southern Ohio - but that's where I was raised."

Nicholas said since moving back to the region she's developed respiratory problems and has to use a breathing machine.

In a news release accompanying the report, Kiser said State of the Air 2010 "proves with hard data that cleaning up air pollution produces healthier air."

"We need to put that message to work so that policies that can protect Ohio's residents from particle pollution are put into effect," she added. "We need greater regulation of devices that cause pollution like outdoor wood-fired boilers and state funding to install equipment to clean up the dirty diesel vehicles currently on the road polluting Ohio's cities every day."

Kiser noted that initiatives like the state's Diesel Emission Reduction Grant Program, which lowers pollution through replacement and emission controls on diesel engines, are successful in cleaning up particle pollution and ozone-causing chemical emissions from trains, buses, trucks and heavy equipment. But she said state budget woes have cut funding for such programs in half, and the lung association is calling on Ohio legislators to continue support to maintain the diesel program at $50 million a year.

Eric Fitch, environmental science professor at Marietta College, said it will be difficult for this area to raise its air quality grades as long as industries continue "substantial volatile organic emissions."

"And as long as the generators of those emissions can put off compliance with clean air standards, we're going to continue to have these low ratings," he said.

"This is not rocket science," Fitch added. "We have the tools to build cleaner fueled cars and cleaner power plants, but to make that happen we need to continually upgrade our clean air regulations."

Full Article: CLICK HERE

April 29, 2010

Outdoor Wood Boiler Hearings

The Department of Environmental Conservation has recently released proposed regulations to strictly regulate the use of outdoor wood boilers in New York State. The regulations will place a significant financial burden on residents of rural New York, as currently used wood boilers that don't meet new emissions standards would have to be taken out of service well before their useful life has ended. In addition, DEC proposes new smoke stack height requirements and summertime use prohibitions that will make the regulations, as drafted, unworkable. Many families have turned to outdoor wood boil­ers as a more affordable choice in the face of high heating oil and natural gas prices. NYFB has prepared a summary of the new proposed regulations.

DEC is currently seeking comments on this proposal and we encourage you to use our E-Lobby Center to do so. Additionally, DEC is holding 11 information sessions and public hearings across the state in June. NYFB will be preparing talking points to assist anyone interested in attending one of the sessions.

Thursday, June 3, 2010
Public Hearing: 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Information Session: 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Dulles State Office Building, 1st Floor Auditorium, 317 Washington Street, Watertown, N.Y.

Monday, June 7, 2010
Public Hearing: 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Information Session: 5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
NYSDEC-Region 1, SUNY @ Stony Brook, 50 Circle Road, Stony Brook, N.Y.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Public Hearing: 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Information Session: 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
NYSDEC Central Office, 625 Broadway, Public Assembly Room 129, Albany, N.Y.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Public Hearing: 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Information Session: 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Rockland County Fire Training Center, 35 Fireman’s Memorial Drive, Pomona, N.Y.

Thursday, June 10, 2010
Public Hearing: 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Information Session: 5:00 p.m. –6:00 p.m.
Herkimer County Community College, Robert McLaughlin College Center, Hummel Corporate Center, 100 Reservoir Road, Herkimer, N.Y.

Monday, June 14, 2010
Public Hearing: 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Information Session: 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Genesee Community College, College Drive, Conable Technology Building, Room T102, Batavia, N.Y.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Public Hearing: 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Information Session: 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Cortland County Office Building, 2nd Floor Auditorium, 60 Central Avenue, Cortland, N.Y.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Public Hearing: 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Information Session: 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Allegany County Office Building, Legislative Board Chambers, 7 Court Street, Belmont, N.Y.

Thursday, June 17, 2010
Public Hearing: 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Information Session: 5:00 p.m. –6:00 p.m.
Jamestown Community College, Training Center, Room 117, 10785 Bennett Road (Route 60), Dunkirk, N.Y.

Monday, June 21, 2010
Public Hearing: 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Information Session: 5:00 p.m. –6:00 p.m.
Norrie Point Environmental Center, Margaret Lewis Norrie State Park, 256 Norrie Point Way,
Staatsburg, N.Y.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Public Hearing: 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Information Session: 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Harrietstown Town Hall, 39 Main Street, Saranac Lake, N.Y.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

April 29, 2010

Wood Furnaces Spark Debate

by Josh Morgan

April 29, 2010

 

The Planning and Zoning Commission is considering banning outdoor wood furnaces, and plan to take up the matter Monday night.

The state Department of Environmental Protection is looking into the risks associated with wood furnaces, even though the state Senate Environment Committee squashed a bill that would have barred the furnaces last month. In Cheshire, the PZC is considering halting the construction of any new wood furnaces while allowing ones already built to continue operation.

Nancy Alderman, president of the North Haven environmental group, Environment and Human Health, Inc., supports the idea of banning the outdoor furnaces for a variety of reasons. She stated that these units should not be confused with indoor wood burning stoves, which are certified by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. The outdoor furnaces, which burn wood that heats water and a home by traveling through underground piping, are more toxic than traditional indoor wood burning stoves, Alderman said.

"Each outdoor wood furnace emits wood smoke equivalent to 22 indoor wood stoves and they emit their smoke 24 hours a day, seven days a week," Alderman explained. "Their smoke plume can travel up to half a mile, causing neighboring houses to fill with smoke and cause illness among neighboring families."

The Planning and Zoning Commission originally seemed prepared to vote on the regulation this past Monday but, at the last minute, a manufacturer of outdoor wood furnaces submitted information that contradicts what Alderman and the DEP claim. Not wanting to rush the vote, the PZC decided that it would review the information over the next two weeks before closing the hearing. Members of the Commission have declined to comment, as the public hearing remains open.

The state Department of Environmental Protection has a fact sheet about outdoor wood furnaces (OWF), which was revised in 2005, that lists them "harmful to the environment and human health."

"Yes, OWFs produce a lot of thick smoke, which in addition to being a nuisance to neighbors has serious health and air pollution impacts," the report reads. "Smoke from OWFs contains unhealthy amounts of particulate matter, dioxin, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, hydrochloric acid, formaldehyde and other toxic air pollutants."

Alderman also fears that, since the furnaces are concealed within a shed, owners could be burning items other than wood, such as trash, yard waste, and tires. Across the nation, the debate on wood burning furnaces rages on, with only Washington instituting a state-wide ban on the appliances. In Connecticut, nine communities have outlawed outdoor wood furnaces, and Alderman hopes Cheshire makes it 10.

While other smoke rises into the air and dissipates rapidly, smoke from a wood burning furnace lingers, Alderman claimed.

"Because of their basic design, it is possible that the furnaces can never be made safe," Alderman stated. "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."

The Planning and Zoning Commission meets next Monday, May 10, at 7:30 p.m. in Town Hall.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

April 29, 2010

American Lung Association gives county ‘F’ for particle air pollution (OWBs discussed)

High ozone level days net ‘C’ while other categories have modest improvement

By Lauren Anderson
Thursday, April 29, 2010 3:03 a.m.

In a recent air quality report card released by the American Lung Association, Dane County received an “F” for the number of days during which particle pollution exceeded federal standards.

The assessment also gave the county a “C” for the number of high ozone level days.

Dona Wininsky, director of the Wisconsin American Lung Association, said the ALA based the grades on how often and to what extent the county exceeded the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s threshold for ozone and particle pollution.

From 2007-2009, the county experienced 12 “Orange” days, which are unhealthy for sensitive groups, according to the EPA’s Air Quality Index.

Wininsky said small children, the elderly and those with heart or respiratory diseases — such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease — are most susceptible to poor air quality.

or those in the vulnerable category, Wininsky said, the American Lung Association recommends they pay attention to media alerts when the DNR issues air quality advisories and limit outdoor activity.

In order to help the 63,000 people suffering from asthma in Dane County — and prevent that number from rising — Lisa MacKinnon, coordinator of the Dane County Clean Air Coalition, said it is imperative the county takes measures toward improving air quality.

The county did, however, receive a passing grade for annual particle pollution levels.

Bart Sponseller, chief of the Department of Natural Resources Air Management Monitoring Section, said the report would not have any regulatory implications because the county still meets the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

MacKinnon said the grades are not surprising, but reflect recent trends.

If trends in the county’s population growth, transportation practices and energy consumption continue, MacKinnon said, ozone and particle pollution levels will only increase.

The primary contributors to high ozone levels are volatile organic compounds, which are emitted from tailpipes, coal-burning power plants and large industrial facilities, Wininsky said.

Although the county saw slight improvements in several categories in 2009 due to efforts by the city and industry to reduce coal burning and promote non-single vehicle transportation practices, MacKinnon said there is more work to do.

She added an important step toward improving air quality is voluntary emissions reduction by residents, specifically through changing transportation practices.

“The big issue in Dane County is not just energy … but transportation,” MacKinnon said. “As individuals and employees traveling to work everyday, we really need to take a look at how we get from point A to point B.”

Likewise, Wininsky said, though residents cannot control coal-burning power plants or large industry, they can alter their driving habits. He recommended drivers monitor their driving in the summer, particularly on high ozone days.

Another major contributor to particle pollution is outdoor burning, a practice Dane County residents should reconsider, Wininsky added.

“We encourage people to rethink some of those tried and true traditions and whether it’s worthwhile investing in an outdoor wood boiler when they are contributing to the particle pollution problem,” Wininsky said.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

April 28, 2010 (radio)

Outdoor furnace rules make current owners fume

Source: North Country Public Radio

 April 28, 2010

Outdoor wood furnaces have become increasingly popular across the North Country. They can save homeowners more than a thousand dollars a year on heating costs. But they’ve also become a bigger source of air pollution and complaints from neighbors. The Department of Environmental Conservation wants to impose new regulations on outdoor furnaces. They include rules on boiler efficiency, chimney height, and what can be burned inside. As David Sommerstein reports, a provision to force owners to replace existing furnaces may be the most controversial.

More than a dozen towns across the North Country have some sort of restriction on outdoor wood furnaces, from Carthage to SaranacLake.  But there are no statewide regulations.  Environment officials say a growing number of complaints tells them that should change.  Laurie Severino is spokeswoman for the Department of Environmental Conservation.

Some of the examples of the complaints that we’ve gotten is that they trigger asthma and other ailments, the dor, the smoke.  People complain that they can’t open their windows in their own homes on warm days because of the smoke from a neighboring outdoor wood boiler.

Outdoor furnaces are a problem in a couple ways.  Older models are inefficient, emitting as much pollution as 1000 oil furnaces, according to the DEC.  They have huge fireboxes, so the wood smoulders a lot when the damper is set low.  And the chimney height is much lower than in a house, so the smoke can stay low to the ground.

Severino says some people toss things in them that should never be burned.

Wood that’s not clean.  Wet wood.  Garbage, household chemicals could have been burned in them.  There was really no regulation on them.

The DEC’s proposed rules would limit fuels to clean, untreated, seasoned wood and wood pellets, and non-glossy paper to start the fire.  Chimneys would have to be higher than 18 feet and two feet taller than any nearby roof peak.  Furnaces would have to meet efficiency standards.  And the boilers would not be allowed to be used from mid-May through August in the North Country.

But the rule that’s igniting a fire with furnaces owners is a retirement clause.  They’d have to scrap their existing boiler after 10 years of use.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

April 26, 2010

DEC pushes for tighter regs on outdoor furnaces

By Justin Head

The Evening Tribune

Mon Apr 26, 2010, 11:13 AM EDT

 

Hornell, N.Y. -

The state Department of Environmental Conservation is seeking public input on a proposal to better control the use of outdoor wood burning furnaces.

The limits would include a ban on summer operation for older models, and also guidelines on what cannot be used as fuel as well as set-back distances from property lines.

According to a copy of the 13-page draft regulations obtained by The Tribune, seasonal prohibition would be between May 15 and Aug. 31 in the northern heating zone and existing units that meet new requirements will not be banned, but those installed prior to Sept. 5, 2005 would have to be replaced by Aug 31, 2015. Also, outdoor wood burners would have to be located at least 100 feet from surrounding property lines and have a chimney-like structure no shorter than 18 feet from ground level.

“This proposal will ensure that new outdoor wood boilers are cleaner, and that existing boilers be used in the most environmentally sound way possible,” DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis in a prepared statement. Officials maintain the regulation would curb problems associated with the heating units during warmer months when people’s windows are open and protect the environment.

“It’s not a total ban or anything, “ said said Lori Severino, a DEC spokesperson from Albany. ”We’re proposing regulations being put on them so they won’t be a danger to the environment or affect the public’s health ... Outdoor wood boilers are not properly regulated in New York state and this would minimize the emissions from outdoor wood boilers. There are a lot of short term side effects that they cause and are problematic. They are a definite increase to air pollution which leads to smog, there is a lot of neighborly and nuisance issues because they can create a lot if situations where they impair visibility on public roads, ... and the plumes emitted from these can move to adjacent properties.”

Because of these issues and others, the DEC is proposing setting a minimum distance for new units to be located from bordering properties, emission limits on new boilers sold in the state, stack height requirements, strict fuel restrictions, and nuisance provisions for both new and existing units.

“As we celebrate the fortieth anniversary of Earth Day, we are taking yet another step in the pursuit of clean air for all New Yorkers,” Grannis said. “This proposal will ensure that new outdoor wood boilers are cleaner, and that existing boilers be used in the most environmentally sound way possible.”

Local municipalities have addressed the issue as well.

The Grove town board has discussed passing a local wood-boiler law since August of 2009, but has not drafted a law yet. And according to the state Attorney General’s office, the Town of Greenwood banned OWBs in June 2005 and the Village of Wayland in March 2006.

“I think some regulation is necessary,” said Dave Bossard, co-owner of B & D Partners, a furnace supplier in the Town of Howard.

“You can’t have people using these thing for tires and other items, basically like incinerators,” said Bossard.

He said people interested in purchasing new outdoor heating units are aware of the proposal and ask questions about it when considering options. Bossard said the newer OWBs cost between $1,500 to $2,000 and are about 20-percent more expensive than older models.

In addition to location, setback distance, seasonal operation hours, and nuisance rules, the proposal would regulate what materials could be burned and when that material is burned. Basically, all materials except “clean wood” and fire starting materials such as newspapers would be prohibited.

Garbage, tires, manure, animal carcasses, plywood and yard waste are among the 20 items that would not allowed to be burned, according to the draft.

“Really the rule is just identifying some limits for the way these operate,” said Severino, “We are aware that wood boilers are considered a primary source of heat for many New Yorkers.”

She said she supports the initiative and points to a study that finds “one outdoor wood boiler emits the same pollution as one thousand oil furnaces” as the main need for regulation.

Severino said if the regulations are approved , violators would face air pollution violations which can range from $375, to $15,000.

The DEC will hold a series of public hearings to answer questions and address concerns from the public this summer. Severino said it’s to early to tell how soon the proposal could take effect.

Local hearing times and locations:

An information session will take place at 5 p.m. before each hearing

6-8 p.m. Monday, June 14 at the Genesee Community College Conable Technology Building,1 College Road, Batavia.

6-8 p.m. Wednesday, June 16 at the Allegany County Office Building’s legislative chambers, 7 Court St., Belmont.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

April 24, 2010

DEC to host meetings on outdoor wood boilers

By NICK REISMAN reisman@poststar.com |

 Posted: Saturday, April 24, 2010 3:09 pm |

 

The state Department of Environmental Conservation proposed a set of new regulations last week designed to dramatically reduce pollution from outdoor wood boilers.

The agency plans to hold a series of hearings in June on the guidelines, which will affect existing wood boilers as well as new ones.

"This proposal will ensure that new outdoor wood boilers are cleaner, and that existing boilers be used in the most environmentally sound way possible," said DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis.

The public comment period on the regulations will run through July 2.

The biggest change for many upstate counties is when the boilers may be operated.

A ban would be placed on the operation of wood boilers between May 15 and Aug. 31 of each year in what's known as the Northern Heating Zone, which include the counties of Essex, Saratoga, Warren and Washington counties.

Other proposed rules outline the type of fuel that may be burned in the boilers and the maximum stack height for existing boilers.

A ban would be placed on the burning of garbage, treated wood, unseasoned wood, household chemicals, coal and animal carcasses. Non-glossy and non-colored paper may be used to start a wood boiler, the agency said.

In addition, the use of wood boilers put into operation prior to Sept. 1, 2005, must be phased out of use by Aug. 31, 2015.

Communities in the area, including Kingsbury and Moreau, recently passed similar guidelines for the use of outdoor wood boilers.

A complete listing of the regulations was published on the department's website, www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/64459.html.

DEC Hearings

The Department of Environmental Conservation will hold a series of public hearings to discuss new regulations of outdoor wood boilers. The regulations are due to impact future and existing wood boilers.

June 3

Dulles State Office Building

1st Floor Auditorium

317 Washington St.

Watertown, NY 13601

 

June 8

DEC Central Office

625 Broadway

Public Assembly RM 129

Albany

 

June 10

Herkimer County Community College

Robert McLaughlin College Center

Hummel Corporate Center

100 Reservoir Rd.

Herkimer, NY 13350

 

June 23

Harrietstown Town Hall

39 Main St.

Saranac Lake

Full Article: CLICK HERE

April 24, 2010

Regs would combat boiler pollution

By ERIC VOORHIS, For the Enterprise

POSTED: April 24, 2010

ALBANY - New York State Department of Environmental Conser-vation Commissioner Peter Grannis announced Thursday the release of proposed state regulations to cut pollution from outdoor wood boilers (OWBs).

According to Grannis the proposal addresses what has become a public nuisance for many New Yorkers.

The DEC aims to reduce air quality impacts and deal with the issue of smoke plumes caused by wood boilers by enacting new emission limits on OWBs sold in New York, as well as setting a minimum distance that new boilers would need to be located from neighboring properties. In addition, the DEC is proposing fuel restrictions and stack height requirements for both new and existing outdoor wood boilers.

New proposed rules also ban the use of existing boilers in the summer and will eventually phase out existing units that do not comply with new standards.

"As we celebrate the fortieth anniversary of Earth Day, we are taking yet another step in the pursuit of clean air for all New Yorkers," Grannis said. "This proposal will ensure that new outdoor wood boilers are cleaner and that existing boilers be used in the most environmentally sound way possible."

The units, typically installed 30 to 200 feet away from homes, look like sheds or outhouses with chimneys on top and circulate water into homes for heating or hot water systems.

DEC spokesperson Lori Severino said the proposal is largely a response to numerous public complaints, and along with nuisance issues, the DEC's efforts seek to preserve New York air conditions.

"Some of these units can emit the same amount of air pollution as 1,000 oil furnaces," Severino said.

According to Severino, the proposal is based on a model set forth by the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM) and has been in the works in New York state since 2007. Similar rules have already taken effect in Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

Outdoor wood boilers are already banned from operation between May 15 and August 31 in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties. Towns and villages in the area have also introduced local restrictions, including Tupper Lake, which put a ban on OWBs in August 2008. Saranac Lake, and surrounding areas including Jay, Keene and Wilmington also have local laws restricting the use of OWBs, mostly targeting set back requirements and height of smoke stacks.

"The state's involvement is almost too late," said Wilmington Town Supervisor Randy Preston. "We've had many issues in the town and put in local laws about a year ago."

Preston said OWBs became popular for some residents, but also business owners in Wilmington.

"On a still day in the winter, we would get a big cloud hanging over the town," Preston said. "It was very unpleasant, so we took action."

Lake Placid resident William Izzo, who owns and operates A Cut Above Tree Services and also deals outdoor wood boilers, said the issues that have come up are a result of misuse. He also said he became a dealer after purchasing a wood boiler unit and has been very satisfied with the product.

"You don't ever hear about how successful these units are if they're used properly," Izzo said. "It's mostly common sense. If you burn a huge pile of wet leaves, you're going to have some unhappy neighbors."

Izzo has been dealing OWBs for three years and said he sold roughly 100 units last year. He said many of the issues raised by the state and local governments including height of smoke stacks and the type of fuel being burned are common sense and that many of the proposed restrictions are very similar to the installation manuals for many outdoor wood burning units.

The DEC will hold a public hearing in the DEC central headquarters in Albany at 6 p.m. on June 8. A hearing will also be held at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 23 at Harrietstown Town Hall in Saranac Lake. The public comment period will end at 5 p.m. on July 2, 2010.

"The DEC is continually working to improve air quality, so that all New Yorkers can breathe air that is clean and healthy," Commissioner Grannis said. "this proposal is another important step towards that goal."

Proposed state rules for wood-fired boilers are available online at http://www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/64459html.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

April 24, 2010

DEC proposes new regulations on outdoor wood boilers

By JOEL DiTATA, The Leader-Herald

POSTED: April 24, 2010

                      

The state Department of Environmental Conservation released a proposal to ban outdoor wood-burning boilers during the summer months on Thursday, one of several regulations the agency proposed.

The proposal includes banning boilers in the summer because that is when neighbors are likely to be enjoying the outdoors or be inside with their windows open, officials said. Only existing units that meet new requirements will not be banned.

"This proposal will ensure that new outdoor wood boilers are cleaner, and that existing boilers be used in the most environmentally sound way possible," DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis said in a news release

Also, the DEC is proposing emission limits on new boilers sold in the state, setting a minimum distance that new units are to be located from neighboring properties, specific fuel restrictions, stack height requirements and a nuisance provision for both new and existing outdoor boilers.

"The DEC is continually working to improve air quality, so that all New Yorkers can breathe air that is clean and healthy," Grannis said.

The Perth Town Board has been discussing altering wood-boiler laws within the town since December and recently has proposed a local law that would restrict the use of outdoor wood boilers in the town Memorial Day to Labor Day. The proposed law also includes a waiver residents can apply for, so owners without close neighbors can use their boilers year-round.

Supervisor Greg Fagan said the state's proposal will not affect the town's decision to continue with its lawmaking process and he believes the board will vote on it at the upcoming May 6 Town Board meeting.

"We're going to go ahead to do what we're going to do," Fagan said. "We have people in our community that want something done."

Other local municipalities already have altered laws for outdoor wood boilers.

In September, the Gloversville Common Council approved a resolution that outlines usage restrictions for wood boilers in the city.

The restrictions detailed that residents are required to have a permit for a boiler and also set requirements for stack heights, operation times and setbacks. The stacks are to be two feet above the highest point that is within 500 feet of the boiler. They also require a boiler be set back no less than 100 feet from the nearest property line.

In July 2008, the town of Mayfield passed a law that banned the use of outdoor wood boilers during the summer months. The law was developed in response to several residents who complained that smoke from outdoor wood boilers was severely affecting their quality of life. The law says residents cannot use any outdoor wood boiler from May 30 to Sept. 1, unless they are granted an exemption.

The DEC proposal can be viewed in its entirety at the agency's website, http://www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/64480.html

Full Article: CLICK HERE

April 23, 2010

 

Dirty wood boilers facing the scrap heap

Smoky outdoor units made obsolete by tougher state rules

By BRIAN NEARING, Staff writer

First published in print: Friday, April 23, 2010

 

ALBANY -- Thousands of polluting outdoor wood-fired boilers, used mainly by people who live in the country as a way to trim energy bills, will have to be scrapped over the next decade under proposed state rules announced Thursday.

"This proposal will ensure that new outdoor wood boilers are cleaner, and that existing boilers be used in the most environmentally sound way possible," state Environmental Conservation Commissioner Pete Grannis said.

Under the rules, boilers in use since before September 2005 must be taken out by August 2015. Newer models installed through April 2011 will have to be gone no later than August 2020.

Some boiler models currently sold in New York meet the proposed new emissions requirements, while others do not, DEC spokeswoman Lori Severino said.

The dirtiest versions of obsolete boilers can emit the same amount of air pollution as 1,000 oil furnaces, the agency says. The state Attorney General's Office estimates more than 14,500 boilers were installed in the state between 1999 and 2007.

"State agencies and local governments have received significant numbers of complaints regarding outdoor boilers over the past few years," said Severino. "Complaints like triggering asthma and other ailments, smoke and other unpleasant odors in homes and decreased property values."

Some rules on boilers, like minimum exhaust stack heights, would take effect immediately, once DEC finalizes the rules, she said.

Boilers are banned from operation between May 15 and Aug. 31 in Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Oneida, Oswego, St. Lawrence, Saratoga, Warren and Washington counties. Outside those counties, boiler use would be prohibited between April 15 and September 30.

The proposed rules contain no provisions for the state to offer rebates or other incentives to homeowners who must replace their boilers, which can cost $5,000 or more when new. The rules contain penalties of from $375 to $15,000 for violations.

Health advocates welcome the rules. "For far too long New Yorkers have suffered because of exposure to the toxic smoke and unhealthy levels of particulate matter that outdoor wood boilers emit," said Scott Santarella, president and CEO of the American Lung Association in New York.

Beecroft's Shooters Supply, a Shaghticoke dealer of Central Boilers, a wood-fired boiler company from Minnesota, referred a reporter's questions to Central Boilers. A call for comment left with the company was not returned.

The proposed rules would also allow DEC or local police to write nuisance violations against boiler owners for cases when smoke sets off a neighbor's smoke detector, obscures a road or even makes contact with a neighboring building.

The rules would also put a halt to the burning of anything other than clean wood in boilers. Banned as fuel would be yard waste, garbage, paints, household chemicals, plywood, and animal carcasses.

Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts have already enacted similar rules.

Brian Nearing can be reached at 454-5094 or bnearing@timesunion.com.

Rules and hearings

Proposed state rules for wood-fired boilers are available online at http://www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/64459.html.

The Department of Environmental Conservation is holding a public hearing the rules at 6 p.m. June 8, in the DEC central headquarters, 625 Broadway, Albany. Other statewide hearings include June 10 in Herkimer and June 23 in Saranac Lake.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

April 23, 2010 (video)

Wood Burning Regulations Cause Concerns

By WBNG News

Story Updated: Apr 23, 2010 at 6:26 PM EDT

Apalachin, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Some heated homeowners are coming forward.

They're against a new proposal from the Department of Environmental Conservation that would put stricter regulations on outdoor wood boilers.

Action News reporter Natalie Jenereski explains why some in our area are up in flames against the proposal.

Jeff Brown has been using an outdoor wood burner to heat his Apalachin home and hot water for 15 years.

"We have 40 acres of woods, so I'd rather buy a little chainsaw and some gas and oil rather than give it to NYSEG," said Brown.

He says the proposed DEC regulations are unfortunate and unnecessary.

The proposal aims to reduce smoke in the air that makes it difficult to breath.

It would set a minimum distance that units must be from neighboring properties.

The use of some burners wouldn't even be allowed during the summer months.

"I realize that a lot of people probably burn things in there that you shouldn't, but if you burned seasoned wood there's not much smoke. My neighbors have never complained," said Brown.

It's also designed to reduce pollution by setting emission limits on burners, but some say the few who misuse the units are ruining it for everyone.

"I ran into one gentleman that was selling wood stoves up at New York State fairgrounds. He made the comment that you can put anything in there, you can burn your garbage. I just shook my head and walked away. I couldn't think of anything good to say," said Mike Roberts, a wood burner salesman and owner.

Roberts says he doesn't believe in supporting foreign governments for something many of us have in our own backyard.

"If they have a better idea how people are going to heat their houses I'd like to know it," said Roberts.

The rule will eventually phase out the use of existing units that don't meet the new standards, unless fuming neighbors speak up.

In Apalachin, Natalie Jenereski, WBNG-TV Action News.

The DEC is holding 11 public hearing across the state about the proposal.

The closest one will be in Cortland at the County Courthouse on June 15th.

It will go from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.

You can voice your opinion on the regulations by going to the DEC's website at: http://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/51986.html.

Full Article and Video: CLICK HERE

April 23, 2010

State Proposes New Regulations for Wood Boilers

By: Veronica R. Chiesi

04/23/2010 12:53 PM

YNN-Rochester

 

The New York State Department of Conservation proposed new regulations to cut pollution from outdoor wood boilers.

The goal is to reduce the impact of smoke plumes on neighbors, and the impact on the environment. Among the rules are - emission limits, fuel restrictions, stack height requirements and a ban on the use of existing boilers in the summer, unless the units meet the requirements applicable to new boilers.

Public hearings are set to begin on the plan in July.

NYS Department of Environmental Conservation

Full Article: CLICK HERE

April 23, 2010

State proposes new regs to cut pollution from wood boilers

Source: Associated Press- CNY Central

Friday, April 23, 2010 at 5:48 a.m.


ALBANY (AP) -- The state Department of Environmental Conservation is proposing new regulations to cut pollution from outdoor wood boilers.

The agency will hold a series of public hearings on the proposed rules and take public comments through July 2.

The rules are intended to reduce the impact of smoke plumes on neighbors. They set emission limits on new boilers sold in New York and set a minimum distance for new boilers to be set from neighboring properties.

The rules also include fuel restrictions, stack height requirements and a nuisance provision for both new and existing outdoor wood boilers.

The rule also bans the use of existing boilers in the summer when neighbors are likely to be outdoors and have their windows open, unless the units meet the new requirements applicable to new boilers.

On the Web: http://www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/64459.html

Full Article: CLICK HERE

April 22, 2010

Commissioner Grannis Releases New Proposal to Cut Pollution

DEC Rules Would Affect Outdoor Wood Boilers

by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

ALBANY, NY (04/22/2010)(readMedia)-- New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Pete Grannis today announced the release of a proposed new state regulation to dramatically cut pollution from outdoor wood boilers (OWBs). The proposal will reduce the significant air quality impacts from the boilers, and address what has become a public nuisance for many New Yorkers.

The proposal was published in the Environmental Notice Bulletin this week and can be viewed on DEC's website at http://www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/64459.html . The public comment period will run through July 2.

"As we celebrate the Fortieth Anniversary of Earth Day, we are taking yet another step in the pursuit of clean air for all New Yorkers," Commissioner Grannis said. "This proposal will ensure that new outdoor wood boilers are cleaner, and that existing boilers be used in the most environmentally sound way possible."

In response to visible air pollution and numerous public complaints, these rules are proposed to reduce the impact of smoke plumes on neighbors. In order to achieve this goal, the new rule includes emission limits on new OWBs to be sold in New York, as well as setting a minimum distance that new OWBs are to be located from neighboring properties. In addition, DEC is proposing certain fuel restrictions, stack height requirements and a nuisance provision for both new and existing outdoor wood boilers.

The rule also bans the use of existing boilers in the summer when neighbors are likely to be enjoying the outdoors and have their windows open, unless the existing units meet the new requirements applicable to new OWBs or certain setback requirements. The rule will eventually phase out the use of existing units that do not comply with the new standards.

"The DEC is continually working to improve air quality, so that all New Yorkers can breathe air that is clean and healthy," Commissioner Grannis said. "Today's proposal is another important step towards that goal."

Scott T. Santarella, President and CEO of the American Lung Association in New York said: "The American Lung Association applauds the state DEC for proposing strict new statewide regulations that would significantly improve air quality and better protect the lung health of all New Yorkers. For far too long New Yorkers have suffered because of exposure to the toxic smoke and unhealthy levels of particulate matter that outdoor wood boilers emit. The Lung Association looks forward to working with the DEC to ensure the most protective public health regulations are implemented, so all New Yorkers can breathe easier."

Ross Gould, Air and Energy Program Director for Environmental Advocates of New York said: "Outdoor wood boilers are a growing concern as large sources of smoke in residential areas in New York. With these regulations, the DEC is phasing out the older boilers that emit greater levels of smoke and particulate matter to reduce air pollutants that lead to respiratory ailments. This is a much needed step in improving the air quality in the state. We look forward to working with the DEC to implement regulations for phasing out existing polluting outdoor boilers."

The DEC will conduct 11 hearings throughout the state. Each hearing will run from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. In addition, the DEC will conduct informal information sessions from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. at each location. During the information sessions the public may discuss the rule and ask questions of DEC staff off the formal record. For a list of where the hearings will be held please see the attachment below.

Thurs., June 3
Dulles State Office Building
1st Floor Auditorium
317 Washington St.
Watertown, NY 13601

Mon., June 7

NYSDEC-Region 1
SUNY @ Stony Brook
50 Circle Rd.
Stony Brook, NY 11790

Tues., June 8

NYSDEC Central Office
625 Broadway
Public Assembly RM 129
Albany, NY 12233

Wed., June 9

Rockland County Fire Training Center
35 Fireman's Memorial Dr.
Pomona, NY 10970

Thurs., June 10

Herkimer County Community College
Robert McLaughlin College Center
Hummel Corporate Center
100 Reservoir Rd.
Herkimer, NY 13350

Mon., June 14

Genesee Community College
Conable Technology Building, RM T102
Batavia, NY 14020

Tues., June 15

Cortland County Office Building
2nd Floor Auditorium
60 Central Ave.
Cortland, NY 13045

Wed. June 16

Allegany County Office Building
Legislative Board Chambers
7 Court St.
Belmont, NY 14813

Thurs., June 17

Jamestown Community College
Training Center, RM 117
10785 Bennett Rd. (Route 60)
Dunkirk, NY 14048

Mon., June 21

Norrie Point Environmental Center
Margaret Lewis Norrie State Park
256 Norrie Point Way
Staatsburg, NY 12580

Wed., June 23
Harrietstown Town Hall
39 Main St.
Saranac Lake, NY 12983

The public comment period for will end at 5:00 p.m. on July 2, 2010. Written comments may be submitted to: NYSDEC Division of Air Resources, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-3251 or by email: 247owb@gw.dec.state.ny.us.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

April 22, 2010

DEC proposes regulation of outdoor wood boilers

ALBANY — The state Department of Environmental Conservation has announced the release of proposed new state regulations the agency said would “dramatically cut pollution from outdoor wood boilers,” which the agency characterized as “a public nuisance for many New Yorkers.”

The proposal was published in the Environmental Notice Bulletin this week and can be viewed at http://www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/64459.html . The public comment period on the proposed regulations will run through July 2.

A series of hearings across the state will include a scheduled session from 6 pm to 8 pm June 21 at Norrie Point Environmental Center in Staastsburg, preceded by a one-hour information period.

The rules are intended to reduce the impact of smoke plumes on neighbors. The rules include emission limits on new boilers sold in New York and set a minimum distance for new boilers to be set from neighboring properties. The rules also include fuel restrictions, stack height requirements and a nuisance provision for both new and existing outdoor wood boilers.

The rule also bans the use of existing boilers in the summer when neighbors are likely to be enjoying the outdoors and have their windows open, unless the existing units meet the new requirements applicable to new boilers or certain setback requirements. The rule will eventually phase out the use of existing units that do not comply with the new standards.

The public comment period for will end at 5:00 p.m. on July 2, 2010. Written comments may be submitted to: NYSDEC Division of Air Resources, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-3251 or by email: 247owb@gw.dec.state.ny.us.

To read the complete agency release, visit http://readme.readmedia.com/Commissioner-Grannis-Releases-New-Proposal-to-Cut-Pollution/1239076

Full Article: CLICK HERE

April 22, 2010

DEC holding hearings on proposed outdoor wood boiler restrictions

Source: North Country Now

Thursday, April 22, 2010, 2:22 pm

 

The New York State Department of Environmental says it will be holding hearings on a proposed new state regulation that would cut pollution from outdoor wood boilers.

