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November, 2003

Marin County Proposes Wood Burning Ordinance

In an effort to protect public health and the environment, the Marin County Board of Supervisors considered the adoption of an ordinance that will reduce wood smoke pollution in new home and renovations of existing homes at its Oct. 28 meeting. Under the ordinance, residents may install EPA certified wood stoves, fireplace inserts, pellet stoves or natural gas units that will reduce the amount of particulate matter by 75 to 90 percent compared to a standard hearth-type fireplace. In addition, effective June 1, 2008, uncertified woodstoves and inserts will be prohibited in residences within the unincorporated area of Marin County.

To help county residents replace their uncertified, more polluting woodstoves and inserts, the Marin County Supervisors also will consider funding for a change-out rebate program. The $250 rebates will be available on a first-come-first-serve basis to encourage homeowners to remove their older woodburning devices or replace them with more efficient appliances. The county is working to gain an equal rebate with retailers.

Part of the county's wood burning curtailment plan includes a public outreach program to inform homeowners of the benefits of burning certain types of woods, appropriate EPA certified wood burning appliance options and participation in the voluntary no-burn night program (Spare the Air Tonight).

The wood-burning ordinance was patterned after a model wood smoke ordinance developed by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (Air District) and distributed to cities and counties in the Bay Area. The Air District is concerned about wood smoke because it is a major source of pollution in the winter months, accounting for 40 percent of the particulate matter in the air. In addition, wood smoke generates carbon monoxide and toxic pollutants, including dioxin.

 

 

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