10-Year action plan aims to improve Tacoma air quality

City of Tacoma officials announced this week the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has adopted a 10-year action plan that aims to improve air quality and reduce unhealthy wood smoke pollution in the Tacoma/Pierce County Smoke Reduction Zone area.

In 2009, the EPA declared the zone as a non-attainment area for air quality primarily due to smoke from wood burning stoves, which can cause health-related issues. Two years later, a task force was created to recommend strategies for reducing particulates in the atmosphere and to restore Tacoma as an attainment area. The task force concluded its work by offering the following recommendations: provide incentives to replace uncertified wood stoves; increase compliance with burn bans; ban uncertified wood stoves effective Sept. 30, 2015; and initiate a robust public education campaign.

According to City officials, the EPA’s acceptance of the 10-year action plan re-designates Tacoma as an attainment area for federal air quality standards.

“EPA’s adoption of the 10-year plan is an important milestone,” said City of Tacoma Sustainability Manager Kristi Lynett. “This plan is the result of a tremendous amount of work that will need long-term commitment to meet our ultimate goal of clean air for our community.”

“While we all still have work to do to reach our health goals, it is encouraging that Tacoma is reclaiming its status as a federal attainment zone with healthier air quality,” added Tacoma City Councilmember and Puget Sound Clean Air Agency Boardmember Ryan Mello.

To read the Tacoma Daily Index‘s complete and comprehensive coverage of the Tacoma/Pierce County Smoke Reduction Zone area, click on the following links: