Utah air quality tends to be some of the best in the U.S. That’s partially true because of the controls put on wood smoke, ozone management, and vehicle exhaust. Salt Lake, being in a bowl where winds can’t blow the air clean, struggles at times with high air pollution, but the rest of the state is fairly clean.
The Utah Air Conservation Act (Utah Code 19-2-104) empowers the Utah Air Quality Board to enact rules pertaining to Air Quality activities and develop State Implementation Plans to attain and maintain National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). The Air Quality Board oversees all state activities that affect Utah air quality. An informative Web site for the Utah Air Quality Division of the Department of Environmental Quality has been established at www.airquality.utah.gov/Air-Quality-Board.
Utah air quality is, by and large, among the best in the nation. The State sits in the High Plains of the Rocky Mountains and is swept by regular strong winds. Heavy industries such as coal mining and power generation do not contribute much to adverse effects upon Utah air quality. The sparsely populated State has fewer pollution-emitting vehicles than most others of its size.
The Utah Air Quality Division’s Web site has sections for small businesses containing information they need to comply with federal and State air pollution regulations. Businesses such as dry cleaners, wood furniture finishers, and others can find information on Utah air quality rules, general environmental quality rules, links to EPA information and regulations, and related matters. An online Emission Calculation worksheet helps small businesses estimate their air pollution emissions. Permitting costs and assistance programs are also available on the site.
The Permitting section of the site contains information about air pollution permits for businesses that need them and for the public at large. The types of permits required are explained; forms and applications can be downloaded; pending applications are available for public comment.
The Planning Branch is responsible for developing comprehensive plans (also known as State Implementation Plans (SIPs)) to reduce air pollution, and developing rules that set requirements on air emissions for both individuals and industry in Utah. The Planning Branch’s Web page bears news of proposed and enacted regulations and SIPs, and schedules of public meetings on “hot topics” or areas that the Planning Branch plans to tackle soon. Citizens can review a list of SIPs and make public comments upon them.
The Air Monitoring Center (AMC) is responsible for operating and maintaining an ambient air monitoring network that protects the health and welfare of the citizens of Utah. The AMC provides air pollution information for the daily Air Quality, health advisories, winter season woodburn conditions, and summer season “Ozone Action Day” (Choose Clean Air Day) alerts. The AMC’s Web page includes the daily Utah air quality reports, and allows citizens to sign up for an email alert whenever Utah air quality levels approach dangerous thresholds.
The Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs) Division of the Utah Air Quality Division is responsible for regulating air pollutants such as asbestos and lead paint. It assists small businesses with compliance with rules concerning these and other HAPs.
Utah air quality is among the nation’s best. The Utah Air Quality Board and its hundreds of staffers work hard to keep it that way, and to constantly improve Utah air quality. Through their efforts, the citizens of Utah enjoy sparkling clean mountain air all year round.