Archive for the ‘Report Smoke Pollution’ Category

Recent FNSB releases of public records disclose 1,034 complaints since 2008.

Cruel air pollution this winter:

COAL: “Someone in our neighborhood is burning coal I believe, it’s a horrible smell coming into our home causing everyone to have headaches. I also have premature twin infants and do not want this to affect their health. We have air purifiers going in our house but the smell is very strong. Thank you.”

COFFEE: “This company has piped burnt coffee pollution in the air for over 2 years. The burning particulates get in your eyes and lungs. My 75 year old mother is constantly sick from the odor. She has lived in her home for 57 years and has respiratory illness from it. The pollution is so prevalent that you can breathe it up to 6 or 7 miles from the company. Many families complain to the state and the borough to no avail. The owners live far from their burning odors and are not responsive to the calls complaining about this pollution. It is not just an odor it is making my mother sick. Please respond. When the weather is very cold the inversion layer keeps the pollution locked in the greater Fairbanks City area. Please respond. Thank You.”[Previous to filing this complaint, complainant had contacted the state and was advised by ADEC to complain to FNSB. When complainant did so, FNSB “assigned” case to ADEC, saying “Odor violates State Regulation 18 AAC 50.110.” Is it air pollution or a hot potato?]

WOOD BOILER: “This outdoor hydronic heater is used to heat the greenhouse where the owner grows flowers for sale. He told me 2 years ago that his neighbor has complained to him but nobody else. He is some 500 feet from Ticasuk Brown School. I took this photo yesterday as I drove around my neighborhood looking for contributors to my terrible air quality. The smell from his burner took my breath away.”[FNSB measured 2,126 µg/m3, highest ever recorded.]

TRASH: “Neighbor burns trash every Tuesday between 3-6pm, has been going on all summer but now trying to shovel and has asthma and smoke has become unbearable. Not sure which neighbor.”

COAL AND WOOD: “I was right at the corner of the Steese Hywy South of Curry’s Corner and the Post Office. My eyes burned, by skin was irritated and I had some labored breathing after being down there. I wear a mask to pick up my mail now. I know it’s not healthy to be down there and the postal employees should be interviewed because they have made serious comments. I don’t feel comfortable commenting for them but someone should ask them.”

VEGETABLE OIL: “This has been an ongoing issue, the fumes are noxious and potentially dangerous.It smells like chemicals, or wires burning…. Sometimes accompanied by dark smoke coming out of a pipe protruding from the front of the “shop.” Can you please look into this issue?”

COFFEE: “Putrid, disgusting odor of burnt rubber or other material having been cooked to the point of being scorched being pervasive in the windless, downtown area this morning when I was there in and out of my vehicle, between 8:30 am and 10:30 am in the area of Gaffney Rd. and as I was going toward the downtown post office and then along the Chena River on First Avenue toward the Carlson Center….”

UNKNOWN: “We are regularly, subjected to a very strong odor of burning material, I think it is coal smoke. The odor is so strong that it is present inside our office building when all doors and windows are closed. It causes irritation of the nose and eyes.”

WOOD BOILER: “There is an outdoor boiler located behind this residence. It is can be accessed off of Skyline. It is the first driveway on the left after the Skyline/Summit Intersection. The property owner has been harvesting green wood from the front of his property. When the outdoor boiler is fired the smell and smoke covers the neighborhood. He does not seem to run it consistently, but when it is burning the pollution levels are high. We moved specifically into this area of town to avoid the air pollution problems of the valley. This boiler has been installed since our move 5 years ago. We have great health and welfare concerns. This area has an extensive network of trails and is an area used by runners, bikers, and skiers. Last week we were on an early morning walk and the smoke was so thick and dense that we could hardly breathe. This boiler has introduced a hazard to the health and well being of all the residents in the entire area. We would appreciate your investigation into this situation and your advice on what recourse we have as concerned neighbors. You will note that I did not put an event end, as it is ongoing whenever the boiler is fired.”

WOOD BOILER: “In order to make this air quality complaint actually go through I just filled in the start date and time [ongoing pollution]. The people being affected are in the Volunteer Fire Fighter Residence behind the Fox Transfer Site. The smoke has been bad, sometimes it’s worse than other times. I am a young person who has started to have cardiac symptoms. An EKG suggested that I was experiencing repolarization of my heart conductivity. That is a bad thing to be happening and not what should happen to a young, otherwise healthy person. I have had a work smoke exposure the summer of 2015 and now have been living in this smoke during the winter of 2015-16. I will try to find another place to live. Please investigate this area. We will also attempt to find help monitoring.”

