Utah Administrative Code

The Utah Administrative Code is the body of all effective administrative rules as compiled and organized by the Division of Administrative Rules (see Subsection 63G-3-102(5); see also Sections 63G-3-701 and 702).

NOTE: For a list of rules that have been made effective since January 1, 2020, please see the codification segue page.

NOTE TO RULEFILING AGENCIES: Use the RTF version for submitting rule changes.

R309. Environmental Quality, Drinking Water.

Rule R309-530. Facility Design and Operation: Alternative Surface Water Treatment Methods.

As in effect on January 1, 2020

Table of Contents

R309-530-1. Purpose.

This rule specifies requirements for alternative surface water treatment methods. It is intended to be applied in conjunction with rules R309-500 through R309-550. Collectively, these rules govern the design, construction, operation and maintenance of public drinking water system facilities. These rules are intended to assure that such facilities are reliably capable of supplying adequate quantities of water which consistently meet applicable drinking water quality requirements and do not pose a threat to general public health.

R309-530-2. Authority.

This rule is promulgated by the Drinking Water Board as authorized by Title 19, Environmental Quality Code, Chapter 4, Safe Drinking Water Act, Subsection 104(1)(a)(ii) of the Utah Code and in accordance with Title 63G, Chapter 3 of the same, known as the Administrative Rulemaking Act.

R309-530-3. Definitions.

Definitions for certain terms used in this rule are given in R309-110 but may be further clarified herein.

R309-530-4. General.

(1) Alternative Methods.

In addition to conventional surface water treatment method (i.e. coagulation, sedimentation and filtration as outlined in R309-525), several alternative methods may also be suitable. They are: Direct Filtration; Slow Sand Filtration; Membrane Filtration; and Diatomaceous Earth Filtration.

(2) Incorporation of Other Rules.

For each process described in this section pertinent rules are given. The designer shall also incorporate the relevant rules given in other sections into the plans and specifications for any of these specialized treatment methods. Where applicable, the following topics shall be addressed:

(a) Plant Siting (see R309-525-6).

(b) Pre-design Submittal (see R309-515-5(2)).

(c) Plant Reliability (see R309-525-7).

(d) Color Coding and Pipe Marking (see R309-525-8).

(e) Chemical Addition (see R309-525-11).

(f) Miscellaneous Plant Facilities (see R309-525-17, particularly sub-section R309-525-17(1), Laboratory).

(g) Operation and Maintenance Manuals (see R309-525-19).

(h) Safety (see R309-525-21).

(i) Disposal of Treatment Plant Waste (see R309-525-23).

(j) Disinfection (see R309-520).

R309-530-5. Direct Filtration.

(1) Chemical Addition and Mixing.

Direct Filtration is conventional surface water treatment without the sedimentation process. Rules for Chemical Addition and Mixing shall be the same as found in sections R309-525-11 and R309-525-12.

(2) Source Water Quality.

Direct Filtration applies the destabilized colloids to the filter rather than removing the majority of the load through sedimentation. While this process represents considerable construction cost savings, the source water must have low average turbidity in order to provide reliable service without excessive backwash requirements. Source water with low average turbidity is generally only obtained from large capacity reservoirs.

(3) Design Requirements.

The following requirements shall apply to Direct Filtration plants:

(a) At least one year's record of source water turbidity, sampled at least once per week, shall be presented to the Director. A Direct Filtration facility will only be permitted if the data shows that 75% of the measurements are below five (5) NTU. The Director shall judge whether Direct Filtration is suitable given the quality of the proposed source water (see R309-515-5(2)(a)(ii)).

(b) Pilot plant studies, acceptable to the Director, shall be conducted prior to the preparation of final engineering plans.

(c) Requirements for flash mix and flocculation basin design are given in sub-sections R309-525-12(1) and R309-525-12(2).

(d) Chemical addition and mixing equipment shall be designed to be capable of providing a visible, but not necessarily settleable, floc.

(e) Surface wash, subsurface wash, or air scour shall be provided for the filters in accordance with sub-section R309-525-15(7).

(f) A continuous monitoring turbidimeter shall be installed on each filter effluent line and shall be of a type with at least two alarm conditions capable of meeting the requirements of subsections R309-525-15(4)(b)(vi) or R309-525-15(4)(c)(vii). The combined plant effluent shall be equipped with a continuous turbidimeter having a chart recorder. Additional monitoring equipment to assist in control of the coagulant dose may be required (i.e. streaming current gauges, particle counters, etc.) if the plant cannot consistently meet the requirements of rule R309-200.

