B.C. taking action to improve air quality

Changes to the solid fuel burning domestic appliance regulation (SFBDAR) will improve air quality in communities throughout B.C.

Changes to the solid fuel burning domestic appliance regulation (SFBDAR) will improve air quality in communities throughout British Columbia where there are higher levels of particulate matter due to residential wood burning.

Wood burning appliances, such as wood and pellet stoves sold in B.C., will have to meet stricter emissions standards recently adopted by the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA). This will result in an immediate 40 per cent reduction in maximum emissions for new wood stoves.

Under the existing regulation, several wood heating devices are exempt from meeting emission standards. This update will ensure all appliances are subject to the same standards.

For example, outdoor wood boilers, which emit large quantities of smoke, will not only have to meet the new standards, they will also have to be installed in a manner that minimizes risks to neighbours and the community.

New outdoor boilers will be subject to a specific setback from property lines which will limit installation of these high-polluting appliances to large lots in rural areas. Additionally, a sunset date has been established for high-emitting outdoor boilers that will see them banned in 10 years, resulting in a reduction in pollution for rural communities and their residents.

Other new provisions under the updated SFBDAR include:

• Clarifying what fuels can and cannot be burned in an appliance.

• Prohibiting the sale of appliances that are not certified to meet the emission standards.

• Requiring vendors to keep records demonstrating the appliances they sell are certified.

• Creating 15 new offences that can be penalized under the Environmental Management Act in the form of tickets, court-ordered penalties, and/or administrative penalties.

The changes were widely consulted on with the public, industry, local government and public health agencies through the intentions paper process and focused engagement sessions.

For more information, please visit: www.env.gov.bc.ca/epd/codes/solid-fuel/.

– Submitted by the Ministry of Environment

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