DAR File No. 39397

This rule was published in the October 15, 2015, issue (Vol. 2015, No. 20) of the Utah State Bulletin.

Environmental Quality, Water Quality

Rule R317-2

Standards of Quality for Waters of the State

Change in Proposed Rule

DAR File No.: 39397
Filed: 09/28/2015 08:47:11 AM


Purpose of the rule or reason for the change:

Subsection R317-2-7(7.1)(c) and Section R317-2-14, Table 2.14.1 were revised in response to comments received during the comment period.

Summary of the rule or change:

The previously proposed addition to Subsection R317-2-7(7.1)(c) regarding background pollutant levels that affect waters statewide was deleted. The statistical methodology applied to develop the site-specific total dissolved solids criteria for Blue Creek and Blue Creek Reservoir in Section R317-2-14, Table 2.14.1, Footnote 4, were revised resulting in the daily maximum being lowered from 7,200 mg/l to 4,900 mg/l and from 7,500 mg/l to 6,300 mg/l for the summer season and winter seasons, respectively. The daily maximum total dissolved solids site-specific criteria for Blue Creek Reservoir was revised from 2,200 mg/l to 2,100 mg/l. The changes in statistical methodologies affected the validity of the assessment comparison values for the 30-day average total dissolved solids criteria and the comparison values were deleted. (DAR NOTE: This change in proposed rule has been filed to make additional changes to a proposed amendment that was published in the June 1, 2015, issue of the Utah State Bulletin, on page 98. Underlining in the rule below indicates text that has been added since the publication of the proposed rule mentioned above; strike-out indicates text that has been deleted. You must view the change in proposed rule and the proposed amendment together to understand all of the changes that will be enforceable should the agency make this rule effective.)

State statutory or constitutional authorization for this rule:

  • Section 19-5-105
  • FWPCA, 33 U.S.C, Sec. 1251, 1311-1317, 1329
  • Section 19-5-110

Anticipated cost or savings to:

the state budget:

The previously proposed changes to Subsection R317-2-7(7.1)(c) and Section R317-2-14, Table R317-2-14, Table 2.14.1, Footnote 4, were estimated to result in an average cost savings of $0 to $15,000 per year for the state. The proposed change in rule for Subsection R317-2-7(7.1)(c) was deleted and therefore, any unrealized savings could result in an increase in costs. The proposed change in rule for Section R317-2-14, Table R317-2-14.1, Footnote 4, are anticipated to be cost neutral although there is a small increase in the likelihood of false positive impairment decisions which could result in additional costs in staff resources. These costs would be associated with an estimated 40 hours of staff time or less than $1,000 to resolve.

local governments:

No cost increases or savings are anticipated for local governments because the changes to Subsection R317-2-7(7.1)(c) affect water quality assessments which do not directly affect local governments. The changes to the Blue Creek site-specific total dissolved criteria similarly only affect water quality assessments and permitted discharges which do not include local governments.

small businesses:

No cost increases or savings are anticipated for small businesses because the changes to Subsection R317-2-7(7.1)(c) affect water quality assessments which do not directly affect the costs for any small businesses. The changes to the Blue Creek site-specific total dissolved criteria similarly only affect water quality assessments and permitted discharges to Blue Creek which do not include any small businesses.

persons other than small businesses, businesses, or local governmental entities:

No cost increases or savings are anticipated for other persons because the changes to Subsection R317-2-7(7.1)(c) affect water quality assessments which do not directly affect the costs for the persons defined. Based on information provided by the permitted discharger to Blue Creek, the changes to Section R317-2-14, Table R317-2-1, Footnote 4, for the Blue Creek site-specific total dissolved criteria will not result in increased costs.

Compliance costs for affected persons:

Cost impacts were only identified for state staff resources and these are estimated to be $0 to $15,000 year in unrealized savings. There are no plans to pass those costs on to affected persons as compliance costs.

Comments by the department head on the fiscal impact the rule may have on businesses:

I see no fiscal impact on businesses because of this change in the rule.

Alan Matheson, Executive Director

The full text of this rule may be inspected, during regular business hours, at the Division of Administrative Rules, or at:

Environmental Quality
Water QualityRoom DEQ, Third Floor
195 N 1950 W

Direct questions regarding this rule to:

  • Judy Etherington at the above address, by phone at 801-536-4344, by FAX at 801-536-4301, or by Internet E-mail at jetherington@utah.gov

Interested persons may present their views on this rule by submitting written comments to the address above no later than 5:00 p.m. on:

This rule may become effective on:


Authorized by:

Walter Baker, Director


R317. Environmental Quality, Water Quality.

R317-2. Standards of Quality for Waters of the State.


. . . . . . .


R317-2-7. Water Quality Standards.