The proposal address what has become a public nuisance for many New Yorkers, according to Commissioner Pete Grannis.

Grannis said, "This proposal will ensure that new outdoor wood boilers are cleaner, and that existing boilers be used in the most environmentally sound way possible."

The new rule includes emission limits on new outdoor wood boilers to be sold in New York, and sets a minimum distance for new OWBs to be from neighboring properties. DEC is proposing fuel restrictions, stack height requirements and a nuisance provision for both new and existing outdoor wood boilers.

The rule also bans the use of existing boilers in the summer when neighbors are likely to be enjoying the outdoors and have their windows open, unless the existing units meet the new requirements applicable to new OWBs or certain setback requirements. The rule will eventually phase out the use of existing units that do not comply with the new standards.

DEC will conduct 11 hearings throughout the state. Each hearing will run from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. In addition, the DEC will conduct informal information sessions from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. at each location.

The nearest hearing sites to us are Thursday, June 3 at the Dulles State Office Building, 1st Floor Auditorium, 317 Washington St., Watertown, and Wednesday, June 23 at Harrietstown Town Hall, 39 Main St., Saranac Lake.

The proposal was published in the Environmental Notice Bulletin this week and can be viewed on DEC's website at www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/64459.html . The public comment period will run through July 2.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

April 20, 2010

Wyoming reconsiders including humans wearing costumes in sign ban (OWBs discussed)

By Matt Vande Bunte, The Grand Rapids Press

April 20, 2010, 7:13AM

Wyoming's commission also will consider regulations today on outdoor, wood-fired furnaces as part of a new ordinance on alternative energies. Under a proposal, the units would be allowed only on lots of at least two acres in estate residential zones, mostly in the city's panhandle south of Grandville.

The heaters would have to be placed in a backyard at least 50 feet from property lines and 300 feet from any neighboring houses, with chimney height equal to the roof peak of any house within 500 feet.

There would be no limit on the permitted amount of stockpiled wood, which would have to be stored at least 50 feet from property lines.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

April 18, 2010

A Wife Will Come Home To A Burned Up House (OWB the cause)

Posted: Apr 18, 2010 9:30 PM CDT

Source: Action 3 News Omaha

Omaha, NE - A burnt shell of a house can be seen at 40th & Grand Streets.  It used to be home to Mark Mallory his wife and four sons.  Action 3 News cameras capture Mark looking for what he can salvage in a house he just finished paying back owed taxes on "I paid $600 dollars a month until this month," said Mark Mallory.  He said the fire started Sunday morning when his outdoor wood burning stove burned out of control, setting the house on fire.

The Omaha Fire Department says it took more than a half an hour to get the fire under control.  The house is a total loss.  Mallory's sons can't believe it's all gone, but remain hopeful.  "I'm pretty alright.  I just know we'll do better after this," said 16-year-old son, Wolfgang Mallory.

Mark Mallory tells Action 3 News he just finished remodeling part of the house. A surprise for his wife who is away on a trip. Ironically the stuff he was burning in the wood burning stove was wood removed from the home during the remodeling.

Reported by Devon Patton, devon@action3news.com

Full Article: CLICK HERE

April 18, 2010

Three fires burn land, buildings (OWB the cause)

Crews respond quickly as high winds increase wildfire danger

By Karen Madden and Nicole Strittmater

April 18, 2010

 

At about 11 a.m., several other fire departments, including Sherry, Rudolph, Auburndale, Vesper and Arpin, were called to an engulfed barn on Highway S in the town of Sherry. At least two structures became involved as the fire spread.

The call first came in as a woodpile fire at 8411 Highway S, Sherry Fire Chief Randy Pankratz said. A spark from the fire spread to a dairy farm owned by Pat Rusch, 8375 Highway S. The fire also started a shed ablaze on the original property.

There were 16 young cows in the barn that were killed by the fire, Pankratz said. Rusch had 36 head of cattle outside the barn that were not injured.

The cause of the fire is believed to be a spark from an outdoor wood-burning stove that was near the wood pile, Pankratz said. Both the shed and barn were total losses.

The red flag warning was issued because "high temperatures, low humidity, high winds, and exceptionally dry fuels are anticipated and can result in catastrophic fires," according to the DNR and National Weather Service.

The warning was in effect until 7 p.m. Saturday and could be reissued today if conditions remain dangerous.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

April 16, 2010 (opinion)

 

Outdoor furnaces 

Friday, April 16, 2010 10:59 PM EDT

Source: Somerset Daily American

 

To the edtior:

Have you ever lived by an outdoor furnace, also known as a “smokehouse?”

The people need something to heat their houses with in the wintertime. And that’s fine. But did the people that have a “smoke house,” outdoor furnaces ever think of other people. In our neighborhood there are 10 houses. One house ruins it for the whole neighborhood because he has a “smokehouse.”

The houses around him are tired of all the smelly wood smoke that they get in their houses in the summertime. When the neighbors open their doors the smelly wood smoke comes in the houses. Yuk!

They are better than wood burners if you have a breathing problem or allergies. The outdoor furnaces are better for people who have breathing problems. If you want the effects of a wood burner in your home, move next to someone with a outdoor furnace. You get all the benefits of a woodburner, you have the smoke, the smell, minus the dirt. You also have the allergies and breathing problems of people with a wood burner in the privacy of your own home.

The neighbors without a smokehouse have to put up with the stench. If they have breathing problems or allergies they have to suffer as if they had a wood burner of their own. It is as bad as air pollution in the larger cities.

The smoke houses are not only for heat in the wintertime but it provides them with hot water. So in the summertime you have this stinky, smelly wood smoke from the “smoke house.” You can’t open any of your windows without damp wood smoke drawing into your house.

Before the smoke house moved into our neighborhood we used to have our windows open, be outside a lot more, and hang laundry out to dry. But with the smoke house we have to keep our windows closed, stay inside because of the stench, and use the dryer for our clothes. We also have to use our air conditioner more often in the summer.

The outdoor furnace smoke stack is approximately 15 to 18 feet shorter then a chimney. Therefore the smoke does not get high enough to properly get rid of the smoke. It’s really bad when the weather is about to change. The low-air- pressure system allows the smoke to stay close to the ground. It makes the neighborhood smell horrible.

Outdoor furnaces should be outlawed in residential neighborhoods. The furnaces emit sulfur that is a major concern for greenhouse gases. The smoke houses help cause global warming and sulfur that is not good for you to breath. The outdoor furnace also makes a foggy type substance that floats around the neighborhood for hours.

Caleb Sarver

Eighth grade, Pa. Cyber School

Meyersdale

Full Article: CLICK HERE

April 16, 2010

Lawrence resident fired up over neighbor's outdoor wood stove

By The News of Cumberland County

April 16, 2010, 3:14PM

By Jean Jones

jeanjones@fast.net

 

LAWRENCE TWP. — Outdoor wood-fired stoves have again become an issue in the township.

A couple of years ago, complaints about smoke from outdoor stoves used to pipe heat into homes caused the township to adopt an ordinance regulating their use, but Karen Fleury, who lives on Norris Avenue, said a neighbor uses an outdoor boiler at least eight months of the year and it produces an amount of smoke that is a health hazard.

“The fine particulate matter that gets in the house is more dangerous than cigarette smoke and you can’t keep it out,” Fleury said.

She said today’s wood stoves are built to produce less smoke, but the stove in question was installed in 1981. She also said people are using burn barrels to burn trash and burning wood just for outdoor activities, which she said was unnecessary.

Committeeman Elmer Bowman said outdoor burning of trash is illegal, but the forest fire service can issue permits for certain types of outdoor fire rings and the township has no control over that.

Fleury asked the township to adopt an ordinance requiring the owners of outdoor wood stoves to make them inoperable if they move.

“I’m breathing smoke 24 hours a day,” she said.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

April 14, 2010

Cheshire weighs banning outdoor wood furnaces

Published: Wednesday, April 14, 2010

By Luther Turmelle, North Bureau Chief

 

CHESHIRE — The Planning and Zoning Commission is considering a ban on outdoor wood furnaces.

The PZC opened a public hearing on the proposed regulation at its meeting Monday night and continued the hearing until April 26, said Town Planner William Voelker.

“We just think this is a responsible thing to do,” said Voelker. “These things are environmentally problematic because they release a lot of particulate into the air and the (state Department of Environmental Protection) is taking a hard look at them.”

But a state Senate bill that would have banned the devices throughout Connecticut was killed by a 17-12 vote by the General Assembly’s Environment Committee last month.

The regulation that the PZC is considering would ban the construction of any further outdoor wood furnaces, but would not require any that are in operation to be taken down, Voelker said.

“We’re not looking to create a hardship for anybody,” he said. “We just want to keep a bunch of these from cropping up in neighborhoods with single-family homes.”

Nancy Alderman, president of a North Haven environmental group, Environment and Human Health Inc., was among those leading the fight for a statewide ban of outdoor wood furnaces. Alderman said news that Cheshire might enact such a ban is “very exciting and very important.”

Cheshire has enough rural areas where you might see these put into use,” she said. If Cheshire enacts the ban, it would become the 10th town in Connecticut to do so.

Outdoor wood furnaces create more health problems than indoor wood stoves or fireplaces because of the way they operate, Alderman said. Indoor wood stoves and fireplaces burn wood at higher temperatures, she said, which causes the smoke plumes to travel into the air at higher levels and dissipate more quickly.

“Outdoor wood furnaces have a jacket of water surrounding the burn chamber, so the fire burns at a much lower temperature, and the smoke stays much closer to the ground and doesn’t dissipate,” Alderman said.

Contact Luther Turmelle at 203-789-5706.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

April 14, 2010 (Canada, opinion)

Compassion (OWBs mentioned)

Posted By Linda Beaudin (Air Is Precious)

Posted April 14, 2010

Source: Cornwall Standard Freeholder

Compassion

Compassion is a beautiful word. Compassion is the ability of our humanity that connects us with the suffering of others. It is how we choose to embrace compassion toward others that defines who we are as humans on the planet earth. We do not need to be in a tsunami to feel the suffering of those who live through it. Our compassionate hearts see it, thus we feel it intrinsically. This allows us a deeper human bond with our world bothers and sisters who suffer.

Suffering takes place in many ways: Illness, political, war, oppression and other ways. But the voice of suffering is heard world wide if we listen to the silent cries of others in need, or in pain.

We, the citizens of Canada, our brothers and sisters in the United States and all other urban countries in the world, are pleading with our elected officials, our Mayors, our Governments to take a moment, and read and hear our words of suffering.

Woodsmoke pollution is causing grave harm to our world. Our lives are being assaulted, without our consent of permission. We are being made very ill from the toxic woodsmoke emissions we are being forced to breathe. Millions are dying from woodsmoke related illness. We are suffering, truly suffering. We are asking our leaders, to show us compassion by taking action to reach out and help us! Help those who suffer from asthma, COPD, cardiovascular, respiratory, cancer and other diseases. Help all of us.

Children and families in urban areas are being subjected to thousands of outdoor open air burns. Needless burns are holding people prisoners within their own homes. There is no fresh air to breathe. We are being smothered to death in our own home. We need to show compassion for people who suffer.

Woodstoves, woodburning fireplaces, outdoor open air burns, and outdoor woodboilers are killing us. Woodsmoke is a deadly silent killer. This toxic exposure source is sometimes only a few meters from our home. The acrid emissions are destroying our health and the quality of our life.

We are asking our leaders be responsible and take action to ban woodsmoke. A quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer says: “Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility”.

Remember, your action or non-action will show the world if you really have or do not have….compassion.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

April 13, 2010

City bans wood-burning furnaces, with 1 exception

By Chris Engle, HT Staff Writer

Tuesday, April 13, 2010 3:19 PM EDT

 

GAYLORD — Outdoor wood-burning furnaces are banned from the city limits under a new ordinance passed Monday, with the exception of the city’s industrial areas. Permits for such burners will be reviewed and issued by City Council on a case-by-case basis.

All the city’s burning and wood-storage regulations are now under the comprehensive Outdoor and Open Burning Ordinance. The ordinance allows charcoal, wood and gas cooking grills and barbecues; chimineas and patio wood-burning units; and gas-fired devices for heating. The ordinance prohibits the burning of treated wood, construction or demolition waste, yard debris or refuse; burning barrels, fire rings and in-ground firepits; and outdoor wood-fired boilers.

Boilers, however, could appear in the Air Industrial Park and Gaylord Industrial Park, as well as M-1 areas between Dickerson Road and I-75, but would be permitted only on a case-by-case basis by the council.

“There’s a possibility that in some of those industrial areas there may be a need for a business to supplement their fuel source,” said City Manager Joe Duff. “The lots are larger and more secluded.”

City Council sought to ban outdoor boilers in residential and commercial areas because of the nuisance the heavy smoke can pose to neighbors.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

April 13, 2010

 

House fires, garage fires, grass fires keep emergency crews busy (OWB the cause)

By: Nathan Bowe, DL-Online

Published April 13 2010

 

Area firefighters responded to several house fires in the past few days.

On Monday afternoon, fire gutted an unoccupied house two miles northeast of Osage.

Carsonville Fire Chief Roger Wilson said the apparent cause was an outside wood stove.

“It pretty well gutted the house and totaled it,” he said. The owners were not living in the wood-frame and stucco house, but were storing a lot of possessions there, he said.

Carsonville firefighters were on the scene for about two hours, with assistance from Park Rapids firefighters, and they had to return after debris rekindled.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

April 12, 2010

Woman dies in fire on Mingo Road (OWB the cause)

THE GAZETTE STAFF • April 12, 2010

BOURNEVILLE -- A Mingo Road woman died in a Sunday morning fire when she tried to save her dog.

Jo Ann Houser, 60, of 1116 Mingo Road, had escaped the fire with her husband, Pearl, 63, when she went back inside to get her dog.

The home was engulfed when fire members from Twin Township and Bainbridge fire departments responded to the 4:55 a.m. 911 call, according to a release from the Ross County Sheriff's Office.

Pearl told officials he was awakened by a crackling noise and noticed a light in the kitchen. Upon inspection, he found the home was in flames.

Pearl woke his wife, and they left the home. After Jo Ann went inside, Pearl kicked open another door but smoke and flames kept him from entering.

After the fire was extinguished, Jo Ann was found about 3 feet from the door her husband had kicked in.

Pearl was taken to Adena Regional Medical Center for treatment of burns. He since has been released.

The State Fire Marshal's Office is investigating the cause of the fire. Montgomery County will do an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

AFTERNOON UPDATE

Officials know where a fire started that killed a Mingo Road woman Sunday, but don't know exactly what caused the blaze.

The State Fire Marshal's Office said the fire originated from either inside or near an "outdoor wood burning heater" at the home of Pearl and Jo Ann Houser, at 1116 Mingo Road.

Investigators are continuing to go through information gathered in the probe of the fire, which hit at about 4:51 a.m. Sunday.

Jo Ann Houser, 60, died in the blaze and was found just a few feet from the front door.

Smoke detectors were present inside, but it was not immediately known if they worked. She did not leave the home and return, as the Ross County Sheriff's Office reported Sunday.

Two dogs, a German Shepherd and a Dachshund, also died in the fire.

The Housers lived together despite being divorced for nearly seven years. They were divorced in May 2003, according to Fayette County Common Pleas records.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

April 12, 2010 (opinion)

Yes, Smoke Is A Problem

Hartford Courant

April 12, 2010

Because W. Allan Cagnoli [letter, March 30, "Don't Ban Outdoor Wood Furnaces"] is under the impression that smoke from these outdoor wood furnaces is not a problem, here's one more complaint.

I have asthma and I am a virtual prisoner in my home when people in my neighborhood use their furnaces. Not only can I not sit outside and enjoy the fresh air, but I also have to keep my windows closed. Even then, the smoke permeates my house. There have been some occasions when I had to leave the area.

I understand that people have a right to do as they wish in their own home, but what about my rights and the rights of others with breathing problems? Aren't we entitled to fresh air in the community?

Fireplace smoke in the winter has always been a problem, but now to imply that these units emit little smoke and are not bothersome is an insult to those of us suffering on a daily basis.

Marie Levine, West Hartford

Full Article: CLICK HERE

April 11, 2010

Regulating outdoor furnaces is topic for hearing in Lockport

By Thomas J. Prohaska

NEWS NIAGARA REPORTER

Updated: April 11, 2010, 7:00 am

 

LOCKPORT — Although the sponsor admits no one has complained about them, the Town Board is to hold a public hearing May 5 on a local law to regulate the use of outdoor wood-burning furnaces.

Councilman Mark C. Crocker introduced the law at Wednesday’s board meeting. “We want to be proactive in this,” he said.

The law would ban the installation of a wood-burning furnace anywhere within 150 feet of another home.

A would-be furnace owner who has enough room to comply with that requirement still would have to obtain a permit from the town Building Inspection Department. In order to do so, the furnace must be located at least 40 feet from the property line. Also, the law bans “malodorous air contaminants” that can be smelled on a neighboring property.

Town Attorney Daniel E. Seaman said the law would not apply to any existing furnaces.

It also would ban the burning of anything but wood in outdoor furnaces. When the board discussed this issue last summer, there was some mention of allowing farmers to burn corn cobs. That would be prohibited under the law as submitted.

“We have to protect the neighbors, who are exposed to the soot and the exhaust,” Crocker said. “A lot of people are very sensitive to that.” But he acknowledged, “We haven’t gotten complaints and we haven’t had anyone come in angry because we denied them.”

Building Inspector Brian M. Belson said there probably are no more than a dozen such furnaces in the town.

“I know a couple. There’s a couple on Wynkoop [Road], there’s one on Dysinger [Road], there’s one on Bartz Road. They’re scattered. The thing we’re concerned about is if people want to put them in residential districts, we need separation,” Belson said. “The stacks on those aren’t real high.”

Making sure firewood only is burned is a crucial part of the law, Belson said. “There was a complaint about a guy on Rapids Road who was burning creosoted railroad ties. That put out just thick black smoke,” the inspector said.

There are also safety issues. “If you’re in a residential area, you’ve got kids running around, and you don’t want them running up and touching [the furnaces]. They’re becoming more popular, and I think we’re going to have more and more people coming in for them,” Belson said.

The City of Lockport came close to banning outdoor furnaces in 2007. The Common Council passed such a law, but Mayor Michael W. Tucker objected because it also barred backyard fire pits.

“That’s why I vetoed it. We don’t want to ban everything. People like those backyard barbecue pits,” Tucker said Friday.

Some aldermen said in 2007 that they wanted to revisit the issue, but Fire Chief Thomas J. Passuite said it never happened. “The city didn’t pass that resolution the way I wanted,” he said. City Building Inspector Jason Dool said that last fall, he received a call from a resident who wanted to install a wood boiler to heat his house, but he told the caller it was illegal.

Dool said he based that on a paragraph in the city zoning ordinance that bans “dangerous or objectionable elements,” and lists among them “smoke, dust, dirt or other form of air pollution.”

Full Article: CLICK HERE

April 10, 2010

Perth to discuss wood boilers May 6

By JOEL DiTATA, The Leader-Herald

POSTED: April 10, 2010

PERTH - Town residents will have another opportunity to voice their opinions in regard to a local law that will regulate the use of outdoor wood-burning boilers.

At the upcoming May 6 meeting, residents will be able to voice their concerns on the possible local law that would restrict the use of outdoor wood boilers in the town for a three-month period from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The law also includes a waiver that residents can apply for, so owners without close neighbors can still use their boilers year-round.

"I expect that there will be a decision made at the public hearing," Supervisor Greg Fagan said.

At March's board meeting, Fagan and council members Timothy Korona and Walter Kowalczyk voted in favor of adjusting the possible law by adding a three-month ban.

Council members Gay Lewandowski and Peter Betz agreed with a ban, but pleaded for a time period from May 15 to Sept. 15.

"I think the majority of the board is in favor of the three-month ban," Fagan said.

During March's meeting, Fagan said 500 feet likely would be the required distance between neighbors to qualify for a waiver.

The first public hearing was held in December 2009 after residents Nancy and Roger Tyler requested a full ban on the boilers in April. The couple said they suffer from health problems, and the smoke from a neighbor's unit only makes their conditions worse.

Town Board members also have considered a 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 the smokestacks at least 18 feet high.

The public hearing will begin at 7:30 p.m. May 6. Copies of the proposed law are available for review at the Perth Municipal Complex.

Joel DiTata can be reached by e-mail at ruralnews@leaderherald.com.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

April 10, 2010

Imlay City says ‘yes’ to wind and ‘no’ to smoke

BY PHIL FOLEY STAFF WRITER

 

IMLAY CITY — City residents can power their homes with wind-generated electricity, but they can’t heat them with outdoor wood stoves.

Imlay City commissioners approved ordinances Tuesday establishing rules for setting up wind turbines and banning the placement of outdoor stoves.

Commissioners unanimously approved the six-page ordinance for what’s commonly known as wind energy conversion systems (WECS) without discussion.

Although no one in the city has sought to install a WECS, commissioners have been concerned the city might get stuck with an ordinance it doesn’t want, if they didn’t have something in place.

City manager Amy Planck said the ordinance was closely modeled after others that have been approved in surrounding communities in the county.

Although the ordinance allows WECS as an accessory use anywhere in the city, any WECS taller than 50 feet will require a special use permit. The city is also requiring a set back for WECS’ equal to their height and that they be painted light blue or gray to blend in with the background.

Pollution, said Mayor J. Rodney Warner, was the commission’s biggest concern with outdoor wood stoves, which have been growing in popularity in rural areas. He called the ordinance a housekeeping measure. “It wasn’t allowed before and it isn’t allowed now.”

Commissioner Margaret Guerrero noted the ice shanty-sized structures with their short chimneys allow “soot to spread through neighborhoods.” Several commissioners noted they’d seen smoke spreading along the ground from outdoor wood furnaces in the countryside.

While commissioners agreed the devices might be appropriate in rural areas, the decided they were not for the more densely populated city. Imlay City joins Lapeer which passed an ordinance banning outdoor wood stoves last summer.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

April 6, 2010

 

Another town may consider OWB regulations

By Bob Green

Published:

Tuesday, April 6, 2010 2:14 AM EDT

Following receipt of a memo from the town attorney, Stockport appears to have joined a growing group of municipalities in the county that are considering regulation of outdoor wood boilers. While the memo does not make recommendations, it describes a range of legal alternatives, some of which are already in place elsewhere in the county.

Local laws were already passed in Copake and Kinderhook Village, and the town of Kinderhook is observing a moratorium on new installations while the matter is being reviewed. Stuyvesant is expected to continue discussion of its proposed legislation in April.

According to Daniel Marcus, Stockport’s representative to the county Environmental Management Commission (EMC), the town asked its attorney, Jason Shaw, for input after receiving documentation from Marcus for several months running. Some of those same documents figured into other towns’ proposed or enacted legislation, especially a report from the state Attorney General titled “Smoke Gets In Your Lungs”, which details the health risks of concentrated wood smoke.

Marcus also gave board members a copy of the EMC’s position on outdoor wood boilers, or OWBs. That document suggested controls on setbacks, stack height, fuel type, and other aspects of OWB installation and operation. It was accepted by the county Board Of Supervisors, but the BOS has not officially taken a position on the matter, according to Marcus.

The guidance requested by the town from its attorney came in the form of “examples of different ways New York municipalities regulate wood boilers,” according to the memo. It says the “slightly most common” regulation is one that prohibits new installations but grandfathers in existing units that meet certain requirements.

The memo goes into detail on possible requirements for safe installation and use, with many examples of flexibility for local officials, including “Waivers may be issued under certain conditions,” and “A permit may be suspended if .... emissions interfere with reasonable enjoyment of life, safety, or property.”

The memo says nothing about the so-called “white tag” designation. Phase 2 White Tag outdoor wood boilers are those whose manufacturers have voluntarily certified emissions of no more than 0.32 pounds of particle pollution per million BTUs of heat output. Testing by an EPA-accredited third-party laboratory verifies the reported levels, according to the EPA.

The county EMC recommends requiring the white tag, and Marcus has provided technical information on the rating program to board members, along with sample legislation patterned on the EMC’s report.

Marcus supports the grandfathering of existing installations. “There are only two that I know of,” he told the Register-Star, and at least one already appears to have enough stack height for its location, he said.

The matter could come up at this week’s monthly board meeting 7 p.m. Wednesday at Stockport Town Hall on Atlantic Avenue (County Route 20).

Full Article: CLICK HERE

April 5, 2010

Crackdown on outdoor wood furnace smoke

WCAX.com

Montpelier, Vermont - April 5, 2010

With more people heating their homes using wood, many are turning to outdoor wood-fired furnaces. However those outdoor boilers are causing air pollution problems in some communities since the smoke drifts into nearby yards.

Three years ago Vermont adopted emission standards for wood boilers. In a new move last week, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine upped their standards for new furnaces. They're up to 90 percent cleaner and use about half as much wood.

Nationally, the EPA regulates indoor wood stoves but not outdoor furnaces.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

April 4, 2010

Outdoor Furnace Opponents To Present Health Study


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Opponents of outdoor wood-burning furnaces are presenting a study of how smoke from the devices has affected the health of nearby residents.

The report for the Connecticut-based Environment and Human Health Inc. by a public health toxicologist will be offered Wednesday at a scheduled news conference at the Legislative Office Building.

It comes after two legislative committees rejected proposals to further regulate the furnaces, including a ban on operating them between April 15 and Oct. 15, and adding wood smoke to the state's public health nuisance code.

Nancy Alderman, president of the environmental group, says it's important for the information from the three-month study to reach the public, despite the actions taken by the General Assembly.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

April 4, 2010

 

States get tough on outdoor wood furnace smoke

By LISA RATHKE
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER

Last updated April 4, 2010 10:02 a.m. PT

MONTPELIER, Vt. -- When oil prices climbed, more people turned to wood to heat their homes, many using outdoor wood furnaces that to some are air-polluting nuisances.

From Vermont to Connecticut to Indiana, some neighbors have complained about smoke from these furnaces drifting into their yards and homes, in some cases triggering asthma attacks and lung problems. Several Vermont homeowners said the smoke has even set off smoke alarms in their own homes; at least two of those affected said they have had to move.

"Wood smoke is not benign but people think it is," said Philip Etter, environmental analyst with the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation. "They sort of grew up with it - because it smells nice in sort of a nostalgic sense - and they think it's fine, but it's not."

Residential wood smoke is toxic, with carcinogens and fine particulates that can get deep into lungs and cause lung and cardiovascular problems, he said.

The older furnaces generate at least 20 times more emissions than Environmental Protection Agency-certified wood stoves - and as much particulate matter as 50 to 500 diesel trucks, depending on the truck age and level of control - according to Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management, a nonprofit association of state air quality agencies in the Northeast.

While EPA regulates indoor wood stoves, it issues only voluntary guidelines for manufacturers of outdoor wood furnaces, which are also called boilers and hydronic heaters.

Typically the boilers are in sheds with short chimneys and heat water that is circulated through floors or radiators in a nearby residence. Some are used to heat water year-round.

Vermont was the first state to adopt emissions standards for wood boilers in 2007. Other New England states followed, including Massachusetts, with stricter limits. Last week, Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire tightened their standards for new furnaces. Vermont is now offering furnace owners financial incentives to replace older, dirty units with new cleaner ones.

Connecticut lawmakers sought this year to ban use of the furnaces from April to October but the bill died in a legislative committee last month. Other regulations have been proposed in Indiana, New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio, while some communities are regulating themselves.

Because of the short smokestack, the smoke does not disperse well.

"These plumes can sit close to the ground and travel long distances," said Lisa Rector, a senior policy analyst at NESCAUM.

And even though Vermont requires that the furnaces be located 200 feet away from homes, she said smoke can get trapped in valleys. There also are concerns that some are being used to burn trash.

But many furnaces - set up correctly, far enough away from any house, in the right topography, with the high enough chimney and operated efficiently - may not prompt complaints.

Vermont, which has as many as 4,000 such furnaces, has received 90 complaints since 1995.

"If you have your own wood, you're going to save a ton a money," said Mike DeKoeyer, owner of Appalachian Supply, in St. Johnsbury and Littleton, N.H. "You're going to save at least 50 percent on your heating bill."

The furnaces cost from $9,000 to $12,000 before installation.

The new models, now the only ones that can be purchased in northern New England, are up to 90 percent cleaner and use up to 50 percent less wood, though they cost about $1,500 more than the older units.

Vermont's Agency of Natural Resources plans to use $360,000 from a settlement in an emissions case to replace 60 to 75 older units, depending on their age and the problems they may be causing, Gov. Jim Douglas announced earlier this month.

That's a big help for neighbors and for furnace owners, officials said.

"This is a way to solve a problem that doesn't require such an adversarial means to such a solution," Rector said.

The American Lung Association hopes Vermont will go a step further. The group backs a bill passed by the Vermont Senate to raise change-out funding to at least $500,000. The measure would also require that all uncertified furnaces within 200 feet of homes, schools or health care facilities be retired by 2013.

"It's a win-win for the neighbors, for the schools nearby, for the environmental quality and the people who own these outdoor boilers," said Sen. Virginia Lyons, chairwoman of the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee, who introduced the bill.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

April 1, 2010

 

Wood burners heating up debate in Inver Grove Heights

By JOY POWELL and KATIE HUMPHREY, Star Tribune staff writers

Last update: April 1, 2010 - 7:17 AM

Inver Grove Heights is the latest south-metro suburb to tackle the issue of outdoor wood burners and boilers and the smoke they emit, after a resident complained to the City Council.

It's a refrain that has risen in communities throughout the area since the cost of natural gas began climbing high a decade ago and people began a quest for alternative heating sources.

Especially popular in rural areas, the units are housed in tiny shacks with a smokestack. They can stand anywhere from 30 feet to as far away as 500 feet from a home or a building. Inside the shacks, a water jacket surrounds the firebox and heat exchanger. Heated water is circulated to a house or building, and in one case, to an Inver Grove Heights swimming pool.

But the use of the boilers and burners in the suburbs is not always popular with the neighbors, some of whom get smoking mad.

"They can create nuisances when they are in more of an urban setting," said Terri Dill, a senior planner with the city of Savage. "The smoke and soot can actually go into your neighbor's house."

Dill said Savage started considering an outdoor wood boiler policy in late 2008 because residents started calling to ask whether the devices were permitted. After a study of the pollution produced by many outdoor wood boilers, the Savage City Council decided last May to ban them in all areas of the city. One existing unit was grandfathered in.

Burnsville passed an ordinance in 2009 that prohibits the appliances. Stillwater did the same in March.

Now, the Inver Grove Heights council has directed staff members to delve into the issue and report back later this month with the findings, said City Administrator Joe Lynch.

He and other staff members are looking into potential health effects and regulations in other communities in the metro. They will also consider what, if anything, should be done about the four or so already up and running, Lynch said.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 31, 2010

City of Otsego bans wood-fired boilers

By Daniel Pepper

Interim Editor

Wednesday, March 31, 2010 1:32 PM EDT

Otsego city commissioners have voted to ban any more wood-fired boilers within the city limits.

The board approved a new ordinance after a second reading at a Monday, March 29, regular meeting. The boilers are outdoor wood furnaces that heat homes through hot water. The way they burn at a lower temperature than a conventional wood stove creates a particulate that can settle and bother nearby neighbors.

City manager Thad Beard said he thought this was the more honest way of prohibiting the boilers.

“Some communities ban by regulating,” Beard said. “They make the requirements so stringent that they functionally can’t be in the city.”

The Otsego ordinance, he said, bans further boilers being built, but doesn’t force anyone who has one now to get rid of it.

“It doesn’t call out to remove those that currently placed, but if they are dismantled, they couldn’t be rebuilt,” Beard said.

Previously, he said the city had at least one wood-fired boiler being used and that city hall had gotten complaints about the particulate.

Commissioners voted 4-0 to ban the boilers, with Commissioner Molly Wieber absent and excused from the meeting.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 31, 2010

Spark caused Town of Maine fire

WAOW

by Colby Robertson

TOWN OF MAINE (WAOW) -- The fire danger remains very high across the viewing area and with the strong winds firefighters ask that you be careful disposing of ashes from outdoor wood burners.

Crews were called to a home in the Town of Maine around 9:30 this morning. DNR Forestry Supervisor Mike Lietz says the landowner discovered fire escaped from the outdoor wood boiler into his adjacent woodpile.

Lietz says, "We're having a lot of problems with these outdoor wood boilers this year. Even from a spark coming out of the chimney. If they don't have a proper spark arrester or also from ash disposal."

He says, "People all winter long have been disposing the ash in the snow pile or someplace that is relatively safe. Now it's so dry those places are burning and the little sparks even two weeks later will come out of the pile and start the grass and woods on fire."

Firefighters from the Hamburg Fire Department and the Town of Maine Fire Department responded along with the DNR.

Lietz says, "We have really strong winds today and the fire danger is at very high right now. We've canceled all our burning permits, so there's no debris burning allowed."

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 31, 2010

Town mulls OWB regulations

By Bob Green

Published: Wednesday, March 31, 2010 2:15 AM EDT

 

Regulation of outdoor wood boilers is on the table in Stuyvesant. With a draft law to be further discussed at April’s Town Board meeting, officials stressed that they want more public input.

“We are not even close to a public hearing,” said Supervisor Valerie Bertram, and she encouraged those who own or live near an outdoor wood boiler (OWB) to speak up. Anyone with comments or suggestions is welcome to make them in writing or in person, she said.

OWBs are freestanding furnaces which provide heat or hot water by burning wood and circulating heated water to an adjacent structure. They are seen by some as a way to employ renewable resources in place of oil or gas.

“It’s not a bad thing to burn wood,” said Deputy Supervisor Knott, noting all the available dead wood from storms of recent years. However, neighbors who are too close to the units have complained of smog, especially on still mornings. 

Other towns in the county are discussing or addressing the issue. In Copake, a law was passed in February that resembles the one now proposed in Stuyvesant. In thickly-settled Kinderhook Village, OWBs were banned outright after considerable discussion, with two existing units allowed to sunset over ten years, but they can only operate from Nov. 1 to April 30. The surrounding town of Kinderhook has a moratorium on new installations until its law is finalized.

The Columbia County Environmental Management Council (EMC) made a number of recommendations last year, after the state Attorney General published a widely circulated report called “Smoke Gets In Your Lungs.” The report cites federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) research on OWB technology, which shows that how an OWB is manufactured and installed can determine whether it is safe to use or not.

Distance from roads and residences, chimney height, fuel characteristics, and the boiler's efficiency and operation are all suggested factors contained in model legislation provided by the federal government. Several of those points were debated in Stuyvesant at the March Town Board meeting.

The draft local law calls for a setback of 100 feet from any adjacent property line, or 150 feet from a residence. But Kathryn Schneider, the town’s newly appointed representative to the EMC, the county environmental body, called for a 200-foot setback.

The EMC report, approved by the Board of Supervisors, suggests “minimum setbacks from abutting properties of 100-200 feet,” while the federal EPA provides this recommendation: “Choose a minimum distance such as 300 feet, 500 feet or other greater or lesser distance as appropriate for your municipality.”

No matter what, Knott, author of the town’s draft, said he thought that provision should apply only to new installations. The town should “not make you move it ... I don’t want to force any hardships,” he said.

