Utah DEQ News

2019 Utah State Legislature Roundup

During the 45-day session, legislators took important steps to support the Department of Environmental Quality’s mission of safeguarding Utah’s air, land and water.

By Scott Baird

Thursday night marked the end of the 2019 Utah State Legislature. For more than six weeks, lawmakers have worked tirelessly in Salt Lake City to fulfill their important duty of making laws and authorizing the state’s budget.

During the 45-day session, legislators took important steps to support the Department of Environmental Quality’s mission of safeguarding Utah’s air, land and water. In addition to several key pieces of legislations, policymakers reauthorized the Safe Drinking Water Act, Water Quality Act, Used Oil Management Act, Solid and Hazardous Waste Act, and Air Conservation Act.

Air quality received plenty of buzz when Gov. Gary Herbert’s proposed budget included $100 million for high-impact air-pollution-reduction projects. Lawmakers and citizens alike shared many ideas about how this money could help clear the air.  The budget process seldom travels along a straight line. After weeks of debate on the state’s spending for 2019, lawmakers settled on more than $28 million in legislation and one-time funding for air-quality projects.

For more than six weeks, lawmakers have worked tirelessly in Salt Lake City to fulfill their important duty of making laws and authorizing the state’s budget.

To put this funding in perspective, this marks a historic level of funding for air quality projects. These funds will go toward a variety of projects that will promote telecommuting in state offices, create free fare days on public transit, replace state vehicles that are more than 10 years old and build electric-vehicle charging stations at public facilities.

As public servants, we are accountable for taxpayer dollars. We are working to ensure this money is used in the most effective and efficient projects to bring significant improvements to Utah’s air.

We have a lot of work ahead of us for the coming year, but for now, we’d like to thank all of you for your support and help as we prepared for and worked through a great legislative session. We could not have accomplished this without you!

Below is a quick roundup of our new appropriations and some of the bills passed on Capitol Hill:

APPROPRIATIONS

State Teleworking

Funds teleworking expenses for state employees, with opportunities for more rural Utah employment.

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations at State Sites

Installs electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at state-owned facilities.

Electric Vehicle Charging Equipment

Incentivizes businesses and government entities to install electric vehicle charging equipment.

Weatherization

Weatherization assistance that reduces energy consumption and NOx emissions from home heating appliances.

Air Quality Messaging Campaigns

Funds expanded year-round air quality messaging campaigns and includes new targeted areas.

Pre-2007 State Vehicle Replacement Plan

Replaces 238 pre-2007 overly polluting state vehicles.

Mobile Monitoring Data Collection

Provides air quality monitors on TRAX lines.

Harmful Algal Bloom Response

Ongoing money to fund sampling and responding to Harmful Algal Blooms (HAB) throughout Utah.

PASSED LEGISLATION

HB 32—Rulemaking Fiscal Accountability Amendments

This bill provides for review and Legislative approval of certain Water Quality Board rules or standards.

HB 107—Sustainable Transportation and Energy Plan Act Amendments

Amends the Sustainable Transportation Plan Act to include a large-scale natural gas utility. Includes a pilot program and provides for air quality improvements.

HB 139—Motor Vehicle Emissions Amendments

Amends penalties for visible emissions (“rolling coal”), prohibits distraction or endangerment of vulnerable highway users by excessive exhaust, and adds reporting requirements.

HB 218—Construction Code Modifications

Adopts the full commercial energy code.

HB 220—Radioactive Waste Amendments

Provides that certain waste classifications are determined at the time of acceptance. Allows the director of the Division of Waste Management and Radiation Control to authorize alternate requirements for waste classification and characteristics that would allow an entity to accept certain waste at a specific site. Requires the federal government to take stewardship in perpetuity of certain types of waste.

HB 310—Solid and Hazardous Waste Amendments

This bill modifies provisions related to solid and hazardous waste. Addresses waste generated and disposed of on site

HB 411—Community Renewable Energy Act

Provides an innovative process for communities seeking a net 100% renewable energy, including PSC rule-making authority, options for customer participation, procedures concerning rates, and renewable energy resource acquisition.

HB 148—Vehicle Idling Revisions

This bill amends provisions related to enforcement of a local authority’s idling restrictions to require at least one warning citation (instead of three) before imposition of a fine.

HB 353—Reduction of Single Occupancy Vehicle Trips Pilot Program

This bill sets up a pilot program for free fare days on UTA to move people on to transit on “yellow” and “orange” days working with the DEQ.

HB 357—Voluntary Wood Burning Conversion Program

This bill provides funding for individuals in the nonattainment areas to voluntarily switch from a wood-burning appliance to a natural gas burning appliance

SB 46—Tire Recycling Amendments

This bill modifies reimbursement provisions of the Waste Tire Recycling Act.

SB 52—Secondary Water Requirements

This bill requires a secondary water provider that begins design work for new secondary water services to certain users to meter the use of water.

SB 144—Environmental Quality Monitoring Amendments

This bill directs the Department of Environmental Quality to establish and maintain monitoring facilities to measure environmental impacts from inland port development and to report the results of the monitoring.

