Utah Division of Air Quality

Air Quality
2:07 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Skeptical Reception for Bill to Allow Stricter State Air Quality Rules

The Utah legislature's interim Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment committee meets at the Utah State Capitol
Dan Bammes

  A member of the Utah legislature is trying again to change the law that keeps the state of Utah from imposing stricter environmental rules than the federal government. 

Republican Representative Becky Edwards of North Salt Lake had a similar bill in the last general session.  It passed the House, but it was defeated in the state Senate, in part because of opposition from industry.

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Air Quality
6:00 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Hazardous Air Pollutants: Initial State Study Finds Low Levels

Utah's Division of Air Quality is wrapping up a report on hazardous air pollutants. Plans are to continue the monitoring to identify significant risks to health.
Credit Mark Schoneveld / Flickr Creative Commons

Utah’s air-quality scientists continue to piece together the puzzle of the state’s pollution problem. Recently, they’ve been studying a new piece of it, the toxic components that might be tied to cancer and other severe health conditions

The state Division of Air Quality began to look at toxic chemicals in the Salt Lake Valley’s air pollution after an outcry from clean air advocates last winter.

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Environment & Public Lands
1:51 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

Utah Air Quality Board to Discuss Strategies for Controlling Wood Burning

Erik Crossman - University of Utah

The Utah Air Quality board will discuss and develop strategies for controlling wood smoke during winter at their monthly meeting Wednesday. 

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Environment & Public Lands
1:47 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

DAQ Report: A Few More Inversion Days

DAQ's mobile phone app provides information on current air quality conditions
Brian Grimmett

  Utah’s winter inversion season ended on March 1st.  The Division of Air Quality says there were 31 days when the urban areas of Utah exceeded the federal Ambient Air Quality standards, compared to 29 the year before.  But Bryce Bird, the director of the Division of Air Quality, says what’s really changed is public interest in the issue.

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Environment & Public Lands
1:14 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

New Recommendations from Clean Air Action Team

Polluted air trapped by a weather inversion over Salt Lake City, January 2014
Dan Bammes

  The Utah Clean Air Action Team – the group appointed by Governor Gary Herbert to look at strategies for improving air quality – wants to see a bigger budget for the Division of Air Quality.  That’s one of three new recommendations this week.  The others are expanding public transit and other alternative transportation and continuing public education campaigns on air quality.

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Environment & Public Lands
9:27 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Air Quality Board Adds Industrial Regulations

The Utah Air Quality Board hears public comment on a supplement to the state implementation plan for controlling industrial air pollution.
Dan Bammes

  The Utah Air Quality Board voted yesterday to add a supplement to the plan for controlling pollution from industrial sources.  Bryce Bird, the director of the Division of Air Quality, says it will help industry get going to comply with new state requirements.

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Environment & Public Lands
3:02 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Groups Appeal Holly-Frontier Refinery Expansion

The Holly-Frontier oil refinery in Woods Cross, Utah
Dan Bammes

  Activist groups are challenging the permit allowing the Holly-Frontier oil refinery in Woods Cross to expand its capacity.  

The Utah Division of Air Quality issued a permit last month allowing Holly-Frontier to more than double its refining capacity.  Work is already underway as the company prepares to install new equipment.

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Environment & Public Lands
12:28 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Air Quality Board Finalizing Pollution Plan

A winter inversion traps polluted air in the valleys of the Wasatch Front

  The state of Utah missed a deadline a year ago to submit a plan to the Environmental Protection Agency for meeting new standards for the smallest particles in the air – the so-called PM 2.5 pollutants.  This plan includes new rules on industrial polluters and on wood burning in urban counties.  It also depends heavily on improvements in auto emissions as cleaner cars replace those now on the road.

Kathy Van Dame, who’s a leader of the group Breathe Utah and a member of the Air Quality Board, likes this plan much better than the one they rejected a year ago.

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Environment & Public Lands
11:51 am
Tue November 19, 2013

Permit Issued for HollyFrontier Expansion

The HollyFrontier oil refinery in Woods Cross, Utah
Dan Bammes

  The HollyFrontier oil refinery in Woods Cross has been given a green light from the Utah Division of Air Quality to triple its refining capacity – even as it’s promised to reduce pollution.  

The expansion will mean hundreds of millions of dollars of new investment in the refinery as well as at least sixty new jobs.  But HollyFrontier spokesperson Mike Astin says there are still challenges to deal with from groups opposed to it.

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Environment & Public Lands
12:52 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

Website Offers Personal Air Quality Advice

Winter air pollution blankets Salt Lake City
Tim Brown / Creative Commons

Should you still go out for that run on days when Utah’s air quality is questionable?  A new website may be able to answer that question, based on your own health and exercise needs. 

