Posted: May 30, 2012 9:54 AM by KPAX News Staff
Updated: May 30, 2012 9:55 AM
MISSOULA- Local health officials have picked up a $285,000 U.S. Forest Service grant that will be used toward helping Seeley Lake residents upgrade their wood stoves.
The Missoula City-County Health Department reports that the Seeley Lake region has the highest measured levels of air pollution caused by particulate matter in the state of Montana, largely the result of wood smoke released by older, inefficient wood stoves.
Health officials point out that such pollution has negative impacts on public health, especially on children, the elderly and people with chronic diseases.
Missoula County applied for grant funds from the Wood-Burning Appliance Changeout Program to try to help deal with the problem and the money will be used to help citizens buy and install newer, cleaner, EPA-certified pellet and wood burning stoves.
"The primary goal of the program is to demonstrate that combining cleaner technology with proper operation and fuel use can reduce air pollution. It's also going to save people money since it will take less wood to produce the same amount of heat in a more efficient stove," explained Missoula City-County Health Department Air Quality Specialist Ben Schmidt.
The grant will further the efforts initiated by Seeley Lake Community Council members, the Health Department as well as local businesses and organizations in 2010 when the community secured a $13,500 grant to implement a woodstove change out and education pilot program on a smaller scale. The program sparked significant community interest in addressing air quality issues.
The grant was administered in partnership with Glacierland Resource Conservation and Development, Incorporated. Find out more information about the program by calling Schmidt at (406) 258.3369 or by clicking here.