Northampton Board of Health


Regulations governing emissions from solid fuel burning devices

Purpose: These regulations have been adopted pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 111 Section 31C as a means of reducing the smoke emissions from wood stoves, and similar solid fuel devices in the City of Northampton.

Opacity: is a measure of the density of smoke, per CFR, Title 40, Part 60.
Owner: means the owner of any solid fuel burning device and/or the authorized agent of the owner and /or the person who has overall responsibility for the operation of a solid fuel burning device.
Solid fuel burning device: means any fireplace, fireplace insert, wood stove, wood heater, wood furnace, coal furnace, coal stove or similar device burning any solid fuel for aesthetic, cooking, or space heating purposes.

Regulation: Smoke emission from any solid fuel burning device shall not exceed 40% opacity for a period of two minutes except during a 15-minute start up period.

Enforcement: This regulation will be enforced by the Board of Health based on opacity readings taken by opacity observers, certified in accordance with the provisions of CFR Title 40, Part 60.

Penalty: The owner of any solid fuel buning device operated in violation of these regualtions shall be punished for the first offense, by a fine of not less than fifty dollars nor more than one hundred dollars and for a subsequent offense, by a fine of not less than two hundred dollars nor more than five hundred dollars. For the purpose of this paragragh each day or part thereof of violation of these regulations whether such a violation be continuous or intermittent shall be construed as a separate and succeeding offense.

Appeal: An owner may appeal an order to correct a violation of these regulations provided that a written request for a hearing is filed in the Board of Health Office within seven days of the receipt of the violation notice.

Effective Date: Following approval by the Mass DEQE (DEP) these regualtions will become effective on the date of publication.

Revision effective: January 12, 1987

Reducing wood smoke pollution

Recently the Northampton Board of Health was made aware of a relatively new phenomenon of wood smoke pollution, that is air pollution resulting from the burning of wood for residential heating.

Carbon monoxide, particulates and hundreds of chemical compounds can pollute both indoor and outdoor air when wood stoves are used inefficiently. During the periods of adverse winter weather, the air quality in Hampshire County residential areas where a high peercentage of wood stoves are used can be as bad as the air in large industrial cities.

*The Northampton Board of Health goes on the recommend wood burning parctices to increase wood stove efficiency, reduce air pollution, and increase safety. Please contact the Northampton Board of Health if you would like to read these recomendations.