Kick butts day: Tuesday March 19 at Vernal Middle school during lunch.

What is kick Juul day?

It is an event where the Uintah County Youth Coalition educates the middle schoolers about Electronic cigarettes and the dangers of vaping. We are encouraging them to kick the Juul. They will learn how nicotine affects each part of their brain. They will also have the opportunity to sign a banner pledging to be nicotine-free.


Forty percent of teens in vernal have tried vaping, and 17 percent are currently vaping. Those that use e-cigarettes are 4 times as likely to try cigarettes. Electronic cigarettes come in many different shapes and sizes which means they can be hid very easily. They can even look like a pen or a USB flash drive.  


Most Electronic cigarettes have nicotine, in fact, one pod = 20 cigarettes worth of nicotine. Not all the effects are known yet as they are still being studied. but we do know that they have some of the same chemicals that are in cigarettes, including cancer causing ones, Such as formaldehyde.


Some short term effects of vaping that we do know are: It can irritate, the eyes, nose, and throat. E cigarettes can occasionally cause coughing, nausea, dizziness, and vomiting, especially in new users.

Nicotine causes the release of dopamine which leads to addiction.Using nicotine during adolescence can harm the developing brain and can alter nerve cell functioning. E-cigarette users are more likely to have a stroke, heart attack, and coronary disease.


Talk with your children about the risks, and encourage them to avoid e-cigarettes and all other products containing tobacco and nicotine.


If you need help quitting a tobacco/nicotine product contact or contact, Heather Reynolds at the Tricounty Health Department.

Top 10 Facts About Groundwater Use
Only 1 percent of the water on Earth is useable, 99 percent of which is groundwater.
The United States uses 349 billion gallons of freshwater every day.
Groundwater is 20 to 30 times larger than all U.S. lakes, streams, and rivers combined.
Groundwater accounts for 33 percent of all the water used by U.S. municipalities.
44 percent of the U.S. population depends on groundwater for its drinking water supply.
More than 13.2 million households have their own well, representing 34 million people.
53.5 billion gallons of groundwater are used for agricultural irrigation each day. In 1990 that number was 2.2 billion.
The largest U.S. aquifer is Ogallala, underlying 250,000 square miles stretching from Texas to South Dakota. Scientists estimate it could take 6000 years to naturally refill the aquifer if it were ever fully depleted.
California pumps 10.7 billion gallons of groundwater each day, a third more than the second-highest state, Texas.
Groundwater is the world’s most extracted raw material with withdrawal rates in the estimated range of 259 trillion gallons per year.

Question to ponder: If my septic system is putting wastewater into the ground, and my private well is pulling water out of the ground, does that mean I’m drinking toilet water?

Private Wells

Helpful info from EPA: EPA Private Wells, EPA Testing Wells

When was the last time you tested the water from your private well? If your well was drilled after 2008, and it was in conjunction with a new septic system, TriCounty Health required it to be tested for contaminants. If your well is older than that, or if you’ve recently moved in to a new home with a well, you may want to see what is in your water. Regardless of when it was drilled, EPA recommends private well owners test their wells annually for bacteria, nitrates, total dissolved solids, and pH. Other testing should occur at different frequencies depending on your stage of life, current health condition, and when you notice a change in your water. EPA Homeowner’s Guide to Testing Drinking Water

TCHD can currently process samples for bacteria, and will soon have the capability of testing for Nitrates, but samples for other contaminants would need to be processed at a Salt Lake area lab. Examples of other contaminants of concern include: heavy metals (lead, copper), poisons (arsenic, cyanide), nitrates, sulfates, etc. (Nitrates cause Blue Baby Syndrome) You may even want to simply know the sodium levels if you suffer from high blood pressure.
Bacteria and nitrates in your water could indicate an improperly functioning septic system–either a neighbor’s or your own. Or it could be a result of flooding and an improperly protected well.
Depending on what kind of Spring and Summer we have in the Uintah Basin, flooding is a very high possibility. You’ll want to have your well tested after a flood event, and you’ll want to do what you can now to prevent your well from getting hit with floodwaters.

Sample bottles and forms for all types of tests are available at both the Vernal and Roosevelt offices.

Septic Systems

Another big component of the topic of groundwater is the kind of water we put back into the ground. If constructed, used, and maintained properly, a septic system is a low threat to the quality of water found in the ground. However, if not done properly, septic systems can be a great threat. The soil in your yard acts as a great filter that pulls contaminants out of the water so that it is clean by the time it hits the groundwater. If the soil doesn’t have a sufficient opportunity to clean the wastewater, contaminants will reach the water, and get into your drinking water supply. Regular maintenance of your septic system will help ensure the groundwater remains good enough to drink. It is recommended that septic tanks be inspected every 3-5 years, and pumped as needed. Spending a few hundred dollars regularly may save thousands of unanticipated costs down the road. Companies currently permitted to inspect and pump septic systems in the TriCounty area can be found here: Liquid Waste Operators

TriCounty Health Department has partnered with Ashley Regional Medical Center to bring you a fun, family oriented event. The first ever Family & Community Health Event will be held on Saturday, March 2, 2019 at the Uintah Recreation Center. The focus is on Diabetes Prevention and Care. There has been a lot of hard work go in to planning this event from not only TriCounty Health and Ashley Regional but the Uintah County School District, Painted Horse, USU Extension, and more.


