Utah DEQ News

DEQ’s Brand Reflects What We Do and Why It Matters

By Donna Kemp Spangler The Utah Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has existed for nearly 25 years, yet it is one of the most misunderstood agencies in state government. No, we are not the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. We don’t regulate odors, sell Christmas tree permits, or put out wildfires. Smokey the Bear does not …

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Air Quality: DEQ Uses CARROT to Reduce Emissions

By Lisa Burr The inversion season is upon us. It’s the time when we notice and curse the pollution that fills our cold, wintery skies. As if the cold isn’t bad enough, we have to breathe the dirty air, sometimes so bad we can taste it. The public relies on the Department of Environmental Quality …

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Environmental Remediation: DEQ “Bomb Squad” Uncovers Old Munitions

By Katie Crane I am pretty sure I have one of the coolest jobs at DEQ: I provide regulatory oversight for the Military Munitions Response Program (MMRP), regulating the remedial response process for unexploded ordnance (UXO) sites. It involves a good dose of history, risk management, environmental cleanup, and of course – bombs. What’s not …

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Air Quality: Asthma Research Will Help Kids Breathe Easier

By Kathy Sward, PhD, RN, and Kerry Kelly, PhD, PE, Guest Bloggers DEQ invites guest bloggers to share their thoughts on issues that impact our environment. We appreciate their insights and the opportunity to broaden the conversation with others in the community. Asthma is one of the most common childhood illnesses in the U.S. and …

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Environmental Response: DEQ Protects Public from Toxic Chemical Releases

By Neil Taylor I am an environmental scientist in the Division of Environmental Response and Remediation (DERR) at DEQ. The part of my job that I enjoy most is working in the state’s Emergency Planning and Community-Right-to-Know (EPCRA) program. EPCRA was established by Congress after the 1984 release of the highly toxic pesticide methyl isocyanate …

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Water Quality: DEQ Helps Animal Feeding Operations Improve Waste Management

By Don Hall Utah has about 2,000 animal production facilities known as animal feeding operations (AFOs). These are farms such as dairies and feedlots where animals are confined (not in pastures or on rangeland) and fed. Larger AFOs are known as concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOS). These are operations that meet a confinement threshold number …

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Air Quality: New Ozone Standard Designed to Protect Public Health

By Jay Baker On October 1, 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set a new National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone, lowering it from 75 to 70 parts per billion (ppb). The change was based on thousands of scientific studies that demonstrated the need for a lower standard to protect public health …

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Water Quality: Helping Communities Protect Their Water Quality

By Lisa Nelson, P.E. On September 23, 2015, on a beautiful sunny day in the mountains of Summit County, members of Utah’s Water Quality Board, along with Trever Johnson and Duane Schmidt, current and former mayors of Coalville City, gathered together with the Coalville City Council for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of …

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Drinking Water: SUCCESS in Ensuring a Safe Supply of Drinking Water

By Ying-Ying McCauley The Division of Drinking Water regulates over 1,000 public water systems in Utah. The Division’s mission is to work cooperatively with drinking water professionals and the public to ensure a safe and reliable supply of drinking water. Our engineering review program reviews and approves the plans for the projects received from water …

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Water Quality: Gold King Mine Spill Underscores Need to Fix Leaky Mines

By Donna Kemp Spangler People all across the nation were stunned and outraged when on Aug. 5, a breach at the Gold King Mine turned the Animas River near Durango, Colo., a bright mustard-orange color. Even more shocking was the fact that federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) contractors caused the disaster. It took a 3-million-gallon …

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Air Quality: Turn Your Key, Be Idle Free

By Robin Erickson, Guest Blogger DEQ invites guest bloggers to share their thoughts on issues that impact our environment. We appreciate their insights and the opportunity to broaden the conversation with others in the community. You may be familiar with the slogan “Turn Your Key, Be Idle Free,” but do you know where it all …

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The Jordan River Commission: We Speak for the River

By Brian Tonetti, Guest Blogger DEQ invites guest bloggers to share their thoughts on issues that impact our environment. We appreciate their insights and the opportunity to broaden the conversation with others in the community. If you grew up along the Wasatch Front, chances are you’ve heard about the Jordan River in some way or …

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Water Quality: Walk a Mile in Someone’s Shoes

By Jenny Potter Working for the Division of Water Quality (DWQ) for the last two-and-a-half years as the office manager, I have been fortunate enough to work on several aspects of what we do here, including attending and preparing for board meetings, attending managers’ meetings and retreats, and helping get documents prepared and ready to …

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Radon: Silent Killer Lurks in One Out of Three Utah Homes

By Jan Poulsen, Guest Blogger DEQ invites guest bloggers to share their thoughts on issues that impact our environment. We appreciate their insights and the opportunity to broaden the conversation with others in the community. My name is Jan Poulsen, and I am a lung cancer survivor. I want to share my story in the …

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The Best “Airheads” in Utah Work to Solve Utah’s Air Quality Challenges

By Donna Kemp Spangler You don’t have to be an air quality expert to know that Utah’s mountain-and-valley topography creates wintertime inversions and summertime smog. It’s a matter of atmospheric chemistry, meteorology, and source emissions that are a recipe for unhealthy air. As one air scientist is fond of saying, “What goes out your tailpipe …

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