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Answers About Winter Air Quality

What’s New with Pierce County Air Quality?

As winter sets in it’s worth remembering that much of Pierce County continues to have an air quality problem during colder months. During the winter, fine particle pollution in much of Pierce County reaches unhealthy levels, causing lung and heart problems for children, seniors, and those with respiratory issues. Although these fine particles come from many sources, wood smoke from residential home heating is the biggest source of this pollution. These pollution levels continue to be high enough that they violate the Federal Clean Air Act. Since 2009, an area called a Smoke Reduction Zone was designated for a large portion of Pierce County, and specific pollution reduction programs have been implemented to improve air quality in our neck of the woods.

Here’s an important update to this program: Starting in September 2015 all old, uncertified wood burning devices will be illegal to use under state law. This means that these uncertified devices must be disposed of or rendered inoperable by September 30, 2015 in the Pierce County Smoke Reduction Zone, except those residences that have no other adequate ways to heat their home.

What’s Being Done Now?

Air quality Burn Bans are actively enforced in the Smoke Reduction Zone. These burn bans are different from summer outdoor burning bans and apply to both indoor wood burning and any outdoor burning. Burning wood during a ban may result in a fine of up to $1,000, so it’s wise to pay attention to burn bans to avoid fines.

Along with increased burn ban enforcement, funding will continue to be available to help people change to a cleaner source of heat. Approximately $2.5 million is now available to help residents scrap or replace their old, uncertified wood stoves with a cleaner source of heat and get paid to do it!

How You Can Help

Visit www.airsafepiercecounty.org to learn how you can help:

  • Sign up for burn ban alerts via text or email. Sign up by texting “pierceburn” to 313131.

Receive email alerts by going to the website listed above

  • Apply for the Wood Stove Program – get $350 to scrap your stove or $1500 to replace it. Low income qualified households can get a free upgrade to a cleaner heating source.
  • Print information to share with your neighbors, friends and community organizations

Contact for more information:

Kit McGurn
Puget Sound Clean Air Agency

(253)283-2273

City Hall Closed New Years Day

In observance of New Year’s Day, Lakewood City Hall and the Lakewood Police Station will be closed Wednesday, January 1.

If you have an after-hours, Public Works-related emergency, please contact (253) 267-1628. If you have an after-hours, Police-related matter, contact (253) 830-5000 or 911 if it’s an emergency.

Treecycling

(The following message comes courtesy of Pierce County)

As you recycle your wrapping paper, don’t forget to treecycle your Christmas tree.

Pierce County residents who subscribe to yard waste collection service can place their unflocked tree in their container. Flocked trees cannot be recycled and must be disposed of as garbage.

Residents may also recycle their tree free of charge at Pierce County’s transfer stations. For locations, visit www.piercecountywa.org/treecycle .

To treecycle, remove the tree stand, tinsel, decorations and any nails or staples. Place the tree in your yard waste container for pick up on your regularly scheduled collection day. The tree must fit into the closed container, so cut the tree into pieces if necessary. If your tree isn’t in the cart, you may be charged for the additional pick up.

“All trees collected are composted into PREP Compost, a beneficial soil amendment that is popular with home and commercial gardeners,” said Sheryl Rhinehart, Public Works and Utilities outreach coordinator. “The compost created enhances soil quality, saves water, and reduces reliance on chemical fertilizers. Treecycling also helps save valuable landfill space.”

The cities of Milton, Tacoma, Puyallup and Ruston have special collection programs for households within their city limits. Contact your city hall or local garbage hauler for more details.

For more information about getting ready for winter, visit www.piercecountywa.org/winterwise .

Christmas Toys

Here's a special Christmas poem, on behalf of the Lakewood Officers Charity, which delivered more than 150 toys to children in apartments and homes Dec. 19-20:

Twere the days before Christmas, and all through Lakewood
There were children who needed gifts, all of them good
The Lakewood Officers Charity worked to see who was first
District One, District Two, District Three – they were first
The makeshift sled was filled with toys
For the littlest to the biggest – they would surely bring joy!
This year’s goal was mighty, the charity small,
Working with apartment managers, they came one, they came all
Hoping to surprise all of the children along the way
And see their faces light up, this special holiday
Because, the Charity was chosen to be the one indeed,
Who would bring the Christmas spirit to those in need
All was Merry, kids and parents were pleasant
By day’s end, more than 80 boys and girls got special presents
And the Jolly One was there, with laughter abound,
They heard Santa's voice in the distance, almost a faint sound
“’Making A Difference’ is what we do!”
“Ho ho ho! Merry Christmas, to all of you!”

"This event is so much fun, as it is random and the families have no idea that they were selected," said Community Service Officer Dawn McGinnis. "We knock on the door with pre-selected, age-specific toys and the look on their faces is priceless - a lot of tears and heartfelt 'Thank You's' were heard over and over. Love this event."

Kudos, once again, to the Lakewood Officers Charity for making this Christmas special for others!

To see photos from day’s festivities, visit the City of Lakewood’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/LakewoodWA

South Sound Military & Communities Partnership Sign Agreement

Today, the South Sound Military & Communities Partnership took a big step in giving more control to locals regarding the region's future.

Officials from jurisdictions from across the South Sound gathered at the American Lake Conference Center to sign a Memorandum of Agreement in support of the SSMCP.

This agreement continues their commitment to help the region grow and develop effectively, along with its installations.

Under the new agreement, the SSMCP will initially be comprised of:

  • Joint Base Lewis-McChord
  • City of Lakewood
  • City of Lacey
  • City of Tacoma
  • City of DuPont
  • City of Yelm
  • Pierce County
  • Thurston County
  • Washington State Department of Transportation
  • Camp Murray
  • Nisqually Indian Tribe
  • Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber
  • Thurston Regional Planning Council
  • United Way of Pierce County

Under the new agreement, these local governments and agencies will collectively control the future of the SSMCP, including taking on the bulk of financial support from the Department of Defense. It also calls for the establishment of an executive leadership team for SSMCP comprised of the Cities of Lakewood and Lacey, as well as Pierce County. Additional members are expected to join throughout 2014.