SLC leaders work to combat ozone pollution

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SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah -- Exhaust for tailpipes and triple-digit temperatures are creating the perfect storm for bad air during Utah's ozone season.

"It's a chemical reaction -- it's admitted by pollutants by vehicle exhaust it gets cooked up by sunlight and heat and forms this chemical reaction, which typically is high levels during the hottest part of the day," said Donna Kemp Spangler, Communications Director for the Department of Environmental Quality.

In Salt Lake County, 19 days in June were marked voluntary or mandatory no drive, bad air days by the Department of Environmental Quality.

"We've been really hit it hard this month we've had a lot of challenging days," Spangler said.

The ozone season typically starts in July and spans through August. In 2014 only one day in Salt Lake County was marked mandatory action. Already this summer they've had 13.

"I hope it doesn't get any worse if I had a crystal ball I would hope it doesn't get any worse and it would temper down a little bit," Spangler said.

To help create a culture of clean air, Salt Lake City is reminding residents that idle-free has been the law since 2011.

"The ordinance, which is in place to indicate how serious we are that this," said Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker.

To remind residents to turn their key, 500 idle-free signs will be all around the city at parks businesses and schools.

"It is our small steps that will make the biggest difference in improving our air quality and getting in the habit changing our behavior," Becker said.

Cars are the culprit with ozone but with fireworks starting Wednesday, DEQ officials say the state will not only see high levels of ozone but particulate matter as well.

"Which kind of creates a double whammy -- we're getting both kinds of pollutants," Spangler said.

Air experts say travel wise, take transit if you can. And those with breathing problems should stay inside during peak hours.

6 comments

  • Finny Wiggen

    Salt lake city’s lack of common sense is always entertaining if not down right silly!! “Let’s ticket people whose cars are running… So what if it is 104 degrees, and the inside of their cars will quickly reach temperatures hot enough to kill without a.c…”

    Your choice is to either turn your car off and die, or pay a fine!! Got to love the brilliance of salt lake city council!!

    • Finny Wiggen

      No doubt.
      Salt lake city is a small town, with a big city complex. Who charges for parking on the street? A big city, perhaps, but salt lake doesn’t even have any real economic draws. Without the church, they would be a small town version of a Detroit. Business and shopping have long since shifted to places like Murray, Sandy, and west Jordan. Most of our professional sports are out of the city, the best museums, theaters, and on and on, are out of the city.

      They should be trying to attract people, not chase them away through their nutty policies. Like I say, they are lucky the church is there, and willing to invest multi billions of dollars.

  • Tall

    I wonder if any of the city council have been just north of the state capitol where the apparently unregulated gravel pits pump tons of dust into the air every day. I have even seen them working at night so that we can’t see the dust pollution that they are creating.

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