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Water Quality Assessment Program


Program Updates

2016 Draft Integrated Report

Update: December 7, 2016

DWQ received ~30 comments during the public comment period, which was held between June 10th, 2016 and 5:00 p.m. on September 8, 2016. DWQ is pleased to announce that the Final 2016 Integrated Report has been submitted to EPA for approval on December 7th, 2016, and all files have been updated on this website. EPA will have 30 days to review and provide final action on the 2016 Integrated Report.

To keep the public and stakeholders aware of the status of EPA approval of the Final 2016 IR, DWQ will post another update December 7, 2017.

Background Information on the Integrated Report

Every other year, DWQ compiles all readily available data and conducts analyses to determine whether water quality is sufficient to meet the beneficial uses assigned to Utah’s waters.

Beneficial use assessments are made both directly and indirectly. Indirect assessments are made by comparing values obtained from water samples against water quality standards that set pollutant concentrations that must be maintained to meet beneficial uses. In contrast, biological uses are directly assessed with tools that quantify the biological health of the lake, reservoir, river, or stream. These biological assessments are typically made by comparing biota observed at a site with samples obtained from similar, relatively undisturbed waters (reference sites).

To meet our obligations under the Clean Water Act, DWQ compiles all existing and readily available data, conducts beneficial use assessments, and summarizes the results biennially in the Integrated Report (IR). The IR consists of three parts, Part 1 describes the methods, Part 2 is a summary of the overall condition and significant water quality threats to the beneficial uses of Utah’s waters (305(b) Report), and Part 3, the list of impaired waters that fail to meet water quality standards or are biologically impaired (303(d) List). This report is important because it allows DWQ to prioritize where limited resources can be most efficiently and effectively applied to address water quality problems. For instance, remediation plans (typically TMDLs) are developed for impaired waters, which are subsequently implemented with the assistance of the State Revolving Fund (SRF) or the nonpoint source program.

Public Participation

Data Submissions for Assessments

DWQ collects and analyzes thousands of samples yearly, yet it is impossible for us to be everywhere all of the time. As a result, we also rely on Utah’s citizens to submit data or inform us of water quality concerns. Please refer to DWQ’s Call for Data for more information.

Public Review of the Draft Integrated Report

The Clean Water Act requires a formal 30-day comment period for the IR before it can be submitted to the EPA for approval. DWQ reviews all public comments and develops and develops written responses to each comment that we receive.

Public comments are important. These are used by DWQ to identify potential shortcomings in our current monitoring and assessment approaches. Also, while we try to assess as many waters as possible, our stakeholders frequently highlight previously unknown water quality concerns. In short, we listen!

If you are interested in commenting on future IRs, please contact us and we will make sure that you are added to our mailing list.Alternatively, you can sign up for the water quality Email alerts to receive Email updates of all major water quality actions in Utah.

EPA Review

DWQ maintains delegated authority to uphold sections 303(d) and 305(b) of the Federal Clean Water Act for Utah’s waters, whereas EPA maintains oversight to ensure that these programs are implemented in accordance with federal rules and regulations. Once the IR is complete, DWQ submits the report, along with public comments and our response to these comments, to EPA for approval of the 303(d) list of impaired waters. EPA subsequently reviews the report to ensure that assessments were based on all existing and readily available data and that each assessment is legally and scientifically justified. In most cases, DWQ is able to work with EPA to address their comments by modifying the report. If a consensus cannot be reached, EPA maintains the ability to approve, deny, or partially approve the 303(d) list by reclassifying any site as impaired (not meeting designated uses).

Questions and Comments

Please contact us anytime.