Council to Consider New Wood Smoke Nuisance Ordinance

woodburningBy Alan Pryor

The City of Davis had a municipal wood burning ordinance in place for a single wood burning season in 2012-2013. This ordinance prohibited use of non-EPA compliant wood burning devices or pellet stoves when the Yolo Solano Air Quality Management District (YSAQMD) issued a voluntary “Don’t Light Tonight” alert during the November 1 through February 28 wood burning season (120 days). The “trial” ordinance expired on March 1 after one season.

The Davis Natural Resources Commission (NRC) was tasked by Council with evaluating the overall performance of that ordinance in reducing “nearest neighbor” impacts of wood smoke on residents. They were directed to report back to the Council as to the effectiveness of the program and to provide recommendations for a future ordinance. The results of that study are summarized here along with the NRC’s recommendation for a different “nuisance”-based ordinance to be implemented for the upcoming 2013-2014 wood burning season.

Summary of Information Reviewed by NRC

One aspect of the study involved a small number of volunteer Davis citizens who kept logs over the past 3 years as to when and under what weather conditions they were exposed to wood smoke at their homes and their qualitative assessment of the severity of the exposure. At the end of each wood burning season, the frequency of their observations were evaluated along with meteorological data downloaded from local California Air Resources Board (CARB) and YSAQMD weather stations.

The results of that analysis were reported to the NRC on June 24, 2013 by Dr. Lowell Ashbaugh, a recently retired atmospheric scientist at UCD and member of the Davis Wood Smoke Scientific Advisory Committee. The conclusions are summarized below:

  • Voluntary and mandatory wood burning restrictions in previous years based on YSAQMD’s “Don’t Light Tonight” alerts were generally ineffective in substantially reducing the total number of citizens’ complaints of wood smoke exposure over the course of the wood burning season…
  • The average number of complaints and severity of complaints was slightly greater on “No-Burn” nights than on “Burn” Nights” for the last 3 years. This indicates that there is not widespread compliance with “No-Burn” day alerts.
  • The low correlations between both Projected vs. Actual Wind Speed and Projected vs. Actual PM2.5 make their usefulness limited in predicting when it is safe to burn without affecting neighbors.
  • Complaints from neighbors appear to be independent of wind speed and PM2.5 concentrations (particulate matter less than 2.5 microns). This indicates that projected wind speed and PM2.5 cannot be accurately used to predict when neighbors might be adversely affected by wood smoke.

On their June meeting, the NRC also reviewed wood smoke toxicological data and computer dispersion modeling reports and received public comments from citizens discussing the adverse impact to their health and daily lives from continued exposure to their neighbor’s wood smoke. A short summary of wood smoke toxicological information from CARB and YSAQMD is included in this article as Appendix 3. Excerpts of written comments received from Davis citizens discussing the impact of wood smoke exposure on them are attached as Appendix 4.

Collectively, all of this information conclusively demonstrated to the NRC that excessive ground level concentrations of wood smoke resulting from burning in non-EPA compliant wood burning devices can build up to unhealthy levels. Further, children and seniors with respiratory or circulatory problems are particularly at risk. These health risks become more pronounced when concentrations of wood smoke are high enough that you can detect it by smell. According to CARB, “If you can smell smoke, you have a problem”. This indicates that any material concentration of wood smoke in the air resulting in a citizen’s being able to continuously smell it is indicative of a harmful situation and should be addressed by a restrictive wood smoke ordinance.

Although there is general public agreement about the dangers of 2nd hand cigarette smoke and vehicular exhaust and a variety of prohibitions against exposing people to such smoke, there are currently no regulations helping a Davis resident deal with neighbors who excessively or improperly use non-EPA compliant wood burning devices in a manner that results in excessive wood smoke exposures to their neighbors.

The NRC determined that the comparatively large number of complaints from a small number of citizens exposed to nearby sources of wood burning on both alert and non-alert days indicates that some residents are still suffering from nearest neighbor impacts throughout the wood burning season and that these exposures are adversely affecting them.

The NRC then concluded there is a need to address these potential significant health risks from wood smoke in a manner different from the previous expired ordinance that had proved ineffective. As a result, at their June meeting the NRC unanimously directed the Wood Smoke subcommittee to present to the NRC a suggested ordinance as follows:

1. A proposed new Ordinance be based on “nuisance” complaints made by affected residents; and

2. The existing Davis municipal wood burning ordinance based on the YSAQMD “Don’t Light Tonight” alert days not be renewed as it was determined to be cumbersome and ineffective; and

3. All mechanisms and opportunities for providing incentives to wood-burning Davis resident to convert to EPA compliant wood burning devices should be explored.

Recommendations by the NRC

At their July 22 meeting, the NRC unanimously recommended that the recently expired wood burning ordinance be replaced with the following changes:

1)    Eliminate the mandatory prohibition of wood burning when a Don’t Light Tonight alert is issued by the Yolo Solano AQMD, and

2)    Add the following additional provisions to the ordinance.

Nuisance – A person shall not discharge from any non-EPA compliant wood-burning source or non-wood pellet burning source whatsoever any visible quantities of smoke exceeding 15 minutes in any 4-hour period which cause injury, detriment, nuisance, or annoyance to any person or number of persons who reside within 300 ft of the wood burning source.

In summary, the recommended ordinance would operate as follows:

  • If a Davis citizen in the place of their normal habitation is within 300 ft of a non-EPA compliant or pellet-burning wood smoke source; and
  • That citizen complains that they are adversely affected by wood smoke and can identify that wood burning source by visible smoke emissions from an identified chimney, then
  • Then wood smoke source is considered to constitute a public nuisance or health hazard and in violation of this proposed municipal ordinance.

It is proposed that enforcement of this ordinance would be by a designated department – possibly Public Works in the case of last year’s now-expired wood burning ordinance. Also similar to last year, enforcement would be on a complaint basis only.

In such a circumstance, any adversely affected citizen who could identify the source of the wood smoke by visible emissions would register a complaint with the specified code-enforcement agency. Initially, this would only generate a warning letter sent to the identified offending wood-burner. Only if a subsequent complaint is made by the previously adversely affected Davis citizen and it is verified that visible wood smoke emissions are again produced by the same source, a mail citation would be issued to the offending wood burner.

The full text of the proposed ordinance is attached as Appendix 1 to this article and is scheduled to be considered by the Council at the September 24, 2013 meeting.

Additional Information about the Proposed Ordinance

The basis for this “nuisance”-type ordinance was actually a rule promulgated by the YSAQMD itself many years ago:

YSAQMD Rule 2.5 – “Nuisance. A person shall not discharge from any source whatsoever such quantities of air contaminants or other material which cause injury, detriment, nuisance, or annoyance to any considerable number of persons or to the public or which endanger the comfort, repose, health, or safety of any such persons or the public or which cause to have a natural tendency to cause injury or damage to business or property.

This rule clearly recognized the right of the public to air quality that is uncontaminated by single point sources of excessive pollution. Unfortunately, the YSAQMD has declined to enforce this particular rule with respect to residential wood burning because it does not have inspectors available for such purposes.

The alternative suggested language recommended by the NRC for the proposed new municipal wood burning ordinance in Davis is actually quite a bit less stringent than the YSAQMD nuisance ordinance and has many more exemptions.

For instance, all EPA Phase II-certified stoves and pellet stoves are exempt from the proposed Davis wood burning ordinance because it is recognized that EPA-compliant wood stoves and pellet stoves are generally more effective in minimizing wood smoke exposure and that many residents have made substantial investments in such wood burning devices.

The proposed Davis wood burning ordinance is also more lenient than the YSAQMD nuisance rule in that it limits complaints only to residents who live within 300 ft. of the offending wood burner – i.e. their actual neighbors. Thus casual passer-bys such pedestrians or bicyclists would be prohibited from registering complaints about wood burning they may otherwise observe or wood smoke to which they may be exposed. The rationale behind such a restriction is that a pedestrian or bicyclist can easily leave an area affected by excessive wood smoke while a nearby resident would not be expected to leave their homes to escape excessive wood smoke.

Thus, the proposed ordinance will protect those Davis residents who do live near neighbors that use non-EPA compliant wood stoves and to which they experience excessive and continual exposures.