Next up was the stack height. The draft law called for a chimney of 12 feet. Residents noted the county’s recommendation of 18 feet, which Schneider said was high enough for smoke to “not settle in the valleys.” But Councilman Brian Chittenden said that would be “more like a TV tower,” likely requiring guy wires.

The EPA’s model legislation suggests some flexibility in considering several factors, especially the distance from residences: “A minimum chimney height of 15 feet is recommended or the municipality may choose another minimum height appropriate for the municipality and the required minimum separation to neighbors,” it says, but because “higher chimney heights may increase problems with creosote build-up ... the Fire Chief may approve a lesser height on a case-by-case basis if necessary to comply with manufacturer’s recommendations and if the smoke from the lower chimney height does not create a nuisance for neighbors.” The passage concludes that “an insulated chimney as well as case-by-case discretion is recommended for that reason.”

Copake’s law allows for discretion in cases where manufacturers’ specifications state that the town’s minimum of 12 feet is too high for efficient operation.

Bertram said the proposed law requires burning of “only firewood and untreated lumber.” The county recommendation says “seasoned firewood,” and Schneider said that moisture in the fuel can increase emissions in many units. Knott argued for flexibility, noting that farmers sometimes need to burn entire tree trunks which can be loaded by tractor. Given sufficient setbacks, he said, that was an example of an appropriate use.

The county’s suggestions include a blackout period between May 1 and Sept. 30, but the town’s proposal is silent on the issue, as is the law in Copake. Schneider spoke in favor, while Knott said that, if setbacks were sufficient, residents should be entitled to heat their hot water or even swimming pools with wood.

Also discussed was whether OWBs need to be “white-tagged,” an EPA designation for the highest-efficiency, lowest-emissions wood burning technology. Schneider said, “High quality burners burn cleaner, no matter the fuel.” But Knott said this might not be affordable for all. “Do we want to mandate the additional four or five grand for the white tag?” he asked.

Under the town’s proposal, an application would be required for new installations and enforcement would fall under the zoning framework, with all associated plumbing and electric inspected for conformance to local and manufacturer requirements. Existing installations would be given a grace period, possibly one year, to apply and conform to any provisions which were not otherwise grandfathered in.

Schneider linked this issue to a history of action over air quality in the town. Addressing the board, she said, “You took a strong stand on mercury. It’s not the same pollutant but it’s the same issue.” She said the town should ask of itself “what we are asking from Lafarge.”

Lafarge NA owns the Ravena cement plant, 10 miles north, a hot spot for toxic airborne mercury. The town and its residents have long been vocal on the issue and Stuyvesant was selected as the site for a number of regional meetings and hearings on the subject.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 30, 2010

Fires keep Lincoln County officials busy (OWB the cause)

The Daily News

Last Updated: Tuesday, March 30, 2010 8:18 AM CDT

 

Emergency workers in Lincoln County were kept busy over the weekend with a number of fires.

According to the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department, the town of Corning Fire Department was called out on Saturday afternoon for a barn fire.

A passerby called 911 on a cell phone to report the fire at N1495 Leafy Grove Road at 1:44 p.m.

When firefighters arrived on the scene they found the barn was already engulfed in flames.

The homeowner, Neil Kramer, told the deputy his dog had been barking for some time before the passerby knocked on his door to tell him about the fire.

The cause of the fire is not known but Kramer stated he did stoke his outdoor wood furnace prior to the fire being discovered.

The town of Hamburg Fire Department was called to the scene to assist Corning firefighters. The Merrill Fire Department responded with a tanker truck.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 28, 2010

Boiler debate burns

By Julia Sampson

Sunday, March 28, 2010 9:38 PM EDT

Olean Times Herald

 

The monolithic structure stands sentry against the chill of winter, a bone of contention amongst neighbors in both New York and Pennsylvania.

Outdoor wood boilers stand approximately 4 feet wide and 8 feet high, including the height of the chimney. This freestanding combustion unit, located outside the home to be heated, is not regulated by either New York or Pennsylvania state governments. Additionally, according to a report filed by the New York State Office of the Attorney General’s Environmental Protection Bureau, as of 2007, there are 2,640 outdoor wood boilers in New York state.

The village of Allegany passed a moratorium March 2, 2009, banning the use of outdoor wood boilers and extended the law, at a recent board meeting, until Sept. 9, 2010.

According to the moratorium, the village board of trustees is concerned about the effect on air quality and public health that may occur as the result of the unregulated use of outdoor wood heaters and boilers.

Additionally, because neither federal nor New York state regulations limit emissions or address the proper use of outdoor wood-burning devices, the board, pending further study and the adoption of a comprehensive local law, found it necessary to take appropriate measures to protect the public interest.

Yet, included in the Environmental Protection Bureau report, the boilers emit, on a per hour average, four times as much fine particulate matter pollution as conventional wood stoves. That’s 12 times as much as Environmental Protection Agency-certified wood stoves; 1,000 times more than oil furnaces; and 1,800 times more than gas furnaces.

Also, according to the report prepared by Judith Schreiber, chief scientist, and Robert Chinery, environmental scientist with the state attorney general agency, such emissions can have both short- and long-term health effects on respiratory and cardiac health. Additionally, neighbors who are downwind of such units may be exposed to highly elevated levels of the particulate matter.

Cattaraugus County Environmental Health Director Eric Wohlers said the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation drafted regulations in 2008, but the regulations have yet to come out of committee.

“While communities throughout New York have passed regulations and ordinances, there currently aren’t uniform regulations for outdoor wood boilers,” Mr. Wohlers said.

The Cattaraugus County Health Department proposed an ordinance requiring use of only EPA-certified models; inspection by the local code enforcement officer to ensure proper installation, adequate separation from neighboring homes, and prudent stack heights; and enforcement to ensure that outdoor wood boiler owners use only dry, seasoned wood as fuel and do not burn household trash, plastics or anything else that would emit toxic chemical residues.

However, according to an EPA exemption letter provided to an outdoor wood boiler manufacturer, the boilers are “designed to be installed outside of the home, and to heat by an indirect method, and are exempt from the EPA regulation(s).”

Additionally, because the EPA does not currently regulate the manufacture, sale or efficiency claims attendant to the boilers, they are not subject to the federal regulations governing indoor stoves and fireplaces. Those units are tested and regulated by the EPA for safety, emissions and efficiency.

The basic design of an outdoor wood boiler causes fuel to burn incompletely, or smolder, according to the Environmental Protection Bureau report, which also stated that even when operated using clean, seasoned wood, burning may result in thick smoke and high particulate emissions. Additionally, the short chimney and reduced draft often fail to disperse the smoke, thereby releasing pollutants at lower heights, which reach neighboring houses.

Outdoor wood boilers create smoldering conditions as they cycle through periods of high and low burn, said Environmental Protection Bureau officials. An efficient fire should produce clear exhaust during warmer months and white exhaust - steam - during colder months. An inefficient fire produces gray, black, or thick smoke. Furthermore, during summer months and calm winter days, wood smoke is slow to rise and disperse and can remain suspended in the air for long periods of time.

While New York holds no regulations specific to outdoor wood boilers, DEC regulations provide that “no person shall cause or allow emissions of air contaminants to the outdoor atmosphere of such quantity, characteristic or duration which are injurious to human, plant, or animal life or to property, or which unreasonably interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property.”

Furthermore the DEC smoke regulation states, in part, “no person shall operate a stationary combustion installation which exhibits greater than twenty percent opacity, except for one six-minute period per hour of not more than 27 percent opacity.”

Due to resident complaints, the report noted, the DEC has taken enforcement actions involving outdoor wood boiler owners on some occasions base on those regulations.

(Contact reporter Julia Sampson at jsampson@oleantimesherald.com)

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 26, 2010

Wildfire danger at high level (OWB cause of a fire)

By Jenny Lancour

POSTED: March 26, 2010

 

ESCANABA - Because conditions are ideal for wildfires, local fire officials are urging people to hold off on burning grass and debris and instead take precautions to prevent fires from occurring.

"It's pretty bad out there, now," said Keith Murphy, forest fire supervisor for the Department of Natural Resources & Environment (DNRE) management unit in Escanaba. No burn permits are being issued at this time because of the fire danger, he said.

Area volunteer fire departments and the DNRE have been responding to four to six fires a day since late last week, he said, adding, "It's a circus out there."

Conditions increasing the risk of fires locally include the lack of moisture this spring, Murphy said. Everything is dead and brown because of the lack of rain which is needed to green things up. Low snow fall this past winter has also contributed to the lack of moisture, he added.

This year's early spring - accompanied by warmer temperatures, sunshine and winds - is also drying things up, increasing the fire danger level, Murphy said.

"We're going to be in for a good one if we don't get some moisture," he commented.

Locations of greatest concern include wooded and grassy areas in urban areas, he said. Homes among pines or by grass fields would be in great danger if a wildfire broke out.

DNRE planes - used for both wildlife flights and fire detection - have been up in the air this week spotting for signs of fire, Murphy said. There are three DNRE planes used throughout the Upper Peninsula.

A plane located a grass fire at Pellegrini's Strawberries in Wells Township on Tuesday. The wind pushed the fire toward two storage buildings which burned to the ground. An outdoor wood furnace is suspected to have been the cause of the blaze.

Murphy said the cause of most local fires to date has been due to people burning debris, barrel burning, agricultural field burning, and intentional lighting of grass. A train spark ignited grass along the tracks in Nahma earlier this month.

Because of the high fire danger, the DNRE is not issuing burn permits in several U.P. counties including Delta, Schoolcraft and Menominee. To find out when it is safe to burn, people can check the DNRE Web site at www.michigan.gov/burn permits or call the toll-free number 1-866-922-2876.

Some area residents have been issued tickets for allowing fires to escape, Murphy said, adding offenders can also be liable to pay for the costs to put out these uncontrolled fires.

In anticipation of the earlier-than-normal wildfire season, the DNRE has stepped up its fire-fighting preparations, Murphy said.

"We pushed up the spring schedule for weekend work and those working seven days a week," he said. Vacations were cancelled for some workers.

The DNRE readied its fire-fighting equipment a month earlier and also stepped up its annual fire training, he said. Getting the fire danger message out to the local media is also earlier than normal, he added.

"This is a big concern for us this early," Murphy said, reminding the public to hold off on any burning until adequate moisture is present.

"Think twice about burning barrels," he said. "Do composting instead."

Area residents should not burn the grass in their ditches, he said, also advising against bonfires. People should be careful with their outdoor furnaces which are often close to homes. When cleaning out wood stoves, handle ashes wisely, he said.

Other ways fires can occur accidentally include cigarettes thrown from vehicles. Sparks from trains, welding equipment and vehicle brakes are also realistic concerns, Murphy added.

He also advised people to not be mistaken into thinking it's okay to burn because of cooler temperatures.

"Even though we're having colder weather, the risk for fires is out there. It's still too dry," he cautioned.

Jenny Lancour, (906) 786-2021, ext. 143, jlancour@dailypress.net

 

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 26, 2010

American Lung Association applauds Vermont’s plan to replace outdoor wood boilers

By Press Release on March 26, 2010

Contact: Rebecca Ryan

rryan@lugnne.org

Vermont Taking Steps to Replace Old Outdoor Wood Boilers

March 26, 2010 – The American Lung Association in Vermont applauds the Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) for making plans to implement a change out program for uncertified outdoor wood boilers (OWBs). Governor Douglas announced yesterday that ANR will use $360,000 from a settlement fund with the American Electric Power Company to replace between 50 and 75 old residential units with cleaner-burning certified units.  Old OWBs are the source of excessive air pollution and toxic emissions. In fact, these units can emit the smoke of twenty wood stoves and will use twice as much wood of one designed to meet emissions standards.

The change out program is a step in the right direction, but a bill introduced by Senator Ginny Lyons, Chair of the Committee on Natural Resources and Energy, and passed today by the Vermont Senate, would provide for greater emissions reduction and more health protection. If passed by the House of Representatives, S.239, would increase the funding to $500,000, and include the option to replace an old unit with a more efficient and cleaner heating appliance than a certified OWB. The bill also requires all uncertified OWBs located within 200 feet of a residence, school or health facility to be retired by 2013.

For more information about the American Lung Association, visit www.lungne.org or call 1-800-LUNG-USA, Option 1. For more information about outdoor wood boilers, visit www.vtwoodsmoke.org

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 26, 2010

Council looks to ban wood-fired boilers inside city limits

By Chris Engle

Staff Writer

Friday, March 26, 2010

 

GAYLORD — The city is writing a comprehensive outdoor burning ordinance which will ban outdoor wood-fired boilers from within its limits.

The ordinance “will bring together burning regulations under one ordinance,” according to City Manager Joe Duff, and will also regulate how wood is stored. (See related story for a listing of what is allowed and what is banned.)

Under Section 8 of the city’s “Outdoor and Open Burning Ordinance,” no one may “install, use or maintain an outdoor wood-fired boiler in the City of Gaylord.”

The city already bans ground fires, fires in burn barrels and the burning of yard debris or construction materials, but permits fires in portable patio wood-burning units.

Otsego County does not currently have an ordinance regulating outdoor wood-fired boilers.

Wood-fired boilers are approximately the size of an outhouse and are usually located more than 30 feet away from a building.

The units send hot water to buildings through underground plumbing, which then heats through existing in-floor, baseboard or forced air systems.

The problem, the city believes, is the amount of smoke wood-burning boilers produce.

“Lots just aren’t big enough to allow burning to take place without impacting other residents,” Duff said. “The ordinance is written with the residents in mind. If there’s a complaint on any type of burning it gives us the opportunity to act on the complaint.”

Most city burning regulations are currently under the “Nuisance Ordinance.”

The next reading of the ordinance will be April 12, 7 p.m. at the City Council chambers.

What is allowed, prohibited under the city’s draft “Outdoor and Open Burning Ordinance”

Allowed:

• charcoal, wood and gas cooking grills and barbecues

• chimineas (outdoor fireplaces with chimney) and patio wood-burning units (metal saucers with screened lids) which are only used to burn non-treated wood, must be 15 feet from property lines and 25 feet from the nearest structure on adjacent property

• gas-fired devices for heating, construction or maintenance

Prohibited:

• burning of treated wood, construction or demolition waste, yard debris, refuse

• burning barrels, fire rings, in-ground firepits

• outdoor wood-fired boilers

Outdooor storage of wood:

• must be secured against rolling or falling, and may not be stacked higher than 5 feet

• must be located in the side or rear area of property, not in front yard or in front of home or garage

• cannot be placed within 10 feet of the shoulder of an alley, or placed in an area where it interferes with the clear vision from a street or alley

Contact Chris Engle at 732-1111 or cengle@gaylordheraldtimes.com

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 25, 2010

 

Wood-fired boilers worry EPA

Agency wants statewide rules on types of fuel

Thursday,  March 25, 2010 2:54 AM

By Mark Ferenchik

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

A lot of Ohioans apparently are burning stuff other than wood in their outdoor wood-fired boilers - tires, paint, garbage, even manure and animal carcasses.

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has received complaints from across Ohio of people using their boilers like incinerators, said spokeswoman Linda Oros.

That's why the agency wants to regulate them like incinerators, requiring operating permits and limiting the amount of pollution they can emit.

Outdoor wood-burning boilers are becoming more popular as people try to cut heating costs. The boilers, often housed in sheds, are used to heat water, as well as homes and businesses.

Oros said she expects few boiler owners to come forward to apply for permits. She expects that the Ohio EPA will investigate complaints and enforce the regulations if owners are burning anything but wood.

Two years ago, the Ohio EPA drafted statewide rules for all outdoor wood-fired boilers. But after a public outcry, state officials said one-size-fits-all rules wouldn't work and decided to let local communities regulate the boilers.

Shelly Kiser, the advocacy director for the American Lung Association in Ohio, said boiler manufacturers contacted customers and asked them to oppose any regulations.

Columbus has no rules concerning wood-fired boilers and has no plans to create any, said Amanda Ford, a spokeswoman for Columbus Public Health.

Other Ohio communities, such as Fairfield, Madeira, Springdale and Monroe in southwestern Ohio and Garrettsville in northeastern Ohio, have prohibited them.

Last month, the Ohio Environmental Council and American Lung Association asked the Ohio EPA to control emissions from outdoor wood-fired boilers, calling them a health risk. The council said one outdoor boiler can emit as much soot as two diesel trucks or 45cars per hour.

David Celebrezze, director of air and water special projects for the Ohio Environmental Council, said he wants statewide regulations for all wood-fired boilers.

"If you leave it up to communities, you're going to have this patchwork," he said.

Both groups want the state to require stacks to be at least 5 feet taller than any building within 150 feet, and boilers to be at least 200 feet from adjoining property lines.

They also want the state to prohibit boilers from operating between April 15 and Sept. 13 and to require that they burn wood that has not been painted or stained.

You can call the Ohio EPA at 614-644-2270 to receive a copy of the draft rules or go to http://www.epa.ohio.gov/pic/outdoorwoodfiredboilers.aspx to read them.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

 

March 24, 2010

 

Otsego seeks to outlaw wood boilers

By Daniel Pepper

Interim Editor

Wednesday, March 24, 2010 12:57 PM EDT

Otsego city commissioners are considering outlawing outdoor wood-fired boilers in the city limits.

Commissioners had a first reading of a proposed ordinance to that effect at a Tuesday, March 17, special meeting. The meeting was moved from Monday because of the regional basketball game held at Otsego High School.

City manager Thad Beard said the way the boilers, which are outdoor wood furnaces that heat homes through hot water, burn creates a particulate that can bother nearby neighbors.

"The underlying factor is the science involved," Beard said. "Wood-fired boilers, as a result of the water jacket surrounding the furnace, they burn at a lower heat and have a higher percentage of particulate. Because of the high percentage of particulate, it hangs in the air.

"A regular (wood) furnace burns at a much higher heat than the boilers do.”

The particulate tends to hang in the air at about the level of the chimney, usually 8 feet, and then settle in a fairly wide area, he said.

The city investigated how others handle the problem.

"We looked at several communities and how they deal with them," Beard said. "Several do allow it, but only on 1-acre lots or 5-acre lots."

The matter came up, he said, because it was something of a hot topic among planning commissions and the city's planning commission has several new members who heard about it in training.

Beard said the city had at least one being used.

"We've had complaints, not overwhelming, but we have had complaints," he said.

The commission will hold a second reading and hold a vote on the ordinance at a special meeting scheduled for Monday, March 29.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 24, 2010

Regulation of alternative energy sources discussed in Bethel

Originally Published: 3/24/2010

By Derrick Hix

The Bethel Township Planning Commission voted unanimously Tuesday night to recommend that the supervisors authorize the planners to create an ordinance to regulate alternative-energy sources such as wind and solar power.

Chairman Randy Behney suggested the board act after township engineer James Fisher discussed a model wind-power ordinance he got from the state. Fisher said the state does not have a model ordinance for solar power, but is expected to soon.

Board members are concerned about the possibility that someone might erect multiple wind turbines to catch wind from the nearby mountains and about the effect on neighbors.

Solicitor Eugene Orlando Jr. said the township cannot eliminate a lawful use. Most cases he has seen regarding commercial wind turbines involved properties of 700 acres or more, he said.

While the planners focused on wind and solar energy, Fisher said any ordinance likely also would address other alternative-energy sources such as hydroelectric and wood furnaces.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 24, 2010

 

Fires break out across area (OWB the cause)

Firefighters put out blazes at Pellegrini’s Strawberries, Gladstone Tuesday

By Jenny Lancour

POSTED: March 24, 2010

 

ESCANABA - A Wells Township couple had no idea two of their buildings were on fire until someone frantically knocked on their door Tuesday afternoon.

Donald and Patricia Pellegrini, owners of Pellegrini's Strawberries, were in their home at 2702 16.5 Road when Kelly Norkooli came from a neighboring house and alerted them.

"We did not know until a neighbor came knocking on our door," explained Patricia Pellegrini Tuesday while watching firefighters put out the blaze that destroyed two storage sheds on their property. Grass had burned around the buildings and into the woods bordering the Ford River."I couldn't believe it, I really couldn't, seeing the flames and everything, wondering what happened," she said, recalling when she looked outside and saw the buildings ablaze.

Pellegrini suspected sparks from the chimney of an outdoor wood furnace may have started the fire, which also burnt grass very near their home. Fire officials also suspected the wood stove was the cause.

"It was not the strawberry building. It was not the house, thank God. It was two storage buildings," Pellegrini said. "Thank goodness the fire didn't go into the strawberries."

The couple has lived on the property for more than 30 years. Pellegrini said her father had built the pole building. The other structure was more open and did not have doors, she said, trying to remember what was inside both buildings.

There was a pickup camper, a flat-bottomed boat, two snowmobiles, antiques, and irrigation equipment stored in the pole building, Pellegrini said. Things could be heard exploding in the fire, she said.

"I'm not sure what else was in the buildings," she said. "Thank the good Lord. It could have been worse."

Norkooli said her six-year-old son, Dakota, was the one who noticed the smoke coming from the Pellegrini property while he was outside with his mother.

After calling 9-1-1, Norkooli hopped on a four-wheeler and alerted the Pellegrinis. Within minutes, fire trucks and police cars were coming down the driveway, she said.

Norkooli suspects an airplane that was circling overhead earlier had seen the smoke and called for emergency help.

A Department of Natural Resources & Environment (DNRE) plane had flown over the property and notified central dispatch of the fire. Firefighters from Escanaba Public Safety responded and were at the scene for about two hours. Both buildings were a total loss.

Shortly after the call came out for the Pellegrini fire, volunteer firefighters from Ford River Township were dispatched to the scene. While enroute to the fire hall, the volunteers were dispatched to go to a grass fire on 11th Road, off M-35 south of Portage Point Road.

At 5:45 p.m. Tuesday, Gladstone firefighters responded to a grass fire on the east side of North 15th Street. The department had planned a controlled burn that was postponed due to the wild fire.

According to the DNRE Web site, open debris burning is not permitted anywhere within the U.P. counties of Delta, Schoolcraft, Menominee, Mackinac, Dickinson and Iron.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 24, 2010

Fire danger high in south central U.P.

By: Upper Michigans Source

Wednesday, March 24, 2010 at 5:03 p.m.

 

UPPER PENINSULA -- The DNRE and volunteer fire departments have been receiving four to six calls a day for grass fires in the south central U.P.

As conditions get dryer, officials say no one should be burning anything outside.

One fire destroyed less than an acre of land in Delta County, but the owners lost two storage buildings, along with almost $10,000 of equipment.

The DNRE noticed smoke as they were doing a fly-over and called authorities.

They believe the outside wood stove may have caused the fire.

Escanaba public safety was on scene for over two hours.

This is just one of a number of grass fires that have broken out, and officials want residents to take warning.

"Everybody wants to, they're out for the spring now and they want to clean up their yards, get everything ready for summer time, but I would strongly suggest not burning at all until we get moisture," said Keith Murphy, Forest Fire Supervisor.

Most of the south-central U.P. counties are considered at a high risk for fire danger.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 24, 2010

City's contentious outdoor furnace ordinance might be resolved tonight

By Craig Sauer, Special to the Daily Register | Posted: Wednesday, March 24, 2010 11:42 pm

 

In Portage politics, few recent issues have had Common Council members as evenly divided as the proposed outdoor furnace ordinance that would heavily restrict the devices within city limits.

The ordinance has led to a mayoral veto, multiple moratoriums on furnace installation and numerous drafts over the last year. The struggle may finally come to a conclusion, one way or the other, this week.

The Portage Common Council is expected to vote on the proposed rules at tonight's meeting after the ordinance's third reading. The first and second reading occurred at a meeting earlier this month. If it fails to pass, it may be extinguished for good.

Signaling their opposition, some Council members called on the Legislative and Regulatory Committee, the body that drafted the ordinance, to make changes at its recent meeting. The committee did not offer any amendments to the proposed ordinance.

"We are probably not going to talk about anything you talked about here tonight because we are pretty much done with it then. If Council does not want to pass this, then honestly we are done with it," said Council member Addie Tamboli, a member of the committee. "We won't keep talking about this ordinance because we have beat it to death."

The ordinance

The ordinance would create a high hurdle for the installation of new outdoor heating devices because of stringent placement rules. Only a handful of property owners, those with large lots, would be allowed to install new devices.

Under the ordinance, furnace owners would be required to have permits. The fire chief could shut down the furnaces if their owners don't follow rules or because of nuisance violations.

The owners could appeal the fire chief's decision to the Legislative and Regulatory Committee.

Existing furnaces that do not meet certain standards would receive protection from a grandfather provision. That provision, however, expires Sept. 1, 2020.

"It's no secret where these outdoor furnaces are," said Portage Fire Chief Clayton Simonson. "Residents pretty much know who has one."

Simonson said he knows of only six outdoor furnaces in the city. He could not name all of the owners of the furnaces, but said that two furnaces are located within the 100 block of Silver Lake Drive and another one is located near Divine Savior Extended Care along West Pleasant Street. There also are two furnaces in the 800 block of East Cook Street and one within the 300 block of East Conant Street.

The questions

Council members Fred Reckling and Daniel Brunt said earlier this month that the ordinance did not meet with their approval after the ordinance's first and second reading.

"There are a lot of questions," Brunt said about the current draft.

Brunt questioned whether the city could legally shut down a furnace in the winter if it was the sole source of heat for a resident. The ordinance provides for an appeal process but does not address that specific concern.

Brunt said he was also concerned that the process of shutting down was ambiguous. He said allowing the fire chief to decide which devices should be shut down was too subjective and called for specific measurable standards using air quality measuring devices.

Reckling said he was concerned that the ordinance would unfairly punish residents who made significant investments to install the heating devices on their property in recent years.

"They should be grandfathered for the life of (their device)," Reckling said.

The History

The Legislative and Regulatory Committee began researching an ordinance about a year ago because of complaints about outdoor wood-fired furnaces in residential neighborhoods. To make sure no new furnaces would be installed while the committee was working on new rules, they proposed a one year moratorium in last April.

With support from the mayor, an amendment to the moratorium resolution was adopted on a 4-3 vote to shorten the time period to 90 days. Those in favor of the shorter moratorium said the public deserved an answer by the end of summer 2009. That would give people the chance to purchase new furnaces for winter, they said.

By late August, the committee finished work on an ordinance, similar to the current incarnation, that would heavily restrict the devices but not outright ban them in the city. In early September, the Council approved the ordinance on an 8-1 vote, with Reckling voting against it.

Jahn later refused to sign the ordinance into law.

The mayor said that he was concerned that the ordinance might not hold up upon legal appeal and that various portions of the ordinance need to be clarified.

"My goal is not to defeat your ordinance, but to make sure that the ordinance is enforceable and the city of Portage does not have to spend taxpayers' money to defend this ordinance in a court of law in the future," Jahn wrote in his veto message to the Common Council.

Proponents of the ordinance decided to attempt a veto override later that month, but failed on a 5-3 vote. Six votes, or a two-thirds majority of the Common Council whether present or not, was needed.

Council Member Marty Havlovic, who helped draft the ordinance in committee, was absent from the meeting and could have been the deciding vote in favor of the ordinance. Brunt and Council member Ken Ebnetter joined with Reckling in opposition.

The ordinance was sent back for further review in the Legislative and Regulatory Committee, while an extension to the moratorium was subsequently passed.

In February the committee finished reworking the ordinance after several months of discussion with heavy involvement from the City Attorney W. Andrew Voigt. The ordinance was approved 5-0 in committee.

It received the procedural first and second reading earlier this month.

The odds

If the all of the committee members who recommended the ordinance in committee stick with the ordinance at the Council level, the measure will pass. However, committee member Havlovic has set himself up as the swing vote by indicating that he has not made a final decision.

Even if the ordinance is approved on a narrow 5-4 vote, it may again be subject to a mayoral veto. Jahn said he was undecided what he would do if the ordinance was passed in the current form. He did, however, speak out heavily against parts of it.

The prospects of initiating another round of committee work on the ordinance is uncertain. Proponents of passage, Tamboli and Council member Carol Heisz have decided not to seek re-election this April and would likely not be around for that work.

Kevin Kirkpatrick contributed to this article.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 17, 2010

Pool problems? Councilman Jim Roush wants city to reverse pool ordinance and once again require fences (OWBS discussed)

By Peter Cox - Stillwater Gazette

Published: Wednesday, March 17, 2010 11:11 AM CDT

Councilman Jim Roush took another dive into Stillwater's swimming pool ordinance Tuesday, an ordinance that has been changed several times over the last decade………..

In other action, the council...

- approved the final reading of an ordinance amending the city's code regarding outdoor wood-burning stoves. The change declares outdoor wood-boiling stoves a nuisance and prohibits them in the city. Wood boilers are used as a heating system for homes.

The issue had drawn many comments after on Stillwater man installed one in his home on the 900 block of Holcomb Street. Several of his neighbors complained about the smoke and smell. The man, Jeff Shaleen, said he spent $8,000 installing the system and had asked the city to grandfather him in, but was denied by the council.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 15, 2010

Ordinance change would allow fire pots in Wyoming (OWBs mentioned)

By Matt Vande Bunte, The Grand Rapids Press

March 15, 2010, 11:39AM

 

WYOMING -- Outdoor fireplaces are OK; wood-fired outdoor furnaces are not. The City Council is scheduled to consider amending its open-burning ordinance to permit the increasingly popular portable fire pots during a meeting at 7 p.m. today.

Some of the regulations: Pots must be at least 20 feet from lot lines and any combustible materials, no more than four feet in diameter and may not be used to burn leaves or garbage. Built fire pits are included, while "fire rings," such as tires, are not allowed.

Then at 7 p.m. Tuesday, the Planning Commission will hold a hearing on zoning amendments related to alternative energy technologies. Small wind turbines and solar energy equipment would be allowed, while outdoor wood-fired furnaces would be prohibited citywide.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 15, 2010 (Canada)

Bylaw proves hot topic for Brazeau

Posted By Amanda Jeffery

Posted 3/15/2010

In the hopes of clarifying the issue of Brazeau County's proposed fire bylaw, public works director, Marco Schoeninger, brought the current bylaw before councillors during their regular meeting Mar. 9.

Schoeninger highlighted the differences between the two bylaws and left the floor open for council to be specific about what they would like the new bylaw to include.

"Where would you like us to go from here?" asked Schoeninger.

They were mainly concerned with whether the permits would be seasonal or yearly, the number of people able to provide the permits, whether staff would be trained in-house, the turn around time for the permit process, the method of submittal, duration of the permit and the outdoor wood fibre boiler standards.

Through debate council was able to give Schoeninger direction about all of the different areas.

PERMITTING TIMES

The current bylaw outlines that permitting is required year round for fires and all of the councillors reported that they had received no major complaints about it.

"People like structure and appreciate rules," said Tom Thomson, fire chief of the Drayton Valley Fire Department.

With the weather patterns having changed in the area the councillors decided it was safer to require permitting all year.

"This way it's consistent," said Reeve Wes Tweedle.

OUTDOOR WOOD FIBRE BOILER STANDARDS

It was decided that older OWFBs could be grandfathered into the new bylaw, meaning that if the boilers met the standards at the time they were created their use would still be permitted. However, anything built after 2010 would have to meet current standards.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 14, 2010

Rush of bills pass from Vermont legislative committees (OWBs mentioned)

By Nancy Remsen, Free Press Staff Writer

 Sunday, March 14, 2010

MONTPELIER -- At 3:40 p.m. Friday, members of the House Judiciary Committee nodded their agreement on two final revisions to a 177-page bill restructuring the state's court system -- then voted 10-0 to recommend its passage.

After the vote, committee members breathed a collective sigh of relief that they had reached consensus and completed their work by a deadline set by legislative leaders.

Throughout the Statehouse, other House and Senate committees also spent Friday churning through final drafts of legislation they had worked on for weeks, then took votes of recommendation on each. The list of bills included a health care reform proposal, a ban on a chemical used in some plastic bottles and containers, a rental standards bill, an outdoor wood boilers proposal and campaign finance revisions.

WOOD BOILERS: Would set up a financial incentive using $500,000 from a legal settlement to encourage owners of older outdoor wood boilers to replace them with newer, less polluting models. Vote 5-0. Senate Natural Resources Committee.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 12, 2010

Commissioners pass new regulations for outdoor fuel furnaces

 Friday, March 12, 2010 9:50 PM EST

By: Argus-Press

 CORUNNA - The Shiawassee County Board of Commissioners approved an amendment to its zoning ordinance for the regulation of outdoor solid fuel furnaces Thursday.

Outdoor furnaces will be permitted for use by single-family residential structures located in A-1, A-1/2 and A-2 zoning districts and will require a permit prior to installation.

Only material recommended by the manufacturer will be allowed to be burned.

“The use of trash, plastics, gasoline, oil, rubber, garbage, petroleum treated products, pressure treated wood, leaves, paper products, cardboard and other materials that could void the outdoor furnace warranty are prohibited and subject to enforcement,” the ordinance reads.

The ordinance also regulated the distance from which a furnace may be located from the residence; another residential or commercial property; and assembly areas such as schools, churches and public parks.

The ordinance was recommended to the Board by the Shiawassee County Planning Commission.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 12, 2010

Stillwater neighbors balk, so resident's boiler banned

By Mary Divine

mdivine@pioneerpress.com

Updated: 03/12/2010 12:01:33 PM CST

After Jeff Shaleen lost his job last year at Andersen Corp. in Bayport, he began looking for ways to cut costs. At the top of his list was his heating bill, which ran about $250 a month in the winter.

So Shaleen worked out a deal for cheap wood with a friend who owns a tree service, then spent about $8,000 installing an outdoor wood-fired boiler behind his house in Stillwater. His heating bill dropped to about $45 a month, and he figures he has saved more than $1,000 this winter.

But Shaleen's money-saving measure comes with a price: smoke billows from the stack of a small shed in his back yard at 916 Holcombe St.

After neighbors complained, city officials decided to put a damper on Shaleen's plan. Outdoor wood boilers will be banned in the city starting later this month.

"They are a public nuisance because the smoke they produce is a public health concern," Community Development Director Bill Turnblad said. "I think the city council was surprised by the volume of negative responses from neighbors. They were particularly concerned about the asthma and respiratory complaints."

Outdoor wood boilers run all day and tend to smoke a lot, Turnblad said. He explained that when the fire reaches the desired temperature, it is smothered, and "smothered fire creates a lot of smoke."

A number of metro cities have restricted or banned wood burners, including Forest Lake, Oak Park Heights and Burnsville. Inver Grove Heights is considering an ordinance.

Officials from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency say they have been fielding more complaints about boilers this winter than in previous years, and they encourage people who call with complaints to contact their local officials.

MPCA officials were researching a possible state emission standard for outdoor wood boilers but put those plans on hold when they learned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was considering a national standard, said John Seltz, supervisor of the MPCA's air policy

Environmentalists say the smoke from a boiler, especially an older, used model like the one Shaleen uses, can be overwhelming and irritating.

"They generate a lot of particulates in the air, which is our concern," Seltz said.

Outdoor boilers typically burn inefficiently and produce more smoke than other home-heating devices, said Kathy Norlien, a research scientist in the indoor-air unit of the Minnesota Department of Health. Studies show that outdoor wood boilers might emit more than 10 times the fine particulate matter that wood stoves emit because more wood is usually burned for longer periods of time and outdoor wood boilers burn less efficiently.

