UPDATE! On June 8, 2013 Allegheny County gave final passage to stricter rules on OWBs in the county. Read the rule highlights here: http://www.achd.net/woodboilers/index.html
Outdoor Wood-Fired Boilers, or OWBs, are causing severe problems for many communities. These devices emit large amounts of particulate matter, and municipalities nationwide struggle with how to best regulate them. Almost 20% of the primary PM2.5 produced in Allegheny County comes from residential wood burning (learn more here, p. 12). On October 2, 2010, the PA DEP’s new OWB regulations came into effect. Click here to download GASP’s OWB fact sheet to give you a quick reference guide to the state law, or here to read the full text of the law. Click here to let GASP guide you through a webinar about wood smoke and the new OWB rules.
GASP believes these state regulations are not strong enough to fully protect human health. Bear in mind that your own municipality can craft stronger laws than the state’s regulation, as Allegheny County did. Some areas, like the state of Washington, have banned OWBs altogether. Please contact GASP for more information if you wish to pursue this in your municipality.
Philip R.S. Johnson, a senior officer with the Heinz Endowments’ Environment Program, recently discussed here the limitations inherent in some traditional regulatory approaches to OWBs.