The enforcement mechanism proposed by the NRC for the new ordinance is identical to that contained in the expired wood burning ordinance from last year. Because the enforcement of the expired ordinance presented no serious impediments nor required a lot of Staff time to implement, it is expected that enforcement of the newly proposed ordinance would similarly be no different.

If Staff devotes sufficient resources to initial public outreach and education, expected high compliance with the ordinance is expected. This will result in excessive or improper wood burners either improving their wood burning practices or reducing the frequency or duration of their wood burning. Both result in improved air quality for neighborhood residents.

Exemptions from all burning restrictions are also proposed in instances of power outages or when using manufactured wood logs. No exemptions are proposed in cases of economic hardship just as economic hardship exemptions are not provided when complying with regulations concerning vehicular exhaust emissions.

Additional technical discussion on the development of the ordinance, such as the selection of the maximum 300 ft distance from a resident to a wood burner before a complaint can be filed, is attached as Appendix 2.

Broad Support within the NRC

This proposed ordinance was unanimously approved by the NRC at their July meeting. A number of NRC Commissioners additionally weighed in later when Staff proposed to preempt the NRC proposed ordinance by asking Council to renew last year’s expired ordinance earlier this month. That recommendation was on Council’s consent calendar for their September 10th meeting but was subsequently tabled, in part, due to objections raised by two NRC Commissioners.

In a letter to Staff on September5 Commissioner Ben Bourne stated, “The unanimous decision among the Natural Resources Commissioners is that measures taken over the last several years to address the sensitivity of some community members to wood smoke have been largely ineffective at resolving the root cause of wood smoke related complaints. This includes the 2012/13 wood burning ordinance. The NRC Wood Smoke Subcommittee therefore put a significant amount of effort into drafting an ordinance which we feel will more effectively meet the needs of our community, and to do so before the start of the next burn season.

If the City Council accepts a staff recommendation to re-adopt the existing ordinance–in spite of the NRC’s re-draft and recommendation–then I believe we risk significant negative publicity when the ineffective ordinance is re-instated, and again when the Council takes up consideration of the NRC recommendation once the burn season is under way.”

NRC Commissioner Matt Williams stated in a follow-up memo, “…I concur with Ben’s original point, and believe that unless there are legal reasons that I am uninformed about, a gap with no ordinance would appear to be preferable to continuing an existing ordinance that the NRC members overwhelmingly stated was an ineffective, dare I say bad, ordinance. The Wood Smoke Subcommittee took that clear, formalized statement by the NRC and formulated the new ordinance, which the NRC saw as a significant improvement. Not knowing that events would play out the way they have, we didn’t take the step of formally taking a vote about whether no ordinance was preferable to the existing ordinance, but I suspect that if such a vote had actually been moved and seconded, it would have passed.”

Conclusions and Summary

The recommended ordinance is consistent with Council’s expressed interest in addressing and minimizing nearest neighbor wood smoke impacts in as simple of a manner as possible. This complaint-based nuisance ordinance is similar to other complaint based ordinances (such as noise) and is the most straightforward means of reducing excessive nearest neighbor wood smoke exposures.

It is not overly restrictive, though, in that if someone is burning cleanly and their neighbors do not object, then there is no complaint and no enforcement action. This proposed ordinance is otherwise designed to primarily protect those residents who are subject to continued and ongoing wood smoke exposures as a result of nearby neighbors who burn continuously or excessively in non-EPA compliant wood stoves or fireplaces or in an improper manner thus producing excessive smoke.

It is unclear how Council will view this newly proposed ordinance when it is before them on September 24. At least one Councilmember has spoken out in the past in favor of such a simple “nuisance”-based ordinance rather than relying on the more complicated YSAQMD “Don’t Light Tonight” alerts or wind speed-based mandatory ordinances as proposed in the past by the NRC based on the recommendation of the Davis Wood Smoke Scientific Advisory Committee.

In April of 2012, after cautioning against community-wide mandatory restrictions, Dan Wolk stated in a Sierra Club questionnaire submitted to all then Council candidates, “Now, that’s not to say the status quo is ideal, since, again, I do recognize that there are localized instances of air quality problems due to wood burning. We need to work with YSAQMD to provide incentives to property owners to switch out their old fireplaces. Providing more education to the public about the effects of wood burning – and encouraging neighbors to work with one another – would also be beneficial. Lastly, in particular instances it’s not clear to me why private nuisance law could not be utilized to curtail wood burning.”

Consistent with Council’s stated intent, the NRC has also recommended incentivizing change-out of older fireplaces/wood stoves with cleaner burning wood burning devices. Unfortunately, the YSAQMD phased out that program several years ago due to budgetary constraints. The NRC also enthusiastically supported and recommended a broadly increased and extensive public educational outreach program.

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96 Comments

  1. JustSaying

    “…a small number of volunteer Davis citizens who kept logs over the past 3 years…the comparatively large number of complaints from a small number of citizens….”

    Numbers, please. How many volunteers kept logs? How many complaints over how long a period? How many complainers? How many of the small number of volunteer log-keepers also are on the small list of complainers who filed a “comparatively large number of complaints? How are complaints distributed between alert and non-alert days?

    This “overlooked” information is critical to evaluating the magnitude of the Davis problem.

    “…limits complaints only to residents who live within 300 ft. of the offending wood burner….”

    So, each resident gets control over a territory two football fields in diameter. “Nearest neighbor”?

    I predict that the same “annoyed” activists who’ve spent three years on this unreasonable, unnecessary, mean-spirited enterprise will be out in (small) full force, looking for any visible smoke on any of these broadly expanded days in order generate citations against broadly expanded areas of “nearest neighbors.”

    And, how will the city deal with citations sent to a neighbor 299 feet away who wasn’t burning at all or claims innocence.

    It won’t be long before a (small) army of camera-wielding volunteers is patrolling in as many parts of town as they can recruit a resident to serve as a complaint filer. This kind of turn-in-a-nuisance-neighbor ordinance has enormous potential for unintended consequences.

  2. SouthofDavis

    Alan wrote:

    > Although there is general public agreement about the
    > dangers of 2nd hand cigarette smoke and vehicular exhaust
    > and a variety of prohibitions against exposing people to
    > such smoke, there are currently no regulations helping a
    > Davis resident deal with neighbors who excessively or
    > improperly use non-EPA compliant wood burning devices

    Correct me if I am wrong but there is nothing I can do if my “nearest neighbor” is smoking in his yard or drives a diesel that pumps out a ton of smoke.

    Why not work to ban the (large number) of smokers from blowing cigarette smoke in the air or the getting the (large number) of people that drive older diesel (smog exempt) cars and trucks to get something cleaner rather than focus on the (small number) of people that have a fire in a fireplace every now and then?

    I would bet $50 that the “small number of volunteer Davis citizens who kept logs” are all “anti fireplace activists who want to ban all fireplace (and Bar-B-Q) use.

  3. David M. Greenwald

    “I would bet $50 that the “small number of volunteer Davis citizens who kept logs” are all “anti fireplace activists who want to ban all fireplace (and Bar-B-Q) use.”

    Again, I don’t see casting unproven aspersions as helpful to community discourse. Not to mention the fact that it’s actually irrelevant to the policy issue in the current proposal. The only real question here is whether the current proposal is reasonable.

  4. Growth Izzue

    [quote]I would bet $50 that the “small number of volunteer Davis citizens who kept logs” are all “anti fireplace activists who want to ban all fireplace (and Bar-B-Q) use. [/quote]

    That would be the easiest $50 you ever made. If I remember right Dunning had written about how most of the previous complaints had come from the same five people.

  5. David M. Greenwald

    But more people are impacted who complain. When I used to work in a representative’s office, we had a saying that every complaint you get means 100 others feel that way but didn’t write in. That would put the number of people at 500, rather than five.

    I’ve told this story before but my wife and I were on a walk once and she got smoke into her lungs and had to get a breathing treatment. Now we never could have complained since we had no idea where it was coming from, even if there were a law at that time. So looking at the volume of complaints is probably a poor metric.

    But the bottom line is this, under this new ordinance, only nuisance complaints would matter and so if it is only five people with a problem, the city can solve their problems and most everyone else will be fine.

  6. JustSaying

    I did scan the link, but you know how much fun it is with a phone. I did see ten letters of support. Which questions does the nine-page report answer?