(g) In addition to the alarm conditions required above, the plant shall be designed and operated so that the plant will automatically shut down when a source water turbidity of 20 NTU lasts longer than three hours, or when the source water turbidity exceeds 30 NTU at any time.

(h) The plant design and land ownership surrounding the plant shall allow for the installation of conventional sedimentation basins. Sedimentation basins may be required if the Director determines the plant is failing to meet minimum water quality or performance standards.

R309-530-6. Slow Sand Filtration.

(1) Acceptability.

Slow sand filtration means a process involving passage of raw water through a bed of sand at low velocity resulting in substantial particle removal by physical and biological mechanisms. The acceptability of slow sand filters as a substitute for "conventional surface water treatment" facilities (detailed in R309-525) shall be determined by the Director based on suitability of the source water and demand characteristics of the system.

(2) Source Water Quality.

The Director may impose design requirements in addition to those listed herein, in allowing this process. The following shall be considered, among other factors, in determining whether slow sand filtration will be acceptable:

(a) Source water turbidity must be low and consistent. Slow Sand Filtration shall be utilized only when the source waters have turbidity less than 50 NTU and color less than 30 units (see R309-515-5(2)(a)).

(b) The nature of the turbidity particles shall be considered. Turbidity must not be attributable to colloidal clay.

(c) The nature and extent of algae growths in the raw water shall be considered. Algae must not be a species considered as filter and screen-clogging algae as indicated in "Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater" prepared and published jointly by American Public Health Association, American Water Works Association, and Water Environment Federation. High concentrations of algae in the raw water can cause short filter runs; the amount of algae, expressed as the concentration of chlorophyll "a" in the raw water shall not exceed 0.005 mg/l.

(3) Pilot Plant Studies.

The Director shall allow the use of Slow Sand Filtration only when the supplier's engineering studies show that the slow sand facility can consistently produce an effluent meeting the quality requirements of rule R309-200. The Director should be consulted prior to the detailed design of a slow sand facility.

(4) Operation.

Effluent from a Slow Sand Filtration facility shall not be introduced into a public water supply until an active biological mat has been created on the filter.

(5) Design requirements.

The following design parameters shall apply to each Slow Sand Filtration plant:

(a) At least three filter units shall be provided. Where only three units are provided, any two shall be capable of meeting the plant's design capacity (normally the projected "peak daily flow") at the approved filtration rate. Where more than three filter units are provided, the filters shall be capable of meeting the plant design capacity at the approved filtration rate with any one filter removed from service.

(b) All filters shall be protected to prevent freezing. If covered by a structure, enough headroom shall exist to permit normal movement by operating personnel for scraping and sand removal operations. There shall be adequate manholes and access ports for the handling of sand. An overflow at the maximum filter water level shall be provided.

(c) The permissible rates of filtration shall be determined by the quality of the source water and shall be determined by experimental data derived during pilot studies conducted on the source water. Filtration rates of 0.03 gpm/sf to 0.1 gpm/sf shall be acceptable (equivalent to two to six million gallons per day per acre). Somewhat higher rates may be acceptable when demonstrated to the satisfaction of the Director.

(d) Each filter unit shall be equipped with a main drain and an adequate number of lateral underdrains to collect the filtered water. The underdrains shall be so spaced that the maximum velocity of the water flow in the underdrain will not exceed 0.75 fps. The maximum spacing of the laterals shall not exceed three feet if pipe laterals are used.

(e) Filter sand shall be placed on graded gravel layers for an initial filter sand depth of 30 inches. A minimum of 24 inches of filter sand shall be present, even after scraping. The effective size of the filter sand shall be between 0.30 mm and 0.45 mm in diameter. The filter sand uniformity coefficient shall not exceed 2.5. Further, the sand shall throughly washed and found to be clean and free from foreign matter.

(f) A three-inch layer of well rounded sand shall be used as a supporting media for filter sand. It shall have an effective size of 0.8 mm to 2.0 mm in diameter and the uniformity coefficient shall not be greater than 1.7.

(g) A supporting gravel media shall be provided. It shall consist of hard, durable, rounded silica particles and shall not include flat or elongated particles. The coarsest gravel shall be 2.5 inches in size when the gravel rests directly on the strainer system, and must extend above the top of the perforated laterals. Not less than four layers of gravel shall be provided in accordance with the following size and depth distribution when used with perforated laterals:

                                                  TABLE 530-1

            Size                    Depth
    2 1/2 to 1 1/2 inches           5 to 8 inches
    1 1/2 to 3/4 inches             3 to 5 inches
    3/4 to 1/2 inches               3 to 5 inches
    1/2 to 3/16 inches              2 to 3 inches
    3/16 to 3/32 inches             2 to 3 inches

Reduction of gravel depths may be considered upon justification to the Director when proprietary filter bottoms are specified.

