Highlands Water Company Inc. Water Quality Updates
Morgan County

The Division of Drinking Water continues to work with the Highlands Water Company Inc. Water System (15005) in Morgan County to respond to the residents’ concerns regarding the quality of drinking water.

The Division hosted a virtual town hall meeting on April 6, 2021, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM (Highlands Water Company Inc. Town Hall Meeting Recording) and explained to the residents the need for sampling during the spring runoff season.

With the assistance of the residents and cooperation from the Highlands, the Division analyzed the sample results, and the outcome was explained to the water system on June 3, 2021 (2021 Spring Update Highland Water Company analysis slides (2 MB)).

The Division and Highlands are meeting monthly to review data and discuss optimized operations to improve the quality of water for the residents.

The Division encourages the concerned residents to contact the Highlands at (801) 876-2510 regarding the quality of drinking water, so they can respond in a timely manner. In an event you are unable to reach the Company, please contact the Division.


The Utah Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) Division of Drinking Water (DDW) is addressing reported issues with culinary water at The Highland Subdivision in Morgan County. In Spring 2020, customers reported discolored water in their homes. As a result, DDW required the water system to collect additional water samples.

These additional water samples were collected from homes in the subdivision as well as from the springs that serve as the water source for the system. The samples were analyzed for bacteria, lead, copper, iron, manganese, pH, and alkalinity. A summary of sample results can be found in the “Sample Data Summary” section on this page.

Elevated copper levels were detected in six out of 20 samples collected from homes during the months of May, June, and July 2020. The elevated results ranged from 1.31 mg/L to 1.91 mg/L. The EPA Action Level for Copper is 1.30 mg/L. Consuming water with copper concentrations above the EPA’s Action Level may cause negative health effects. See the “Health Effects of Copper” section below for more information.

In June 2020, DDW required the water system to issue a public notice to all customers due to high copper results. Find the public notice here (2 MB).

What Customers Can Do

If customers are curious about the levels of copper, lead, or other contaminants at their specific residence, they should have their water tested by a certified laboratory (132 KB). Customers should be aware that water quality can vary from one residence to another based on several factors, including the type of plumbing materials in each residence. Customers should consult with their physician if they have questions about their personal exposure to certain contaminants and any associated health effects.

Health Effects of Copper

Copper is a mineral and natural component in soils. In the correct amounts, it is an essential nutrient for humans and plants. Copper is widely distributed within the tissues of the body but accumulates primarily in the liver and kidneys.

The primary short-term health effect of excessive copper exposure is GI distress. Long-term health effects include liver and kidney damage. A single dose of 15 mg/L of copper can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and intestinal cramps. Severe cases of copper poisoning can lead to anemia and disruption of liver and kidney functions. Individuals with Wilson’s or Menke’s diseases are at higher risk from copper exposure.

Copper in drinking water normally comes from household plumbing rather than from the water system sources. Copper enters drinking water when plumbing materials containing copper (such as copper pipes or other components) react with water as it passes through. In addition to the amount of copper-containing materials present in a building, the chemistry of the water being delivered to the building plays an important role in the amount of copper that may be released into the drinking water.

Sample Data Summary (January 2020 – February 2021)

  • Lead and Copper Sampling
    • 23 lead and copper samples were collected from homes in December 2020
      • 0 copper samples were above the Action Level of 1.30 mg/L
      • 0 lead samples were above the Action Level of 0.015 mg/L
    • 20 lead and copper samples were collected from homes in Spring 2020
      • 6 copper samples were above the Action Level of 1.30 mg/L
      • 0 lead samples were above the Action Level of 0.015 mg/L
  • 107 Total Coliform samples were collected
    • 21 were positive for Total Coliform; 4 were also positive for E. coli
      • 20 of the 21 positive Total Coliform samples (including the 3 samples that were positive for E. coli) were collected from springs that serve as water sources
      • 1 positive Total Coliform sample was collected at a residence
  • 92 iron samples were collected
    • 6 iron samples were above the Secondary Maximum Contaminant Level of 0.3 mg/L
      • 5 of the elevated iron samples were collected from a water source
      • 1 elevated iron sample was collected from a residence
  • 92 manganese samples were collected
    • 0 manganese samples were above the Maximum Contaminant Level of 0.10 mg/L or the Health Advisory Level of 0.05 mg/L

Level 2 Assessment

  • On September 24, 2020, the Division conducted a Level 2 assessment to identify deficiencies of the system: Level 2 Assessment Report (298 KB)

DDW Permitting

The Permitting Section of the DDW reviews all plans and specifications for compliance with the applicable Safe Drinking Water regulations (Utah Annotated Code R309-500).

All public drinking water projects must receive DDW Plan Approval (construction permit) and Operating Permit before being placed into service. R309-500-5(1)(a) defines a drinking water project as any construction, addition, modification of a drinking water facility that may affect the quality or quantity of water delivered.

Highland Subdivision is compliant with the Permitting Section of DDW regarding all of their drinking water projects. All Permitting Section documents with Division Approval can be found using our EZ Search tool.