HCR. 3—Concurrent Resolution Concerning Switcher Locomotive Emission Standards

This concurrent resolution requests that Congress allow states to regulate certain switcher locomotive emission standards.

HCR. 10—Concurrent Resolution to Address Declining Water Levels Of The Great Salt Lake

This resolution recognizes the critical importance of continued water flows to Great Salt Lake and its wetlands and the need for solutions to address declining water levels, while appropriately balancing economic, social, and environmental needs.

HCR. 11—Concurrent Resolution Encouraging the Purchase of Tier 3 Gasoline

This concurrent resolution encourages purchase of lower-sulfur Tier 3 compliant gasoline by retailers and consumers.

HCR. 13—Concurrent Resolution Encouraging Utah Refiners to Manufacture Tier 3 Gasoline to Improve Air Quality

This concurrent resolution of the Legislature and the Governor urges refineries operating within Utah to utilize the state sales and use tax exemption provided by the state to make the investments necessary to manufacture lower-sulfur Tier 3 gasoline in Utah.

SJR 1—Water Banking In Utah

This resolution requests recommendations on the development and creation of water banks to further the 2017 State Recommended Water Strategy.

So, now that we’ve had a weekend to rest and catch our breath, it’s time to begin anew our preparations for next year’s legislative session.  Please reach out to us and share your ideas, questions, or concerns, on how we can better serve our community, work towards our mission and ultimately achieve our vision of Clean air land and water for a healthy and prosperous Utah.

Thank you!!!

Visit the Utah Legislature website for a complete list of the bills that were passed, their effective date, and the Governor’s action (signed or not).

As the Deputy Director over Policy, Planning and Operational Improvement, I enjoy working with legislators, stakeholders and our employees in finding ways to improve how we do our work. Prior to joining DEQ, I worked in the Governor’s Offices in Utah and Washington and with Deloitte Consulting in D.C., where I helped state and federal agencies identify and implement opportunities to improve. I earned my Bachelor’s Degree at Brigham Young University and my Masters in Public Administration (MPA) and JD degrees from Syracuse University. I LOVE to get outdoors and enjoy SKIING, running, hiking, backpacking, camping, working in the yard, fixing up our broken-down house, and anything else I can convince my wife and four daughters to do with me…oh yeah, and I really like ice cream!

Gold King Mine

Read EPA Press Release–(3/16/19)
Visit 2015 Release Pages

DEQ and USGS sampling the San Juan River at Mexican Hat on March 16, 2019

Spring 2019 Untreated Water Release

Extreme weather conditions and heavy snow knocked out power to the Gladstone Interim Water Treatment Plant (IWTP) at the Gold King Mine on March 13, 2019. Several avalanches along the road leading to the treatment plant prevented the operator from accessing the plant for several days. Snowpack in the San Juan Mountains near Silverton is 150 percent of normal, and avalanches have been common in recent weeks.

The IWTP plant operator monitored and ran the plant remotely on an emergency backup generator and intermittent line power following the storm. The pumps were able to run for roughly 20 hours before running out of fuel on the evening of March 14, 2019. The plant shut down, and untreated mine water began to flow at a rate of approximately 264 gallons per minute (gpm) into Cement Creek, then to the Animas River and on to the San Juan River.

Upon receiving the news of the plant shutdown, employees from the Utah Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) along with teams from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) field offices in New Mexico and Moab headed to the Four Corners region to collect water samples.

Approximately 800,000 gallons of untreated mine water was released from the Gold King Mine between the evening of March 14, 2019, and the afternoon of March 16, 2019, when the plant went back online. The release was smaller than the 2015 release that deposited 3 million gallons of metal-laden mine water into the San Juan watershed over a shorter period of time.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has collected and treated discharge from the Gold King Mine at the water treatment plant since October 2015. The IWTP is located in the Cement Creek drainage basin and removes metals in the mine-impacted water through lime neutralization, precipitation, and flocculation.

A series of monitoring gages were installed along the Animas and San Juan Rivers following the 2015 mine release. Since 2015, Utah DEQ and its partner agencies have collected sediment and water samples in the San Juan River watershed on a regular basis to monitor water quality and assess impacts to the watershed.

Update March 18, 2019

On the evening of March 15, 2019, San Juan County cleared one lane of the county road leading to the IWTP. On the morning of March 16, 2019, the operator was granted permission to drive up to the plant. The operator was able to get the treatment plant successfully operating by early afternoon on March 16, 2019. The EPA Region 8 Bonita Peak Mining District team continues to coordinate with the plant operator to ensure the continued operation of the treatment plant.

At this time, the EPA anticipates that there will be no impacts to downstream drinking water or agricultural users from the short-term shutdown. Any impacts are expected to be localized and largely limited to aquatic life in the Animas River Canyon south of Silverton, Colorado.

Sampling

Teams from DEQ, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and New Mexico were dispatched immediately after receiving the news of the release and have been on site since March 16, 2019, to monitor the release and gather water and sediment samples. DEQ and USGS scientists collected samples on March 16, 2019, before the release reached the San Juan River. Results from these samples are expected by March 20, 2019.

