Solid Fuel-Fired Heating Device Visible Emission and Opacity Limits
Visible Emission and Opacity Limits are set out in 18 AAC 50.075 and FNSB PM2.5 SIP Section 5.11 (PDF)
|Area||Opacity Limit During PM2.5 Advisories / Episodes Called by DEC or a Local Air Program||Opacity Limit Year Round|
|FNSB PM2.5 Nonattainment Area Map (PDF)||
During PM2.5 Episodes: Solid fuel-fired heating devices may not operate without a waiver from the Department or local air quality program.
During PM2.5 Advisories: 20% (with the exception of 15 minutes after the initial startup when the opacity must be less than 50%)
|No Black Smoke|
During PM2.5 Advisories: 20% (except for six minutes each hour or 15 minutes after startup)
|No Black Smoke|
Visible Emission Evaluation Procedures
- DEC uses EPA Method 9 with Alaska-specific modifications (SIP Vol. 3., sec. IV-3, Appendix IV-3 (PDF)) to measure opacity.
- The Alaska-specific modifications allow readings through water vapor.
- DEC is also exploring the use of the camera-based Method 9 alternative (EPA ALT-082 (PDF) that is based on ASTM D7520-09.
- You do not need to use these procedures to estimate the opacity of your smoke. Try using the images below as a guide.
- Air Quality Complaint Form
(Images above provided by Alaska Environmental Resources, LLC.)
What are Visible Emissions?
- Emissions you can see
- Steam, particulate matter, and gases
What is Smoke Opacity?
- Opacity is a measure of how much light visible emissions block.
- High opacity means dirtier smoke is coming out of the chimney.
- High opacity smoke is a signal that your heating appliance is not operating efficiently and is producing too much pollution.
- There are easy steps you can take to burn more efficiently, reduce opacity, and produce less pollution.
What factors affect opacity?
- Combustion efficiency
- Operating temperature
- Wood moisture content
- Size of the fire
- Type of appliance
- Age and condition of the appliance
- Types of fuels burned
How can I reduce smoke opacity?
- Burn dry wood
- Only burn clean fuels
- Mix wetter wood with cleaner burning compressed wood logs
- Increase airflow by opening the damper
- Build small, hot fires
- Don't let your fire smolder
- Maintain your appliance
- Inspect your stove and make any necessary repairs
- Consider upgrading to a newer appliance
- Consider using less polluting heaters that use pellets, propane, oil, or electricity instead
- Steven Hoke
- Phone: 907-451-5172