(h) Slow sand filters shall be designed to provide a depth of at least three to five feet of water over the sand.

(i) Each filter shall be equipped with: a loss of head gauge; an orifice, venturi meter, or other suitable metering device installed on each filter to control the rate of filtration; and an effluent pipe designed to maintain the water level above the top of the filter sand.

(j) Disinfection of the effluent of Slow Sand Filtration plants will be required.

(k) A filter-to-waste provision shall be included.

(l) Electrical power shall be available at the plant site.

R309-530-7. Diatomaceous Earth Filtration.

The use of Diatomaceous Earth Filtration units may be considered for application to surface waters with low turbidity and low bacterial contamination, and additionally may be used for iron removal for groundwaters of low quality, providing the removal is effective and the water is of sanitary quality before treatment.

The acceptability of Diatomaceous Earth Filtration as a substitute for "conventional surface water treatment" facilities (detailed in rule R309-525) shall be determined by the Director. Determination may be based on the level of support previously exhibited by the public water system management along with a finding by the Director that "conventional surface water treatment" or other methods herein described are too costly or unacceptable.

Diatomaceous Earth Filtration consists of a process to remove particles from water wherein a precoat cake of diatomaceous earth filter media is deposited on a support membrane (septum), and while the water is filtered by passing through the cake on the septum, additional filter media known as body feed is continuously added to the source water to maintain the permeability of the filter cake. Diatomite filters are characterized by rigorous operating requirements, high operating costs, and increased sludge production.

Part 4, Section 4.2.3, Diatomaceous Earth Filtration, in the Recommended Standards for Water Works (commonly known as "Ten State Standards"), 2007 edition is hereby incorporated by reference and compliance with those standards shall be required for the design and operation of diatomaceous earth filtration facilities. This document is published by the Great Lakes-Upper Mississippi River Board of Public Health and Environmental Managers. A copy is available in the office of the Division for reference.

R309-530-8. Membrane Technology.

(1) Acceptability.

Surface waters, or groundwater under the direct influence of surface water (UDI), may be treated using membrane technology (microfiltration, ultrafiltration, nanofiltration) coupled with "primary and secondary disinfection."

(2) Pilot Plant Study.

Because this is a relatively new technology, appropriate investigation shall be conducted by the public water system to assure that the process will produce the required quality of water at a cost which can be borne by the public water system consumers. A pilot plant study shall be conducted prior to the commencement of design. The study must be conducted in accordance with EPA's Environmental Technology Verification Program (ETV) or the protocol and treated water parameters must be approved prior to conducting any testing by the Director.

(3) Design Requirements.

The following items shall be addressed in the design of any membrane technology plant intended to provide microbiological treatment of surface waters or groundwater "UDI:"

(a) The facility shall be equipped with an on-line particle counter on the final effluent.

(b) The facility shall be equipped with an automatic membrane integrity test system.

(4) The Director shall establish the turbidity limit for 95% of turbidity measurements and the maximum turbidity limit which shall not be exceeded. The plant effluent shall meet the requirements of R309-200-5(5)(a)(ii).

R309-530-9. New Treatment Processes or Equipment.

The policy of the Board is to encourage, rather than to obstruct, the development of new methods and equipment for the treatment of water. Nevertheless, any new processes or equipment must have been thoroughly tested in full-scale, comparable installations, before approval of plans can be issued. Refer to EPA's Environmental Technology Verification Program (ETV).

No new treatment process will be approved for use in Utah unless the designer or supplier can present evidence satisfactory to the Director that the process will insure the delivery of water of safe, sanitary quality, without imposing undue problems of supervision, operation and/or control.

The Director shall establish the turbidity limit for 95% of turbidity measurements and the maximum turbidity limit which shall not be exceeded. The plant effluent shall meet the requirements of R309-200-5(5)(a)(ii).


drinking water, direct filtration, slow sand filtration, membrane technology

Date of Enactment or Last Substantive Amendment

August 28, 2013

Notice of Continuation

March 13, 2015

Authorizing, Implemented, or Interpreted Law


Additional Information


For questions regarding the content or application of rules under Title R309, please contact the promulgating agency (Environmental Quality, Drinking Water). A list of agencies with links to their homepages is available at http://www.utah.gov/government/agencylist.html or from http://www.rules.utah.gov/contact/agencycontacts.htm.