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Air Quality Compliance Outreach Newsletter Volume 3

Millcreek Canyon, Utah

The Annual Report is intended to provide an overview of Utah’s air quality, as well as the Division of Air Quality’s organization, activities, and progress throughout 2019.

View the Report (4 MB)

2019 – 2020 Residential Wood Smoke Summary

Utah Administrative Code (UAC) R307-302 establishes visible emission standards & specifies when it is permissible to burn solid fuel burning devices used to provide comfort heating.

The 2019-20 Residential Wood Smoke regulatory season (Nov. 1 – Mar. 1) consisted of the following action days.

Salt Lake County 61 Voluntary 13 Mandatory
Davis County 32 Voluntary 9 Mandatory
Utah County 46 Voluntary 7 Mandatory
Weber County 34 Voluntary 7 Mandatory
Cache County 40 Voluntary 18 Mandatory
Tooele County 16 Voluntary 8 Mandatory

Two warnings were issued by Salt Lake County Health department on Mandatory No Burn Days. Four residences were added to the Sole Source List due to regulatory inspection activities. No other county health departments notified DAQ of any found violators. No other penalties were issued during this burn season.

UAC R307-202 General Burning

Overview

The Utah Division of Air Quality requirement, R307-202, was adopted as a package of rules that regulate open burning activities and help minimize emissions and ensure that the National Ambient Air Quality Standards are met. Recent modifications to these rules change the open burn periods and include a statewide requirement to obtain a permit from the local county or municipal fire authority prior to burning.

Requirements

This rule allows open burning of clippings, bushes, plants, and pruning’s from trees to property and residential clean-up activities, provided that the following conditions have been met:

  • The clearing index is 500 or greater.
  • An open burn permit application must be completed and a valid permit issued by the county or municipal fire authority prior to burning.
  • Permits may be issued between March 1 and May 30 and between September 15 and November 15 in the counties of Washington, Kane, San Juan, Iron, Garfield, Beaver, Piute, Wayne, Grand, and Emery.
  • Permits may be issued between March 30 and May 30 and between September 15 and October 30 in all other areas of the state.
  • Materials to be burned are thoroughly dry and free of dirt. No trash, rubbish, tires, oil, plastic products, coated wires, or building products.

Permit Criteria

Prior to completing the open burn permit application, please consider the following:

  • Location and proximity of the proposed burning to any building, other structures, neighbors, or other public areas (parks, schools, businesses, hospital, etc.) that might be impacted by the smoke and emissions from the burn.
  • The clearing index must be above 500.
  • Whether there is any practical alternative method for the disposal of the material to be burned.
  • Methods to minimize emissions and smoke impacts.
  • For burns of piled material, all piles shall be reasonably dry and free of dirt.
  • Open burns shall be supervised by a responsible person who shall notify the local fire department and have available, either on-site or by the local fire department, the means to suppress the burn.

Permit Application

Applicants statewide are required to complete the open burn permit application prior to igniting an open burn. After the application process is completed, a copy of the application is sent electronically to the county or municipal fire authority having jurisdiction in the area where the open burning will take place. Though the application process is the same statewide, some county and municipal fire authorities require additional steps to be taken prior to issuing a valid open burn permit. Applicants should contact their local fire authority once the open burn permit application is complete to ensure all local open burning requirements are met.

If there is not an open burn window, or if the clearing index is forecast to be below 500, the program will not allow a person to complete the application. The clearing index is only forecast for a three-day period, including the current day. The open burn permit application may be completed up to two days in advance (i.e. Apply on Thursday or Friday if you plan to burn on the weekend).

  • A permit applicant shall provide all information requested on the application.
  • An open burn permit application is required for each separate burn.
  • An open burn permit is valid only on the lands specified in the application and is required to be on site at the time of the burn.
  • All materials to be burned must be clearly described and quantified in the application.
  • Applicants must be aware of any and all local, State, and federal rules and regulations applicable to their area.
  • Open burning may be prohibited in some areas of the state.

The open burn permit application can be completed online. An electronic copy of the application is automatically submitted to the county or municipal fire authority upon completion.

You can call DAQ at 801-536-4000 or your local fire authority for help obtaining an online permit. View the full details.