"They smolder for a long time," Norlien said.

Central Boiler, in Greenbush, Minn., is a leading manufacturer of outdoor wood boilers and built the 1999 model Shaleen installed. Rodney Tollefson, the company's vice president, said newer models produce less smoke than older models like Shaleen's.

The company promotes the boilers as environmentally friendly because they burn wood, a renewable resource, he said.

The company advises buyers in densely populated areas to make sure the height of the smokestack exceeds the peaks of the roofs of nearby homes. "I have never seen a situation where they can't have a chimney high enough to resolve the situation," Tollefson said.

Other common suggestions for reducing irritation for neighbors include restricting chimney locations and requiring setbacks from neighboring properties.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 11, 2010

Outdoor wood burners to go up in smoke


Stillwater council set to pass nuisance law

by Loretta Harding
Contributing Writer
Published:
Thursday, March 11, 2010 10:30 AM CST

After months of fielding phone calls complaining about pollution and poor air quality from a neighboring outdoor wood boiler, the Stillwater City Council unanimously approved the first reading of a new nuisance ordinance outlawing outdoor wood boilers.

At the end of the March 2 public hearing, the council considered an amendment to City Code Section 38-1 by declaring outdoor wood boilers a public nuisance and prohibiting them in the City of Stillwater. The ordinance will be adopted without a grandfather clause, meaning that even existing wood burners have to go.

Jeff Shaleen, who installed a wood burner in September, told the council he did everything the city asked and obtained a permit. The burner was expensive to install, Shaleen said, and asked that he be granted grandfather rights.

Mayor Ken Harycki and members of the City Council assured Shaleen that conversations with residents suffering from respiratory conditions convinced them not to grant grandfather status. “I understand your plight,” Harycki told Shaleen. “The swing point was the asthma of a resident’s daughter. If my kids were affected health wise and a wood burner was next to my backyard, I wouldn’t want to live next to it. I know you took steps, but we still get the calls.”

City Attorney David Magnuson said that other communities have declared outdoor wood burners to be nuisances due to medical issues, and that people were not entitled to damages for the elimination of the nuisance. “It seems unfair, but that’s what the law provides now,” he said.

Before reaching a decision, city staff researched the effects of wood burner pollution and what other cities had done about it.


Studies by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the New York State Attorney General’s Office showed that outdoor wood burners cause health hazards for people with cardiovascular disease and breathing ailments, City Planner Mike Pogge said. A free-standing outdoor wood burner will create 12 times the amount of fine particulate matter than an EPA-approved indoor wood fireplace and 1,800 times more fine particulate matter than a natural gas furnace, the study showed.

The policies of other communities run the gamut, Pogge said. Oak Park Heights and Forest Lake regulate and prohibit wood burners within their city limits, providing sound footing for Stillwater to do the same, he said.

The only question remaining for council is the effective date. By default, the ordinance becomes effective on the date of its publication. However, specific wording in the ordinance could delay its effective date until the end of the heating season.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 11, 2010

Local lawmakers dicuss issues with Berlin residents (OWBs mentioned)

Thursday, March 11, 2010 10:29 PM EST

By SCOTT WHIPPLE

Staff Writer

BERLIN — Area lawmakers wanted to hear from their constituents, and got an earful Thursday evening in town hall. They fielded questions from voters on issues ranging from home-care fees for seniors to allergy-free products to the proposed busway.

Though only 15 residents met with the town’s legislative delegation their questions and suggestions for state Sen. Donald DeFronzo, D-New Britain, and state Reps. Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin, Southington, and Catherine Abercrombie, D-Berlin, Meriden, were centered on issues pertinent to the current legislative session.

Each legislator framed issues of interest to them at the outset……..

Allergy sufferer, Carolyn Wysocki of Berlin read a list of “green” bills currently on the legislative agenda. She said she hoped legislation banning use of outdoor wood stoves would be enforced. “I’m getting smoke in my house,” she said.

Topliff thanked DeFronzo, Aresimowicz and Abercrombie for hosting the forum.

“You have hard decisions to make,” he said. “But if you do the right thing, the state will be headed in the right direction.”

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 11, 2010

Pollution commission gives its support to borough's chimney smoke ordinance (OWBs discussed)

by Amanda Bohman / abohman@newsminer.com

FAIRBANKS — The air pollution control commission gave its “general support” to the borough mayor’s chimney smoke ordinance but plans to recommend some changes to be developed at a March 23 meeting.

The seven-member group, devised to consult Borough Mayor Luke Hopkins on air pollution issues, passed a motion unanimously affirming the pollution control plan at nearly midnight Tuesday after a five-and-a-half-hour meeting.

The mayor’s proposed measure sets limits on the types of solid-fuel burning devices, or wood and coal stoves, that can be installed in the borough. It limits the kinds of fuels that can be burned and sets fines for chimney smoke pollution. It also establishes government subsidies to encourage people to swap their dirty stoves for cleaner ones.

A mandate by the federal government to clean up the air prompted the measure, which is drawing both praise and angry opposition in the community.

Wood smoke is believed to be the No. 1 contributor of airborne fine particulate matter, which scientists say is unhealthy. The average particulate level in Fairbanks air exceeds federal guidelines.

The voters last fall were given a choice of whether they wanted pollution control policy to be developed by the state or the borough, and the majority selected the Fairbanks North Star Borough.

Judging from the commission’s debate about the ordinance, some of the changes are likely to center on what wood and coal stoves are selected for an approved list. The ordinance grandfathers in stoves that are already installed.

Commissioner Lawrence Duffy said he’d like a better definition of what sort of smoke constitutes a “nuisance.”

Commissioner Mike Pollen said he wants to work on the proposed lot-line setback for outdoor wood boilers.

The mayor is also working on some changes, which he said will be posted on the municipal Web site along with an explanation in plain language of what the 16-page ordinance sets out to do.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 10, 2010

Use of wood stoves becomes burning issue in Jefferson Twp.

By Megan Reiter (Staff Writer)

Published: March 10, 2010

A Lackawanna County judge's recent ruling that bans a Jefferson Twp. couple from using their wood-burning furnace is one example of an issue that is cropping up across the state as residents seek less expensive ways to stay warm.

Judge Thomas J. Munley last month signed an order calling an outdoor wood-burning furnace on the property of Edward and Jean Kuniegal "a private nuisance."

The order also prohibits the Kuniegals from using the furnace within 1,500 feet of their neighbors' property lines, or burning any materials other than those approved by the stove manufacturer or the Environmental Protection Agency.

"We've gotten complaints, and I think it's been an issue," Mark Carmon, state Department of Environmental Protection spokesman said about wood-burning furnaces. The increase in their use, he said, "is being driven by the cost of fuel, obviously."

According to court documents, Mr. Kuniegal testified that one of the reasons he and his wife use the outdoor furnace is to keep their heating costs down.

The Kuniegals' neighbors, Lisa Cummings and Michael and Debra Santarsiero, told the court they had health concerns about the smoke emitted from the furnace. Mrs. Santarsiero compared the smell to "living by a landfill," according to court documents.

"My clients were very pleased with Judge Munley's ruling," said attorney Joseph G. Price, who is representing Ms. Cummings and the Santarsieros.

This was the second time the neighbors were in court over the issue. Attorney John T. Zelinka, who is representing the Kuniegals, said his clients upgraded to a new $15,000 furnace they felt was better for the environment after the first court order. Since the Kuniegals use the furnace to heat their water, stopping use of the outdoor furnace "will be an immediate issue," Mr. Zelinka said.

"An appeal is likely, but we haven't made that decision yet," he said.

Mr. Zelinka said Jefferson Twp. does not have an ordinance in place regarding the use of outdoor wood-burning furnaces.

The state Environmental Quality Board has been holding public hearings throughout Pennsylvania to gather input, and is considering establishing regulations for the furnaces that include limiting emission, setback requirements, stack heights and fuel requirements, Mr. Carmon said.

"With these furnaces, there's a temptation to stray beyond what the manufacturer recommends" in terms of fuel, Mr. Carmon said.

Contact the writer: mreiter@timesshamrock.com

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 10, 2010

 

Area farm leader supports fines on outdoor furnaces

By JAMES MOSHER

Norwich Bulletin

Posted Mar 10, 2010 @ 12:08 AM

The leader of a New London County farm group is supporting fines on people who misuse outdoor wood-burning furnaces after a lengthy hearing Monday in Hartford.

Wayne Budney, president of the New London County Farm Bureau, said financial penalties are necessary to discourage trash burning and other misuse of the furnaces.

“Oh, absolutely, we’re in favor of that (fines),” said Budney, who owns Four Winds Farm in Lebanon.

Budney was one of more than 100 people to testify at an all-day hearing before the General Assembly’s Environment Committee.

“It was a good session,” he said. “Everybody got to give their views.”

Senate Bill 126

Farm leaders, including Connecticut Farm Bureau Association Executive Director Steven Reviczky, are trying to halt Senate Bill 126, which would ban use of the outdoor furnaces for six months of the year and include wood smoke under the public health nuisance code. Even though the bill would exempt farmers, farm leaders are fighting the measure on grounds of overall economic hardship and an assault on Connecticut’s “environmentally sound,” wood-burning heritage.

Health advocates including North Haven-based Environment and Human Health Inc. say that wood smoke is as dangerous as tobacco smoke and public health needs to be better guarded.

Dr. David Brown, a top former state government toxicologist and a member of EHHI, released a report at the hearing and testified.

Carcinogenic

“Wood smoke is a mixture of particle matter and organic chemicals of different toxicities — including cancer,” Brown said Monday. “Components of wood smoke are similar to cigarette smoke. Both are carcinogenic and respiratory toxins.”

EHHI’s president, Nancy Alderman, also testified Monday. She said Tuesday that outdoor furnaces are “fundamentally different” from indoor wood stoves and fireplaces, especially in the lower temperatures of the outdoor furnace smoke.

Nine Connecticut towns have banned the outdoor appliances and a statewide ban is “not asking for something outrageous,” Alderman said.

“It was hard to get cigarette smoking out of restaurants,” she said. “It was certainly an economic hardship. One has to decide — what are the risks and what is the role of government.”

Full Article: CLICK HERE

 

March 10, 2010

Borough's wood stove debate burns on

by Amanda Bohman / abohman@newsminer.com

FAIRBANKS — The air pollution control commission debated the borough mayor’s chimney smoke ordinance late into the night Tuesday following hours of public testimony.

It was not clear as of press time whether the commission would endorse the mayor’s plan to curb air pollution.

One issue of contention was suggested limits on lot size for outdoor wood boilers.

Overall, the measure sets limits on the types of solid fuel burning devices, or wood and coal stoves, that can be installed in the borough. It limits the kinds of fuels that can be burned and sets fines for chimney smoke pollution. It also establishes government subsidies to encourage people to swap their dirty stoves for cleaner ones.

“If we can show that we can reduce our particulate levels through voluntary measures, then we don’t need any of those other measures,” Mayor Luke Hopkins said.

A mandate by the federal government to curb a pollutant known as PM 2.5, which is known to cause heart and lung problems, prompted the measure.

More than 50 people attended the meeting, which began at 6:30 p.m. Almost 30 people testified. It was 11 p.m. before the commissioners began discussing the measure.

Those who testified in favor of the ordinance complained about air pollution, especially from outdoor wood boilers.

“I came here tonight because I am a victim of an outdoor boiler,” dog musher Suzan Amundson said. “I came here to support the ordinance.”

Patrice Lee said her son, who has heart problems, cannot attend school when the air quality is poor. She supports the measure as well.

Those opposing the measure had many complaints, including the federal government’s air pollution regulations, the plan’s limits on outdoor wood boilers in densely populated neighborhoods and the wood smoke enforcement and fines.

Mark Wiebold, who works for The Woodway, had mixed feelings about the measure. He criticized the components requiring wood stove retailers to turn in paperwork to the borough after every stove sale.

“All you’re doing is building a database that somebody has to manage that may or not be useful down the line,” Wiebold said.

He suggested the borough focus less on the stoves and more on the smokestacks.

“What’s important is what’s coming out of the stack. If it’s clean burning, why bother them?”

Wiebold agreed with the chimney smoke regulations.

“I don’t understand why you can’t already call somebody at the borough and say, ‘I am choking out here. Protect me.’”

John Berdahl said the borough needs to add language to make sure the nuisance section of the ordinance isn’t used by squabbling neighbors to harass each other by making air quality complaints.

“There’s nothing in there to hold people responsible for false reports,” he said.

Hopkins took the meeting’s first hour to go over the ordinance page-by-page, describing what the measure does and does not do.

“We aren’t going up on anybody’s roof to check somebody’s chimney or anything like that,” Hopkins said. “We are not asking for permits. We are not registering stoves.”

The mayor mentioned pending changes to the ordinance, include revised definitions for pellet stove and cook stove. He plans to tweak the list of permitted devices, adding solid fuel burning units that may not appear on a list approved by the Environmental Protection Agency but nonetheless are known to burn cleanly.

Hopkins also wants to give wood stove dealers 30 days instead of seven, as written in the ordinance, to turn in paperwork to the borough detailing stove sales.

The mayor told the commission he wants to add a component to subsidize people who replace old chimney stacks.

“There are really old chimneys out there and we need to address them,” Hopkins said.

The federal government requires the borough to turn in a plan to curb air pollution by late 2012. If no plan is developed, the state could lose federal assistance.

The voters last October were asked whether the state or the borough should develop an air pollution plan, and a majority selected the borough.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 10, 2010

 

Fairbanks wood stove debate burns into the night

Published: March 10th, 2010 09:00 AM

Last Modified: March 10th, 2010 12:58 PM

By: Anchorage Daily News

 

The Fairbanks borough's air pollution control commission heard so much public testimony at Tuesday evening's meeting, it didn't start debating a proposed chimney smoke ordinance until 11 p.m. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that the debate pits people concerned with public health against those opposed to regulations on how they can heat their homes. Nobody disputes that Fairbanks air can be seriously smoggy.

“Those who testified in favor of the ordinance complained about air pollution, especially from outdoor wood boilers.

"I came here tonight because I am a victim of an outdoor boiler," dog musher Susan Amundson said. "I came here to support the ordinance."

Patrice Lee said her son, who has heart problems, cannot attend school when the air quality is poor. She supports the measure as well.”

Those opposing the measure had many complaints, including the federal government's air pollution regulations, the plan's limits on outdoor wood boilers in densely populated neighborhoods and the wood smoke enforcement and fines.

If the borough doesn't take measures to address the city's wintertime air pollution problem, it's facing sanctions from the federal government. As of press time Tuesday, says the News-Miner, the commission hadn't decided whether to endorse the borough plan.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 9, 2010 (video)

Township Halts Outdoor Wood Burners
 

posted 03/09/10 5:40 pm   producer: Myles Snyder Source: WHTM News 27

Middletown, Pa. - John Strack loves a good bargain, and buying an outdoor wood furnace saved him quite a bit on heating costs.

At his farm in Myerstown, the wind keeps the burner's smoke away from his home. If he had neighbors, however, Strack says he'd think twice before using it.

"If it's in the wrong location, personally, I wouldn't want to have one next to me," he said.

Supervisors in Londonderry Township, Dauphin County have agreed on a temporary ban that prevents residents from installing new outdoor wood-burning boilers until the township can draft an ordinance. Their concern is the debris and the smell that blows out of the smokestacks.

"When the rate caps come off, people look for more economical means to heat their homes," Township Manager Steve Letavic said.

Before there's a mad rush to purchase any more boilers, the township wanted to make sure regulations are in place.

"The EPA currently does not regulate all of these devices and we want to make sure that we have a temporary ban so that we're not installing devices that are not regulated by the EPA," Letavic said.

John Hinsaw, a professor at Lebanon Valley College, said one of the biggest debates is not over the boiler but what people burn inside them. "If the person next door to you is burning a tire in their backyard, you would be concerned," he said.

The state Department of Environmental Protection said it investigates complaints regarding wood boilers, but there are no statewide regulations in place. A spokesperson said the DEP is in the process of putting together regulations on wood-burning boilers.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 9, 2010 (testimony)

EHHI Testimony On An Act Adding Wood Smoke to the Public Health Nuisance Code and Concerning Outdoor Wood-burning Furnaces          

Source: Environmental Headlines, and EHHI

To Chairs Senator Ed Meyers, Representative Richard Roy and members of the Environment Committee: Outdoor wood furnaces must be banned immediately.

My name is David R. Brown ScD, I am Public Health Toxicologist for Environment and Human Health, Inc., (EHHI)  a non-profit organization comprised of physicians, public health professionals and policy experts

As an expert in the field, I am here to warn that the use of Outdoor Wood Burning Furnaces (OWFs) must be banned to protect health.

The immediacy of the OMF health problem is shown by the high levels of wood smoke emissions measured inside neighboring houses. EHHI has conducted an extensive study that measured potential wood smoke inhalation by persons living in homes that were in the vicinity of OWFs.

Two of the most hazardous components of wood smoke – particulate matter measuring 2.5, and smaller, and particulate matter 05 were significantly elevated inside homes near outdoor wood furnaces. High levels were present in  every 24 hour period  tested in every home.

The charts attached to my written testimony document that the wood smoke particulate exposures in every impacted home is extreme. The level of smoke in the impacted houses is several times higher than in the seven control houses that we tested in Connecticut.

Emissions from the OWFs are entering neighboring homes at all hours of the day and night and contaminating inside air, particularly at nighttime when residents are asleep. In addition to the particulates of wood smoke measured inside impacted homes –  emissions also include: carbon monoxide; respiratory irritants; volatile gases; carcinogens and neurotoxins.

Indoor Air Testing conducted by Environment and Human health, Inc. (EHHI)

  • EHHI measured the two particle sizes designated by EPA to be the most dangerous to human health. They are  PM 2.5 and PM 0.5.   Both of these particulates were continually recorded in the impacted homes. Both hourly averages and minute by minute data were collected.
  • Control houses were selected based on the absence of outdoor wood burning devices in their immediate neighborhood.

Information shown in the attached charts

  1. Chart 1 shows the extremely high hourly average of particulate smoke levels inside the OWF impacted houses compared to control houses throughout the day starting at noon and extending through the night to the next noon.  The intense levels begin at 6 to 8 pm and extend throughout the night –showing that the residents of these houses are breathing in wood smoke particulates all night while they are sleeping.
  2. Charts 2 to 5 show the 3 days measured for each house tested.  Periods of very high exposures are seen for both PM 2.5 and 0.5 particulates for every house for every day. There are some periods of the day when the impacted houses have their particulate matter recede – but most of the time there are elevated exposures which last for hours  — tending to peak in the middle of the night when residents are sleeping.

Health effects from the wood smoke inside houses.

I will restrict my comments to the health effects demonstrated to occur from breathing wood smoke in contaminated houses at the levels shown in the charts. First: There is no doubt that emissions from the OWFs are entering these homes.

Episodes of short-term exposures to extreme levels of fine particulates from wood smoke and other sources for periods as short as two hours produce significant adverse health effects.

Outdoor wood smoke contamination of houses is the primary cause of indoor exposures to wood smoke.  Wood smoke is a mixture of particulate matter and organic chemicals of different toxicities  – including cancer.

Outdoor wood furnaces create different emissions as they cycle between two different burning conditions –oxygen deficient and oxygen rich.  Both of these cycles form particulates in the
size-ranges measured.

Components of wood smoke are similar to cigarette smoke. Both are carcinogenic and respiratory toxins.  Wood smoke contains fine particulate matter, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, sulfur dioxide and various irritant gases such as nitrogen oxides that can scar the lungs. Wood smoke also contains chemicals known or suspected to be carcinogens, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and dioxin.

Wood smoke interferes with normal lung development in infants and children. It increases children’s risk of lower respiratory infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia. Wood smoke exposure can depress the immune system and damage the layer of cells in the lungs that protect and cleanse the airways.

Wood smoke causes coughs, headaches, eye, and throat irritation in otherwise healthy people.  For vulnerable populations, such as people with asthma, chronic respiratory disease and those with cardiovascular disease, wood smoke is particularly harmful— even short exposures can prove dangerous.

The particles of wood smoke are extremely small and therefore are not filtered out by the nose or the upper respiratory system. Instead, these small particles end up deep in the lungs where they remain for months, causing structural damage and chemical changes. Wood smoke’s irritants and carcinogenic chemicals which adhere to the tiny particles, enter deep sensitive regions of the lungs where the toxic injury is higher..

Fine particles, that go deep into the lungs, increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes. EPA warns that for people with heart disease, short- term exposures have been linked to heart attacks and arrhythmias. If you have heart disease, these tiny particles may cause chest pain, palpitations, shortness of breath, and fatigue.

Also present in the smoke emitted is carbon monoxide — not only an immediate health risk but if exposures are continual can lead to neurological effects.

Children and the elderly have the highest sensitivity to wood smoke. However, no age group is without risk to respiratory problems including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease that result from breathing wood smoke.  The effects are cumulative.

Science and risk in neighborhoods

A study by the University of Washington in Seattle showed that 50 to 70 percent of the outdoor levels of wood smoke were entering homes that were not burning wood. EPA did a similar study in Boise, Idaho, with similar results.  The state of Washington has banned Outdoor Wood Boilers/ Furnaces.  The data in the charts also show that similar exposures are occurring in Connecticut.

The air impact of health exposure to wood smoke is increased two-fold during periods with stagnant air. Under those conditions, the inhaled dose levels of particulate within houses approach the hazardous level found in regulated work sites by OSHA.  EHHI found smoke entering houses every day at even higher levels.

The particulate matter and gases in wood smoke are so small that windows and doors cannot keep them out—even the newer energy-efficient weather-tight homes cannot keep out wood smoke. This is consistent with reports from people in the EHHI study that their children awaken in the middle of the night having difficulty breathing

Outdoor smoke from chimneys is diluted by air movement and high temperature but, wood smoke from OWF is cool. It remains at or falls to ground level and is trapped in the houses. It takes many hours to clear from the house.  Importantly OWF smoke emissions by basic design are cooled by the water being heated in outdoor wood furnace’s water jackets, the cooled smoke emissions stay at ground level and cannot dissipate for hours.  Such cooling is fundamental to the design and function of the boiler.  Ground level dispersion and collection is demonstrated in the numerous videos shown on the internet.

Connecticut’s current regulatory approach has failed to address the health risks from OWFs. The approach has been enforcement through inspection and issuing of notices of violation when smoke is visible. That technique has failed to either detect violations of OWFs that occur at night or to determine the seriousness of the problem. Moreover the hazardous fine particulates are not visible nor do they have an odor. Further, the USEPA’s and the state’s cooperative effort with the industry to devise a “model rule” for the regulation of outdoor wood burning devices is also flawed and fails because the agencies and their industry collaborators have collected no information on the actual impact of the emissions inside homes.  That is the case even though such data have been continuously requested by the exposed families for the last ten years.

SUMMARY

The use of Outdoor Wood Furnaces must be banned from Connecticut and the extent of the injuries must be determined for those families who have been continually exposed to these devices.

Health effects are known to occur at current ambient air levels of PM 2.5, in Connecticut that include increased asthma attacks in children, heart attacks, chronic obstructive lung disease and cancer.  A report in the March 2009 issue of the peer reviewed “American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care” published by the American Thoracic Society, show that reducing fine particulate in air reduced mortality risks.  OWF emissions increase both PM 2.5 and fine particles inside impacted homes at far higher levels than found in ambient air as shown in the charts.

Pulmonary diseases and heart attacks increase after only a few hours of exposures to particulates in the air.  It is important that the legislature be reminded that the contamination of air found in this study is several times higher than is found outdoors on even the most polluted days in Connecticut.

It is essential that Connecticut follow the lead of Washington State and ban the use of outdoor wood burning furnaces. It is equally necessary to take immediate steps to reduce the serious exposures now occurring.  Thank you for your time and I am prepared to answer any health questions that the committee may have.

David R. Brown, Sc.D.
Public Health Toxicologist
Environment and Human Health, Inc.
Adjunct Professor of Applied Ethics
Fairfield University

Note: The measuring instrument selected for the tests, Dylos Air Quality Meter, is designed to analyze particulate levels inside of buildings. The two particle sizes designated by EPA are the most dangerous to human health, PM 2.5 and PM fines are continuously recorded. The devices are reasonably priced and available to the public.

Brown, Callahan and Boissevain 2007  “An Assessment of Risk from particulate released from outdoor wood boilers” Human and Ecological Risk Assessment 13: 191-208  .   “Review of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Particulate Matter: Policy Assessment of Scientific and Technical Information. OAQPS Staff Paper.” EPA-452/R-05-005, June 2005.  Available at http://www.epa.gov/ttn/naaqs/standards/pm/data/pmstaffpaper_20050630.pdf; and Peters, A., D.W. Dockery, J.E. Muller, M.A. Mittleman.  2001.  “Increased Particulate Air Pollution and the Triggering of Myocardial Infarction,” Circulation 103:2810.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 9, 2010

Bill calls for outdoor furnace ban in summer

HARTFORD -- Debate over the use of outdoor wood-burning furnaces is heating up.

Fueled by angry homeowners who say the devices smoke out entire neighborhoods for days on end, the state Committee on the Environment held a public hearing Monday on a bill calling for a 6-month hiatus on using the furnaces between April 15 and Oct. 15. Some furnace owners use the devices during summer months to heat water. The bill would also add wood smoke to the public health code as a public nuisance.

The proposal has been followed closely by the state Farm Bureau Association, Executive Director Steve Reviczky said. Even though the bill has an exemption for agricultural purposes, he spoke in opposition to the measure during Monday's hearing.

"The harvesting of timber is an agricultural activity, and the byproduct of harvesting timber is firewood," he said, in a telephone interview afterward. "There are many farms that utilize wood burning and outdoor furnaces for their production, to heat greenhouses, make maple syrup, or to burn wood to create hot water."

Current regulations, which require a furnace be set back 200 feet from the nearest home not served by the unit and regulate the height of the smoke stack, are sufficient, he said. In addition, adding wood smoke to the list of public nuisances would be a mistake, he said.

"It wouldn't matter if it was coming from a chimney, fireplace, wood stove or your barbecue in the backyard," Reviczky said. "The public health code covers stuff like sewage, rotting meat, piles of manure, stagnant water, outhouses -- and they want to add wood smoke to that list."

Rep. Bryan Hurlburt, D-Tolland, one of two vice chairmen on the committee, said the bill is a "one size fits all" approach to regulating a few particularly smokey furnaces.

Regulations already give the state Department of Environmental Protection authority to issue citations to furnace owners who pollute their neighborhoods, with fines up to $100 per day, he said.

Nancy Alderman, president of North Haven-based Environment and Human Health, Inc., which along with the American Lung Association has called for a complete ban on outdoor wood-burning furnaces, said the proposal doesn't go far enough.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 9, 2010

Sides split on whether to put lid on outdoor furnaces

By Christine McCluskey

Journal Inquirer

Published: Tuesday, March 9, 2010 11:45 AM EST

HARTFORD - A proposal to curb the use of outdoor wood-burning furnaces and label the smoke a public health nuisance brought both supporters and opponents Monday to speak before the legislature’s Environment Committee.

Those in favor of the bill - including some who said neighbors’ wood smoke had caused health problems for them and their families - said it would be an important public health measure.

Opponents said a minority of outdoor wood-burning furnace operators who don’t use their furnaces properly is responsible for the problems, which they said can be dealt with by state or local officials under current law.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 8, 2010

Salem board bans outdoor, wood-burning furnaces on suburban lots

BY DENEEN SMITH

dsmith@kenoshanews.com

SALEM — The Salem Town Board voted Monday to ban outdoor wood-burning furnaces on small, suburban lots.

Board members voted unanimously to approve the ordinance, which will prohibit the installation of the wood-burning furnaces on lots smaller than 15,000 square feet. The ordinance will not affect homeowners who already have the furnaces in place. It also allows the units on larger properties.

Chairman Linda Valentine said she had suggested the town create the ordinance based on problems in neighboring communities, where some residents have complained that smoke from the furnaces is a nuisance.

“It came up because Pleasant Prairie and Wheatland both had big problems with these,” Valentine said.

Based on comments from the audience, the board did drop one proposed provision of the ordinance which called for yearly inspections of the units by the fire department.

Residents in the audience complained that a yearly inspection is not required on standard furnaces in homes, or on wood-burning fireplaces in homes, and should not be necessary for the outdoor furnaces. Board members agreed, and opted to strike that provision.

The board voted 4-0 to approve the ordinance. Supervisor Patrick O’Connell was absent.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 7, 2010

Ban on installing wood boilers effective until rules are enacted

Sunday, March 07, 2010

BY BARBARA MILLER barbmiller@patriot-news.com

A Lebanon County township is the lat est place where wood boilers are the hot topic.

In the past, residents in Mount Holly Springs and Cornwall have complained about the smoke and pollution, and municipal officials regulated the devices that provide heat and hot water.

Now, Londonderry Twp. is heating up over wood boilers.

With elimination of electric rate caps, more residents might be looking at outdoor wood boilers to help save costs, Londonderry Twp. manager Steve Letavic said.

Londonderry Twp. supervisors agreed to temporarily ban new boilers from being installed until the fall, so they can develop an ordinance.

"We all want to be sensitive to rate caps, and people may need another source of heat, but we need to ensure everyone can enjoy their own property," Letavic said.

Outdoor wood boilers burn wood at low temperatures in a shed-like structure, heating water that is piped into a home for heating and hot water. Letavic said there is concern over the amount of minute debris and smoke they produce.

The state Department of Environmental Protection is considering regulations for the devices, and the federal Environmental Protection Agency has worked with the industry to develop voluntary guidelines for newer, less polluting wood boilers.

"We shouldn't wait until someone puts one in and a neighbor complains," supervisor Daryl LeHew said, urging the board to develop regulations. While favoring the temporary ban, supervisor Anna Dale believes units that meet EPA guidelines should be allowed.

DEP has proposed regulations that would require only EPA-approved units to be used and sold, would regulate height of smokestacks on old and new units, and would stipulate building setbacks and type of fuel.

The regulations are still under review, including whether use of the boilers should be banned during summer.

"We recognize those who have a system right now have made an investment and need it, but we also have gotten complaints from neighbors whose quality of life is affected," DEP secretary John Hanger said.

The proposed DEP regulations state that there are 10 EPA-approved models, and that cleaner units cost about 15 percent more than older ones, which range from $8,000-$18,000.

Hanger said the number of outdoor wood boilers in the state is probably in the thousands and that they are more prevalent in rural areas.

After residents complained about a boiler in their neighborhood, Cornwall banned the boilers in 2007 and required existing ones be removed.

South Lebanon Twp. limits boilers to agricultural zones, and North Londonderry requires a two-acre lot.

Lebanon County planning department doesn't issue building permits for them unless the municipality where they will be located has an ordinance, said July Cheyney, county zoning officer. "We see it as a possible health, safety and welfare issue, and until a municipality has a chance to review it and make a determination, we will not issue a permit," she said.

Last fall, Mount Holly Springs enacted an ordinance limiting use of the boilers to Sept. 1 through May 31, and requires them to be at least 500 feet from the nearest home.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 6, 2010

Health advocates to strike back in furnace fight

Toxicology report to be presented

By JAMES MOSHER

Norwich Bulletin

Posted Mar 06, 2010 @ 10:41 PM

Health advocates pushing for curbs on outdoor wood-burning furnaces will present a medical report Monday at a General Assembly hearing involving New London County farm leaders.

North Haven-based Environment and Human Health Inc. said a study led by Dr. David Brown, a public health toxicologist, will be released at the 10:30 a.m. hearing before the Environment Committee. The group, known by the acronym EHHI, is seeking a ban on outdoor wood-burning furnaces because of the smoke’s “harmful effects on human health.”

“The science is clear,” EHHI’s president, Nancy Alderman, wrote in an e-mail. “These outdoor wood-burning furnaces put whole neighborhoods at risk.”

Late last year, EHHI joined with Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, now a candidate for the U.S. Senate, and the American Lung Association in seeking a ban on the appliances, such those enacted in Granby, Hebron and Tolland. Furnace sellers and farmers are among those objecting.

Farms, including several struggling Eastern Connecticut dairy operations, depend on the furnaces for cost-effective energy, especially in winter.

EHHI is supporting an exemption for agricultural uses with a setback of 1,000 feet for new units installed for agricultural purposes. Alderman said the farmers should be allied with her group.

“Farmers should be supporting policies that protect them ... especially when they would be exempt,” she wrote.

Farmers oppose ban

Farmers, led by New London County Farm Bureau President Wayne Budney and Connecticut Farm Bureau Association Executive Director Steven Reviczky, are standing on grounds of widespread economic hardship and wood’s environmental record compared with oil and other fuels.

“No fuel has a better record,” said Budney, who owns Four Winds Farm in Lebanon and doesn’t own an outdoor furnace.

The New London County bureau voted earlier this month to oppose Senate Bill 126, which contains many of the wishes of EHHI and other health advocates. Sen. Andrew Maynard, D-Stonington, who is vice chairman of the Environment Committee, has said a ban is unlikely although he supports “reasonable” additional regulations to guard human health.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 6, 2010

Conn. lawmakers asked to snuff out wood furnaces

By: Associated Press

March 6, 2010

HARTFORD, Conn.- A proposed six-month ban on outdoor wood-burning furnaces is being considered this week by a Connecticut legislative committee.

The General Assembly's Environment Committee has scheduled a hearing for Monday on a bill that would enact the ban between April 15 and Oct. 15. The bill would also amend the state's public health code to include wood smoke on the list of public health nuisances.

A similar bill that added wood smoke to the code died in last year's legislative session.

An advocacy group that's backing the bill says smoke from outdoor wood-burning furnaces poses a health risk. The group says it's willing to exempt farmers from the bill.

The Connecticut Farm Bureau still opposes the legislation. Last year, the group said the bill could limit farmers' use of alternative fuels.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 6, 2010

Town proposes 3-month ban on outdoor wood boilers

By JOEL DiTATA, The Leader-Herald

POSTED: March 6, 2010

PERTH - A possible local law that would restrict the use of outdoor wood-burning boilers in the town was adjusted to include a three-month banning period from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Since the board made changes to the potential law, it will have to be revised by Town Attorney Carmel Greco, officials said. After the review, the Town Board will have to schedule another public hearing, which is potentially set for May.

In a majority vote, Supervisor Greg Fagan and council members Timothy Korona and Walter Kowalczyk voted in favor of the three-month ban.

"People are out in their yards and the kids are home-I don't think it would be too much to ask," Kowalczyk said of the ban.

Council members Gay Lewandowski and Peter Betz said they agreed with a ban, but pleaded for a time period from May 15 to Sept. 15.

"It needs to be longer than June, July and August," Lewandowski said. "I don't think it should be passed without it."

Although Lewandowski and Betz were not able to amass the majority to their side, the board did unanimously agree to add a waiver process so owners without close neighbors can still use their boilers year-round.

Fagan said 500 feet would likely be the required distance between neighbors to qualify for a waiver.

Roger and Nancy Tyler, who have been openly opposed to the wood boilers, voiced their displeasure Thursday night as well.

"I would still like a ban on any incoming or new ones," Roger Tyler said.

