Puget Sound Clean Air news for July – check that chiminea and reduce neighbor stress
We have permission from PSCA to redistribute their newsletters that they send out via email. With so many of the initiative and news they provide affecting local homes in our greater Seattle area, it’s worth getting the word out to as many people as possible. Especially given our really dry conditions this summer. Be safe when burning any kind of material and make sure it’s legal to do so!
In this issue:
- ‘Tis (NOT) the season for smoky barbeques and marshmallow roasts
- Cleaner heat means cleaner air as Wood Stove Replacement Program wraps up
- Reminder: Permanent ban on land-clearing burning in Kitsap County takes effect on Sept. 1, 2009
- Permit open for comment
‘Tis (NOT) the season for smoky barbeques and marshmallow roasts
With the warmer and longer days of summer, it’s hard to ignore the desire to spend more time outdoors. Add the eagerness of fathers wanting to break-in new fire bowls or grills they recently received for Father’s Day, and you have a multitude of barbeques and marshmallow roasts happening in neighborhoods. ‘Tis the season. It’s also the time of year we hear from neighbors about their neighbor’s smoky, outdoor fire.
Here are some of the frequently asked questions we receive about recreational fires:
My neighborhood is full of chiminea-type fire pits, and my house smells like a campfire every night. How can I educate my neighborhood about outdoor burning laws and wood smoke health risks?
We find that, in general, neighbor-to-neighbor communication is most effective in prompting change. Many times this kind of behavior can be changed just by expressing your concern, and providing the following information:
- Fires lit in chimineas, fire bowls/pits are considered recreational fires, which are allowed, though regulations do apply. Here’s a link to the regulations: www.pscleanair.org/actions/outdoorfires/recreational.aspx .
- Wood smoke is harmful to your health. Here is a link to information on the health effects: www.pscleanair.org/actions/smoke.aspx .
Does the regulation about it being illegal to smoke out your neighbor apply to charcoal barbeque fires?
Yes. Cooking fires are recreational fires. If smoke from your fire bothers your neighbors, damages their property or otherwise causes a nuisance, you must immediately put it out.
Our neighbors had a fire in their outdoor fire pit that they didn’t put out all of the way before going to bed. We smelled smoke all night long since we slept with our windows open. Can you tell us what can be done?
Inform your neighbors that the fire must be extinguished before leaving it. Leaving an outdoor fire unattended is a fire hazard and can cause a nuisance.
To learn the rules about recreational fires, go to www.pscleanair.org/actions/outdoorfires/recreational.aspx .
Clean air tip: If you’re in the market for a recreational fire device, consider an air-friendly alternative to a smoky, wood-fueled chimnea or fire bowl. A variety of fire pits or patio heaters that burn natural gas or propane are available from your local hearth retailer, home-improvement store, mass retailer and online – at any price point. With one of these clean, efficient units, there’ll be little or no smoke for your neighbors to complain about.
Cleaner heat means cleaner air as Wood Stove Replacement Program wraps up
People living in Darrington, Marysville, Everett, Tacoma and its surrounding Pierce County communities will be heating a lot cleaner, and hopefully breathing a bit easier, next heating season. That’s because 555 old, uncertified wood stoves were replaced with cleaner heating devices in our agency’s 2008-2009 Puget Sound Wood Stove Replacement Program.
Program participants opted to replace their old, polluting wood stoves with a new, certified wood, pellet, natural gas or propane stove or insert; or remove their wood stove altogether and opt for a new, high-efficiency furnace or heat pump. Taking into account that the new heating appliances are cleaner operating and will burn less wood or a cleaner-burning fuel, an estimated 36,000 pounds of fine particle pollution will NOT be emitted annually thanks to the replacements that were made in these communities. For the Tacoma-Pierce County area, the emission reduction means over 25,000 pounds less fine particle pollution, while in Snohomish County, it’s over 10,000 pounds less fine particle pollution annually.
Old uncertified wood stoves produce excessive wood smoke, and wood smoke can be more than 80 percent of the air quality problem in neighborhoods on winter nights. This wood smoke is made up of fine particles and a toxic mix of other carcinogens that are hazardous to human health. Fine particles are associated with serious health effects, as the tiny size of these pollutants allows them to be easily inhaled, bypassing the immune system and proceeding deep into your lungs, where they can cause respiratory and cardiovascular problems, including premature death.
The goal of the program has been to bring Tacoma and surrounding Pierce County communities closer to meeting federal health-based air quality standards, and to keep the Darrington and Marysville areas from violating these standards.
The Marysville and Tacoma-Pierce County programs were funded thanks to a Department of Ecology grant. The 2008 Washington Legislature provided this funding to be directed to communities needing to address fine particle pollution in order to maintain or regain attainment of federal air quality standards. The Darrington and Everett programs were funded from civil penalties paid by businesses that violated clean-air rules.
Our thanks go out to all our partners who helped make this program a success and to all the participants who were willing to make a change toward cleaner home heating.
We hope to offer a Wood Stove Replacement Program again next heating season, dependent on additional grant funding. If you want to be alerted when details become available, just sign up using our online form at www.pscleanair.org/programs/community/woodstove.replacement/regform.aspx . We’ll be in touch in late summer or early fall.
Reminder: Permanent ban on land-clearing burning in Kitsap County takes effect in September
Effective Sept. 1, 2009, land-clearing burning will no longer be allowed in Kitsap County.
This permanent ban, brought about by the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, was adopted by the agency’s Board of Directors on April 23, 2009, following a public workshop, public comment period and public hearing. Prior to this action, land-clearing fires were prohibited only in the urbanized areas of Kitsap County.
The Clean Air Agency Board took similar action last February 2008 by adopting a permanent ban on land-clearing burning in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties which became effective July 1, 2008.
“Land clearing burning” means outdoor burning of trees, stumps, shrubbery, or other natural vegetation from land clearing projects (i.e., projects that clear the land surface so it can be developed, used for a different purpose, or left unused).
This restriction is in addition to the existing ban on outdoor burning in urban growth areas and no-burn zones.
For more information about this upcoming ban in Kitsap County, click to www.pscleanair.org/LandClearing .
Permit Open for Comment
The following Puget Sound Clean Air Agency permit is now open for public comment:
Equilon Enterprises, LLC dba Shell Oil Products US, Permit No. 16003
Comment Period: June 23-July 22, 2009
Equilon Enterprises, LLC filed an application to amend the voluntary limit on emissions from their gasoline loading terminal on Harbor Island. For details about the permit or how to submit comments, click to www.pscleanair.org/announce/permits/openpermits.aspx .
To receive notice about permitting; proposed Orders of Approval, Regulatory Orders, Variances and Operating Permits; hearings on those actions; extensions of comment periods; and final actions; simply sign up or change your profile to receive e-mail notification at www.pscleanair.org/signup .
About the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency
The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency serves the people of King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties. We work together to clean the air we breathe and protect our climate through education, incentives and enforcement. To learn more about our work, and how you can be a part of it, too, visit us at www.pscleanair.org .
About the Clean Air Newsline
Clean Air Newsline is a monthly electronic newsletter to provide air quality information to the residents of King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties. Subscribers receive the latest on air quality news, trends and projects that affect our local communities and the air we breathe. Feel free to pass the information along to others.
We also use the Newsline as needed to send timely and important messages about burn bans, Smog Watches and early calls to action when air quality deteriorates.
If this newsletter was forwarded to you and you would like to subscribe, you can do so at www.pscleanair.org/signup . Be sure to select Clean Air Newsline to be added to the e-mailing list.