From 2009 to 2015, Tacoma and much of Pierce County was one of only 32 areas in the country that didn’t meet federal health standards for air quality. Despite now meeting the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standard for fine particulate matter pollution (PM2.5), wood smoke continues to play a large part of this pollution problem in our region.
The fine particle pollution in the Smoke Reduction Zone comes mainly from smoke due to burning in wood stoves and fireplaces. Pollution is worse during the winter months when more households are burning wood for heat. In addition, stagnant weather conditions trap the smoke from these fires close to the ground and cause air pollution to build up rapidly.
Uncertified wood burning stoves can produce 50-60% more pollution than certified stoves. The removal of old wood stoves will continue to help the region meet air quality standards and help solve the Zone’s fine particle air pollution problem for good.
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No. The legislature only gave us the authority to do this in the area that was not meeting federal standards – the Smoke Reduction Zone. The rest of Pierce County is not affected.
A certified wood stove/fireplace insert would likely have a label on the back or side indicating it complies with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency emission standards. Here are label examples:
US EPA Certified
Oregon DEQ Certified
There are a few other ways to help determine whether you have a certified or uncertified device:
Please note that "UL Tested" or "UL Approved" is not the same as EPA certified.
If you are still not sure your device is uncertified, you can take a picture of the front and back of your stove, along with the manufacturer's label, and take it to your nearest hearth dealer. You may also email us at email@example.com with the photos and any identifying information you have about your stove.
The rule went into effect on October 1, 2015. It is now illegal to purchase or operate an uncertified wood stove in the Tacoma-Pierce County Smoke Reduction Zone. All wood stoves not EPA certified must be removed and recycled, or rendered inoperable, except for in a small number of homes that qualify for and have an approved exemption because they do not have another adequate source of heat.
The rule applies only in the Tacoma-Pierce County Smoke Reduction Zone.
You can sign up to take advantage of our Wood Stove Program and receive a cash reward for recycling your old wood stove.
Hearth industry (wood stove) contractors can help you by either breaking off doors of a stove so they can't be reattached or by punching holes in the firebox so the stove can't be used again.
It's up to you. You can render the stove inoperable and take the stove to a local scrapyard. You can also sign up to take advantage of our Wood Stove Program and receive a cash reward for recycling your old wood stove.
No, it's illegal to buy, sell, exchange, give-away, or reinstall an uncertified wood-burning device. Wood stoves, fireplaces, and other solid fuel burning devices sold in Washington must be certified to meet both EPA and Washington state emission standards.
Click the following link for emission standards for various wood-burning devices:
WA Ecology – Wood stoves & other home heating
Click to learn more about the laws on wood-burning devices:
Regulation I, Section 13.03 (PDF), Washington Administrative Code: 173-433.
No. This rule pertains to uncertified wood-burning stoves and inserts (which is basically a wood stove made to be inserted into a fireplace opening). You are still prohibited from burning in your fireplace during an air quality burn ban.
In some cases, using a wood-burning device may be the only way to adequately heat your home. If you believe this is true for your home, you may apply for a No Other Adequate Source of Heat (NOASH) exemption through the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency. You must apply and be approved for this exemption before using your wood-burning device. To download the application and apply, please visit our NOASH page or call (206) 716-1195, option 2, and request that one to be mailed to you.
We will enforce the rule the way we’ve enforced our air quality burn ban and excess smoke rules for years: by looking for smoke. Uncertified wood stoves produce a lot more smoke than a certified stove. If you have illegal smoke, we’ll be checking in with you to find out more about your stove. We are hoping most people take advantage of our funding assistance as long as it is available and remove their older uncertified stove. As of October 1, 2015, if we determine that you have an uncertified device, you’ll need to remove and recycle it, or render it inoperable.
No. We do not go into homes. We look for smoke coming from chimneys outdoors.
The Washington State legislature has given local air pollution control agencies and the Washington Department of Ecology the authority to prohibit the use of uncertified wood burning devices in an area that is designated as a "nonattainment area" as of January 1, 2015, or if required by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
This state law referenced above gives the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency the legal authority to prohibit uncertified wood-burning devices in the Tacoma-Pierce County Wood Smoke Reduction Zone.
You can see this law in its entirety here:
RCW 70.94.47 - LIMITATIONS ON USE OF SOLID FUEL BURNING DEVICES(Scroll down to Section 7 of this page for specific language describing the prohibition of uncertified wood burning devices)
You can find the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency's specific regulations pertaining to the Tacoma-Pierce County Smoke Reduction Zone within the Solid Fuel Burning Device Standards.(Scroll down to Section 13.07 to see language specific to Tacoma-Pierce County Smoke Reduction Zone)