Oakridge Woodsmoke Mitigation Projects

  • Project Type: Pollution Reduction
  • Date Submitted: March 2019
  • Project Location: Lane County (Oakridge)
  • Estimated Cost: Any Amount - See list of separate project costs below

Project Description


The residents of Oakridge, Oregon’s health is compromised by soot from home-heating wood burning during the winter months. For the last two decades, the city has been in violation of EPA’s federal air quality standards for PM2.5. This means they are more likely to have respiratory and cardiac challenges and or disease or are more likely to get cancer. Residents of Oakridge represent a larger proportion of poverty than the state average with 21.9% of residents falling below the poverty level and are subject to greater levels of air toxicity due to lack of financial means to participate in heating upgrades or weatherization projects. A broad coalition of public agencies, non-profits and private businesses has worked diligently over this time to implement the needed heating systems and program development to ensure community health and well-being while keeping people warm in the winter. This project is administered by the Good Company on behalf of the City of Oakridge. 

(1)   Residential air purifiers: Providing air filtration to households can provide refuge from unhealthy air when it occurs regardless of source, especially for those neighborhoods at the bottom of the topographic bowl and for sensitive groups (e.g., youth, seniors, and residents with certain medical conditions). Appropriate plug-in air cleaners and home air purifiers remove approximately 99% of PM2.5 pollutants year-round. While the other efforts will decrease wintertime pollutants from home heating, only indoor air filtration can effectively counteract the impacts from the increase in dry-season wildfires. The project costs for 50 home-use air purifiers ($180 each) for total of $9,000. Home units will specify ability to filter PM2.5 in large rooms (300+ sq. ft.). No installation is required for these air units.

(2)   Woodsheds: The project will build 20 woodsheds for low-income and/or vulnerable households (disabled, senior, sole-source heating, etc.) for a total project cost of $6,279. The primary goal of the woodshed project is to provide the residents of Oakridge with woodsheds that protect firewood from the elements. This ensures that the wood stays dry and seasoned so that it burns cleaner. Additionally, this project offers the opportunity for local students to get involved in providing solutions to improving air quality. Burning dry, seasoned firewood protected by woodsheds will reduce PM2.5 emissions and air toxics, thereby improving the health of all community members, especially those households at the bottom of the topographic bowl who are disproportionately affected. Low-income households and households with only one heating source will benefit the most. Dry, stored firewood will provide wood heat to stay warm during the winter months, but also serves as a back-up source of heat and cooking source when electric power outrages occur.

Supplies: woodshed material breakdown

Quantity

Description

Per shed

20 sheds

2" x 6" x 8' Treated Pine

2

Floor Frame

$16.00

$320.00

1" x 4" x 8' Treated Pine

13

Floor Slats, Side & Back Slats

$26.00

$520.00

2" x 4" x 8' Treated Pine

8

Floor Frame, Joists, Roof Rafters

$40.00

$800.00

4" x 4" x 12' Treated Pine

3

Posts

$45.00

$900.00

4' x 8' x 1/2" CDX Plywood

3

Roof

$82.50

$1,650.00

1/4" x 5" Hex Lag Screws

12

Secure posts to 2" x 6" & 2" x 4" Floor Frame

$6.48

$129.60

3" Galvanized Deck Screws

1 lb. box

Secure Floor Frame, Joists, & Roof Rafters

$9.00

$180.00

1 1/2" Galvanized Deck Screws

1 lb. box

Secure Floor Slats, Side & Back Slats, Roof

$9.00

$180.00

Liquid Roofing

1 x 5 gal.

Weather Protection

$40.00

$800.00

12" Deck Bolts

6

Raise Woodshed off Ground

$40.00

$800.00

Total

$313.98

$6,279.60

*Note that pricing is based on market rates to Oakridge Hardware store at date of submission and may be subject to change. Woodshed design by EPA https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2018-10/documents/storageshed2018.pdf



Expected Environmental Benefit


  • Air quality: In 2007, the 24-hour particulate matter count was 47 micrograms per cubic meter (μg/m3). It is the expressed goal of this project to decrease that number to below 30 μg/m3.
  • Better utilization of wood: The community firewood program will ensure that stoves burn seasoned wood which equates to less wood being burned. The U.S. Forest Service and private firms (Roseburg and Seneca) are providing much of the wood. This wood in the forest may be wood that would otherwise be unused or burned in the forest in slash piles.
  • Air quality improvements: Lane Regional Air Protection Agency (LRAPA) monitors the air quality micrograms per cubic meter (μg/m3) in the Oakridge area through a series of air quality monitors. LRAPA has extensive recordkeeping and data from each of these monitors.