Nancy, his wife, said although the summer ban would be an improvement, it still doesn't solve their problems.

"We've done our part to board our house during the winter," Nancy Tyler said. "But this is a medical issue for us; it doesn't solve anything in the winter."

Greco will add both the three-month ban and the waiver process to the possible law.

"I'm trying to make everyone happy," Kowalczyk said. "But I guess I'm not going to be able to do that."

Joel DiTata can be reached by e-mail at ruralnews@leaderherald.com.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 5, 2010

Indiana considers tougher rules for outdoor wood furnaces

Source: Palladium-Item • March 5, 2010

Owners of outdoor wood burning furnaces in Indiana will face new rules if changes proposed by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management are adopted.

IDEM Commissioner Thomas Easterly met with the Indiana Rural Caucus of the Indiana General Assembly recently to discuss the changes and legislators' concerns, according to a press release from Sen. Jean Leising, R-Oldenburg. Ohio already has adopted rules for the heaters similar to the ones Indiana is considering.

The outdoor wood furnaces are a concern, in part, because lower combustion temperatures result in more smoking and smoldering conditions near ground level, according to IDEM's fact sheet.

IDEM's proposals would affect an estimated 7,000 Hoosiers who already own such furnaces, Leising said. The new rules don't apply to indoor wood stoves or fireplaces.

Homes with existing outdoor wood furnaces that don't meet emission limits would be prohibited from using them from May 1 to Sept. 30, which would eliminate their use for water heating for five months of the year.

Any outdoor furnaces located within 150 feet of another home would be required to install a pipe that's at least 5 feet above the roofline of neighboring homes. Instability of a pipe that tall could be a problem, Leising said.

Also, after all existing outdoor furnaces have been sold, all newly manufactured furnaces would have to meet new EPA air quality standards. The new outdoor wood boilers are estimated to cost between $8,000 and $18,000, Leising said.

Although the official deadline for submitting comments on the proposed rules has passed, Leising said Hoosiers can call IDEM to discuss the proposed changes at (800) 451-6027 or visit its Web site at www.in.gov/idem/5273.htm to e-mail questions or comments.

Comment on this story at palitem@pal-item.com.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 5, 2010 (Canada)

Perhaps we could learn from our Canadian neighbors? This is a great program, the website will be added to our links page. 

New neighbourly notification program (OWBs Discussed)

Published: March 05, 2010 7:00 PM

Source: Williams Lake Tribune

It’s not always easy to approach a neighbour whose burning habits are causing you difficulties.

Maybe you have already approached the neighbour and have been dismissed or treated with disrespect.

The purpose of the Neighbourly Notification Program is to, first, target directly the producer of the smoke with educational materials and advice to make them aware that such actions are affecting their neighbours and community.

Second, is to remove the burden of direct complaint from the individual(s) affected by the burning. These complaints might include; back yard burns (spring clean-up for instance), use of a burn barrel, construction/development burns and excessive chimney smoke from woodstoves and/or outdoor wood fired boilers/furnaces.

What the Williams Lake Environmental Society Can Do

The Williams Lake Environmental Society (WLES) have drafted a series of form letters that will be sent to the people responsible for the smoke.

The letter is meant to inform the person about the consequences of their burning methods.

This letter will also include greener and healthier alternatives to the burning methods they are using, educational information about the health hazards, links and contacts where they can access more information.

Your personal information will not be released. Just send us an e-mail to notificationwilliamslake@gmail.com with your neighbour’s address, including postal code and their name, if possible.

Tell us what type of burning is causing the issue and we will send a letter to them within two days. For more information on air quality issues, please visit our new website at www.breatheasywilliamslake.org

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 4, 2010

City firm on ban of wood-burning stoves

By Peter Cox - Stillwater Gazette

Published: Thursday, March 4, 2010 1:36 PM CST

 

The smoke in the air was too much for some neighbors, and Tuesday night, the Stillwater City Council decided to put the fire out.

The council passed the first reading of a city ordinance that effectively bans all wood-burning or boiling stoves - existing and future - in the city.

The stoves are used to heat homes, and have been shown to be a cheaper than conventional heating systems.

But that cost also brings the smoke of a wood-burning fire.

When Jeff Shaleen installed one at his home on the 900 block of Holcomb Street, his neighbors complained about it so much that several city council members commented that no issue had ever attracted so many calls and e-mails.

One neighbor, in an e-mail to the city council, said the smell is a big nuisance.

"Why should my family and three-year-old twin boys have to put up with smoke smell and haze all day every other day living in the city of Stillwater," wrote Scott DeMars, who lives next door.

"Those people that breathe air have greater rights than those than can install an outdoor wood-burning system with or with out a permit," DeMars added.

Shaleen, who went through the proper legal channels to build the stove, including getting building permits from city staff, was not happy.

"I went through a great deal to install the thing, it was very expensive to put in," he said. "I just feel that it's wrong to demand that I take this boiler out at this point in time since I just put it in under a building permit."

Shaleen says he spent about $8,000 on installing the new heating system.

But the issue is one of both nuisance and health, the council said.

City Planner Mike Pogge presented the issue to the council Tuesday, pointing out that the stoves produce 12 times the amount of fine-particulate matter that indoor wood stoves produce, and 1,800 times the amount of particulate that comes from natural gas furnaces.

Councilman Jim Roush said that while Shaleen did go through the proper channels, it wasn't something the city had dealt with before.

"You did everything right," he said. "This was uncharted territory for the city. Nobody really knew what the ramifications were."

The council approved the first reading 4-0, with Councilwoman Micky Cook absent.

The stove will not be grandfathered in.

The ordinance would go into effect when it is published, Pogge said.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 3, 2010

Zoning amendment sets guidelines on re-entry housing (OWBs mentioned)

By WALTER DOERSCHUK

The Press-News

CANTON TWP. -- At the regular board meeting of the township trustees last week, board members held a public hearing regarding a text amendment to the zoning book.

Re-entry housing was the focal point of the amendment that was discussed during the hearing. The issue was initiated last year when Kenneth Lancaster wanted to reopen the Ambassador Motel. His facility would have housed ex-offenders just released from prison in a residential district.

Residents in the township did not oppose the goal of the facility but did not want the building close to a neighborhood with children.

In additional portions of the text amendment, trustees approved of the regulation of outdoor wood furnaces and wind energy systems.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 3, 2010

Smoke from outdoor wood furnaces burns neighbors

Published: 11:39 p.m., Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Source: NEWS TIMES   DANBURY, CT

The day that someone in your neighborhood decides to install an outdoor wood furnace is the day that you will forever regret.

These smoke-belching devices will take away one of your basic rights ---- the right to breath reasonably clean air. Unfortunately, that's not a right listed in the U.S. Constitution, so when your neighbor fires up his outdoor wood furnace, you're pretty much on your own.

Just ask Suzan Converse of Maple Street in Weston, who has lived in a cloud of wood smoke since she and her husband and two kids moved there five years ago.

"That's why the previous owners moved ---- and, of course, they didn't tell us," she says.

But before we delve into her story, here's a primer on outdoor wood furnaces, or OWFs, as they're called in the trade.

The first thing that you must know is that they're not wood stoves.

Looking like metal sheds with smokestacks, they are, in essence, a wood-burning firebox surrounded by a water jacket. When the wood burns, the fire heats up the water, which is pumped through the house to provide heat.

They're also called outdoor wood boilers or OWBs, which is a more accurate name, since they heat water, not air. They also go by the name "outdoor wood-fired boiler," or OWFB.

Installations generally cost between $6,000 and $10,000, but after the initial investment, owners claim that their OWFs can offer significant savings. "I heat my home for $12 a month," gushed one owner on his YouTube posting.

That's good news for him. Bad news for everyone else.

They've been banned outright in Washington state. They've also been outlawed in Granby, Tolland, Hebron, Woodbridge, South Windsor, Portland, Ridgefield, Norfolk and Haddam.

Why do these things belch so much smoke? The problem is their basic design, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection. Because of the water jacket, the firebox temperature never reaches the 1,000 degrees F level needed for complete combustion to take place. To make matters worse, there are frequent reports of owners ---- particularly those who don't have access to free wood ---- burning household trash, further adding to the multi-layered fragrance that these devices spew out.

The DEP has fielded hundreds of complaints over OWF smoke in the last few years, as have municipal officials. The DEP says it received 458 OWF complaints in 2009.

The DEP also says that OWF manufacturers "are making inaccurate claims about their product's environmental benefit and efficiency" in their advertisements.

"It really is shocking that you can't smoke in a bar, but you can set up one of these outdoor furnaces," Converse said. "People are afraid to deal with this problem."

She says that the smoke from her across-the-street neighbor's OWF seeps into her house, despite her best efforts at keeping her windows and doors closed. She can't hang her wash on the line. Her kids can't play outside. When spring arrives, she can't open the windows. And she, along with her husband and two children, have suffered from various upper-respiratory illnesses from the omnipresent smoke.

To make matters worse, her neighbor with the OWF, Joseph Tassitano, doesn't even have to comply with the state's weak laws regarding OWFs because he's "grandfathered in." This means that he doesn't have to comply with the 200-foot setback requirement, nor the smokestack requirement, which required that the stack be higher than neighbor's roofs.

Tassitano, who could not be reached for this story, either in person or by telephone, has a smokestack that's a good deal shorter than the two-story homes on Maple Street, and his OWF is about 60 feet from the road.

On Monday, the General Assembly's Environment Committee will hear testimony on this issue, but Nancy Alderman, whose group, Environment and Human Health, has been battling OWFs for months, doesn't have much faith that the Legislature will do anything meaningful.

"They'll just say `you can't use them during the summer,' or "you have to use good wood' and leave it at that ---- they're afraid to get anyone upset," Alderman said.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 3, 2010

Smoke issue clouds timber firm's future

Crow Wing Township

By JENNIFER STOCKINGER

Staff Writer

BARROWS - Big Wood Timbers Frames Inc., in Crow Wing Township may be out of business if it doesn't fix its smoke problem by June 15.

The timber company, which is located on Business Highway 371 off of Greenwood Street just south of Brainerd, was the main item of discussion Tuesday at the Crow Wing Town Hall meeting.

The Big Wood Timbers Web site says the company transforms legacy materials into post and beam construction and specializes in salvaged and reclaimed timbers and structures.

The town board of supervisors, Greg Smith, Mark Platta and Dave Schultz, revoked the company's conditional use permit last year after it didn't follow a condition on its permit regarding its outside storage. The company was supposed to move all its materials inside the building to help clean up the property. The company since has applied for a new permit, which was issued Feb. 3. The permit came with 14 conditions that all must be met no later than June 15. Otherwise the township will be able to shut the business down.

The condition that has not been met is the requirement to control its outside smoke from its wood-burning stove to make sure it's not a nuisance to neighboring properties. The smoke smell was discussed for more than an hour with about a handful of residents at the meeting.

Mark and Melanee Strobel, who live right behind the business, spoke about the smoke in their home coming from the business. The Strobels said they take care of their two young grandchildren daily and it has affected their health, as well as their own. They said their 4-year-old grandson has asthma and their 2-year-old granddaughter has another illness that is not known yet, but they think it is from the smoke smell.

"When I'm out there my lungs are burning," said Melanee Strobel. "I'm thinking there is something in there. What are we putting in our lungs? This has gone on and on and this cannot be good for us."

Mark Strobel said, "These guys (Big Wood Timbers) don't care about their neighbors. They don't live there. I'm getting tired of it. They were supposed to resolve this issue in 45 days and it's not getting any better ... They have some weird stuff coming out of that place.

"I consider this trespassing. They are trespassing on my air."

Dave LePage, one of the owners of Big Wood Timbers who attended the meeting, said he does care about his neighbors and the company plans to work on the issue. LePage said the only time there is an issue with dark smoke is in the morning when workers are getting the burner going. LePage said the company has met all the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency requirements and it doesn't burn anything it shouldn't, such as tires and other contaminants.

Smith said, "We've tried to stay out of it ... But at this stage of the game, basically they have until June 15 to take care of the smoke, to resolve this problem. We can certainly put together an ordinance about commercial properties being so close to a residence, but they (Big Timbers) would have to be grandfathered in."

Brad Arnold, township planning and zoning member, said he sympathizes with both sides on the issue. Arnold said he has seen nice, clear smoke come out of the smokestack at the company and he has seen dark smoke. Arnold said Big Timbers is not intentionally trying to hurt the Strobels, but the wood boiler is causing a problem and it has to be addressed.

LePage said the wood boiler heats two of its three buildings and both of their kiln.

JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at jennifer.stockinger@brainerddispatch.com or 855-5851.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 2, 2010

Fairbanks borough mayor takes back air quality ordinance for further review (OWBs mentioned)

by Amanda Bohman / abohman@newsminer.com

FAIRBANKS — Borough Mayor Luke Hopkins has pulled back his pollution control plan from the Borough Assembly to send it to a citizens commission for review.

“I want to wait and hear from the pollution control commission,” Hopkins said Monday. “They offered opinions last year. Many of those have been incorporated into the ordinance. We’ll see what they say this year.”

The draft measure goes before the Air Pollution Control Commission on March 9 at 6:30 p.m. in the Borough Assembly chambers. Public testimony will be accepted at the meeting.

Hopkins said he also will make changes of his own, such as reinforcing language that grandfathers solid-fuel burning devices already installed in the borough. He declined to mention other changes until he hears from the pollution control commission.

The mayor said he anticipates assembly members to be absent from the public meetings this month and said he plans to bring up the ordinance the next time there’s a full assembly.

Hopkins introduced the ordinance in response to a mandate by the federal government to reduce levels of PM 2.5, an air pollutant known to cause health problems.

“This is to address health risks for borough residents,” Hopkins said.

Wood smoke is believed to be the largest single contributor to PM 2.5.

If the borough refuses to develop a pollution control plan, the state will make a plan. If no one forms a plan, the state risks losing federal aid, according to municipal officials.

The plan’s debut last week before the Borough Assembly drew overwhelming critical public testimony from those in attendance.

Two assemblymen, Guy Sattley and Hank Bartos, held back the measure from automatically advancing to a public hearing. The measure was set to return to the assembly March 11 for a decision on whether it should move forward to a public hearing.

At issue are proposed borough-wide regulations on chimney smoke emissions from wood and coal burning stoves.

Violators would face fines of up to $500. Designated borough employees would measure emissions’ opacity using techniques approved by the Environmental Protection Agency.

“All of the enforcement would be complaint-driven,” Hopkins said. “We’d talk to people. A citation is way down the line.”

The measure also proposes to ban the burning of certain materials in the borough’s non-attainment area, which stretches from the Tanana River to the Goldstream Valley and from North Pole to the Old Nenana Highway. An estimated 83,000 people live in the area. The no-burn list includes plywood, construction debris, particleboard, garbage and tires.

The measure sets limits on the sorts of solid-fuel burning devices that can be installed in the borough. Existing devices would be grandfathered in.

“We’re trying to prohibit actions that will cause our air quality to be worse,” the mayor said. “We have to quit putting in poor-quality stoves and outdoor hydronic heaters, and we have to burn seasoned wood properly.”

The plan offers tax breaks and government subsidies to people willing to replace pollution-belching stoves for cleaner-burning devices.

Hopkins proposes using $1 million in federal economic stimulus funds to pay for the program.

A pollution control plan is due to the federal government by November 2012.

Contact staff writer Amanda Bohman at 459-7544.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 2, 2010

Growing complaints about air pollution command attention (OWB discussed)

by Dermot Cole/News-Miner

There’s got to be a way of dealing with the pollution problem without screaming “wood smoke” in a crowded room.

The ordinance for an education plan, proposed by Mayor Luke Hopkins and approved by the assembly Thursday
night 5-3, is a step in the right direction.

In October, the voters said they wanted the borough to deal with this issue. The overheated rhetoric on the topic
that continues to foul the air should not get in the way of doing something to clean things up.

Assembly members Mike Musick, Tim Beck, Kelly Brown, Joe Blanchard and Nadine Winters did the responsible
thing in approving the ordinance to use about $325,000 in federal funds for an education program.

A second ordinance contained a stove changeout program and some other voluntary measures, along with tax
credits and some rules to deal with public nuisance situations. That ordinance was not advanced and is now going
to be reviewed by the Air Pollution Control Commission for recommendations.

Despite exaggerated claims to the contrary, this is not about banning wood stoves, preventing people from heating
their homes or penalizing people who burn firewood responsibly.

It is about reducing the pollution level with a variety of educational and voluntary efforts and responding to instances
where people are infringing on the rights of their neighbors by blanketing them with smoke.

The yellow and brown haze that hangs over the valley on winter days when the air is stagnant is proof positive of
the problem.

At Woodriver Elementary School, the halls often smell like smoke because of outdoor boilers nearby. The district
should be monitoring the air inside and outside the school on a continuous basis.

There are numerous other hot spots from Aurora to Hamilton Acres and North Pole where pollution levels have
risen sharply.

Since last fall, the borough has received about 100 air pollution complaints.

Forty-two of those were about outdoor wood boilers, while 51 were about smoke/health issues and the others
dealt with coal dust, open burning, etc.


The assembly needs to understand the concerns of the entire community, not just those who find the idea of any
borough program objectionable.

I’ve heard from people who attended the meeting Thursday and said they intended to testify in favor of regulatory
action by the borough, but they were afraid to speak, for fear they would be shouted down, ridiculed or worse.

The assembly should read the comments of people who have taken the time to voice their concerns about wood
smoke with the borough in just the past couple of weeks.

A North Pole resident wrote on Feb. 15 to say the air on Newby, Lineman, Dawson and Hurst roads was “horrible”
because of he way some people are burning wood and coal.

“I want my son to be able to play in the snow. I also want to breathe, unencumbered. I have mild asthma and
am 23 weeks pregnant. As you can imagine, even in my home, I sometimes have problems breathing, even
though we run an air cleaner.”

On Feb. 19, a teacher at Woodriver Elementary School said, “the classroom air is extremely bad due to the smell
of woodsmoke.”

That same day another Woodriver teacher said students were covering their noses with their shirts at their desks
because the smell was so strong.

“These stoves do not belong right across the street from an elementary school,” she said.

There have been numerous other complaints from teachers and Woodriver parents during the past two winters.

A resident who lives near Wood Way and Riverview wrote Feb. 22 that the two outdoor wood boilers and the
outdoor coal boiler in his neighborhood prompted him to install expensive air-cleaning filters.

“I did this not for myself, but for my children, two of which were born with lung conditions that required neonatal
intensive care. We do not want repeat episodes,” he said.

A North Pole resident wrote Feb. 22 that after living here for 33 years, the winter smoke is so bad that “I am
looking at the real possibility that I will have to sell my house and give up my residency.”


Given that the information about how to file a complaint is not widely publicized, the high number of complaints
demonstrates that this is a community health concern.

To get a more widespread look, the borough should take steps to give people more ways to provide feedback.

There is an online form for air pollution concerns at co.fairbanks.ak.us/airquality.

E-mail can be sent to airquality@co.fairbanks.ak.us.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 1, 2010

New rules would restrict wood-fired boilers (see below)

Published: Monday, March 1, 2010 10:41 AM CST

Associated Press

This article mirrors the February 28, 2010 New Ind. rules would restrict wood-fired boilers listed below. The reason it is posted twice is because this is two different news medias who printed it. 

Full Article: CLICK HERE

March 1, 2010

Outdoor wood boilers get temporary ban in Londonderry Township

By BARBARA MILLER, The Patriot-News

March 01, 2010, 9:40PM

A temporary ban on new outdoor wood boilers was enacted in Londonderry Township until next fall, to give the planning commission and supervisors time to come up with regulations for them.

The supervisors approved the measure by a 4-0 vote Monday night, with Supervisor William Kametz absent.

With Met Ed's electric rate caps coming off in January, there is concern that more residents might turn to outdoor wood boilers to reduce heating costs, said Steve Letavic, township manager.

Currently there are only a few outdoor wood boilers in the township, said Jim Foreman, code enforcement officer.

Outdoor wood boilers burn wood at low temperatures in a shedlike structure, and heat water that is piped into a home for heating and/or hot water.

The boilers produce more particulate matter and smoke, Letavic said, with shorter smokestacks that can result in smoke laying closer to the ground than normal home chimneys.

There are some boilers that meet more stringent EPA requirements, and the township will look at these regulations, along with a model ordinance the state Department of Environmental Protection has developed.

"We shouldn't wait until someone puts one in and a neighbor complains," said Supervisor Daryl LeHew, who urged the board to develop regulations.

Supervisor Anna Dale said she favors the temporary ban, but believes units that meet EPA regulations should be permitted.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

February 28, 2010

New Ind. rules would restrict wood-fired boilers

2/28/2010 1:52:00 PM

Source: Wire Reports

LaPORTE, Ind. - Wood-fired boilers that send soot and dust from backyard smokestacks could face tougher regulations under rules proposed by Indiana environmental officials.

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management wants to restrict the burning season to September through May and cut smoke limits in half. Stacks would have to be 5 feet higher than the top roof of neighboring homes within 150 feet of the unit.

New units would also have to be more efficient and burn clean, dry wood that smokes less.

IDEM says it hopes the rule will help protect air quality and prevent conflict between neighbors.

The boilers used to heat houses spew smoky emissions that can be unhealthy for children, the elderly and people with heart or lung ailments.

State officials say a wood-burning heater can emit as much particulate matter as 50 to 500 idling diesel trucks - air discharges that can sicken people living near those emissions.

Boiler emissions also contain formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and cancer-causing benzene.

IDEM spokesman Rob Elstro said the draft rules would require all newly sold units to be certified through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's voluntary outdoor wood-boiler heater program and meet certain emission limits.

"This will ensure that Indiana's air quality will be protected as more and more units are installed," Elstro told the Post-Tribune of Merrillville.

IDEM accepted comments on the proposed regulations during a public comment period that ended Feb. 22.

Jim Donnelly of LaPorte is ready for them to take effect.

Donnelly has been bothered by smoke released by a neighbor's unit and is concerned about how his neighbor's smoky emissions might hurt local property values.

"We have to have our home shut all the way through the heating season," he said. "We do wake up in the mornings with sore throats and headaches so it's not a fun thing."

His neighbor, Chris Furness, said he installed the boiler in 2004 to heat his house through an underground pump and cut down on utility bills. He estimates the $5,000 boiler saves him about $2,000 per heating season.

To appease Donnelly and meet LaPorte County ordinances, Furness extended the smokestack on his freestanding unit twice, from 2 feet to 32 feet.

"Now that the stack is on there, I never smell it, ever. I'm the closest one to it," said Furness, a firefighter.

But Donnelly says even if smoke stacks are tall, inversion where hot meets cold air will force smoke to the ground.

IDEM's newly drafted rules mirror LaPorte County's wood-boiler ordinance.

Wood-fired boilers are banned in Michigan City, but Donnelly said 140 units exist in LaPorte County, where they're allowed with restrictions.

Cindy Kreske, office manager at the LaPorte County building commissioner's office, said the office makes sure that chimneys are tall enough and meet other county stipulations.

"But even wood-burning stoves, it's the same thing. Even at my house, even though the chimney has that height, you can still smell the smoke," she said.

Wood-burning units may also be adding to the air quality woes of counties that don't meet federal air standards. Those counties can't attract major new industrial facilities without reducing their own air pollution or making an existing facility reduce its pollution.

Information from: Post-Tribune, http://www.post-trib.com

Full Article: CLICK HERE

February 28, 2010

New Indiana rules would restrict wood-fired boilers

Reporter: The Associated Press

Email Address: jeff.kew@wndu.com

Posted: 9:54 AM Feb 28, 2010

Indiana residents who heat their homes with wood-fired boilers are bracing for new rules targeting the soot and dust that waft from their backyard smokestacks.

Those rules can't take effect soon enough for some neighbors living near those stacks, which spew smoky emissions that can be unhealthy for children, the elderly and people with heart or lung ailments.

State officials say a wood-burning heater can emit as much particulate matter as 50 to 500 idling diesel trucks.

The proposed state rules would restrict the burning season to September through May and cut smoke limits in half. Stacks would have to tower 5 feet higher than the top roof of neighboring homes and new units would have to be more efficient and burn clean, dry wood that smokes less.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

 

February 28, 2010

IDEM to consider rule changes to outdoor wood furnances

By Chris Keller on February 28th, 2010

 State officials have proposed new rules for outdoor wood furnaces that could — among other stipulations — limit their use to the winter months, according to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management Web site.

Last week, the agency closed a second public comment period on changes to regulations, which include restricting the burning season to September through May, cutting smoke limits in half and requiring smoke stacks to be 5 feet higher than the top roof of neighboring homes within 150 feet of the unit.

Newly purchased units also would have to meet efficiency rules and burn a cleaner, dry wood that creates less smoke.

According to IDEM:

“In every way “a hot topic,” outdoor hydronic heaters (also referred to as outdoor wood boilers or outdoor wood furnaces) are front and center in a current effort to protect the air you breathe. Indiana is proceeding with rulemaking that will regulate the purchase and use of outdoor hydronic heaters, joining other states that have already adopted similar rules.

Emissions from an outdoor hydronic heater can cause air pollution problems when not sited, installed or operated properly. U.S. EPA has not developed national legislation at this time, but is relying upon voluntary measures and state and local regulation to control emissions from outdoor hydronic heaters.”

Full Article: CLICK HERE

February 25, 2010

Stillwater to host last stage of bicycling Grand Prix (OWBs mentioned)

by Loretta Harding
Contributing Writer
Published:
Thursday, February 25, 2010 11:37 AM CST

STILLWATER — At its Feb. 16 meeting, the Stillwater City Council gave the go-ahead for the seventh annual Nature Valley Bicycle Festival and Grand Prix Stillwater Criterium to take place Sunday, June 20 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on downtown streets.

In other actions, the council:

Unanimously directed city staff to draft an ordinance declaring wood boilers a nuisance without allowing grandfathered exceptions. The public hearing is scheduled for March 2. “There’s been more discussion about this issue than anything else in the past six years — it’s been a hot topic, if you’ll excuse the pun,” Harycki said.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

February 24, 2010

Northfield Center still considering rules on outdoor wood-burners

by Jeff Saunders

Reporter

-- Township residents who may want to heat their homes with an outdoor wood-burning furnace will have to wait a while longer.

The Board of Trustees Feb. 15 rejected proposed rules to regulate the furnaces recommended by the zoning commission. The rejection leaves in place a moratorium Trustees approved nearly two years ago.

The regulations would control such things as construction and the kind of fuels that can be used in such furnaces.

Trustee Richard Reville said Trustees believe additional research on the matter needs to be done, including consultations with an air quality expert employed by Summit County.

Zoning Inspector Don Saunders said the U.S. and Ohio Environmental Protection Agencies are also working on developing regulations that the township regulations would need to conform to.

Saunders said that as far as township officials know, no such furnaces exist anywhere in the township.

Trustee Paul Buescher said the township decided to develop regulations because Trustees believe such furnaces, when not regulated, have been known to cause pollution problems and safety issues.

"We just want to get something on the books before it gets out of control," said Buescher.

Saunders said it is not enough to address furnace construction because although the furnaces are meant to burn wood, in reality a wide variety of organic fuels can be used. He said unregulated burning has caused air pollution in areas where regulations did not exist or where rules were violated.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

February 20, 2010

Borough considers fine for pollution from wood, coal smoke (OWBs discussed)
by Amanda Bohman / abohman@newsminer.com
 

FAIRBANKS — People whose wood-and-coal-fired stoves belch out dense smoke would pay fines starting at $300 under a pollution control proposal by the borough mayor. The plan was posted on the Fairbanks North Star Borough Web site Friday.

The measure, Ordinance 2010-17, is set to be introduced at the assembly meeting Thursday, the same night the panel will consider the mayor’s request to hire an air quality project coordinator.

The federal government has put the municipality on notice that levels of fine particulate matter known as PM 2.5 must be brought down by 2014. Studies show wood stoves are the No. 1 contributor to PM 2.5, which is known to cause health problems.

If approved by the assembly, the new chimney smoke regulations would begin Sept. 1, 2011.

Under the proposal, the borough would provide subsidies and tax breaks to people who make improvements on their property that result in cleaner air.

The mayor is out of town and could not be reached Friday. Assembly members reached said they had not yet read the measure, which places new rules on commercial wood stove sellers.

The legislation obliges sellers to educate their customers about emissions regulations and how to properly use their solid fuel burning devices. A seller who violates the proposed regulations would be subject to a $1,000 fine.

The 16-page document has a list of 14 items prohibited to be burned in the borough’s non-attainment area, which stretches from the Tanana River to the Goldstream Valley and from North Pole to the Old Nenana Highway. An estimated 83,000 people live in the boundaries. The no-burn list includes plywood, construction debris, particleboard, garbage and tires.

Air Quality Director Glenn Miller said in a memorandum that the borough and the city of Fairbanks have received an unprecedented number of complaints about bad air in recent months.

“People are demanding help in dealing with this community problem,” he said.

Only solid fuel burning devices approved by the borough or the Environmental Protection Agency can be installed in the borough under Hopkins’ proposal. Already-installed devices are grandfathered in.

Hydronic heaters, also known as outdoor wood and coal boilers, would be prohibited on property under 1.8 acres and the smoke stack would have to be five feet higher than the roof of any home within 140 feet, according to the plan.

Under the fine schedule, anyone caught violating the emissions standards would get one warning before there is a $300 ticket. The fine for a second offense is $500.

The chimney smoke would be judged based on opacity and methods put forth by the EPA.

The pollution control plan says the mayor will designate up to three borough employees to enforce the rules.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

February 20, 2010

Where there's smoke ... 

Saturday, February 20, 2010

By Cassandra Shofar

CShofar@News-Herald.com

CLICK BELOW ON THE LINK FOR A PICTURE OF THIS ELDERLY COUPLE

 

Almost every day, Joann Sagal and her husband put on masks to prevent smoke inhalation in their Parkman Township home.

What's more, the fumes — which Joann Sagal said have caused abdominal pain and nausea — have nothing to do with their house.

An outdoor wood-fired boiler used by the couples' neighbor causes smoke to seep into their residence at 16829 Main Market St., she said.

"It depends on which way the wind is blowing, but all the smoke comes into my house," said the 75-year-old Sagal, who lives with her 89-year-old husband, John — a World War II veteran of Pearl Harbor — who suffers from cancer.

"When it was 50 degrees out, it was so terrible. We have to wear masks in the house because our eyes are always burning," she said.

A wood-fired burner is a water heater fueled by wood that is located outdoors and is separated from the space being heated.

The fire produced in a box heats water that is circulated through a house in underground pipes, according to the Ohio Environmental Council, which added the heat can warm houses, shops, tap water, greenhouses, swimming pools and spas.

While this boiler has been used for the past three years, it's been much worse since October, Sagal said, adding the main issue is the stacks of the boiler are too low.

"The OEC wrote (the neighbor) a nice letter. All we asked him to do was to raise the stacks above our house," Sagal said. "He never responded."

The neighbor's take

Sagal's neighbor, who wished to remain anonymous, said this is an issue that goes back much further than this year between him and Sagal.

"It just astonishes me that the (OEC) jumped on with my neighbor," he said. "I think this is not an issue of wood burners and more of a personal harassment issue. That's how I look at it. They're on the southwest side of our house and the wind blows from the west, but occasionally the wind changes and blows that way."

In addition, the neighbor said the boiler is placed on the farthest end of his property away from the Sagal's house, which he said equates to at least 150 to 175 feet.

"This is the third year it's been burning, there hasn't been a problem until now," he said, adding the first he heard of this issue is when the OEC sent the letter.

"If she would've came to us and been a neighbor, No. 1, it would have developed a neighborly relationship and No. 2, I would've looked at it in a different manner. Anybody can go to a doctor and say they have smoke inhalation," he said.

He added, "I'm not here to make someone have a lesser quality of living, but at the same time, I don't want someone exaggerating and making something up just so they can win ... at someone else's cost."

Because of past discrepancies between the neighbor and Sagal, including an issue with the Sagals burning waste paper which affected his son's allergies, he said his trust in her word has been diminished.

"If it really came to a health issue and that my wood burner was a validated health issue with them, I wouldn't have a problem raising the stacks for them, but the bottom line is, I think this is a lie," he said. "I've got the smallest unit they make. I fire it twice a day. Because of the relationship in the past, I don't feel that's a validated thing. She's exhausted every avenue ... and I feel she's bullying us at the taxpayer's expense."

The OEC's take

David Celebrezze, director of air and water special projects at OEC, equates an outdoor wood-fired boilers to having a diesel truck idling next to a house, pelting windows with soot and ash.

"This example in Parkman is a perfect example of why there needs to be regulations on wood-fired boilers," Celebrezze said. "We see this as something that the state really does need to pick up the ball on and at the very least, the local township and local cities can enact ordinances. We think Parkman Township as well as the state should adopt protections for public health by requiring the stacks be at least 5 feet above any structure that is within 150 feet and that it should be at least 200 feet from an adjoining property line. The pictures that I've seen of this situation, the wood-fired boiler is within 200 feet."

Sagal said there are no rules or regulations and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency hasn't passed anything yet.

"I called the health department and they couldn't help us because there's no law. We're going through the OEC and they're working with us, and we're trying to go to the OEPA to have them pass a law to put restrictions on them."

She added, "All we're asking is for him to raise his stacks so that smell doesn't come in our house. You can't sleep in our bedroom, it smells our whole bedroom up. Some nights, we can't go to sleep in our rooms."

The OEC and American Lung Association in Ohio are calling on the OEPA to establish standards to control air emissions from wood-fired boilers.

"The Ohio EPA needs to step up to the plate and protect our air quality and public health," Celebrezze said. "Researchers have linked particulate matter that happens when wood is burned to asthma attacks, difficult breathing, heart and lung disease and even early death. So we're calling on the state to step up to the plate. If the OEPA won't do it, then the state legislature should do it. I don't know why the state wouldn't want to protect a senior citizen being impacted by one of these boilers."

Celebrezze said this issue has come up across the state.

"Throughout the state we've gotten calls from people and fire chiefs even, asking what they can do," he said. "If there were some controls on there that lessen or eliminate the particles ... but until that is done, I think the brakes need to be put on these things before too many of them get out there. There are already thousands of them throughout the state."

Shelly Kiser, director of advocacy at the American Lung Association in Ohio, said wood-fired boilers are not just a nuisance, they can be dangerous to people's lungs, especially those with lung disease, diabetes, heart problems, children and elderly.

"People trying to save money on heating bills shouldn't do so in a way that harms the young, elderly and sick," she said in a statement.

Some Ohio communities that have banned these boilers are: Garrettsville, Fairfield, Orrville Springdale and Warsaw.

The OEPA's take

While the OEPA has posed some draft rules, it received a lot of comments, many in opposition of the rules, said OEPA spokeswoman Linda Oros.

"So we were considering possibly putting out revised rules and I don't know if that is going to go forward or not," she said.

She explained the process to approve rules and regulations begins with posing draft rules, gaining feedback from the public, making revisions based on feedback then issuing them as a proposed action.

"At that point, they're put on the agenda for JCAR (the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules) a group of state senators and representatives that review all agency rules and either can allow them to move forward or send them back for revision or changes," Oros said. "We hold another hearing at that point to again take comments so that we can make any requested changes with the objective of making the rules palatable to (the majority). Then there's a hearing with JCAR. They take testimony of interested groups and then they determine whether the rules can proceed."

