2022 State of the Environment

Report Highlights the Accomplishments of Each Division

2022 was a year of successes for the Department of Environmental Quality, including transformational investments in communities, quality of life improvements without additional regulation, strengthened partnerships and significant progress on projects decades in the making.  In our annual State of the Environment  Report, each Division looks back at the previous year and highlights some of  their major accomplishments.

Here are just some of the Division success stories from 2022:

Division of Air Quality

The Division of Air Quality (DAQ) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) joined forces to conduct inspections of numerous oil and gas facilities in the Uinta Basin. The inspections found violations of environmental laws, resulting in DAQ and EPA issuing joint notices of violations against the companies. These violations were ultimately settled in 2022 for $3 million. Utah received $1.5 million of that funding, and put $1.2 million into the Environmental Mitigation Fund to disburse for projects that will improve air quality in the Uinta Basin. 

The Division partnered with the Tri-County Health Department to identify and prioritize projects that will improve air quality and overall quality of life in the Basin. These projects include the construction of a trail to Vernal Elementary School that will improve safety while minimizing idling and carpool lines, installing additional EV fast charging stations in the area, and funding 10 electric school buses that will replace diesel buses in the Uinta School District.

Division of Drinking Water

In 2022, the Division of Drinking Water (DDW) responded to 50 drinking water emergencies, including boil orders in Pleasant Grove, a severed water line in West Jordan, and drought and fire-related shortages in Stockton.

DDW is working with Stockton to develop new water sources and improve the existing water supply after a significant decrease over the past few years. Due to Utah’s drought, the springs that provide Stockton with their main source of drinking water have dropped from 16 active springs to less than six active springs.

DDW inspected Stockton’s water treatment system and made recommendations on how to improve it. In order to improve water sources, Stockton has applied for financial help through grants and loans offered by DDW. 

Through collaboration with the Utah Drinking Water Board, funding was secured to provide full-time power to Stockton’s emergency well.

Division of Environmental Response and Remediation 

Over twenty years after it was listed as a Superfund site by the EPA, cleanup began at the Jacobs Smelter Superfund site in Stockton. The project was made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) funding. The funds will provide critical cleanup and work to protect human and environmental health.

“This funding will help us better protect the health and environment of those who live and work in Stockton,” said Utah Department of Environmental Quality Executive Director Kim Shelley. “Addressing contamination at Jacobs Smelter is long overdue, and we look forward to making a lasting difference in this community by completing the cleanup process.”

Lead and arsenic contaminated surface and subsurface soils will be removed from the Waterman Smelter area of the Jacobs Smelter site. Cleanup is expected to be completed in Fall of 2023.

Division of Waste Management and Radiation Control

For almost 20 years, the Division of Waste Management and Radiation Control worked with Ninigret Construction to remediate and redevelop a 405-acre property that was contaminated from chemical and petroleum refining into a thriving industrial business park. 

Phased cleanups transformed the site into a major center for distribution and manufacturing, with businesses such as food & beverage production, electrical products, and construction equipment. Tenants of the remediated property employ over 1,300 people and generate approximately $314 million in annual sales. 

The transformation of this site is a result of the cooperation and long-term commitment for success between industry and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act Corrective Action (RCRA) program.

Division of Water Quality

Over the past 30 years, Millville City’s Glenridge Well suffered contamination from individual septic tank systems. This was evidenced by an increase in nitrate concentrations in the well from 3.3 mg/L to 8.8 mg/L. High levels of nitrates in water can be dangerous to human health, especially infants.

This nitrate increase required the construction of a new sewerage system and connection to Hyrum City’s water reclamation plant. 

New sewer systems are challenging projects to implement due to high costs, affordability concerns from the community, trade labor shortages, and supply chain issues. The total project cost is $30,060,000. 

To address cost concerns, the Water Quality Board partnered with the US Department of Agriculture-Rural Development (USDA-RD) to bring this project in at an affordable monthly rate of $88.97 for Millville residents. 

When complete, the Millville sewer project will result in lasting regional sewer service, a healthy, vibrant community, with long term protection of the critical drinking water supply on which the town depends and grows.

Read the full 2022 State of the Environment report, Division’s 2022 metrics, and partner quotes.

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