- Author: Gareth J Mayhead
SFGate today ran an article discussing the impacts of tighter regulations regarding the burning of wood in stoves and fireplaces in Bay area homes. Eight Spare the Air days have already been declared by the Bay Area Air Quaility Managment District (BAAQMD) this winter which means that the burning of wood in fireplaces or stoves is illegal in order to recude the amount of particulate matter in the air.
Particulate matter (PM) are very small partciles suspended in the air. PM is classified by diameter into two classes: PM 10 (10 micron diameter) and PM 2.5 (2.5 micron diameter). The particles come from a number of sources including wood burning, diesel engines, tillage of fields, construction and industry. PM is known to have many negative impacts to human health, air clarity, building materials and climate change.
California Senate Bill 656 is driving the push towards greater regulation of particulate matter to reduce the negative impacts. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) developed a list of apropriate control measures to meet SB 656. Each Air Quality Managment District (AQMD) is responsible for implementing control measures based on local conditions.
BAAQMD has a useful webpage that explains the rules and the issues associated with particulate matter.
The burn bans on Spare the Air days include all wood combustion devices including modern EPA certified pellet stoves. PM from the combustion of wood will continue to be a big issue for CARB and AQMDs across the state and is something that may restrict the growth of the domestic pellet stove market in certain areas with poor air quality.