Document Type


Publication Date

January 1981


A survey was made to appraise current man-made contamination of shallow groundwater in Utah. Very little has been published on the subject, and most of the information was obtained by personal observation and through interviews of individuals concerned with water quality protection in Utah. After presenting the relevant physiographic, geologic, and hydrologic characteristics of the various regions of Utah and discussing how these relate to groundwater contamination in general, representative groundwater quality hazards in 32 sites or regions in Utah are presented. A very wide range of hazards to groundwater quality was found to exist. These cases cover the range of situations which need to be covered for an effective shallow groundwater pollution control program. Shallow aquifers with the largest amounts of deleterious contaminations underlie cities and towns. Agricultural areas generate greater quantities of dissolved salts and possible other contaminants, but the contamination is spread over considerably larger areas and thus is more dilute. Improper disposal of oil-field brines is a very serious problem in the state. Leaking disposal ponds, mining operations, and poorly managed solid waste dumps are serious hazards locally. Septic and other wastes from recreational activities in the state are a small but increasing hazard. By law, the State of Utah has the authority and enforcement framework to cope with thee problems of shallow groundwater contamination. More understanding, personnel, guidelines, regulations, and funding are needed to bring the protection of shallow groundwater quality into perspective with the present heavy emphasis upon surface water quality.