    Actually, I think the five questions relate to data that should have been included in the lengthy, scholarly like article (or easily answered) by Alan. Terms like “small number” of log-keepers and complainers and “comparatively large number of complaints” cry out for numbers rather than the general terms.

    These “small” numbers of folks provided the data, complaints and opinions that are being used encourage the city council to impose an overly broad, very restrictive ordinance that will set neighbor against “neighbor” (100 yards away) and enlists the city to take one side’s contention without investigation or finding.

    It’s reasonable to be up front about how many folks are involved in the suffering that’s driving this.

  7. Growth Izzue

    [quote]When I used to work in a representative’s office, we had a saying that every complaint you get means 100 others feel that way but didn’t write in. That would put the number of people at 500, rather than five.
    [/quote]

    BS, the number is five. I wish I had a nickel for everytime you try and use that reasoning to support one of your causes that you believe in.

  8. JustSaying

    “But more people are impacted (than the number) who complain…That would put the number of people at 500, rather than five….”

    Is this your way of confirming that only five people complained? Is this the level of science you think the council should apply in evaluating how serious a problem we have in Davis?

    “…only nuisance complaints would matter and so if it is only five people with a problem, the city can solve their problems and most everyone else will be fine….”

    Oh, yeah? How will the city solve the problem of the mistakenly reported resident or one who wants to claim innocence until proved guilty?

    I’m sorry about your wife’s incident. It proves the futility of identifying the source of anyone’s discomfort. But, here we are cutting a swath 200 yards wide and judging every wisp of visible smoke guilty. This is an easy leap when you start with the mantra of “If you can smell smoke, you have a problem.”

  9. David M. Greenwald

    “Sorry, but we shouldn’t be making sweeping ordinances based on five actual complainers.”

    We’re not, we’re making a much more limited ordinance than we did last year.

  10. JustSaying

    “The number is five people who complained, not five people who were bothered. There’s a difference.

    I guess that you weren’t kidding about the “small number” being only five (of a population to 66,000!). No wonder Alan’s article neglects this important tidbit. How many of the five also were in the “small number” of people who kept journals for three years.

    Is it remotely possible that Alan Pryor is counted it both of these “small numbers” as well as the small number of NRC members and the small number of “Wood Smoke subcommittee” that probably selected the Davis Wood Smoke Scientific Advisory Committee?

    It it possible that he also recruited and knows any the four other complainers? One might start to think this is, in fact, a one-man campaign rather than a 500-person movement.

    In any case, your scientific rationale for using a multiplier of 100 doesn’t hold water. Let’s say your old saying is a reasonable assumption for Congressional offices to make about public opinion. To apply the same concept to the number of people who supposedly are medically “affected” in a community isn’t close to reasonable.

  11. Mr.Toad

    Will the letter or citation identify who complained in accordance with the right to face our accusers? Will the accuser need to testify? This is going to be unenforceable or going to cause great conflict between neighbors. I can’t think of another situation where we turn private citizens into law enforcement officers in non-emergency situations (Citizen’s arrest). This is a good idea that over reaches.

  12. SODA

    We built our house 14 yrs ago and put in an EPA fireplace/woodstove, meeting all the EPA requirements at that time. Last year we were vigilant in following the NO BURN days we received via email. I would imagine that this behavior helped the environment. The new proposal would delete this requirement, correct? I think it is good for citizens to be aware of the air conditions.

  13. SODA

    Also, I appreciate Alan’s passion for his various causes, but we all know he is passionate. I believe I would have had less skepticism if another author had summarized the NRC recommendations. I don’t consider Alan an unbiased reporter! And I agree with JS; the report without at least the number of individual complaints over the years is necessary data.

  14. medwoman

    JustSaying

    [quote]I’m sorry about your wife’s incident. It proves the futility of identifying the source of anyone’s discomfort.[/quote]

    One incident in which the source of the smoke was not identifiable certainly does not “prove the futility” of ever attempting to identify the source. There are many times when the source can be visibly identified and as a previous poster stated a cell phone picture taken as proof there by eliminating the possibility of false accusation.

    What seems ridiculous to me is that if one is approached directly and informed of a neighbors discomfort or actual illness related to one’s wood burning, that the wood burner would not simply stop in deference to their neighbor’s health unless of course that is their sole source of heat. It would appear that this is not the case or there would be no need for such an ordnance.

  15. SouthofDavis

    David wrote:

    > I don’t see casting unproven aspersions as
    > helpful to community discourse.

    Then less than an hour later David writes (an unproven aspersion):

    > The number is five people who complained,
    > not five people who were bothered.

    David had not way to know how many people who were “bothered” so I guess it is only OK for him to cast “unproven aspersions”.

    P.S. Did they ever catch the people who hung the noose at Davis High (that David cast unproven aspersions were racists despite the fact that many noose incidents in the past have been “hate crime activists” and others trying to get attention)

    http://articles.latimes.com/2010/mar/02/local/la-me-ucsd2-2010mar02

    http://www.denverpost.com/ci_20649468/lesbian-couple-parker-faked-anti-gay-incident-investigators

  16. JustSaying

    “Is this your way of confirming that only five people complained?”

    “No, I’m accepting the premise for the purpose of this discussion.”

    Well, what the hell is the real number? Why hash out a premise? It would be a much practical to use facts for a Vanguard discussion.

    “Sorry, but we shouldn’t be making sweeping ordinances based on five actual complainers.”

    “We’re not, we’re making a much more limited ordinance than we did last year.”

    The fact that last year’s outrageous NRC proposal was dumped doesn’t mean this new try isn’t “sweeping.” I’ve pointed out how sweeping and broad it becomes with the number of days it covers and the large area covered by each “affected” household.

  17. alanpryor

    [quote]Numbers, please. How many volunteers kept logs? How many complaints over how long a period?[/quote]

    There were 7 people who kept logs last year. They generated an average of 40 complaints each or about one every 3 days in a 120 day wood burning season.

    [quote]Correct me if I am wrong but there is nothing I can do if my “nearest neighbor” is smoking in his yard or drives a diesel that pumps out a ton of smoke. [/quote]

    You are only half wrong. There is nothing you can do about a neighbor who is smoking in his yard. But a neighbor smoking a cigarette puts out only 0.04 grams of smoke per cigarette. Even if they smoking 2 packs per day, they are only putting out 1.6 gram of smoke per day. A non-EPA certified fireplace can put out up to 1,400 grams of smoke per day which is 911 times as much smoke as the cigarette smoker.

    Actually, smoke emitting from a diesel engine IS illegal and they can be cited. But at least they have the courtesy of driving around so all of the smoke is not concentrated and blowing right into their neighbors’ yards. A new 300 hp diesel truck running at full throttle puts out 432 grams of fine particulate matter per day which is still less than a third of the amount of smoke emitted by a non-EPA compliant wood burning appliance.

    One interesting note – the local YSAQMD requires any business that puts out greater than 2 lbs per YEAR of a priority pollutant (including the fine particulate matter in wood smoke) would be required to get a permit from the YSAQMD which will run them about $1,000/year in total costs even if the are in full compliance with all of the terms of their permit. If they violate the terms, I have seen fines up to $10,000 issued.

    Perhaps we should instead just require that wood burners in Davis get a permit from the YSAQMD and install smoke monitoring equipment on their chimneys – probably to the tune of $5,000 to $10,000. And then if their wood smoke levels are exceed they could be additionally fined by the YSAQMD.

    If it’s good for a business it should be good for individual homeowners too. After all, “Corporations are People too”, right? The simple fact is that some wood burners are gross polluters and they should be forced to behave responsibly. The NRC-recommended proposed wood smoke ordinance is the simplest and easiest way to accomplish that. And it is easy for the wood burner to do that…just burn responsibly or get an EPA-compliant wood stove.

  18. Growth Izzue

    Alan Pryor
    [quote]There were 7 people who kept logs last year. They generated an average of 40 complaints each or about one every 3 days in a 120 day wood burning season.
    [/quote]

    Mr Pryor, how were these seven people chosen? Handpicked? Randomly?

    Were any of the seven members or former members of the NRC?

