New User with Issues

Air out your smoke complaint here. We can give advice from members who have found themselves in a similar situation as yours, gasping for a breath of fresh air.

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New User with Issues

Postby NHO » Tue Feb 07, 2012 12:28 pm

I have been dealing with wood smoke from a neighbor for two winters now.

This season it started in October and has intensified to the point that it has been near daily for the past 4 weeks. It can start as early as 615am and can go off/on all day into the night.

The intensity is at the mercy of the weather conditions and what they are burning. At it's worst, my house is filled with fumes. At it's best, I avoid going outside if possible. It has been nearly impossible to do any exterior chores, maintentance or gardening. My children cannot play outside. I feel the health effects daily.

Anyhow, over the past year, I've been contacting various agencies and researching the local code/nuisance ordinance. I'm having difficult time findng any acknowledgement that this is a health hazard nor a recognition of my personal property rights. To the best of my knowledge, there is no restriction on the frequency or duration of what they can burn as long as it's dry, seasoned wood in a fireplace. I see a legislative failure.

I have filed a complaint with Air Quality and they will be sent a letter.

I'm not optimistic that this letter will be terribly effective. I foresee it progressing to possibly pursuing it as a nuisance, legal action and/or legislative action.

Has anyone had any success with any of these avenues?

I would be interested in any experience or insight you may have.
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Re: New User with Issues

Postby smokehaterNJ » Thu Feb 09, 2012 5:21 pm

Hi ...if you are on Facebook go to our group Clean Air Revival Inc. and join. I along with other members have posted information for everyone to see. The Clean Air Act was passed in 1953 (as amended) to protect all of us from air pollution etc. Some towns have ordinances that are vague but check with your state because that will supersede the town. My situation was such that I have ignorant neighbors that were smoking us out. They burned whatever hit the ground including wood pallets (the kind tractor trailers require). I wrote them a letter explaining to them the situation and asking them to stop burning the wood stove. They turned it back on three days later so I called the cops. My house was full of smoke and the strong smell that burns your throat & eyes. The key here is SMOKE. Most ordinances cover smoke and not smell. Anyway long story short I kept calling the cops and they actually made the neighbors turn it off because it was causing a bad situation for us..thankfully our cops are great. They sympathize with the situation. My health department is involved and he will go to court if necessary. I had him sit in my dining room and watch the pretty smoke for an hour. They have not burned wood in a while but I have not stopped there..I involved my mayor and offered suggestions of wood pellet stoves. Our town was required to switch from septics to public sewers so the town HAS the power to make changes. Every mayor wants to be re-elected so the key is to get others involved and go down there and make a statement. Ask for an appointment to meet with the mayor...you have that right. I understand times are tough and oil and electric heat is expensive so alternate heating options are wood pellet stoves. I have an upcoming date for a Community Dispute Resolution that every town has...you just go to municipal court and ask to sign up ..it's run by volunteers from other communities and they are there just to be the mediator and nothing more; I have also asked to talk to the governor (NJ) so I am hoping to meet with him. As I find more information I will post it on the Facebook Clean Revival group page...so I suggest you join..we have members throughout the country and Canada. Don't give up. Please...and DON"T MOVE. I REFUSE to move and leave behind my beautiful home...thankfully my other two neighbors don't have wood burning stoves just these idiots next door...he is 70 and she is 60...oh yeah she insults me each time I go outside to let the dogs out hahhah..pretty funny....I keep quiet and file another harassment report...its all more ammunition for me. Ironically they were in foreclosure but recently were bailed out....(sorry if I seem to be all over the place in my writing)...hope this helps. Feel free to contact me for more info. I am more than happy to help.
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Re: New User with Issues

Postby Wilberforce » Fri Feb 10, 2012 8:21 pm

Here are some successes in the US and Canada

Bylaws & Bans
http://woodburnersmoke.net/
• The Surgeon General has determined that there is no safe level of exposure to ambient smoke!

• If you smell even a subtle odor of smoke, you are being exposed to poisonous and carcinogenic chemical compounds!

• Even a brief exposure to smoke raises blood pressure, (no matter what your state of health) and can cause blood clotting, stroke, or heart attack in vulnerable people. Even children experience elevated blood pressure when exposed to smoke!

