Bad Air Setting Records

Bad Air Setting Records

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Ed Yeates ReportingThe air in Utah's Cache Valley is so bad, tonight the Bear River Health Department has issued a health advisory to the overall general population.

We all better hope that storm next week cleans things out because the air out there is only getting worse, much worse. According to the State and the Bear River Health Department, it's the worst they've ever seen.

Beautiful Cache Valley, where the air is usually pristine, isn't so beautiful tonight. Just ask USU students like Alan Sorensen.

Alan Sorsensen, USU Senior: "It's been really hard to go to school. It really causes me to have a hard time breathing."

The particulate level is so high, the Bear River Health Department is advising everybody, not just those with respiratory conditions, to avoid prolonged activity outdoors.

Sheryl Heying, Utah Dept Environmental Quality: "Cache Valley right now is seeing some of the highest levels we've seen since we've started monitoring for pm 2.5 up there."

Cache Valley is getting hit hard because, compared to the Bonneville Basin, it's a tight, shallow valley. All the pollutants are getting compacted at a depth of only 500 feet - close to the ground where everybody lives.

Though the valleys bordering the Wasatch Front here are much larger, the inversion keeps twisting the vice the longer it stays.

As the inversion squeezes everything down into a shallow little compartment, we start to taste and smell everything, whether it's sulfur coming from Beck Hot Springs or gases from a local refinery.

In a neighborhood north of the Capitol, folks called the fire department because they thought they could smell a natural gas or propane leak when in fact it was just the "stinking" air.

Barbara Joliff, Resident: "I was watching television and I have those large windows across the front and it seeps in through the windows. And I had to sit with a cloth over my mouth and nose to watch TV."

Barbara Jolliff and others in her neighborhood are asking the State to install air pollution monitors where they live to measure over time what they smell.

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