  19. medwoman

    SouthofDavis

    [quote]David had not way to know how many people who were “bothered” so I guess it is only OK for him to cast “unproven aspersions”.
    [/quote]

    An “aspersion” is “an attack on the reputation or integrity of someone or something.”
    I fail to see how David’s statement “The number is five people who complained,
    not five people who were bothered” in any way attacked anyone’s “reputation or integrity”.

    [quote]I would bet $50 that the “small number of volunteer Davis citizens who kept logs” are all “anti fireplace activists who want to ban all fireplace (and Bar-B-Q) use.[/quote]

    Or maybe they are parents who have to take an asthmatic child into the ER every time their neighbor is burning, or perhaps an ER doctor or nurse who sees the possibility of decreasing the number of asthma attacks precipitated by wood burning generated smoke. If we are going to speculate, why not speculate fairly about the motives presenting the possibilities on both sides ?

  20. Growth Izzue

    Medwoman
    [quote]Or maybe they are parents who have to take an asthmatic child into the ER every time their neighbor is burning, or perhaps an ER doctor or nurse who sees the possibility of decreasing the number of asthma attacks precipitated by wood burning generated smoke. If we are going to speculate, why not speculate fairly about the motives presenting the possibilities on both sides ? [/quote]

    That still wouldn’t be a random survey as your examples still would have an agenda to ban wood smoke.

  21. alanpryor

    [quote]Mr Pryor, how were these seven people chosen? Handpicked? Randomly?[/quote]

    The NRC wood smoke subcommittee put out a call for volunteers – these were the people who responded.

    [quote]Were any of the seven members or former members of the NRC? [/quote]

    One

  22. Mr.Toad

    How many homes does that 280 total sample represent? It seems that instead of punitive enforcement everyone would be better off if we created a program to help people upgrade their stoves if they have a sensitive neighbor. In my mind its the neighbor against neighbor part I don’t like. Its the criminalizing of something that should be resolved through mediation that I find troubling.

  23. Growth Izzue

    [quote]The NRC wood smoke subcommittee put out a call for volunteers – these were the people who responded.
    [/quote]

    Were some these the same people who were complaining before?

  24. JustSaying

    “What seems ridiculous to me is that if one is approached directly and informed of a neighbors discomfort or actual illness related to one’s wood burning, that the wood burner would not simply stop in deference to their neighbor’s health unless of course that is their sole source of heat. It would appear that this is not the case or there would be no need for such an ordnance.”

    I agree, medwoman, with your expectations of neighborly accommodations. This also is the approach that should be taken to solve this problem. I’m not sure whether the “sole source of heat” would be exempted. A resident could remodel or could just go buy a bunch of electrics space heaters; of course, as Alan indicated, poor people aren’t exempted by their inability to buy alternative systems.

    I disagree that we should assume we’ve tested your considerate neighbor solution and found that “this is not the case.” If it worked, we wouldn’t know about it, would we? And, what evidence do we have that such an approach has been tried by significant numbers of those affected and has failed?

    Another approach would be education and publicity. Alan is convinced that “If Staff devotes sufficient resources to initial public outreach and education, expected high compliance with the ordinance is expected.” There’s no need to establish an ordinance to carry out an effective public information campaign.

    Another approach would have the city staff to send a letter to the “offending” resident notifying them of the complaint, encouraging them to be considerate and providing them with current legal and scientific information. This targeted education solution doesn’t require any ordinance, let alone one that involves citations or fines.

    Another approach would be an incentive program to get the newest EPA-approved stoves and inserts into homes of people who want to burn wood. The proposed ordinance calls for “All mechanisms and opportunities for providing incentives to wood-burning Davis resident to convert to EPA compliant wood burning devices should be explored.” This action requires no ordinance. Of course, this provides only lip service; the city can begin such incentives immediately since, as Alan notes, “the YSAQMD phased out (its) program.”

  25. medwoman

    [quote]That still wouldn’t be a random survey as your examples still would have an agenda to ban wood smoke.[/quote]

    My point was not to demonstrate random sampling, but rather to point out that there might be a number of reasons why one might volunteer. One might even volunteer if one’s goal were to prove that wood smoke was not a problem.

  26. medwoman

    [quote]Another approach would have the city staff to send a letter to the “offending” resident notifying them of the complaint, encouraging them to be considerate and providing them with current legal and scientific information. This targeted education solution doesn’t require any ordinance, let alone one that involves citations or fines. [/quote]

    I agree that your alternative proposals certainly seem reasonable to me. The problem is what is the next step if the smoke producing neighbor is recalcitrant and continues to burn ?

  27. Frankly

    The negative impact of Davis’s wood burning fireplaces is SIGNIFICANTLY inflated. Just like has been the impact of plastic bags. The reason to raise total hell with the city council over this, is the clear indication that the motivations of those pushing the cause are more about their identity and less about the impacts… hence they will never stop.

    They will never stop because it would mean that they lose their identity of a social do-gooder.

    So, next we will ban paper bags.

    And next we will ban currently EPA certified fireplaces and backyard BBQs and smokers.

    Ban, ban, ban. Feel good… for a while. Then they need to ban something else.

    For these social do-gooders, maintaining their identity is more important than you maintaining your freedoms.

    The only way to stop this madness is to make sure the first attempt fails so these people go find themselves another truly meaningful identity.

  28. Davis Progressive

    “The negative impact of Davis’s wood burning fireplaces is SIGNIFICANTLY inflated. “

    that maybe your opinion, but it’s stated wtihout any evidence to back it up.

    Link-1 ([url]http://sparetheair.org/Stay-Informed/Particulate-Matter/Wood-Smoke.aspx[/url])
    Link-2 ([url]http://www.arb.ca.gov/research/indoor/wood_burning_handbook.pdf[/url])

  29. JustSaying

    “The NRC wood smoke subcommittee put out a call for volunteers – these were the people who responded.”

    “There were 7 people who kept logs last year. They generated an average of 40 complaints each or about one every 3 days….”

    As I remember, residents were encouraged to file complaints with the city. What were the results? How many complaints were filed independently of the NRC’s small volunteer group, which apparently generated 280 complaints?

    Well, 280 complaints is a large number–even larger if one accepts David’s reckoning that this number represents a total of 28,000 affected-person-days.

    Seven is more than five, but judging reliability would depend on knowing some more about the methodology and results. Did the Davis Wood Smoke Scientific Advisory Committee approve the study design?

    Were the volunteers biased or invested in any way? How were they distributed geographically? Were their observations kept independently and without communication with others throughout the burn season? What instructions were provided regarding the circumstances that were to trigger each complaint? How was the average of 40 complaints distributed; what was the largest number from one person, for example? Was the one NRC volunteer happen to be you? If so, how many complaints come from the overseer of the study?

    On first glance, the sample does provide complaint numbers that do seem large. On second glance, it appears that this study was rigged to produce results that would seem to show that the trial was a failure and to support the need for the restrictive ordinance that’s ready to be considered.

    “If the City Council accepts a staff recommendation to re-adopt the existing ordinance…I believe we risk significant negative publicity when the ineffective ordinance is re-instated….”

    This threat is a cute one. Who do you plan to have generate significant negative publicity against the council, two of whom are in the midst of campaigns for higher office?

  30. alanpryor

    To Mr Toad:
    [quote]How many homes does that 280 total sample represent? [/quote]
    It represented only the homes of the 7 volunteers who monitored wood smoke exposures only at their own homes. Any reports of other wood smoke exposures about town were not included in the totals. So this truly represents only the number of times these people could smell wood smoke at the actual places where they lived.

  31. Davis Progressive

    “that’s how the activists do things. “

    just as you underestimate the impact of pouring particulate matter into the air. once again, there’s a reason why community after community has moved toward at least banning burning on critical days, and a reason why davis is lagging behind other communities in reasonable solutions. but we never here this part of the story from the knee-jerk right wingers who oppose and have opposed just about every single environmental piece of legislation there has ever been. i mean, i’ll bet you were – if you are old enough – opposed to the clean air act from the early 70s. that’s been a huge lifesaver for many americans.

  32. Ryan Kelly

    7 people called in complaints 40 times in 120 days. How many of these people just smelled smoke and how many ended up at the hospital (medwoman’s example)?