Teams remain on site to sample and monitor the release, which is anticipated to reach the San Juan River between Sunday afternoon (March 17, 2019) and Tuesday morning (March 19, 2019). A DEQ team began additional sampling on the afternoon of March 18, 2019.

DEQ plans to visit four sites twice daily on March 19 and 20, 2019, to collect grab samples and sediment samples. DEQ is coordinating this sampling effort with USGS scientists who will collect depth-integrated samples at the same sites at the same time. The use of different sampling methods at the same sites is anticipated to produce a richer dataset.

Sample sites on the San Juan River match the 2015 sample locations, with the addition of a replicate sample for quality-control purposes:

  1. Four Corners (state line)
  2. Montezuma Creek
  3. Sand Island
  4. Sand Island (replicate for quality control)
  5. Mexican Hat

EPA collected weather-limited water samples at the bridge on Cement Creek below the water treatment plant and along the Animas River below Silverton and in Durango on March 15, 2019. These sample results are expected to be available on March 21, 2019.

Recreational Users:

The BLM has been in contact with the San Juan County Health Department, who is working with the Utah Division of Water Quality to monitor the San Juan River. The diluted waste water is expected to reach the Utah border on Tuesday, March 19 and flow through the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)-managed recreational boating segment of the San Juan River between Montezuma Creek and Clay Hills over the following several days. Based on available information, the river segment remains open to boaters and no BLM recreation closures are currently in effect. The BLM always recommends that recreational users bring all of their drinking water while visiting the river and not rely on personal devices for filtration/purification of river water.


2016 Public Notices

 

Who You Gonna Call? Reporting Pollution to DEQ’s Spill Hotline

Staff from DEQ’s Division of Environmental Response and Remediation observe contractors as they prepare to drill a Geoprobe well to test groundwater.

By Brent Everett

Utah residents play a vital role in protecting the environment. The scientists and engineers at the Utah Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) can’t be everywhere all the time or monitor every source of pollution. We count on astute citizens to report environmental incidents to the DEQ that may pose a threat to public health, the environment and/or result in releases of possible contaminants.
Federal and State laws require regulated industries, permitted facilities, waste transporters and other groups dealing with pollutants to report any unintended releases into the environment. Regulators call these events spills, releases or discharges. Some spills may also require the responsible party to notify the National Response Center—a federally established system for reporting oil, chemical, radiological, biological and etiological releases into the environment. In some cases, however, the responsible party may be acting in bad faith, ignoring potential hazards, or unaware of the release or spill they may have caused. Notifications of these types of events that may be causing pollution, or worse, harmful conditions to the public by passers-by, neighboring businesses and residents are welcomed by the DEQ. DEQ has a dedicated Environmental Incident Notification telephone number for these notifications. This number is sometimes referred to as the “spill hotline.”

DEQ’s Spill Coordinator Kevin Okleberry takes soil samples in American Fork.

The spill hotline number at (801) 536-4123 is for the reporting hazardous substance release to DEQ. The spill line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

When a call comes to DEQ’s through the hotline, it is routed to an on-call duty officer or an answering service who will forward it to a DEQ Duty Officer.  These engineers and scientists are the first point of contact. After taking the call and collecting pertinent information regarding the incident, the duty officer directs that information to a variety of entities including other state agencies, local governments, such as our health districts, who may have “touch point,” authorities, or resources to help with the incident.  They do that by creating and sending via e-mail an Incident Notification report or by directly calling appropriate contacts, and often times, both.

The incident notification report contains the information provided about the incident by the initial caller. It is updated by the Duty Officer as more information comes in from stakeholders, responsible parties, etc.  This report’s information is used to convey the nature, status, and contacts made regarding the incident.

DEQ Water Quality scientist Suzan Tahir takes water samples in Utah Lake after reports of a harmful algal bloom.

Because DEQ is a regulatory agency, it is not always in charge of cleaning up a spill or mitigating the contamination. Based on authority and jurisdictions, this responsibility may lie with DEQ or with other state and federal agencies or local governments.  Sometimes the response requires assistance or oversight from the EPA and DEQ may share a co-regulatory role with them.  Responsible parties are ultimately responsible for the cleanup of releases, spills, and discharges.

Cleaning up harmful releases to the environment can take as little as a few hours, several days, months or even years. DEQ employees involved with reported incidents often work long hours to coordinate investigation and cleanup efforts to ensure our citizens are safe and the environment protected.

DEQ’s mission is to safeguard and protect Utah’s air, land and water for a healthy and prosperous future. The employees are public servants and committed to the people of Utah and our unique, beautiful environment.  DEQ employees work tirelessly to solve problems by actively engaging stakeholders, and basing their decision on science and the law.

For reporting environmental incidents, the spills hotline number is (801) 536-4123.  Help us keep Utah safe and beautiful*.

* Although the employees at DEQ do some pretty incredible work, they aren’t first responders. If someone suspects that a pollution release poses an immediate risk to human health, the first number to call is 9-1-1.

