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Hot temperatures prompt Ozone Alert for Wasatch Front

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - The hot temperatures can be partly to blame for dirty air creeping into the valley.
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - The hot temperatures can be partly to blame for dirty air creeping into the valley.

The Utah Division of Air Quality is raising an ozone alert and asking people to change their habits to help stave off the harmful gas.

The ozone is created by a chemical reaction from tailpipe exhaust and sunlight and heat.
So now that we are in the thick of the heat, the Wasatch is seeing higher levels of ozone gas.

“When we start seeing the temperatures rise and it's getting a lot hotter, then we are more susceptible to ozone pollution it starts to build,” said Donna Spangler, DEQ spokesperson.

The pollution will be more noticeable for certain people.

“People who are susceptible to this kind of pollution are the elderly, children because they breath in a lot more and people who have asthma,” she said.

To help out these groups, DEQ is asking people to voluntarily limit their driving across Salt Lake, Davis, Weber, Box Elder and Tooele counties. Don't assume a short trip to the store won't make a difference.

“If you're driving at a constant speed, whether it's 65 miles an hour on the freeway, your car is working very efficiently and your car is not putting out very much pollution,” said Spangler. “It's the shorter trips, the stop and goes, the congestion, the idling, those are the things that kind of add up.”

There's more people can do. Avoid mowing your lawn or using electric tools in the middle of the day when the heat and pollution from commutes are at a high. Also, if you can, wait until early morning or late evening to fill up your gas tank.

“There's always that risk of vapors coming out of gas tank,” said Spangler.

Ozone pollution is often worse during the afternoon and early evenings, so if the air is bothering you, it's best to plan your outdoor activities in the morning.

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