    Any nuisance ordinance is own to abuse. Examples are the guy who buys a house directly behind a fraternity, a block off Russell Blvd, then proceeds to report noise violations anytime they use their backyard, people who move near an airport then complain about planes, etc.

    Why not just try to help the complainers – get them to share the cost of upgrading with their neighbors, help them talk to their neighbors.

  33. Frankly

    [quote][b]New Report Puts Woodsmoke Low on the List of Pollution Sources.[/b]

    In a stark contrast to earlier reports, new figures were released today showing woodsmoke as a very small percentage of the particulate air pollution in the San Joaquin Valley. The report concluded that older, uncertified wood stoves contribute approximately 1%, and woodburning fireplaces contribute 1.5% of the total particulate pollution in the valley. Prior estimates appearing in the media indicated that as much as 15% to 30% of all particulate pollution in the valley originated from residential woodburning.

    Having faced those overstated and incorrect assertions about woodburning’s contribution to poor air quality, the fireplace industry seeks to disseminate these drastically different statistics regarding the contribution of residential wood combustion to San Joaquin Valley air. While the valley’s air problems are at times staggering, the harsh treatment by the media and the San Joaquin Air District is way off base, says the Hearth, Patio, & Barbecue Association, which represents hearth product manufacturers, retailers, and service professionals. Much of that criticism is based, they assure the public, in very old or poor statistics.

    The timing of this response is intended to publicly object to the Air District’s proposed Rule 4901, which imposes unfair restrictions on the entire valley’s residents making them pay the price for air problems in a very narrow geographical area.

    Therefore, to better educate consumers, HPBA commissioned Oregon based Omni Laboratories, an independent research and testing firm, to cull existing studies and published statistics into a comprehensive report they feel will allay the fears of many who wish to keep the right to use their wood burning stoves and fireplaces for enjoyment and for heat.

    “To state that particulate matter from woodsmoke is a major contributor to the San Joaquin Valley’s pollution is just wrong,” says John Crouch, HPBA’s Director of Public Affairs. “It is not the main reason the valley has dirty air, as many newspaper articles have implied. Residential woodburning is a very isolated problem as demonstrated in the Omni paper.”

    Omni’s Chemical and Environmental consultant, Dr. James Houck authors the report and identifies several facts he feels are being ignored in this debate.

    First and foremost, woodsmoke is only a very small percentage of all particulate matter in the San Joaquin Valley. Starting with the emission inventory created by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), and adjusting with newer information, it is clear that older woodstoves contribute approximately 1%, and fireplaces 1.5% of the total particulate pollution in the valley. According to the Valley Air District’s 2003 PM-10 Plan, the bulk of particulate comes from [b]building and farming dust and ammonium nitrate from cars, trucks, and other fuel burning.[/b][/quote]
    I saw Alan and David on their hands a knees in the green grass of their sunny front yard looking for a quarter they lost. I asked, “where did you lose your quarter?” They said, “in the dank and dark basement.”

  34. JustSaying

    “I agree that your alternative proposals certainly seem reasonable to me. The problem is what is the next step if the smoke producing neighbor is recalcitrant and continues to burn ?”

    Good question. When that happens, it might be time to start looking at more city involvement, say, an ombudsman or another representative to facilitate discussion and resolution. How many recalcitrants might still be left after that?

    After trying all of the approaches I suggested, THEN it might be time to start to consider issuing citations based on complaints. (After reading this article several times, I still don’t see anything about the penalty for a second time. And, what’s the penalty for recalcitrants in this situation who ignore a citation or five or ten, trying to take a stand?)

    Of course, there’s always the civil suit approach although it might be difficult to prove that damages were caused by someone burning a couple pieces of wood in a fireplace 100 yards away. I’m not big on suing folks, but at least it requires something more than claiming to see smoke from a chimney 300 feet down the street.

  35. alanpryor

    To Just Saying
    [quote]Another approach would be education and publicity.[/quote]
    A voluntary approach to reducing wood burning emissions which included extensive public outreach and education was tried by the Sacramento AQMD, the Bay Area AQMD, and the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District and all failed and years ago they were forced to mandatory restrictions to meet federal air quality standards. City Staff and the YSAQMD have been telling us for years that they have been trying to get the public to voluntarily reduce wood burning through outreach and education yet the situation has not improved. When you try something multiple times and get the same outcome, what makes you think if you try it one more time the outcome will be different?

    [quote]Another approach would be an incentive program to get the newest EPA-approved stoves and inserts into homes of people who want to burn wood.[/quote]
    So you want the government to raise taxes or fees so they have more money to give rebates to comparatively well-to-do people to help them buy cleaner wood burning stoves. But you don’t want the government to otherwise prevent people from polluting the air in their older wood burning fireplaces even when it adversely affects their neighbors.

    I personally prefer the later approach because I believe that it is the moral responsibility of the wood burner to burn clean and the financial responsibility for them to pay the price themselves to do it. Your suggestion to offer incentives to people to upgrade their wood stoves seemingly favors money transfer to a relatively small group of people who are otherwise more able to afford to buy a new wood stove themselves and to pay for the wood to feed it. I think that is called trickle-up socialism!

  36. Growth Izzue

    [quote]The NRC wood smoke subcommittee put out a call for volunteers – these were the people who responded.

    Were some these the same people who were complaining before? [/quote]

    Mr Pryor, you still haven’t answered my qustion.

  37. JustSaying

    “It represented only the homes of the 7 volunteers who monitored wood smoke exposures only at their own homes. Any reports of other wood smoke exposures about town were not included in the totals.”

    Alan, where are the results from the city that show independent, legitimate complaints from citizens who weren’t engaged in the NRC volunteer enterprise? Were the true city numbers evaluated by the advisory scientists, the smoke subcommittee, the NRC or the city staff assisting the NRC?

    “The report concluded that older, uncertified wood stoves contribute approximately 1%, and woodburning fireplaces contribute 1.5% of the total particulate pollution in the valley. Prior estimates appearing in the media indicated that as much as 15% to 30% of all particulate pollution in the valley originated from residential woodburning.”

    Source, please, Frankly. How old is this industry-financed, independent Omni Laboratories study? Does the CARB and YSAQMD take such considerations into account when determining such things a no-burn days, something the NRC wants us to ignore for proposes of this ordinance?

    Maybe its results influenced the NRC’s current rush to get the council to reject staff advice that it renew the current rules and to threaten council members with “significant negative publicity” if they don’t rush to approve a permanent ordinance.

    Somewhat related: Why do southwestern states pay Oregonians? We just read that an Oregon firm is manufacturing license plates for Nevada.

  38. JustSaying

    Alan’s Report: “3. All mechanisms and opportunities for providing incentives to wood-burning Davis resident to convert to EPA compliant wood burning devices should be explored.”

    Alan’s Retort: “…to offer incentives to people to upgrade their wood stoves seemingly favors money transfer to a relatively small group of people who are otherwise more able to afford to buy a new wood stove themselves and to pay for the wood to feed it. I think that is called trickle-up socialism.”

    Alan’s Report: “If Staff devotes sufficient resources to initial public outreach and education, expected high compliance with the ordinance is expected. This will result in excessive or improper wood burners either improving their wood burning practices or reducing the frequency or duration of their wood burning.”

    Alan’s Retort: “City Staff and the YSAQMD have been telling us for years that they have been trying to get the public to voluntarily reduce wood burning through outreach and education yet the situation has not improved. When you try something multiple times and get the same outcome, what makes you think if you try it one more time the outcome will be different?”

    “I believe that it is the moral responsibility of the wood burner to burn clean….”

    And, outlawing and criminalizing the acts of the immoral is the only way you can see to improve the human condition. Is that Godly or Communistic or just sad?

  39. David M. Greenwald

    Frankly:

    I looked up the article, which you posted without attribution and noticed that you [b]somehow[/b] failed to note it is from 2003!

    [img]images/stories/Wood-smoke-article.png[/img]

    LINK ([url]http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20030410005659/en/Report-Puts-Woodsmoke-List-Pollution-Sources[/url])

  40. David M. Greenwald

    So you pass off a [u][b]TEN YEAR OLD STUDY[/b][/u] as [u][b]”NEW”[/b][/u] and fail to do any research to determine as to whether that report has been verified over the next decade.