In the meantime, Oros echoed Celebrezze in regards to what can be done on the local level to ensure public health and safety.

"Local communities do have the ability to put local ordinances into place regarding these (boilers) as well," she said.

Parkman's take

From the Parkman Fire Department's perspective, outdoor wood-fired boilers have not been an overall issue in the township so far.

"Since Parkman Township is such a rural area, there hasn't been in the past, any real issues and problems with any outdoor boilers," Fire Chief Paul Komandt said.

He added he's aware of Sagal's situation, however, there isn't anything the fire department can do at this point.

"I am not sure that the township can pass any resolutions concerning those as far as I know," he added.

Trustee Kevin O'Reilly said the township zoning ordinance already addresses the placement of outdoor wood-fired furnaces, though it falls into a broader category in the ordinance.

"That's really the only authority we have is through our zoning," O'Reilly said. "Of course (that includes) the safety and health of our residents, but there are limitations on what we can do for zoning. We have setbacks from property boundaries and height restrictions (in the ordinance). We didn't specifically address it to those wood-fire burners."

O'Reilly said the neighbor is in compliance with the ordinance and there is not a whole lot more they can do at this point.

"I don't think we would (change the ordinance) because it's already acceptable. It requires public hearings, a legal review if we're within our legal bounds, so to change the zoning ordinance could be a large task," he said. "We sympathize with her. She's in a unique position where maybe the zoning doesn't address that (specific) situation with her. There could be some kind of geographical reason with the terrain that affects the wind current."

Full Article: CLICK HERE

February 20, 2010

Catskill may regulate outdoor wood furnaces

Saturday, February 20, 2010

By WILLIAM J. KEMBLE

CATSKILL — Officials in this Greene County town are considering whether regulations can be drafted for outdoor wood-burning furnaces that balance the need to stop smoke from affecting neighbors while recognizing the units as a cost-saving way to avoid the use of fossil fuels.

The issue was discussed during a Town Board meeting this past week, with Councilman Michael Smith saying the level of discussion about the furnaces has increased as the weak economy has made them more popular.

“One comment ... that resonated with me was that it was an inexpensive way for people of moderate means to heat their homes,” Smith said. “That’s a significant consideration that we can take into view when we’re looking at the economy that we have now.”

But Smith also said there are examples in the town where outdoor furnaces should be subject to regulations to avoid affecting neighbors.

“I see in Palenville open burners that are right next door to residences that don’t have open burners,” he said. “We need to investigate, from any number of points of view, whether open burners are appropriate in connection with their use in a tight suburban community. There is really a lot to take into consideration.”

Councilman Kevin Lennon said the absence of state Department of Environmental Conservation regulations has made it necessary for outdoor furnaces to be regulated at the local level.

“There is no regulation on the outdoor wood boilers at this time in New York state,” he said.

Several municipalities in the region have adopted laws or plan to modify regulations regarding the furnaces, with many of the statutes based on the units’ affects on neighbors.

In the Ulster County town of Hurley, for example, officials are reviewing current regulations with an eye toward easing them as the furnace industry’s standards improve. Specifically, Hurley is considering allowing the furnaces to be closer to neighboring properties than they are now if the owners use units with high efficiency ratings.

The Ulster County town of Rosendale also has regulated the furnaces.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

February 18, 2010

Town breathes easier     

Written by DIANE VALDEN  

Thursday, 18 February 2010 14:38

Health concerns lead Copake to regulate outdoor wood boilers

 

COPAKE--The Town Board has unanimously enacted a new local law regulating outdoor wood boilers.

The measure was adopted at the board's monthly meeting last Thursday, February 11, but not before it took some heat during a public hearing that preceded the meeting.

The language of the new law says the legislation is “to protect the public from the detrimental effects that pollutants produced by outdoor wood boilers cause” and the law cites “the need to secure and promote the public health, comfort, convenience, safety, welfare and prosperity of its residents by establishing and imposing restrictions upon the construction, installation and operation of outdoor wood boilers.”

The law says that “wood burning devices emit particulate matter, carbon monoxide and other pollutants known to be detrimental to the health of the public.”

In addition to a long list of respiratory health issues, which include cancer, asthma, heart and lung disease, caused by the smoke and fumes from outdoor wood boilers, the devices also deprive neighbors from “the enjoyment of their property,” according to the law.

An increasing number of municipalities around the county are taking up the outdoor wood boiler issue. In December, the Village of Kinderhook passed a law that prohibits the installation of any new outdoor wood boiler and regulates the two in existence. The Town of Kinderhook has a moratorium in place on the installation of outdoor wood boilers while a law regulating them is formulated. The towns of Stockport and Austerlitz recently began discussion of outdoor wood boiler laws.

Under Copake's new law, people who already operate outdoor wood boilers (OWBs) may continue to use the devices as long as they apply for a permit from the building inspector within 90 days of the time the law takes effect. If they don't apply for the permit, “the OWB shall be removed.” Existing OWBs that are not used for two years will no longer be classified as pre-existing.

Larry and Linda Eckler, proprietors of Morgan Motors of New England on County Route 7A, already use an OWB, and they wrote a letter opposing the new law because it “would try to force us to go through a permit process after-the-fact.” The couple said that their OWB “meets or exceeds current Environmental Protection Agency emission” standards.

While the Ecklers said the permit process is understandable for new installations going forward, “to make any permit process retroactive is beyond belief. Can the town then propose retroactive legislation for anything?”

In their letter, the Ecklers suggested that the town should deal with other, more important matters, like “the ongoing budget crisis” instead of “punishing hard-working taxpayers.”

Because they think the section of the law that deals with pre-existing OWBs “reads like a threat,” the Ecklers said they have retained legal counsel to review it.

Harvey Weber, who serves on the Columbia County Environmental Management Council and the town Environmental Committee, said the Copake law is “the best in the county” and should be “passed for the betterment of our citizenry.”

Morris Ordover questioned how town officials will know whether people have pre-existing OWBs, calling compliance with the new law “voluntary.” He said that if the board expects Zoning Enforcement Officer Ed Ferratto to drive around town looking for pre-existing OWBs, the Town Board will have to give him more money.

In response, Supervisor Reggie Crowley said that it is a “citizen's duty” to report someone who has an OWB but does not have a permit. He said the town will put an ad in the newspaper notifying people that they have to apply for a permit. “We can't go to every door,” he said.

Jeff Nayer, chairman of the town Zoning Board of Appeals, questioned why people with existing OWBs need a building permit or a site plan review. He also expressed concern about the costs to the applicant.

Councilwoman Linda Gabaccia, who drafted the law along with Councilman Dan Tompkins, explained that a site plan review was recommended by Planning Board Attorney Lawrence Howard, because if there is a problem, applicants still have the recourse of appealing to the ZBA.

Town Attorney Tal Rappleyea said that because OWBs may have a visual impact, a site plan review gives the town some degree of “visual control.”

Councilman Tompkins noted that the county also recommends requiring a site plan review.

Ms. Gabaccia said the law calls for a fee schedule to be set by the Town Board and that those fees will be waived if people with pre-existing OWBs file an application within three months.

Mr. Nayer said that the new law calls for the owners of new or pre-existing OWBs to meet a chimney height requirement of 12 feet above the ground, yet some OWBs are not built to work properly if the chimney is too high. In response, the board changed the language to make the requirement 12-feet high or per manufacturer's specifications prior to adopting the law.

Mr. Nayer also told the board it was “making a big mistake” by omitting the most important element of an OWB law--the inclusion of “blackout dates,” or times when use of the devices is prohibited, such as during the summer “when the air is stagnant and people have their windows open.” County recommendations include setting seasonal use limits on OWBs, prohibiting their use from May 1 through September 30.

Someone said that some people use their OWBs to heat their swimming pools and that the date restriction would be a hardship. But Mr. Nayer said that people who have $50,000 to install a pool will not experience a hardship if they cannot use an OWB to heat it.

Ms. Gabaccia said she believed that the setback requirements prescribed by the new law addressed the year-round use issue adequately. “We made the law more stringent than it had to be,” she said.

To contact Diane Valden email dvalden@columbiapaper.com This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Full Article: CLICK HERE

February 18, 2010 (opinion)

 

Residents of Northern Indiana: Protect yourselves

Published: Thursday, February 18, 2010 8:14 AM CST

 

IDEM is asking for a second round of comments for rulemaking to regulate outdoor wood fired boilers or hydronic heaters. This does not apply to indoor wood burning appliances that are certified by the USEPA not to exceed 7.5 grams of particulate emissions per hour. One

OWB produces as much fine particulates as 1,000 gas furnaces, or four diesel trucks idling in your yard.  IDEM wants to set units back from a neighbor’s property by 150 feet. IDEM wants a 5’0” stack height over neighbor’s buildings; IDEM wants no operation of OWB’s from May to September, what about April and October. IDEM wants visible smoke plumes to not exceed 20 percent opacity, but this can’t be measured at night when most folks load up their OWB’s. You measure opacity on a clear sun lit day.

New OWB’s made for 2010 still produce two to four times more particulate matter than current EPA certified wood stoves. What about the existing 8,000 plus OWB’s in Indiana that USEPA states are a health concern because of the excessive smoke?  What about them?  What rules will apply to them and the health risk they pose to all of us? Finally, can our property values take another hit?  As OWB’s become more widely known as neighborhood health hazards, resale values are sure to be affected throughout the state. There are far better and healthier methods to save on heating bills.

Contact Susan Bem (IDEM) at (800) 451-6027 and ask how to make your comments know to IDEM, you have until Monday. See www.idem.IN.gove/6507.htm or Indiana Register LSA 05-332 for comment information.

— Jim Donnelly

La Porte

Full Article: CLICK HERE

February 18, 2010

Portage council again could take up outdoor furnace rules

By Craig Sauer, Special to the Daily Register | Posted: Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Common Council will take another shot at passing an ordinance that would heavily regulate outdoor furnaces in Portage.

On a 5-0 vote, the Legislative and Regulatory Committee, the city's main rule-making body, forwarded a new version of an ordinance that was vetoed by Mayor Ken Jahn in September.

"We have put a lot of time and energy into this, so where do you want to go?" asked Council member Carol Heisz, the committee chairwoman, when the agenda item came up Thursday.

The committee began researching an ordinance more than a year ago because of complaints about outdoor wood-fired furnaces in the city. When Jahn vetoed the proposed ordinance in September, the Council fell one vote short of overriding it.

In his veto message, Jahn cited concerns that the ordinance might not hold up to a legal appeal and that it needed clarifications. He also said he was concerned with the clause that would limit a grandfather exemption for existing furnaces to five years.

Portage Fire Chief Clayton Simonson has said he is aware of six or seven outdoor furnaces in the city.

The revised ordinance, which probably will go before the Common Council next week, extended the grandfather exemption to 10 years. As in the first version of the ordinance, the furnaces would be allowed only for residences with large lots. A small percentage of city lots would be eligible, officials said.

Under the ordinance, furnace owners would be required to have permits. The fire chief could shut down the furnaces if their owners don't follow rules or because of nuisance violations. The owners could appeal the fire chief's decision to the Legislative and Regulatory Committee.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

February 17, 2010

 

Wood-fired boiler burns up neighbor

February 17, 2010

 BY GITTE LAASBY, (219) 648-2183

 

LAPORTE -- An outdoor wood-burning boiler is generating heat in LaPorte -- not just inside Chris Furness' house, but also between Furness and his neighbor, Jim Donnelly.

Furness installed his boiler in 2004 to heat his house through an underground pump and cut down on utility bills. Since then, Donnelly has been bothered by smoke the unit disperses and cites concern for property values.

"I've been asking for help from the county as well as the state. We have to have our home shut all the way through the heating season. When you go outside, normally the prevailing winds are in our direction. So we can't go outside for that long," said Donnelly, who lives about 270 feet from Furness' boiler. "We do wake up in the mornings with sore throats and headaches so it's not a fun thing."

Now, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management is trying to prevent similar problems by proposing new rules. IDEM is accepting comments until Monday.

To appease Donnelly and meet county ordinances, Furness extended the smoke stack on the freestanding unit twice, from 2 feet to 32 feet.

"Now that the stack is on there, I never smell it, ever. I'm the closest one to it," said Furness, a firefighter. "If (Donnelly) truly had smoke in his face when he walked out the door, I wouldn't burn it, but it's just not that way. He wants people to think the wind always blows from my stack to his window. That's not the case. He's not going to be happy till I no longer use it."

He estimates the $5,000 boiler saves him about $2,000 per heating season.

Wood-fired boilers, or hydronic heaters, have been an issue to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management for years.

The wood smoke is a source of soot or particle emissions, which cause respiratory problems, heart problems and premature death. People who live within a few hundred feet of a wood-burning heater are exposed to short-term particle levels that are unhealthy for sensitive groups, including children, the elderly and people who have a heart- or lung condition, according to IDEM.

A wood-burning heater can emit as much particulate matter as 50-500 idling diesel trucks, according to IDEM.

If a county does not meet federal air quality standards, major new industrial facilities can't locate there without reducing their own air pollution or making an existing facility reduce its pollution.

"If the reported emission levels of outdoor hydronic heaters are true, these devices may be contributing to the Indiana PM 2.5 (small particle) non-attainment problem and preventing economic development," IDEM states in a fact sheet on the controversial heaters.

The smoke also contains formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and cancer-causing benzene.

In the absence of federal regulations, IDEM first proposed rules in 2005 to address the stack height of existing units, how much pollution is allowed from new units, and what you can burn in the boilers. At the time, the agency received 1,600 written comments, mostly in opposition.

Now the agency has made another attempt at rules, which mirror the ordinance in LaPorte County.

The burning season would be limited to September through May and smoke limits would be cut in half. Stacks would have to tower 5 feet higher than the top roof of neighboring homes. And new units would have to be more efficient and burn clean, dry wood that smokes less.

Wood-fired boilers are banned in Michigan City but Donnelly said 140 units exist in LaPorte County, where they're allowed with restrictions.

"We go out to make sure the chimney height is high enough where it doesn't go inside windows and doors and make sure it meets all of our stipulations. But even wood-burning stoves, it's the same thing. Even at my house, even though the chimney has that height, you can still smell the smoke," said Cindy Kreske, office manager at the LaPorte County building commissioner's office.

Building Commissioner Ray Hamilton said county officials inspect the boilers to make sure construction complies with the ordinance.

"We can't outlaw them or ban them. We shouldn't because for somebody it's their heat. It'd be like telling someone you can't have a car," Kreske said.

The state of Washington banned wood-fired boilers. Maryland made them illegal to construct and operate. New Jersey and Colorado put strict limits on smoke from them.

Porter County allows outdoor woodfired boilers without a permit, as long as they are smaller than 8-feet-by-8-feet, said building department secretary Kim Zacek. Lake County requires a permit.

Disagreement on rules

Donnelly says IDEM's proposed rules aren't good enough. He wants the agency to make better use of existing rules to prevent fugitive dust and says even if smoke stacks are tall, inversion where hot meets cold air will force smoke to the ground. He said IDEM would only be able to assess how much smoke comes from a unit on a sunny day.

IDEM spokesman Rob Elstro denied that, saying the agency's smoke assessment does not require sunny skies.

"Opacity can be read when the sky is overcast, during precipitation, and even at night," Elstro said.

He explained that the draft rule requires all newly sold units to be certified through the the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's voluntary outdoor hydronic heater program and meet certain emission limits.

"This will ensure that Indiana's air quality will be protected as more and more units are installed," Elstro said.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

February 10, 2010

Board mulls regulating wood boilers

By Andrew Amelinckx

Published: Wednesday, February 10, 2010 2:16 AM EST

 

The Stockport Town Board has begun to look into an issue that has become contentious in neighboring towns in Columbia County and across the state and nation — outdoor wood boilers.

These freestanding home heating devices have come under scrutiny in the last few years due to potential hazards involving carcinogens and particulate matter in the smoke they produce.

The New York state Office of the Attorney General, in a report from 2005, updated in 2008, states that OWBs emit, on an average per-hour basis, about four times as much fine particulate matter pollution as conventional wood stoves and 1,800 times more than gas furnaces. This is due, stated the report, to the low burning temperature of the heating process.

Advocates say they save money and help reduce dependency on foreign oil.

OWB sales have tripled in New York since 1999, according to the report, with an estimated 14,500 OWBs sold in New York state from 1999 to 2007, and 188,500 sold nationwide. And with this increase came a backlash from opponents and local governments.

Statewide, numerous towns and villages have either banned OWBs or instituted regulations of their use.

In December the town of Kinderhook banned them and the same month the town of Taghkanic began to flesh out a local law on their use.

Further afield, Washington State banned them outright in 2007 and other states heavily regulate OWBs.

No federal laws have been enacted and, according to Daniel Marcus, Stockport’s representative on the county Environmental Management Council, draft rules governing their use from the state Department of Environmental Conservation has “been sitting on Gov. Paterson’s desk for a year and a half.”

Marcus provided the Town Board with proposed regulations on OWBs use in Stockport at the board’s February meeting.

The proposal doesn’t ban OWBs, but restricts their construction, installation and operation.

Marcus said the proposed regulations are based on one created by the EMC and adopted by the county Board of Supervisors as a model for towns and villages.

As proposed by Marcus the regulations for Stockport cover both new and existing OWBs.

Stockport Supervisor Leo Pulcher told the Register-Star that there weren’t many OWBs within the town limits as of now. 

“There’s one I know of right on Route 9,” he said, adding that there may be “one or two others in town. I don’t think there’s a lot.”

Owners of existing OWBs, and those looking to build new ones, would be required to get a permit, have smokestacks at least 18 feet from the ground and only operate them between Sept. 1 and May 31.

Owners would only be allowed to burn dry seasoned hardwood, wood pellets or any other fuel recommended by the unit’s manufacturer.

New OWBs would have to follow the Environmental Protection Agency’s Phase 2 (white tag) program standards for air emissions and would require site plan approval.

The proposal also requires that new OWBs be constructed at least 350 feet from occupied dwellings on adjoining properties.

The Town Board has asked Town Attorney Jason Shaw to take a look at the proposal and there will likely be some debate on the final law.

“We’ll start working on this,” promised Pulcher at the meeting. 

To reach reporter Andrew Amelinckx call 518-828-1616, ext. 2267 or e-mail aamelinckx@registerstar.com.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

February 9, 2010

 

Moreau will regulate outdoor furnaces

By NICK REISMAN reisman@poststar.com | Posted: Tuesday, February 9, 2010

 

MOREAU -- Following years of debate and study, the Moreau Town Board on Tuesday night approved a new law governing the use of outdoor wood burning furnaces.

The units are used to heat homes, but they typically are located outside the structure and, as a result, cause more smoke at ground level than other heating devices.

Board members who voted for the measure said the law was needed to control emissions that could be a health hazard.

"There's nothing more important than a person's health," said Councilman Bob Prendergast. "That's my intent - protecting people's health."

The law, which will take effect immediately upon its filing with the New York secretary of state, will restrict any new furnaces to 200 feet within a property line.

It also places limitations on where the heaters can be used and what type of fuel can be burned in them.

Garbage, yard waste, petroleum products, paints, coal, glossy or colored papers, animal byproducts and asphalt cannot be burned in the devices.

Only "clean" wood can be used, ruling out plywood and particle board, according to the law.

The furnaces can only be operating between October and April, although the town may grant waivers in certain cases.

Existing furnaces are exempt from several of the law's stipulations, but owners must obtain a permit from the town to keep running the units.

Not complying with the law could result in a maximum $250 fine for the first offense.

The measure was approved despite the presence of nearly two dozen town residents who own wood-burning furnaces and who raised concerns over some of the law's provisions.

"In my opinion, we don't need a permit for something that we already have and something we already paid for," said Richard Salazar. "You're making rules after the fact for something that's already grandfathered in."

Rich Morris objected to the furnaces being deemed a "structure" in need of a permit.

"I don't see how this is a structure," Morris said. "It's an appliance that's going to be replaced in 10 years."

He also objected to the board ending the public hearing at 7:10 p.m., or after about 40 minutes of conversation.

"Time limit? Please, it's a public hearing," he said.

But board members - with the exception of Councilman Todd Kusnierz - said they had held 17 meetings over the last several years and the objections being raised were nothing new.

Kusnierz, however, said the board should have waited and heard more concerns from those attending.

"This is the first opportunity the public has had to comment on the local law in its final form," he said. "It's going to impact them economically, financially."

He was the only board member to vote against the law.

Supervisor Preston Jenkins was originally in favor of banning the furnaces outright, as other communities in the area have done, but he said he had learned a lot during the public hearing process. The law that passed Tuesday night was fair, he told the furnace owners.

"I think this puts you in a good position," he said.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

February 8, 2010

Town set to vote on outdoor furnace law

By NICK REISMAN, reisman@poststar.com | Posted: Monday, February 8, 2010 5:50

 

MOREAU -- Years of public hearings, debates and meetings could culminate Tuesday night as the Moreau Town Board considers a law governing the use of outdoor wood furnaces.

The devices are used to heat homes, but they typically are located outside the structure and, as a result, cause more smoke at ground level than other heating devices.

"I believe unless something really strange happens, we should have a vote on this law," said Town Supervisor Preston Jenkins. "It's on the agenda to vote."

The presentation of the law will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the town offices. The regular board meeting will follow at 7 p.m.

The proposed law would place limitations on where the heaters can be used and what type of fuel can be burned in them.

For instance, garbage, yard waste, petroleum products, paints, coal, glossy or colored papers, animal byproducts and asphalt cannot be burned in the devices.

Only "clean" wood can be used, ruling out plywood and particle board, according to the proposal.

The law would also require the heaters be placed 200 feet from any property line, and they would only be allowed to operate between Oct. 1 and April 30.

Pre-existing heaters are permitted to remain on a resident's property, provided the owner obtains a permit from the town's building inspector.

Non-compliance is punishable by a fine of $250 for the first offense. The law would take effect upon its filing with the New York Secretary of State.

Originally proposed after environmental and safety concerns were raised over the wood-burning heaters, the law strikes a compromise between those who want them gone and residents who still rely on them, Jenkins said.

Town officials posted a copy of the most recent draft regulations on the government's Web site, www.townofmoreau.org.

"I don't think it's a perfect law," he said. "But I think it's going to make everyone at least somewhat happy."

Town Building Inspector and Code Enforcement Officer Joe Patricke said 19 people own such heaters in Moreau.

But the law's impact will also be felt by those who live near the owners of the heaters.

"It means a lot if you're one of those people living next door to those 19," Patricke said.

The Town Board has hosted countless workshops and public hearings to gauge local support for the law.

"I think the board has wrestled back and forth with the pros and cons," Patricke said. "I think they've struck a pretty good compromise."

Moreau would not be the first community to pass a law regulating the use of outdoor furnaces.

The village of Fort Edward approved an outright ban in 2008, while the town of Kingsbury approved a series of regulations. In Hudson Falls, village officials approved a measure banning new heaters and regulating existing ones, according to Code Enforcement Officer Ross Cortez.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

February 8, 2010

IGH wood burners under fire


Danielle Cabot
Review Staff

An outdoor wood burner nestled on a five-acre property in the southeast corner of Inver Grove Heights sent neighbors on Albavar Path packing to the city council Jan. 25 as though, well, they'd been smoked out.

Residents Armando and Nancy Lissarrague live on five acres next to a property that was purchased by the current owners in 2003. About 2 /2 years ago, Doug and Vivienne May, the Lissarrague's newest neighbors, set up an auxiliary structure for woodworking, and installed a wood-burning furnace for their energy needs about 90 feet from the Lissarragues' property line.

An outdoor wood-burning furnace, or an outdoor wood boiler, burns wood in a controlled combustion chamber resembling a small shed. The energy produced can heat water sent through underground pipes to heat a building, or be connected to a forced-air system. Smoke is released through a chimney attached to the chamber.

However, the "OWB"s can vary in efficiency, with the least efficient models producing volumes of smoke every day that can hover over the ground like a fog. More efficient models limit the amount of smoke produced, but burn through wood fuel more rapidly.

More than a dozen show
Since the day the wood burner started running, Armando told the council, his property has been clouded in smoke at times, and the smell has permeated his home. He said the smoke has affected the health of his family, as two of his four adult children use the home as a permanent residence. He said the particulate matter has affected his family's allergies and caused respiratory problems such as more frequent colds. In addition, he was diagnosed with coronary heart disease in 1999 and should not be breathing excess smoke, he says. "The air on our property is poisoning us," Lissarrague told the council.

Lissarrague and the 15 or so neighbors who came to the meeting to support him and his wife are armed with information on wood smoke compiled by groups such as the American Lung Association, which claims that nitrogen oxides, a gas released during combustion, and particulate matter, or tiny particles of pollution suspended in air or water, are linked to respiratory disease and irritation.

The Environmental Protection Agency also claims that wood smoke contains harmful chemical gasses, and the accompanying soot contains particulate matter so small that it can pass into the lungs and blood stream and create or exacerbate health problems for the respiratory and coronary systems.

Numerous groups and coalitions have formed across the country in recent years to take on the passage of ordinances or outright bans on OWBs to address health and quality-of-life concerns, including Take Back the Air, an Edina-based group whose president, Julie Mellum, spoke at the meeting.

In response to their grievances, Lissarrague said the Mays were willing to raise the height of the smokestack, but were not willing to move the burner farther away from the property line. The Mays did not return calls by the South-West Review requesting an interview.

Last straw
The additional height, however, was not enough. After the Mays kept the burner off for most, but not all, of the summer, it was fired back up when the cold weather rolled in. Armando said the last straw that convinced him to appeal to the city occurred in December. Armando's wife Nancy, a special education teacher for District 197, has a therapy dog trained for use with school children. The dog must be thoroughly bathed and groomed before being allowed into the school, he said. The day before a therapy session, Nancy let the dog out for just a few minutes to relieve itself. "The dog came inside reeking [of smoke], just reeking something furious," said Armando.

Lissarrague describes himself as easy to get along with, and said he is not out to cause undue problems for others. Ultimately, the issue is one of being a good neighbor, said Armando. At this point, the smoke is a nuisance, he told the council, and as a nuisance, the city has a right to regulate it through local ordinance.

He suggested a few options available to the council, such as regulating the distance a burner may be installed from a property line, but pleaded with them to ban wood burners entirely. "Ban outright --this is a solution that anyone living next to a neighbor with an outdoor wood burner would champion."

Bans in other cities
Minnesota cities including Burnsville, New Prague, Princeton and Forest Lake have already passed ordinances restricting or banning wood burners.

The city council of Austin rejected a proposed ban on outdoor wood burners in December of 2009.

Wyoming and Eagan are considering ordinances.

Lissarrague's neighbor Gerald Biesterveld was one of the neighborhood supporters in attendance. While the smoke dissipates before hitting his property, Biesterveld told the council that when walking in the neighborhood, "if the smoke is just right, it will take the wind right out of you."

Mayor George Tourville directed the staff to put the issue on the first work session agenda of March, at which time staff will present more information on the merits or drawbacks of developing an ordinance to limit or ban OWBs inside city limits.

Danielle Cabot can be reached at southwest@lillienews.com or 651-748-7815.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

February 5, 2010

Hazle supers to regulate green technologies (OWBs discussed)

By KELLY MONITZ (Staff Writer)
Published: February 5, 2010

Hazle Township's zoning ordinance does not address green technologies such as solar power and wind energy - but not for long.

On Monday, township supervisors plan to adopt updates to the ordinance, which will regulate green technologies from small, residential systems to large-scale wind and solar farms.

They will also revisit the Airport Hazard Zoning and Regulations Ordinance, which supervisors tabled in June at the request of the City of Hazleton.

The city, which owns the Hazleton Municipal Airport in Hazle Township, wanted to review the regulations and comment, if necessary.

City Director of Public Works John Ackerman said Tuesday that the city is happy with the ordinance, which conforms to a Federal Aviation Administration mandate.

Ackerman also reviewed the proposed rules regarding solar and wind energy, offering some suggestions which the township is taking into consideration, said John Synoski of Schumacher Engineering, the township engineer.

In December, Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta proposed a solar farm on 40 of 200 acres the city owns at the Hazleton Municipal Airport, using proceeds from the sale of the city's water system.

The township, however, did not introduce the solar and wind energy regulations because of the city's proposal, Solicitor Charles Pedri said. Hazle officials began working on updates to address these issues more than a year ago, he said.

Synoski added that the most serious discussions began in May or June.

"Without this ordinance, there are no guidelines," he said.

The ordinance will allow the township to manage these technologies, protecting residents and workers at the facilities, Synoski said.

Among the requirements for wind energy are ground clearance; visual impact issues, such as color and running power lines underground; limits on nighttime noise; and a complete restriction on vibration, according to the proposed ordinance.

The ordinance also addresses decommissioning, liability insurance and use of public roads to transport equipment.

As for solar energy, the ordinance addresses both small units and large-scale solar farms, and some of the same issues, including decommissioning, liability and use of public roads.

Major solar-energy systems, those larger than minor or residential type units, must be located on 70-acre minimum sites, the proposed ordinance said.

Both the city's proposal and one by CAN DO Inc. on reclaimed mine land near Harwood are for smaller tracts. The city's proposed area is 40 acres and CAN DO is looking at the feasibility of a 50-acre tract.

Another ordinance up for adoption regulates outdoor wood-fired boilers, which are used for hot water and heat. The ordinance looks at setbacks from nearest property line, material burned and stack heights for new and existing outdoor wood-fired boilers. Permits are required for both new existing boilers, as well.

kmonitz@standardspeaker.com

Full Article: CLICK HERE

February 4, 2010 (opinion)

Letter (Web version): Oppose pollution-emitting wood-fired boilers

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management is asking for a second round of comments for rulemaking to regulate outdoor wood-fired boilers or hydronic heaters. This does not apply to indoor wood-burning appliances that are certified by the EPA not to exceed 7.5 grams of particulate emissions per hour. One boiler produces as much fine particulates as 1,000 gas furnaces, or four diesel trucks idling in your yard.

IDEM wants to set boilers back from a neighbor’s property by 150 feet. IDEM wants a five-foot stack height over neighbors’ buildings; IDEM wants no operation of boilers from May to September (what about April and October?). IDEM wants visible smoke plumes not to exceed 20 percent opacity, but this can’t be measured at night when most folks load up their boilers. You measure opacity on a clear sunlit day.

New boilers made for 2010 still produce two to four times more particulate matter than current EPA- certified wood stoves. What about the existing 8,000-plus boilers in Indiana that the EPA states are a health concern because of the excessive smoke? What about them? What rules will apply to them and the health risk they pose to all of us?

Finally, can our property values take another hit? As boilers become more widely known as neighborhood health hazards, resale values are sure to be affected throughout the state. There are far better and healthier methods to save on heating bills.

Contact Susan Bem of IDEM at 800-451-6027 and ask her how to make your comments know to IDEM. You have till Feb. 22. See www.idem.IN.gove/6507.htm or Indiana Register LSA 05-332 for comment information.

 

JIM DONNELLY

LaPorte

Full Article: CLICK HERE

February 3, 2010

Antwerp may create Planning Board (OWBs discussed)

By JOANNA RICHARDS

TIMES STAFF WRITER

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2010

ANTWERP — The village's new mayor hopes creating a Planning Board can help revitalize village pride and provide a venue for long-term planning and improvement.

A second public hearing will be held immediately after that on a proposed local law that would regulate outdoor wood-burning furnaces in the village. That measure follows an earlier effort by Trustee Merle E. Pickert to ban the furnaces, which garnered less support once the board composition changed in December.

Instead, trustees agreed to work on measures to regulate the furnaces, which can be a nuisance and a health hazard to neighbors if not properly operated and maintained. At a special meeting Jan. 19, the board negotiated a set of proposed regulations that would require minimum setbacks of 50 feet from adjacent property lines, operation according to manufacturer instructions and consideration of prevailing wind direction when siting. It would ban the use of lighter fluid, gasoline and chemicals to start furnaces, and the use of trash, plastics, leaves, paper products and other materials not specified by the manufacturer for fuel.

The measure would ban any furnace from being located within 50 feet of a residence not being served by it and mandate minimum chimney heights that increase the closer a furnace is to another residence.

Existing furnaces in the village — Clerk Amy Cole said there are three — could remain in use but could be replaced only in accordance with the new law. Installation of new furnaces would require a $25 permit from the village and periodic inspection by the zoning enforcement officer.

Violations would be addressed first with a written warning and subsequently with a fine of up to $250 and possible revocation of the permit to operate the unit.

Copies of both proposed local laws are available at the village office between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

February 3, 2010

Wood furnaces, car idling eyed by Conn. lawmakers

Associated Press

February 3, 2010

HARTFORD, Conn.

Proposals to limit pesticide use around schools, ban outdoor wood-burning furnaces and stop drivers from letting their vehicles idle too long are among ideas that will be considered by a Connecticut legislative committee this spring.

The General Assembly's environmental committee plans to review whether to write and endorse bills on those topics and several others.

They would be considered in the new legislative session, which begins Wednesday and runs through May 5.

Other topics that may be considered include updating regulations on dogs at state parks, more protections for open space and determining whether local municipal boards should have more say over state-regulated proposals to put up cell towers in their borders.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

February 2, 2010 (Canada)

New Clean Air Bylaw Given First 2 Readings (OWB's discussed)

By 250 News

Tuesday, February 02, 2010 04:00 AM

Prince  George, B.C.-  Prince George City Council has given the first two readings to a new Clean Air Bylaw. There are a number of changes including some added definitions, but the major changes allow for backyard recreational fires, and expand the no open burning to cover the entire City.
 
Here are some of the highlights:
  • There shall be no hydronic heaters allowed in the City of Prince George         (a hydronic heater is commonly referred to as a wood boiler)
  • Requiring all new construction to contain a secondary heat source where a wood burning  appliance is proposed to be the sole source;
  • Requiring the installation of a secondary heat source during a building renovation over a  certain size  where a  wood burning appliance is the sole source of heat.
  • Expanding the no “open fires” area to the entire city (does not include recreational fires);
  • Providing safety and siting requirements for recreational fires; and
  • Redrafting the Offence and Penalty section to allow for tickets, and include ticket amounts forthe relevant bylaw sections

The ticket amounts range from $100 dollars to $300 dollars.  
 
Here are the violations and their corresponding  tickets:
 
  • Using a wood burning appliance while an air quality advisory is in effect.  $200.00
  • Operating a wood burning appliance causing injury or damage. $100.00
  • Installation of a non-compliant woodburning appliance.  $300.00
  • Installation of a hydronic heater.  $300.00
  • Failure to install and maintain additional form of space heating in new building.  $300.00
  • Failure to install and maintain additional form of space heating during building renovation  $200.00
  • Failure to obtain a Building Permit for a wood burning appliance  $200.00
  • Burning prohibited fuel type. $200.00
  • Conducting open burning.$300.00
  • Igniting or maintaining a recreational fire during an air quality advisory. $100.00
  • Maintaining a recreational fire causing injury or damage. $100.00
  • Burning prohibitive fuel type in a recreational fire. $100.00
  • Failure to control and supervise a recreation fire.  $100.00
  • Failure to possess fire extinguishing equipment  $100.00
  • Failure to maintain a recreation fire in a safe location.  $100.00
  • Failure to use dust control measures.  $200.00
  • Failure to use sufficient dust suppressing liquids.  $200.00
  • Sweeping or maintenance operations causing injury or damage.  $200.00

It is possible to have numerous offences related to a single incident.

