Letter: Concerned about the air quality in the San Lorenzo Valley
Jan 16, 2014 | 3531 views | 9 9 comments | 88 88 recommendations | email to a friend | print
EDITOR,

This winter, have you noticed you or your family experiencing sinus pressure, headaches, runny and itchy eyes, infections, or increased asthmatic conditions?

Did you know the air in Santa Cruz and Scotts Valley has been two to four times cleaner than the air in the San Lorenzo Valley? Does this bother you?

The air you and your children and grandchildren are breathing at recess at school and at home is exceeding the Environmental Protection Agency recommended limits if you live in the San Lorenzo Valley. Is this OK with you? Follow the data at http://air.mbuapcd.org

The air you are breathing in your home is polluted, as 70 percent of this air is entering your home unless you have an air purifier. Do you have an air purifier?

If this does not concern you, please go to http://burningissues.org and read about the health risks of wood smoke.

If you are concerned, you can file complaint with the EPA (http://www.epa.gov/tip/) or with the Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution Control District. www.mbuapcd.org.

 

Donna Smith, Ben Lomond

Comments
(9)
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ugh.
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January 28, 2014
Thank goodness for the BC propane Co-op! Otherwise we'd be totally screwed by Amerigas!
anonymous
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January 28, 2014
I just refilled my tank at $2.64 per gallon last week. I have a propane insert that lights up my fake logs with the flick of a switch. Pretty awesome. How much is the BC propane co-op price per gallon?
anonymous
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January 26, 2014
Yes, there is a smoke problem in the SLV. Yes, people don't burn wood that is dry enough - wet wood causes the smoke. What I don't see mentioned is that if wood is the only way you have to heat your home, you are exempt from the Spare the Air days. There is a changeout credit but, as mentioned in a previous comment, even that is too little for some folks to be able to afford to switch to propane or pellets (which don't work in a power outage). Unless you are willing to march over to your neighbor's and fork out a few thousand dollars, your only recourse is to ask them to burn BONE DRY wood.

anonymous
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January 26, 2014
burning wood that has not been properly seasoned is only a small part of the problem. The technology of wood burning stoves has improved dramatically since 1992. Every modern stove is required to have secondary burning. Secondary burn tubes burn the smoke before it leaves the chimney. ALL old wood burning stoves and fireplaces/fireboxes just exhaust the smoke, and that is why it is smokey. It doesn't matter if the wood is wet or not.

When you have secondary burn tubes and you burn the smoke before it leaves your chimney, you also get the heat from that smoke burning. That is why these EPA stoves use less wood, and produce less smoke.
oh myyyy....
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January 28, 2014
There is no "spare the air" days in the Monterey Bay area. That is a SF Bay Area thing. Thanks for bringing that up as I am sure they will be implementing that restriction next on us. That's all we need is more regulation.
anonymous
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January 28, 2014
All pilot lit propane and some pellet stoves will work during a power outage.
Theryl McCoy
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January 21, 2014
OH MY GOD! I didn't think people cared about smoke in SLV, yet here someone took the time to write a letter.

The Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution Control District is A JOKE. They do nothing to address the REAL smoke problem which is old wood burning stoves and fireplaces. They focus on wood pile burning because they some authority over this. Who does yard burns anymore? No one! They are in Monterey and could give a rats ass about us.

Burning wood is fine if rural areas where parcels are acres and acres big. In SLV you can get up to 10 homes on an acre and everyone is burning wood for heat. We absolutely need an ordinance that says wood pellets, electric, or propane heat ONLY. Yeah, I go outside for half an hour and my clothes smell like smoke. I can only imagine what my lungs look like.

Wood smoke from wood burning stoves is a known carcinogen. I live downwind from some very old wood stoves and every single day I have to put up with this pollution. The smoke does not rise up and out of the valley - it follows along the creeks.

Thank you for bringing attention to this. I wish someone would do something about it. This $1000 wood stove change out is not nearly enough. I looked into it and it would still cost me $3500 to replace my wood stove. NOT GOOD ENOUGH! (I did find a used propane insert on craigslist)
bochinchero
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January 18, 2014
I'm really glad Donna Smith's letter was posted ("Air quality cause for concern in San Lorenzo Valley communities"). I was unaware of the Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution Control District website. I had looked a long time ago, but the site has come a long way and is far better detailed. I had no idea that SLV has so much routine air pollution. Geez.

In my little valley just NE of Scotts Valley I don't like to go outside on cold nights because the air gets smoky. When I come back in, my hair and clothing smell like I've been around a campfire. I don't have respiratory issues but don't want to develop any. Looks like SLV is much worse than my neighborhood.
Nick C Felton
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January 19, 2014
thank you Donna for taking the time to write this, it blows my mind to see so much smoke in the air here, how can it be legal to pollute like that ? if people want to burn they MUST install high efficiency stoves. I'm not sure what we can do except keep writing to the Banner and elected officials. This isn't rocket science , just plain selfish and ignorant to have a constant stream of smoldering smoke from chimney's .


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