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New rules for wood stove owners in Placer County?



      In an effort to reduce particulate-matter emissions from wood stoves and other wood-burning appliances, the Placer County Air Pollution Control District is considering requiring that any wood-burning appliance installed in new construction be a model that has been certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 

      In addition, the District is considering requiring that non-certified, free-standing wood stoves be replaced, rendered inoperable, or removed when properties are sold. The District is proposing to delay enforcing this condition for four years. In the meantime, it would offer incentives for residents to upgrade non-certified appliances with models that meet EPA Phase II standards.

      The District is not considering wood-burning restrictions or bans on burning during nights when the air quality is poor.  Instead, it is proposing an approach aimed at phasing out the use of old appliances that do not meet EPA standards.

      The proposed rule amendments seek to make the public aware of the economic and health benefits associated with certified appliances, and to require the most efficient technologies available when appliances are sold or installed.

      The District's Board of Directors will consider adopting the proposed rule amendments at a public hearing, which will take place at 2:30 pm. on Dec. 13 in the Board of Supervisors Chambers, located at 175 Fulweiler Ave., in Auburn.

      District staff will hold two public workshops on Monday, Nov. 19 to discuss the proposed rule changes. The first will be held from 3:30 to 5 p.m. and the second from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

      Both workshops will take place in the Cypress Room at the headquarters of the county Community Development Resource Agency, 3091 County Center Drive. The headquarters building is located in the DeWitt Center in North Auburn near the intersection of Bell Road and Richardson Drive.

      The District already has held multiple workshops on its proposed rule amendments, and has incorporated some of the feedback it received into the latest version of the draft rule.

      The District's existing wood burning appliance rule currently applies to the Squaw Valley area only.  Smoke impacts however, have local as well as regional impacts, which is why the District is proposing to expand the rule to be County-wide.  

      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.  Smoke from wood-burning appliances such as fireplaces, wood stoves, and inserts can also be a neighborhood nuisance when not operated properly or when they are not EPA-certified models.

      Certified appliances can improve heating efficiency by 80 percent. That means fewer trips to the wood pile on cold rainy days, and fuel-cost savings.

      Most of the old non-certified wood-burning appliances now in use were installed before EPA introduced its current certification standards in 1992. 

     Local wood-stove retailers have been primarily selling EPA-certified wood stoves for years. Certified appliances can easily be identified by a label located on the back that states they have been certified by the EPA.

      Along with the proposed amendments, the District plans to offer a County-wide wood stove incentive program. The incentive program will begin in 2008.  Residents considering upgrading an open hearth fireplace by adding an insert, or an old non-certified wood stove should seriously consider taking advantage of the upcoming incentive program. Details will be available on the District's website early next year. 

      For more information on the District's proposed rule amendments, go to www.placer.ca.gov/apcd. The available information includes answers to frequently asked questions, the proposed draft rule, and staff report. 

      Written comments may be submitted through Nov. 30 by e-mail to hkuklo@placer.ca.gov  or by fax at (530) 745-2373.

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