EPA opens comment period on residential wood heater proposal

By Erin Voegele | February 03, 2014

On Feb. 3, the U.S. EPA published its proposed rule to establish performance standards for new residential wood heaters, new residential hydronic heaters and forced-air furnaces and new residential masonry heaters in the Federal Register, officially opening a 91-day public comment period. Comments are due May 5. The EPA originally released the proposal on Jan. 3.

The proposed rule aims to update emissions standards for new wood stoves and establish federal air standards for new wood heaters, including outdoor and indoor wood-fired boilers, known as hydronic heaters. According to the EPA, the proposal would not affect existing woodstoves or other wood-burning heaters currently in use in residential applications.

The proposal sets emissions limits on particulate matter (PM) for new adjustable-rate woodstoves, pellet stoves, wood-fired hydronic heaters, forced-air furnaces, masonry wood heaters, and previously unregulated single burn-rate woodstoves. According to the EPA, the proposed limits are also expected to reduce emission of other pollutants found in wood smoke.

In the rulemaking the EPA proposes to phase in the new standards over a five-year period via two-step progress. However, the agency is also asking for comments on an alternative plan to phase in the limits using a three-step period spanning eight years.

A public hearing is scheduled to be held Feb. 26 at the EPA’s New England Regional Office in Boston. The EPA has indicated that those who wish to present oral testimony should register by Feb. 19. Additional information on the hearing and registration process is available on the EPA websiteAccording to the EPA, the hearing schedule, including a list of speakers, will be posted on the agency’s Controlling Air Pollution from Residential Wood Heaters webpage prior to the hearing.

The proposed rule and information on how to submit a public comment is available in the Federal Register.  Comments can be filed on under Docket ID: EPA-HQ-OAR-2009-0734.



2 Responses

  1. Vic Steblin



    How does the biomass industry handle research like the following?... Chem Biol Interact. 2013 Nov 25;206(2):411-22. doi: 10.1016/j.cbi.2013.05.015. Epub 2013 Jun 21. Bioavailability and potential carcinogenicity of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons from wood combustion particulate matter in vitro. Gauggel-Lewandowski S, Heussner AH, Steinberg P, Pieterse B, van der Burg B, Dietrich DR. Abstract Due to increasing energy demand and limited fossil fuels, renewable energy sources have gained in importance. Particulate matter (PM) in general, but also PM from the combustion of wood is known to exert adverse health effects in human. These are often related to specific toxic compounds adsorbed to the PM surface, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), of which some are known human carcinogens. This study focused on the bioavailability of PAHs and on the tumor initiation potential of wood combustion PM, using the PAH CALUX® reporter gene assay and the BALB/c 3T3 cell transformation assay, respectively. For this, both cell assays were exposed to PM and their respective organic extracts from varying degrees of combustion. The PAH CALUX® experiments demonstrated a concentration-response relationship matching the PAHs detected in the samples. Contrary to expectations, PM samples from complete (CC) and incomplete combustion (IC) provided for a stronger and weaker response, respectively, suggesting that PAH were more readily bioavailable in PM from CC. These findings were corroborated via PAH spiking experiments indicating that IC PM contains organic components that strongly adsorb PAH thereby reducing their bioavailability. The results obtained with organic extracts in the cell transformation assay presented the highest potential for carcinogenicity in samples with high PAH contents, albeit PM from CC also demonstrated a carcinogenic potential. In conclusion, the in vitro assays employed emphasize that CC produces PM with low PAH content however with a general higher bioavailability and thus with a nearly similar carcinogenic potential than IC PM. So even with complete combustion (CC) the PAHs have about the same carcinogenic potential as with the incomplete combustion (IC).

  2. Jim Sedberry



    First of all the EPA should be remove from the face of the earth or moved to China or India and see how long they would last in that environment!!! Hopefully with the advent of a new president this non government idiom will cease to exist.


    Leave a Reply

    Biomass Magazine encourages encourages civil conversation and debate. However, we reserve the right to delete comments for reasons including but not limited to: any type of attack, injurious statements, profanity, business solicitations or other advertising.

    Comments are closed