Colville Tribes, EPA and Ecology working toward cleaner air in Okanogan County

NESPELEM – The Colville Tribes Office of Environmental Trust Air Quality Program, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the state Department of Ecology have been closely monitoring air quality issues in the central valley of Okanogan County. This combined effort is to improve the air quality and promoting healthier communities within Okanogan County.

The Air Quality Program is authorized to issue burn bans on the Colville Indian Reservation when levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) concentrations become elevated. Increased PM2.5 levels are unhealthy for sensitive groups (members of sensitive group may experience health effects but the general public is not likely to be affected). The communities most affected by the higher concentration levels are Omak and Okanogan.

“There are alternatives to burning,” Tribal Air Quality Program Manger Kris Ray said Friday. “We recommend other alternatives to backyard burning for example: composting, chipping or taking yard debris to the landfill.”

The Air Quality Program is promoting the “City of Omak and Okanogan Fall Cleanup Day” on Nov. 5, 2016.

An informational Fact Sheet on Backyard Burning can be found on the Colville Tribes website:

The Okanogan County Landfill is located at 240 B&O Road North, Okanogan, Wash. and can reached by phone at 509-422-2602.