Document Type


Publication Date

January 1980


Executive Summary: The Surface Impoundment Assessment process presented an organized consistent systme for evaluating potential threats to groundwater resources from surface impoundments of wastes. This assessment established a data base which locates wastes surface impoundments in Utah and assesses the majority of these impoundments with this prescribed system (Appendix F). This data base may be used to identify surface impoundments in Utah which may create problems with regard to groundwater contamination. Data Summary: The potential hazards of the surface impoundments assessed to groundwater is based on two values established during the assessment procedure. These values are identified as the pollution potential and the health hazard of the sruface impoundment. The pollution potential rating is based on the first four steps of the assessment procedure. out of the 711 impoundments assessed during this study 154 impoundments, of 22 percent of these impoundment, exhibited a pollution potential value high enough to be of concern (greater than 19 assessment units). The health hazard ratin gis based on the proximity of an impoundment to a water well and the anticipated direction of movement of the waste plume. Out of the 154 impoundments exhibility high pollution potentials, 35 impoundments, or 23 percent of these impoundments, also exhibilited a health hazard rating which may be cause for concern (Case A). These 35 impoundments exhibility a combination of a high pollution potential and health hazard values are located on 13 sites. They represent sites from every category studied. These sites may pose a threat to groundwater supplies as identified by the assessment process. The assessment data are discussed in more detail in Chapter 4. There have been instances of groundwater contamination in Utah. On e of these instances has been documented through legal action. These instances are discussed in Chapter 6. State Program for Protecting Groundwater: The Utah State Board of Health is a body politic recommended by the Governor and approved by the Utah Senate that serves as the regulatory authority for the State Department of Health (Holt, 1979). Regulatory and enforcement authroity is vested in the State Board of Health by Section 26-15-5 of the Utah Cose Annotated, 1953, as amended. Additional regulatory committees have been authorized by state law to promulgate rules for the control of specific health or environmental programs as have been deemed necessary with increasing demands on the state's natural resources and environmental protection programs. The state water pollution control organziation consists of the Dibision of Environmental Health within the State Health Department (Pitkin, 1979). The Division of Environmental Health includes Bureaus of Water Pollution Control, Public Water Supply, and Solid Waste Management, each working under separate state legislative authority and under separate federal acts: The Federal Clean Water Act, and Safe Drinking Water Act, and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. The organization of the state environment health programs is currently under review by a state appointed reorganization committee. Therefore, this organication may change within the near future (Dalley, 1980). Under present State Health Department policy, the Bureau of Water Pollution Control has been designated as the lead agency for conductin gthe permitting and operational requirements for pits, ponds and lagoons and for the construction of facilities for the containment of sludges from water and sewage treatment plants (Holt, 1979). It should be understood, howeber, that a dual regulatory responsibility exists between the Bureaus of Water Pollution Control and Solid Waste Mangement for control and disposal of sewage and wastewater sludges. The Bureau of Solid Waste Management presently assumes a significant role in establishing policy for the management of sewage and water treatment sludge. Conclusions and Recommendations: At the present time, no specific groundwater program exists in the State Division of Health. Therefore, responsibility for the protection of groundwater is also shared by the state agencies mentioned above. A staff would be necessary to achieve protection of drinking water supplies by addressing specific needs within this state. One area requiring attention is enforcement of existing laws. In order to adequately enforce these laws there is a need for increased public education and manpower within the state (Georgeson, 1979a; Gray 1979; Pitkin, 1979a; Thompson, 1979). The enforcement interpretation of these laws must allow enough flexibility to prevent illegal actions. For example, the closure of a small dump may promote illegal actions. For example, the closure of a small dump may promote illegal dumping (Gray, 1979). Enforcement capabilities require an adequate data base, monitoring program, and staff expertise. Inadequacies exist in baseline groundwater quality data (Pitkin, 1979a) and hydrogeology data (Georgeson, 1979a) especially in remote areas of the state. Also, more quality data are needed on the wastes being treated (Maxwell, 1979). Increased monitoring is necessary to create an adequate data base and to identify problems before public complaints call attention to them.