Department of Environmental Conservation

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Are You Being Impacted by a Neighbor's OWB?

What conditions constitute a nuisance under Part 247?

Nuisance situations typically arise in cases where an OWB is installed too close to a property boundary line, or with a short stack or where the operator uses unseasoned wood or other inappropriate fuels. There are nuisance prohibitions in Part 247. Subdivision 247.3(c) (link leaves DEC's website) provides that "no person may cause or allow air contaminants from an OWB ... which interferes with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property." This subdivision is modeled after Section 211.2 (link leaves DEC's website) and includes three examples of a nuisance condition:

  • Activating smoke detectors in neighboring structures;
  • Impairing visibility on a public highway; or
  • Causing a visible plume migrating from an OWB and contacting a building on an adjacent property.

The above list is non-exhaustive and other conditions may also constitute a nuisance. Furthermore, subdivision 247.3(d) (link leaves DEC's website) provides for an opacity limit of 20 percent (six minute mean).

What should you do if you are adversely impacted by smoke from a neighbor's OWB?

Contact the DEC regional office for your location. You may be asked to maintain logs to identify periods when smoke emitted from the OWB appears heaviest (PDF) (30 KB) and when/how your enjoyment of life and property are compromised (PDF) (29 KB). These logs may help the DEC resolve your complaint.