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Ashley Springs Watershed

JULY 2009














Figure 1. Ashley Springs Delineation Zones

Appendix 1: Potential Contamination Source Survey

Appendix 2: Public Notification

3.Tr.A02.Z9.205.Drinking Water Source Protection Ashley Springs Watershed Source Protection Plan


This Source Protection Plan (SPP) was prepared by Central Utah Water Conservancy District, (CUWCD), for the public drinking water source of Ashley Springs in the town of Vernal, Utah. This report was completed to assess the potential contamination threats to the raw water quality of its public drinking water sources as required by the 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act and by R309-600 and 605 of the State of Utah Drinking Water regulations.


1.1 System Information CUWCD has prepared this SPP for the purpose of protecting the raw water quality of CUWCD=s drinking water source by identifying and managing potential sources of contamination and threatening activities that occur within the watershed area. This assessment is for the Ashley Springs watershed that provides water to the CUWCD, Ashley Valley Water Treatment Plant (AVWTP), a Public Water Supplier, at 3550 North 2500 West, Vernal, Utah 84078.

AVWTP is a direct filtration water treatment plant with a design capacity of 18 MGD. The plant currently treats an average of 2.8 MGD for 9,000 customers in Vernal City and Uintah Water Conservancy District. Information on "tap" water quality is available in CUWCD Public Water Supplier=s Consumer Confidence Report that can be obtained by calling 435-789-0421.

1.2 Source Information The water source of Ashley Springs, source number 03, is classified by the State of Utah as a surface water source.

1.3 Source Protection Area The Ashley Springs water supply intake is in Ashley Gorge. Figure 1 shows the boundaries of the watershed and source protection zones. The watershed area is 140,761 acres in Uintah County. Dry Fork and Ashley Creeks are the largest streams in the watershed and are fed by numerous smaller tributaries.

Approximately 85% percent of the watershed is forested. Camping and other recreation activities take place within the boundaries of the watershed.

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2.1 Source Protection Zones For surface water sources, the entire watershed area that contributes water to the source is considered to be the area of concern. The watershed is further broken down into three zones, with Zone 1 being the closest to the intake (the area of most concern) and Zones 2 and 4 corresponding to areas further away and of lower concern (Figure 1).

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watersheds. Because of the seasonal use of the Oak Park Ditch to divert irrigation water from Oak Park Reservoir into Ashley Creek, the upper portion of Brush Creek watershed above the reservoir is included in Zone 4. For a detailed view of this zone refer to Figure 1.


3.1 Susceptibility Analysis

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5.1 Management Strategies and controls 5.1.1 The Forest service and B.L.M. have control over the management of the watersheds. The water districts will need to work closely with the management teams of these agencies. Identify and assess controls and land management strategies that will maintain and improve water quality.

5.1.2 Work with TriCounty Health Department on ordinances for septic tank and drain fields within areas of Zone 1. Determine if the State wastewater ordinances will provide enough protection or if a more stringent rule needs to be developed.

5.1.3 Become a participant/stakeholder in the Uintah Basin Watershed activities which are coordinated through the Utah Division of Water Quality.

5.1.4 CUWCD is an active participant with Utah Division of Wildlife Resources in monitoring for Dreissenid mussels since their discovery in the Colorado River system and the listing of Utah waters as infested (Red Fleet Reservoir and Electric Lake). (http://wildlife.utah.gov/mussels/learn.php)

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7.1 Resources will be allocated through in-kind services and staff time to participate in watershed planning and evaluation.


8.1 All records of source protection activities are file coded and stored in the

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Introduction The Central Utah Water Conservancy District (CUWCD) is completing assessments of potential contamination threats to the raw water quality of its public drinking water sources as required by the 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act and by R309-600 and 605 of the State of Utah Drinking Water regulations. CUWCD has prepared this Source Water Assessment Public Summary to provide information to its customers regarding local and State efforts to protect the raw water quality of CUWCD=s drinking water source. This assessment is for the watershed that provides water to the CUWCD Public Water Supplier. The assessment is of source (river, lake, reservoir water) rather than tap water. Information on "tap" water quality is available in CUWCD Public Water Supplier Consumer Confidence Report that can be obtained by calling 435-789-0421

What is the Source of Your Drinking Water?

