A Regulation providing for the control and permitting of Outdoor Wood Boilers in Bernardston, Adopted 3/7/07
This regulation shall be effective on and after March 7, 2007, and so remain in effect until modified or amended by the Bernardston Board of Health. Letter of approval by Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection is on file at Board of Health office. It is enacted under authority granted by, but not limited to, Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 111, sections 31, 31C, 122, 142A through 142M and Department of Environmental Protection Regulations, 310 CMR. Board of Health regulations are an exercise of the police power under which the various levels of government hold responsibility for protection of the public health, safety, and welfare.
This regulation has been enacted by the Board of Health for the purpose of minimizing the human health hazards resulting from the smoke, particulate matter and noxious fumes emitted by outdoor wood burning boilers, to encourage proper techniques in the use and location of these boilers, and to promote the public comfort and convenience.
An Outdoor Wood Burning Boiler (OWB) is essentially a wood-fired boiler in a small, insulated, stand alone shed with a smoke stack. OWBs heat water that is carried through piping to heat a home or building, domestic water, a swimming pool, a Jacuzzi or hot tub. Certain types of OWBs have been shown, because of their design, to emit significantly high quantities of smoke, particulate matter and other noxious fumes. Exposure to particulate matter in smoke from an OWB can increase adverse respiratory and cardiovascular symptoms and exacerbate other harmful health conditions, such as asthmatic sensitivity, lung illness and cancer (Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, Fact Sheet, July, 2004)., American Lung Association of Maine, NESCAUM, and others. Poor installation, placement and management of these facilities, plus the use of inappropriate fuel, can increase the harmful effects of the smoke created by the firing of these units.
1) Outdoor Wood Burning Boiler (OWB): a wood fired boiler surrounded by a water jacket and a smoke vent, in an insulated free standing shed with a smoke stack and used to heat water that is carried by pipes to provide heat to a building or other destination. Outdoor Wood Burning Boilers do not include fire pits, chimneys, wood fired barbeques or equipment intended exclusively for producing maple syrup, melting, reclaiming or refining metals.
2) Wood Fuel: all wood intended to be used as fuel, including but not limited to trees, cordwood, logs, lumber, sawdust, and wood from manufacturing processes, wood pellets, slabs, bark, and chips. This definition DOES NOT include materials chemically treated with any preservative, adhesive, paint or oil.
3) Seasoned Wood: wood that has been cut, stacked and dried for at least 6 months.
4) Emission Point: any place (including but not limited to a stack or vent) at or from which any air contaminant is emitted to the ambient air space.
5) Odor: property of gaseous, liquid, or solid materials that elicits a physiologic response by human sense of smell.
1) Permits and Written Plans
a. A permit is required from the Bernardston Board of Health to install an OWB and to operate an OWB that was installed prior to the effective date of this regulation. The permit process shall include submission of a written application form and payment of the permit fee established by the Board of Health.
b. In addition permit applicants must demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Board of Health that they understand the requirements for proper installation and operation of an OWB. This includes appropriate permits and sign-offs for work done by licensed contractors and inspections required by building and electrical inspectors.
c. The application must be accompanied by a written site plan indicating the proposed boiler location in relation to all existing structures and separating distances from the boiler to all buildings and outbuildings on site and all neighboring structures within 400 feet. The plan must also indicate distances to all roads adjacent to the site and distances from the boiler to woods, brush and flammable structures.
d. Upon completion of the installation of an OWB permitted by the Board, an onsite inspection will occur to verify compliance.
2) No boiler shall be installed within 50 feet of the house it is serving or within 400 feet of any other occupied structure. A clear radius of 20 feet must be maintained between any OWB and any trees or vegetation of height greater than the height of the top of the fuel feed door. No OWB may be enclosed in any structure.
3) Stack height must be a minimum of 8 feet above the ridge line of the boiler.
4) All OWBs may only be operated during the heating season, which shall, for the purpose of these regulations, be November 1st to April 15th of any given year.
5) Only dry, seasoned, untreated wood fuel may be burned in the OWB.
6) The manufacturer's recommendations for the installation and use of the unit must be followed.
7) Boilers installed before the effective date of these regulations may request a waiver from sections of the regulations that they do not meet upon application for a permit. In such cases, a Construction Permit Application must be filed with the Board of Health and such installation must be in compliance with all local zoning regulations and state plumbing and electrical codes. The Board of Health will determine whether to grant the waiver based on the public health, safety, and welfare.
8) The Board of Health shall have the right to take appropriate enforcement or other action, in accordance with Chapter 111 of the Massachusetts General Laws, with respect to any such boiler that it determines constitutes a nuisance or public health risk.
F. Enforcement and Remedies
1) If an inspection or examination reveals an OWB is installed or operated in a manner that is not compliant with the above regulations, the Board of Health is authorized to issue notices of violation, cease and desist orders, and other administrative enforcement orders to compel compliance with these regulations.
2) If an inspection or examination determines that an OWB is operated in a manner that constitutes a threat of public health, safety, welfare, a nuisance or cause of odor, filth or sickness, in accordance with Massachusetts General Laws, Ch. 111, the Board of Health or its agent shall issue an order to cease operation of the OWB.
3) The Board of Health may take enforcement action deemed appropriate and lawful, including but not limited to criminal prosecution, civil action for injunctive relief or money damages, or both. The Board of Health may levy fines of $50 for the first offense. Each day of violation shall constitute a separate offense. Any succeeding day of violation may be punished by a penalty of $250 per day of offense.
Each part of this regulation shall be construed as separate to the end that if any paragraph, sentence, clause, or phrase thereof shall be held invalid for any reason, the remainder of that regulation and all other regulations shall continue in full force.
BERNARDSTON BOARD OF HEALTH
JONATHAN PINEO, CHAIR
ROBERT EDDY, MEMBER
DAVID POWERS, MEMBER