New York City may soon force pizzerias to pay thousands of dollars in renovations to keep their coal and wood-fire ovens over environmental concerns with air quality, according to a report.
The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has drafted new rules that would require pizzerias with coal and wooden-fire ovens installed prior to 2016 to cut carbon emissions by 75%, according to the New York Post. Restaurant owners would be forced to install a filter to the specified ovens then hire an engineer to regularly inspect the carbon emissions.
“All New Yorkers deserve to breathe healthy air and wood and coal-fired stoves are among the largest contributors of harmful pollutants in neighborhoods with poor air quality,” DEP spokesman Ted Timbers said. “This common-sense rule, developed with restaurant and environmental justice groups, requires a professional review of whether installing emission controls is feasible.”
One pizzeria owner told The Post he already spent $20,000 on emission-control air-filter devices in anticipation of the DEP rule due to installation and regular maintenance.
“Oh yeah, it’s a big expense!” said Paul Giannone. “It’s not just the expense of having it installed, it’s the maintenance. I got to pay somebody to do it, to go up there every couple of weeks and hose it down and you know do the maintenance.”
Less than 100 restaurants would be impacted by the regulations, The Post reported, citing a city official.
Another pizzeria owner told The Post anonymously that there are negotiations in place with the city government on whether to apply the regulations to all coal and wood-fire ovens or only ones installed after the regulation begins.
“This is an unfunded mandate and it’s going to cost us a fortune not to mention ruining the taste of the pizza totally destroying the product,” the pizzeria owner said. “If you f—k around with the temperature in the oven you change the taste. That pipe, that chimney, it’s that size to create the perfect updraft, keeps the temp perfect, it’s an art as much as a science. You take away the char, the thing that makes the pizza taste great, you kill it.”