BOUNTIFUL — Davis County is in violation of federal air quality standards, and the Utah Division of Air Quality has devised a plan to reduce wintertime pollution.
Public hearings have been scheduled for this month.
The State Implementation Plan (SIP), which took three years to complete, is required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The pollution, known as particulate matter 2.5, can aggravate heart and lung diseases and has been associated with a variety of serious health problems, including heart attacks, chronic bronchitis, and asthma, according to the DAQ. It is caused by fuel combustion from automobiles, power plants, wood burning, industrial processes, and diesel-powered vehicles such as buses and trucks.
The microscopic pollution about 1/70th the size of a human hair. It is difficult to expel in the lungs once inhaled. Children, the elderly, and people with respiratory disorders such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder are especially susceptible to its harmful impacts.
Most of Utah’s PM 2.5 is created when emissions such as nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides react in the atmosphere. The rest, about 25 percent, come from roadway soot or tailpipe emissions.
Only 35 micrograms of this pollution per cubic meter of air are allowed in a 24-hour period.
Federal clean air standards were tightened in 2006, and Davis, Salt Lake, Box Elder, Cache, Tooele, Utah and Weber did not comply with them.
The SIP lists 23 new rules intended to bring all six affected counties into compliance.
“The draft SIP shows great progress toward meeting the health standard in all of the counties contained in the planning area,” said Bryce Bird, director of DAQ. “We’ve identified many strategies for reducing pollution and will use the comment process to identify additional reductions and refine the plan.”
Davis County is required to continue its vehicle emmissions testing program as part of the proposal.
You can attend public hearings in Cache County, Utah County or Salt Lake City or can submit comments to the Utah Division of Air Quality, P.O. Box 144820, Salt Lake City, 84114-4820, by Oct. 30.
Learn more about the plan at airquality.utah.gov/Public-Interest/Current-Issues/pm2.5/index.html
The Air Quality Board plans to make a decision on the plan before the Dec. 15 deadline for submission to the EPA.