Environmental Self-Evaluation Act Utah Code §§ 19-7-101 through 19-7-109 (Current as of March 6, 2020)

Generally

This statute is not air quality program specific but applies to all environmental programs in the state. It is found in Title 19 Environmental Quality Code. The purpose of this law is to create incentive for the sources to identify and remedy environmental compliance problems before the regulator discovers violations and compels compliance. It encourages early compliance and environmentally responsible operations.

Important Things To Know

When It Applies

A source can use the protections and benefits of the Environmental Self- Evaluation Act only if an assessment, audit or review are not required by environmental laws. In other words, a source conducts an assessment, audit or review in addition to and above and beyond formal requirements in the statute, regulations, and the source’s permit.

Benefits

There are two main benefits of conducting environmental self-evaluation: (1) the regulator waives penalties and (2) information discovered as a result of this evaluation is protected from disclosure and cannot be used in court or administrative proceeding. See bullet points below for more explanation.

Regulator Shall Waive Civil Penalties When

(1) a source discloses violations found through environmental self-evaluation to the regulator in writing within 21 days of discovery; (2) a source remedies or corrects violations within 60 days of discovery or within reasonable time; and (3) a source submits a written outline of steps it will take to prevent recurrence to the regulator.

Economic Benefit Can Still be Assessed

Even if the regulator must waive penalties, it may still assess economic benefit.

Reduced Penalties Available

A source may not fully qualify for a waiver based on the factors above, but the regulator may still consider a reduction in penalties.

Exceptions to Penalties Waiver

There are some circumstances in which the regulator may decide to still assess penalties. This is discretionary with the regulator. These circumstances are (1) a source was not diligent in complying with environmental laws (size and nature of the source are considered in determining diligence); (2) this specific violation is a recurring problem; (3) this specific violation also results in violation of a judicial or administrative consent order or agreement; (4) a source was reckless and willfully disregarded environmental laws; (5) a source conducted environmental self-evaluation for a fraudulent purpose; (6) the regulator already began its own compliance investigation at the time of disclosure and the source knew about the investigation; (7) noncompliance was discovered as a result of a mandate from environmental laws or a source’s permit; or (8) noncompliance caused serious actual harm or imminent and substantial endangerment to human health or the environment.

Utah Rules of Evidence Rule 508 Non-Disclosure Protection

Rule 508 prohibits disclosure of the content of the environmental self-evaluation report. It should never be made part of public file or released in response to a GRAMA request. The same applies to any information an employee of the department learns from the report. It is not public information and cannot be used in court. The exceptions to Rule 508 are very narrow and generally include waiver of privilege by a source itself, fraud, or avoidance of formal enforcement action. Also, if the information was independently obtained by the regulator through its own observation, monitoring, or sampling, Rule 508 does not apply.

Checklist to Determine Whether A Source Qualifies for Waiver of Penalties

STEP ONE: Is audit, assessment, or review required by environmental laws or source’s permit?
Yes
The source doesn’t qualify for penalties waiver, but penalties may still be reduced.
No
The source may qualify for penalties waiver, go to Step 2.
STEP TWO: Was the violation disclosed in writing within 21 days of discovery?
Yes
Go to Step 3.
No
The source doesn’t quality for penalties waiver, but penalties may still be reduced.
STEP THREE: Did the source remedy a violation within 60 days of discovery or within reasonable time?
Yes
Go to Step 4.
No
The source doesn’t quality for penalties waiver, but penalties may still be reduced.
STEP FOUR: Did the source submit a written outline of steps it will take to prevent recurrence?
Yes
Go to Step 5.
No
The source doesn’t quality for penalties waiver, but penalties may still be reduced.
STEP FIVE: Do any of the exceptions to waiver penalties apply (fraud, recklessness, lack of diligence, serious actual harm)?
Yes
The regulator assesses penalties (may reduce or may add economic benefit).
No
Go to Step 6.
STEP SIX: Did the source obtain economic benefit or competitive advantage as a result of noncompliance?
Yes
The regulator may assess economic benefit even though the penalties are waived.
No
Penalties are waived, economic benefit not assessed.