Smoke from outdoor wood furnaces burns neighbors

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Smoke from outdoor wood furnaces burns neighbors

Postby Wilberforce » Sat Mar 06, 2010 7:47 pm

Smoke from outdoor wood furnaces burns neighbors

The day that someone in your neighborhood decides to install an outdoor wood furnace is the day that
you will forever regret.

These smoke-belching devices will take away one of your basic rights ---- the right to breath reasonably
clean air. Unfortunately, that's not a right listed in the U.S. Constitution, so when your neighbor fires
up his outdoor wood furnace, you're pretty much on your own.

Just ask Suzan Converse of Maple Street in Weston, who has lived in a cloud of wood smoke since she
and her husband and two kids moved there five years ago.

"That's why the previous owners moved ---- and, of course, they didn't tell us," she says.

But before we delve into her story, here's a primer on outdoor wood furnaces, or OWFs, as they're
called in the trade.

The first thing that you must know is that they're not wood stoves.

Looking like metal sheds with smokestacks, they are, in essence, a wood-burning firebox surrounded
by a water jacket. When the wood burns, the fire heats up the water, which is pumped through the
house to provide heat.

They're also called outdoor wood boilers or OWBs, which is a more accurate name, since they heat water,
not air. They also go by the name "outdoor wood-fired boiler," or OWFB.

Installations generally cost between $6,000 and $10,000, but after the initial investment, owners claim
that their OWFs can offer significant savings. "I heat my home for $12 a month," gushed one owner
on his YouTube posting.

That's good news for him. Bad news for everyone else.

They've been banned outright in Washington state. They've also been outlawed in Granby, Tolland,
Hebron, Woodbridge, South Windsor, Portland, Ridgefield, Norfolk and Haddam.

Why do these things belch so much smoke? The problem is their basic design, according to the state
Department of Environmental Protection. Because of the water jacket, the firebox temperature never
reaches the 1,000 degrees F level needed for complete combustion to take place. To make matters
worse, there are frequent reports of owners ---- particularly those who don't have access to free wood
---- burning household trash, further adding to the multi-layered fragrance that these devices spew out.

The DEP has fielded hundreds of complaints over OWF smoke in the last few years, as have municipal
officials. The DEP says it received 458 OWF complaints in 2009.

The DEP also says that OWF manufacturers "are making inaccurate claims about their product's
environmental benefit and efficiency" in their advertisements.

"It really is shocking that you can't smoke in a bar, but you can set up one of these outdoor furnaces,"
Converse said. "People are afraid to deal with this problem."

She says that the smoke from her across-the-street neighbor's OWF seeps into her house, despite her
best efforts at keeping her windows and doors closed. She can't hang her wash on the line. Her kids
can't play outside. When spring arrives, she can't open the windows. And she, along with her husband
and two children, have suffered from various upper-respiratory illnesses from the omnipresent smoke.

To make matters worse, her neighbor with the OWF, Joseph Tassitano, doesn't even have to comply
with the state's weak laws regarding OWFs because he's "grandfathered in." This means that he doesn't
have to comply with the 200-foot setback requirement, nor the smokestack requirement, which required
that the stack be higher than neighbor's roofs.

Tassitano, who could not be reached for this story, either in person or by telephone, has a smokestack
that's a good deal shorter than the two-story homes on Maple Street, and his OWF is about 60 feet
from the road.

On Monday, the General Assembly's Environment Committee will hear testimony on this issue, but Nancy
Alderman, whose group, Environment and Human Health, has been battling OWFs for months, doesn't
have much faith that the Legislature will do anything meaningful.

"They'll just say `you can't use them during the summer,' or "you have to use good wood' and leave it
at that ---- they're afraid to get anyone upset," Alderman said.

source
http://www.ctpost.com/news/article/Smok ... 390494.php
• 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: Smoke from outdoor wood furnaces burns neighbors

Postby Wilberforce » Sat Mar 06, 2010 8:40 pm

"These smoke-belching devices will take away one of your basic rights ---- the right to breath reasonably
clean air. Unfortunately, that's not a right listed in the U.S. Constitution, so when your neighbor fires
up his outdoor wood furnace, you're pretty much on your own."


Actually, the Ninth Amendment covers this. You do have a right to be free from harm and crimes.
These are basic human rights and common-law rights, handed down through the ages as English
Common Law, etc. We can go all the way back to The Code of Hammurabi to find these basic rights.

Try these sources (also Google your own - to prove it to yourself that you DO actually have a right to clean air)

The Constitution Explained
http://www.usconstitution.net/constquick.html
The 9th Amendment is simply a statement that other rights aside from those listed may exist, and just because they are not listed doesn't mean they can be violated.

The Ninth Amendment
http://civilliberty.about.com/od/equalr ... ndment.htm

This one is particularly interesting
The 'Silent' Ninth Amendment Gives Americans Rights They Don't Know They Have
http://www.alternet.org/rights/50404/
But not everything is protected as a fundamental right. Here are some things that are not:
• The right of a terminally ill patient to prescribed medication with which to commit suicide.
• The right of businesses to be free from government regulation of their contracts with employees and customers.
• The right of individuals to use their property however they want, without regard to the public interest.
• 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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Location: USA

Re: Smoke from outdoor wood furnaces burns neighbors

Postby aggie baron » Thu Apr 08, 2010 3:44 pm

I'm having the same problem in my area (Orange, CT). Several people are very ill on my street from COPD, heart, cancer etc. Three of my five dogs are very ill from the smoke of this outdoor boiler. Another one of my dogs died last year from COPD (dogs don't ususally get this). The two healthy ones do not go outside. The biopsies show bacteria that would come from these furnaces. It's really very depressing.

I have gone to the First Selectman and the DEP and am waiting for answers. If anyone has any suggestions, plese let me know.
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Re: Smoke from outdoor wood furnaces burns neighbors

Postby Wilberforce » Sat Apr 10, 2010 12:56 pm

Welcome. I had to move your post from the "news" section because it will get "buried" there (and remain unanswered?)

Please look in our "Legal" section and "Take Action" section to get tips from what others have done in similar situations.
There are a lot of letters and help here. Also, see our "Particle Pollution Studies" section, which provides links to many
studies regarding the health danger of wood smoke air pollution. These can be downloaded, printed on hardcopy,
and presented at town hall committee meetings. I would suggest enlisting the help of several neighbors (if any of them
is a doctor or lawyer, so much the better)

I used to have a lot of time available to answer questions in depth, and most of those letters are still here in
these sections. It isn't organized in the best way, but still there is much information.

Also, please comment again. Some of those threads are more than a year old, but can still be commented.
Looking forward to hearing from you again soon

admin
• 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!
User avatar
Wilberforce
 
Posts: 6054
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2007 11:36 pm
Location: USA


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