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EPA looks to tackle inefficient wood boilers in Maine

Along with wood pellet stoves come lower fuel costs but high pollution levels and health problems.


Now, in a move to reduce increased winter air pollution in Maine, US, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is drawing up a set of laws designed to limit emission levels emitted from household wood heaters. The new regulations will, for the first time, apply to wood pellet stoves and outdoor boilers. However, new fireplaces will be exempt from these new regulations.


An outline of these new regulations were expected have been drawn up by June 2011 but this has now been postponed and will not be available until January 2012. The owners of these wood stoves and outdoor boilers are expected to have to comply with these regulations by June 2014. Other standards will be put into effect by 2017.


Technology emitting less greenhouse gas emissions is able to reduce the number of asthmatics and people suffering from respiratory complications, in addition to sick days taken, according to the EPA.
However, with a high number of pre-1990 highly polluting wood stoves and heaters still in use, the reduction of GHG emissions will not be as significant as once hoped.


The EPA has come up with one solution to try and tackle this issue; redirect money collected from air pollution penalties and supply vouchers to residents who replace their existing burners with new models.


This solution is already in place across the US. In Keene, New Hampshire, one programme spent $106,000 (€73,500), which saw 86 traditional burners swapped for a more efficient one. And in Massachusetts, another programme provides up to $3,000 worth of vouchers at a time to encourage homeowners to switch to new wood, pellet or gas stove.