Staff say they consider these proposed changes strike a balance between further reducing fine particulate levels from wood smoke and dust, while allowing some activities that residents support and wish to continue (such as recreational fires).
 
Councillor Brian Skakun says he doesn't think it goes far enough because it doesn't address industry and doesn't address vehicle emissions. 
 
Councillor Dave Wilbur says the recreation fire rules may work  fine within the bowl,  but for a rural  resident,  walking  back to the house while  a fire pit is  burning on an acreage would be a breach of the new regulations.  "I think interfering with people when they are not interfering with the Bowl is interfering with the rural life style and goes too far."
 
Councillor Sherri Green says  the latest survey indicates 58% of those questioned did not want further restrictions on recreational fires "It isn't a strong majority but it is a majority none the less. I would just ask  people to be a good neighbour,  If you have a neighbour  who has asthma, be  aware of that, and try to be a good neighbour and talk to each other before  jumping to the next step."
 
Mayor Dan Rogers says  it will be interesting when the bylaw goes to third reading to see if the public says it wasn't strong enough. 
 
Now that the bylaw has been given the first two readings, there will be an informal public hearing before the bylaw is given third reading.  That public hearing may take place as early as March 1st.
 
Full Article: CLICK HERE
 

February 1, 2010

Salisbury is considering extending two-year moratorium on outdoor wood-burning furnaces

Monday, February 1, 2010

By MAX WITTSTEIN

SALISBURY — The town is considering extending a two-year moratorium on outdoor wood-burning furnaces, which was enacted in June 2009 to deal with a phenomenon that has been banned in other communities and in December drew a harshly-worded release from Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.

The standalone boiler units that burn wood for heating homes and water units have increased in popularity over the past few years with the rising prices of heating oil, but they are also the subject of controversy because of possible environmental impact.

“Every moratorium comes up with a review. You can only have a two-year moratorium before making a decision, and we’re reviewing that current one,” said Planning and Zoning Chairman Cristin Rich. “Three of our members are coming back with reviews of what standards there are, so we can find ways of addressing the issues.”

Ms. Rich said that many of the issues surrounding the furnaces depend upon how they are used.

“A lot of the issues surrounding these are fuel dependent; some of these are very clean, some of them can be very dirty when people burn pressure-treated wood or tires,” she said. “That’s not something that tends to happen in a house, but with some of these outdoor ones, people aren’t as careful, and that’s where reported problems have come from.”

The moratorium did not appear to be unpopular, as no petitions or requests had been filed since it was issued, Ms. Rich said.

Zoning Enforcement Officer Nancy Brusie declined to answer questions Wednesday about how the moratorium is enforced.

The next Planning and Zoning meeting is scheduled for Feb. 16, when the board will continue to review information without making a vote, according to Ms. Rich.

Three other towns in ConnecticutGranby, Tolland and Hebron — have banned outdoor furnaces. In December, Mr. Blumenthal drew attention to the devices by calling for a statewide ban, citing health and environmental concerns.

“Outdoor wood-burning furnaces spew toxic smoke 24 hours a day, seven days a week, sickening neighbors and contaminating neighborhoods,” he said in a press release issued Dec. 9. “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.”

Gordon Ridgway, the first selectman of Cornwall, says that wood-burning furnaces are not a concern for him and the town is not considering a similar ban. Cornwall was recently recognized as “Greenest town in Connecticut” by the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund.

“I’m sure in other places, in the middle of a city, it might not be the best thing, but I don’t think they’re inherently bad, especially new ones that have new blowers,” said Mr. Ridgway. “If we don’t burn wood, we burn foreign oil, which is cleaner but has a lot of other problems attached to it.”

Jeffrey Luff, proprietor of Connecticut Wood Furnace and Alternative Heating and Supplies in Cromwell, which sells the devices, said that there are already smoke emission laws in place that apply to them. He believed that towns need to do more research before enacting such moratoriums.

“I don’t think Mr. Blumenthal read anything before he talked about it, because we’ve been regulating these furnaces since 2005. There have been EPA certified units out there for three years,” said Mr. Luff.

He pointed to nuisance laws and opacity laws regulating smoke release that already apply to the furnaces.

“What they do is, if there’s a certain amount of smoke that comes out of them, there’s laws to shut them down,” he said. “If there’s smoke traveling across property lines then they can be shut down as well.”

Mr. Luff said the problems do not arise from the furnaces themselves, but in individual irresponsibility and lax enforcement of existing regulations.

“What happened in the towns that have banned them, people installed these where they shouldn’t be, and the opacity laws aren’t enforced, causing huge amounts of complaints, and that creates this kind of attitude,” he said. “There are hundreds of them out there, and maybe 5 percent are even noticed. They don’t have any greenhouse [gas] effect whatsoever. If anybody can ever tell me that a fossil fuel system is better for the environment, they’ve kind of lost their mind. Renewable energy is what nature is designed to handle. Trees fall on the ground, decompose, and eventually put up the same C0² as if you burned them.”

Mr. Luff expressed concern that legislation against wood burning furnaces could lead the state to ban wood burning altogether.

“Once we have that taken away from us, we have to buy fuel for heating, period,” he said. “Anyone who burns wood should be concerned.”

Mr. Blumenthal, who is running for the Senate seat being vacated by U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd, said Wednesday that he had “never favored an outright and total ban” on the devices.

“My position is that there should be standards and health regulations applicable to outdoor wood burning furnaces just as there are to indoor stoves, and there should be a ban only on the outdoor furnaces that fail to meet those standards and regulations,” he said. “I hope the legislature will clarify the statute during its next session to provide for such standards and regulations.”

Mr. Blumenthal added that he supports indoor wood- burning stoves with proper health and safety standards, but that the existing laws in place concerning smoke need to be made more specific, as nuisance regulations are “very general.”

“I will be proposing legislation within the next couple of weeks with specifics as to some health and safety policies and standards that make sense, and there will also be a process for public input and scientific consultation,” he added.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

February 1, 2010

Vermont considers boiler buyback program

By Candace Page, Free Press Staff Writer

Cliff Gross of Bradford says the smoke from a neighbor’s outdoor wood furnace seeps into his house, making him cough, causing sore throats and subjecting him and his wife to sleepless nights.

Help may be on the way for the Grosses and other residents who object to the emissions from older outdoor boilers.

Vermont lawmakers and the administration of Gov. Jim Douglas are considering creation of a buyback program to help the owners of the polluting furnaces to replace them with cleaner, more efficient units.

“The first time I saw one, I thought some Vermonter was smoking ham,” said Dick Valentinetti, chief of the state Air Pollution Control Division. “It was creating a pall that went across the entire highway.”

The New York Department of Environmental Conservation says one outdoor wood boiler creates as much air pollution as 1,000 oil furnaces. The emissions can trigger asthma attacks and, over a longer period, may contribute to heart and lung diseases.

A freestanding outdoor wood boiler consists of a firebox that heats water in a reservoir. The heated water is piped into the owner’s house to provide heat and domestic hot water. When the first models appeared in the 1990s, they were notorious for inefficiency, incomplete burning and emissions of smoke and soot that carry toxic substances.

“They are pretty ghastly things,” said Harold Garabedian, who until recently was Valentinetti’s deputy. “They’re not only dirty, they’re inefficient — some of them burn 10 cords of wood where five would do.”

Vermont toughened emissions standards for new boilers, to take effect in March. New models of the stoves reduce emissions 80-90 percent, Valentinetti said.

Trouble is, “All the old boilers were grandfathered in, and the technology is so simple they will last forever,” said Rebecca Ryan of the American Lung Association’s Vermont office, which is pushing for a buyback program.

Sen. Ginny Lyons, D-Chittenden, has introduced a buyback bill. Valentinetti’s office is working on a similar proposal. Both would use some of the money Vermont receives each year as part of a settlement of lawsuit against American Electric Power, a Midwestern power producer whose plants create air pollution that blows into the state.

Vermont will receive three more annual payments of $360,000.

Valentinetti said the challenge is to figure out how far that money will go in buying back the old furnaces. No one is sure how many are operating in the state; estimates run from 2,500 to 4,000.

While the old models might have cost $5,000, “for the new ones we sell, you’re looking at $11,000 to $12,000,” said Gary Hale of Appalachian Supply in St. Johnsbury.

Valentinetti said he has been having some “fairly intense conversations” with outdoor furnace manufacturers, in hopes of setting up a program that would provide discounts on new units to owners who get rid of their old one. He is also seeking additional sources of money for the buyback.

“I think this is something we will pursue, regardless of what the Legislature does,” he said.

Lyons, whose bill would require all old furnaces to be phased out by 2016, said the state should not have to cover the full cost of new units for wood-burning homeowners. It’s in their own interest to upgrade, since the new furnaces burn so much less wood.

“Ideally, the program would continue until every single old outdoor wood boiler is ended,” she said.

Gross, the Bradford homeowner, said he appreciates the state’s new attention to the problem. His wife is a cancer survivor particularly worried about the health effects of breathing heavy wood smoke. Their house, he said, appears impossible to sell because of the air pollution from the neighbor’s furnace.

“It would be an improvement” if the neighbor gets a modern boiler, he said, “but there still will be emissions and the wind blows in our direction.”

Contact Candace Page at 660-1865 or cpage@bfp.burlingtonfreepress.com. Read her blog, Tree at My Window, at www.burlingtonfreepress.com and follow her on Twitter @candacepage.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

February 1, 2010


 

Vermont Considers Buying Back Inefficient Wood Boilers

Newer Models Are Much More Efficient

By: AP, WPTZ News 5

POSTED: 10:58 am EST February 1, 2010

BURLINGTON, Vt. -- A state lawmaker wants to help Vermonters replace inefficient and dirty outdoor wood-fired boilers.

New models of the outside boilers that heat water used to heat homes are 80 to 90 percent cleaner than the original models that were produced in the 1990s.

The Burlington Free Press reported that one outdoor wood boiler creates as much air pollution as 1,000 oil furnaces and that emissions can trigger asthma attacks and possibly other health problems.

Sen. Ginny Lyons has introduced a bill to help buy back some of the boilers using some of the $360,000 a year Vermont will receive for three years from a settlement of an air pollution lawsuit.

Lyons' bill would require that all old furnaces to be phased out by 2016.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

January 30, 2010

Wood-burning stove burns down house (OWB cause)

BY ABBEY ROY
Advocate Reporter

JACKSON TOWNSHIP -- The residents of a Jackson Township farmhouse were able to escape with a few handfuls of clothing and valuable documents before the home was destroyed by a fire Friday.

Daniel Brown, 66, and his wife, Nancy Brown, were safe after the fire Brown said began in a wood-burning stove on the outside of the rear of the two-story wood-frame home.

"That's why I put (the stove) outside," he said as he watched the firefighters put out the blaze. "So it wouldn't catch the house on fire."

He didn't know about the fire until his electricity went out while he was watching television, he said. At first thinking the fire was limited to the chimney area, Brown attempted to put it out himself, but the blaze became out of control before he could stop it, he said.

Hanover, Frazeysburg and Dresden fire departments were called to the fire at 10480 O'Dell Road at 11:20 a.m., a Muskingum County Sheriff's Office dispatcher confirmed. The blaze was contained at 3:02 p.m.

The Muskingum Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross will assist the Browns with funding for clothing and food.

Brown, who owns the 39-acre property where the home is located, said he hopes to build a new house -- perhaps a log cabin -- on the site of the century-old home where the couple has lived for more than 20 years.

As he watched streams of water beat down the flames leaping from the roof of the old farmhouse, Brown took a moment to hope for a positive on the horizon.

"I've wanted to live in a log cabin all my life," he said.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

January 29, 2010

Legislation introduced to prohibit regulations of wood-burning furnaces

By Martha Knight

Potter Leader-Enterprise

and Sharon Corderman

Published: Friday, January 29, 2010 10:40 AM CST

More than 150 residents were in attendance for a public hearing held in Coudersport earlier this month on proposed regulations governing the design and placement of outdoor wood-burning furnaces.

These included some local officials and business people and many homeowners. Also on hand were six members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and one Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) staff member. All six legislators expressed their opinions, as did a good many of those present. All those who spoke were against the proposed regulations.

DEP wants to regulate the height of burner stacks, the level of particulate matter emitted by these burners, their distance from property lines and the time of year these furnaces and boilers can be used.

Included among the legislators and presiding over the hearing was Rep. Scott E. Hutchinson (64th District), a member of the state Environmental Quality Board and chairman of the Environmental Resources Committee. Hutchinson stated that he had voted against the proposed regulations.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

January 28, 2010

Wyoming Council to hold assessment hearing Feb. 16 on 257th Street project and police watching for snowmobilers speeding on Ashton Lake (OWBs discussed)

BY DENISE MARTIN

January 28, 2010

In a brief Wyoming city council session last week, that recessed into a closed door meeting allowed by law for discussions about union contracts-- the Wyoming Council:

In council reports, minus Joe Zerwas who was excused from last week's meeting; Roger Elmore reported the planning commission has declined to generate a recommendation on home heat units outside of structures. A complaint to council about smoke pollution from low stacks venting outdoor boilers in a residential neighborhood, had brought this issue forward.

Elmore said the planning commission felt existing city nuisance regulations can be applied to address problems instead of creating a special ordinance just for these uses.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

January 27, 2010

Council looks to ban outdoor boilers

Wood and coal-fired boilers may be banned

By GRETCHEN GREGORY
Logan Daily News Reporter
ggregory@logandaily.com
Published: Wednesday, January 27, 2010 12:20 AM EST
LOGAN — Logan City Council members are considering an ordinance which would prohibit the installation and use of outdoor wood or coal fired boilers.

The ordinance, which will likely be voted on at the next council meeting (Feb. 9) as an emergency piece of legislation, bans the boilers because they “emit smoke and pollutants which are detrimental to the preservation of clean air and the health of residents,” reads the proposal.

According to Logan City Law Director Bob Lilley, there are none in the city that he knows of, but they have been a nuisance to many residents in Lancaster who have neighbors that use them. According to Lilley, members of the Lancaster city council are looking at ways to regulate them.

A straw poll vote was taken by members of council Tuesday to see if it should be voted on as emergency legislation. If passed, the measure would take effect as soon as its approved by council.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

January 27, 2010

Building code official lobbies to keep job in Wellsboro (OWBs mentioned)

By BRYAN G. ROBINSON Sun-Gazette Correspondent

POSTED: January 27, 2010

WELLSBORO-

Approved the recommendation of the public safety committee to continue educating residents who burn firewood to follow certain guidelines "to achieve a clean burn and reduce smoke pollution," but not to take any other action at this time.

Earlier this month, Ron Patt of Highland Street told council that it should be doing more about the pollution caused by indoor furnaces including considering an ordinance to regulate them.

Monday night, Patt said he didn't see any reason why council wouldn't be thinking about an ordinance for indoor wood stoves the same as it has for outdoor wood stoves.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

January 27, 2010 (video)

Garage Destroyed by Fire

We believe this was an OWB inside of a Garage. The article does not indicate it, but the fact it was in a detached garage, and heating the whole house indicated it was most likely an OWB placed inside a garage. 

By Raegan Medgie

6:11 PM EST, January 27, 2010

A couple in Monroe County has no way to heat their home after their garage caught fire, destroying everything inside, including their furnace.

Flames roared out of a detached garage on Sebring Road, in Pocono Township. The garage is about 50 feet away from the home of Shirley and Ben Lentz.

At least five fire companies were called before 1 p.m. to help battle the raging flames.

"We just came home and pulled in the garage. I came in, he came in, he sat in the living room and watched television. Then, all of a sudden he yells 'Fire!' You can see out of the window, the flames coming up," said Shirley Lentz.

She said that's when her husband jumped into action, calling for help.

"Pretty soon he said 'Call 911!' I couldn't believe what I saw. The whole thing was engulfed," said Lentz.

Firefighters climbed through brush to douse the powerful flames.

Tanker trucks from surrounding fire companies helped supply water that was badly needed to fight the fire.

"At this point we were called in for a trash fire, which was a fully engulfed structure fire. At this point we have no idea what the cause is. I don't think anything suspicious at this time," said Pocono Township Fire Chief Mike Shay.

The garage is where the wood burning furnace was located.

It has also been destroyed.

That furnace was the main heating source to heat their home.

"It was his furnace room. He heated the house up with wood. The furnace was out there and came in here," said Lentz.

The Lentz's said now they will have to find another way to heat their home for the rest of the winter.

Copyright © 2010, WNEP-TV

Full Article/Video: CLICK HERE

January 26, 2010

Bill would restrict wood boilers

01:00 AM EST on Tuesday, January 26, 2010

By Peter B. Lord

Journal Environment Writer

 

Outdoor wood boilers in Rhode Island are finally facing some government restrictions.

The state Department of Environmental Management has proposed new regulations that would ban the sale of outdoor wood boilers that fail to meet the so-called Phase 2 emission standards established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. If approved, the rules would go into effect March 31.

Also, the House of Representatives is once again considering a law that would allow the DEM and municipalities to impose a broad range of measures to reduce the chances the stoves would create nuisances by spewing smoke onto neighbors’ properties.

Last year, a House committee heard impassioned testimony from Foster residents who said a neighbor’s outdoor wood boiler was polluting their property and making their lives miserable. The House passed a bill to regulate the boilers, but it died in the Senate. A similar bill is now under consideration.

Outdoor wood boilers are similar to wood stoves, but generally much larger. They are installed in outbuildings where they heat water that is piped underground to houses and businesses. High-end boilers burn relatively cleanly and efficiently. But some owners have been known to close the dampers so the stoves burn more slowly and create more pollutants. Some people have stuffed them with garbage and even tires.

The state DEM said last year it did not have the authority to regulate stove operations and locations without new legislation. But, Douglas McVay, acting chief of air resources at the DEM, says the agency believes it has the authority to regulate sales and installation of the stoves in Rhode Island.

The EPA voluntary regulations prohibit the sales of stoves unless they have been certified to emit 0.32 pounds of particulate matter per million British Thermal Units of output.

McVay said there was a concern because Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine have enacted the EPA restrictions. Rhode Island officials feared some manufacturers would empty their inventories of less-efficient stoves by selling them in Rhode Island.

State Rep. Raymond E. Gallison, Jr., D-Bristol, a cosponsor of the legislation, said he hoped to find a Senate sponsor of the bill this year to improve its chances of passage.

he new bill would prohibit the operation of the boilers between April 1 and Oct. 15, set tougher emission standards and establish certain parameters — stoves would have to be 100 feet from the nearest property and have stacks two feet taller than the roof of the building they are heating, as well as every other roof within 300 feet.

The bill would require municipal building officials to review installation applications. Local officials could also prohibit the boilers in certain zoning districts.

The DEM would require salespeople to notify buyers of the new regulations as well as lists of acceptable fuels.

The American Lung Association in Rhode Island has endorsed the bill. Molly Clark, manager of health promotion and public policy wrote: “Cases throughout New England have documented trespass of smoke from [outdoor wood boilers] on the property and lungs of neighbors, threatening their health and the use of their homes. If the pollutant trespassing was sewage, no one would question the need to stop the pollution. It is time that Rhode Island takes action.”

Full Article: CLICK HERE

January 26, 2010 (Canada)

Blast will be back in 2010 with new deal (OWBs Discussed)

Posted By RICHARD BEALES

Brantford- Canada:

ouncil has agreed to investigate the possibility of banning the use of outdoor wood boilers.

An operations and administration committee recommendation --to seek input from several municipal departments, review an Environment Canada report and model bylaw on health issues arising from the use of the appliances and any health risks that might emanate from them, and offer conclusions -- passed at Monday's council meeting.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

January 25, 2010

RI proposes tougher rules for outdoor wood boilers

3:27 PM Mon, Jan 25, 2010
Peter Lord  

The state Department of Environmental Management is proposing to ban the sale or installation of outdoor wood boilers in Rhode Island that fail to meet so-called Phase 2 emission standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

DEM is proposing the restrictions, according to a spokesman, because several nearby states have already passed similar measures and that might prompt some manufacturers to clean out their inventories by selling their less efficient boilers in Rhode Island.

Outdoor wood boilers are basically extra large wood stoves that are located in separate buildings. They heat water that is piped into houses and businesses for heat. Originally, they were a low-cost method to heat farm buildings. But complaints have grown as people in suburban neighborhoods install the stoves and the smoke annoys neighbors.

The General Assembly considered a bill last year to regulate installation of the boilers, but it failed to pass. It is considering a new bill this year that would empower DEM and municipal governments to regulate the location and installation of the boilers.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

January 24, 2010

Outdoor Furnaces Make Bad Neighbors

Tom Condon

January 24, 2010

Beth Terra invited her parents to Thanksgiving dinner at her home in New Hartford. But the folks couldn't stay — in fact, they all had to leave. The problem was acrid smoke from a neighbor's outdoor wood-burning furnace, or OWF.

Smoke seeped into the house. Her parents, in their 80s, couldn't handle it, nor could her 9-year-old son who has asthma. They ended up taking all the food and moving the whole dinner to her parents' home in Hartford.

"It smelled like burning plastic. Their eyes were burning. It was awful," she said. And it wasn't the first time she had been driven out of her house by the smoke.

Let's be sure we understand what we're talking about. These are NOT indoor wood stoves, most of which are certified by the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection and are fine. We are talking about an outdoor unit, a wood-fired boiler in a small, insulated shed with a smokestack. It heats water that is piped underground to a house or other building.

Terra said the neighbor, Philip Chatfield, installed the furnace two years ago. On some days, thick gray smoke wafts onto her property. She and her husband, a state trooper, have installed air exchangers and new windows, but she said the smoke still gets into their house.

Terra has called local officials and the state Department of Environmental Protection. "Mostly I've gotten a runaround," she said. The DEP did order a higher smokestack on Chatfield's outdoor furnace, but Terra says it hasn't made any difference. Chatfield declined comment, referring me to his DEP file.

These outdoor boilers started getting popular five or six years ago. In the past three years, the DEP has received about 700 complaints — 700 complaints! — about outdoor wood furnaces, said spokesman Dennis Schain. Many complainants say they are suffering from respiratory problems because of the smoke.

This is a public health emergency, nothing less. The legislature needs to ban these things before it gets any worse.

"This is so serious," said Nancy Alderman, president of Environment and Human Health Inc., one of the environmental groups trying to ban outdoor wood-burning furnaces.

In 2004, the DEP pushed to ban the devices. Instead, the agency got some rudimentary regulations. As of 2005, new units had to be more than 200 feet from the nearest house not served by the furnace, and the smokestack must be higher than the roof peak of any residence within 500 feet.

Also, smoke is supposed to meet certain opacity standards and not cross property lines at ground level "in any way that could diminish the health, safety or enjoyment of people using a building" or "create nuisance odors that cross a property line."

If these regulations were working, the complaints wouldn't be pouring in. For example, Chatfield's furnace is making Terra and her family miserable, but Chatfield's file indicates he is in compliance with the law.

One major problem is that DEP inspectors have to see a smoke violation to cite it and often can't get there in time. The department's bureau of air management, created to monitor industrial emissions, has only 10 inspectors. It's very hard for them to get to rural parts of the state on a timely basis. Assistant bureau chief Robert Girard said the department has been trying to ally with local health inspectors, thus far with limited success.

He said the department tries to follow up on all complaints — one unit in Brooklyn has been inspected nearly 50 times — but acknowledged "We are stretched very thin."

Are OWFs a health hazard?

Yes, says the DEP website. "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."

Wood smoke contains many of the same ingredients as cigarette smoke, and, not surprisingly, offers many of the same results. It can "increase adverse respiratory and cardiovascular symptoms" and is "associated with a diverse range of harmful health effects, including asthmatic sensitivity, lung illnesses and cancer," the DEP says.

The outdoor units are much worse than the indoor ones because their design causes fuel to burn incompletely and creates a lot of smoke. Though some newer units are better, the DEP says it knows of none on the market able to fully comply with state air quality standards.

Then they should be outlawed. I'm sure most people bought them not knowing how dangerous they are; maybe the state or the utility companies can help them convert to something else. Some owners have had the courtesy to convert on their own. Alderman said eight towns in the state have banned them, as has at least one state, Washington. Environmentalists and Attorney General Richard Blumenthal are pushing to ban them in Connecticut.

So is Beth Terra. She a health professional, a nurse in the open heart ICU at Hartford Hospital, and knows the health danger of wood smoke to her four childrenSo she's circulating a petition, has testified before the legislature, and has hired a lawyer. On Friday, the smoke was so bad that she again evacuated her home.

• Tom Condon can be reached at tcondon@courant.com.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

January 23, 2010 (Canada)

At the boiling point

Posted By RICHARD BEALES

When Susan Cornell moved to her Grand River Avenue home two years ago, she had never heard of outdoor wood boilers.

Now, she's urging city council to ban their use, claiming that the wood smoke from a unit operating at the house next door has been undermining her respiratory health on a chronic basis.

"I have made numerous visits to seek medical help," the 61-year-old retired school principal said during a recent visit to her home. "On two occasions I had to go to the emergency room for respiratory issues.

"I have bronchial asthma. So what happens with this problem, with my situation, when I am exposed to that smoke... I get very wheezy. My lungs ache and I get very congested and start coughing. Once, I had to be ventilated four times to get me breathing."

When council meets Monday, it will consider passing a resolution by Coun. Jennifer Kinneman that would require city officials from the building department, the environmental department, the fire department, the legal department and the Brant County Health Unit to review an Environment Canada report on the effects of wood smoke and outdoor boilers. They will be asked to provide council with their analysis, including a model bylaw.

Cornell has been monitoring the boiler's activity daily since last year.

"I'm recording direction, the amount of smoke and what my physical symptoms are as a result -and believe me, it's a direct correlation," she said. "And days that are good, I say they're good."

Since January 2009, she told the committee, she had documented 124 days of boiler activity, including "66 bad smoke days."

Problems such as those described by Cornell are recognized by health authorities, including the Ontario Lung Association.

"It definitely is a factor with some people," said Chris Haromy, a certified respiratory educator with the Lung Association. "As with any smoke, it can irritate the airways of someone with a lung condition."

Cornell is one such person. A cigarette smoker since her teens, her lung function has become compromised over the years. She is still addicted, she confessed, and smokes five cigarettes a day.

Smoking affects her respiration to some degree, she acknowledged. But it's not the major reason for her distress, said Cornell, adding that it is only the wood smoke which affects her health to such severe levels. The boiler operates throughout the fall and winter. When neighbours Kevin and Joanne Norris shut it off in the spring, Cornell's symptoms disappear.

"They know I smoke outside," Cornell said, "because they can see me. I never smoke in the house.

"Once that (boiler) stops burning I'm fine, whether I smoke five cigarettes a day or not."

Cornell is also a potter, who produces work in her groundfl oor studio. There is a potential for respiratory hazards there, too, she acknowledged, but said they aren't an issue in her case.

"I use all the safety equipment," she said, including an "industrial-sized air purifier right in my workplace."

She also wears a facemask with proper ventilators.

"And I keep the studio clean -- I do not do any glaze firings in this house. Only bisque firing."

Wood smoke produces "12 times as much wood fine particulate as certified wood stoves," said Cornell, quoting studies in her delegation to the committee.

"It's a big issue for some people," Haromy said. "It gets in their home and it can also get outside."

So how do they deal with it? "You can start with explaining to the neighbours," he said, "but that doesn't always work. And then you have to go to the level of local government."

Cornell said this is just the path she has taken. At first, she tried to convince the Norrises to remove the unit, to no avail.

"My first approach was to talk to the neighbours," she said.

"I've been doing that for a year and a half. Their response has been that they're saving money and they won't shut it down."

The Norrises were approached by The Expositor for detailed comment and indicated a willingness to talk, but had yet to return calls as of Friday afternoon. Joanne Norris indicated during a brief discussion that the couple has sought legal advice.

Cornell said she's "tried to stay friendly throughout this," but it has become a big issue now with involvement at the municipal level.

"I bought the house Jan. 2 (2008) and I did not see a wood boiler there at the time," she said. "I visited the house several times and didn't move in until March 13."

"On one of my visits after I bought the house, I noticed it. I asked the real estate agent, 'What's that?' And he said, 'I have no idea,' and there was smoke coming out of it. I bought the house not knowing that was going to happen, in good faith."

In the early days, the unit had a 10-foot stack; that was soon increased to 16 feet.

"From March 13, when I moved in, until May 31 of 2008, the smokestack was six feet lower than it is now," Cornell said. "The smoke was unbelievable."

Haromy said the Lung Association advises people to keep the process as clean as possible.

"It helps if the wood is burned at a high heat and is very clean," he said.

In this case, Cornell said, that guideline wasn't being observed.

"The wood was sitting outside and it was not dry and it wasn't cured," she claimed. "They admitted that."

Cornell said she arranged two 40-minute meetings with the Norrises in her home. She provided them with packages of information, drawn from the Internet, which outlined the harmful effects of wood smoke, and showed them pictures of the smoke wafting into her yard in huge clouds.

"They didn't care," she said. "I have tried everything I can to get them to stop in a friendly way. I didn't actually give up until the city (committee) meeting. She (Joanne Norris) was there and I was hoping... She listened to the report. The report was heard and the pictures were seen."

During her brief discussion with The Expositor, Joanne Norris expressed the view that, "Everything that was said at city (committee) is not true. I'm not a villain and there is another side to this story."

When neighbour-toneighbour talks did not bring the desired results, Cornell approached her ward representative, Kinneman, last spring. She mailed her the package of information on wood smoke she had uncovered, as well as a series of pictures of the smoke entering her yard in big clouds.

"As someone who already is allergic to wood smoke, when Susan called me I had a certain sense of empathy," Kinneman said.

"I was quite surprised to find there were no bylaws to address this."

Kinneman acknowledged that an outright ban might be difficult to achieve with a bylaw -and even if it is, it would be unlikely on past practice to be grandfathered.

"I also understand what the neighbours are trying to achieve," the councillor said. And as Coun. Mark Littell asked at the committee meeting, "Who would compensate them for the investment they put in the boiler?"

Cornell said she gets that point.

"But they've actually had it long enough now to have compensated their investment," she said. "And they can also sell the unit; it's only two or three years old.

"But who's going to compensate me for all my issues?"

Kinneman also involved Coun. Marguerite Ceschi-Smith in the discussion at this point. Ceschi-Smith, known for her pro-environmental stance in city issues, notes that several municipalities have bylaws limiting wood smoke production and wants Brantford to explore something similar.

"If there's a bylaw, then there's some mechanism that can make it such that these outdoor boilers wouldn't be allowed," she said. "I would hope that this (resolution is successful). I'm hoping it would and that we do have this discussion and work at it.

"Let's see where we are with things and what we can do."

A city building inspector and a fire department representative visited the Cornell and Norris properties shortly after Cornell's conversation with Kinneman, and concluded that the boiler was correctly installed.

Cornell said the building inspector told her Canadian sources were needed in her information package; most of what she had found were American documents.

"So I approached Health Canada, Environment Canada and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment," she said, as well as the Canadian Standards Association.

"They all responded to me. Basically every one of my responses sent me websites to go to.

"They said, 'Yes, we're aware of the health problems associated with those. We're doing testing in Nova Scotia, which won't be done for several years'."

So they advised her to seek a local political solution.

"Every one of them responded in that way."

Then, she contacted Taylor Manufacturing, the U.S. company that makes the boilers.

"Their response is, 'We're working with the EPA and we have no results at this time'.

"I do have an emissions rating of all the various wood boilers and the average was like 71 grams per hour, which is extremely high. That was the average of the worst to best in terms of toxins and fine particulates."

So, now, the ball is in the city's court.

"We have tried to stay friendly but at this point I can't be Mr. Nice Guy any more," Cornell said. "My health has to take precedence over money-saving. It has to. Anybody's health, not just mine."

Legal action is a possibility. "I told them a year ago if we

hadn't resolved it we'd have to go further," she said.

"I'm looking at a lot of different options and I'm not sure which direction I'm going to go. I feel hopeful from the city council meeting that the likelihood of a bylaw is quite high."

In the meantime, she's going to visit her sister in Phoenix for six weeks, beginning Feb. 18.

"I want to get better."

Full Article: CLICK HERE

January 22, 2010

PennFuture, GASP: Allegheny County Air Pollution Cleanup Plan Too Little, Too Late, Leaving Human Health Sacrifice Zone (OWBs mentioned)

Author : Breathe Easy, Stay Healthy

PITTSBURGH - (Business Wire) Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future (PennFuture) and the Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP) have filed objections to the air pollution cleanup plan proposed by the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) for the Liberty-Clairton area of the county. The plan, required by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and already overdue, must detail the steps the county will take to guarantee that air quality meets national fine particle health standards by this year. The failure to clean up this area is part of the reason the Pittsburgh region has been ranked dirtiest in the nation by the American Lung Association.

“The plan proposed by the Allegheny County Health Department fails to meet the basic test – it doesn’t result in clean and healthy air for the people living in the area,” said Charles McPhedran, chair of PennFuture’s law staff. “In fact, there will be at least 80 occupied homes in the human health sacrifice zone close to the Coke Plant where the air will not be safe to breathe.

“The plan also fails to meet the timetable the law requires,” continued McPhedran. “The plan itself is nearly two years late, and it delays cleanup until at least 2015. The plan relies, in part, on a voluntary agreement the county signed with US Steel without public notice, which allows the company to replace its outdated and dangerous coke batteries at a timetable chosen by the company. This is just too little cleanup, too late.”

“The county proposes pushing its deadline back five years. That’s five additional years the residents of the Mon Valley will have no choice but to breathe air we know for certain is unhealthy,” said Joe Osborne, GASP legal director.

“It is unlawful, as well as patently offensive, to sacrifice the health of families by exposing them to unsafe air,” said Dr. Joylette Portlock, PennFuture’s western Pennsylvania outreach coordinator. “We need a good clean air plan now, if we are to end Pittsburgh's dubious leadership in dirty and dangerous air pollution. And cutting our pollution will also benefit families and businesses downwind, in Westmoreland County and beyond.”

“We are pleased US Steel has agreed to replace its dangerous coke batteries, but it has to be done now, not later,” included Portlock. “We cannot allow another Mon Valley generation to live and die from poisoned air.”

Last summer, PennFuture, partnering with GASP and other local organizations, launched “Breathe Easy, Stay Healthy,” a comprehensive campaign to make Pittsburgh's air clean enough to meet federal health standards; hold polluters accountable by taking legal action where necessary; and work to make sure people understand how important it is to clean our air. As part of the campaign, PennFuture signed a court-enforced consent decree with FirstEnergy to clean up the dangerous air pollution from the company’s Bruce Mansfield coal power plant in Beaver County. Other actions include public education, supporting new state regulations to reduce air pollution from outdoor wood boilers and evaluating permits and compliance for major air pollution sources in the county. The Philadelphia Inquirer called PennFuture the “state’s leading environmental advocacy organization.”