  41. David M. Greenwald

    My point is:

    1. You made it seem like a new report when it’s not
    2. We don’t know whether it is valid or not. I don’t have the time right now to look at the last ten years of research.
    3. San Joaquin Valley not here. I’ve seen more recent reports on the Bay Area that suggest otherwise.

  42. SouthofDavis

    David wrote:

    > I looked up the article, which you posted without
    > attribution and noticed that you somehow failed
    > to note it is from 2003!

    If it was low in 2003 it will be even lower now since most new homes have been built without wood burning fireplaces, pelet stoves have increased in popularity and the increase in the price of split firewood has even less people burning wood.

  43. Frankly

    I never said it was not 10 years old, but the point about wood smoke being a tiny fraction of air pollution is completely valid and applicable to Davis that also sits in the valley surrounded by freeways, and farms spewing dust and pesticide residue into the air.

    I think you thought you had me on some technicality without actually reading the study and thinking about the point I was making.

  44. Frankly

    [i]If it was low in 2003 it will be even lower now since most new homes have been built without wood burning fireplaces, pelet stoves have increased in popularity and the increase in the price of split firewood has even less people burning wood.[/i]

    Exactly.

  45. SouthofDavis

    Ryan wrote:

    > 7 people called in complaints 40 times in 120 days.
    > How many of these people just smelled smoke and how
    > many ended up at the hospital (medwoman’s example)?

    In all the years I lived in Davis there was one day I was bothered by smoke (It was smoke from a large forest fire that blew in to town). I had bad asthma as a kid where I went to the emergency room multiple times. My oldest son looks like he is taking after me and two years ago we spent the night at the old Sutter Hospital in East Sacramento (Sutter Davis ER sent us there) until his blood oxygen levels got higher.

    As I have mentioned I am not a fan of smoke, but while I would be happier if no one smoked, drove diesel cars or had fires in their fireplace I’m not working to ban anything and if I have a problem with something I’ll deal with it myself. I wonder if it occurs to any of the fireplace ban crowd that buying an air purifier might be a lot easier than banning fireplaces, cars and Bar-B-Qs?

  46. Frankly

    You’re better than that.

    How can I be better when I am perfect?

    Okay, seriously, what are the rules or the statutes of limitation for validating studies?

    And seriously #2, if I reference a study of a certain age, I would already have vetted it for current relevancy to the point I was making.

  47. Frankly

    [i]I wonder if it occurs to any of the fireplace ban crowd that buying an air purifier might be a lot easier than banning fireplaces, cars and Bar-B-Qs?[/i]

    Bravo!

    And, the air purifier would remove other more prevalent polluting particulate matter than the miniscule amount of wood smoke from the few fireplaces still in existence and likely to be voluntarily reduced over time as expensive homes in this town get renovated.

    But that does not feel as good as does a ban to the social do-gooder.

  48. David M. Greenwald

    You’re missing the point here. To anyone who read the article, it implied it was a new study. I was personally curious as to where it was published so I looked it up. The reason a ten year old study is a red flag is: (A) measurements and data have changed and improved in the last decade, (B) since I’m not an expert in the field, I have no idea if there have been studies debunking that one, (C) Despite that study, the San Joaquin Air Quality District has implemented measures similar to and more stringent than measures we are considering in Davis.

  49. SouthofDavis

    David casts yet another aspersion when he tells Frankly:

    > You made it seem like a new report when it’s not

    Per medwoman:

    > An “aspersion” is “an attack on the reputation or
    > integrity of someone or something.”

    Most people (including David who has been throwing a lot of stones in his glass house today) don’t state the publication date of every source they quote…

  50. Growth Izzue

    [quote]The NRC wood smoke subcommittee put out a call for volunteers – these were the people who responded.

    Were some these the same people who were complaining before?

    Mr Pryor, you still haven’t answered my qustion. [/quote]

    Once again, can you please reply?
    Can we have the names of the people involved in the logging?

  51. alanpryor

    Re: Wood Smoke Percentage of Particulate Matter in the Air

    All of the major AQMDs in Northern Calif (Sac, Bay Area, and San Joaquin) all report the percentage of particulate matter in the air that is attributable to wood smoke is between 35 and 50%. That is why they have all instituted mandatory controls to comply with federal standards. Restricting fireplace usage is the cheapest and easiest way to lower PM in the air. The %s of PM in the air attributable to wood smoke have also been independently verified by researchers at the Air Quality Institute of UC Davis and by Tom Cahill’s son (a professor at the Univ of Arizona) when he tested Tom’s air samples taken up and down the Valley several years ago. All of these findings were peer-reviewed.

    Omni Labs is a private company funded almost exclusively by the wood stove industry. James Houck, their chief “scientist”, has been openly critical of any industry regulation for years. Would you expect their results to be detrimental to their clients’ interests? That is like asking the big oil companies if they think their products contribute to global warming.

  52. Mr.Toad

    “I believe that it is the moral responsibility of the wood burner to burn clean….”

    Puritanical imposition of your morality is offensive its Calvinism run amok.

    i believe it is the responsibility of the effected neighbor to help pay for the demanded upgrade. i would never demand my neighbor do anything without offering to help pay for it. I love my neighbor and I hope my neighbor loves me. We try to all get along.

    Perhaps Mr. Pryor and I have different traditional philosophical beliefs. I hope that the council takes a more benign approach to governing.

    I imagine somebody will get a double citation on a cold winter night when they doze off in the comfort and warmth of a blazing hearth. I can hear the judge now “Mr. Toad you are charged with snoring too loud while having a fire in your fireplace. How do you plead?”

    My reply “Insanity, your honor.”

  53. SouthofDavis

    Alan wrote:

    > All of the major AQMDs in Northern Calif (Sac,
    > Bay Area, and San Joaquin) all report the percentage
    > of particulate matter in the air that is attributable
    > to wood smoke is between 35 and 50%.

    Do they report what percentage is from wood burning after a local lightning strike, a cigarette is tossed out a window and burns a couple acres or other “outdoor” wood burning (like the ~200,000 acre “Rim Fire” that is still burning)?

  54. alanpryor

    To Just Saying – I fairly reported the NRC included a request for incentives for older wood-stove change-outs but that does not mean I personally support them as a favored option which I also openly disclosed. There are seven people on the NRC and I am but one voice and I often disagree with the majority rule

    I also reported that public outreach and education failed to get people to “voluntarily” reduce wood burning but that public outreach and education could get people to reduce their wood burning when coupled with a “mandatory” ordinance that has penalties attached.

    The differences are apparent and your attempts to cut and paste snippets of my writings to twist my words and attempt to change my meaning diminishes your arguments.

  55. JustSaying

    “I would bet $50 that the “small number of volunteer Davis citizens who kept logs” are all “anti fireplace activists who want to ban all fireplace (and Bar-B-Q) use.”

    “Again, I don’t see casting unproven aspersions as helpful to community discourse. Not to mention the fact that it’s actually irrelevant to the policy issue in the current proposal. The only real question here is whether the current proposal is reasonable.”

    Even though many questions raised have yet to be answered, SoD, I think it’s already obvious that your aspersions are valid and that some key owes you $50.

    It’s apparent that the “evidence” that this is a demonstrated problem requiring city citations to solve is coming from a half-dozen folks pumping out numbers that seem to be something that they’re not.

    This kind of propaganda isn’t worthy of a city commission and shouldn’t be given much consideration by the city council. A commission should provide a balancrf look at an issue, especially when it’s challenging what also should be a balanced view from city staff.

    Frankly, Frankly, I jumped to conclusions based on your reference to the Oregon study. David’s also upset about whether the magnitude of the problem has changed in a decade. He had time to track the study, but to look for anything to determine whether it still is accurate. I shouldn’t have assumed it was current, but I would have appreciated your including a link and date before David felt it necessary to call you on it.

  56. Frankly

    I think we are moving into the liar category with these claims.

