News


New wood-burning rules in effect as winter 'Spare the Air' season starts

Wood-burning devices now banned in new homes, buildings being constructed in Bay Area

With the Winter Spare the Air season now underway, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District is reminding residents in the region about new requirements that have been added to the district's wood-burning rules.

During the Winter Spare the Air season, which ends on Feb. 28, residents are prohibited from burning wood, manufactured fire logs and any other solid fuel both indoors and outdoors when a Spare the Air Alert has been issued, according to the air district.

Last year, the air district adopted a series of more stringent amendments to the wood-burning rule, which was originally passed in 2008.

According to the new requirements, anyone whose sole source of heat is a wood-burning device must use a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-certified or pellet-fueled device that is registered with the air district to qualify for an exemption.

Also, residents who begin a chimney or fireplace remodeling project that costs more than $15,000 and requires a building permit will only be allowed to install a gas-fueled, electric or EPA-certified device, according to air district officials.

In addition, no wood-burning devices of any kind may be installed in new homes or buildings being constructed in the Bay Area, air district officials said.

"Wood smoke from the Bay Area's 1.4 million fireplaces and wood stoves continues to be the largest source of wintertime air pollution in the region," air district executive officer Jack Broadbent said in a statement.

"The Air District's more stringent amendments to our wood-burning rule serve to further protect public health from wood smoke pollution."

The air district will typically issue a Winter Spare the Air Alert for the next day when weather conditions trap pollution close to the ground and air quality is forecast to be unhealthy.

Air district officials can also issue an alert for up to three days in advance to keep pollution from building up and exceeding federal standards.

If an alert is issued, first-time violators of the wood-burning rule will be given the option of taking a wood smoke awareness course or paying a $100 fine. Second violations would be subject to a $500 fine, with the fines increasing for any violations after that.

Exposure to wood smoke has been linked to respiratory illnesses as well as increased risk of heart attacks and can be especially harmful to children, the elderly and people already suffering from a respiratory condition, air district officials said.

To find out when a Winter Spare the Air Alert has been issued, residents can call (877) 466-2876, visit www.sparetheair.org or www.baaqmd.org, sign up for automatic e-mail alerts or download a Spare the Air smartphone app.

Daniel Montes, Bay City News

Comments

24 people like this
Posted by Bill
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Nov 2, 2016 at 7:02 pm

I'm okay with the occasional ban. The air CAN get pretty scudgy during cold still air. But Thanksgiving, Christmas and Cristmas Eve, and New Years, you'll have to come catch me.


21 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Nov 2, 2016 at 7:14 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

Bill, your point is well received.

Data from the American Lung Association shows that 85% of the people in the nine county Bay Area that suffer from chronic lung disorders are people that have smoked tobacco products most all of their lives, and or have smoked illegal dope such as marijuana and hashish.

The BAAQMD issues spare the air days for those 85% of people that have abused their lungs all their lives.

This is in disregard for seniors on fixed income, that heat their homes with certified wood burning inserts to save money. On spare the air days, seniors are forced to use expensive alternative heat sources to heat their home in order to stay warm.


5 people like this
Posted by JC
a resident of San Ramon
on Nov 3, 2016 at 9:52 am

Mr. Austin, are you suggesting that I, a nonsmoker, should breath polluted air so that seniors can burn wood? And that's an artless pivot connecting marijuana (which I don't smoke either) to spare the days.


3 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Nov 3, 2016 at 12:19 pm

A statistic I would like to see is the number of people who are using any types of asthma treatments -inhalers, nebulizer, oral medication in the Bay Area. My wife, who works out 5 days a week and has never smoked, uses both an inhaler and an oral medication. My daughter's fall sports team has 4 girls who use inhalers. Poor air quality has a severe impact on their health and while I realize, as they do every year, there are those who complain about this because they have low emission wood burners, the majority of people don't and burn in their fireplaces with no filtering. Please think of others in the community before lighting your fire...