• Since smoke drastically weakens the lungs' immune system, avoiding smoke is one of the best ways to prevent colds, flu, bronchitis, or risk of an even more serious respiratory illness, such as pneumonia or tuberculosis! Does your child have the flu? Chances are they have been exposed to ambient smoke!
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Re: New User with Issues

Postby mike65 » Thu Feb 16, 2012 7:36 pm

Do you know another popular issue?
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Re: New User with Issues

Postby cbhattarai » Mon Mar 12, 2012 5:46 am

Hello Friends,

I used to smoke 12 to 15 cigarettes a day, but i slowly slowly reduced the citrate and at the end i have sopped. In the start i was suffring from problems, but th only thing that i did was the control it.

thank you
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Re: New User with Issues

Postby maidenfaire » Wed Mar 28, 2012 6:49 am

I am glad to have found this page, I am having problems with our neighbors and have filed a second complaint with the PA DEP. They are going to investigate. Like others I am not sure what I can do. I am going to address the township supervisors but since one of them owns a wood furnace I feel it is going to be an uphill battle. Any suggestions would be helpful.
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Re: New User with Issues

Postby NHO » Thu Oct 25, 2012 6:57 pm

Update.

The burner was convicted on an unrelated issue. As part of his sentence he must "stay out of trouble" broadly defined.

I'm hoping the judge talked some sense into him regarding the burning, but I'm not optimistic. It DID come up in trial.

I sit waiting for the onslaught of fumes to invade my home, property and person this winter.

I believe the neighborhood will be more organized this year and we may hammer the authorities again and perhaps approach the legislative bodies, but I'm not sure what to ask for?

I explored the possibility of a private nuisance lawsuit today and again, not encouraged. It's expensive and difficult to prove damages. I don't expect to recover money, but I want him to stop.

There is NOTHING that protects my rights to my property and my right to my health.

Apparently, the burner can burn without limitation as long as he is burning wood and uses the fireplace for its intended purpose.

I truly feel as though I am in the Twilight Zone on this. This problem is minimized and invalidated.

I'm sure others have similar problems.

Has anyone had any success proposing legislative change? Or, getting some kind of citation regarding this?
NHO
 
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Re: New User with Issues

Postby Wilberforce » Sat Oct 27, 2012 8:37 pm

Hi there.

Two or three of my burner neighbors (who only know how to make smoldering fires) burn all day long,
while other burners only burn after dark.

At night, I can at least carefully seal my house up (and not run bathroom fans or clothes dryer) and be
marginally safe indoors, what with this nighttime chemical warfare outside.

But I am in trouble when I have to do autumn yard work and winter snow shoveling. I try to get this done
as early in the day as possible, so I can avoid being suffocated out there. But sometimes this is impossible
(as on weekends) so must I take a weekday off work to do my outdoor chores? (this is NOT going to happen)

Alternatives:

• Purchase and wear a military-grade gas mask while doing work outdoors (this is NOT going to happen either)

• Ask the daytime burners to wait until after dark (good luck with that)

• Get my town to pass an ordinance which bans daylight-hour burning, so others can do their necessary
outdoor work (on their own private property!) without getting poisoned in the process. And so our children
can play outdoors and not get sick from smoke inhalation. My yard work is done and the kids are in by dark.

This third option seems better than nothing at this point.

Thanks for the update
W
• The Surgeon General has determined that there is no safe level of exposure to ambient smoke!

• If you smell even a subtle odor of smoke, you are being exposed to poisonous and carcinogenic chemical compounds!

• Even a brief exposure to smoke raises blood pressure, (no matter what your state of health) and can cause blood clotting, stroke, or heart attack in vulnerable people. Even children experience elevated blood pressure when exposed to smoke!

• Since smoke drastically weakens the lungs' immune system, avoiding smoke is one of the best ways to prevent colds, flu, bronchitis, or risk of an even more serious respiratory illness, such as pneumonia or tuberculosis! Does your child have the flu? Chances are they have been exposed to ambient smoke!
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Re: New User with Issues

Postby NHO » Mon Apr 22, 2013 7:39 pm

I have exhausted all government agencies and the outlook is not good.

Another neighbor and I have put together one final letter requesting enforcement action with pictures, videos and signatures from other neighbors as well.

This is pending.

I am confident with their positions and am prepared to take it to the elected officials next.

We have not ruled out going to the media or court.
NHO
 
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