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NYS DEC Part 247 Regulations

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by Awillard, May 29, 2010.

  1. Awillard

    Awillard New Member

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    The NYSDEC is proposing regulations that will significantly hamper the use of outdoor wood boilers, which by the text of the regulations don't necessarily have to be outdoor, burn wood, or even have to be a boiler! This is there second step in prohibiting the burning of wood in New York State. The first was an ban on the open burning of garbage (a good thing) that even put into affect within the regulation how big a campfire could be (no more than 3')! We have started an online petition for New York residents to show their frustration of the DEC at: http://www.petitiononline.com/deckerhe/petition.html
    Please take a moment to sign before wood burning is banned in New York!
    Link to DEC Regs: http://www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/64459.html

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  2. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Having just attended a biomass conference which was attended by many representing NY State agencies and orgs, I would find it very hard to believe that the above accusation about banning wood burning has even a grain of truth to it.

    http://www.powernaturally.org/programs/BiomassResources/default.asp?i=2
    http://www.newyorkbiomass.org/

    More likely, it seems you are complaining about the desire of the public and legislators to burn wood in the most efficient manner possible and with the least pollution. That seems to be the target of the new regs...which I happen to agree with (just like you agree with the garbage ban...and I do too).

    Why not just present your accurate case instead of trying to scare folks into thinking there is some kind of plot here? The facts seem to show that NY State as whole is extremely interested in increasing the energy they get from biomass, as opposed to doing away with it.

    Make no mistake about it, Andrew - the entire concept of Outdoor Wood Boilers was created by the manufacturers specifically to drive their trucks (and bank accounts) through loopholes in the laws and code concerning everything from boiler safety and construction to EPA standards. Setting bad examples of inefficient wood burning seems like the REAL way to get wood burning banned.

    Those of us in the industry see a future when millions more in the Northeast burn biomass - and this is a future that cannot exist with high pollution devices.
  3. Awillard

    Awillard New Member

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    My complaints, as well as those from many others, come from the way the DEC is approaching the subject of outdoor wood boilers. I have no problem; in fact encourage the development of ways to use biomass as an energy source, and in more efficient ways. I have several issues with the proposed regulations. One is stack height. The DEC proposes chimneys be the grater of 18 feet or 2 feet above any structure within 150 feet. For our home this would be a 36' chimney. I realize that chimney height has resolved complaints in populated areas, but I live in a very rural area. Our closest neighbor is ~750' away, and our second closest is ~2000' away. There is no need for a higher chimney on our unit. A neighboring far would be forced to 82' of chimney due to the location of his silo, considered a structure by the DEC. The DEC is also proposing setbacks from property lines and neighboring residences that speak just like local zoning regulations. Zoning and land use regulations should be left up to the local municipalities. Next is the proposed phase out of existing units. Their proposal is that once a unit hits 10 years from the date of manufacture, it mush be taken out of service and scrapped. Why not let existing units run out their useful life. If fact, the way the regulation is written, a EPA Phase II unit installed before April 14, 2011 could only be used for 10 years. Lastly is the wide scope of the regulation but the total lack of addressing any indoor furnace. If someone installs a non-outdoor boiler system in a garage or shed to keep bark, ashes, dust, etc. out of their home, it falls under the regulations. The standing joke about the regulation is that it’s the outdoor wood boiler regulation for units that aren't necessary outdoor, don't necessarily burn wood (pellets, corn, coal, and other biomass are included), and don't even have to be a boiler. I've spoken to one of the regional DEC Air Quality representatives regarding the new biomass boiler that was recently installed at a local school. This boiler uses some of the newest gasification technology to burn biomass to heat the school. According to the representative, the school will be able to run the boiler for at least next winter, but due to the 1000' setback from any school in the regulation, most likely the boiler will have to be shut down.

    Most people I've spoken with locally are just saying that the DEC can't do what they are proposing, but the DEC has shown in many past cases that they can and will. To some degree, a lot of people need a rude wake up call!
  4. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Ok, so you are proposing that we sign a petition put up by a guy who is a large Central Boiler dealer and put out a vast number of units? And you are telling us he (and/or you) have no axe to grind?

    And you are starting that since many tens of millions of dollars were made and pollution was generated by intentionally skirting regulations....that is a reason why it should be allowed to go on much longer than what is deemed fair for the environment and the general population (tens of millions) of NY State?

