By Andi Bourne
Pathfinder 

Seeley Lake wood stove installation regulations proposed

 

January 23, 2020



The Missoula City-County Air Pollution Control Board will hold a public hearing on proposed changes to the Missoula City-County Air Pollution Control Program on Thursday, Feb. 20 at 12:15 p.m. in the second-floor conference room at the Health Department at 301 West Alder in Missoula. The Air Board will consider proposed changes to most chapters of the Program.

Many proposed changes correct spelling errors, correct reference errors, make changes to align local program rules with state and federal rules, or are edits for clarification. Substantive changes include restricting recreational fires during air alerts (Chapter 4), allowing conditional outdoor burning permits in the Missoula Air Stagnation Zone with approved technology (Chapter 7), discontinuing the gasoline oxyfuel program in the event Missoula receives authorization to cease the program (Chapter 10), and specifying that a person has 15 days to request a hearing if they disagree with an administrative review decision (Chapter 14).


The restrictions for recreational fires during air alerts applies only to the Missoula Valley area and does not extend up to Potomac or the Seeley Lake area.  For this requirement, the Air Quality Hotline and web pages would be updated and those on the Air Quality Update email list would get a notice.  When needed, enforcement is done by patrols and through residents calling in complaints about an illegal burn.

Proposed changes to Chapter 9 update the wood stove rules to more closely align with national standards, add additional installation requirements to the Seeley Lake area, require the removal of all wood stoves upon sale of property in the Missoula Air Stagnation Zone and require that a Certificate of Compliance form be completed at all real estate transactions in the Air Stagnation Zone.

According to Air Quality Specialist Ben Schmidt, the purpose of Rule 9.204 – Installation Permit Requirements Inside the Seeley Lake Wood Stove Zone is to require future installations in the Zone to be the cleanest wood burning technology possible since the area has a history of exceeding national air quality standards. The Seeley Lake Wood Stove Zone is the area surrounding Seeley Lake but does not include Placid Lake, Lake Alva or Lake Inez. The emission rates specified for the Zone are the same as the national emission rates that go into effect in May of this year.

“We are just looking to the future and saying any new development has to use the current codes that are coming out nationally…this will minimize the impacts on an air shed that is already having trouble meeting the standards,” said Schmidt.


Rule 9.204 proposes that newly installed pellet stove emission cannot exceed 2.0 grams per hour and must be 70 percent energy efficient or greater using the EPA method.

Emissions from newly installed solid fuel burning devices cannot exceed 2.0 grams per hour for crib wood or 2.5 grams per hour for cord wood. They also must be 70 percent energy efficient or greater using the EPA method. Outside of the Seeley Lake Wood Stove Zone and Missoula Air Stagnation Zone, solid fuel burning device emissions are allowed up to 4.5 grams per hour weighted average when labeled and tested in accordance with the EPA method.

Wood-fired hydronic heaters or wood-fired forced-air furnaces must be labeled and test in accordance with the EPA Method and emissions must be less than or equal to 0.15 pounds per million Btu heat output for each individual burn rate. Outside of the Zone, emissions up to 0.32 pounds per million Btu heat output is allowed.

Schmidt said if the recommendations for the Program are approved, installing an older or used wood-burning device in the Seeley Lake Wood Stove Zone will not be an option. However the rule has no impact on existing wood stoves.

“We are doing something that goes in step with the national emission standards for solid fuel burning devices,” said Schmidt.

The Air Board will take public comments at the hearing before making a decision. Written comments may be submitted on or before noon on Feb. 20 by mailing them to Air Comments, MCCHD, 301 W Alder St., Missoula, MT 59802; faxing them to (406) 258-4781 or emailing them to bschmidt@missoulacounty.us.


For more information, a copy of the proposed rules or to sign up for the Interested Parties mailing list, visit http://www.missoulacounty.us/airquality or call 258-4755.

 

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