I am the Director of the Division of Environmental Response and DERR DirectorRemediation and have been with the agency for more than 24 years. I served as a project manager, section manager and branch manager in the Superfund Program before becoming Director. I am a Utah-registered Professional Geologist, with B.S. and M.S. degrees in Geology from Brigham Young University and an MBA from the University of Utah. In my “spare time,” I work as an adjunct faculty member of the Biology Department at Utah Valley University teaching Human Anatomy.

Cut Pollution: Mow Electric

The popular State of Utah Lawn Mower Exchange is back!

By Courtney Ehrlich

Right now, there is a half-melted snowman in the front yard and the clouds relentlessly dumping more snow in the mountains. Imagine, though, in just a few months the warmth of the sun on your skin, the sound of kids laughing in the yard, the smell of fresh cut grass—how dreamy!

But wait, what is that you smell? Gasoline?

Neither you nor your neighbors want to smell or listen to that annoying gas-powered lawn mower again this year. The Division of Air Quality (DAQ) has a way to make the optimal summer in your mind a reality. Exchange that old gas mower for a new ELECTRIC lawn mower.

The DAQ, in partnership with Weber State University, Utah Valley University, Weber-Morgan Health Department, Davis County Health Department, Salt Lake County Health Department, and Utah County Health Department are hosting the 2019 State of Utah Lawn Mower Exchange to promote cleaner air and healthier lives.

This year’s Lawn Mower Exchange Program has 1,259 electric lawn mowers and 972 electric lawn trimmers available. Residents who live in Weber, Davis, Salt Lake, Tooele, and Utah counties are eligible for a $99 electric lawn mower (a $299 retail price) or $49 electric trimmer when they trade in a gas-powered equivalent!

Electric lawn mowers are an environmentally friendly alternative to gas-powered mowers. Did you know running a gas-powered lawn mower for one hour is equal to driving a car 196 miles? In addition, electric mowers are conducive to healthier lives for all of us. They don’t expose users to harmful gasoline fumes when refueling and operating equipment. And, unlike gas mowers, electric alternatives don’t emit pollutants that contribute to the formation of summer ozone. Ozone is formed volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and nitrogen oxides (NOx) react in sunlight. Gas mowers contribute to ozone formation as they emit NOx. Ozone cannot be seen nor smelled, but the effects of breathing it have been described as a sunburn in the lungs.

Visit lawnmower.utah.gov between March 5-15, 2019 to sign-up for your chance to purchase an electric lawn mower or trimmer at a deep discount. Random selection will follow and those randomly selected will be contacted by email. The event will take place across three locations in Davis, Salt Lake, and Utah counties on Saturday morning, April 27, 2019.

An option to waive the cost of the mower or trimmer is available to those who can demonstrate financial need. To qualify for the fee waiver, applicants must prove participation in an assistance program such as WIC, SNAP, free school lunch, Medicaid, or another assistance program when entering to be randomly selected.

This exchange program is funded by DAQ’s Environmental Mitigation Fund, Clean Air Fund, and Clean Air Retrofit, Replacement, and Off-Road Technology (CARROT) Program, Weber State University, Davis County Health Department, Weber-Morgan Health Department, Rocky Mountain Power, and Utah Clean Air Partnership (UCAIR).

DAQ’s Clean Air Fund is made up of voluntary contributions from taxpayers like you. If you’d like to see spring and fall exchanges continue for years to come, consider a donation on your income tax forms.

Sign up for your chance to participate in this year’s exchange at lawnmower.utah.gov.

Some may say I’m a Utah-transplant. I am originally from the Midwest where I grew up in a self-sustaining family with strong environmental values. Since then, I have found myself all over the map understanding how people around the world develop and sustain relationships with our planet. I have spent the last few years diving into cultures in 24 countries and living in 4 of them. Before moving to Utah in 2018, I became a graduate of the University of Dundee in Scotland where I completed a postgraduate program in Sustainability and Climate Change. These days, though, you’ll find me on skis, a mountain bike, or in a tent somewhere in the mountains.

To purchase a discounted lawn mower or trimmer, participants must agree to and meet the following criteria:

  •  Must be 18 years old to qualify
  • Must agree to the terms and conditions as part of the registration process
  • Must be a Utah resident and live within an ozone non-attainment area (Weber, Davis, Salt Lake, Tooele, Utah counties)
  • A non-attainment area is designated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) when that area persistently exceeds the National Ambient Air Quality Standards
  • Only one electric lawn mower or trimmer per household may be purchased at a reduced price at this event
  • Must exchange an operable gasoline-powered lawn mower or trimmer
  • Only dry (oil and gas removed) lawn mowers and trimmers will be accepted as waste at this event. No other waste will be allowed
  • The randomly selected participants must present a current government-issued picture identification at the event in order to receive the purchased electric lawn mower or electric lawn trimmer
  • Government-qualified low-income participants who exchange equipment may receive financial assistance to pay the reduced price of an electric lawn mower and/or electric trimmer
  • Must be pre-registered and pre-paid using the online registration and payment portal
  • Only online payments will be accepted for payment. No cash or checks will be accepted
  • Must be present at the event in order to receive the purchased electric lawn mower or trimmer at the discounted price
  • Neither DEQ nor Lowe’s will refund the purchase of any electric lawn mower or trimmer purchased at the event. The purchaser is responsible for registering the lawn mower and/or trimmer for a 5-year warranty included with purchase

We hope to see you there!

