The Placer County Air Pollution Control District’s Board of Directors on Thurs., Dec. 13, 2007, approved amendments to existing regulation that will primarily require that all wood burning appliances installed in residential and commercial development meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Phase II certification standards, or equivalent.
The amendments to the District’s existing Rule 225, which was initially adopted in 1986 to address localized particulate matter issues in the Squaw Valley area, are part of a drive by the District to reduce particulate emissions from wood stoves and other wood-burning appliances, and will be enforced countywide.
The amended rule prohibits the sale and installation of wood-burning appliances that are not EPA Phase II certified, or equivalent. The rule also prohibits the installation of non-certified wood-burning appliances – such as an uncontrolled open-hearth fireplace – in new construction beginning on Jan. 1, 2009 and in existing developments beginning on Jan. 1, 2012.
An open-hearth fireplace design that demonstrates equivalency of emissions with the EPA Phase II standard will continue to be acceptable in new construction but building plans will need to reflect this design and may be subject to further review to ensure compliance with the standard.
Non-certified free standing wood stoves will need to be rendered inoperable when properties are sold, beginning on Jan. 1, 2012.
The new regulations are expected to reduce particulate emissions by an estimated 21 tons by the end of 2012.
The district is not banning in-home residential wood-burning during nights when the air quality is poor, nor is it requiring fireplace retrofits when properties are sold.
“The Board’s approval of this new rule will provide significant public health benefits to Placer County residents,” said Tom Christofk, Placer County Air Pollution Control Officer. “We expect to see measurable improvements in air quality in the winter as a result of these changes.”
To help county residents comply with the new requirements, the District will offer rebates for upgrades of non-certified appliances, such as non-certified wood stoves and fireplaces, to stoves, inserts and other devices that meet EPA Phase II standards. The program will be launched in the first half of 2008. More information on this upcoming program will be available at the PCAPCD Web site at www.placer.ca.gov/apcd.
Wood-burning appliances account for approximately half of all particulate matter emissions generated in the winter, or about 6.5 tons of emissions daily within Placer County. Wood smoke can lodge deep in the lungs, contributing to cancer and lung diseases, especially in small children and the elderly.
Certified appliances can improve heating efficiency by up to 80 percent. Many of the old non-certified wood-burning appliances now in use were installed before EPA introduced its current certification standards in 1992.