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SLCo Health Department Unveils New Air Quality Map

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – As winter comes, so does the inversion season, which usually occurs between December and February. The inversion brings bad news: pollutants from burning fuels are trapped near the ground, resulting in poor air quality.

As a helpful guide, Salt Lake County Health Department recently launched a new map online which features real-time air quality data from air monitoring sensors installed throughout the county.

The map, called AirView, displays readings from two sensor networks: Air-Uan air quality measurement system from the University of Utah, and VioletAira sensor manufacturer based on Draper. TELLUS Networked Sensor Solutionsa local environmental health department developing air quality sensor technology, will take all the measurements, correct them for local conditions, and present those results on the map.

“AirView is another tool for people who live, work, and visit Salt Lake County to learn about the current air quality in their immediate area so they can make informed choices about their health and activities,” said Corbin Anderson, director of SLCoHD’s air quality office. “Checking AirView can help you decide whether to avoid motor vehicle travel, wear a particulate filter mask outdoors, or change your furnace filter to improve indoor air quality.”

AirView has more sensors than other map visualizations currently available, according to the press release.

The dots on AirView represent a planted sensor. Next to the map is a ‘health alert’ color scale which assigns a color to the dots based on the level of particulate matter (PM2.5) recorded at each location.

The higher the number on the scale, the more dangerous the air quality becomes. AirVirew currently shows most Salt Lake County locations have green dots, indicating safe air quality.

“Information is power, and it will help residents make good decisions to protect their health and businesses will know when to encourage employees to work from home,” said Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny. Wilson. “Air quality is a concern for every family in Salt Lake County and it’s a great tool to have as we head into the winter and inversion months.”

Utah is notorious for its poor air quality. The Salt Lake City-Provo-Orem area was recently named the 10th most polluted place in the country, according to air conditiona study carried out by the American Lung Association. The Salt Lake City government has unveiled many action plans in the past to control pollution.

Utah health officials would like to remind residents of Salt Lake County that burning solid fuels is prohibited from November through March unless the Utah Air Quality Division determines that it is an “unrestricted action” day, which can be checked on the DEQ website.

Mary Cashion

The author Mary Cashion