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Management of Air Quality in Utah

The Utah Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Division of Air Quality currently operates 11 carbon monoxide monitors, 16 fine particulate monitoring sites, and 19 meteorological stations along the Wasatch Front. All are operated under strict federal guidelines.

DEQ’s Air Quality Management Strategies

Vehicle emissions have historically had the greatest impact on the Wasatch Front’s air quality. Wood burning and burning of carbon-based fuels also contribute to pollutants in the air.

The following control strategies are in place:

  • The I/M (Motor Vehicle Inspection/Maintenance) programs in Davis, Salt Lake, Utah, and Weber counties ensure that cars and trucks are properly maintained to reduce emissions.
  • Restrictions on-road de-icing materials reduce the residual materials left on roads and released into the air by vehicles.
  • A variety of regulatory controls on industrial sources reduce particulate emissions.
  • A clean-fleet vehicle program encourages the purchase of alternative fuel vehicles.
  • The “Red Light, Green Light” program restrictions reduce pollutants from wood burning during wintertime inversions.
  • Trip reduction programs include ridesharing, vanpools, telecommuting, and mass transit such as bus service, light rail, and park-and-ride lots.
  • Congestion-reducing measures include computerized traffic signals and electronic highway message boards.
  • Voluntary no-drive days are implemented when pollution increases.

Air Quality Management Strategies for During the Olympics

The Salt Lake Organizing Committee (SLOC), DEQ, county health departments, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency developed the first air quality plan ever devised for an Olympic Games. The most important element of the plan is a Transportation Demand Management (TDM) system that is expected to manage traffic to reduce congestion and assist with mitigating air quality impacts.

In addition, if air quality deteriorates during the Olympics, the Division of Air Quality’s “Red Light, Green Light” Program will take steps to reduce fine particulates that can be troublesome for individuals with respiratory ailments and for the elderly and children.

Residents and visitors to Utah are encouraged to use mass transit or carpool whenever possible. TRAX, buses, and the Mountain Venue Express buses will help minimize impacts to air quality during the Olympics.

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