Putting polluting stoves in their place | SierraSun.com

Putting polluting stoves in their place

Greyson Howard
Sierra Sun
Emma Garrard/ Sierra SunAsh rises as Tom Inderbitzen uses a loader to remove old wood-burning stoves to be recycled from the former Mountain Home Center in Truckee Friday afternoon. The Town of Truckee and Placer County in Martis Valley have incentive programs to replace non-EPA certified wood-burning stoves and fireplace inserts.
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Programs to replace old polluting wood stoves and fireplaces in Truckee and the Martis Valley may be extended or expanded.

The Town of Truckee and the Placer County Air Pollution Control District sponsor similar programs to replace older stoves and fireplaces with new wood-, pellet- or gas-burning stoves that meet Environmental Protection Agency standards. Both public agencies are offering $300 to $500 rebates to help defray the cost of the EPA-certified replacements.

Heather Kuklo, an air pollution control specialist for Placer County, said the county’s voluntary program currently covers the Martis Valley-Northstar area, but she hopes to expand the program throughout the county.

“We are gathering money, we’re hoping to have a countywide program, maybe as soon as this fall, but more than likely next year,” Kuklo said.

Only the Martis area has funding for stove replacement assistance because the money came from fees on the Lahontan development, about $15,000 of which remains, she said.

In contrast, the Town of Truckee program is mandatory, and residents currently face a deadline of July 15.

But that could change, said Town Planner Duane Hall, because the town council is considering extending the grace period.

According to staff reports, the town may extend the deadline to May 31, 2008, if the council concurs with the proposal.

“This is a direct result of in the early ’90s when particulate matter pollution was very bad in Truckee, we were getting close to exceeding national standards,” Hall said.

Since then, the town has implemented an Air Quality Management plan, of which the primary focus has been on getting rid of “gross polluting” wood stoves, Hall said.

“This has led to a substantial improvement in air quality over the last 15 years,” he said.

Since 1993, fine particulate matter has dropped by more than half, and coarse inhalable particulate matter has gone down by about 18 percent, according to staff reports.

Hall said town funding for stove rebates came from two sources: The merger of Union Pacific and Southern Pacific railroads, which contributed $300,000, and from fees on new projects.

Currently, Hall said $260,000 remains in the rebate fund, and the town has disbursed more than $325,000 in rebates since 2000. The subsidies have helped finance the replacement of more than 2,000 noncompliant stoves in the last seven years, Hall said.