Morning Read: State eases wood boiler restrictions

The Watertown Daily Times is reporting that the state Department of Enviromental Conservation is easing its proposal for new outdoor wood boiler regulations.

Among the changes, existing boilers no longer would have to be phased out. The original proposal had required boilers in use by Sept. 1, 2005, be replaced or removed by Aug. 31, 2015.

The proposal also required boilers in use between Sept. 1, 2005, and April 14, 2011, be replaced or removed within 10 years of operation. That also has been eliminated.

“This is very much a victory for us,” said Kenneth L. Decker, owner of Decker Heating & Construction, Harrisville.

“We all have to bend a little, and I think if DEC would have come out with regulations like this last spring, instead of trying to infringe on people’s rights, these regulations would have flown through. We’re much more content with them.”

What do you think?  A victory for personal rights?  A blow to clean air?  Read the full article here, then comment below.


8 Comments on “Morning Read: State eases wood boiler restrictions”

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  1. verplanck says:

    Bad. Old OWBs, and improper operation of OWBs result in thick clouds of smoke that hang over an entire neighborhood. In VT, there is an ongoing lawsuit that alleges an improper OWB install caused a heart attack for a close neighbor.

    I’m sick and tired of people pulling the ‘infringing on my rights’ card whenever a government official does something they don’t like. Even if this regulation was strict, you still would have the right to heat your house with wood, you just need to use a particular type of stove. Just because it isn’t the one you wanted to use doesn’t make it unconstitutional.

  2. Mervel says:

    They are popular and sometimes economically needed.

    There should be some way to regulate where they are placed in relation to other properties however, but simply outlawing them, no.

  3. Bret4207 says:

    Regulation should remain at the Town or Village level.

  4. verplanck says:


    Towns/villages do not have the scientific/health expertise to make reasoned decisions on things like setbacks, minimum stack heights, etc.

    Plus, I don’t think the sellers of OWBs would appreciate hundreds of differing regulations throughout their sales area. How do they keep track and make sure their customers get the right items? It may not be a ‘tax’, but it would sure make their life harder.

  5. Paul says:

    This decision makes sense. The things don’t last forever so they are going to get “phased” out anyway. Don’t make some poor guy that spent all his savings on a new boiler throw it out before its time. “you just need to use a particular type of stove”.. Verplank, that is easy for you or I to say, maybe these folks don’t have thousands of extra dollars to replace their old one with a new one when it is still good? If they burn dry wood it doesn’t matter anyway. Isn’t that part of the regulation that they have to follow, maybe it is not that big of an environmental issue with the rest of the regs.

    Burning wood is carbon neutral what is the environmental concern? It’s not perfect but it is better than burning oil, coal, or gas.

  6. Bret4207 says:

    Verplanck, it’s a local matter. In my town the houses aren’t close enough together for it to be an issue. In other places with higher densities it is an issue. Blanket laws for this type of thing hurt rural landowners, but who gives a crap about about of hicks in the boonies, right? That’s to say nothing of the financial impact these laws make. NY State is famous for it’s post facto laws, an entirely unfair system.

    You don’t need scientific expertise to establish common sense regulation. You need COMMON SENSE.

  7. Notinthevillage says:

    Effective October 1, 2011, all existing outdoor wood boilers shall be equipped with a permanent stack extending a minimum of two feet above the peak of any roof structure located within 150 feet of the outdoor wood boiler and no less than 18 feet above ground level.

    I have a friend that has a wood boiler. Other than his house there are no other residents within 150 feet. In fact, there are no other buildings of any type within 1000 feet. Also, putting the wood boiler more than 150 feet away from the building you are heating would be plain stupid. By default everybody is being told to put a stack that is at least 18feet high. My friend is being told by our compassionate government that he has to make the stack somewhere around 30 feet high (2 story home) for no reason. So how would you support the stack? Guy wires?

    Towns/villages do not have the scientific/health expertise to make reasoned decisions on things like setbacks, minimum stack heights, etc.

    And the state doesn’t have the common sense to avoid stupid one size fits all regulations. If the state actually used that so called “scientific/health expertise” they would refrain from doing the equivalent of shooting a mouse with an elephant gun. Instead they would provide that “scientific/health expertise” as a resource to the towns and villages so they could make an informed decision unique to their circumstances. Welcome to the nanny state.

  8. Bret4207 says:

    Excellent post NITV. I have a barn within 150′ of my home with a peak about 40′ higher than my home. And beside the barn is an 85′ silo!!! I’m betting the silo qualifies as a “roof structure”. So since they are up hill from my home I’d need a chimney about 140′ high!!! Tell me how this makes any sense whatsoever? These types of blanket restrictions are just plain STUPID!

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