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Utahns asked to hold off on watering and mowing lawns during heat wave

Posted at 7:05 AM, Jul 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-31 09:05:25-04

SALT LAKE CITY — The hot weather will impact the air we breathe and the water we drink.

State agencies are asking residents to help mitigate those impacts.

The Utah Division of Water Resources says the hot and dry summer has put the state in a severe drought and it is expected to get worse as the heat continues.

To help keep water in reservoirs, Utahns are being asked to only use water that is needed this weekend.

One of the best ways to do that is to not water your lawn.

Not mowing lawns or doing it very early in the morning will help keep ozone levels down.

The Utah Division of Environmental Quality is asking residents to not mow in the afternoons and to drive less for the next few days.

Dangerous ozone levels are expected as the temperatures begin to really heat up.

Ozone is formed when emissions from volatile organic compounds (VOC) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) break apart under high heat and intense sunlight.

The result can be harmful to your health.

“This is an oxidant, so when you breathe it in, it's akin to giving your lungs a sunburn,” said Jared Mendenhall with the Utah Department of Environmental Quality. “If you're in one of those groups that are at-risk, that has asthma or a heart condition, you're going to want to be careful today, you're going to want to stay indoors.”

Ozone levels peak in the late afternoon.

Mendenhall says mowing a lawn in the heat of the day is particularly harmful.

He says mowing a typical size lawn creates the same amount of pollution as driving a car for 190 miles.