    Fine. I respect your opinion, but I hear different ones from my friends and cohorts in the biomass industry. They are unhappy about the bad PR and reputation given to biomass by those who skirt the intention of the regs which have been in place for 20+ years.....not withstanding the boiler construction regs which have been in existence for about 150+ years.

    It sounds like some parts of the regs need modified or changed, and hopefully that will happen.
  5. Awillard

    Awillard New Member

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    Does it make sense to thow away a car that is only 3 years old simply because the the warranty on some cars only lasts 3 years. Go ahead, I'd like to see someone scrap a 3 year old BMW or Jag just because it didn't have the latest and greatest emmisions. Yes a local Cenral Boiler dealer set up the web based petition, but I know of several Garn and Ahona units that will have to shut down and scrapped due to these new regulations. And yes I do own and operate a Central Boiler unit and burn only clean dry seasoned wood that i've cut myself. Our boiler does not smoke out the neighborhood (or our yard) like others would presume it does. As far as efficency, it love someone to prove to me that there would be a significant improvement if I switched to gasifier as I now only burn 12-14 face cord of wood (depending upon the winter) to heat our 30x40 two story home. I believe we must devlop and use better technologies, and I welcome the transition to these technologies, but you cannot mandate the instant transition to these technologies the instant they are developed. We've proven that solar power is much better environmentally than coal fired plants, but we havent shut down all the coal plants yet!
  6. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Not an apt comparison to a BMW, my friend.

    Remember, we are talking about units which were built specifically to skirt regulations. So this would be like you building a bunch of cars that did not meet emissions or safety standards, selling them and making millions, and then telling the authorities that you should be able to use them forever...

    Again, you are welcome to your opinion, but I can't help but think you have more irons in this fire than just being a lone owner. Of course, I've been wrong before and I will be wrong again.

    The transition to cleaner burning, BTW, started in the USA in about 1985 - that is 25 years ago. How long do you wish to take to have them implemented?
  7. Awillard

    Awillard New Member

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    There has been great advances in cleaning up diesel engines and in safety features for agricultural tractors and construction equipment in the last 25 years also. I don't know about your area, but there are plently of over 25 John Deere Tractors and even more pieces of CAT equipment of the same age operated on a regular basis in this neck of the woods. And you are correct in saying I'm more than a lone owner - i've had to deal with the DEC and their envioromental regulations for my entire career as a civil and environmental engineer. This just happens to be the proverbial straw.
  8. leaddog

    leaddog Minister of Fire

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    I have to agree that OWB's can be a problem. That said I don't see where the GOV is really trying to fix it. Any time the GOV gets involved they tend to write up a bunch of reg's that favor some special interest group and make matters worse. You have to realise that the wood boiler group is a small group and there is no money there. The oil, propane, elect, industry don't WANT wood boilers period and that includes the heating and plumbing people. That is where the money is.
    The bio-mass industry has done a terrible job in educating people about clean burning and even letting people know there is such a thing as gasification. You can rail all day on the OWB industry about making dirty burners BUT they did see a market and DID fill that market and DID reach people that need a cheaper way to heat their homes. If the Tarms, eko's, garn's, etc had reached out and let people know they were out there maybe there would have been alot less of the dirty ones burning. Here in Michigan hardly NO ONE has even heard about gasification. But at every fair, flee market, roadside, newspaper, local celebration, there is a OWB display and salesman showing people how great a OWB is. Two years ago here you couldn't FIND ANY dealer for ANY gasification boiler in the state. The ONLY info was on the net. The bio-mass industry needs to go to school at Central Boiler and learn how to market and stop railing on how dirty they are. If you let people know they have a better product they will buy and you won't have to have a bunch of self serving regs wrote up by a bunch of unknowing people that have no knowledge of what they are writing. There is more knowledge HERE than in the whole EPA and state gov agencies combined.
    The other problem I see with the gov getting involved more is the industry people that really know bio-mass are overseas and they want NOTHING to do with all our stupid regulations. We can't get any of the GOOD boilers over here because our state and federal gov has passed stupid regs that vary from district to district and were put into place to protect special interests. LIKE asme, ul, home owners installing there own water heater, pex pipe. Yes even a few years ago the plumbing people got regs inplace where pvc, pex etc couldn't be used because anyone could install it and they didn't want that. Elect codes, building codes, plumbing codes, and yes even heating codes are really designed to protect special interests under the IDEA of protecting the people. Money talks and untill the bio-mass people get enough clout we will not progress here but they can start by educating the heating and cooling industry. I go to shows all the time and talk to heating contrators and most don't have a clue about gasification boilers. they haven't seen one, heard about them, and think they are just OWB's. That is a compleat failure on the part of the bio-mass industry. I think I've informed more people here in my small world than the industy in the state and I'm not the most informed person as all I've learned has been from this site. If I had not found this site I would have been back burning an OWB and would have sent my eko to china to be made into steel for a central boiler. So rail all you want about CB but they know how to market and maybe they might get smart and just buy up one of the overseas co. and they will take over the bio-mass industy.
    leaddog
    leaddog
  9. leaddog

