Wagga Wagga, Australia Woodsmoke Reduction Program

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Wagga Wagga, Australia

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Type: Program

Status: Ongoing

Source File: http://www.wagga.nsw.gov.au/www/html/334-wood-smoke.asp


The Wagga Wagga City Council continues to promote woodsmoke reduction in the city. Smoke from wood heaters is a major cause of Wagga Wagga's air pollution and can harm the environment and your health. Woodsmoke pollution, has been linked to increased mortality, respiratory problems, heart disease and cancer.

What's it all about?

Community education will focus on the environmental and health impacts of wood smoke. Information will be made available to the community through local media, expos and at council on how to operate wood heaters efficiently without producing excessive smoke.

Council is now conducting smoke patrols in Wagga Wagga. If a council officer on patrol sees an excessively smoky chimney they will return 20 minutes later to check again. If the level of smoke emission has not improved, the household will be issued with a friendly flyer. If the chimney continues to release excessive amounts of smoke the resident will be contacted by council. Together we will work on remedying the situation before any further action is necessary.

Woodsmoke and your health
Woodsmoke is a problem in the city of Wagga Wagga because of the number of wood heaters we have. While these woodheaters can warm houses wonderfully well during our cool winters:

  • if they are not operated correctly and
  • if they burn poor quality wood then a lot of woodsmoke pollution can be produced.

Pollutants in the smoke include:

  • gases such as carbon monoxide
  • organic compounds, including air toxics
  • fine particles, formed when unburnt gases cool as they go up the chimney; in the air, these can be seen as white smoke.

The nature of the city's river valley landscape is such that in winter time the city experiences a night time temperature inversion, which holds the woodsmoke in, there by lowering the quality of the air and making it hazardous to health.

Who is at Risk?
Woodsmoke pollution can affect everyone. However, there are people in the community who are more susceptible, including infants and very young children, the elderly and people with pre-existing health problems like asthma, heart and lung disease. Your poorly operating woodheater could be negatively affecting the health of these at risk people.

You can be affected by woodsmoke:

  • Inside and outside your home
  • From your own woodheater of from other woodheaters in your neighbourhood.

If you can see or smell smoke then you are causing a problem for yourself, your family and your neighbours.

Energy Efficient Homes
Don't waste all of the money and time you have spent on your wood heater by letting the Heat Escape from your home!

  • You can easily and cost effectively, improve the comfort of your home through some simple home heating tips.
Energy smart heating tips: http://www.energysmart.com.au/les/DisplayPage.asp?PageID=37
  • Insulate
Insulation is essential to keep your home warm in winter and cool in summer.
Energy smart insulation tips : http://www.energysmart.com.au/les/DisplayPage.asp?PageID=41
  • Seal out draughts
Sources of draughts
  • Exhaust fans
  • Air vents
  • Gaps between walls or ceilings and cornices
  • Gaps where pipes penetrate walls
  • Gaps between floor boards
  • Gaps between and around windows
  • Up chimney
  • Energy saving for windows

Unprotected, single panes of glass lose almost ten times more heat than the same area of insulated wall.
Find out ways to prevent window heat loss at: http://www.energysmart.com.au/les/DisplayPage.asp?PageID=118

Council Patrols
The monitoring of smoky chimneys and appropriate follow-up action was conducted over 3 months in 2004. In this component of the program it was found that many of the residents who were seen to have a smoky chimney at the start of the surveys were observed to have corrected this problem in the later part of the surveys.