Salt Lake County along with its consultants and community partners completed three transportation studies within Big Cottonwood Canyon, Little Cottonwood Canyon, and Mill Creek Canyon. These three studies considered systems that could create a more environmentally and economically sustainable transportation system in the Canyons and in the communities of southeast Salt Lake County. Learn more about these studies. A number of significant recommendations that came out of these transportation studies including the recommendation to move into a National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) process.
As such the Wasatch Summit Project was created. This 3-5 year project is a holistic evaluation and collaborative approach to issues associated with transportation, land use, environmental and watershed protection, recreation, and wilderness protections for the Central Wasatch Mountains. It will be conducted pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and will seek to identify issues and make critical decisions regarding the future of the Central Wasatch Mountains. Representatives from local, state, and federal agencies, the private sectors, and other community organizations from Salt Lake, Wasatch, and Summit Counties are involved in this project.
Salt Lake County continues to be engaged in other projects related to sustainable canyon transportation and development. These projects include the Wasatch Watershed Legacy Partnership, Foothills and Canyons Overlay Zone (FCOZ) revisions, and new general plans for Big, Little, and Emigration Canyons. Learn more about these efforts.
Human powered transport is the most sustainable least impact action we can take personally and support as a community. There are many benefits on multiple levels to reducing car use in favor of active transportation. Improved health outcomes with a reduction in cost to the individual and society could potentially save the state of Utah $650 million per year in health related cost by 2040 if we can actively travel several times during our weekly commutes. Roadways and business parking lots will not have to expand to meet an ever increasing population density and maintenance of those facilities can also be reduced. For each gallon of gas not burned, 19.4 pounds of carbon is not released into the air thereby saving energy in air quality mitigation efforts; a double bonus.
To promote active transportation, Salt Lake County is first focusing on increasing bicycling as a form of commuting and recreating with the Bicycle Ambassador Program to encourage, train and more fully understand commuting by bike and integrating transit bike trips. This program has been used successfully in other cities across the nation and in other countries to increase safe bike travel. SLCo Bicycle Ambassadors offer bicycle commuting mentorship services to Salt Lake County Residents and eventually to those who commute to Salt Lake County. County residents can receive individual, personalized support for everything from equipment recommendations and route planning to first-time commuter escorts. This program will support both youth and adults.
Bureau of Air Pollution Control
Housed in the County’s Health Department, Division of Environmental Health, this Division is responsible for data collection and monitoring, mobile source program, and stationary air pollution sources. Specifically, the Division oversees the federally mandated Motor Vehicle Emissions Inspection and Maintenance (I/M) Program and the Diesel I/M Program. The Division also conducts inspections of stationary air sources of air pollution including fugitive dusts and small air pollution sources.
SLCo is pleased to partner with Salt Lake City (SLC), the South Davis Sewer District, Utah State University, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to start a biofuel feedstock pilot project. This exciting project is on 20 acres of dry farmland owned by Salt Lake City. The purpose of this pilot project is to explore how publically owned non-traditional agronomic lands can grow biofuel feedstock for conversion into biodiesel. This cleaner fuel will be utilized by SLCo and SLC fleets, reducing the amount of imported diesel fuel purchased and improving the sustainability and carbon footprint on the area.
SLCo has an anti-idling policy for its fleet. In addition, over 39,182 gallons of biofuel was used in 31 vehicles in 2012. As older fleet vehicles are phased out of the fleet, the County puts an emphasis on replacing those older cars with CNG, hybrid, electric and other highly fuel efficient vehicles wherever feasible.
Salt Lake County Employee Trip Reduction Program
SLCo offers a variety of trip reduction programs and incentives for its employees including transit passes, vanpools, and car pool options. In 2012 a total of 4,400 UTA transit passes and tokens were distributed to employees and approximately 592,796 personal drive miles were saved by the employees who participated in the County’s vanpool program.
Methane Gas Capture
The County landfill has a methane gas generation plant in which methane is captured and turned into electric power which is sold to Murray City Utility. In 2012 the power generated from this plant served approximately 3,000 homes.
Idle-Free Awareness Week
Each September the County, along with its partners such as Salt Lake City and Utah Clean Cities, participate in Idle-Free Awareness Week. Find out more about this annual event and facts about idling.
School Bus Retrofit Program
In 2007, the Utah Division of Air Quality started the Utah Clean School Bus Project in conjunction with local school districts, county and municipal governments, as well as community and non-profit organizations. This coalition is working together to secure funding sources for school districts to purchase emission reducing technologies for buses statewide. All Salt Lake County school busses, approximately 454, were retrofitted in 2010. Learn more about this program.
One Million Tree Program
Established in 2007, the mission of the One Million Tree Program is to plant one tree for every Salt Lake County resident. This creates a living legacy where the urban forest serves a vital role in supporting a high quality of life for each and every resident. Learn more about this program.
SLCo has been involved in discussions surrounding the proposal to divide the Snake Valley aquifer between Utah and Nevada. The County has concerns on the negative effects the proposed plan would have on air quality and will continue to stay involved to voice the concerns our residents have on this proposal.
Current Air Quality
Salt Lake County acknowledges the facts about climate change. Human activity is responsible for increasing the global temperature. Climate change affects the natural ecosystems, interferes with agriculture, negatively affects human health, and creates long periods of drought and flooding.
Salt Lake County, in conjunction with the Utah Governor, is taking action to slow climate change. Learn more about the Governor's Blue Ribbon Advisory Council.