Petroleum Vapors at Intersection of Gentile and Angel
Layton City

What is Vapor Intrusion? What are the potential health effects of petroleum vapors?

Notification area: Gentile St. to 500 South and Angel St. to Denver & Rio Grande Western Trail

More Information

Safety concerns

  • Layton City Public Works (801) 336-3720
  • Layton City Fire Department (801) 336-3940

Health concerns

  • Davis County Environmental Health Department (801) 525-5128

Investigation information

  • Utah Department of Environmental Quality (801) 536-4123
Gentile and Angel Flyer

Download the print version of the flyer distributed to residents on February 26, 2019 (17 MB)

Background

Residents in a small area near the intersection of Gentile and Angel streets in Layton City reported petroleum odors on Feb. 14, 2019. This initiated an investigation to determine the source and extent of the vapors. Reports were made to the Davis County Health Department (DCHD) and the Utah Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). Since the initial reports, state, county, and local officials have actively investigated potential sources, pathways, and extent of the vapors. Water sampling and vapor monitoring are ongoing.

Due to the ongoing nature of the investigation, this page will be updated as new data become available. Please check back regularly for the latest sample results and findings.

Update March 8, 2019

Division of Environmental Response and Remediation (DERR) environmental scientist Kevin Beery oversees the installation of Geoprobes to test groundwater near the gas station.

Division of Environmental Response and Remediation (DERR) environmental scientist Kevin Beery oversees the installation of Geoprobes to test groundwater near the gas station.

Groundwater samples have been collected in the area around the intersection of Angel and Gentile Streets in Layton. Groundwater was typically encountered approximately nine feet below ground surface and likely flows to the southwest. This likely directional flow may be affected by subsurface drainage in the area. The results of the groundwater samples are compared to Regional Screening Levels (RSL’s) for petroleum contamination. The groundwater collected on the south side of Gentile Street indicated petroleum contamination. These groundwater samples were further screened against Vapor Intrusion Screening Levels. The samples collected south of Gentile Street near the rail trail and near the intersection of Sugar and Gentile Streets contained concentrations of certain hydrocarbons in the groundwater that could result in vapor intrusion to residences.

The Division of Environmental Response and Remediation (DERR) continues to sample groundwater in these areas in an effort to pinpoint the source(s) and determine the size of the contamination plume.

Update March 5, 2019

Underground Storage Tank Tests

Tank and line tightness tests were performed on February 27, 2019, for the underground storage tanks and piping at the gas station. The diesel and premium tanks both passed, as did all of the piping. The unleaded tank initially failed the tightness test. On March 1, 2019, it was determined that the spill bucket on the unleaded tank was cracked, causing the tank to fail the tightness test. The spill bucket was replaced, and the tank passed a tank tightness test late in the day on March 1, 2019. The cracked spill bucket had minimal soil staining in the surrounding backfill immediately around the bucket, but nothing to suggest a large release.

Vapor Mitigation Systems

The vapor mitigation systems installed in the three homes have been operating since March 1, 2019. The Division of Environmental Response and Remediation (DERR) continues to evaluate the impact of vapor intrusion on the homes in the area to ensure the systems are effective.

The 417 Investigation

The investigation continued on March 5, 2019, with the installation of groundwater monitoring wells to delineate the extent of the groundwater contamination to the southwest under the subdivision. DERR will continue its investigation to determine the source of the groundwater contamination found near the gas station and is reaching out to the property owner to secure access.

Stormwater Data

Stormwater samples collected for lab analysis indicate petroleum contamination at several sample locations. Concentrations of certain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in some samples exceeded Regional Screening Levels.

February 25, 2019

Employees of the Division of Water Quality (DWQ) and Layton City Public Works collected water samples at six locations in west Layton. Four of those samples were collected from the storm drains in the area of Gentile and Angel Streets, while the other two were collected from Kays Creek and the outfall where the storm drain system flows into the creek. This sampling followed an initial sampling of the outfall at Kays Creek by the Davis County Health Department and Layton City on February 23, 2019.

The samples were analyzed for concentrations of organic compounds present in diesel fuel and gasoline and also for dozens of other VOCs, particularly benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylenes, and naphthalene.

The samples collected from a storm drain upstream near 196 North Sugar Street and a storm drain in a catch basin at approximately 30 North Sugar Street did not contain detectable concentrations of any of these compounds. However, samples collected from the storm drains at the intersection of Angel Street and Gentile Street and the intersection of 75 South Street and Angel Street contained some of these compounds in concentrations that exceeded Regional Screening Levels (RSLs) and indicated petroleum contamination.

The sample collected at the storm drain outfall near Heritage Elementary School on Weaver Lane in Layton still contained detectable concentrations of volatile organic compounds, of which the concentration of benzene exceeded the Regional Screening Level.

