Just spoke to Mic in Kitimat who is home this winter, normally he is away at this point (retired) and this wouldn’t be an issue but this year he’s home all the time! His neighbours are literally smoking him out! What can he do? He and his wife have developped a hacking cough as if they were smokers but they aren’t. Being outside even for a few minutes he can taste and smell the smoke. His attic and his outside shed and the things stored in it just reek of smoke. He’s had to plug his dryer vent to reduce the amount of outside air from getting in and he’s worried about the facia boards on his house letting in air.
The inconsiderate neighbour next door recently converted their garage to an enclosed room, accessible from the house. According to the grapevine they salvaged an old wood stove after the reno. and its been smoking ever since. The chimney sits very near to the fence line (no set back rules apply) and the chimney’s height is single storey – 10 ft?.
I cann’t upload their pic but the photo above shows the same thing happening in Burns Lake.
The pic: An Outdoor Wood Boiler – not set back 30m, chimney not high enough, green wood burning – South of Burns Lake, This was reported by a retired couple years ago, helpless and suffering the ill effects. In this case even the Ministry of Environment removed their air quality monitoring station form the site citing the fact it was contaminated and they couldn’t get a good read on ambiant air quality because of the localized pollution level. Solid Fuel Burning Domestic Aplliance Regulation (SFBDAR) regulated by the: http://www.bclaws.ca/civix/document/id/complete/statreg/218_2016
The response from Kitimat council is disappointing to the victim. The building inspector claims the homeowner is compliant with bylaws and building codes. Apparently Kitimat’s only air quality bylaws address backyard burning. If you know any different – please comment!
So what to do?
The I suggest:
1 install a home air filter, a hepa filter works great taking out particles down to a size of .3 microns. A MERVE 13 filter will also reduce small particle size in a room see our previous blog entry on making these
2 our society has a plethora of flyers, literature and dvds on stove operation, seasoning wood, timber and slash management, health effects, smoke management planing and more, we’re happy to share – contact us firstname.lastname@example.org. What I sent is lited and links are below.
3 look for a citizen science monitor near you – maybe a purple air monitor exists in Kitimate – lets calibrate those readings to ours and that of the MOE, what do we notice – perhaps you might like to borrow and install one indoors and outdoor at your house
4 call the RAPP line to report the pollution – its the only complaints based pollution help line we’ve got: (RAPP) 1-877-952-7277 (RAPP) or #7277 on the TELUS Mobility Network, https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/natural-resource-stewardship/natural-resource-law-enforcement/conservation-officer-service/cos-rapp
5 document your experience with pictures and logs of contact between you and the neighbour, town etc.
6 Clair Ratte of the Conservative Party was a big clean air proponent when I spoke to her in Smithers – find her – what can her office do to help?
7 find a good neighbour – is there anyone willing to approach your neighbour and offer help splitting and stacking wood, operating the wood stove, talking to them about health impacts and more? In Smithers our bylaw enforcement officer has helped make these house calls. The odd volunteer firefighter will too since it’s also a fire safety issue.
8 Contact UVIC, law students there will draft a letter to the resident with a legal position on all of this and it’s a preliminary take on the possiblity of a legal suit.
9 Call Northern Health – this is an environmental health issue https://www.who.int/airpollution/news-and-events/how-air-pollution-is-destroying-our-health
10 Still not resolved: it’s time to get a legal help….
Various Print Materials and Links:
Wood Burning, What you Need to Know, NHA, https://www.northernhealth.ca/services/environmental-health/air-quality/wood-burning
Learn Before You Burn, NHA
Wood Smoke, poster, good news bad news, NHA
BurnItSmart, dvd, Gov’t of Can and Province of BC
Burn it Smart, Enjoy the Fire not the Smoke, Gov’t of Can
State of the Air, 2018, BC Lung, https://bc.lung.ca/protect-your-lungs/air-quality-lung-health/bc-state-air-report
Particulate Matter and Outdoor Air Pollution, Health Link, BCCDC, https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/healthlinkbc-files/outdoor-air-pollution
How to Prepare Your Fuel Supply, woodheat.org
Good Firewood, the Key to successful Wood Burning, Burn it Smart, Gov’t of Can, https://portieragency.com/good-firewood-the-key-to-successful-wood-burning/
Portable Air Cleaners for Wildfire Smoke, BCCDC, http://www.bccdc.ca/resource-gallery/Documents/Guidelines%20and%20Forms/Guidelines%20and%20Manuals/Health-Environment/BCCDC_WildFire_FactSheet_PortableAirCleaners.pdf
Health effects of Wildfire Smoke, BCCDC