Department of Ecology News Release - April 21, 2014

Paying cash for dirty wood stoves in Stevens County

SPOKANE – Air pollution managers are targeting old wood stoves for their dirty habits. Old, inefficient wood stoves are considered a cheap source of heat, but in the long run the smoke produced from improper wood-burning is costly for people’s health.

Fine particles in smoke are so small they can easily get into lungs. Once there, they can cause heart and breathing problems.

The Washington Department of Ecology is working to remove old wood stoves from homes by providing incentives for cleaner burning options. Newer, more efficient certified stoves burn less wood and emit less smoke.

Residents of the Colville River Valley in Stevens County are eligible to receive $200 for turning in old wood stoves.

“Wood smoke in the winter months is the third-largest source of air pollution in Washington and it contributes to poor air quality in the Colville River Valley,” said Ecology air quality specialist Paul Rossow.

“There are several cleaner alternatives on the market including certified wood stoves or solar, electric, propane or natural gas heaters.”

For one-day only, a wood stove turn-in event will run from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. Sunday, April 27, 2014, at the Stevens County Landfill outside Kettle Falls. Participants in the program must be age 18 or older and are limited to receiving a voucher for up to two stoves. Residents in the 99101, 99109, 99114, and 99141 zip codes are eligible for the program.

In 2014, the Legislature designated funds for the program from the voter-approved tax on hazardous substances to reduce smoke in communities.

In 2013, the air monitor in Colville recorded 30 days when residents were exposed to air that was unhealthy to breathe. Pollution information gathered year round at the monitor puts the town in the top 11 in the state for the fine particles found in smoke and diesel fumes.

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Contacts:

Brook Beeler, communications, 509-329-3478, and @ecyspokane