February 27, 2019

As a follow-up to the previous sampling, employees of DWQ, Layton City Storm Water, and the Utah National Guard collected samples from three locations in the storm drain system. Samples were collected at the upstream control site, at the intersection of 75 South Angel Street, and at the storm drain outfall on Kays Creek and analyzed for the same contaminants as the previous samples.

The sample collected at the upstream control site did not contain any detectable concentrations of volatile organic compounds, but diesel-range organic compounds were detected in the sample. Concentrations of diesel- and gasoline-range organic (GRO) compounds were detected in the other two samples, along with several volatile organic compounds. In general, the concentrations detected in these samples were greater than those collected on February 25, 2019. This is thought to be due to the rain that fell in the area before and during the time the samples were collected.


Update March 1, 2019

March 1 News Release (290 KB)

Groundwater

Groundwater samples (72 KB) have been collected in the area around the intersection of Angel and Gentile streets in Layton. Groundwater was typically encountered approximately nine feet below ground surface and likely flows to the southwest but may be affected by subsurface drainage in the area. The results of the groundwater samples are compared to Regional Screening Levels (RSL’s) for petroleum contamination. The groundwater collected on the south side of Gentile Street indicated petroleum contamination. These groundwater samples were further screened against Vapor Intrusion Screening Levels. The samples collected south of Gentile Street indicate concentrations in the groundwater that could result in vapor intrusion to residences.

Stormwater

On February 25, 2019, employees of the Utah Division of Water Quality (DWQ) and Layton City Public Works collected water samples at six locations in west Layton (64 KB). Four of those samples were collected from the storm drains in the area of Gentile and Angel Street, while the other two were collected from Kays Creek and the outfall where the storm drain system flows into the creek. This sampling followed an initial sampling of the outfall at Kays Creek by the Davis County Health Department (DCHD) and Layton City on Saturday, February 23, 2019.

The samples were analyzed for concentrations of organic compounds that are present in diesel fuel and gasoline and also for dozens of other volatile organic compounds (VOCs), particularly benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylenes, and naphthalene. The samples collected from a storm drain upstream near 196 North Sugar Street and a storm drain in a catch basin at approximately 30 North Sugar Street did not contain detectable concentrations of any of these compounds.

However, samples collected from the storm drains at the intersection of Angel Street and Gentile Street and the intersection of 75 South Street and Angel Street contained some of these compounds in concentrations that exceeded Regional Screening Levels and indicated petroleum contamination.

The sample collected at the storm drain outfall near Heritage Elementary School on Weaver Lane in Layton still contained detectable concentrations of volatile organic compounds, of which the concentration of benzene exceeded the Regional Screening Level.

Surface Water

The sample collected from Kays Creek (36 KB) at the Bridge Creek Lane Bridge approximately 100 yards downstream contained detectable concentrations of gasoline-range organic compounds (GROs), toluene, and xylenes, none of which exceeded any screening levels. This sample indicates that the contamination is diluted sufficiently such that the creek does not pose a health risk to the public. DWQ will be further analyzing Kays Creek data for impacts to aquatic life.

The source of petroleum odors in a Layton City neighborhood has been narrowed down to petroleum products in the groundwater.

Scientists from the Utah Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) have identified petroleum products in the groundwater adjacent to a gas station on Gentile Street. Once in the soil, the petroleum dissolved in the groundwater and moved along a natural pathway toward the neighborhood at the intersection of Gentile and Angel Streets. Along this pathway, it encountered a secondary track through a back-filled sewer trench and worked its way into the 40-year-old storm drain along Angel Street. The vapors then traveled from the storm drains into people’s homes.

DEQ, Layton City, and the Davis County Health Department (DCHD) have been working together to identify the source since residents near the intersection of Gentile and Angel streets reported petroleum odors on February 14, 2019.

Vapor recovery systems were installed in three homes using funds from Utah’s Hazardous Substance Mitigation Act (HSMA). These systems will soon be operational, and displaced residents are returning home.

Scientists at the DEQ Division of Environmental Response and Remediation (DERR) are unsure of the extent of the plume and encourage residents who smell petroleum odors in their homes or emanating from a storm drain to call 9-1-1 so the Fire Department can respond.

Investigators from DERR were able to identify the source by drilling Geoprobes in the neighborhood and analyzing the chemistry of the vapors.

Results from drinking water tests showed no contamination. Water samples from the storm drain, however, showed hydrocarbon contamination.

DEQ will continue to post updates as new information becomes available.


Update February 27, 2019

Feb. 27 News Release (310 KB)

Coordinated sampling continued in the affected area. After the informational flyer was distributed to residents, the Layton City Fire Department received reports of two additional households in the area with gas fumes. Utah’s National Guard provided technical assistance to help with investigation efforts.

Division of Environmental Response and Remediation (DERR) activities

Fieldwork for the 417 Subsurface Investigation began today with the collection of soil and groundwater samples from several Geoprobe (groundwater monitoring) boreholes along the west and south sides of the gas station. The analytical results from these samples should be available on February 28, 2019.

