Inspectors Eye Bay Area Chimneys For Spare The Air Violations

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Unusual weather conditions have caused the Bay Area Air Quality Management District to call eight Winter Spare the Air days so far this year.

The alerts have inspectors busy and citizens on patrol as they try to crack down on those breaking the law.

It’s been more than three years since the District banned wood burning on Winter Spare the Air days. Bay Area Air Quality Management District spokesman Ralph Borrmann said they have seen a 15 percent reduction in toxic soot levels during the winter.

KCBS’ Janice Wright Reports:

“That could be from a combination of sources, but a significant reason is this ban on wood burning,” said Borrmann.

He said citizens have gotten the message as the agency has received 1,400 phone calls and emails since November, complaining about people burning wood.

What happens to those complaints? The 60 inspectors on duty, who normally spend their time visiting factories and other industry, patrol on Spare the Air days.

“The first time a residence is found to be burning on a Spare the Air Day, it’s a warning letter,” said Borrmann. “The second time is a $400 fine.”

There already have been about 200 people with two offenses, but Borrmann said it is a long process to try to verify the violations.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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