1.5 million people are diagnosed with diabetes every year, and diabetes remains the 7th leading cause of death in the U.S. More than 84 million adults have prediabetes, which means they’re not diabetic yet and they can take the steps necessary to PREVENT diabetes. Preventing diabetes is HUGE! In 2017, the cost of diabetes was over $327 billion, with $237 billion in direct medical costs such as amputations, hospitalizations, and insulin.


The average person with diabetes spends about $16,750 every year in costs related to diabetes. Right now L&L Motor Company has a 2016 Buick for sale for $18,000. You could almost pay cash for a Buick with your savings in diabetes prevention.


Living with diabetes is also very difficult, definitely manageable, but difficult. There are the constant demands of eating carefully, exercising, monitoring your blood glucose, scheduling, planning, dealing with the symptoms of a high or low glucose, dealing with complications, meeting regularly with your physician to manage diabetes.  So why wouldn’t you take the steps necessary to prevent diabetes?


So, what are those steps? The simple answer is eat better and move more. Make time for exercise. Make time for meals. But for a more in depth answer come to our Event on March 2, 2019 at the Uintah Recreation Center from 12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. and learn more about diabetes. We will have booths so you can learn how to prevent diabetes and how to manage it. It is a family oriented event, there will be plenty of fun things to do like CREATE your own smoothie, play the Wheel of prizes, and earn tickets for our drawing. We have some really cool door prizes being donated, from coupons and gift certificates to local businesses like Soda Poppin’, and B-Fruity, to a three-hour bounce house rental from Jumpalot LLC. You’re not going to want to miss out on this event. We hope to see you there!


Again, it’s Family & Community Health at the Rec Center here in Vernal from 12:30 p.m. -3:30 p.m. on March 2, 2019

Dating abuse can happen to anyone. Did you know 1 in 3 teens experiences dating abuse? Dating abuse can be physical or emotional, and anyone can be a victim of dating abuse.


February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.  Our goal is to empower young people to build healthy relationships from the ground up, and we are starting with education and awareness.


Dating abuse is a pattern of behaviors one person uses to gain and maintain power and control over their partner. Many people assume abuse means that physical violence is happening, but that’s not always the case! Abuse comes in many forms—it’s not just physical. Young people who abuse their partners, do so because they feel they need to exercise power and control over the other person—and that’s never OK.


We know that in a single year, nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner—and that’s one too many. We also know that 3 out of 4 parents do not talk to their children about teen dating violence. Nearly half (43%) of dating college women report experiencing violent and abusive dating behaviors. High School and College students are not equipped to deal with dating abuse – 57% say it is difficult to identify and 58% say they don’t know how to help someone who’s experiencing it. One in three (36%) dating college students has given a dating partner their computer, online access, email or social network passwords and these students are more likely to experience digital dating abuse. Learning more about what dating abuse looks like is taking part in the movement to end it.


Everyone deserves to have a safe and healthy relationship. Every relationship has disagreements sometimes – it’s how you choose to deal with them that matters. Arguments with your girlfriend or boyfriend should never turn scary. If you’re looking to get out of an unhealthy relationship, there are anonymous peer advocates that can help. Just text “love” to 22522 to learn about your options.


One in three teens in our country experiences dating abuse—and I think that’s one too many! I’d love for you to join me in raising awareness about dating abuse and promoting healthy relationship during February, Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. I believe that everyone deserves a healthy, safe and respectful relationship. Do your part and check out more information about dating abuse at


What is HIV? How is HIV spread? How is HIV diagnosed?

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a very small germ that causes a weakening of a person’s immune system, specifically the CD4 cells, often called T cells. Over time, HIV can destroy so many of these cells that the body can’t fight off infections and disease.

HIV is spread from a person who has HIV through certain body fluids– blood, semen, rectal fluids, vaginal fluids. Less often, HIV can be spread from mother to child during pregnancy or breastfeeding or from receiving blood products or transfusions. Most often, people get or spread HIV through sexual behaviors and needle or syringe use. It is not spread through casual contact.

Your healthcare provider can order a blood test to test for HIV or you can come to Tricounty Health Department where we can do a rapid blood test that takes 20 minutes.

How can HIV be prevented?
• Don’t have sex with an infected person
• Limiting the number of sexual partners
• Never share needles
• Use condoms the right way every time you have sex

A new program, Children with Special Healthcare Needs (CSHCN), at TriCounty Health Department has held four clinics.

The clinics invite specialists that are eager to work with young children with special healthcare needs.

The clinics fill up fast, the need in the tri-county area is great for specialist fields like developmental pediatrics, audiology, speech pathology, physical therapy, pediatric psychology and occupational therapy which the CSHCN brings to our community 6 times a year.

There are hundreds of children that are served through this program. The specialists come to Vernal once every two months and work with children one-on-one for the specific needs of each child that has an appointment.

