Agricultural Boilers

Boilers or heaters with a capacity greater than 0.15 MW (megawatts) being used for agricultural purposes (e.g. greenhouses) must be registered under the Code of Practice for Agricultural Environmental Management (AEMCoP). Smaller boilers or heaters don't need to be registered, but must meet a design standard, details are in the code of practice.

Registration details are found on the Guidance, Forms & Fees page for Waste Discharge Authorizations under the heading Express Transactions.

Determine Boiler Output Capacity

Boiler capacity information may be found on the boiler nameplate (the metal tag attached to the boiler) or requested from the boiler manufacturer. Only report boilers that are, or will be, in operating condition and are required for the heating season. Capacity values need to be reported in megawatts (MW) for registration. If boiler capacity is not in MW please use the following formulas for conversion to MW.

  • ________  GJ/hr X 0.2778  =  ________MW
  • ________  MMBTU/hr X 0.2931  =  ________MW
  • ________  Boiler BHP X 0.009803  =  ________MW

The boiler nameplate indicates an energy input of 400 BHP:

  • 400 BHP X 0.009803 = 3.9212 MW

Opacity Tests

Opacity is the degree to which an emission obstructs the view of an object in the background, expressed numerically from zero percent (transparent) to 100 percent (opaque). In accordance with the AEMCoP, all biomass-fueled boilers and heaters must be visually tested for opacity during operation, at least 60 minutes after the boiler or heater is started and before shutdown procedures begin.

The Ringelmann test is normally used to visually assess the opacity of density of smoke. It is used with many U.K. regulations that prescribe smoke density limits. Ringelmann Smoke Charts (below) show shades of grey to compare against the density of smoke columns rising from a stack. 

Ringelmann Smoke Chart

Particulate Matter Tests

In accordance with the AEMCoP, any biomass-fueled boiler or heater that has an output greater than 1.0 MW or its capacity is increased by more than 25 percent, must be tested as indicated in the B.C. Field Sampling Manual – PART B: Air and Air Emissions Testing (PDF) or the B.C. Environmental Labroratory Manual.

This table shows a summary of applicable opacity level and particulate matter limits. See Division 2 of the AEMCoP for more information.

Applicable limits of opacity levels and PM
Total Capacity Maximum Allowable Opacity Maximum Allowable Particulate Matter
≤1 MW 20% Not applicable
> 1 MW ≤ 3 MW 10% 50 mg/m3
> 3 MW 10% 35 mg/m3