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Final management strategies examined at air quality meetings

April 16, 2014 by

Community members had a final opportunity to weigh-in on potential air quality management strategies at a meeting held on Wednesday, April 9, at the Lake County Senior Center.

The strategies center on meeting a fine particulate matter emissions goal of 15 milligrams per cubic meter for PM 2.5 in order to meet federally-mandated standards.

A listing of 36 proposed strategies, compiled at previous community meetings, summarized their respective benefits as well as the estimated reduction of PM 2.5 emissions resulting with implementation.

The first 16 strategies on the chart represented feasible elements for short-term implementation, which, in this case, would mean by Oct. 1. The other strategies represent potential long-term resolutions.

A thermometer-like graph reflected the collective benefit toward meeting the 15 mg/cubic meter goal.

Oregon DEQ representatives Kelly Potter and Larry Calkins led the meeting, with Pete Schreder serving as moderator.

Strategies already or currently being implemented included the weatherization of 20 homes following the change-out of non-certified wood stoves in 2013.

The Forest Service also signed an agreement with the town and county in which prescribing burns will not be held on ‘red’ or ‘yellow’ days.

Ideas deemed most feasible for short-term implementation include mandatory woodstove curtailment advisory, suggested in the form of an ordinance that would ban wood burning on ‘red’ days.

Exemptions would include low-income individuals as well as those for which wood stoves are their sole source of heat.

This has the greatest estimated impact toward reaching the emissions reduction goal.  Other strategies for the short-term include a chimney sweep incentive program, limiting wood stove installations for new homes to the lowest emission units and establishing voluntary compliance against open burning on ‘red’ and ‘yellow’ days outside the urban growth boundary.

Longer-term strategies included targeting low-income renters for changeouts to alternative heat sources, replacing non-certified stoves with certified stoves for renters, establishing a regional composting facility and eliminating woodstoves and fireplace inserts in rental homes.

Regarding concerns that anticipated emissions from a prospective biomass industry was not factored into the local emissions inventory, Calkins and Potter said that the modeling is being re-examined to factor in such hypothetical contributors.

Other questions pertained to the PM Advance committee’s five-year allowance by the EPA to demonstrate efforts for compliance.

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