DANR tracking air quality in South Dakota

Published: Jul. 30, 2021 at 10:51 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - South Dakota has been covered in smoke from multiple fires in Canada. It has caused more than just gloomy skies; it can also impact health, which is why the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources keeps a close eye on air quality.

The DANR tracks tiny particles called fine particle matters in the air to measure air quality. Any number over 35 micrograms per cubic meter is considered unhealthy, right now the entire state is above 150 micrograms per cubic meter. This is just one of several measurements used to track air quality.

“South Dakota has 10 monitoring sites we measure several different air quality pollutants, those pollutants and the standards we measure are defined the federal environmental protection agency,” said Kyrik Rombough.

To help people keep track of the air quality, and what safety recommendations are needed, the DANR, webpage shows all the up-to-date information.

“If anyone is concerned about what the air quality is like it has an index to indicate if the air quality is unhealthy, it gives you guidelines,” said Rombough,

Elderly citizens, young children, and people with respiratory problems are the most at risk for potential health problems

“If they need to go out into this environment with the air quality the way it is, wearing a mask to try and decrease the inhalation of the debris in the air,” said Dr. Anthony Hericks, an Avera Pulmonologist.

Officials say air quality alerts do happen from time to time in the state, but not at this scale.

“As far as smoke impacts on a full statewide portion, this is fairly unusual in that aspect,” said Rombough.

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