Great Stove Changeout runs through Feb. 28 | SierraSun.com
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Great Stove Changeout runs through Feb. 28

ANNE GROGAN, Sierra Sun

Truckee’s air quality is the poorest among Plumas, Sierra and Nevada counties and is most severe from December through April, prompting several agencies to come together to once again promote the Great Stove Changeout program.

This year the Great Stove Changeout program began Jan. 16 and runs through Feb. 28. It is intended to reduce particulate matter in the air by providing incentives to those who replace old, non-EPA certified woodstoves and fireplace inserts with cleaner burning heat sources. The cleaner burning the fuel source, the higher the incentive.

Last year, 165 old woodstoves were removed from within the Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District during the Great Stove Changeout program, reducing the amount of smoke in the air within the district by 14 tons per year.

Despite the tremendous reductions of particulate matter in the air as a result of last year’s Great Stove Changeout, poor air quality continues to threaten Truckee residents.

The health risks associated with poor air quality are greatest for children, the elderly, individuals with respiratory ailments, and for those who strenuously exercise outdoors, Hill said.

Making decisions

However, the greatest threat to Truckee residents may lie in the possibility of an unfunded federal mandate which would dictate on which days fireplaces may be used within the town.

Federal oversight agencies may dictate air quality management policies as early as July if air quality does not improve to reach attainment status of the new national ambient air quality standard, Hill said.

Non-attainment could also result in such strict measures as a mandatory stove changeout at the point of sale of homes, which would be the responsibility of the selling party.

Both measures would prove costly to Truckee residents who would then be forced to fund enforcement of no-burn policies and pay added real estate inspection fees.

“If we can be proactive about this situation, decisions will continue to be made locally,” town planner Duane Hall said. “However, if Truckee is assigned non-attainment status, the people in Sacramento and Washington, D.C. will be making the decisions for us.”

As part of the town’s proactive measures, Truckee homeowners who replace an uncertified woodstove will receive a rebate of $100 for the purchase and installation of an EPA Phase II woodstove and $200 for the purchase and installation of a gas-fired stove or pellet stove.

Additionally the $66.15 building permit fee will be waived for each new installation, though the permit is still required, Hall said.

The Truckee Town Council has approved the use of $17,000 for the town’s participation in the Great Stove Changeout, which is enough to exchange approximately 80 woodstoves.

The $17,000 comes from the $300,000 air quality mitigation fund received from Union Pacific when the Union Pacific/ Southern Pacific merger took place, increasing train traffic through Truckee.

Truckee homeowners are also eligible to receive similar incentives from the NSAQMD: $100 will be refunded to customers replacing a non-certified woodstove or fireplace insert with an EPA certified wood-burning device and $200 will be refunded to customers replacing their old woodstove with a cleaner burning heat source such as a pellet stove, propane stove or natural gas stove.

Installation must be completed by a participating retailer listed with NSAQMD.

Local retailers listed with NSAQMD include Mountain Home Center, Truckee River Stove and Light Your Fire.

These businesses are also participating in the Great Stove Changeout by offering manufacturer’s rebates and by incurring the cost of removing and recycling any stoves replaced during the program.

All rebates from the Town of Truckee and the NSAQMD are offered on a first-come first-served basis.

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