By Donna Kemp Spangler
Since Earth Day 2014, the Utah Department of Environmental Quality has offered weekly blogs written by our scientists, engineers, and environmental partners that highlight important environmental issues affecting Utahns. A new blog is posted every Monday on the DEQ web page.
Our 2017 blogs focused on a wide range of issues relevant to Utah’s environmental quality. They are designed to inform and entertain our readers while providing an “inside look” at the many ways DEQ works to improve Utah’s air, land and water through balanced regulation.
I invite you to take a look at our most popular blogs in 2017 to learn more about the environmental issues that affect all of us.
- Oil and Gas App Streamlines Inspection Process. Whitney Oswald, air-quality scientist, explained how the Division of Air Quality (DAQ) is using technology to simplify field inspections for oil and gas facilities.
- DEQ: Air Scientists Have Eyes in the Sky for PM2.5. This blog spotlighted a collaborative air-quality study by DAQ, NOAA, EPA and universities. Using a specially equipped Twin Otter plane, researchers were able to measure upper-atmosphere chemical conditions during a winter inversion. These measurements provided scientists with critical data on the chemical reactions that lead to the formation of PM2.5
- DEQ, Schools Partner to Keep Kids Safe from Lead in Drinking. Drinking Water Director Marie Owens explained a DEQ initiative that encouraged school districts to test their drinking water for lead to protect schoolchildren from exposure.
- Residential Wood-Burning: To Burn or Not to Burn. Air-quality scientist Nancy Daher unveiled findings on the impacts of wood burning on air quality. It accounts for more pollution than what you might think!
- Polluting Wood Stoves Go up in Smoke with Sole-Source Conversion Program. Joel Karmazyn, air-quality scientist, explained how DAQ’s program assisted residents who used wood or coal as their sole source of heat change out their old devices for more air-friendly alternatives.
- ZOOm Go Electric: Clean Transportation at a Discount Price. Guest blogger Clayton Johnson of Utah Clean Energy promoted a program funded by a Utah Clean Air Partnership (UCAIR) grant to encourage consumers to “go electric!” at a discounted price.
- DEQ: Tips for Making Public Comments Count. This blog offered how-to advice on making effective public comments on proposed rulemaking.
- Water, Water, Everywhere: Is Your Drinking Water Safe after a Flood? Kim Dykes, field services manager for the Division of Drinking Water, has seen a thing or two about flooding and flood-caused contamination. In this blog, he offered expert advice on what residents can do after a flood to keep their drinking water safe.
- DEQ: Getting Serious about Improving Utah’s Air. This blog explained the steps DAQ is taking to comply with EPA’s “serious” designation and help Utah meet federal PM5 air-quality standards by 2019.
- Air Assist Helps Millcreek Coffee Roasters Reduce Emissions with Every Cup. Guest blogger Bailey Toolson of UCAIR explained how a local coffee company is helping improve the air through UCAIR’s Air Assist Program, a program that provided grants to small businesses to help them install cleaner technology.
Have a blog you want to share? Contact me for consideration. I invite you to visit our blog, posted every Monday at 11 a.m. and later in the day on our Facebook page, to stay informed about important environmental issues while getting to know the people at DEQ who work to protect and improve Utah’s air, land and water.
I am the Communications Director for DEQ and a former reporter for the Deseret News. I write an occasional blog. You can find me on Twitter @deqdonna.