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Utah Nonpoint Source Pollution (14-UT-a)

In Utah, nonpoint source pollution is now handled though the watershed approach. "Adding a watershed approach has been a logical step in the evolution of water resource management. Statewide watershed management is not a new program. It is a means of operating existing regulatory and nonregulatory programs more efficiently and effectively to protect, enhance, and restore the state's aquatic resources. Statewide watershed management, more aptly referred to as an approach, is created by establishing a framework or process to integrate existing programs statewide and coordinate their management activities geographically."

(See Utah Nonpoint Source Pollution Management Plan)

Any nonpoint source pollution requirements to which the project may be subject will be determined by the watershed in which the project is located.

Nonpoint Source Pollution Process

14-UT-a.1 - Will the Project Affect Impaired Waters?

The developer should consult with the Utah Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) if the developer will be developing a project that will affect an impaired water.

14-UT-a.2 - Consult with DEQ to Determine Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Requirements and Best Management Practices (BMP's)

Total Maximum Daily Load

A TMDL is described as “the amount of a given pollutant that can be allowed to enter a waterbody without causing the water quality standards to be exceeded.” According to the Sec. 303(d) of the Clean Water Act, TMDLs should be set to implement water quality standards given seasonal variations. Moreover, the Act mandates that a TMDL have a built-in margin of safety, set according to the degree of scientific uncertainty, and that the TMDLs be adjusted for the potential for pollution growth. These requirements are summed up by EPA in the following equation illustrating how these elements come together to set a TMDL: Allowable Pollutant Load = Wasteload Allocation + Load Allocation + Margin of Safety + Future Growth. TMDL regulations do not apply solely to toxic chemical inputs; they also apply to pollutants like excess sediment and temperature. Military activities that contribute to soil erosion (examples include runoff from a dirt or gravel road near a waterbody, or removing vegetation from riverbanks) have the potential to be regulated through a TMDL.

Best Management Practices

Best management practices (BMP's) may be defined as methods, measures, or combinations of measures that are determined by an agency after problem assessment to meet its nonpoint source (NPS) pollution control needs. They include, but are not limited to, structural and nonstructural controls and operation and maintenance procedures.

(See Utah Nonpoint Source Pollution Management, Pg.95)

14-UT-a.3 - Does Developer Wish to Implement Voluntary Nonpoint Source Pollution Controls or Activities?

Individuals, businesses, corporations, associations, private entity and government agencies are eligible for loans and grants.

Financial Assistance is intended to be used for activities within watersheds that:

  • address a critical water quality need;
  • protect human health;
  • improve environmental conditions that affect waters of the state;
  • provide environmental education;
  • provide incentives for project implementation;
  • pollution studies; and,
  • to augment other funding sources.

(See the Utah DEQ Website)

14-UT-a.4 - Determine Eligibility for Utah NPS Loans and Grants

See the Utah DEQ Website for grant, eligibility, and application information.

14-UT-a.5 - Comply with All Municipal or Local Nonpoint Source Pollution Control Ordinances Affecting the Project

Due to the DEQ's emphasis on watershed-specific nonpoint source pollution control, the developer should determine and comply with any local regulations or ordinances in the watershed.

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Contact Information


Edit Utah Department of Environmental Quality
Nonpoint Source Pollution Contact 801.536.4336 jbowcutt@utahabbazabbagov Visit Website