COAL: “The house 2 doors down to the right of me has excessive coal smoke blowing thru our front yard causing headaches and nausea whenever I open the front door. I have a young son who cannot play outside.”

Ongoing, “putrid” air pollution:

FNSB air quality complaint records undercount concerns about air pollution. Many complaints are for air pollution that has gone on for years. Complainants may have given up due to lack of agency response. Individuals may be injured by air pollution, yet never file a complaint.

In 2015, FNSB terminated its online complaint form, diverting all complaints to ADEC’s statewide air quality complaint webform: https://dec.alaska.gov/Applications/Air/airtoolsweb/Complaints

Some complainants identified the air pollution source by address; many do not or cannot. Complainants described conditions that make source identification difficult: darkness, infiltration into homes, workplaces, or schools, and all-pervasive ambient air conditions.

Complainants were often referred to ADEC, that with one exception (Alaska v. Straughn) has taken no enforcement action. Many received no follow-up communication. ADEC passed a problem burner to FNSB who “assigned” it back to ADEC like a hot potato. Complaints have been assumed to be “personal” conflicts until multiple individuals complained about a single source address.

Complainants frequently were about smoke from wood stoves, hydronic heaters (boilers), and coal. Complaints were about North Pole Coffee Roasting Co. (1502 Minnie St, Fairbanks), Justa Store (446 Old Chena Pump Rd, Fairbanks), and Labrenz Landscaping Inc. (2759 College Rd, Fairbanks).

Complaints were from inside the Fairbanks PM2.5 nonattainment area and outside, including Moose Creek (a mile outside nonattainment boundary), Harding Lake area, and Chena Hot Springs Road corridor.

Complaints occurred at all times of year, not only in winter months.


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New photos document the continuing air pollution assault on neighbors including hundreds of students, teachers and staff at Woodriver Elementary School — directly across the street. DEC takes no notice. This situation is painfully ironic because this is the ONLY wood smoke emitter DEC has ever put “on notice” in the Fairbanks-North Pole PM 2.5 nonattainment area.

5055 Palo Verde Ave 12/5/2012 at 11:55 am

5055 Palo Verde Ave 12/5/2012 @ 11:55 am

58 Trinidad Dr 2012-12-05 3.30pm 2012-12-05_15-30-47_638

58 Trinidad Dr 12/5/2012 @ 3:30 pm

The owner of two rental duplexes across from Woodriver Elementary School burns wood in two outdoor boilers to avoid using existing fuel oil heating systems. DEC inspectors need to take just 15 minutes of their time to verify that a violation is occurring.

>> Link 140 Woodriver Elementary area Public Record Air Pollution Complaints 2008-2011

More than 140 reports of burning eyes, asthma attacks, and other medical harm have been filed with the state and borough.

>>Link: Report smoke pollution to Alaska DEC

Send messages to Governor Parnell <governor@alaska.gov>. Please CC cleanairfairbanks@gmail.com 
Tell him how you have been harmed. Insist that he direct DEC to enforce the law to protect public health! How can DEC stand idle as Woodriver is subjected to its 5th winter of harm?

>>Link: DEC Air Quality Advisory “in effect“#2012-41 December 4, 2012, 4:00 PM to December 5, 2012, 4:00 PM

“State of Alaska Air Quality Control Plan provides the following guidance on wood smoke emission standards: A person may not operate a wood-fired heating device in a manner that causes (1) black smoke; or (2) visible emissions that exceed 50 percent opacity for more than 15 minutes in any one hour in an area for which an air quality advisory is in effect.”

Fairbanks has been under DEC air quality advisories for the last 13 straight days. DEC has no excuse for ignoring the heavy smoke emissions at Woodriver.

Polluter Put “On Notice” – DEC Nuisance Abatement Order March 10, 2011 for 58 Trinidad Dr & 5055 Palo Verde Ave, Fairbanks

DEC gave the owner “notice” two winters ago!  “ADEC’s investigations have determined that the boilers located at 58 Trinidad Drive and 5055 A and/or B Palo Verde Ave, are the main sources of the poor air quality at the Woodriver School and the intersection of Trinidad Drive and Palo Verde Avenue…. Avoid operating the boilers…in a manner that causes A) black smoke; or B) visible emissions that exceed 50 percent opacity for more than 15 minutes in any one hour in an area for which an air quality advisory is in effect under 18 AAC 50.245.”  Yet, DEC fails to notice the smoke or the violation of laws to protect public health.

