Category: Applied Research Overview
The State of Utah is home to towering mountain ranges, resource-rich basins, sprawling farmland, and vast deserts. These diverse environments are inhabited by equally diverse people, all of whom are affected by the air quality in our state. Understanding the factors that influence the quality of our air is imperative to mitigating the harmful effects of poor air quality on public health. The physical environment which includes atmospheric chemistry, meteorology, and topography, combines with by-products of modern technology and industry such as emissions from vehicles and buildings, to create air pollution problems that are unique to Utah. Research conducted by the Division of Air Quality and its community partners informs decisions made by the Utah State Legislature to improve our air quality.
Current & Ongoing Studies
A study conducted by the Utah Division of Air Quality (UDAQ) and the University of Utah, where 24-hr time-integrated air samples were collected every third day at three different sites during 2015, showed high levels of formaldehyde and dichloromethane at Bountiful Viewmont (BV) site.
- Principal Investigators: Nancy Daher (DAQ), Kerry Kelly (U of U)
- Funding Amount: $191,642
- Funding Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
- Funding Program: Multipurpose Grant
- Study Period: 01/01/2017 – 12/31/2018
This study builds on last year’s effort to improve the speciation of volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from oil and gas wells in the Uintah Basin. Better speciation profiles will yield a better emission inventory for the basin and will help focus emission reduction strategies.
- Principal Investigators: Trang Tran, Huy Tran (USU)
- Funded by Science for Solutions Research Grant: $140,000
This study, led by researchers at BYU, will use particulate matter (PM) sampling to identify regional dust sources that impact local air quality and public health, as well as model how dust sources might change in the future.
- Principal Investigators: Dr. Greg Carling (BYU)
- Funded by Science for Solutions Research Grant: $150,000
This study will test if satellite observations of vegetation and land use can be used to improve photochemical model performance in the Uintah basin. An improved model will help inform emission reduction strategies and regulatory action.
- Principal Investigators: Huy Tran, Trang Tran (USU)
- Funded by Science for Solutions Research Grant: $38,392
The TRAX air quality project continues to measure PM2.5 and ozone from TRAX light rail trains, and will add measurements to the Blue line. All data is publicly available and posted in near real-time on the MesoWest website.
- Principal Investigators: Daniel Mendoza, Logan Mitchell, John Horel, John Lin (UU)
- Funded by legislative appropriation: $44,000
This study will investigate the existing emission inventory of ammonia (NH3) sources and compare modeled NH3 concentrations to those observed during recent field studies in order to identify and correct missing NH3 sources. In addition to improving the inventory, this study will add new NH3 emission pathways to the photochemical model.
- Principal Investigators: Chris Emery (Ramboll), Randal S. Martin (USU)
- Funded by Science for Solutions Research Grant: $86,396
The University of Utah will make measurements of vertical wind and aerosol profiles, as well as ozone and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) concentrations at the mouth of Red Butte Canyon in order to better understand air exchange in the Salt Lake Valley during wintertime PM2.5 events.
- Principal Investigators: Sebastian W. Hoch, Erik T. Crosman (UU)
- Funded by Science for Solutions Research Grant: $34,965
This study will deploy a number of ozone sensors at different distances up Red Butte Canyon to better understand natural gradients in ozone and how phenomena like large thunderstorms and valley drainage flows contribute to ozone concentrations in the Salt Lake Valley.
- Principal Investigators: Logan Mitchell, Ryan Bares, David Eiriksson (UU)
- Funded by Science for Solutions Research Grant: $39,833
Wood burning contributes to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) pollution in the Wasatch Front, and reducing the use of wood burning during pollution episodes has been the focus of many policy decisions. This study looks at patterns of temperature, heat deficit, and day of the week along with markers of woodsmoke and mandatory no-burn days, to try and understand if public awareness and policy efforts have been effective in reducing wood burning during pollution events.
- Principal Investigator: Kerry Kelly (UU)
- Funded for: $25,215
The ULend program is a collaborative approach for fixing compliance issues before they become a regulatory problem. The program focuses on small oil and gas producers who might not be able to afford the kind of expensive equipment that could help them identify and repair leaks early.
This study will provide key meteorological support for the chemistry observations taken during the upcoming 2018--2019 winter season that are focused on the ammonia transport and air mass exchange between the Salt Lake and Utah Valleys.
- Principal Investigators: Sebastian W. Hoch, Erik Crosman (UU)
- Funded by Science for Solutions Grant: $19,510
The objective of this study is to define the spatio-temporal behavior of atmospheric ammonia (NH3) and hydrochloric acid (HCl) along the Wasatch Front across both summer and winter seasons. This objective will be accomplished through three tasks developed in consultation with UDAQ and the U.S. EPA. These tasks include 1) networked NH3 and HCl observations, 2) particulate chloride spatial distributions, and 3) mobile real-time NH3 assessments.
- Principal Investigators: Randal S. Martin (USU), Kerry Kelly (UU), Jaron Hansen (BYU)
- Funded by Science for Solutions Grant: $210,000
The University of Utah Department of Chemical Engineering will collaborate with UDAQ to estimate the contributions of wood burning to wintertime PM2.5 levels using aethalometer data from four locations and from mobile aethalometer measurements. The goal of this study is to identify and understand levels of wood burning and compliance with wood-burning restrictions during the winter of 2018/2019.
- Principal Investigator: Kerry Kelly (UU)
- Funded by Science for Solutions Grant: $30,000
The Utah Division of Air Quality (UDAQ) is leading a new effort to improve estimates of the speciation of organic compound emissions from Uinta Basin oil and gas wells. Utah State University (USU) will work with UDAQ to collect and analyze pressurized gas and liquid samples from oil and gas well separators, as well as conduct data processing and analysis.
- Principal Investigators: Seth Lyman, Trang Tran (USU)
- Funded by Science for Solutions Grant: $30,358
A source apportionment campaign, with an emphasis on determining the source of dichloromethane in Bountiful City, will be conducted between December 2018 and January 2019. Supporting measurements of PM2.5 concentration and composition will be provided as part of this effort.
- Principal Investigators: Kerry Kelly (UU), Jaron Hansen (BYU)
- Funded by Science for Solutions Grant: $80,067
To better understand the contribution of automobiles to Utah ammonia emissions, tailpipe ammonia (NH3) measurements will be taken in laboratory and on-road settings for an array of diesel and gasoline vehicles representative of Utah’s vehicle fleet.
- Principal Investigators: Randal S. Martin (USU), Joe Thomas (UDAQ), John Sohl (WSU)
- Funded for: $59,958