Utah's Environment 2013
Message from the Executive Director
Each year, the Department of Environmental Quality highlights its environmental accomplishments in the State of the Environment Report, a compilation of our work to safeguard public health and quality of life by protecting our environment. The 2013 report updates our progress on important environmental issues and shares stories about the ways our programs improve the lives of Utah residents.
Our citizens, governments, and businesses have made it clear that air quality is a top priority for our state. DEQ is committed to finding solutions to our seasonal air pollution challenges.
We made significant progress this year in our efforts to reduce air emissions, raise public awareness, and increase our understanding of the complex chemical reactions that form fine particulates and ozone. We finalized the PM2.5 State Implementation Plan (SIP) to reduce fine particulate air pollution along the Wasatch Front and the Cache Valley. The SIP includes 23 new area source rules that will reduce emissions from painting and degreasing, printing and publishing, commercial cooking, and consumer products. A comprehensive analysis of emissions reductions from point sources will result in 4,600 fewer tons per year of industrial emissions by 2019. We collected important data for the past three years on the causes of wintertime ozone in the Uintah Basin and will be working with our study partners again in 2014.
We will continue to lead the charge in 2014 for improved air quality through rulemaking, community partnerships, research, and public outreach.
Partnerships and Outreach
We value our cooperative relationships with stakeholders and the public. Our partnerships with local health departments are critical to our mission to safeguard public health. Recent collaborations with health departments on vehicle inspection and maintenance (I/M) programs, wastewater systems, public awareness campaigns for ozone, and drinking water safety strengthened our cooperative relationships with health officials and helped protect the health of residents across the state. We work closely with stakeholders on a wide range of environmental issues, this year most notably on proactive approaches to water pollution caused by excess nitrogen and phosphorous in Utah waterways.
Education and Technology
We continue to expand our use of technology platforms to inform and educate businesses, government, and the public on environmental issues and DEQ programs. We teamed up with the National Center for Automotive Science and Technology to develop the new UtahAir mobile app, a free smartphone application that delivers real-time air quality information. Our new Permit Wizard helps companies locate the permits and licenses they need to obtain to comply with state environmental regulations. Training screencasts deliver important information to water system operators, many of whom are located in small rural communities. A new online database gives the public access to information about environmental incidents in their communities.
As in years past, we extended financial and technical assistance to a number of entities for a wide range of environmental projects and issues. We provided oversight for the cleanup and remediation of a diesel spill at Willard Bay that threatened water quality at the popular state park. We assisted businesses and nonprofits with the cleanup of contaminated soils on their property. Our staff ensured that X-ray machines were calibrated accurately, that low-cost radon test kits were available to the public, that used oil and waste tires were disposed of properly, and that communities had adequate funding to construct systems to supply safe and reliable drinking water to their residents.
Our Promise to You
We would like to thank you for your interest in the state of Utah's environment. Your participation, input, and insight are important to us. Our state faces some challenging environmental problems and it will take all of us working together to find solutions. We are proud of our accomplishments in 2013, but much remains to be done. We promise to continue our hard work and are unwavering in our commitment to protecting and improving the quality of Utah's air, land, and water.
Amanda Smith, Executive Director
Full Printable Version: 2013 Report
Full, printable versions of Utah's past annual reports on the environment: