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Posts tagged ‘ozone’

Idle Free Ordinance Update: Keep Our Air Clean!

Salt Lake City is moving into a hot and already-record-breaking summer.

A warming climate makes air pollution worse – from increased wildfires to the formation of ground-level ozone.

As temperatures go up, so does ground-level ozone. This is the ozone that forms when emissions from our cars, lawnmowers, other sources of combustion, and certain chemical products react with sunlight and heat.

Ozone is damaging to our lungs and cardiovascular systems. It’s an invisible, odorless chemical, but being exposed to it is described like “receiving a sunburn on your lungs.”

That’s why it’s important for everyone to work together to reduce pollution. Check out the Utah Department of Environmental Quality’s list of best practices for reducing ozone during these hot, sunny days.

One of the biggest ways to reduce air and ozone pollution is to drive less. Vehicle exhaust contributes a sizeable chunk of our ozone pollution.

And if you do have to drive? Remember to turn your engine off and be idle free when stopped in your vehicle (when not in traffic).

Excess vehicle exhaust threatens our air quality and the overall health of our communities. That’s why in 2011, Salt Lake City enacted one of the first Idle Free Ordinances in the state.

The Idle Free Ordinance prohibits unnecessary idling over two minutes within Salt Lake City limits. The ordinance prioritizes our community’s commitment to improving local air quality.

Idle Free Ordinance Update

Thanks to a 2019 state legislative change, Salt Lake City was able to update our 2011 Ordinance this year to better serve its purpose of limit idling in Salt Lake City. Specifically, the law (HB148) allows Salt Lake City to issue only one warning before issuing a ticket for idling. Previously, the city was required to issue three warnings.

Check out the 2021 formal ordinance adoption language here.

The idling time limit will stay the same: unnecessary idling for more than two minutes is prohibited.

Some idling, of course, is necessary. For example, when stopped for an official traffic control device or signal, or if you the health and safety of a driver or passenger (including service animals) requires it. However, in ordinary driving situations, lengthy stops are generally limited, and when you do make a stop, remember to turn the key and be idle free!

You can read the full ordinance on the SLCgreen website.

Image of Idle Free sign. The teal bordered sign says "Idle Free City City Ordinance 12.58.030" at the top with a Salt Lake City logo at left. In the middle of the sign is a graphic of an idling car that is enclosed by a red circle with a slash through the middle. Black text at the bottom reads "Turn your key. be idle free!" Under that, in a teal banner and lime green text reads "2 Minute Time Limit" and finally, in black text on white at the bottom "It's Our Health, and the Law."
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2021 Lawn Mower Exchange: Swap Out Your Polluting Lawn Mower for an Electric Upgrade

THIS PROGRAM IS NOW FULL! THANK YOU FOR YOUR PARTICIPATION. PLEASE SEE LOWER PORTION OF THIS BLOG FOR A LIST OF FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS.

Gas-powered mowers put out a lot of pollution! It might come as a surprise, but running a gas-powered lawnmower for one hour produces the equivalent air pollution of driving your car 196 miles. This pollution impacts public health, hurting our lungs and cardiovascular systems.

The EPA also estimates that lawn mowers account for 5% of the nation’s total air pollution! The good news is that switching to an electric mower is much cleaner. They’re easier to maintain and quieter to operate too! Improving air quality is why DEQ and Salt Lake City have partnered on the lawnmower exchange program.

Clean Air For All

Salt Lake City residents know that air quality is bad for our community’s health. Switching to an electric lawn mower is a small way that you can make a big impact on our air quality.

Salt Lake City wants to help lead the charge to electrification. Now is your chance to get a new electric lawn mower and say goodbye to your gas-guzzling mower for good. Residents who would like to exchange their old mower for an electric upgrade will receive a $300 rebate. Don’t have a lawn mower? You can still get a $150 rebate on the purchase of a new electric mower without a verified trade-in.

For Salt Lake City residents on government assistance, there will also be opportunities to get a mower for free. 

There are 2,500 slots available to Wasatch Front residents on a first-come, first-serve basis with 1,000 of those funded by Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall just for Salt Lakers.

Salt Lake City’s Waste & Recycling team will even pick up your old lawnmower from your home as part of this exchange program.

Registration Opens April 5 at noon

Starting at noon on April 5, residents along the Wasatch Front can register to participate in the lawn mower exchange.

To qualify for the exchange, please remember the following eligibility guidelines:

  • Residents must be 18 years or older to participate
  • Only one rebate will be issued per household
  • Value of rebate will not exceed value of electric mower
  • Taxes and fees not included in rebate
  • Receipts must not predate 2/25/21

Prior to recycling their old mower, residents who want to participate in the exchange will need to empty their lawn mowers of gas and oil and take this household hazardous waste to the Salt Lake Valley Landfill’s Household Hazardous Waste drop-off area.

If you just have oil to dispose of, but no gas, you can take it to one of the many locations which accept used oil.

For more information visit lawnmower.utah.gov.

Frequently Asked Questions:

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Utah Climate Week is Coming Up!

by Emily Seang, SLCgreen intern

utah climate week

Source: Utah Climate Action Network

October is the month for falling leaves, cooler breezes and– now in its second year– Utah Climate Week!

Why Climate Week?

According to the latest National Climate Assessment, global temperatures will rise by some amount this century. The extent of the increase, however, will depend on how aggressively global society can rein in greenhouse gas emissions.

This change in the climate is already contributing to existing extreme weather patterns all over the world.

This is the case in Utah too. In 2018 alone, Utah has felt the effects of climate change on many fronts, including low water levels, an explosion of algal bloomspoor air quality, extreme heat, and frequent wildfires. These repercussions take a toll on our health, as well as our summer and winter outdoor recreation past-times and economic drivers.