7.1 Application of Standards

a. The numeric criteria listed in R317-2-14 shall apply to each of the classes assigned to waters of the State as specified in R317-2-6. It shall be unlawful and a violation of these rules for any person to discharge or place any wastes or other substances in such manner as may interfere with designated uses protected by assigned classes or to cause any of the applicable standards to be violated, except as provided in R317-1-3.1.

b. At a minimum, assessment of the beneficial use support for waters of the state will be conducted biennially and available for a 30-day period of public comment and review. Monitoring locations and target indicators of water quality standards shall be prioritized and published yearly. For water quality assessment purposes, up to 10 percent of the representative samples may exceed the minimum or maximum criteria for dissolved oxygen, pH, E. coli, total dissolved solids, and temperature, including situations where such criteria have been adopted on a site-specific basis.

c. Site-specific standards may be adopted by rulemaking where biomonitoring data, bioassays, or other scientific analyses indicate that the statewide criterion is over or under protective of the designated uses or where natural or un-alterable conditions or other factors as defined in 40 CFR 131.10(g) prevent the attainment of the statewide criteria as prescribed in Subsections R317-2-7.2, and R317-2-7.3, and Section R317-2-14.[When it is determined that natural background level of a pollutant is less stringent than the otherwise applicable criterion, the water quality criterion will be equal to the natural background concentration.]

7.2 Narrative Standards

It shall be unlawful, and a violation of these rules, for any person to discharge or place any waste or other substance in such a way as will be or may become offensive such as unnatural deposits, floating debris, oil, scum or other nuisances such as color, odor or taste; or cause conditions which produce undesirable aquatic life or which produce objectionable tastes in edible aquatic organisms; or result in concentrations or combinations of substances which produce undesirable physiological responses in desirable resident fish, or other desirable aquatic life, or undesirable human health effects, as determined by bioassay or other tests performed in accordance with standard procedures; or determined by biological assessments in Subsection R317-2-7.3.

7.3 Biological Water Quality Assessment and Criteria

Waters of the State shall be free from human-induced stressors which will degrade the beneficial uses as prescribed by the biological assessment processes and biological criteria set forth below:

a. Quantitative biological assessments may be used to assess whether the purposes and designated uses identified in R317-2-6 are supported.

b. The results of the quantitative biological assessments may be used for purposes of water quality assessment, including, but not limited to, those assessments required by 303(d) and 305(b) of the federal Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1313(d) and 1315(b)).

c. Quantitative biological assessments shall use documented methods that have been subject to technical review and produce consistent, objective and repeatable results that account for methodological uncertainty and natural environmental variability.

d. If biological assessments reveal a biologically degraded water body, specific pollutants responsible for the degradation will not be formally published (i.e., Biennial Integrated Report, TMDL) until a thorough evaluation of potential causes, including nonchemical stressors (e.g., habitat degradation or hydrological modification or criteria described in 40 CFR 131.10 (g)(1 - 6) as defined by the Use Attainability Analysis process), has been conducted.


. . . . . . .


R317-2-14. Numeric Criteria.


TABLE 2.14.1

Parameter           Domestic       Recreation and    Agri-
                     Source          Aesthetics      culture
                           1C        2A     2B         4
MEAN) (NO.)/100 ML)  (7)
E. coli                   206       126    206

     (NO.)/100 ML)  (7)
E. coli                   668       409    668


     pH (RANGE)            6.5-9.0   6.5-9.0  6.5-9.0  6.5-9.0
     Turbidity Increase
       (NTU)                         10       10

     MG/L) (2)
     Arsenic               0.01                        0.1
     Barium                1.0
     Beryllium             <0.004
     Cadmium               0.01                        0.01
     Chromium              0.05                        0.10
     Copper                                            0.2
     Lead                  0.015                       0.1
     Mercury               0.002
     Selenium              0.05                        0.05
     Silver                0.05

     Bromate               0.01
     Boron                                             0.75
     Chlorite              <1.0
     Fluoride (3)          1.4-2.4
     Nitrates as N         10
     Total Dissolved
       Solids (4)                                      1200
     (MAXIMUM pCi/L)
     Gross Alpha           15                          15
     Gross Beta            4 mrem/yr     Radium 226, 228
       (Combined)          5
     Strontium 90          8
     Tritium               20000
     Uranium               30


     2,4-D                 70
     2,4,5-TP              10     Methoxychlor          40


     BOD (MG/L)                      5        5       5
     Nitrate as N (MG/L)             4        4
     Total Phosphorus as P
       (MG/L)(6)                     0.05     0.05

     (1)  Reserved
     (2)  The dissolved metals method involves filtration of the
sample in the field, acidification of the sample in the field, no
digestion process in the laboratory, and analysis by approved
laboratory methods for the required detection levels.
     (3)  Maximum concentration varies according to the daily
maximum mean air temperature.

