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Officials taking ideas from public on reducing ozone pollution during summer months

Posted at 9:29 PM, May 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-04 23:29:35-04

SALT LAKE CITY — As the weather heats up, ozone levels rise.

In an effort to address Utah’s summertime ozone pollution, the Division of Air Quality is looking to implement reduction ideas from the public, like electric-ready building codes and the electrification of construction vehicles.

“It is a real challenge, though," said Ryan Bares, Environmental Scientist with the DAQ. "I mean, we're talking about a very, very big distributed, complex manufacturing process. Those sources are distributed all throughout the valley. But there is work that's being actively done in that area.”

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The DAQ is hoping to reduce ozone levels by 15 percent, where Utah will no longer be exceeding the EPA’s Air Quality Standard.

“It is a real challenge, though," said Ryan Bares, Environmental Scientist with the DAQ. "I mean, we're talking about a very, very big distributed, complex manufacturing process. Those sources are distributed all throughout the valley. But there is work that's being actively done in that area.”

The DAQ is hoping to reduce ozone levels by 15 percent, where Utah will no longer be exceeding the EPA’s Air Quality Standard.

“The reality is, we're a ways off, even with implementing some of the control strategies we've talked about," said Bares. "We still have a ways to go to find that full 15 percent.”

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There are ways to improve air quality, like not idling in your car, carpooling, working remotely, taking public transit and lowering your thermostat But the healthy environment alliance says there’s only so much individuals can do.

“We get a lot of people telling us, 'Drive less,' and 'Use your car less,'" said Meisei Gonzalez, Communications Director with the Healthy Environment Alliance of Utah. "But we honestly set up our way of living around cars that it's kind of hard to do that. And we can't really expect everyone to go out and buy a brand-new electric car.”