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SMOG DOG AIMS TO TAKE A BITE OUT OF POLLUTION

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State and county air-quality officials hope to sic Smog Dog on Utah Valley drivers late next month.

Smog Dog is a sort of automobile pollution Photocop.Hughes Corp, based in Santa Barbara, Calif., is equipping a van with $250,000 worth of carbon-monoxide analyzers for delivery to Utah in mid-September. When the van arrives, it will be parked roadside to gauge tailpipe emissions as cars pass through an infrared beam. A camera will snap license-plate photographs to identify cars that need to have their engines cleaned up.

The state Division of Air Quality is buying the equipment using money allocated by the 1995 Legislature. Because the state will own the van, it could use it in other Wasatch Front counties.

Joe Thomas, a state air quality environmental engineer, told the Utah County Clean Air Commission this month that van will roll into Utah Sept. 16. Officials hope to have it on the road by the end of September.

"We want to see if this is a viable solution to some of the problems out there," said Terry Beebe, county air quality programs director.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers Utah County a "non-attainment area" for carbon monoxide, even though it has not violated federal health standards the past two years. Cars are the pollutant's greatest source.

The EPA has not decided whether remote carbon-monoxide detection is an effective pollution-control tool. County officials contend it will compel the drivers of dirty cars to get them repaired.