Utah's Environment: 2012: Cleaner Water: Drinking Water
The vast majority—99.86 percent—of Utahns drink water from approved public water systems, while a small number of individuals and businesses get their drinking water from private wells. Most public drinking water systems get their water from groundwater sources. DWQ helps protect groundwater sources from being contaminated by pollution (see below), whereas Utah's Division of Drinking Water (DDW) helps ensure that all of our citizens can enjoy clean and healthy drinking water by assisting with testing treatment and delivery systems, conducting inspections of water systems, and by enforcing the Drinking Water Source Protection program. These programs are a success as 99.1 percent of the state's population is served by public water systems that meet all health-based standards of the Safe Drinking Water Act.
DDW's programs are intended and designed to protect people's health to help ensure that Utah's citizens are drinking safe water. Through a grant from the Utah Department of Homeland Security, DDW assists water systems in developing Emergency Response plans and Vulnerability Assessments. The training includes protecting sensitive information, protecting computer systems, how to develop tabletop exercises, NIMS certification, Web site awareness, and Water Agencies Response Network (WARN) membership.
Currently there are 2,576 valid water distribution and treatment certificates. These certificates are valid either through testing or renewal. Once an operator successfully passes an exam the operator is required to receive continuing education to maintain and renew certification. As a result of the professionalism of the water operators in the state, water systems have fewer compliance problems, and the number of approved systems has increased.
To protect public health and assure a safe reliable drinking water supply, the Division of Drinking Water established a plan review process to ensure proper design and construction of drinking water facilities, including water treatment plants, wells, springs, storage tanks, pumps, and waterlines. DDW also provides technical assistance to public drinking water systems to resolve deficiencies related to facility construction and water quality. Below is a summary of public drinking water projects reviewed between 1/1/2012 and 11/29/2012:
- DDW staff conducted 550 engineering reviews and technical assistance projects.
- DDW issued:
- 174 plan approvals
- 178 operating permits
- 69 exception-to-rule letters
- 332 other responses, including water system capacity evaluations, waivers, review comments, master plan approvals, denied exceptions, etc.
Public Drinking Water Systems
As of the date of this report, Utah has 1005 water supply systems. A public water system is defined as any water system, either publicly or privately owned, which provides drinking water for 15 or more connections, or 25 or more people, at least 60 days of the year. These include community systems serving people year round; non-transient non-community water systems that serve workers at a factory or rural public schools that have their own drinking water source, and transient non-community water systems such as seasonal campgrounds or highway rest stops.
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