2011 Oct. 25: OH Lakewood: Public Safety Committee Moves Forward on Wood-Burning Furnace Ban

Public Safety Committee Moves Forward on Wood-Burning Furnace Ban

Public Safety Committee Moves Forward on Wood-Burning Furnace Ban
And unlike wood-burning fireplaces, boilers often run in excess of 12 hours a the approval of the outdoor furnaces, which is set to expire in November.
City Council could pass the ordinance at its Nov. 7 meeting.

Lakewood City Council‘s Public Safety Committee voted Monday to move legislation regulating the three known wood-fired boilers in the city out of committee at city hall.
In addition to banning any new boilers in the city, the updated legislation would:

  • set the legal burning season as Nov. 1 through April 30;
  • establish no-burn days during the season when the Air Quality Index is unhealthy or very unhealthy to the general public;
  • define acceptable solid fuel source as “clean, seasoned wood”

“The intent throughout this has been to ensure that there is some advisory wording within this (legislation),” Ward III Councilman Shawn Juris said. “I hope that, as you’re looking to burn, you would be considering these same things.”
Law Director Kevin Butler said the city would base no-burn days on the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinated Agency’s Air Quality Index, but he doesn’t expect to use it.
“In the past 10 years, there has rarely been a day that falls into the burn season that has been deemed unhealthy or very unhealthy for the general population,” he said. “Those days typically occur during the summer.”
Butler also said days outside the burning season when the temperature reaches 50 degrees or less would be exempt.
The embattled piece of legislation has been passed between council and committee since July, and the new ordinance will be read at the Nov. 7 council meeting.
“We’re doing our best to create legislation that is fair, but also pretty strong in regulating the use of these boilers,” said Councilwoman Monique Smith, who chairs the committee.
The boilers operate like most other hot-water-based boiler systems, except that the heat is generated through burning wood as opposed to traditional gas. And unlike wood-burning fireplaces, boilers often run in excess of 12 hours a day, resulting in much higher carbon dioxide emissions.
Juris proposed the original ordinance in January after neighbors of three Lakewood homes — on Merl Avenue, Manor Park Avenue and Waterbury Road — filed complaints.
Fears over air pollution — along with health concerns — fueled a nine-month moratorium on the approval of the outdoor furnaces, which is set to expire in November.
Dan Nubert, of Ramona Avenue, lives adjacent to the wood-burning furnace home on Manor Park Avenue, said the city should send someone once a year to each wood-burning home, choose one piece of wood from the fuel pile, and test it to make sure the wood has the 20 percent moisture content required to be deemed seasoned.
“It has to be 20 percent,” Nubert said. “If it’s not, that fuel’s not good to be burned.”
Smith said that, because there are only three known wood-burning furnaces currently in the city, that would not be an excessive cost to the city.
“If there were a thousand I would be nervous,” she said. “But I think it fits nicely with what we’re trying to do.”
Butler, however, said the measure, like the law outlawing idling cars or mixing trash and recycling, is technically a criminal ordinance, but acts more as an advisory ordinance.
“This is us saying ‘Hey, be mindful of this,’” he said. “It’s going to be, in my opinion, very rare that we actually go out there and identify unseasoned wood, and prosecute.”

Related Topics:shawn juris, wood-burning furnaces, and wood-fired boilers

This entry was posted in OWB ordinance discussion (local), OWB regulations. Bookmark the permalink.

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