Masonry Fireplace Industry/EPA meeting
On Saturday, 3-21-09, at the Hearth Patio and Barbecue Association (HPBA) meeting in Reno, a group of people representing the masonry fireplace industry met, first by themselves in caucus, and then with Gil Wood, representing the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The low mass fireplace industry (manufactured metal fireplaces for the most part) had just concluded an Agreement with the EPA which set out the procedures for testing to the new ASTM E2558 standard in exchange for the EPA setting the required emissions factor and recognizing the standard as a "voluntary standard" that the local and state air quality regulators may use to regulate fireplace emissions.
Gil had expressed concern about the auditing procedures for masonry fireplaces, built in the field instead of in manufacturing facilities. He wanted to be assured that all the masonry fireplace built would be the same as the fireplaces tested. There had been some email discussion but Gil was still unconvinced so Gil basically called the meeting to discuss the issue further.
Walter Moberg, Chair of the NHPBA masonry caucus and Jim Buckley, Chair of the ASTM masonry fireplace task group, jointly called the meeting and invited those who either had a masonry fireplace system or manufactured components for masonry fireplaces. In addition the three test lab directors, Paul Tiegs, Ben Myren and Rick Curkeet, who would be responsible for conducting the audits according to the Agreement, and several people from HPBA including Tom Stroud who set up the meeting and David Menotti, the HPBA lawyer who negotiated the low mass Agreement with the EPA. Below is a list of those who attended.
Rick Curkeet pointed out that such audits are fairly routine and the test labs all knew how to negotiate quality assurance contracts with manufacturers and conduct audits in accordance with their ISO certification. David Menotti recommended that the language in the Agreement be broad enough to allow flexibility in the individual quality assurance contracts recognizing the diversity of the various fireplace systems. After a few questions and comments by others, Gil seemed to be satisfied.
By the end of the meeting we had a verbal agreement with Gil Wood to include masonry fireplaces in the recently negotiated Agreement with EPA. The precise terms have yet to be resolved, but the theme is similar to what was concluded for the low-mass/factory-built fireplaces: reliance upon the accredited test-labs for determining and administering a quality assurance program on a company-by-company basis, recognizing the diversity of the fireplace systems. This Agreement would require individual quality assurance contracts negotiated between the manufacturer/builder/design owner for each masonry fireplace system and the EPA certified test labs. The independent QA contracts may be reviewed by EPA after-the-fact.
David Menotti thought the language needed to include masonry fireplaces in the Agreement could be as little as one paragraph and could be drafted fairly quickly.
Those who attended the meeting with Gil Wood on 3/21/09
Jim Buckley, BRC
Buckley Rumford Fireplaces
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