Special thanks to the concerned neighbor who shared these photographs.

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A new report on the harm to residents and the need for voter support of the Healthy Air Protection Act has been published by Clean Air Fairbanks

Link: Sickened by Smoke: the Harm of PM 2.5 Pollution and the Opportunity for Voters to Help July 2011. [1.3MB]

The report includes effects on health, summaries of public testimony from smoke victims,  measured concentrations from monitoring data including maps generated by the borough’s “sniffer” vehicle, winter source contributions, graphs of the growing number of public complaints, public records of life and safety impacts, agency enforcement to date, property rights vs the right not to be injured debate, economic impacts of continued nonattainment, and options including voter approval of the Healthy Air Protection Act.

The report is intended to inform voters in advance of the advance of the October 4, 2011 municipal election.

Visit Healthy Air Now for more on the ballot proposition and how to donate and volunteer.

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If the problem is an emergency, call 911.

* Share your complaint. Send to <cleanairfairbanks@gmail.com>. To get action, distribute widely; see: Officials’ Email Addresses.

* Report air pollution to Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation https://dec.alaska.gov/Applications/Air/airtoolsweb/Complaints/Index Include the address of the smoke source (or description of location) and how you have been “unreasonably nuisanced.” Attach photos, medical files, complaint logs. Problems reported after working hours or over the weekend may not be read until regular working hours. Check the box to request a copy of your complaint be emailed to you. To report complaints to Fairbanks DEC by phone, call 451-5173.

FNSB and ADEC need citizens to report unreasonable nuisances that inspectors can verify. Certified smoke inspectors are the only witnesses necessary for visible emission violations [Wood smoke: 18 AAC 50.075(a)(2) & 18 AAC 50.245(b). Coal smoke: 18 AAC 50.055(a)]. State and local agencies have never found or ticketed an air pollution violation.

* Report air pollution to Fairbanks North Star Borough http://co.fairbanks.ak.us/airquality/concern.aspx or to aqip@fnsb.us, phone 459-1005, fax 459-1006. Include date, time, address of the smoke source, & description of air pollution problem.

Report a safety problem in public schools and buildings to FNSB Human Resources Dept., Div. of Health & Safety http://co.fairbanks.ak.us/hr/Pages/EmployeeSafety_ReportSafetyConcern.aspx  phone 459-1456, fax 459-1187.

Keep your own log of smoke problems, including descriptions, photos, videos, and daily notes. Smoke Complaint Log PDF or Smoke Complaint Log DOC Collect medical records and receipts relating to how you have been harmed by the air pollution.

Your confidentiality: Complaints may be submitted anonymously. However, complaints submitted with name and phone number allow more resources to be assigned to your complaint.

* Report air pollution in City of Fairbanks to the City Council http://www.fairbanksalaska.us/city-council/contact-the-council

* Report air pollution in City of North PoleMayor Bryce Ward bryce.ward@northpolealaska.org phone 488-8584, fax 488-3002, cell 888-4444.

* Report environmental violations or emergencies to the EPA or send smoke complaints to EPA Region 10 Administrator Dennis McLerran r10administrator-mclerran@epa.gov (800)424-4372. (EPA Region 10)

Is my complaint about a “violation” or an “emergency”? Read EPA’s explanation of the difference between a violation and an emergency. “If you are involved in or witness an environmental emergency that presents a sudden threat to public health, you must call the National Response Center at: 1-800-424-8802.”

  • You are not alone. Residents have submitted over 500 air quality complaints in our community since 2008.
  • Move. Your health is worth it.
  • Protect yourself and those you love. Avoid exposure. Don’t assume your child is safe at school from exposure to harmful levels of air pollution. Don’t assume your employer will make sure that your workplace is safe from smoke.
  • Share your complaint with others. Complain to your union, employer, child’s principal, and school superintendent; file workers’ compensation claims; boycott smoky churches and businesses; contact your elected officials; submit complaints to all relevant pollution control agencies.
  • Pursue legal options. Have you or a family member been injured by air pollution? Take legal action to stop an injurious source of air pollution and to be compensated for your injuries. Don’t wait. A two-year statute of limitations may apply. Injury includes physical harms and economic losses. Contact a personal injury attorney. Be willing to pay to start the process. No attorney has been willing to take air pollution injury on a contingency basis.

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