    [url]http://www.arb.ca.gov/research/apr/past/06-331.pdf[/url]

    [quote][b]s-K (Potassium)[/b] – According to the single particle data, this class of particles, representing 33.5% of the total number of particles detected during the CV sampling portion of the S08 experiment, is characterized by individual particles composed almost entirely of potassium salts and/or oxides with only trace signal from other constituents, most notably sodium and carbon. Given their size and composition, these particles most likely originate from local sources of biomass combustion, including residential and commercial heating and cooking, wildfires, and agricultural and waste related burning.
    [b]s-CAN (Carbonaceous Ammonium Nitrate)[/b] – Representing 32.2% – The high signal ratio of ammonium nitrate to carbon in these particles, along with the frequency with which oxidized carbon fragment ions are observed, strongly suggests these particles have undergone a significant degree of atmospheric processing and are likely regional in origin. The underlying EC and HC signals and lack of metal oxide seed particles indicate that the primary particulate source is vehicular emissions, which is also a large source of vapor phase organics.
    [b] s-EC (Elemental Carbon)[/b] – Comprising 12.8% of the detected particles, this class represents soot, or elemental carbon, particles with single particle mass spectra composed almost entirely of carbon cluster ions. These are primary combustion particles most likely attributable to vehicular emissions – predominantly diesel engines but also internal combustion engines – and/or two-stroke motors associated with landscaping activities, such as lawn mowers, leaf blowers, hedgers, and trimmers.
    [b] s-K/EC/OC (Potassium/Elemental Carbon/Organic Carbon) [/b]– accounting for 6.7% of the observed particles [b](this changes to 18.7% in the winter but is ALL open fires… not just wood smoke from fireplaces).[/b] More typical of what is observed during conventional biomass combustion – e.g., open vegetation fires, woodstoves and fireplaces sustaining mixed phase combustion.
    [b] Na/K (Sodium/Potassium)[/b] – Consisting of individual particles composed almost entirely of varying mixtures of both sodium and potassium salts and/or oxides, and with infrequently detected trace amounts of carbon, this class of particles accounts for 4.2% of the single particle measurements and is nearly compositionally identical to the K class discussed above. Higher observational frequencies have been reported for the combustion of biomass under coastal influences, likely from the effects of sea salt deposition on biomass composition, but this does not explain the trends observed here and in other cities.
    [b]s-EC/OC (Elemental Carbon/Organic Carbon)[/b] – This particle class accounts for 2.5% of the detected particles. Again, these are primary combustion particles most likely attributable to vehicular emissions, including diesel and internal combustion engines.
    [b]Ca/EC/OC (Calcium/Elemental Carbon/Organic Carbon)[/b] – This particle class represents 2.3% of the detected particles. Although this is certainly possible for internal combustion engines as well, these types of particles are more commonly associated with diesel trucks and tractor trailers.
    [b]Zn/Pb (Zinc/Lead)[/b] – Representing 1.9% of the detected particles. Although lead, and to a lesser extent zinc, is fairly ubiquitous in ultrafine urban particles – likely originating from a multitude of different sources such as coal combustion and engines still burning leaded gasoline, such as small single and twin engine aircraft[/quote]

  57. Don Shor

    [quote]Can we have the names of the people involved in the logging? [/quote]
    It seems very unlikely that their names would be made public, for any number of reasons.

  58. GreenandGolden

    We heat with wood primarily and have an old belch-fire gas heater for backup. We have a sexy Norwegian wood stove that complies with the regs. We have a tall stack, and burn as hot as the fire will go, all the time. We burn hard, two year old stone fruit wood that we buy from a sawyer in Winters. We live in a neighborhood that is nest of people who make it their business to poke their noses into everyone else’s business. Nobody has ever complained about our smoke (they have complained about the way we trim our plants, the way we water our garden, the way we place our trashcans out front–We love our neighbors!). I support the council’s new way of dealing with this problem. Thanks Alan for a great piece, [italics] illegitimi non carborundum [italics].

  59. Frankly

    [i] I would have appreciated your including a link and date[/i]

    Fair enough JS.

    But of course you know David’s only frustration was that I caused him to have to do a Google search to figure out a way to discount the study. He would prefer that I included the date so I could have made that easier for him.

    I still think the date of the study is irrelevant given the point I was making, but I will comply with the suggestion going forward.

  60. JustSaying

    “The differences are apparent and your attempts to cut and paste snippets of my writings to twist my words and attempt to change my meaning diminishes your arguments.”

    I apologize; I did not try to twist your words. In fact, I cut and pasted them without comment. Perhaps i should used the term “response” instead of “retort.”

    I had no way of knowing that you disagree with the NRC when you’re reporting the commission’s recommendations. As you say, the differences are apparent and your meanings also are apparent.

    Whether your concept or the NRC’s, the full-throated endorsement of “public outreach and education” by staff is a little disingenuous. The success of this ordinance is imbedded in–and success will be measured on–the penalties and the threat of penalties.

    Although you’ve avoided answering important questions, at this point, it looks as though the claim of lack of success of public education and voluntary compliance relies completely on a flawed study by biased participants and the disregard of the city data that was supposed to be considered,

  61. JustSaying

    “It seems very unlikely that their names would be made public, for any number of reasons.”

    Interesting, and why would could these reasons be?

    How can one tell if there really seven volunteers or, perhaps, two filing an average of 140 complaints each?

    I’ll bet David could get them with a public records request for the city complaint log. It would be helpful to know the extent of the complaints filed by citizens other than these seven.

    In fact, it would be unnecessary to have the names if these volunteers want to be anonymous. I’d guess there aren’t any other people who filed 25 or 40 or more complaints. If the NRC doesn’t want to reveal whether anybody filed complaints other that the seven devoted to filing in order to skew the data, we could find the facts by process of elimination.

    Have the volunteers’ names really been confidential?

  62. Growth Izzue

    [quote]It seems very unlikely that their names would be made public, for any number of reasons. [/quote]

    Then what good is the study? We do know that one of the seven is or was a member of the NRC. How do we know that 5 of the other 6 aren’t the one’s who submitted most of the complaints the first time around? Are we going to have an ordinance go into law based on seven anomynous loggers?

  63. SouthofDavis

    Frankly wrote;

    > But of course you know David’s only frustration was
    > that I caused him to have to do a Google search to
    > figure out a way to discount the study.

    I bet if I posted that a guy named Galileo says the earth is round David would respond “sure but is studies are over 400 years old”…

  64. Growth Izzue

    [quote]I bet if I posted that a guy named Galileo says the earth is round David would respond “sure but is studies are over 400 years old”… [/quote]

    LMAO

  65. medwoman

    [quote]Once again, can you please reply?
    Can we have the names of the people involved in the logging? [/quote]

    Interesting that neither poster demanding the names of the volunteers is posting under their own name.

  66. Growth Izzue

    [quote]Interesting that neither poster demanding the names of the volunteers is posting under their own name. [/quote]

    That’s so wrong and you know it. I’m not part of a group of seven that logged when “they were exposed to wood smoke at their homes and their qualitative assessment of the severity of the exposure”. I think since their findings are subjective and will help determine a law that we all have to live by we at least should be able to know their names and then we can make our own assessments as to their possible agendas.

    Would you like it Medwoman if a study was done on fluoridation by only seven anomynous people that were chosen by an anti-fluoride committee?

  67. Mr.Toad

    I am an anonymous poster on a blog not somebody getting citations issued. How could this work without the witness providing testimony? All this is going to do is cause even greater disharmony among neighbors unless law enforcement goes out, observes the violation and issues the citation this is a recipe for a situation that could lead to horrible confrontations between neighbors. The council would be well advised to not pit neighbor against neighbor in this manor. It could lead to violence as proposed.

  68. Don Shor

    [quote]this is a recipe for a situation that could lead to horrible confrontations between neighbors. The council would be well advised to not pit neighbor against neighbor in this manor. It could lead to violence as proposed.[/quote]
    It seems we have a situation where a small number of residents is adversely affected by the wood-burning practices of another small number of residents, but which cannot be resolved among themselves. Those whose health is affected may feel, reasonably or not, unable to approach the wood-burning neighbor about the problem. Their health concerns are not made up. Smoke is bad for you.

    It seems many who post here think that the only unreasonable ones are those who don’t want wood burning. But there are weather conditions when you simply shouldn’t burn. That would seem commonsense: if you can smell smoke, it’s not blowing away. Breathing smoke is unhealthy, for some people it’s very unhealthy.

    It is the [i]situation[/i] that has pitted some neighbors against each other. It’s too bad people can’t resolve these things sometimes. But they can’t. So some people need to have the law on their side before they approach an unreasonable neighbor, and in some instances it might be best to have officials doing the approaching.
    That’s kind of the point of this whole thing.

