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Mar 03

Pierce County Air Quality Improves

Posted on March 3, 2015 at 1:15 PM by Ryan Dicks

The good news is that the plan our community put together to get Tacoma/Pierce County back into attainment for air quality has worked.  As of Tuesday February 10th our area no longer is violating the Federal Clean Air Act for PM 2.5.  This is great news for our resident’s health and our local economy that no longer will require higher levels of costly permits to develop and expand in our industrial areas.  Getting our air quality to healthier levels has been a group effort and no one deserves more credit than the residents of Pierce County that have changed out old polluting stoves for cleaner devices, followed burn bans and those that decided to stop burning wood all together.  The cleaner choices made by responsible people have helped to clean our air so that it is healthier for the people in our region.

Cleaner air moves Pierce County, Tacoma off polluters list (The News Tribune)

This does not signal the end of the challenge to reduce wood burning and limit vehicle pollution.  In fact we must continue to not violate the Clean Air Act for ten years before we will know for sure that we will be in permanent attainment.  Pierce County is committed to continuing the work of educating our residents about the tools that are available to limit pollution.  Right now you can learn when burn bans are by simply texting “pierceburn” to the number 313131.  By following the law and not burning during burn bans you are making sure to avoid costly tickets as well as keeping our air clean on the dirtiest days.  For a limited time there is also money available to switch out old uncertified stoves to cleaner devices.  All of the information residents need is located at

Understanding the October 2015 Uncertified Wood Stove Rule in the Tacoma-Pierce County Smoke Reduction Zone

Wood burners are not the only ones who can make a difference.  Locally we have seen the Port of Tacoma reduce diesel pollution by working to remove the most polluting trucks at the Port.  We will see Totem Ocean Trailer Express move away from diesel and towards the cleaner burning natural gas for their ships heading to Alaska.  We have seen local governments and JBLM try to limit their fleet pollution by buying electric and hybrid vehicles.  Together these local organizations are improving air quality and this work will need to continue to improve human health.      

We are committed to cleaning the air because all of us are dependent on it for good health.  That is why we will work with the City of Tacoma and other local partners to attain the Puget Sound Clean Air Agencies adopted health standard of 25ppm by the year 2020.  Moving away from wood burning in cities, driving electric cars and a well informed public can help us to meet this ambitious goal of clean air for all Pierce County residents.