The Kingston CAC has established a Wood Burning/Air Quality Sub-Committee to address air quality concerns in the City that are not already being addressed through the Climate Smart Kingston and Sustainability work being done to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The Mission of the Air Quality Sub-Committee is: To ensure the conservation of clean air in the City of Kingston and the enhancement of the protection of clean air while fostering unified action on matters of air quality.
GOALS: As the City of Kingston experiences economic land development and population growth, the CAC Air Quality Sub-Committee seeks to:
1) Assure that clean air is preserved and improved sustainably.
2) Provide equitable access to clean air for all residents protection.
3) Inform City policies and procedures about air quality by examining local, state and federal levels of protection.
Two particular concerns include:
1) Particulates from Wood Burning and 2) Vehicle Idling
credit: Puget Sound Clean Air Agency
Burning wood is one of the dirtiest ways to heat your home.
It contains tiny particles and toxic chemicals that can seriously affect health.
Based on data gathered from the U.S. Energy Information Administration it was estimated that 1,573.63 tons of wood was used as fuel in the City of Kingston in 2010. This created 193 tonnes of CO2e.
The Kingston Conservation Advisory Council:
- endeavors to educate residents about the health and environmental risks of burning wood.
Listen now to a CAC interview on Wood Smoke Pollution with WAMC
Listen now to a CAC interview on Wood Smoke Pollution with WKNY Radio Kingston's The Source with Hillary Harvey.
Listen now to a CAC interview on Wood Smoke Pollution with Healthy Ulster Radio, Show #167.
- works toward informed enforcement of current Air Pollution and Smoke Control code (http://ecode360.com/12699897) in conjunction with the Kingston Fire Department.
- is examining other municipalities’ regulations and best practices regarding wood burning.
Partnership in Action
The City of Kingston is proud to announce a partnership with the Center for the Study of Land, Air and Water at Bard College in order to maintain and protect the good air quality people in Kingston have come to enjoy. As part of the desire to promote healthy, active living, the City of Kingston is working to assure that every resident has access to clean air. Exposure to certain air pollutants can lead to serious health problems and even premature death. Climate change is likely to exacerbate the connections between air quality and human health. Recent research has shown that there is increased vulnerability to COVID-19 among people exposed to poor air quality.
The Kingston Air Quality Initiative (KAQI) has been collecting data since January that will provide baseline information about Kingston’s air quality. Air quality monitoring is being conducted by Kingston residents, students, staff, and faculty of the Bard Community Science Lab.Through the Community Science Lab, scientists and communities do science together with the goal of addressing local priorities.
Dr. Eli Dueker installing the MetOne 212-2 particle profiler at our field site atop the Andy Murphy Neighborhood Center in Midtown, Kingston.
This partnership is being announced in time for the first annual “Clean Air for Blue Skies Day” on September 7. This is an initiative of the United Nations Climate and Clean Air Coalition, which focuses on improving air quality to protect human health while addressing climate change. As a collaborative community science project, KAQI will be part of a larger international environmental monitoring effort through the Open Society University Network (OSUN) Community Science Coalition.
KAQI’s initial monitoring efforts are focused on fine particulate matter, or PM2.5, which is defined for regulatory purposes as airborne particles with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less. Because these particles are so small, less than 1/30th the diameter of a single human hair, PM2.5 can be inhaled and penetrate deeply into the lungs. According to the American Lung Association, short-term effects of exposure can result in premature deaths, increased infant mortality, and increased severity of heart and asthma attacks. Longer-term effects include the development of asthma, heart disease, cancer, dementia, and increased susceptibility to respiratory conditions including COVID-19. While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has set the 24-hour PM2.5 standard at 35 micrograms per cubic meter, the World Health Organization states that PM2.5 affects human health at any level of exposure.
The above figure shows preliminary results from data collected by KAQI over the past several months.
Points are daily PM2.5 averages in micrograms per cubic meter (μg/m3), and the red dotted line represents the EPA 24-hour standard of 35.0 μg/m3. The 24-hour standard was put in place to protect from short-term exposure to PM2.5; if the 98th percentile of 24-hour PM2.5 concentrations in one year (averaged over three years) is below this threshold, the standard is met.
