The effect of a woodstove changeout on ambient levels of PM2.5 and chemical tracers for woodsmoke in Libby, Montana

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Abstract

Residential woodstoves are the single largest source of PM2.5 in Libby, MT, resulting in the community being designated as a nonattainment area for PM2.5. Beginning in 2005, a community-wide woodstove changeout program was implemented that replaced nearly 1200 old stoves with EPA-certified units. In an effort to track the reduction of woodsmoke particles throughout the program, ambient PM2.5 samples were collected before, during, and after the changeout. These samples were analyzed for seven selected woodsmoke tracers, including vanillin, acetovanillone, guaiacol, 4-ethylguaiacol (methoxyphenols), levoglucosan (sugar anhydride), abietic acid, and dehydroabietic acid (resin acids). Results of the changeout showed that PM2.5 levels decreased by 20% during the changeout period, while levels of the seven chosen tracer compounds gave variable responses. Levoglucosan levels decreased by 50% while both resin acids increased after the changeout, suggesting a change in the chemistry of the particles. No trend was observed in the levels of methoxyphenols as a group over the changeout period. The results suggest that the concentrations of woodsmoke related PM2.5 in the Libby airshed have decreased; however, the chemistry of the emitted particles also changed when old woodstoves were replaced with new EPA-certified stoves.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2938-2943
Number of pages6
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Volume43
Issue number18
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2009

Keywords

  • Chemical tracers
  • Levoglucosan
  • Particulate matter
  • Residential combustion
  • Woodstove changeout

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