Appointments fill fast due to the great need in the Uintah Basin. In between clinics, Wes Smith, works closely with parents to provide local resources, and out of the area resources to help the children in need as well as acting like a liaison between parents, schools, primary physicians and early intervention services.

More information on this program will be provided at Women’s Day Out event held on Feb. 2 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Uintah Conference Center. Along with Children with Special Healthcare Needs, WIC will be providing a location for new moms to breastfeed in private, change diapers and learn about the benefits of WIC.

Radon is a colorless, odorless gas and is the 2nd leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. Radon is found throughout the U.S., and occurs from the decay of radioactive minerals, such as uranium, which are found naturally in soils.

In Utah, 1 in 3 homes have been shown to have high Radon levels. This has also been the case for Duchesne and Uintah counties.  The EPA map of radon zones shows the Uintah Basin is predicted to have high levels of Radon. The truth behind these two sets of data (1 in 3, and predicted high), is that we simply don’t know at this point.

Just over 600 tests have been performed in our three counties. We would like to encourage everyone to test their home for Radon. If your neighbor has had their home tested, you should also test–the levels can be very different even between neighbors. We’ve had a significant increase in testing over the past few years, but still have a ways to go!

Test kits can be purchased at for $9.  Free kits are available for families with newborn babies from local hospitals, or from our offices through the WIC program.

We are in the process of testing the schools in our three counties, and so far all schools tested have had radon levels less than the EPA’s action level of 4 pCi/L.

What to do if your home is found to have high levels? Answer is to ventilate. Sometimes it can be as simple as increasing air circulation in building. May require installation of extra vent below foundation that will intercept radon, and send it up into atmosphere.

Tests are easy. Simply open kit, place in poorly ventilated area of home on lowest level (basement) (make sure kit is not disturbed–keep kids and animals away), mail to lab after 3 days. Expect to receive results within a couple of weeks. Test results are usually reported to the State automatically to track zip codes. No regulation on radon levels–nobody is going to show up at your door if test is high. Up to homeowner to remedy, we’re here to provide assistance.

EPA map:


Radon by Utah zip code:

DEQ Blog Post:

  1. Drop the yearly resolution in favor or a weekly goal.

      1. Reflecting on small successes can be empowering.  “Setting mini-goals creates a feeling of accomplishment, and when someone feels positive, they tend to make more positive choices. It’s the snowball effect,” Marjorie Cohn, a registered dietitian, and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics said.

      1. When we break it up into weekly goals, it helps to see progress, feel confident, reach benchmarks and feel motivated to continue.

    1. Mondays have been helpful in addressing healthy behavior changes such as

        1. Weight loss

        1. Healthy eating

        1. Physical activity

        1. Quitting Tobacco

      1. Dealing with stress

  1. Move more, but do when you can and how you like.

      1. The old message was you needed at least 10-minute bouts of aerobic activity for it to count toward the goal of 150 minutes a week. But, no longer. The new guidelines conclude that all movement that helps you stay physically active is important.

        1. Make sure that at least 2 days are focused on muscle-strengthening activities

      1. Nobody needs a gym to be healthy we just need to find small ways to increase physical activity.

    1. Physical activity can make daily life better. As you get more active — you can start feeling better right away!

        1. Boost your mood

        1. Sharpen your focus

        1. Reduce your stress

      1. Improve your sleep

  1. Feedback Feeds Motivation

      1. We all love feedback so track your progress.

    1. Feedback feeds motivation.

Handwashing is one of the most important things we can do to prevent illness and the spread of germs.  If soap and water are not available the use of a alcohol based hand sanitizer is just as effective (make sure the alcohol content is at least 60%)


According to the CDC to prevent the spread of disease we should wash our hands:


  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
  • After handling pet food or pet treats
  • After touching garbage


Steps to properly wash your hands:


  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them



When we have adequate snow cover and stagnant, sunny conditions that last over at least a few days, our region tends to develop high ozone in the atmosphere.
Ozone is an invisible gas that, at high enough concentrations, is hazardous to human health, especially for people with respiratory diseases. Regulations related to air quality may also lead to air pollution regulations that are costly to our local oil and gas industry.
The majority of pollutant emissions that lead to high ozone come from the oil and gas industry, but things like cars, home heating, and other day-to-day activities we engage in in the Basin contribute as well.
Our team at the Vernal USU campus has a comprehensive research program to better understand this issue and to help regulators, industry and the public make better decisions to control it.


Last winter we started an email program to alert industry and others when high ozone is expected so they can reduce ozone-forming emissions where possible.
Anyone is welcome to sign up for this program. All they need to do is go to, click Get Involved, and then click Ozone Alert Email Program. They can sign up on that page, and then we will send them an email whenever high ozone is forecast.


The biggest thing is that people who work in the oil and gas industry can make sure thief hatches and valves stay closed and sealed and that all oil and gas equipment is working properly. If it is possible to delay maintenance activities that release natural gas into the atmosphere until after an air quality episode, that will also help.
For people that don’t work in the oil and gas industry, reducing idling your car and keeping diesel soot emissions to a minimum will help. People who burn wood can make sure their fires burn efficiently. You know your fire is not burning well if smoke is coming out of your chimney.