SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – As winter rolls around, so does inversion season, which usually happens between December to February. Inversion brings bad news: Pollutants from burning fuels become trapped near the ground, leading to poor air quality.

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

The map, called AirView, displays readings from two sensor networks: AirU, a University of Utah air-quality measurement system, and PurpleAir, a Draper-based sensor manufacturer. TELLUS Networked Sensor Solutions, a local environmental health service developing air quality sensor technology, will take all measurements, correct them based on local conditions and present these results on the map. 

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

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

The dots on AirView represent a sensor planted. Beside the map is a “health alert” color scale that 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 goes, the more dangerous the air quality becomes. AirVirew currently shows that most locations in Salt Lake County have green dots, indicating safe air quality. 

“Information is power, and this will help residents make good decisions to protect their health and businesses know when to encourage employees to work from home,” said Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson. “Air quality is something all families in Salt Lake County worry about and this is a great tool to have as we head into the winter and inversion months.”

Utah is notorious for its bad air quality. The Salt Lake CIty-Provo-Orem area was recently named the 10th most air-polluted place in the country, according to State of the Air, a study done by the American Lung Association. The Salt Lake City government has unveiled numerous action plans in the past to combat pollution.

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