While Campbell River's air quality ranks among the best in British Columbia, stationary nephelometer surveys indicate that fine particulate wood smoke pollution may exceed the 24-hour provincial ambient air quality objectives during certain weather conditions in hot spot areas.
Woodstove Exchange Program
Over the five seasons of the Woodstove Exchange Program (2010 - 2013 and 2015) 180 old appliances were replaced in partnership with local retailers. Replacement units were low-emission appliances including CSA/EPA-certified clean-burning wood stoves and inserts, pellet stoves and gas appliances.The attached map shows the locations of the completed exchanges. These exchanges have resulted in an overall total of 10,839.8 kg of PM2.5 emissions removed from Campbell River’s airshed per burning season.
Please stay tuned for information on the 2016 exchange program.
Burning Information Links:
Air Quality Monitoring Surveys
The City conducted air quality surveys in 2010 and 2011 to determine and measure pollution at wood smoke
hotspots throughout Campbell River where smoke from residential wood heating tends to settle and accumulate. This work was completed with a nephelometer on loan from the University of Victoria Spatial Sciences Lab. The information was compiled and summarized with the help of expert advisors into the attached report.The survey information provides a brief snap shot of air quality measurements to flag potential issues and the results also assist the City of Campbell River with targeted woodstove exchange programming.
While Campbell River’s air quality ranks among the best in British Columbia, stationary nephelometer surveys
indicate that fine particulate wood smoke pollution may exceed the 24-hour provincial ambient air quality objectives during certain weather conditions in hot spot areas. This information and the evidence indicating that air quality is poorer in the winter during wood burning hours, supports the City’s continued participation in the Provincial Woodstove Exchange Program to encourage the exchange of old inefficient appliances for clean burning units and to continue with Burn It Smart education.
Air Quality Initiatives Timeline:
1994: City of Campbell River Environmental Task Group released Wood Burning Appliance Smoke Management Plan.
2000: City Air quality tip line created by the Air and Water Quality Select Committee.
2002–2003: Direct mail out of Hot and Bothered about Smoke pamphlet and a companion video produced and aired on local TV 2004-2006 Air quality initiatives focused on Clean Air Day in June during Environment Week through the promotion of transit (free rides).
2006: City of Campbell River Environmental Advisory Commission recommended a spring and fall yard waste pick up program as an alternative to backyard burning.
2007: With yard waste pick up underway, the Clean Air Bylaw came into effect restricting back yard burning in the City of Campbell River.
2008: City of Campbell River Environmental Advisory Commission recommended an amendment to the Clean Air Bylaw that all solid fuel burning appliances installed must have the Canadian CSA and/or US EPA certification. The Commission also recommended that the City participate in the Provincial Woodstove Exchange Program.
2009: Provincial Woodstove Exchange Program funding secured to run a 2010 program and the Clean Air Bylaw was amended to regulate the certification of all new installations of solid fuel burning appliances workshops.
2010: Five fine particulate air pollution surveys conducted with a nephelometer in known woodstove smoke pollution hotspots, Burn it Smart program delivered and woodstove exchanges conducted City of Campbell River’s Corporate Green Team implements staff anti-idling policy Idle Free outreach conducted by City Bylaw officers adjacent to schools in partnership with School District 72 Idle Free prompts (key fobs and decals) distributed at 3 community events Idle Free tips published in the Campbell River Courier Islander spring Live Green Guide. Four Idle Free signs posted at City facilities (City Hall, Dogwood Operations, Community Centre and Centennial Park at the Pool). Idle Free signs posted at 2 out of 14 area schools.
2011: Five ambient air quality surveys conducted in separate locations, Burn it Smart program delivered and woodstove exchanges conducted. Six air quality staff presentations to School District 72 Green Teams and during Earth Week Celebrations.
2012: Wood stove exchanges continue in partnership with five local retailers and Burn it Smart program delivered including a Neighborhood Air Quality Panel Discussion.
2013: 150 wood stove exchanges completed since the start of the program in 2010, Master Burner program initiated.
Links to 2010 Maps:
A traditional Canadian method of home heating, wood burning remains a popular choice in Campbell River today. While new technologically advanced appliances reduce air pollution and increase efficiencies, wood heating still requires more expertise than any other home heating option.
The City of Campbell River is working to improve local air quality and address wood smoke in the community. The Clean Air Bylaw (No. 3293) restricts open “backyard” burning. Additionally, it is now required that all new solid fuel burning appliances meet CSA or EPA efficiency standards.
Burn It Smart
A wood burning stove can be cost effective, and many people enjoy the ambiance, warmth and independence of this traditional heating option. However, dirty, smoky, inefficient fires introduce large amounts of hazardous fine particulate matter that can be inhaled and can settle in the lungs. By using modern technologies, and age-old correct burning techniques, you will reduce air pollution and save wood by burning efficiently.
The first step in heating with wood is knowing your fire. As wood burns, it goes through three stages. First, logs hiss and crackle – this is the evaporation of water. Burning green wood is problematic because freshly-cut wood is nearly 50 per cent water and evaporating that water takes a lot of energy. The fire will progress to the second stage as the wood’s moisture is evaporated and the fire will heat and produce bright flames – this is the ignition of gasses and tar. An efficiently burning fire will have nearly no smoke and burn very hot. Unburned smoke deposits the black tarry substance called creosote and will pollute the air. Finally, the fire will reach the charcoal stage – these are the hot coals that are left when the gasses and tar have vaporized out of the wood, either to ignite or to escape up the chimney.
At Burn It Smart workshops, offered by WETT-certified technicians, you can learn more about correct burning technique, and new CSA and EPA-approved wood heating appliances. Additionally, guests can have their firewood tested for optimal moisture content – required for clean, efficient burning.
Softwoods and alder are excellent choices for clean, hot burning fires. However the quality of the wood is more important than the type. Green wood will not burn hot or clean, and salt wood (ocean driftwood), corrodes stoves and sends dioxins and hazardous chemicals into the atmosphere. Fine particular matter from wood smoke has been linked to numerous respiratory diseases.