Despite being one of Utah's fastest growing cities, St. George has no system for monitoring its air quality.
Cedar City, Moab and Tooele all have monitoring stations, but St. George does not, and state officials want to change that."We need to get one down there," said Robert Dalley, manager of the Monitoring Center section of the state Department of Environmental Quality. "Without one, we really don't know what the air quality is down there."
St. George is on the department's priority list, along with West Valley City and Logan, and could have a system within the next year and a half.
The state agency had radiation-monitoring equipment in St. George during the late 1960s and early 1970s but hasn't checked the city's air quality since as the city has grown to well over 30,000 residents.
Dalley said the main roadblock to a new system is the federal Environmental Protection Agency.
"We've had St. George on the priority list for five years," he said. "But it's difficult when the EPA tells us we need more stations along the Wasatch Front," which has most of the state's 26 air quality stations.
Dalley said he knows of two areas where the amount of carbon monoxide could be a concern.
"I know St. George Boulevard and Bluff Street both generate heavy traffic," he said. "Those could be areas of (carbon monoxide) concentration."
An initial system for St. George would be similar to one in Cedar City, which only analyzes airborne dust and pollen particulates.
The DEQ has submitted a proposal to the Legislature that would allocate funds for monitoring systems in St. George, West Valley City and Logan. If approved, the system could be up and running before Jan. 1, 1996.
The cost per station is between $85,000 and $105,000 for the equipment and about $20,000 per year for monitoring.