The Division of Drinking Water (DDW) protects drinking water by supporting the safe design and operation of Utah’s public drinking water systems. Its goal is to provide safe drinking water at every tap in every building in Utah. The Division does this by working cooperatively with drinking water professionals and the public to ensure a safe and reliable supply of drinking water. DDW responsibilities include:
- Inspection of water facilities
- Initiation of enforcement actions
- Review of engineering and source protection plans
- Issuance approvals and operation permits for drinking water systems
- Construction funding and technical assistance for drinking water systems
- Response to emergencies affecting drinking water
- Oversight of cross-connection programs
Drinking Water Populations
Served Public Water Systems
A Public Water System (PWS) is a publicly or privately owned system that provides water for human consumption to 15 or more connections or regularly serves 25 or more people daily at least 60 days out of the year. A PWS can be a large municipal water supplier, a small rural system, a housing community, business, restaurant, or even a school that provides water. These systems provide water through the collection, treatment, storage, or distribution facilities under the control of the operator or collection, pretreatment, or storage facilities used primarily in connection with the system but not under the operator’s control.
Public water systems are divided into three categories based on how often people consume the water delivered by the system:
- Community Water Systems (CWS) are city or county water systems, regulated utilities, regional water systems, and small water companies.
- Non-transient Non-community water systems (NTNCWS) include schools, businesses, and churches that provide their own water. While people may consume the drinking water regularly, they do not live there.
- Transient Non-community water systems (TNCWS) include rural gas stations, restaurants, RV parks, campgrounds, and convenience stores that provide their own potable water source. Most people that consume the water don’t live there or regularly spend time there.
Water Infrastructure Funding
The Division of Drinking Water (DDW) financial assistance programs help with the costs of ensuring safe drinking water supplies, particularly in smaller communities. DDW administers two financial assistance programs: the state revolving fund (SRF) and the federal state revolving fund (DWSRF). The state revolving fund program provides funding to political subdivisions such as cities, towns, and districts. Federal SRF funds are available for privately and publicly owned community water systems and nonprofit, non-community water systems.
State SRF assistance helps water systems plan, design, build and/or repair drinking water system infrastructure, much of it in rural areas of the state. Financial assistance is also available for engineering studies and master plans to determine community needs and identify the best alternatives to correct system problems.
Success Story: Over a Quarter-million More Utah Residents Served by a Compliant Drinking Water System in 2019
Improved communication, streamlined processes, and consistent follow-up by the Division of Drinking Water (DDW) over the past year have yielded impressive results: over 300,000 more residents are served by drinking water systems in compliance with the rules that protect public health.
DDW, DEQ District Engineers, and local health departments conduct inspections on public water systems at least every three years. Systems are evaluated against drinking water rules and water system rating criteria.
DDW staff searched for ways to identify, document, and follow-up with drinking water systems to help them come into compliance after inspections showed deficiencies. Every staff member in the Division contributed to this effort, particularly the Rules, Permitting, and Technical Assistance sections. DDW undertook a massive effort to consolidate and clean up data that ultimately provided them with a clearer picture of systems than still remained out of compliance after inspections.
The new process emphasizes greater staff interaction with systems, discussion with operators about deficiencies identified during inspections, and the education and tools needed to self-correct issues quickly and effectively. More frequent follow-up ensures that systems address and remedy problems in a timely manner.