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 & Recently Completed Studies

Non-Combustion Formaldehyde Study

Principal Investigator: Seth Lyman, Utah State University During the winters of 2012, 2013, and 2014, the Utah Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) led a multi-disciplinary, multi-agency study of ozone formation in the Uinta Basin. Among other findings, these studies found that formaldehyde and other carbonyls play a key role in wintertime atmospheric ozone production. There …

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Wasatch Front Wood Smoke: Modeling To Consider The Impact Of Emissions From Solid Fuel Burning Devices

Principal Investigator: Nancy Daher (ndaher@utah.gov), Ph. D., Utah Division of Air Quality Background The 2015 Utah Legislature provided $70,000 to the Utah Division of Air Quality (DAQ) to undertake a modeling study to address two specific questions. What would be the effect of a two-stage program that would reduce emissions from wood-burning stoves while at …

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Northern Utah Wood Burning Survey

Principal Investigator: ICF The Utah Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) contracted with ICF International (ICF), an independent research and consulting firm, to conduct a survey of residents in seven northern Utah counties regarding their opinions surrounding air quality and their home heating and wood burning behaviors. Key objectives of the study included estimating the percentage …

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Utah Winter Fine Particulate Study (UWFPS)

Principal Investigators: Munkhbayar Baasandorj, University of Utah, UDAQ Steve Brown, NOAA DAQ Contact: Chris Pennell (cpennell@utah.gov) Executive Summary Download the PDF version (94 KB) Northern Utah valleys experience elevated levels of particulate matter less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter (PM2.5) in winter. These pollution episodes are closely associated with periods of atmospheric stability known as …

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Winter Inversion Study

Principal Investigator: Munkhbayar Baasandorj, University of Utah/UDAQ DAQ Contact: Chris Pennell (cpennell@utah.gov) Valleys along the Wasatch Mountains (Cache, Salt Lake and Utah) experience high levels of particulate matter (PM) in winter months and are currently designated as non-attainment area for particulate matter with diameters less than 2.5 micron (PM2.5). The chemical aspects of these pollution …

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Great Salt Lake Summer Ozone Study

Principal Investigators: John Horel, University of Utah Erik Crosman, University of Utah Susan Bush, University of Utah Randy Martin, Utah State University DAQ Contact: Chris Pennell (cpennell@utah.gov) DAQ (Division of Air Quality) monitoring found high levels of ozone near the Great Salt Lake from 2010-2013. The Division also found a wide variance in the concentration of …

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Great Salt Lake Ambient Hydrochloric Acid Study

Principal Investigator: Randy Martin, USU DAQ Contact: Nancy Daher (ndaher@utah.gov), Ph. D. Atmospheric chlorine is a strong oxidant and known to potentially initiate photochemistry via reactions with various common hydrocarbons. Kerry et al (2013) found that chlorine atoms significantly contribute to local Salt Lake City PM2.5 during elevated wintertime episodes with ammonium chloride accounting for …

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Wintertime Atmospheric Modeling

Principal Investigator: John Horel, University of Utah, Erik Crosman, University of Utah DAQ Contact: Chris Pennell (cpennell@utah.gov) Wintertime meteorological conditions in Utah are difficult to portray using conventional atmospheric-modeling approaches. To improve the accuracy of simulations of pollution along the Wasatch Front and Cache Valley, models need to better simulate the complex meteorological features associated …

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Meteorological Modeling of 3 Wintertime Episodes

Principal Investigator: Dr. Erik Crosman, University of Utah, Christopher Foster (yurralacelle112@gmail.com), University of Utah DAQ Contact: Chris Pennell (cpennell@utah.gov) Following the completion of the Winter Modeling Improvements study funded by DAQ with the original legislative research funding, DAQ contracted with the same research group for a targeted modeling project. The purpose of this was to …

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Chemical Mechanisms at Low Temperatures

Principal Investigator: Marc Mansfield, Utah State University Jaron Hansen, Brigham Young University DAQ Contact: Chris Pennell (cpennell@utah.gov) Wintertime ozone in the Uinta Basin is unique and requires improvements to the photochemical models used for winter conditions. Current chemical mechanisms within the modeling system assume a summertime temperature of 300 K (80° F) when performing important …

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CAMx Snow Cover Treatment

Principal Investigator: Greg Yarwood, RAMBOLL-ENVIRON Chris Emery, RAMBOLL-ENVIRON DAQ Contact: Chris Pennell (cpennell@utah.gov) Wintertime ozone is a serious air quality issue in the Uinta Basin. The situation is unique and requires improvements to the photochemical models used for winter conditions. High concentrations of wintertime ozone occur over snow-covered surfaces. Snow cover influences wintertime ozone by …

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Cold Start/Idling Emissions

Principal Investigator: Randy Martin (USU), Joe Thomas (WSU) Reducing automobile emissions has been a central component of the state’s plans to improve air quality. Unfortunately, there is little literature or data that identify the benefits or consequences from changes to the way individuals and fleets start their vehicles, particularly under Utah-specific conditions. A small, earlier …

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Air Toxics Study I

Principal Investigator: Roman Kuprov, Utah Division of Air Quality The Division of Air Quality has been monitoring ambient concentrations of Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs) in the Salt Lake Valley for over a decade. Since trace amounts of toxic compounds have been linked to such adverse health effects as cancer, ribosomal damage, birth defects, and other …

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Air Toxics Study II

Principal Investigator: Roman Kuprov, Utah Division of Air Quality The first analysis of toxics data completed by the UDAQ in 2014 indicated that certain organic toxic compounds regularly exceed risk levels. Research funding from the 2014 Utah legislative session allowed UDAQ to undertake a new and comprehensive analysis which included new monitoring sites to better …

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Air Toxics Study III

Principal Investigator: Roman Kuprov, Utah Division of Air Quality This report aims to identify where Bountiful fits among other metropolitan areas across the continental United States with respect to Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs)’ concentration and trends. To accomplish that, four other metropolitan areas with diverse levels of industrialization, population, geography, and climate were used for …

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Air Toxics Study IV

Principal Investigator: Nancy Daher, Ph. D. (ndaher@utah.gov), Utah Division of Air Quality A year-long study conducted by the Utah Division of Air Quality (UDAQ) in 2015 showed high levels of formaldehyde and dichloromethane at Bountiful Viewmont monitoring site in Davis County. Measured concentrations of these air toxics were also often associated with a high cancer …

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