The developers of the MyAir website made a presentation to the Utah Air Quality Board this week, explaining their system for evaluating the individual risk of exposure to air pollution.  It’s based on the user’s health and fitness level as well as on the air quality on any given day.

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Environment & Public Lands
1:29 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

Check Air Quality Levels in Your County with New Smartphone App from the Utah DAQ

Brian Grimmett

Utahns concerned about air quality can now get real-time updates right on their smartphone with a new app called “Utah Air.” The app is a joint project between the Utah Division of Air Quality and students at Weber State University.

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Environment & Public Lands
2:39 pm
Tue October 15, 2013

Governor Announces Clean Air Team

Utah's governor says Wasatch Front air pollution has been improving.
Utah Governor's Office

Governor Gary Herbert has created a committee with dozens of high-profile people from around the state to look at solutions to Utah’s air quality problems, while critics were blasting a state plan meant to meet stricter federal pollution standards. 

Governor Gary Herbert says everything’s on the table as his new Clean Air Action Team begins its work.  It’s led by Dan Lofgren of Envision Utah and includes 39 members, ranging from the chairman of Intermountain Health Care to Dan McArthur, the mayor of St. George.

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Environment & Public Lands
3:11 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Groups Ask DAQ to Support Wood Burning Ban

Wikimedia Commons

Activist groups are planning to ask Utah’s state Air Quality Board to support a complete ban on wood burning for Utah's urban counties.

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Environment & Public Lands
4:11 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

Stericycle Denies Air Pollution Violations

Community members attend a town hall meeting at Foxboro Elementary School about Stericycle's incinerator.
Andrea Smardon

As activists and community members step up the pressure to shut down a North Salt Lake medical waste incinerator, Stericycle officials are denying the company violated emissions limits or rigged stack test results. They are challenging a list of citations filed by Utah regulators against the company's incinerator. That means the beginning of a legal process that could take months.

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Environment & Public Lands
5:12 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Stericycle May Move Incinerator Out of North Salt Lake

The Foxboro neighborhood is adjacent to Stericycle's medical waste incinerator in North Salt Lake.
Andrea Smardon

As angry residents continue to protest Stericycle’s medical waste incinerator and its toxic emissions, some local officials have been discussing the possibility of moving the plant to another location.

North Salt Lake Mayor Len Arave met with Stericycle’s  Vice President of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs earlier this week. He says he thinks the incinerator should find another home outside the city, and that Stericycle may be open to that possibility.

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Environment & Public Lands
3:36 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

State Air Quality Plan Ready for Public Comment

Bill Reiss addresses the Utah Board of Air Quality
Dan Bammes

Utah’s State Air Quality Board has given its preliminary approval to a new plan for meeting federal air quality regulations on the Wasatch Front.

"Most of the residents of the valley are going to be breathing clean air sooner than 2019, so that’s a good thing," Bill Reiss, a planner with the Utah Division of Air Quality, explained to the Board of Air Quality.

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Environment & Public Lands
12:04 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

DAQ to Release Draft Air Plan September 11th

Winter inversion day
Erik Crossman - University of Utah

  The state of Utah missed a deadline last December for submitting a plan to federal authorities to reduce air pollution on the Wasatch Front.  But the public will get a look at a new draft plan in a couple of weeks.

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Environment & Public Lands
4:39 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Erin Brockovich Takes on Stericycle’s North Salt Lake Incinerator

Environmental activist Erin Brockovich is turning her attention to North Salt Lake City. At the request of residents, Brockovich and her team have decided to conduct an independent investigation into air pollution violations by Stericycle and the company’s medical waste incinerator. Angry residents and activists are protesting in front of Stericycle Thursday evening demanding that Governor Gary Herbert shut it down.

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Environment & Public Lands
3:40 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Frustrated Neighbors Step up Pressure on Stericycle's Medical Waste Incinerator

Stericycle's incinerator is visible from a playground in the Foxboro neighborhood of North Salt Lake.
Andrea Smardon

Activist groups and North Salt Lake residents are planning another protest of Stericycle, a medical waste incinerator accused of violating pollution limits and falsifying emissions tests.  The event on August 15th is being planned after state regulators gave the company a second extension to decide if it will challenge the allegations against them.

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Environment & Public Lands
1:07 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

Audit Finds Problems at Utah Division of Air Quality

Staker-Parson's operations on Beck Street in Salt Lake City

The Utah Division of Air Quality regulates airborne dust and other pollution from sand and gravel operations – and a new legislative audit says it could be doing a better job.  

The Legislative Auditor General’s office cites lost paperwork, long delays and enforcement of permits that haven’t been issued yet as problems in the way the division regulates sand and gravel operations.

Bryce Bird, the director of the Division of Air Quality, says it’s clear there’s room for improvement.

