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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

Utah Geological Association


Geology and Geologic Resources and Issues of Western Utah, 2009
Pages 371-387

Ground-Water Quality Classification Mapping for the Basin-Fill Aquifers in Beaver and Cedar Valleys, Southwestern Utah

Janae Wallace, Mike Lowe


Beaver and Cedar Valleys, in southwestern Utah, are experiencing an increase in residential development that relies on basin-fill aquifers as the primary source of drinking water. In response to local governments’ desire to protect these high quality resources, we provide ground-water quality classification maps as land-use planning tools.

Ground-water quality classification is a means for local governments in Utah to manage potential ground-water contamination sources and protect the quality of their ground-water resources. Classifying the ground-water quality of the principal aquifers formally identifies and documents the beneficial use of ground-water resources allowing defendable land-use regulations to be enacted. Utah’s ground-water quality classes are based mostly on total-dissolved-solids concentrations as follows: Class IA (Pristine), less than 500 mg/L; Class II (Drinking Water Quality), 500 to less than 3000 mg/L; Class III (Limited Use), 3000 to less than 10,000 mg/L; and Class IV (Saline), 10,000 mg/L and greater.

In Beaver Valley, we classify the ground water in 85% of the aquifer as Class IA ground water (primarily at the basin margins and northern parts of the valley) and 15% of the aquifer as Class II ground water (in the western- and southernmost parts of the valley) based on chemical analyses of water from 50 wells sampled during September 2005 and March 2007. Total-dissolved-solids concentrations range from 92 to 1280 mg/L. In Cedar Valley, we classify ground water in 80% of the aquifer as Class IA (primarily in central and western parts of valley), 19% Class II (primarily in eastern part of valley), and the remainder 1% as Class III (an area of persistent nitrate high concentration northwest of Cedar City) based on chemical analyses of water from 97 wells sampled during 1974-2000. Total-dissolved-solids concentrations range from 184 to 2190 mg/L. The ground-water quality classification maps presented here provide land-use planners in both valleys a basis for enacting regulations to protect water resources in these growing rural communities.

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