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Water Quality Permitting

Facilities that produce, treat, dispose of or otherwise discharge waste water may need permits from the Division of Water Quality. The Environmental Protection Agency has delegated authority to Utah to administer its own water quality regulatory programs which EPA still runs in many other states.

Necessary Permits

Surface Water Discharge Permits

Discharging waste water to surface waters, including storm drains, requires a permit prior to beginning operations. Utah Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (UPDES) Permits are required for all industrial, municipal and federal facilities, except those on Indian lands.

Construction Permits

Facilities treating waste water may need construction permits unless they discharge into a municipal sanitary sewer system.

Indirect Discharges (to municipal sanitary sewers)

A State permit is needed to discharge into sewers if the municipality or sewer district does not have a state approved pre-treatment program or authority to issue its own permits.

Storm Water Permits

Discharge permits are required from most industries that discharge storm water runoff to surface waters such as lakes or streams. Storm water pollution prevention plans must be in place prior to application.

All construction activities that disturb one acre or more (clearing, grading and excavating) are required to obtain a UPDES Construction Stormwater Permit (mainly for sediment and erosion control).

Ground Water Permits Needed

Any facility that discharges or may discharge pollutants to ground water needs a permit. Major agricultural, municipal and industrial dischargers are regulated.

Underground Injection Control Permits

Regulations are designed to ensure contaminants do not escape from wells into aquifers. Wells used to inject fluids associated with the production of oil and natural gas or fluids used for enhanced hydrocarbon recovery are regulated by the Division of Oil, Gas and Mining. All others are regulated by the Division of Water Quality. Most injection wells are authorized by rule and do not need individual permits but must submit notification. The Division of Water Quality sets minimum construction, operating, monitoring, reporting, financial responsibility, closure and record keeping requirements for all permitted injection operations.

Process Overview

Contact the Division of Water Quality for information on permits needed and submit completed application forms. The Division issues a draft permit, seeks public comment in area newspapers, holds necessary public hearings and issues final permits.


Range from $500 to $10,800, depending upon type, size and complexity of proposed facility.

Time Required

Time needed for construction permits varies from 60 days to six months; 180 days for ground water permits and between 30 and 180 days for underground injection control permits.


Most permits are valid for five years with the exception of construction permits which do not expire.


DEQ Division of Water Quality
P.O. Box 144870
Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-4870
Telephone: (801) 538-6146
Fax: (801) 538-6016

Engineering Section Manager (kenhoffman@utah.gov)
For construction permits.

General Permitting Manager (jriley@utah.gov)

For stormwater and general UPDES permits.

Individual Permitting/Groundwater Section Manager (dhall@utah.gov)

For individual UPDES surface water discharge and groundwater permits.

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