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Air quality meeting set for April 9

An evening meeting set for Wednesday, April 9, will afford local residents a final opportunity to develop local solutions toward meeting federal air quality standards.

The meeting will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Lake County Senior Center, located at 11 N. G St.

A brainstorming session was held at the last public meeting, held on March 12, to develop strategies aimed at meeting these air quality standards.  This meeting will serve as a final opportunity to discuss additional potential opportunities.

Additional agenda items include discussion of the state Department of Environmental Quality’s quantification of strategies, as well as ease of implementation and effectiveness.

A key portion of the agenda will be the selection of strategies for immediate implementation, as well as categorize remaining strategies as contingency plans for possible future implementation.

Last month, proposed strategies were ranked on a scale of one to four, ranging from low effectiveness to a need for closer examination.

Among the strategies ranking highest in believed effectiveness included utilization of the natural gas pipeline, which would necessitate a private investor to come in and develop it for residential use.

Others believed likely highly effective included establishment of a regional composting facility and promoting the swap from wood stoves to ductless heat pumps through change-out programs.

Programs ranking low in believed effectiveness include chimney sweep maintenance, a follow-up program for those that get their older stoves changed out for newer certified units, matching town and urban growth boundary rules on open burning and the community clean-up event proposal.

Lakeview’s air quality has either come close to or has exceeded federal standards on fine particulate matter emissions known as PM 2.5 but has not yet been formally designated as an area of non-attainment.

PM 2.5 refers to extremely small particles of matter that can be lodged deep into the human respiratory system, and impact those with sensitive respiratory health issues.  Children and the elderly are especially prone to being effected.

Sources of PM 2.5 include fuel-burning equipment, automobiles and some dust-related sources.

Smoke from wood-burning stoves has been deemed the primary culprit in Lakeview’s air quality issue.

Lakeview and Lake County are developing a plan in conjunction with the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce these emissions as part of its participation in the PM Advance program.

This plan is available for public comment, and the recommended strategies for PM 2.5 reduction, developed through these public community meetings, will be eventually presented to the Town of Lakeview Council and Lake County for their respective approval prior to being submitted to the EPA.

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