Division of Water Quality (DWQ) data

DWQ received the following lab results from samples collected February 25, 2019:

  • The control samples collected in storm drains upstream and in the flood basin directly to the west of the gas station on Sugar Street did not contain detectable levels of gasoline, diesel, or any other volatile organic compound.
  • The sample collected at the intersection of Angel Street and Gentile Street contained concentrations of diesel range organics (DROs) that are likely to exceed screening levels and concentrations of benzene that exceeded DWQ groundwater standards.
  • The sample collected at the intersection of 75 South and Angel Street contained concentrations of diesel range organics (DROs) and gasoline range organics (GROs) that exceed screening levels and concentrations of benzene that exceeded DWQ groundwater standards. The highest contaminant concentrations of all the samples collected were detected at this location.
  • The sample collected at the storm drain outfall at Kays Creek contained concentrations of benzene that exceeded DWQ groundwater standards.
  • The sample collected at Kays Creek (approximately 100 yards downstream from the outfall) contained detectable concentrations of gasoline, toluene, and xylenes, but none exceeded screening levels or groundwater standards.

Division of Drinking Water (DDW) data

DDW received lab results for the eight homes that were sampled by Layton City Public Works on February 23, 2019. All drinking-water samples were non-detect for VOCs.

Additional test data will be posted as soon as it becomes available.


Time Line

February 26, 2019

DEQ and Layton City assembled and distributed a flyer about the petroleum vapors to residents in the affected area. The flyer included a brief synopsis of the issue, a map of the area, and contact numbers for health and safety information.

DEQ’s Division of Water Quality (DWQ) collected samples from six storm drain locations:

  • Upstream control samples north of the gas station
  • Near the gas station
  • The intersection of Angel Street and Gentile Street
  • The intersection of 75 South and Angel Street
  • Storm drain outfall into Kays Creek
  • Kays Creek at Bridge Creek Lane

The DWQ Spills Coordinator collecting the samples reported the strongest gasoline odors at the Gentile and Angel Street intersection and the 75 South and Angel Street intersection. Test results are expected back on February 27, 2019.

A preliminary groundwater sample was collected from the backyard of one of the affected residences on February 25, 2019. Groundwater was encountered approximately nine feet below ground surface.

DEQ personnel met with a DEQ-contracted consultant to install a subsurface vapor removal system at three residences. Three perforated PVC casings were installed adjacent to the three houses that reported petroleum vapor odors inside their homes. The vapor extraction system will remove petroleum vapors from beneath the houses. In addition, sub-slab soil-gas samples were collected from under each of the three houses, and the analytical results from the samples should be received on February 28, 2019. The source of the petroleum vapors is not currently known.


February 25, 2019

DEQ, Layton City, Layton Fire Department, and Davis County Health Department (DCHD) continued to coordinate their activities to identify the source of the gasoline vapors. The pipeline company dug up additional portions of the pipeline. DERR installed Geoprobe groundwater monitoring wells in the front yards of two of the residences and collected water samples from the wells.

One sample collected on February 23, 2019, at the outfall in Kays Creek showed elevated levels of benzene.


February 23, 2019

Layton City worked with the Davis County Health Department (DCHD) to sample the stormwater outfall that enters Kays Creek. Sampling was requested by the Division of Water Quality (DWQ).


February 22, 2019

Another homeowner contacted Layton City Public Works to report a strong smell of gasoline from the storm drain in front of her house located approximately a quarter-mile from the other houses with reported vapor impacts. Layton City reported that the storm sewer is a 33-inch concrete drain at a depth of 16 feet. The Air Force installed the storm sewer in the 1950s.

DERR’s contractor, DERR staff, the Layton City Public Works Director, and the Layton City Fire Battalion Chief conducted a survey of the storm drain to check for petroleum vapors. DERR staff indicated they smelled gasoline vapors at the Kays Creek discharge point and in a manhole slightly upgradient of the creek. No sheen or gasoline was observed in the creek. The investigation moved north to check storm drains upgradient from the gas station and impacted homes. Vapors were not detected in the manholes north of the gas station on Sugar Street. The sanitary sewer was also checked near the same area and no petroleum impacts were detected.

Pipeline personnel began a new excavation on the north side of Gentile Street to check the pipeline and determine if there were any petroleum impacts in the area.


February 21, 2019

The pipeline company began excavating an area around their pipeline in the backyard of one of the impacted homes. There was no visual evidence of impacts to the soil from the pipeline, but they were unable to excavate to depth without shoring. The DERR contractor was on site to collect samples and observe the excavation as well as begin planning for the installation of a vapor abatement system for the impacted homes.

DEQ Executive Director Alan Matheson authorized the use of Hazardous Substance Mitigation Act (HSMA) funds to take emergency actions to abate the imminent threat to the three affected homes. Vapor monitoring equipment is scheduled to be installed shortly.


February 20, 2019

Petroleum vapors were detected in the basements of the three homes by a photoionization detector (PID), a portable vapor and gas detector that can identify the presence of a variety of organic compounds.


February 19, 2019

The Davis County Health Department (DCHD) reached out to DEQ’s Division of Environmental Response and Remediation (DERR) and Division of Water (DWQ) for assistance. DERR and DWQ began work to identify the source(s) of the vapors and the extent of the impact on the community. DERR initiated a 417 Subsurface Investigation into the incident because a gas station with underground storage tanks is located upgradient of the homes experiencing the vapor intrusion. DERR and DCHD met with residents and entered the homes to monitor the vapors.


