[r51] Dodge's Column (2/26/2010)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Start Date: 2/26/2010 All Day
End Date: 2/26/2010

At the most recent Indiana Rural Caucus meeting, The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) presented its proposal for new regulations on outdoor wood burning furnace. These changes would require all newly sold units to be certified through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) voluntary outdoor wood burning furnace program to protect Indiana's air quality as more units are installed.

IDEM's first responsibility is to protect human health and the environment. However, IDEM believes outdoor wood burning furnace are  a good example of more efficient and renewable practices-especially as heating costs have risen. With more than 7,500 units in Indiana, IDEM wants to ensure Indiana's air quality remains clean and safe.

The proposed regulations would only apply to newly sold units, or units that are located within 150 feet of a neighbor that do not meet the EPA's Phase 2 emission limits. These units' chimney heights would need to be increased. If the unit is beyond 150 feet of a neighbor, they will be exempt from the new chimney height requirement.

The proposed rule would also require all outdoor wood burning furnaces to use only 'clean wood' as fuel. Clean wood is defined as untreated wood that has no paint, stains, coatings, glues, or any chemical treatment. The reason for the requirement is that burning treated wood could cause serious health problems. More information on the health and environmental effects of wood smoke can be found as the U.S. EPA Web site http://www.epa.gov/burnwise/healtheffects.html.

Concerns have been expressed to IDEM regarding the economic impact. It is not their purpose to add to these difficult economic times or to stop the use of outdoor wood burning furnace. IDEM is working to address air quality issues as outdoor wood burning furnace use is increasing. For more information on outdoor wood burning furnace you can visit IDEM's Web site at http://www.idem.IN.gov/6507.htm. For other questions and concerns, feel free to call IDEM's Office of Air Quality at 317-232-8420 or toll free at 800-451-6027.