The Group Against Smog and Pollution, Inc. (GASP) is a non-profit citizens’ group working for a healthy, sustainable environment. Founded in 1969, GASP has served as a watchdog, educator, litigator, and policy-maker on many environmental issues with a focus on air quality in southwestern Pennsylvania.

The PennFuture/GASP comments can be downloaded at http://www.pennfuture.org/userfiles10/ACHDCleanupPlanComments.pdf. Other organizations signing on to the comments include the American Lung Association in Pennsylvania, Clean Water Action, Environmental Integrity Project, Sierra Club Allegheny Group, and Sustainable Pittsburgh.

For Breathe Easy, Stay Healthy
Jeanne K. Clark (PennFuture), 412-258-6683 or 412-736-6092
or
Joe Osborne (GASP), 412-325-7382 or 617-909-8365

Full Article: CLICK HERE

January 21, 2010

Taking out the trash: Council weighs options for screening dumpsters (OWBs discussed)

By Peter Cox - Stillwater Gazette

Published: Thursday, January 21, 2010 2:30 PM CST

In other news….

Discussed how to address the issue of outdoor wood burners and boilers.

The council was given a list of how other cities have dealt with the issue, which has mostly been addressed through either nuisance ordinances or zoning changes.

Turnblad told the council that nuisance ordinances are the best way to prohibit them outright, and zoning changes are the best way to regulate them.

One area residence brought the issue to the forefront, and the homeowner went through all the proper channels with the city in order to use it.

Councilman Gag said he'd like to prohibit the burners/boilers, but he didn't want to punish someone who had taken the proper precautions and invested money

The council asked city staff to bring back some options on language for a nuisance ordinance amendment.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

January 20, 2010

Salem mulls limits on wood-fired boilers

BY DENEEN SMITHdsmith@kenoshanews.com

SALEM, WI — The Salem Town Board is seeking information on potential limits for outdoor wood boilers in town neighborhoods.

Chairman Linda Valentine said at a meeting Monday she was seeking information on the issue because Pleasant Prairie and Wheatland have had complaints about wood boilers.

“I am not about to say that we should have an ordinance that says we should ban them,” she said. But she said they may not be appropriate on smaller lots.

“I don’t think they should be in neighborhoods,” said Supervisor Patrick O’Connell. He said he did not think the boilers are a problem on larger properties in more rural areas of the town.

In some communities, residents have complained the wood boilers, used to heat homes and buildings, cause air quality problems because of the smoke they generate. Valentine said she has not received complaints in Salem.

Administrator Patrick Casey said the town would have to determine whether it could limit the use of the boilers on certain properties without creating a change in zoning, which would require approval of Kenosha County.

“That starts to become a zoning issue; I need to clarify whether we can do that,” Casey said.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

January 17, 2010

Trio of communities might offer insight into Fairbanks’ air pollution problem (OWBs mentioned)
by Amanda Bohman / abohman@newsminer.com
 

FAIRBANKS — The tiny town of Pinehurst, Idaho, sits in a valley and needed to do something about the pollution being caused by smoke from wood stoves.

So the federal government helped Pinehurst residents buy cleaner-burning wood stoves. The state government asked people to hold back voluntarily on wood burning when the air was dirty. The state also started promoting clean wood-burning practices.

The effort started about two years ago.

The result? The city reduced its air pollution enough to come into compliance with federal standards for the allowable level of microscopic particles known as PM 2.5.

 

Fairbanks continues to look for a solution to its air quality problem, caused in large part by the burning of wood to heat homes.

Cities across the nation must have a three-year particle average below

35.5 micrograms. Fairbanks’ latest average is 41, and a pollution-control plan is due to the Environmental Protection Agency in three years. Others cities, including Libby, Mont., and Juneau, also had particulate pollution brought on mainly by wood smoke. They took similar measures as Pinehurst and improved their air quality, but it wasn’t always easy.

Juneau and Libby ban wood burning when too much pollution is detected in the air.

Juneau banned wood burning in the Mendenhall Valley a dozen times last winter. Officials enforced the ban by issuing written warnings and tickets.

The public complained loudly in Libby the first time the ban went into effect there.

“Of course, there was resistance,” said county environmental health director Kathi Hooper. “When the air alert was called in October of 2008, people called our office. They called their elected officials, and a dozen or so people picketed at the courthouse one afternoon. I organized a public meeting a few weeks later to discuss the alert and air quality in general. Over 100 people attended, which is a pretty good turnout for

Libby.”

A wood stove trade association later supplied Libby residents with $1 million for low-income families to buy new wood stoves and stove pipes.

“What saved us is that we could offer people a free wood stove and installation,” Hooper said.

 

Pinehurst

An estimated 3,600 people live in Pinehurst’s air pollution district, which goes beyond city boundaries into the Silver Valley, said Mark Boyle, the regional air quality manager for the state of Idaho.

Federal oversight of particulate matter in the Silver Valley dates back to the late 1980s when the government began regulating slightly larger particles known as PM 10.

The EPA set tighter restrictions for PM 2.5 in 2006, and Pinehurst began its wood stove change-out program the next year, using money from the EPA. Limits also were put on open burning.

Forty households changed their old, dirty stoves for wood stoves certified by the federal government, Boyle said. Some people switched to oil.

In many cases, a subsidy of up to $1,000 paid for half the cost of a new stove, Boyle said.

State officials began encouraging people to burn only seasoned wood and to stop using smoldering fires at night.

“As soon as you damp it down, it’s starved for oxygen so you get incomplete combustion,” Boyle said. “That’s when there’s a lot of smoke.”

 

he state ran ads in newspapers offering tips on how to burn wood properly and save fuel.

“I think the biggest impact we had were the person-to-person contacts we had,” Boyle said.

Anyone who applied for the wood stove change-out subsidy met with officials who gave advice about the best wood-burning

practices.

“Most people were really surprised that banking your stove overnight and turning down the damper was not good for the air quality,” Boyle said.

Air quality advisories kept the issue in the forefront, he said, but Pinehurst also got lucky last winter with active weather patterns that kept the air moving.

Pinehurst had fewer voluntary wood-burning bans from October through December of last year than in the same time period in 2007 partly because of favorable weather.

“We had a lot of storms,” Boyle said.

 

Libby

Libby sits in a valley in the northwest corner of Montana, sandwiched between mountain ranges to the north and the south.

About 11,000 people in Libby and the surrounding area live in the air pollution control district, said Hooper, the county environmental health director.

“Wood is readily available here, and it is the only affordable heat source that is readily available here,” Hooper said.

Libby’s history with particulate pollution dates back to the 1980s with PM 10.

“We have terrible temperature inversions,” Hooper said.

But Libby is unique among the cities struggling to control PM 2.5. The Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association granted Libby area residents $1 million to pay for wood stoves and pipes for low-income families. That was in addition to grants provided by the federal government.

The change-out program spanned three years starting in 2005. Hooper said 1,200 wood stoves in the area were replaced with stoves certified by the EPA.

“We didn’t grandfather any in,” she said. “No non-certified devices are allowed at all.”

The county declares air alerts when no wood burning is allowed. One air alert was called last winter, Hooper said.

The county established a hot line that people can call to turn in anyone suspected of violating air quality laws.

Libby’s pollution control program focused on education. The county sponsored wood stove fairs, burn-smart events and public meetings. The local government advertised proper wood burning tips on the radio and in newspapers.

Eventually, air pollution was cut from a three-year average of 41 micrograms of particulate matter per cubic meter of air to 34.

A small percent of the PM 2.5 pollution came from cars and trucks.

“Since wood smoke was by far the main contributor, no other causes were addressed,” Hooper said.

Juneau

About 15,000 people live in Juneau’s smoke hazard area in the Mendenhall Valley, said city lands and resources manager Heather Marlow.

The city began dealing with particulate pollution by addressing PM 10 in the 1980s, she said. Residents were told they had five years to upgrade their wood stoves on their own dime, and many people did. Some installed oil or pellet stoves, Marlow said.

The city also developed a system of air alerts, during which only residents with EPA-certified stoves could burn wood, and air emergencies, when no one in the Mendenhall Valley could burn wood.

The valley eventually reduced its air pollution so when PM 2.5 became a problem, officials knew what to do.

“The public, they were aware of the issue and they were aware that our previous approach had been a real solution,” Marlow said.

As it stands, open burning is prohibited in the Mendenhall Valley during the winter. The city calls an air quality emergency when PM 2.5 levels are unhealthy.

An average of two air quality emergencies per month were called last winter.

Juneau also enforces its wood-burning suspensions. The city issued 150 written warnings and two tickets last winter, Marlow said.

She considers the program a success.

“I think the key to our success is people knew there was an issue. If we had to start this last year for the first time, there would have been quite a different reaction.”

Fairbanks

Fairbanks’ pollution control zone stretches from the Tanana River to the Goldstream Valley and from North Pole to the Old Nenana Highway. An estimated 83,000 people live in the boundaries, said Glenn Miller, air quality director for the Fairbanks North Star Borough.

Municipal leaders began laying the groundwork for a pollution-control plan soon after the EPA announced it would toughen its standards for PM 2.5.

One of the first things they did was set out to learn what was causing the air pollution. They examined the filters on pollution-collecting devices set throughout Fairbanks and North Pole.

Three reviews from three laboratories point to wood smoke as the biggest single contributor to air pollution, Miller said. Emissions from coal burning and combustible engines also are believed to be contributing to the PM 2.5 in Fairbanks, although by how much is unknown.

A few other things happened:

• Last year, the borough began asking people to cease wood burning voluntarily on days when the air quality exceeds federal standards.

• The Fairbanks City Council enacted an ordinance last summer temporarily prohibiting residents from installing hydronic heaters, also known as outdoor wood and coal boilers, which are believed to be a major contributor to air pollution.


• The Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly called for a vote on the October ballot as to whether residents want a pollution-control program run by the state or the municipality. Fifty-three percent of the voters chose the municipality.

• Also last summer, the assembly discussed pollution control ideas, including regulating wood stoves, that were put forth by the previous borough mayor. The measures were put on hold after public outcry from wood burners fearful the municipality would seek a broad ban on wood stoves.

• The air pollution control commission last month endorsed a clean air proposal from a grassroots group advocating a variety of measures aimed at helping people with wood stoves burn wood cleaner and more efficiently.

• The Borough Assembly last week approved an agreement with the state making the borough the lead agency to deal with air pollution.

State officials have said the state will implement a plan if the municipality balks.

If no one addresses air pollution here, according to a September opinion from a borough-hired law firm in Washington, D.C., federal assistance to the municipality and to the state would be put in jeopardy.

Miller thinks the borough should start tackling the problem immediately by launching an educational effort to promote clean and efficient wood burning practices. Borough Mayor Luke Hopkins said he agrees.

“It’s up to the Borough Assembly,” Miller said. “I think if there were a public education component already in existence, it would already be helping our air quality.”

Miller said the municipality could be offering information on how to find dry wood, how to store wood and how to use moisture-content meters to gauge whether firewood has been seasoned properly.

The borough could establish a hot line to answer questions about proper wood burning, Miller said.

The municipality could adopt some of the measures that have been done in Pinehurst, Libby and Juneau, such as wood-burning suspensions or a wood stove change-out program.

“We have access to grant money that we could be using for a variety of different programs,” Miller said.

At least $250,000 is available from the federal government, he said.

Hopkins plans to introduce a pollution control plan by the end of winter, he said.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

January 16, 2010

Fairbanks assembly works with state on air quality issue (OWBs mentioned)
WOOD STOVES: Low temperatures prevent escape of pollutants.
 
Published: 01/16/10  12:47 am   |   Updated: 01/16/10  12:47 am
 

FAIRBANKS -- The Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly approved an agreement with the state that designates the borough as the lead agency in the effort to clear the polluted winter sky.

Smoke from inefficient wood stoves is believed to be the No. 1 contributor to the problem that has put Fairbanks on the federal Environmental Protection Agency's list of communities violating fine particle pollution standards. Frequent winter temperature inversions in the Tanana Valley keep the pollution from scattering into the atmosphere.

Borough Mayor Luke Hopkins said he will introduce an air-quality plan in the coming months. He provided few hints about what the blueprint will contain, but said it will have an education component.

"We are discussing the plan now in the administration," Hopkins said. "We need to get moving on this."

Though talk of regulating wood burning caused a backlash last summer, there was little debate before Thursday's assembly vote. Only a handful of people testified and most were in favor.

Jerry Koerner of North Pole described for the panel how air pollution has soured neighborhood strolls with his wife.

"We were breathing through our jackets, trying to keep the pollution from getting into our lungs," Koerner said.

Meanwhile, former Assemblyman Mike Prax said something must be done to persuade wood burners to use seasoned or dried firewood. "We really need to focus on voluntary efforts to address our wood-smoke problem," he said.

From caption: 

"Ice fog envelops downtown Fairbanks earlier this month. The popularity of heating with wood stoves and outdoor wood boilers that are belching small particles into the air is forcing residents on some days to breathe some of the unhealthiest air in the nation. Frequent winter temperature inversions in the Tanana Valley keep the pollution from scattering into the atmosphere."

Full Article: CLICK HERE

January 15, 2010

Meeting Matters: Moreau Town Board

Meeting

* Moreau Town Board, Tuesday night

Top story

* A public hearing on a proposed local law governing the use of outdoor hydronic heaters will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 9 at the town offices. The Town Board has held a series of workshop meetings over the past year to determine how best to regulate the heaters. There was a brief discussion by board members and Supervisor Preston Jenkins over the best way to inform the public about the meeting. Jenkins said a letter to the owners of the heaters would suffice. But Councilman Tom Cumm said the town should notify everyone of the meeting. It was determined that an advertisement would placed in the newspaper to aid in informing the public about the meeting. The law, if approved by the Town Board, would take effect upon filing with the state's secretary of state.

Full Article:  CLICK HERE

January 14, 2010

City's new outdoor wood burner ordinance has restrictions

By Joel Stottrup

The city of Princeton has a new ordinance that allows the installation of outdoor wood burners (OWB) by interim use permits and only within a specific zone or zones.

The ordinance, which the city council passed at its Dec. 22 meeting, is designed so that any new OWBs could only be placed, for instance, in an agricultural zone. The idea is to not have it in a high density area.

OWBs, which are also known as solid fuel-fired heating devices, are intended to heat a principal structure or another accessory structure, under the new ordinance.

Mayor Jeremy Riddle and fellow council members agreed that if an area of the city, with low density housing such as an ag zone, should get developed into high density then the use of OWBs in that location would be prohibited.

The ordinance calls the use of an OWB a nonconforming use, thus the reason for the interim use permit. Any existing OWBs in the city prior to the ordinance enactment are grandfathered in. However the ordinance states they would not be allowed to be “extended, enlarged or expanded.”

Furthermore, when the useful life of these preexisting OWBs has elapsed or the OWB would need to be repaired to function properly, the unit would not be allowed to be replaced. Its use must then be terminated and the OWB removed from the property “immediately” under the ordinance.

The city building inspector, zoning administrator, fire chief, police chief and their designees or designated officials will be responsible for enforcing it.

Princeton City Administrator Mark Karnowski had brought up the subject for discussion this past Oct. 22, saying he had been noticing a lot of e-mail messages from officials in various cities raising concerns about OWBs. Their concern is the health effect of the smoke from OWBs, especially when they are used in high density residential areas.

Council members were unsure just what to do when first discussing it. Council member Lee Steinbrecher, for instance, worried that the city could be taking away some individual rights if it banned OWBs in the city.

The council took the matter up again on Nov. 19, council member Paul Whitcomb wondering if an ordinance could be passed that would restrict OWBs by zoning. Paul Dove, attorney with the city’s consulting attorney firm, Dove, Fretland & VanValkenburg, who was at the meeting, said he thought that would be possible.

The new ordinance states that the city needs to protect the public health and that “wood smoke may be hazardous to an individual’s health and may affect the health of the general public when they are involuntarily exposed to the presence of wood smoke.”

The ordinance also states that wood smoke may be a significant hazard particularly for children, the elderly and people with cardiovascular disease or impaired respiratory functions.

OWBs do not include outdoor grills, fire rings, fireplaces or interior natural gas-fired fireplace logs, or wood-burning fireplaces, wood stoves or similar devices located in the interior of a dwelling.

The council had introduced the ordinance as a first reading at a previous meeting.

The planning commission will still have to conduct a public hearing in order to amend its zoning ordinance. The amendment would be for adding the use of OWBs as an interim permit in areas of the city zoned for agricultural use. The proposed amendment would also adopt the standards for installation of OWBs and identify specific identifiable conditions whereby the interim use permit would be terminated.

The planning commission would then, once approving an amendment, recommend it to the council for passage.

Karnowski told the council that since the discussion began, he received phone calls from people from as far away as Illinois who produce OWB products. Even they talked about the difficulty of using setbacks and chimney heights as a way to allow OWBs in high-density housing, Karnowski said.

It’s pretty much reasonable where it makes sense that OWBs can be used and not used, Karnowski continued.

The reason for having an interim use permit rather than a conditional use permit (CUP) is that CUPs can continue even when the property changes ownership, Karnowski noted. Interim use permits, in contrast, are only good up until an identifiable point, he explained.

That identifiable point will be in the zoning amendment that the planning commission comes up with, Karnowski noted.

Council member Victoria Hallin said she had been concerned about a situation where an OWB has been installed and then there is a housing development that results in a home being located right next to the OWB.

The conditions for the interim permit would be spelled out so it could automatically expire if another home is located within a certain distance of the OWB, Karnowski responded.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

January 14, 2010

Wood-Burning Blamed for Poor Air in Fairbanks (OWBs mentioned)

By: Steve Brawn

Story Created: Jan 14, 2010 at 4:49 PM AKST

You might expect pollution problems in big cities like Los Angeles or New York. But Fairbanks?

Federal environmental officials say Alaska's second largest city is right up there on the list of cities violating fine particle pollution standards.

In Fairbanks, officials say the problem is due in part to wood stoves and outdoor boilers belching small particles into the air. That's forcing residents to breathe some of the worse air in the nation.

The city has three years to take corrective action to get off that list or risk losing federal money. The borough assembly on Thursday will decide if locals come up with that game plan or leave it to the state.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

January 13, 2010

Wood-burning blamed for poor air in Fairbanks (OWBs discussed)

By MARY PEMBERTON / Associated Press Writer

Published: January 13th, 2010 04:34 PM

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - On winter days when the air is still and Fairbanks area residents fire up their wood stoves and outdoor boilers, Alaska's second largest city becomes entombed in a shroud of pollution.

The problem is due in part to wood stoves and outdoor boilers that belch out small particles, forcing residents to breathe some of the unhealthiest air in the nation. The borough's air problem can become acute during a temperature inversion, when cold air near the ground is trapped by warmer air on top.

"It traps everything near the ground," said Glenn Miller, transportation director for the Fairbanks North Star Borough who oversees air quality.

The state's lack of affordable heat has forced residents to pay $5,000 to $10,000 to heat their homes, so many turned to the old standby - wood heat.

"They are doing it because they can't afford anything else," Miller said.

The borough assembly on Thursday will vote on whether residents can come up with a plan to get the Fairbanks area off the Environmental Protection Agency's list of communities violating fine particle pollution standards, or leave it to the state. Fairbanks shares the list with much larger cities such as Los Angeles, Philadelphia and New York.

The state has less than three years to submit an implementation plan to the EPA or risk losing federal money.

Two summers ago, William Tilton's neighbors in North Pole installed an outdoor boiler. Tilton's flock of 40 pigeons began dying that winter.

The problem is "what smells like fumes from coal-burning moves through my property on a regular basis, especially when it gets cold," said Tilton, 65.

He blames the outdoor boiler and the large pile of coal stored under a tarp, and wishes they could go back to using oil for heat.

The borough, which has about 98,000 residents, has been collecting data on particulates from five sites in a federally-designated non-attainment area for pollution. About 85,000 people live in the non-attainment area. It shows that old wood stoves and outdoor boilers are the biggest offenders.

But the borough is looking at other sources, including the burning of used motor oil for heat, oil furnaces; diesel-powered trucks, planes and locomotives; and coal-fired power plants.

Exposure to particulate pollution increases the risks of chronic bronchitis and decreased lung function. It also can shorten lives for people with heart or lung disease.

In 2006, the Environmental Protection Agency cut the acceptable level of particulates nearly in half, from 65 micrograms per cubic meter to 35 micrograms. From late December to early January, Fairbanks exceeded the limit for particulates on 11 consecutive days.

The problem appears to be getting worse, Miller said.

About 17 percent of the area's 35,000 households use some amount of wood to heat their homes, said John Davies with the Cold Climate Housing Research Center in Fairbanks. He estimates that about 12,000 wood stoves and about 500 outdoor boilers are in use.

Miller said that when the price of home-heating fuel increased, wood-fired boilers were shipped up from the Lower 48 where some states banned them. The older-style boilers come with a water jacket around the fire chamber that prevents the wood from burning completely, increasing pollution output.

"Half the wood you put in there goes up the stack," Davies said.

Some people who burn wood also underestimate the amount needed to heat their homes for the winter and run out of wood they stacked in the summer. They then burn wet, green wood, which emits far more pollution and heats less efficiently. Many also burn coal in the boilers, or pallets and construction debris, or even garbage.

"You have a lot of folks out there who have never burned wood before. They don't know what they are doing," Miller said.

North Pole resident Jerry Koerner said outdoor boilers are forcing him to adopt an indoor lifestyle.

"It is starting to affect our health," said Koerner, 54, who blames his raspy voice on breathing the pungent fumes from the boilers near his home. He and his wife used to enjoy taking a two-mile walk near their home. Last week, he found himself breathing through his jacket. His wife used her scarf.

"We have lots and lots of complaints from individuals who live next to these people who have outdoor wood boilers," Miller said. "They are literally smoking them out of their houses."

Full Article: CLICK HERE

January 12, 2010

Smoke chokes out Wyoming neighborhood

Resident complains about wood boiler

by Mark Nicklawske

Regional Editor

Published: Tuesday, January 12, 2010 6:14 PM CST

WYOMING - Wood boiler smoke continues to plague a west side neighborhood and has at least one resident calling for the city to establish an ordinance addressing the practice.

The Wyoming City Council heard a complaint Jan. 5 from Everton Circle resident Arnie Lahd regarding smoke from a wood boiler operated by a neighbor and its impact on his home. Lahd said the smoke is an ongoing problem during the winter heating season.

“I’m choking on smoke inside my own home,” said Lahd. “Do I have the right to clean air inside my home?

Lahd said a neighbor uses a wood boiler for home heating. The smoke from the boiler is exhausted through a chimney, but because the home is located in a hollow the smoke never clears the area.

The Lahd home and three others are located in an area above the wood boiler and are impacted by the smoke.

“It lingers around our home,” he said. “I gotta sit in my home and choke at night.”

Wyoming Building Official Fred Weck said the smoke generated by wood boilers may be covered in the city nuisance ordinances. He said the ordinance governs smoke, odors and air pollution.

Weck said he has discussed the issue with the owner of the wood boiler.

“He intends to raise the stack above his home as soon as weather will allow,” said Weck.

Lahd estimated the smoke stack is currently about 20 feet tall. He said the stack would have to be 50 to 60 feet tall to effectively remove smoke from the hollow.

A city ordinance should be in place to specifically address wood boilers, said Lahd. He said the practice is becoming more popular and could easily impact other Wyoming neighborhoods.

“We’ll keep working on it,” said Mayor Sheldon Anderson.

The city of Forest Lake passed new wood boiler rules in 2007.

According to the Forest Lake ordinance, outdoor wood boilers may not be operated from April 1 to Oct. 1. A boiler must have a smokestack at least two feet higher than the roof line of the home it serves, and cannot be installed closer than 300 feet to any neighboring residence. A provision was also added to allowing wood boiler operation in rural residential and agricultural areas only.

Existing boilers were exempt from the zoning provision and the 300-foot set back requirement.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

January 9, 2010

Outdoor furnace hearing Wed.

Written by: Staff, Endeavor News, PA

Turnout is expected to be good for a public hearing in Coudersport next week on a controversial proposal for state regulation of outside wood-burning furnaces.

Some believe the regulations are an overreach by the state government and should be left in the hands of townships and boroughs. Others argue that the statewide standards are necessary to protect their health and eliminate a nuisance.

The State Environmental Quality Board has extended its public comment period and scheduled a hearing for 6 pm on Wednesday, 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. 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

January 7, 2010

City Council elects new president (OWBs mentioned)

By Arthur Foulkes
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE The Terre Haute City Council elected Neil Garrison, D-5th, president of the council at a special meeting Thursday night in City Hall. Garrison replaces Todd Nation, D-4th, who served as president for the past two years. Councilman John Mullican, D-6th, was elected vice president.

The council also heard Thursday from City Engineer Chuck Ennis, who spoke in support of an ordinance to restrict the use of outdoor wood or coal-fired furnaces or boilers.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

January 7, 2010

Sandy Creek public hearing to consider outdoor boilers

By SARAH HAASE

TIMES STAFF WRITER

THURSDAY, JANUARY 7, 2010

SANDY CREEK — The village will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. Jan. 12 on a law that would restrict construction, installation and operation of outdoor wood-burning boilers.

"We're not trying to ban them, just trying to get control of them," Mayor Grant J. Rohr-moser said.

A wood-burning boiler is an outdoor home heating system that circulates heated water into the home through pipes.

In some parts of the village, houses are so close together that visibility would be hindered by the amount of smoke released through the boilers' short smokestacks, Mr. Rohrmoser said.

"If everyone put one on their property, you wouldn't be able to see down the road," he said.

Mr. Rohrmoser said the village has no regulations regarding the boilers.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency has a set of standards for boiler use, such as burning only wood, not cardboard or trash.

Mr. Rohrmoser said that if the local law passes, the village will enlist help from the EPA to uphold the new standards.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

January 7, 2010

New Lake Placid land-use code is ready for public hearing (OWBs discussed)

By CHRIS KNIGHT, Enterprise Senior Staff Writer

LAKE PLACID - The new land-use code for the village of Lake Placid and town of North Elba has been tweaked based on public input and a meeting with town and village officials last fall. The head of the Technical Steering Committee that's been working on the project for the last four years says the new code is now ready to go to public hearing.

"The committee feels we're more than ready," Dean Dietrich told the village Board of Trustees Monday night. "We hope to go forward with the public hearing process and hope the village and town boards feel the same way."

Dietrich outlined the changes and edits that have been made to the code since the latest draft was released for public comment in September.

Another revision to the land-use code spells out the definition of the term "outdoor wood boiler" by using the state Department of Environmental Conservation's wood boiler definition.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

January 6, 2010 (opinion)

Burn it right— (OWBs mentioned)


Published: Wednesday, January 6, 2010 1:56 PM CST
To the editor

As stated in a prior letter, seasoned wood is vital for a smokeless burn. However to achieve the cleanest burn, there are additional guidelines.

Choose the right size stove. A stove that is too large for a room or house will need to be dampered down too far. This wastes a precious resource and causes more air pollution.

Begin with a quick, hot start. Open the draft to maximum and start the fire with newspaper and seasoned kindling. As the kindling burns, add small pieces of firewood followed by larger pieces until the fire is bright and hot. When at home, maintain a smaller hot fire at all times. When asleep or at work, do not let the fire smoulder. Damper somewhat but allow the fire to burn hot. Your house will gain more heat and air pollution will be minimized. Your fire can be returned to peak burn quickly with seasoned kindling.


Keep your chimney clean to provide a good draft and to reduce the risk of a chimney fire. If you own a Phase 2 stove or boiler and burn seasoned wood, you will never have to clean your chimney. These stoves and boilers burn most of the poisonous particulate that would otherwise coat your chimney walls or pour out on the neighbors!

There are numerous important reasons for urgency in eliminating preventable wood smoke.

 The American Lung, Heart and Cancer Associations state that wood smoke is as dangerous as second hand cigarette smoke.

• Presidents Bush and Obama and Governor Rendell have all agreed that lowering air pollution is a top priority.

• Pennsylvania has the 3rd dirtiest air in the nation, so we will be facing additional health consequences!

• Many residents have endured their neighbor’s wood smoke for years!


• More residents are beginning to use wood to heat their homes, so our pollution problem could increase!

There are many things we can each do to improve this situation, from installing more insulation in our homes to petitioning our borough council to enforce their outdoor wood boiler ordinance and create an indoor wood stove and fireplace ordinance.

Ron Patt

Wellsboro

Full Article: CLICK HERE

January 6, 2010

Ban sought on outdoor wood furnaces

Published: Wednesday, January 6, 2010

By Randall Beach, Register Staff

The president of a local environmental group is pressing state legislators to support her organization’s call for a law banning outdoor wood-burning furnaces and adding the words “wood smoke” to the state Public Health Nuisance Code.

Nancy Alderman of North Haven, who heads Environment and Human Health Inc., is optimistic both proposals will win passage during the legislative session that begins next month.

Alderman said adding “wood smoke” to the nuisance code would protect any residents receiving wood smoke in their homes from neighbors.

The sources would include outdoor pits or burners, indoor stoves or even outdoor brush-burning.

“It would cover anything that enters somebody’s house from a neighbor on a continual basis,” she said.

If such a law existed, she noted, local health departments could order the offending neighbor to stop burning.

Last April this legislative proposal passed the Public Health Committee by a large margin but was defeated in the Environment Committee.

Alderman said it failed because state health officials mistakenly believed a case in the Trumbull-Monroe health district made the proposed law unnecessary.

A health officer there had issued a cease and desist order against a burner and the order was upheld by the state Department of Public Health. But Alderman said state officials later learned the new legal precedent merely meant local health officials “may” issue such orders but don’t have to do so.

Alderman said if the proposal became law, local health officials would be mandated to issue such orders against burners who are affecting their neighbors.

Alderman plans to meet next Monday with the co-chairmen of the state Public Health Committee to encourage them to support the nuisance language for wood smoke.

“Wood smoke is harmful when breathed on a continual basis,” Alderman said in her group’s legislative agenda for 2010. “If exposures are long enough and high enough, they will cause bronchitis, pneumonia and in some cases even permanent lung damage.”

Alderman has already met with the co-chairmen of the state Environment Committee about the proposed ban on outdoor wood-burning furnaces and is “very hopeful” that it, too, will win passage.

She noted state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and the American Lung Association have called on the General Assembly to ban outdoor furnaces.

They already are prohibited in four Connecticut towns: Granby, Tolland, Hebron and Ridgefield.

In a recent New Haven Register Op-Ed, Alderman defined an outdoor wood-burning furnace as a small, insulated shed with a short smokestack. It burns wood that heats water that is sent through underground pipes to heat a home or building.

She noted they emit smoke 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Their dense smoke endangers the health of nearby neighbors, she said.

Her group has collected testimonials from families who have been harmed by wood smoke. One of the statements came from Robert G. Johnson of West Haven. He said he suffered asthma attacks and bronchial spasms as a result of wood-burning smoke that came from a chimney near Johnson’s home.

Johnson, who described himself as a 68-year-old asthmatic with hypertension, said his neighbor has stopped burning the wood “for now.”

Randall Beach can be reached at rbeach@nhregister.com or 203-789-5766.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

January 5, 2010

Air quality disclaimer helps clarify warnings (OWBs mentioned)

by Dermot Cole

The borough has improved its air quality advisories by adding an important disclaimer.

The disclaimer notes that the “unhealthy” readings that have become commonplace in Fairbanks this winter are based on monitors in the urban area of Fairbanks and in North Pole. The best evidence, which includes data gathered every day from a monitoring vehicle that travels throughout the community, is that the high levels of particulate pollution are found from the base of Chena Ridge and the airport to Hamilton Acres and Fort Wainwright, as well as in much of the North Pole area.

There is a sensor downtown on the roof of the state building. But that is not the only pollution measuring device.

There are also sensors in North Pole,  at a temporary site near the airport, next to the borough building and at the transportation office on Peger Road. The North Pole equipment, at North Pole Elementary School, usually shows a higher reading than the levels downtown when the air is cold. There is also a vehicle equipped with a monitoring device that is on the road most days that takes air pollution readings and pinpoints them by time and site, with a GPS.

If one of these monitors shows a great disparity, the borough takes that into account with its air analysis, said Jim Conner, the scientist who is the air quality specialist for the borough.

But a couple of hundred feet above the valley floor, the pollution levels drop dramatically. 

So, when there is an air quality advisory for everyone to limit or avoid “prolonged exertion,” as there is today and has been for many days this winter, that does not hold for many neighborhoods in the borough that are above the valley floor.

Our legislators, our governor, our local elected officials and our university should make this a higher priority because it is a threat to the public health and to the economy. The cost of cleaning up the air should be a factor in the discussion about energy supplies for the community. 

Another complicating factor in issuing advisories is that even at higher elevations there can be localized problems, especially if there are multiple outdoor wood boilers on which the air intake is  held to a minimum, the stack is too low and the fuel is green wood.

At a minimum, the borough needs real-time monitors in various places and equipment that can display the readings to the public, like the signs that flash the time and temperature. These displays could help people understand the nature of the problem.

The first necessary step toward a local response to the particulate pollution is a revised memorandum of understanding between the borough and the state. Borough voters approved a measure in October to develop a local plan and the borough assembly and the borough administration should move ahead.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

January 4, 2010 (Canada)

Fire guts Manilla-area wood shop (OWB the cause)

Posted By Jason Bain, Lindsay Post Managing Editor

MARIPOSA TWP. - Fire officials believe a $140,000 blaze that gutted a wood shop at a farm north of Manilla Saturday night was ignited by a boiler on the side of the building.

The blaze was first spotted by a public works vehicle driving past the shop on Skyline Rd. between Simcoe St. and County Road 46, said Kawartha Lakes Fire Rescue Service Assistant Chief Mark Pankhurst.

Firefighters were first called about 10:25 p.m. from halls in Oakwood, Little Britain and Woodville but because of the frigid temperatures, more support was quickly called in.

Conditions such as the less than minus 20 degrees Celsius felt Saturday night wreak havoc on firefighting equipment and apparatus, even causing hoses to freeze and pumps to cease, Pankhurst said.

"It was just brutal," he said, noting how the windchill made it feel much colder than what the mercury showed.

Crews from divisions in Ops, Cameron, Lindsay and Janetville helped shuttle water to the scene while support vehicles were also brought in from halls in Fenelon Falls and Burnt River.

The blaze was brought under control within in a couple of hours after crews were able to open up one side of the building to get at where much of the fire was concentrated in the mezzanine, Pankhurst said.

A wood-fuelled boiler used to heat the shop on the outside of the building is the suspected source of the blaze, Pankhurst said Monday after completing the investigation Sunday.

Insured damage was estimated by fire officials at $75,000 to the building and $65,000 to its contents.

The approximately 2,400 square foot (223 square metre) structure was used mostly for storage, Pankhurst said.

He asked everyone to be extra cognizant of fire safety when there are extreme temperatures because the fire service always sees heating and cooling systems are stressed.

Full Article: CLICK HERE

January 1, 2010

NANCY ALDERMAN: Ban needed on outdoor wood boilers

Published: Friday, January 1, 2010 2:11 AM EST

By NANCY ALDERMAN, Special to The Press

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 has 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 ConnecticutGranby, 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 it.

 

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, 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

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