Many cities in coastal and mountainous areas experience temperature inversions that trap pollutants in the air. Inversions occur during periods of calm weather, when cold air descends and displaces warm air. Until weather conditions change and break apart the inversion, air quality steadily decreases, posing risks to human health.
In Utah’s Salt Lake Valley, “clean breathing zones” at ground level are created naturally during inversions if fresh air blows in from the Great Salt Lake. Research company envirenu™ is testing a technology for creating such zones in the absence of lake winds.
Barr was asked to assist with four tasks: (1) integrating data from multiple research projects into a conceptual model of the complex air chemistry in the valley; (2) screening treatment and power-source technologies; (3) conducting air-dispersion and fluid-dynamics modeling to conceptually assess treatment and delivery effectiveness; and (4) testing the proposed technology.
Our technical evaluation, which encompassed the first three tasks, showed that envirenu’s technology could deliver significant areas of clean air near the ground during inversions. We then worked with envirenu to develop prototype equipment and perform tests that proved the concept.
Together, the tests demonstrated the validity of envirenu’s approach to creating clean breathing zones at ground level. Barr and envirenu have developed plans to pilot-test the technology during winter inversions at locations optimal for receiving pollution-free air.
To learn more about Barr’s air quality services, contact us.
About the author
Todd Fasking, vice president, senior environmental consultant, has nearly three decades of experience with multimedia compliance and permitting projects. Before joining Barr, he worked as a senior engineer at 3M Company for seven years. Todd’s recent work includes overseeing large, complex environmental review, permitting, and environmental management projects for several of Barr’s mining and fuels clients.