Air quality may worsen as wood-stove smoke builds up

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Air quality may worsen as wood-stove smoke builds up

Postby Wilberforce » Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:59 am

Air stagnation descends on Eugene-Springfield area
Air quality may worsen as wood-stove smoke builds up

By Christian Wihtol
The Register-Guard
Dec 5, 2017

The season’s first air stagnation is descending on the Eugene-Springfield area, and it looks to last for days, fouling the air with a buildup of wood-stove smoke.

The central Lane County weather is expected to be cold, calm and rain-free at least through Monday, with nighttime lows below freezing and daytime highs in the low 40s. The sun might intermittently peek through dense fog, the National Weather Service forecasts.

The Lane Regional Air Protection Agency issued a cautionary yellow advisory for air quality for Tuesday. Under a yellow advisory, the agency urges people not to use their wood stoves or fireplaces.

If air quality worsens, the agency can issue a burning ban, prohibiting visible emissions from wood stoves or fireplaces unless the user has a financial-need-based exemption from the agency.

“We are anticipating wood smoke accumulation in the valley to increase this week due to the stagnant air,” LRAPA spokeswoman Jo Niehaus said Monday.

“The cautionary yellow advisory will be in effect until we see the particu­late levels worsen or the conditions improve. It is a little too early to know if we will be issuing a red advisory for no visible emissions yet. At this point in time, we are encouraging the public to use alternative heat sources.”

A regionwide stagnation warning is in effect for the central and southern Willamette Valley, from the Portland suburbs south to Eugene, and for much of Southern Oregon beginning Tuesday.

“Forecasters expect air quality to deteriorate due to an extended period of stagnant air. During such conditions, smoke can be trapped at ground level where people breathe,” the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality said Monday.

The air stagnation is because of a ridge of high pressure that is settling over Western Oregon, keeping out moist, warmer air that otherwise would sweep into the region from the Pacific Ocean and wash out wood-stove smoke. The winter stagnation, or inversion, typically is accompanied by fog as well as the accumulation of smoky air.

“The inversion doesn’t look like it breaks for many days, so the fog/stratus may stick around that long in (Western Oregon),” the National Weather Service said in its latest update. The stagnation will last at least through next Monday, “but it could need to be extended eventually even beyond then,” the weather service said.

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UCAIR Isn’t Blowing Smoke with Its Wood Stove Exchange Program
By Bailey Toolson, Guest Blogger

DEQ invites guest bloggers to share their thoughts on issues that impact our environment. We appreciate their insights and the opportunity to broaden the conversation with others in the community.

Our mission at UCAIR is to make it easier for individuals, businesses, and communities to make changes that improve our air. We know that every change, no matter how small, brings us one step closer to our goal of clean air in Utah. In the spirit of our mission, UCAIR, with generous support from Chevron, Andeavor, and the Eccles Foundation, is proud to announce the Show UCAIR Wood Stove Exchange. This incentive program is entirely voluntary and not linked to any rule or ordinance.

Wood smoke from residential burning is a significant contributor to the Wasatch Front’s winter-time inversions. Smoke from wood-burning fireplaces, stoves, and inserts contains a wide variety of pollutants, including fine particulate matter or PM2.5. Recent research by state scientists indicates that, on average, 16 percent of the particulate pollution in the Salt Lake Valley can be attributed to wood smoke. The percentage is even higher in Utah County, where 21 percent of particulate pollution can be attributed to wood smoke.

Through this program, UCAIR will be able to exchange 80 wood-burning stoves and inserts for cleaner gas-burning appliances. Exchanging a wood-burning appliance for a gas appliance provides a 95 percent reduction in emissions. The average life of a gas stove is 40 years, so over the lifetime of these 80 stoves, there will be a 150-ton emission reduction from the air we breathe!

UCAIR was honored to launch the Show UCAIR Wood Stove Exchange on November 1, 2017, with Governor Herbert and our sponsors, Andeavor and Chevron. Our staff was also joined by representatives from the program vendors, Maple Mountain Fireplace and Hearth & Home Distributors of Utah, who brought display stoves to the event.

Residents of Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, Utah, and eastern Tooele counties are eligible to participate in this exchange. If you’re interested, complete program rules and process are listed below.
Wood Stove Exchange Program Rules

• The home must be located in a residential neighborhood
• The home must be a primary residence (no summer homes or cabins)
• Old stove must be operable and regularly used
• Old stove must be a free-standing wood stove or wood-burning stove insert
• Natural gas or propane service must already be in place
• New appliance must be natural gas or propane (no EPA approved wood or pellet units)
• Old stove or insert must be destroyed and proof provided
• New appliance must be professionally installed
• Installers must comply with all local, state and federal guidelines, laws and building codes

Wood Stove Exchange Process

• Homeowner submits downloaded application to UCAIR (mailed, emailed, faxed or in person) for approval. UCAIR completes initial inspection of home to verify old stove is operable and in use
• UCAIR collects details on wood usage
• UCAIR approves application and issues $1,000 voucher
• Homeowner takes voucher to Maple Mountain Fireplaceor Hearth and Home of Utah
• Homeowner selects from eligible gas or propane stoves or inserts (must have intermittent pilot ignition/electronic ignition)
• Vendor secures funding for all but $1,000 of the cost of device and installation
• Vendor installs device, complying with all local, state and federal guidelines, laws and building codes
• Vendor delivers stove to destruction site and obtains proof of destruction
• Vendor delivers proof of destruction to UCAIR
• UCAIR pays vendor $1,000

We had an overwhelming response from the public since our announcement last week, and all our vouchers have been claimed. We encourage you to consider switching from a wood-burning to a gas-burning stove, voucher or not — it’s good for you and good for the environment.

Bailey ToolsonI have been the Program Manager at UCAIR for nearly 2 years. I previously managed the Air Assist Small Business Assistance program, and I am excited to get to work exchanging wood stoves. Prior to joining UCAIR, I worked for nearly four years with the Division of Air Quality. In my spare time, I enjoy hiking and camping, travel, and all things Italian.

This entry was originally published on November 6th, 2017, updated on December 1st, 2017, and posted in news.

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• The Surgeon General has determined that there is no safe level of exposure to ambient smoke!

• If you smell even a subtle odor of smoke, you are being exposed to poisonous and carcinogenic chemical compounds!

• Even a brief exposure to smoke raises blood pressure, (no matter what your state of health) and can cause blood clotting, stroke, or heart attack in vulnerable people. Even children experience elevated blood pressure when exposed to smoke!

• Since smoke drastically weakens the lungs' immune system, avoiding smoke is one of the best ways to prevent colds, flu, bronchitis, or risk of an even more serious respiratory illness, such as pneumonia or tuberculosis! Does your child have the flu? Chances are they have been exposed to ambient smoke!
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