February 17, 2019

The DERR contractor took nine soil vapor readings and collected four soil samples for laboratory analysis. No volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or Gasoline Range Organics (GROs) were detected, and very minimal Diesel Range Organics (DROs) were detected.

Stand-up pressure tests were conducted on the petroleum pipelines. Pressure tests passed and both pipelines were restarted.


February 16, 2019

DERR received a report from the original homeowner that the smell had become much worse since his previous call. Two other neighbors had noticed the gas smell in their houses. Several homeowners decided to leave their houses because the gas smell was permeating their entire house.

DERR reviewed the ATG records from the previous three months to ascertain whether the leak detection system had failed. The records indicated there was no gasoline leak from the underground storage tanks.

An additional report from the National Report Center (NRC) indicated that a pipeline company was investigating a possible hydrocarbon release from an eight-inch petroleum pipeline. Both pipelines were shut down pending further tests.


February 14, 2019

A homeowner living at the intersection of Gentile and Angel Street in Layton contacted DEQ’s Division of Environmental Response and Remediation (DERR) to report that he and a neighbor had smelled gasoline vapors in their basements. The caller first noticed the odor two weeks before but noted that the smell had become stronger since that time.

DERR contacted the nearby gas station to request automatic tank gauging (ATG) records. An ATG is an electronic device that monitors the fuel level in an underground storage tank over a period of time to see if the tank is leaking.

The Davis County Health Department (DCHD) and Layton City Fire Department visited the home, and DCHD tested the indoor air in the home with a volatile organic compound (VOC) monitor (photoionization detector or PID). Homeowners were concerned about a possible gas leak. The report was entered into the DERR Environmental Incidents Notifications database for investigation.


What is vapor intrusion?

Gasoline is a mixture of petroleum hydrocarbons that is blended with various additives that influence the ability to become volatile. Many of the hydrocarbons found in gasoline vaporize readily at room temperature. When gasoline is spilled on the surface or underground, they can volatilize quickly. If released underground, these vapors can make their way to the surface and migrate into basements and other structures.

Known as petroleum vapor intrusion (PVI), the movement of these contaminant vapors into buildings is of concern due to the potential safety threats and possible adverse health effects. Reporting petroleum odors to the proper authorities helps ensure that they can ascertain whether the vapors pose a concern or threat. To date, the vapors investigated by the Layton Fire Department have not proven serious.

What are the potential health effects of petroleum vapors?

Petroleum vapors contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), a large and diverse group of chemicals that evaporate easily in air. Some, like benzene and toluene, can have harmful health effects when inhaled at high levels.

Many VOCs have a strong or distinctive smell, often chemical or gasoline-like. People can smell some VOCs at very low levels, often below the levels associated with health effects from breathing them for a short period. Different VOCs have different health effects and levels of risk. However, there are some typical health effects that can result from short-term inhalation:

  • Eye, nose, and throat irritation
  • Headache
  • Dizziness or light-headedness
  • Loss of coordination
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Nausea

Individuals experiencing health effects they suspect are caused by inhaling VOCs should seek fresh air and consider contacting their health care provider or the Utah Poison Control Center at (800) 222-1222.

If the health effects are serious, it’s recommended that people call 9-1-1.

For more information on possible health impacts from gasoline, consult the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) fact sheet on gasoline health effects.

Sandy City Drinking Water Update

Drinking water

DEQ’s Division of Drinking Water (DDW) continues to evaluate drinking-water sample results from Sandy City. DDW Director Marie Owens issued the following update on February 24, 2019.

“As of February 23. 2019, Sandy City has submitted over 50 lab reports to the Division of Drinking Water containing approximately 1,544 sample results collected from a combination of 1,509 homes and schools.

The Division has identified five homes that needed further monitoring and/or mitigation. Sandy City is working with the residents in each of the five homes and will conduct additional monitoring in those homes until results meet drinking water standards.

Fluoride

The fluoride concentrations in all recent Sandy City samples are below, and therefore in compliance with, the federal maximum contaminant level. Sandy City will continue to work directly with the Salt Lake County Health Department to comply with fluoride sampling and reporting requirements.

Metals

Initially, two homes located in Zone 1 demonstrated a Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) exceedance for the following metals: arsenic, aluminum, and manganese. Sandy City worked with the residents of these homes to conduct flushing and re-sampling. Samples collected at these homes on February 21 and 22, 2019, demonstrate these metals have returned to compliance.

Lead and Copper

In the homes tested this past week, Sandy City’s water quality is currently meeting the requirements of the federal lead and copper regulations. However, sampling and analysis are not yet complete, and the Division continues to receive and review results.

In accordance with the Division’s requirements, Sandy City will continue to provide consumer notification to the resident of any home where a water sample exceeds a federal maximum  contaminant level and/or lead and copper action level and work to get the water in those homes into compliance with drinking water standards.”

Sandy City Residents

Sandy City residents can visit the Sandy City Public Utilities website for additional information, including: