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Utah DEQ warns of air and water dangers to avoid over Labor Day

Posted at 8:06 PM, Sep 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-04 22:06:44-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Expecting extreme heat over Labor Day weekend, the State of Utah is asking travelers to take precautions.

The Department of Environmental Quality says anyone going to a lake or river should look at the map on their harmful algal bloom website.

The map shows lakes and rivers where harmful algal blooms have either been confirmed or are suspected.

Department spokesman Jared Mendenhall says state scientists haven’t been able to conduct as much testing as they’d like because of COVID-19 restrictions and cutbacks, so even if you go to a place not marked on their map, you should look for the signs of harmful algae.

“This is going to look like grass clippings in the water or spilled paint or antifreeze on top of the water or just green scummy water,” Mendenhall said.

Harmful algal blooms contain cyanobacteria, which is deadly to dogs and other pets and causes uncomfortable symptoms for people, including rashes, dizziness and gastrointestinal illness.

The DEQ also expects high ozone levels in Utah’s populated valleys because of the sun and intense heat. That means people with respiratory sensitivity should avoid exerting themselves outside in the late morning to early evening hours. Ozone dissipates when the sun goes down.