The source of the water for the CUWCD is the Ashley Spring and Red Fleet Reservoir. An average of 2.8 MGD is treated each day. The water system serves a population of approximately 9,000 customers. The location of CUWCD=s water supply intake is at Ashley Spring and Red Fleet Dam. The boundaries of each watershed and location of intakes are shown in Figures 1.and

2. The total watershed area is 201,611 acres, and covers parts of Uintah County (Figures 1 & 2).

Dry Fork and Ashley Creeks are the largest streams in the Ashley Spring watershed and are fed by numerous smaller tributaries. Most of the watershed is within the Ashley National Forest boundary with land use and water quality impacts addressed through the Forest Management Plan. Approximately 85% percent of the watershed is forested. Camping and other recreation activities take place within the boundaries of the watershed. A 60-acre area of private ground is used for summer residential uses.

Big Brush Creek is the main stream in the Red Fleet watershed. About 70% of this watershed is within Ashley National Forest with camping, recreation, and other associated Forest activities.

The remaining area consists of the State Park (Red Fleet) with water related recreation and camping and also the Simplot Fertilizer Phosphate plant.

Water Quality and Water Treatment Information

Water withdrawn from Ashley Spring and Red Fleet Reservoir is treated by Ashley Valley Water Treatment Plant (AVWTP) prior to distribution to customers. This plant uses a coagulation, flocculation, and direct filtration process with the addition of chlorine for final disinfection. The water quality testing performed by CUWCD concluded that results of the tap water sampling done in 2001 were acceptable.

Evaluation of Significant Potential Sources of Contamination

This assessment evaluates contaminants that may enter the water before treatment. The contaminants addressed in this assessment include those regulated under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act as well as those that CUWCD has determined may present a concern to health. Each significant potential source of contamination has been analyzed and given a qualitative susceptibility rating according to its potential to impact the water supply.

Potential Impact to Source Water Quality Untreated sewage discharges, nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizer, and pathogens (bacteria, virus, Giardia, and Cryptosporidium).

Concerning the contaminants indicated above, both treated and untreated sewage discharges into the watershed may be significant sources of waterborne pathogens (disease causing organisms).

A concern remains about Cryptosporidium and Giardia since these pathogens cause intestinal diseases which can be very serious for people with a weakened immune system, those undergoing chemotherapy or dialysis, transplant patients, and people with Crohn=s disease or HIV infection.

Giardia and Cryptosporidium pathogens have not been found in Ashley Spring and Cryptosporidium has not been found in Red Fleet Reservoir. But it is probably that these pathogens could be found in the future. The increase of these pathogens is probably attributable to failed septic systems, and fecal matter from farm animals and perhaps wildlife close to or entering the waterways. Levels of these pathogens appear to increase in stream water following a heavy precipitation event.

Filtration removes about 99% of such pathogens before water reaches the tap. A combination of direct filtration and chlorine disinfection at CUWCD=s Ashley Valley Water Treatment Plant removes and/or destroys most of these pathogens.

In terms of nutrient contaminants in the watershed, elevated levels of nitrates were linked to fertilizer applications during reseeding projects tried in the watershed. This led to an agreement with the Forest Service to not use fertilizer in reseeding projects within the watershed in the future.

The impact of hazardous materials within the watershed or as a result of spills is minimal to the Public Water Supply. Stored materials are regulated under state and federal agencies and are identified by permit or site numbers. In the case of spills, notification through emergency response planning should provide adequate protection to the water supply.

Ongoing Watershed Protection Activities State and federal agencies regulate direct discharge of regulated contaminants in this watershed.

Other volunteer and government agencies are working cooperatively to address contamination within the watershed.

Source Water Protection Needs

Based on the evaluation that was completed as part of this Source Water Assessment, CUWCD has determined that existing state and local programs should provide adequate protection of these drinking water sources. Special attention is needed to reduce levels of pathogens in stream water. Emphasis should be placed on improving detection and treatment of pathogens such as Cryptosporidium. Better understanding of the risks associated with Cryptosporidium may result in the need to enhance protection (or treatment).

How to Obtain Additional Information This Source Water Assessment Public Summary was completed in July, 2009. Individuals interested in learning more about this water system and watershed can contact Ashley Valley Water Treatment Plant at 435-789-0421.

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