    leaddog Minister of Fire

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    Another example of zoning and gov regs being written is in the solar area. You can get vac. tube waterheaters from china for about the same price as an on demand gas or elect water heater. But because it has to be installed by a licened PRO and the make-up it will cost several Thousands. Now the GOV says they are promoting solar by giving rebates etc but all they are doing is keeping the price sky high so no one will put it in. There is no good reason that every house doesn't have solar DHW in MOST of the US except the Elect co., gas, propane, oil co's DON"T want that. Just think how much elect, gas, propane, oil would be saved if the GOV was serious. But think how much the coal, oil, elect, propane indusry would do to keep that from happening. Bio-mass and solar is not going to happen for a long time I'm afraid.
    leaddog
  10. Donl

    Donl Feeling the Heat

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    Very well said Leaddog!
  11. Frozen Canuck

    Frozen Canuck Minister of Fire

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    Sadly have to agree with you leaddog.

    I have over the years become more & more aware of the difficulty in getting our building codes changed for the good.

    There are literally hundreds of examples in the building industry where changes that groups of pro's have pushed for, to improve how we build homes have been shelved, or outright rejected.

    In almost every case it can be tracked back to an interested group (vinyl siding & asphalt shingle industry) are huge culprits when it comes to changes in the fire codes for example, as both of these products fuel & help spread fires from home to home esp. in dense housing which btw is the majority of homes.

    The result is from the time I started in the trades, we have gone from losing 1-3 homes in a residential fire in the city to a point where we now can lose half a block or more if wheather is against you as well.

    Can't see how this serves anyone other than the interest groups. Who btw paid in advance for this service in the form of political contibutions. There is the root of the problem. Change that first then we can start to change the rest.
  12. EricV

    EricV Feeling the Heat

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    There's the rub. This is a beef with DEC more than the OWB's alone.

    Sounds like you have a history of environmental issues with DEC.

    Stack height and set backs aside what gives you the right to pollute the air that me and my family breath with a device that was made to skirt every regulation out there? You have no right to pollute the air in the manner your OWB does.

    Your petition is a joke, talking about rights. We the people have a right to clean air just like everyone else. One right you do have is to your opinion and I respect that right, but you have no right to delibritly pollute the air others breath
  13. leaddog

    leaddog Minister of Fire

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    The problem is not that every one shouldn't want clean burning it is that the gov is making regs that don't solve and help the problems. They are passing regs that will stop people from burning clean boilers and if they burn wood will put dirty furnaces inside their homes. Then more homes will burn down and trust me a burning home puts out more dirt than a OWB will in it's life time.
    There are boilers that burn clean but are being lumped in with all other boilers or the regs are being written for a few with special tests so only they will pass because of there design. None of the Europian boilers and the garn will pass and they burn cleaner. If the gov wants to promote clean burning they will help the bio-mass industry promote clean burning and people will buy a good product. Right now they are just trying to shut down wood burning.
    Now as far as other people polluting the air: cars, trucks, trains, planes, elect plants, steel mills, factories, and one of the great polluters of all gas emiting from the rear end of every living thing is messing up the air I breath. Now we have moved most of the factories over to China, being forced into smaller cars, now that Sen. K has passed on we're going to put in a few wind mills to ruin all your east coast view, dumping a few gal of oil on the beaches, burning up the great wild west, we are going to solve the biggest source of pollution of all. Shut down those boilers and burn more high priced oil. Maybe if we save some of that beach sand you all will be happy. By burning it it will make heat and turn it into some pretty glass so we all can look thru rose collored glasses. I'm sorry but if they want to fix the problem then set down and look at the problem and come up with a solution that helps. First off they have to see if there is a real problem and then they have to understand what can work and learn about the technology that is out there. It's really nice and easy to say put up a stack 100ft high, but it's shown that that adds to the problem and causes more problems. Stupid people that won't learn will make even more stupid problems. Sorry I'm not politically correct but I'm getting very sick of how our gov is working. We have lots of problem and they are NOT FIXing anything, just making more problems.
    leaddog
  14. goosegunner

    goosegunner Minister of Fire

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    Maybe all the burners should be shut down and every one use solar only. That would eliminate even more pollution.

    gg
  15. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Well, you know it's funny - a car today puts out maybe 1/50th the pollution of a car from a car 40 years ago....some even less than that.
    They are also many times safer in a crash. Yet many of the same folks are always complaining about all those government regs which caused that to happen. Tell you this much - I'd have at least one dead child if it was not for those government auto safety standards. Many of you probably would also...

