By Brooke AdamsDeseret News staff writerand Deseret News wire services The Utah Air Conservation Committee has approved an air-quality implementation plan for Utah County, the first comprehensive plan for controlling PM10 pollution in the nation.

The Utah County state implementation plan was the No. 1 project for the Region 8 office of the Environmental Protection Agency, said Dave McNeill, planning section manager for the Bureau of Air Quality."In fact, it was one of the highest priority projects in the air branch of the EPA," McNeill said. "EPA is really excited to get it."

Because of close involvement of EPA during creation of the plan, the document is "almost certain" to gain federal approval, McNeill said.

EPA's involvement was due to a lawsuit filed in February 1989 by a Utah County citizen's group. The group sued EPA for not having a PM10 control plan for Utah County. PM10 is fine-particulate matter less than 10 microns in diameter.

The implementation plan includes strategies for controlling PM10 emissions from diesel cars, woodburning stoves, industries and other sources.

"By adopting this plan, Utah is leading the country in state implementation plans for PM10," Gov. Norm Bangerter said. He said the state "is setting an excellent national precedent."

The public will be most affected by two parts of the plan: a mandatory prohibition against emissions from woodburning stoves during inversions and implementation of a diesel inspection and maintenance program. Both programs take effect in 1992.

The county motor vehicle office will begin charging owners of diesel vehicles a $10 registration fee in January. That money will be used to fund the inspection program.

The mandatory no-burn provision allows "any one operate a stove any time as long as they are not putting out smoke," McNeill said.

The bureau will hire eight inspectors to conduct round-the-clock inspections during no-burn periods.

Julie Mack, co-founder of the Utah County Clean Air Coalition, called the plan a "good start."

"I'm fairly happy with the SIP," Mack said. "It's the first PM10 SIP in the nation, and that is something to be proud of."

The coalition worked with county and state officials to develop the implementation plan.

Modifications of the plan will likely be necessary, however, according to Sam Rushforth, also a co-founder of the clean air coalition.

"In the very near future, we'll be back in the PM10 business because we are due to have a bad winter," Rushforth said. "When we have one of those, we'll exceed, and we'll have to come back and figure a way to get even higher reductions."

Rushforth is also pleased that adoption of the plan will require cleaning up Utah County's air sooner than would be allowed by the proposed clean air act.

Joseph A. Cannon, president of Geneva Steel, said "maintaining compliance with the PM10 standard will involve the continued application of good scientific analysis and cooperation among all sources of pollution."

Geneva is spending $80 million during the next two years to reduce its particulate emissions.

Rushforth questions whether the programs proposed for Geneva Steel will achieve emission reductions claimed.

"That we will know in awhile as we get empirical data," Rushforth said.

The Utah County implementation plan will be published in the federal register on Oct. 1. Comments on the document will be accepted through Oct. 15.

However, McNeill said comments must address issues not already covered in public hearings.

"Which is nothing," McNeill said.