     TEMP (C)       MG/L

     12.0           2.4
     12.1-14.6      2.2
     14.7-17.6      2.0
     17.7-21.4      1.8
     21.5-26.2      1.6
     26.3-32.5      1.4


Blue Creek and tributaries, Box Elder County, from Bear River Bay,
Great Salt Lake to Blue Creek Reservoir:
March through October daily maximum [7,200]4,900 mg/l and an average of
3,800 mg/l; November through February daily maximum [7,500]6,300 mg/l and
an average of 4,700 mg/l. Assessments will be based on TDS
concentrations measured at the location of STORET 4960740.[ At least
10 samples are required to assess compliance with the average
criterion. If the sample average for samples collected from March
through October is equal to or less than 4,100 mg/l and the sample
average for samples collected from November through February is equal
to or less than 5,300 mg/l, the average criteria are met. Alternative
scientifically defensible assessment methods may be applied for
assessing the average criteria.

Blue Creek Reservoir and tributaries, Box Elder County,
daily maximum [2,200]2,100 mg/l

Castle Creek from confluence with the Colorado River to Seventh
Day Adventist Diversion: 1,800 mg/l;

Cottonwood Creek from the confluence with Huntington Creek to I-57:
3,500 mg/l;

Ferron Creek from the confluence with San Rafael River to Highway
10: 3,500 mg/l;

Huntington Creek and tributaries from the confluence with
Cottonwood Creek to U-10: 4,800 mg/l;

Ivie Creek and its tributaries from the confluence with Muddy Creek
to the confluence with Quitchupah Creek:
3,800 mg/l provided that total sulfate not exceed 2,000 mg/l to
protect the livestock watering agricultural existing use;

Ivie Creek and its tributaries from the confluence with Quitchupah
Creek to U10: 2,600 mg/l;

Lost Creek from the confluence with Sevier River to U.S. Forest
Service Boundary: 4,600 mg/l;

Muddy Creek and tributaries from the confluence with Ivie Creek
toU-10: 2,600 mg/l;

Muddy Creek from confluence with Fremont River to confluence with
Ivie Creek: 5,800 mg/l;

North Creek from the confluence with Virgin River to headwaters:
2,035 mg/l;

Onion Creek from the confluence with Colorado River to road
crossing above Stinking Springs: 3000 mg/l;

Brine Creek-Petersen Creek, from the confluence with the Sevier
River to U-119 Crossing: 9,700 mg/l;

Price River and tributaries from confluence with Green River to
confluence with Soldier Creek: 3,000 mg/l;

Price River and tributaries from the confluence with Soldier
Creek to Carbon Canal Diversion: 1,700 mg/l

Quitchupah Creek from the confluence with Ivie Creek to U-10:
3,800 mg/l provided that total sulfate not exceed
2,000 mg/l to protect the livestock watering agricultural
existing use;
Rock Canyon Creek from the confluence with Cottonwood Creek to
headwaters: 3,500 mg/l;

San Pitch River from below Gunnison Reservoir to the Sevier River:
2,400 mg/l;

San Rafael River from the confluence with the Green River to
Buckhorn Crossing: 4,100 mg/l;

San Rafael River from the Buckhorn Crossing to the confluence with
Huntington Creek and Cottonwood Creek: 3,500 mg/l;

Sevier River between Gunnison Bend Reservoir and DMAD Reservoir:
1,725 mg/l;

Sevier River from Gunnison Bend Reservoir to Clear Lake: 3,370

South Fork Spring Creek from confluence with Pelican Pond
Slough Stream to US 89                 1,450 mg/l (Apr.-Sept.)
                                       1,950 mg/l (Oct.-March)

Virgin River from the Utah/Arizona border to Pah Tempe Springs:
2,360 mg/l

     (5)  Investigations should be conducted to develop more
information where these pollution indicator levels are exceeded.
     (6)  Total Phosphorus as P (mg/l) indicator for
lakes and reservoirs shall be 0.025.
     (7) Where the criteria are exceeded and there is a reasonable
basis for concluding that the indicator bacteria E. coli are
primarily from natural sources (wildlife), e.g., in National
Wildlife Refuges and State Waterfowl Management Areas, the criteria
may be considered attained provided the density attributable to
non-wildlife sources is less than the criteria. Exceedences of
E. coli from nonhuman nonpoint sources will generally be addressed
through appropriate Federal, State, and local nonpoint source programs.
     Measurement of E. coli using the "Quanti-Tray 2000" procedure
is approved as a field analysis. Other EPA approved methods may
also be used.
     For water quality assessment purposes, up to 10% of
representative samples may exceed the 668 per 100 ml criterion
(for 1C and 2B waters) and 409 per 100 ml (for 2A waters). For
small datasets, where exceedences of these criteria are
observed, follow-up ambient monitoring should be conducted to
better characterize water quality.


. . . . . . .


KEY: water pollution, water quality standards

Date of Enactment or Last Substantive Amendment: 2015

Notice of Continuation: October 2, 2012

Authorizing, and Implemented or Interpreted Law: 19-5; FWPCA 33 U.S.C. Sec. 1251, 1311-1317, 1329


Additional Information

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For questions regarding the content or application of this rule, please contact Judy Etherington at the above address, by phone at 801-536-4344, by FAX at 801-536-4301, or by Internet E-mail at jetherington@utah.gov.  For questions about the rulemaking process, please contact the Division of Administrative Rules.