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MALTA: Fire could go out

After years of complaints from some town residents regarding outdoor furnaces or wood boilers, the Malta Town Board has spent the past several months examining the issue and will be holding a public hearing next week related to proposed changes in the town code that will ban their use by 2015.

We're only aware of six outdoor wood boilers in town, said Heather Mallozzi, building and planning director for the town of Malta.

The new law will require the owners of those wood boilers to obtain a permit from the town before Oct. 1, 2008, and require the town's code enforcement officer to insure the furnace and its operation comply with the provisions in the new law. Owners will be expected to have the units inspected at least once each year and provide proof of that inspection to the town to obtain the initial permit as well as to retain the permit. Those who opt not to get a permit will be required to remove their existing outdoor furnace by the same date.

Other provisions within the law require that the outdoor furnaces be used only between Oct. 1 and April 30 of each year, must be equipped with properly functioning spark arrestors, and must not have an emission of a smoke plume exceeding an average of 20 percent opacity " being opaque - for six consecutive minutes in any one-hour period. Additionally, the new law limits the fuels to be used for the outdoor furnaces to firewood and untreated lumber, providing clear definitions for each. Another provision will require existing outdoor furnaces to have a permanent stack, which extends 5 feet higher than the peak of any roof structure within 150 feet.

Outdoor furnaces are often used as an alternative heat source providing interior heat to homes as well as hot water for the home, pools and hot tubs.

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