Smoke from the burning of a slash pile at Elkview Estates could be seen from Castlegar Tuesday.
Smoke from the burning of a slash piles is a major factor in determining air quality. (File photo)

Smoke from the burning of a slash pile at Elkview Estates could be seen from Castlegar Tuesday. Smoke from the burning of a slash piles is a major factor in determining air quality. (File photo)

Air quality top of mind as season changes

Air quality society offers tips to improve Bulkley Valley air quality

As the weather gets colder and people start using their woodstoves, air quality is once again top of mind for many residents in the Bulkley Valley because the region continues to be in the red zone of particulate emissions.

“The federal government has a three-year rolling [particulate] average,” explained Sue Brooks of the Bulkley Valley Lakes District Airshed Management Society.

“Over the three years, they take readings and average them based on particulate matter, 2.5 parts per million is the size of the particulate matter. So it’s a really tiny little dust particle, like one eighth the size of a human hair. And they determined that based on their standards, they we are in a red zone because we’re qualifying with higher than their standard over that three year period.”

She said that one of the biggest contributors of poor air quality is open burning of wood waste and other material.

However, she added that wood burning appliances, road dust and industries also contribute to the poor air quality in the region.

READ MORE: Wood stove exchange program returns

“We also have this mountain here next to us and the valleys of the whole airshed, which contribute to this weather phenomenon called inversions,” she added. “So because we are prone to get those when our air is bad, it gets locked in right over populated areas, and then gets stuck there. And doesn’t churn really on a daily pattern till like nine or 10 in the morning, and then the day’s air will build up and churn again, like seven to eight at night kind of thing.”

She said people can help to improve the air quality by not idling cars, recycling, reducing yard waste by composting instead of burning it and keep home heating appliances efficient. Adding an air filter will help clean up the air quality in a home.

The Bulkley Valley Lakes District Airshed Management Society’s wood stove exchange program is returning.

The society’s goal is to remove uncertified wood-burning appliances from circulation and reduce residential wood heat emissions. Grant money it receives is used for rebates to cover the cost of removing non-compliant wood stoves and replacing them with currently compliant wood stoves or some other form of heat.


@MariscaDekkema
marisca.bakker@interior-news.com

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