County will test for dirty air | ParkRecord.com

County will test for dirty air

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

Monitoring the air quality in Park City requires the installation of equipment to detect harmful, microscopic soot and dust.

The toxins are spewed into the air from chimneys and automobiles. The particles become lodged deep in the lungs and are linked to strokes, aggravated asthma, heart and lung disease.

"Sometimes they’re acids, sometimes they’re organic compounds and sometimes they’re even hazardous, air-pollutant compounds," Utah Division of Air Quality spokesman Bryce Bird recently told The Park Record.

Tests will be conducted during weather inversions when air quality is at its worst this winter, he said. The pollutants become trapped at ground level when warmer air moves in above them.

Before expensive emissions tests are performed on vehicles in Summit County, officials must determine if there is a problem, Summit County Commissioner Sally Elliott explained.

There are about 40,000 automobiles registered in Summit County.

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The air-quality monitors should be installed in December east of Willow Creek Park on Old Ranch Road and adjacent to McPolin Elementary School near Kearns Boulevard, Summit County Health Department Director Steve Jenkins said, adding that two health department employees were trained to operate the equipment.

Air Parkites breathe hasn’t been tested since the Winter Olympic Games in 2002. Summit County is among 10 Utah counties that state officials believe could fail tougher pollution regulations adopted last year by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Air will likely blow through "paper-looking filters" for 24 hours before samples collected in western Summit County are tested in a lab.

Information about air quality in Utah is available at airquality.utah.gov and cleanair.utah.gov.