  69. Mr.Toad

    Yes but unless the person issuing the citation observes the violation they can’t testify. Its called here say. So the accused will meet the accuser in court and then live within 300 feet of them until one of them moves. This is going to be setting up volatile situations between neighbors. I would not advise the Council to do it this way it will only lead to regrettable outcomes between neighbors.

  70. Don Shor

    I’m not following your logic. How do you propose someone who is affected by a neighbor’s smoke deal with the situation? How is the present situation not equally “volatile”?

  71. Mr.Toad

    If you want to issue citations you need to have the cops do it. That is why we have cops issue noise citations so neighbors don’t confront each other. The problem here is that the NRC is trying to create an enforcement mechanism without using the cops. I don’t know why they are trying to do so. I don’t know if its because the cops don’t want to be involved or because they are trying to get an ordinance that is too unpopular to have the cops enforce it. But without the cops you end up with something unenforceable or where neighbors must testify against a neighbor and then continue living within 300 feet of each other. Its a recipe for disaster. Hopefully, with three lawyers on the council, they will understand why this proposal is a bad idea as structured.

    As for Pryor’s assertion that helping people upgrade is a subsidy for well off home owners isn’t always the case. The newer homes have EPA approved units. Its only the older homes, those built before, probably 1992 I’m guessing, that need the help. These people might have lots of equity but little other wealth and would therefore be reluctant to buy an expensive new system, or, they might be stretched because they are barely able to afford living in Davis and don’t have any extra money, or, they might be upside down and can’t get financing to replace their system.

    The punitive approach Pryor supports is in my mind the wrong approach. I haven’t seen the carrots only the sticks and the enforcement structure suggested is the worst i have ever seen.

  72. JustSaying

    “But there are weather conditions when you simply shouldn’t burn….”

    No one disagrees as far as I can tell.

    “It seems we have a situation where a small number of residents is adversely affected by the wood-burning practices of another small number of residents, but which cannot be resolved among themselves. Those whose health is affected may feel, reasonably or not, unable to approach the wood-burning neighbor about the problem.”

    It may seem this way to you, but there’s no evidence offered that any efforts have been undertaken by the affected or by the city or that neighbors have been unable to resolve anything. It may seem to you that the affected have been unable to approach their neighbors, but that case hasn’t been advanced at all.

    There’s no justification for the 200-yard diameter circle that allows the affected to target other residents by smell or sight. There’s no requirement that anyone even needs to be affected in order to turn in a neighbor and subject the neighbor to citation and fine. It won’t be long before there’s a cadre’ of Smoke Police wandering every street to assure that no one is burning wood whether it’s a no-burn day or not.

    It would be great if Alan would answer the still unanswered questions about his long on words, but short on some critical data, article.

    “Interesting that neither poster demanding the names of the volunteers is posting under their own name.”

    Can I assume you’re not including me as half of this small group, Dr. Pseudonym, since I Was clear that it was unnecessary. Don had stated that it would be unlikely that the names would be made public “for a variety of reasons.” I just asked him what the reasons are, and was curious whether the volunteers were a secret cadre in the first place. Still hoping to hear back.

  73. Mr.Toad

    ‘Don had stated that it would be unlikely that the names would be made public ‘for a variety of reasons.’ “

    Maybe for getting this passed but once passed someone is going to need to testify against the accused who observed the smoke and that person, as this is currently structured, is going to be living within 300 feet of the fire breathing menace to society.

  74. JustSaying

    Mr.Toad, are you sure? I don’t see anything that suggests that any proof is required or that the accused has any rights to face an accuser or even knows who generated the complaint that results in a citation and fine. I still haven’t located the amount of the fine with the first citation or what the penalty is for repeated citations.

    Furthermore, I don’t think it will be difficult to find a buddy in another neighborhood who could carry my complaint about someone I see or smell or with whom I have a long-standing grievance. Good luck if you cross me with your slimy skin and I can find you smoking during burn season, regardless of whether it’s a burn or no-burn day.

  75. Mr.Toad

    “I don’t see anything that suggests that any proof is required or that the accused has any rights to face an accuser or even knows who generated the complaint that results in a citation and fine.”

    So you get a court summons and the judge asks what you did and you say i didn’t do anything the judge asks the DA did anybody see anything and the DA says yes and the judge asks that person to testify but that person is not there and the person issuing the citation didn’t see it so they can’t testify.

    Case dismissed.

  76. medwoman

    [quote]But there are weather conditions when you simply shouldn’t burn….”

    No one disagrees as far as I can tell.
    [/quote]

    Well, if no one disagrees, then it should be easy with or without the ordnance. If everyone agreed there would be no burning on those days, and no “volatile” situation created. As for someone having to “testify” I don’t see why that should be the case. As someone pointed out, a picture can be taken from any cell phone and sent to the city as evidence. The person doing the burning knows that they have been doing it. So why exactly is this supposed to entail hostility. If the person is breaking a law, then they should not be doing that. This should especially be true for those who favor a “law and order” approach.

    Tia Will
    aka medwoman ( as I am sure many of you know from previous posts)

  77. JustSaying

    “But there are weather conditions when you simply shouldn’t burn….”

    “No one disagrees as far as I can tell.”

    “Well, if no one disagrees, then it should be easy with or without the ordnance.”

    And, if it should be easy either way, there’s no need for an ordinance criminalizing wood burning. The new problem is that the current proposal tries to expand the illegal burning designation to days that aren’t agreed-to burn days.

    It would be good to start this with some evidence and agreement that other approaches cannot work. There’s no evidence that there’ve been volatile situations. Unfortunately, it also appears there was not a good-faith effort to give other approaches a fair try.

    Nobody is “breaking the law” by burning when there’s not a no-burn day in effect. That’s the objective of the NRC’s proposal, however, to make it illegal.

    There’s no requirement for a complaint to be accompanied with photo documentation. There’s also no requirement for the complainer to be affected in any way by the reported illegal smoke.

    This is an over-reaching solution still flailing about in an effort to find a problem.

  78. jimt

    Seems to me that the small number of people who have asthma or who otherwise are sensitive (or sensitized?) to wood smoke definitely should look into air purifiers; there are models that can substantially reduce small particulate loads. In addition to portable room units; I believe system units can be bought to reduce small particle load of all air coming into the house thru heating/cooling (though I imagine this might be somewhat expensive for small particulates PM2.5 or smaller)–as has been mentioned above; there are many other sources of particulates in air besides wood smoke.

    I say let’s ban leafblowers not wood burning stoves! In addition to assaulting the ears of the whole neighborhood, leafblowers throw all kinds of particulates,large and small (including pollen, allergens) into the air; of course the smaller particles stay suspended in the air for much longer. This fine particle crap gets blown back and forth between houses in the neighborhood as they each ‘leaf’blow their property; sending the same particles into the air multiple times before they are finally removed from the neighborhood by rainfall (or deposition onto your lungs or into your home; where you might vacuum/sweep much of it up).

  79. David M. Greenwald

    “should look into air purifiers”

    That would mean they would have to stay inside at all times during burn season, no?

    All this would do if I read the proposal correctly, it allow people who have a direct problem to have a remedy for that problem if their neighbor is unwilling to work with them.

    This is from the staff report: “A new ordinance should allow “nuisance complaints” to be made by affected residents, acknowledging the problem is not a Citywide concern.”

    That doesn’t seem unseasonable to me.

  80. Adam Smith

    JS – [i]Nobody is “breaking the law” by burning when there’s not a no-burn day in effect. That’s the objective of the NRC’s proposal, however, to make it illegal. [/i]

    DG – [i]All this would do if I read the proposal correctly, it allow people who have a direct problem to have a remedy for that problem if their neighbor is unwilling to work with them.

    This is from the staff report: “A new ordinance should allow “nuisance complaints” to be made by affected residents, acknowledging the problem is not a Citywide concern.”

    That doesn’t seem unseasonable to me[/i]

    If the new ordinance allows complaints to be filed on any day, not just a non-burn day, then it is unreasonable. The impact will likely be much wider than just neighbors — if I understand David’s analysis. A complaint could be filed if someone anywhere or anytime, and on any day and decides that the smell of smoke is bothersome.

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