2010 March 25: OH Columbus: Wood-fired boilers worry (Ohio) EPA

2010 March 25: OH Columbus: Wood-fired boilers worry (Ohio) EPA
Agency wants statewide rules on types of fuel
Thursday,  March 25, 2010 2:54 AM
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.
mferenchik@dispatch.com

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