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Air quality is a top priority in Salt Lake County. 

In the winter, Utah experiences a meteorological condition called a temperature inversion where fine particulate matter is trapped near the Salt Lake Valley floor and becomes a health concern. The particulates come from burning various fuels including from cars, buildings, refineries, chemical plants, and other sources. Research indicates that exposure to this type of pollution can increase the risk of premature death from heart or lung disease. Experts in the Salt Lake County Health Department can educate and advise on the effects of poor air quality. 

During the summer, ground-level ozone pollution becomes more predominant. Ground-level ozone is produced when sunlight hits pollutants made by emitting sources including vehicles, industry, and buildings. Because sunlight is quite prevalent during Utah summer months, it is important actions are taken to reduce the pollution.  

What is Salt Lake County Doing?

The E-Bus Air Quality Mapping Program is placing air monitors on Utah Transit Authority’s electric buses to provide real-time air quality monitoring on the east and west side of Salt Lake County.

This valuable data will help us better understand Salt Lake County’s air pollution issues and address disparities in underserved communities.

Data Collection

Data collection began in 2021. Three types of air monitor sensors are being used:

  • PM2.5: Measuring fine inhalable particles made up of hundreds of different chemicals
  • Ozone: Measuring ozone concentration in the air, which can cause a number of health problems, from coughing to asthma attacks
  • NOx: Measuring Nitrogen Oxide gases emitted by cars, trucks, and non-road vehicles

Project Partners

  • University of Utah: A university research team is collecting the data from monitoring equipment and processing it to be understandable for the public.
  • Salt Lake County is the primary project manager to address logistics and drive funding opportunities.
  • Utah Transit Authority: UTA is focusing on the operational integration of equipment and vehicles, as well as coordination of route planning and equipment installation.
  • DEQ Division of Air Quality: DAQ provides additional data analysis expertise.
  • Salt Lake City: Assisted in mapping and data visualization.

Around fifty percent of Utah’s air pollution is caused by vehicles. Salt Lake County’s Vehicle Repair Assistance Program takes high-polluting vehicles off the road. Qualifying low-income residents whose vehicles fail the emissions test, can have their cars repaired. 

Salt Lake County is part of the national movement to implement housing strategies for creating healthy, safe, energy-efficient homes for low- to moderate-income families. Green and Health Homes Initiative can address indoor air quality issues that can be found in a home and retrofit the home with alternatives.  

If you made the swap for an electric vehicle and need a charge – we have good news! A few Salt Lake County facilities offer electric vehicle charging including the Salt Lake County Government Center and Salt Lake County Environmental Health Department.  

There are nearly 400 electric vehicle charging stations in Salt Lake County. 

Each year, Salt Lake County participates in the Clear the Air Challenge. This month-long competition gives employees the chance to reduce their vehicle emissions by choosing alternative methods of transportation using TravelWise strategies.  

What Can You Do?

There are many ways we all can improve air quality in Salt Lake County. Transportation is a significant contributor to air pollution. Driving less, trying out public transportation, or opting to commute via bike are a few actions that make a large difference! 

If you are interested in purchasing a new vehicle – consider taking a look at the smog rating at the link below.