What To Do if You are Affected by a Neighbor's Outdoor Wood Boiler Smoke

Some outdoor wood boilers (OWBs) smoke excessively and can affect people's health and/or enjoyment of their property. If you are adversely affected by smoke from an OWB, here are some actions you may wish to pursue.

  • If you experience persistent or frequent health symptoms you think are associated with smoke exposure, you should see your health care provider.
  • Contact your local municipality to determine if there are local ordinances/regulations regarding OWBs.
  • Contact your local code enforcement officer. Call your local village or town clerk to find the name of your local code enforcement officer. Section 302.6 of the NYS Property Maintenance Code (see 19 NYCRR Part 1226) prohibits the discharge of "gases, steam, vapor, hot air, grease, smoke, odors or other gaseous or particulate wastes directly upon an abutting or adjacent public or private property or that of another tenant.
  • Contact your New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Regional Office. DEC is the lead state agency for regulating emissions to air, and DEC staff can investigate whether an OWB conforms to existing regulations. DEC has taken actions in the past to shut down OWBs that exceeded smoke opacity regulations. In addition, call the DEC TIPP (Turn in Poachers and Polluters) line at 1-800-TIPP-DEC (1-800-847-7332) for reporting nuisances.
  • Contact your local health department to make a complaint and inquire whether the situation constitutes a public health nuisance. Local health officers may be able to help.