SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – With winter comes 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 started a new online map This shows real-time air quality data from air surveillance sensors placed across the county.
The map, called AirView, displays readings from two sensor networks: AirU an air quality measurement system from the University of Utah and PurpleAir a Draper-based sensor manufacturer. TELLUS Networked sensor solutions a local environmental health service developing air quality sensors takes all measurements, corrects them based on local conditions and plots these 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 decisions about their health and activities,” Corbin said Anderson, head of SLCoHD’s air quality office. “Checking AirView can help you decide whether to avoid driving, wear a particulate filter mask outdoors, or change your furnace filter to improve indoor air quality.”
According to the press release, AirView has more sensors than other map visualizations currently available.
The dots on AirView represent an attached 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) measured at each location.
The higher the number on the scale, the more dangerous the air quality becomes. AirVirew currently shows that most Salt Lake County locations have green dots indicating safe air quality.
“Information is power, and this 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 something that every family in Salt Lake County is concerned about, and this is a great resource 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 state of the air a study of American Lung Association. The Salt Lake City government has unveiled numerous action plans in the past to combat environmental pollution.
Utah Health Authorities would like to remind Salt Lake County residents that burning solid fuels is prohibited from November through March, unless the Utah Air Quality Department determines it is an “unrestricted action” day, what can be checked on DEQ’s website.