    Public health is a big issue. You cannot look at it in the typical "aw shucks" common sense fashion, because it covers tens of millions of people and involved science which you cannot see with your eyes (pollutants).

    Someone above mentioned the poor job of selling the public on clean burning biomass. Well, I would say that the poor job is because of what a lot of the public and the officials see and hear - that is the smoky OWBs! They have held the headlines with hundreds of news stories - all negative - each year for the last number of years.

    I can't state whether the OP burns his OWB clean - it is surely possible to burn one cleaner than another, although it is impossible to burn one (non-epa) at a decent total efficiency.

    In any case, it is high time in this country to finally stop doing things at very low efficiencies - we simply cannot afford to waste the resources nor produce the extra pollution. Unfortunately, people do not respond to "please" as a way to change behavior, so both government regulations and manufacturers cooperation and R&D are needed.

    Those who want to continue living in the stone age will find a way to do so as long as possible......as mentioned above, the problem is the loophole that these makers drove a train though.......now it must be closed.
  16. leaddog

    leaddog Minister of Fire

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    I don't disagree but what the regs are saying even the tarm won't pass. the garn won't and no other boiler that I know of that has really clean burning. So how can you be for what is happening. It's a big farce. The OWB people didn't just go out and make the market. the market was there for the taking. The OWB filled a need for a easy, low cost way for people to heat there homes and other buildings. Now make a boiler that does this that is clean and market it and people will buy it. It's easy to bash them so why not do what they did and beat them at the game.
    leaddog
  17. jason elmer

    jason elmer Member

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    I think there are people out there who are very zealous and have a zero tolerance for any activity they do not like. There are also people who hate the human species and consider us to be the equivalent of roaches and want to return the earth to a pre-civilization state.

    It is my estimation that the US has reached and passed the population carrying capacity for freedom. Thats the big reason I wish we could reduce immigration legal and illegal. Limits on what you can or cannot do are only going to increase as the population increases. And it seems most of my fellow countrymen are only too happy to give up their freedoms for security whether it be food, healthcare, employment... you name it.

    Much is made about the increases in asthma. This is puzzling because our air quality has improved markedly in the past 30 years. Sometimes I wonder if we as a population are less healthy because advances in medicine has saved (prolonged) many young lives and these people grow up and tend to be more fragile ie. the runts that used to die now survive in a somewhat weakened state. However I believe we should save lives as much as possible as it is the morally right thing to do.

    Back to smoke issues. Our forefathers would be surprised to see us argue about these little amounts of smoke. In my state at the time of settlement. There was a continuous haze for years caused by slash fires, forest fires, brush clearing, field burning, and wood heat in homes (non gasification). Our cities were choked with smoke from burning coal, the buildings were streaked with black soot. Trees were hard to grow in cities and many died. Botanists brought in tree of heaven from China because it could survive the pollution. There was so much smoke that navigation on the Great Lakes was severely impacted regularly. Many shipwrecks occurred due to poor visibility from smoke. As recently as the 1950's acid fog was killing people in London. We have come a long ways from those conditions.

    Nature has always produced a lot of smoke. Wildfires were once common across vast areas prior to settlement in North America. Large areas that could support forest were actually savanna and prairie. These were maintained by frequent fires both natural and set by natives.

    Recently a forest fire broke out in northern Michigan consuming about 4500 acres of forest mostly jack pine. How much smoke did that create? I'm not sure but I was about fifty miles away from it and it looked like a thunderhead. Jack pine is a fire prone species. It is designed to burn frequently. That's how it regenerates. In fact our very own government burns thousands of acres of the stuff all the time to create and maintain habitat for the endangered Kirtland's warbler. The Kirtland's warbler requires young jack pine to nest and needs at least 80 acres for each pair. For a bird to need these uncommon conditions in present day Michigan means that the forest burned a lot more before we got here.

    That being said I believe we should be good stewards of the land, water, and air, and burn wood as responsibly as possible. But be realistic we will never totally eliminate all smoke nor should we try. It is natural! Four hundred million people living in the United States is not!
  18. shagy

    shagy New Member

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    I sure can not believe the pettiness of some. Who cares who put out this petition. That person at least has not buried his or her head in the sand.This resolution states all wood burning devices not in a building inhabited by humans is considered a outside boiler. Thus unless it passes Phase 2 testing it falls into the 10 yr throw away clause.Being naive and believing the DEC will just over look your favorite furnace will get ya no where.We all can argue the indoor outdoor crap another time. If you live in NY sign it. Everyone will benefit
  19. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Are you talking about Catholics, Muslims or folks who don't like to smell acrid smoke hanging over their valley?
  20. Awillard

    Awillard New Member

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    Shaggy - you hit it right on the head with"This resolution states all wood burning devices not in a building inhabited by humans is considered a outside boiler" Even if the boiler passes Phase II, if it is installed by April 14, 2011, the boiler falls under the 10 year rule. B the way, just what would happen to the EKO, Tarn, Garn, or any other gasifier with a 40' stack anyway. This is what Garn said about the matter: http://garn.com/content/stacks.aspx

    By the way - our next boiler will be a gasifier and it will not be in our house!
  21. shagy

    shagy New Member

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    Cute dog! stupid quote... you do not get it. These people care if it comes from your garn campfire or your fireplace
  22. EricV

    EricV Feeling the Heat

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    I talked to one of the Citizen Participation Specialists at DEC about this. He said the best way to get this adjusted, and I don't disagree there is room for improvement, is to right up our concerns in a non emotional clearly written statement. He said the proper people will look at them and consider the data we input. I think he's right, educations seems to be a common thread here. We have all learned a great deal about our own systems from our own experiences and from the experiences and expertise of others here. If we share this information in a non emotional, non combative, informational manor we may get some of our education to work for us.

    Just my 2 cents.
  23. jason elmer

    jason elmer Member

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    Actually I was referring to the fringe environmentalist movement. But I do agree there are zealots of all races, religions, creeds, and political persuasions.

    The key point is that most legislation is poorly written by our political class which in my opinion seldom even grasp what it is they are drafting. Politicians of both parties tend to be lazy, self serving, incompetent, or worse corrupt. The outdoor boiler issue is one that can, should, and has been addressed at the local level of government. Some areas that have issues with smoke accumulation such a valleys and low pockets can and should draft tighter regulations as should areas with higher housing density. Making them illegal in very rural areas is not a pressing issue. What they are doing is casting a wide net at the state level that snares much cleaner gasification units and this is not the answer. Getting the New York state budget under control should be priority one for Albany, outlawing wood boilers is inconsequential in comparison.

    Does anyone have any data on the number of outdoor boilers in New York state? My guess is there are thousands but in the grand scheme of things most are probably located in rural areas where timber is abundant and homes are scarce. Quite simply the number of people heating with wood just isn't that large. As a percentage of total air pollution emitted statewide I would guess they comprise less than 1% of statewide emissions. Once again a local issue not a statewide problem.

    Now would I own a smoke dragon? No way! But this is America folks and unless the pollution from these units can be scientifically proven to cause SIGNIFICANT PUBLIC HEALTH ISSUES they should be legal. And as I mentioned above regulations should be crafted at the local level. Better to use a scalpel than a meat cleaver.

    In the long run the market place will determine the winning design and I believe the modern wood gasification boiler will win. If gassers get lumped in with the smoke dragons in the proposed legislation they will disappear from the marketplace as well. Classic unintended consequences of well intentioned legislation, happens all the time.
  24. lawandorder

    lawandorder Member

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    The part about not inhabited by humans etc.... deals with non indoor rated units. I believe the language is designed to prevent outdoor boilers from being installed into an out building or garage in an attempt to bypass the regulations that they intend on passing. If you have an indoor unit that is installed indoors is still an indoor unit, and an outdoor unit installed indoors is still an outdoor unit...
  25. Donl

    Donl Feeling the Heat

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    I hear what you, and it makes sense in what you are saying. However, in reality they do in fact treat indoor and outdoor boilers the same when they are installed in an outbuilding.

    In the jurisdiction I live in the definition they use clearly defines an indoor boiler located in an uninhabited outbuilding as being an Outdoor Boiler. It does not make any sense to me and when I have talked to the powers to be, they could care less.

    Government can be a big mean uncaring machine. Most people are to apathetic to demand respect from their Governments!

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