2009 June 24: RI: OWB suggested regulations by RIFCA Rhode Islanders for Clean Air

2009 June 24: RI: OWB suggested regulations by RIFCA Rhode Islanders for Clean Air

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Outdoor Hydronic Heaters (Wood Boilers) in Rhode Island

This information is from Rhode Islanders for Clean Air (rifca08@yahoo.com)
RE: RI House of Representatives Legislation:  H 5218 Outdoor Hydronic Heaters, commonly known as wood boilers
As anticipated our legislature will try to vote this bill out of committee in hopes of it getting passed on the house floor by the end of the session.   The hearing is for Thursday June 25th,2009, at the rise of the house (aprox 4:30).  If everyone has done their part and contacted their representative it should not pass the floor.  Obviously we need to stop it in committee.  If everyone can please show their support and come to the hearing.  Below is a list of what the bill must contain:
The most important is a limit on the amount of Particulate a boiler can emit measured in   GRAMS PER HR.  The bill currently only allows for a reduction to .32 lbs. mm/ btu This allows the device to emit anywhere from 18 to 71 grams per hr.  (a woodstove emits 4 ½ ) The Nescaum model rule (which assists states in regulating OWB’s) limits the boilers to 15 grams per hr. The EPA, Nescaum, the department of health and all of us living and breathing OUR air want a limit of particulate matter  measured in grams per hr.

Why are the committee members listening to the Boiler manufactures?
The heating season –  The Nescaum model rule states the boilers should only be operated during the heating season. October 15th to April 1st.  The boiler owners will fight this and try to settle on only a 3 mo. shut down during June, July & Aug.  Currently the bill has no language on heating season.
Nuisance – The bill needs language about Nuisance.  No matter what the laws say.   If one of these boilers is creating a nuisance it should be shut down.
An application should be submitted before a permit is issued. The application must include a site plan prepared by a licensed  Land Surveyor or Professional Engineer and show both the vertical and horizontal control measurements required by these regulations, indicating proposed boiler location in relation to all buildings on site and all neighboring residences on all abutting properties showing there structures & swimming pools together with distances to all roads adjacent to the proposed site, and distances from boiler to woods, brush, and flammable structures.   Plan must include prevailing wind direction.
Topography needs to be looked at when the permit is pulled. If someone is in a valley or a neighbor is directly down wind the permit must be denied.  Possibly make them submit a topographical map.
Set back from property lines – If they don’t reduce the particulate to 15 grams per hr. or less then they will be allowing someone to put one of these things 50 ft. off your property line.    It should be as far as you can get, don’t reduce the set backs 50 ft just because it is only 10 times more particulate than a woodstove
Set back from any daycare or school retirement community should be minimum 2,500 ft.
Installed units – All installed and existing units within the state that do not meet the applicable emission limits shall be removed from the properties or rendered permanently inoperable   This is an option from the Nescaum model rule.  The EPA supports this option.  Owners of all existing boilers shall have thirty (30) days from the effective date of these regulations to apply for a permit.  They shall have an additional thirty (30) days after the date of the permit application to bring the OWB into full compliance with these regulations.   OR     create setbacks of 500 ft. from any property line.
Fact sheet – Prior to purchase they must be provided the laws and fact sheet (such as CT.)
Only residential units should be allowed in any residential setting. No commercial size units.
Units can only be installed by Licensed Installers, who must post a bond.
Stack Height –  should be 5 ft .higher than the roof of any building within 300 ft including the building it serves.
Ashes – There needs to be a place to bring the ashes.. Due to the incomplete combustion of the fuel (the wood) there are volatile compounds in the ashes.  These are being dumped here & there & everywhere.  If you have a high water table like in Foster then it is only a matter of time before these compounds are in your water.  There is no difference in dumping fuel, oil or anti freeze, in your yard.
The OWB can never be used as the primary heat source.
Violations – Whether it be a nuisance complaint or someone burning in the off season or what ever.  They need to be dealt with, the same as if someone was committing a crime.  Not the building official going out there 2 days later.
A moratorium –  This will stop more of these devices from being installed while the legislation is drafted.   It gives the committee time to think.
For further information, see  Outdoor Wood Burner Flyer and  Model Regulation Outdoor Hydronic Heaters [by the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM)]
Also see www.nescaum.org

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