The state of Utah has completed a proposed revision to regulations of outdoor wood boilers that sought to balance the interest of its main stakeholders: families that have boilers and their neighbors and the interests of the state to reduce particulates in non-attainment areas.
The core of the regulation proposes that new installations of boilers not be allowed in Utah’s non-attainment areas except for families who currently own an outdoor boiler, who can replace it in the future with a Phase 2 unit. In the attainment areas, Phase 2 wood units can be installed provided they meet setback rules.
The Alliance for Green Heat supports the proposed regulations and has commented and provided expertise to the state. The Alliance notes that the non-attainment areas are mainly the more densely populated areas of the state around the largest cities – Salt Lake City, West Valley City and Provo - where demand for outdoor boilers is lowest and health implications are highest. In the rural areas, Phase 2 units would be allowed. The maps below show the correlation between population density and the non-attainment areas.
In response to the first proposed regulations, Central Boiler argued that the “rule lacks scientific support and would unfairly prohibit Utah residents from purchasing and using clean-burning wood furnaces.” A main thrust of Central Boilers argument is that Phase 2 boilers “are cleaner than EPA certified wood stoves.” Specifically they claim that “average emissions for a Phase 2 OHH are 77% less than those from EPA-Certified woodstoves.” The full submission by Central Boiler can be found here.The Alliance for Green Heat supports regulations in all states that would only allow the installation of Phase 2 outdoor boilers and setbacks or other regulations, like the Utah ones, that prevent their installation in densely inhabited areas. “The main problem with Phase 2 wood boilers is certainly not how they operate in the lab using dry crib wood,” said John Ackerly, the Alliance’s President. “The problem is that their often oversized fireboxes are too frequently loaded with large, un-split and unseasoned logs. With wood stoves, the fireboxes are much smaller and the wood is much more likely to be split and seasoned better,” Ackerly added.
The main elements of Utah’s proposed revisions have been made public but still have to go through Air Quality Board. Some of the details will only be public in November during the public comment period for the revised rule. Click here for an overview of state outdoor boiler regulations.
Below is a statement released by Utah:
“The public comment period for the proposed ban on outdoor wood boiler rule has elicited significant level of comments, some very emotional ones. The public comment process is designed to gain information and seek public input into rulemaking. We have learned that there are a good number of individuals who reside in areas where alternate fuel sources are limited or that those sources are more expensive than wood burning. In response to this public outpouring, we have consulted with wood burning experts at EPA, other states and the two primary national industry associations in order to formulate an alternative rule that will attain our air quality objective and permit future use of boilers under controlled conditions. The elements of the revised proposed rule are:
- A prohibition on certain fuels.
- Setback and stack height requirements.
- Visible emission standards that are identical to the ones for wood stoves that have been regulated for many years.
- Labeling requirements for new boilers.
- In attainment areas only: future sale of only Phase 2 complaint or pellet boilers.
- In nonattainment areas, anyone wishing to replace an existing unit must: register the existing unit with DAQ and replace it with only Phase 2 complaint or pellet boilers. No new sales will be allowed after March 1, 2013.
- All boilers in all areas must now comply with the air alert day ban on burning unless units are registered as sole source of heat.”