Maine DEP studying pm from woodburning

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Maine DEP studying pm from woodburning

Postby Ernest Grolimund » Thu Sep 25, 2008 7:08 am

The Maine DEP is now studying pm concentrations due to old stoves and fireplaces. They promise to send me a copy. This came about because of two reports I sent to a Governors Senior Policy Advisor, Karin Tilberg, and a phone call requesting a formal written review. First impressions of my reports by the Air Bureau Head are that the numbers are in the ballpark and indicate a public health threat and tens of thousands of hotspots. I wrote that DEP numbers on old fireplace and stove emissions could be transformed into pm concentration estimates like David Browns numbers for outdoor wood boilers. I checked with Maine modellors and Vermont modellors who said my simple estimating methods would be approximate but in the ballpark. I used simple proportions like the modellors do to check their formal computer modelling and this was a takeoff on Browns modelling of OWB's and Maines OWB modelling which showed that stack height was not a big factor in mitagating pollution. The air toxics are heavier than the nitrogen and they cause the particles to sink when they get adsorbed. The Modelling cannot account for this but they boost the concentration by 50% to try to be safe in case things like this happen. My calculations estimated old fireplaces, on average, create about 30 mcg/c.m. of pm2.5 in a zero wind inversion. Old stoves for whole houses or 40,000 btus/hr create about 100 grams /hr of pm2.5 per Brown and this would cause about 40 mcg/c.m. of pm2.5 in zero wind inversions per Brown. This is very significant since car and oil burning cause about 30 mcg of pm2.5 in ambient air in zero wind inversions that happen frequently for hours. When you add the ambient and woodburning pollution you get 60 mcg/c.m. for hours and this can cause asthma attacks and heart attacks per Brown because the wood smoke is more toxic than ambient air pollution. This means that there are tens of thousands of hotspots theoretically from a type of pollution that is not governed just by ambient air standards. In other words, the ambient air standards alone do not apply. It is like tens of thousands of nuisance cases. The argument is not that the ambient air standards are being violated per se, but a complex soup of pollution is causing a public health problem. But in many cases, like mine, even the ambient air standards are being violated in isolated areas, if the woodburning goes on all day for 12 hours which is common. I am hoping for a ban but the Governor and legislature would have to make the decision not the DEP. But I have gotten some high level studies going with the help of the Governors Senior Policy Advisor. She knows that I have contacted the EPA and CAR and the EDF and... There is no reason why others can't do the same thing in other states. When I get the promised report I will submit it to CAR for the website. My papers have been mentioned for possible publishing on the website proper but they do not have the seal of approval of a scientific body. This could solve that problem.
Ernest Grolimund
 
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