Record 50 degree nights 2018

The National Weather Service tweeted a record 131 days in 2018 that temperatures in the Salt Lake City area did not dip below 50 degrees F.

Climate change is clearly a concern to our public safety, natural resources, and economic development. But we can all play a role in amplifying the message that it’s time to take action.  We can also look at our daily routines and make small changes that add up to meaningful emissions reductions.

These are the goals behind the Second Annual Utah Climate Week.

Utah Climate Week is hosted by the Utah Climate Action Network, a partnership that aims to reduce emissions, enhance resiliency, and engage individuals and local leaders within our state.

Utah is one of only a few other communities to host a climate week, joining the likes of New York City and LondonRead more

Wildfires + Fireworks + Ozone (Oh July!)

 

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Wildfire in Federal Heights, July 6th. Courtesy of the Salt Lake City Fire Department.

by Talula Pontuti, SLCgreen intern

For weeks, we have experienced wildfires across the state, primarily in the southern part of Utah, where firefighters are fighting tirelessly to protect communities and landscapes.

Those fires have not only destroyed homes, habitats, and landscapes, but the fires are contributing to poor air quality in those areas and throughout Utah.

In addition, fireworks from the Fourth of July increase particulate matter, aggravating respiratory conditions for those with preexisting respiratory and heart illnesses, such as asthma and heart disease.

Combine the fires and fireworks with ozone created by vehicle and product pollution – and we have the perfect mix for poor air quality.

Understanding what is going on and what our impacts are on air quality in our city is critical to being able to keep people healthy and having fun this summer. Read more

Summertime . . . and the Air is Nasty

By Jack Hurty, SLCgreen intern

We’re all used to winter smog here along the Wasatch Front, with brown haze moving in and obscuring the mountains. But there is another pollutant in the valley, invisible but no less dangerous — ozone.

What is Ozone?

Ozone, a molecule consisting of three oxygen atoms, is created when nitrogen oxide (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) mix and are heated by the sunlight.

NOx and VOCs are typically emitted by motor vehicles, but they can come from consumer products as well as industrial sources. (Read more about how ozone forms.)

Ozone is often found in the Earth’s stratosphere, where it plays a beneficial role by protecting us from damaging rays. But when ozone sits in the atmosphere where we can breathe it in, it can be very damaging to our health.

Read more

How to Improve Summertime Air Quality

Many of us associate bad air– yucky inversions and hazy gunk– with winter in the Salt Lake area. But did you know that we have bad air days in the summer too?

While it’s mostly invisible, ozone is just as harmful as particulate matter for the very young, very old, those with health conditions, and people who exercise outdoors.

Ozone is caused by emissions from vehicles, industry, and a multitude of chemical products which interact with sunlight and high temperatures.

So how can we reduce ozone?  Read more

Mayor Becker Signals Support for Stronger Clean Air Protections

 

airquality

SALT LAKE CITY – Today, Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker released a letter signed by more than 50 U.S. mayors from around the country signaling support for President Obama setting the strongest possible clean air protections against smog pollution, also known as ground-level ozone.

“Poor air quality is one of the most significant threats to our quality of life here in Salt Lake City,” said Mayor Becker. “Stronger smog protections will help our families breathe easier and spend more time outdoors, without having to worry about the quality of the air we breathe.”

According to the American Lung Association, inhaling smog pollution is like getting a sunburn on your lungs and often results in immediate breathing trouble. Long term exposure to smog pollution is linked to chronic respiratory diseases like asthma, reproductive and developmental harm, and even premature death. Children, seniors, and people with asthma are especially vulnerable to smog’s health impacts.

Salt Lake City is taking action to reduce its impact on air quality by increasing electric vehicle infrastructure, reducing fleet tailpipe emissions and replacing two-stroke maintenance equipment with more efficient models. Explore all of the actions Salt Lake City is taking to reduce air pollution at www.SLCgreen.com.

The letter was signed by a diverse coalition of local leaders and supports efforts by President Obama and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to stay true to the science and issue protections consistent with the recommendations from leading public health organizations like the American Lung Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and American Health Association.

Media Contact:

Kate Lilja Lohnes
Communications Manager
Salt Lake City, Division of Sustainability
(801) 535-7755

 

Summer Ozone: Get the Facts

UCAIR_SummerOzoneGraphic

During the warmest summer months, Salt Lake City experiences poor air quality due to ozone pollution.

This helpful graphic from the Utah Clean Air Partnership – UCAIR outlines how ozone is formed, and what we can do to reduce our impact.

Learn more at UCAIR.org.

(Don’t forget to drive less this July with the Clear the Air Challenge. Track your impact and win prizes – it’s fun!)

Summer Smog

But don't let the blue skies fool you -- our valley faces air pollution challenges in the summer months, too. Ozone pollution, a different kind of pollution than our wintertime particulates (PM2.5), forms through a chemical reaction when heat and sun combine with emissions. It can aggravate asthma and impact heart and lung health.

Read more

DEQ Launches Air Quality Video Contest

Our friends at the Utah Department of Environmental Quality recently launched a video contest. They are looking for creative, 30 second public service announcements that can be used to educate Utahns about ozone and give them ideas to help improve our summer air quality.

Watch the introductory video to learn more about the contest:

Prizes are at stake! First place will receive $500, with additional cash prizes for second and third place winners. Entries must be received by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, May 28th, so you have just a few weeks to get your award-winning video together!

Remember, this contest is specific to summer air quality, which comes in the form of ozone pollution. Learn more about the contest on the DEQ website.