18 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Nov 3, 2016 at 12:49 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

I am simply quoting data provided by the American Lung Association.

The BAAQMD is a half billion dollar industry of unelected political cronies and nepotism. The only people in the organization making less then six figure salaries are the part time employees. But, some of them make six figure salary also.

If we took that half billion dollar a year waste and applied it to research and the people that really need the aid, we would not have spare the air days.


5 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Nov 4, 2016 at 5:53 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

Joe, responding to your question:

Adults with lung disorder in the nine-county bay area is 13.26% of the adult population.

Children, ages one to seventeen with lung disorder in the nine-county bay area jumps to over 20% of children.

Some of the areas reporting data regarding children:

West Oakland data indicates 24% of children ages one to seventeen have asthma.

Bay View Hunters Point data indicates 16% of children ages one to seventeen have asthma.

West Contra Costa County data indicates 24% of children ages one to seventeen have asthma.

Other lung disorders such as tuberculosis is broken down by age group, race, native born or immigrant. I will not list that data here because some readers will consider it insensitive.


Like this comment
Posted by Rick
a resident of another community
on Nov 7, 2016 at 5:09 am

2016 State of the Air Report from the American Lung Association. Here is California's report:

Web Link


1 person likes this
Posted by Sam
a resident of Oak Hill
on Nov 7, 2016 at 7:23 am

Air pollution can get trapped in the Tri-Valley under certain circumstances. I posted the below comment by a Pleasanton old-timer before but it's worth re-reading. Despite the great increase in the Tri-Valley population since the 1960's, thanks to modern cars that are about 100-times cleaner than the cars of the '60's as well as efforts such as Spare-the-Air days, the air that you and your kids breathe in Pleasanton is cleaner than the air that kids living in Pleasanton in the 1960's breathed. Let's not get complacent about the importance of clean air.

....................

Posted by Cleaner Tri-Valley
a resident of Amador Estates
on Oct 8, 2012 at 8:41 am

"You short-timers have no clue how bad the air was in Tri-Valley in the sixties. If you were standing on Stanley next to the gravel pits, now called Shadow Cliffs, in the month of August you would not see the Pleasanton ridge due to smog. It was that bad.

The amazing thing is that adults would call it haze and never had a clue it was man-made smog. It was "normal." Your lungs hurt."

Web Link
.........


Posted by Tom F.
a resident of Castlewood

on Nov 7, 2016 at 11:59 am


Remember me?
Forgot Password?
Due to violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are only visible to registered users who are logged in. Use the links at the top of the page to Register or Login.


Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Nov 7, 2016 at 12:32 pm

Rick -thanks for posting the link. For Alameda County the results were:
Groups At Risk
Total Population: 1,610,921
Pediatric Asthma: 30,551
Adult Asthma: 97,984
COPD: 59,868
Cardiovascular Disease: 87,508

275,911 people or 17% of the population is impacted. On a population percentage basis (Pleasanton at 70,000 people) there would be just under 12,000 people in our community in these groupings.

Sam - I grew up on the Peninsula and I too remember those days when the East Bay hills were invisible due to 'haze'.

Something to consider when the idea of a cozy fire on a winter evening sounds inviting....


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Ridgeview Commons

on Jul 25, 2017 at 7:57 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Ridgeview Commons

on Sep 22, 2017 at 11:37 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Ridgeview Commons

on Sep 24, 2017 at 4:40 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Couples: Drop Your Keyboard!
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 6,622 views

BART needs to focus on trains, not residential development
By Tim Hunt | 3 comments | 509 views

Pleasanton's First Lady Sandi Thorne: 1937-2018
By Jeb Bing | 0 comments | 197 views

 

Nominations due by Sept. 17

Pleasanton Weekly and DanvilleSanRamon.com are once again putting out a call for nominations and sponsorships for the annual Tri-Valley Heroes awards - our salute to the community members dedicated to bettering the Tri-Valley and the lives of its residents.

Nomination form