Posted: Jan 9, 2013 4:33 PM by KXLF
Updated: Jan 9, 2013 4:45 PM
Wood burning stoves are the largest contributors to air pollution in Butte, according to Kumar Ganesan, head of the Environmental Engineering Department at Montana Tech.
More than 5,000 pounds of wood are burned in Butte every season. On average, 10 pounds of particulate matter are produced from every household in Butte, according to Ganesan.
Particulate matter can be harmful if it enters your lungs.
"People that have comprised respiratory systems such as asthma, elderly individuals, and anybody that has any type of breathing problems really notice it when they get outside and start walking or they notice heaviness in their lungs or a very difficult time breathing," said Paul Riley, director of environmental monitoring with the Butte-Silver Bow Health Department.
The Health Department recommends these steps to cut down wood burning emissions:
Burn your stove as hot and clean as you possibly can.
Burn dry wood and do not dampen your stove down.
"Upgrading stoves is a great and significant step forward for people that can afford to do such a thing," Riley said.
By cutting down emissions in the winter months, large emissions from forest fires in the summer will be less harmful, according to Ganesan.
"To replace those stoves with a newer stove we can cut down the emissions by almost half and that's probably the most effective way to handle the situation," Ganesan said.
The Health Department recommends using an alternative source of heat on poor air quality days and during air pollution alerts.