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Environment & Public Lands
4:49 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Stericycle May Lose its Permit to Operate Medical Waste Incinerator

The state’s Director of the Division of Air Quality (DAQ) says there is a possibility the agency will revoke the permit of Stericycle’s medical waste incinerator in North Salt Lake.  DAQ Director Bryce Bird met with concerned members of the community, and health and environmental advocates today (WED). They called on the agency to shut down the incinerator, which they say is an urgent public health threat.

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Environment & Public Lands
4:25 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

North Salt Lake Residents Upset About Unfiltered Emissions from Medical Waste Incinerator

Stericycle uses its bypass stack during a power outage.
North Salt Lake resident Natasha Hincks Henderson

North Salt Lake residents are stepping up pressure to close a medical waste incinerator in their neighborhood. Environmental and health advocates are joining them in a protest outside Stericycle’s incinerator Tuesday evening, and representatives from the group will be meeting with the Director of the state’s Division of Air Quality to voice their concerns Wednesday morning. Among the protestors concerns is the use of a bypass stack which allows the company to release unfiltered, toxic pollutants like dioxin and mercury directly into the air.

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Environment & Public Lands
5:40 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

Why Environmental Activists Want a North Salt Lake Medical Waste Incinerator Closed Down

Stericycle's medical waste incinerator burns near a North Salt Lake neighborhood.
North Salt Lake resident Natasha Hincks Henderson

Environmental advocates and concerned residents will be holding a protest Tuesday evening at Stericycle’s medical waste incinerator in North Salt Lake. They want the incinerator – which emits dioxins and other toxic chemicals - shut down.

Protest organizer Bradley Angel is Director of Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice. He says Stericycle’s incinerator is a direct threat to the health of the families in the neighborhood.

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Environment & Public Lands
4:02 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Herbert Asks Public to Take Responsibility for Clean Air

Gov. Herbert gives three tips on how individual Utahns can help reduce air pollution
Brian Grimmett

Governor Gary Herbert demonstrated three simple things Utahns can do to help lower harmful emissions as he kicked off Clean Air Month at a house across the street from the State Capitol today.

Governor Herbert says Utahns aren’t always aware of the simple ways we can help clean up the air but gave these three tips while declaring May Clean Air Month. One could update older fuel storage containers, use paints with low amounts of volatile organic compounds, and replace gas powered yard equipment with cleaner alternatives.

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Environment & Public Lands
10:18 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

Will Utah Weigh in on EPA’s New Cleaner Fuels and Cars Standards?

File: Gas Pump

The federal Environmental Protection Agency is now taking public comment on proposed new cleaner fuels and cars standards. Known as Tier 3 of the Clean Air Act Amendments, they’re designed to improve air quality and public health by reducing the sulfur content of gasoline and making cars more efficient. 

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Environment & Public Lands
7:00 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Clearing the Air: Big Industry

The Holly-Frontier oil refinery in West Bountiful, UT
Dan Bammes

story audio

The air pollution that we can see suspended in the cold air trapped during Utah’s infamous temperature inversions is called PM 2.5 – particulate matter 2.5 microns in diameter or smaller.  Just how much of that comes from large industrial polluters is a subject of some dispute, along with just what should be done about it. Dan Bammes has the third in our series of reports on Clearing the Air.

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Environment & Public Lands
3:45 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

Utah Looks in Bathroom Cupboards to Reduce Air Pollution

Most strategies to reduce air pollution in northern Utah focus on emissions from cars and industry, but the state’s Division of Air Quality (DAQ) is targeting another source of pollution – the products in our bathroom cupboards, cleaning closets, and garage shelves.  The DAQ board will consider a new rule Wednesday that would regulate consumer products containing volatile organic compounds. 

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Environment & Public Lands
2:41 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

Salt Lake Chamber Makes Business Case for Clean Air

Utah business leaders are making a case for why clean air is integral to a strong economy. At the Salt Lake Chamber’s 2nd Annual Clean Air Conference this morning panelists from the Utah division of Air Quality, Wasatch Front Regional Council and Overstock.com discussed how environmental responsibility can benefit bottom lines and improve quality of life for everyone. 

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Environment & Public Lands
10:35 am
Wed November 28, 2012

Advocates Worry Utah’s New Air Quality Alert System Will Make Public Complacent

Bryce Bird, director of the state's Division of Air Quality and Amanda Smith, executive director of the Utah Department of Environmental Quality explain the new air quality alert system on November 26, 2012.
Bob Nelson

Utah’s new air pollution alert system has some health advocacy groups concerned.  Under the new system announced Monday by the Utah Division of Air Quality, there will be fewer days that will trigger a Red Air Action alert.  Red Air days are considered to be unhealthy for everyone.  In the current system, they are triggered when PM2.5 levels are at 35 micrograms per cubic meter.  The new system raises the threshold to 55. 

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