The EPA annual standard, calculated in a similar fashion, is 12.0 μg/m3 for protection from long-term exposure. The data thus far indicate that Kingston is meeting the 24-hour standard. The major outdoor sources of PM2.5 include vehicle exhaust and wood/oil burning. High spikes in the winter may indicate more fuel burning activity for heating purposes. In addition, due to Hudson Valley weather inversions, PM2.5 produced as a result of vehicular and fuel sources is amplified to a noticeable level.
The CAC has been working with the Kingston Fire Department on enforcing the air pollution code, and on educating residents about the serious health and environmental effects of air pollution. We are in the process of soliciting funds to support an expansion of this monitoring program beyond the Andy Murphy Building into major Kingston neighborhoods, to provide an evidence-based analysis of neighborhood by neighborhood exposure to PM2.5 in particular.
Community Call to action!
Learn More: Kingston CAC Wood Burning Informational Brochure
Burning wood or wood pellets is not simply a personal choice; it affects others. To protect your family’s and neighbors’ health, as well as our community’s air quality, consider alternatives:
-Switch to gas, electric, or solar heat
-Switch to a gas or electric fireplace insert
-Do not burn wood outdoors
For more information
Contact Kingston CAC at CAC@kingston-ny.gov
Cardiac /respiratory effects within 1 hour of exposure to PM 2.5 (wildfire smoke): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7313403/ Environ Health Perspect. 2020 Jun; 128(6): 067006. Published online 2020
Even small reductions in PM 2.5 exposure result in significant decrease in cardiovascular events: Link US News. June 29, 2020
Daily Freeman article on preparations for winter: Too Cold, Too Soon ~ Bob Beyfuss, December 1, 2018
American Lung Association
The Harmful Effects of Wood Smoke and the Growth of Recreational Wood Burning, Environment & Human Health, Inc. https://www.ehhi.org/woodsmoke-exposures.pdf
Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment:
U.S. Centers for Disease Control:
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency:
Vehicle Idling and Vehicle Emissions REduction
According to Kingston's Climate Action Plan (September 2012), idling an internal combustion engine can burn a half gallon to one gallon of fuel per hour, depending on the engine size and air conditioner (AC) use.
Recommendations from the Climate Action Plan to reduce transportation related emissions:
- Adopt local anti-idling ordinance.
- Work with local institutions and businesses such as Health Alliance to reduce vehicle idling.
- Work with delivery services to reduce vehicle idling.
- Work with Kingston City School District to reduce school bus idling by creating idle-free zones around schools.
- Investigate clean diesel technologies to reduce diesel emissions and their impact on human health.
- Replace old equipment with clean diesel equipment.
- Retrofit existing equipment to reduce diesel emissions.
- Examine and consider the use of bio-diesel in City equipment.
- Require any contractors within the City of use clean diesel equipment.
NYS Environmental Conservation Law prohibits heavy duty vehicles, including diesel trucks and buses, from idling for more than five (5) minutes at a time.
Simple tips to remember:
Drive at the speed limit
Avoid sudden stops or starts
Resist topping off the fuel tank
Check tire pressure monthly
Keep your vehicle well-maintained
A PROGRAM FOR CITY OF KINGSTON EMPLOYEES!
Introducing New Programs to
Reduce Stress, Save Money, and Have Fun!
511NY Rideshare has partnered with the City of Kingston to provide its employees with commuter services that includes ridematching for carpools, resources for transit, biking, walking and Park & Ride lots. Discover the many benefits of sharing the ride…
- Save money
- Reduce stress
- Improve air quality
Getting started is quick, easy, and FREE. Click here to be directed to the City of Kingston’s personalized rideshare portal and connect with other city employees who share either part of or your whole commute. You’ll also have access to New York State’s 511NY network for real-time travel, transit and traffic updates.
Plus, there’s more! If you carpool, use transit, or bike or walk to work, 511NY Rideshare ensures a guaranteed ride from work when an emergency happens at no cost to you. We’ll pay for you to get to your destination by taxi or designated service provider. To find out more and to register for the Hudson Valley Guaranteed Ride Program click here.
If you have any questions about this program please feel to contact Caroline Stupple, the Ulster County Outreach Manager for 511NY Rideshare, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
511NY Rideshare is sponsored by the New York State Department of Transportation to provide free commuter and traveler services.