Department of Environmental Quality

Entity: 331
Entity Type: State Government


In 1991, the Utah Legislature removed most environmental matters from the State Health Department and placed them in a new Department of Environmental Quality. The basic purposes of the new department are to (1) provide effective, coordinated management of state environmental concerns, (2) safeguard public health and quality of life by protecting and improving environmental quality, (3) strengthen local health department environmental programs, and (4) clarify its powers and duties in relation to local health departments. The Bureau of Enivronmental Health was recreated when the Bureau of Disease Prevention and Environmental Control Services was split apart in 1970; it had been formed initially in 1965, but was merged with Disease Prevention in 1967.

Biography/History Notes

The mission of the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is to safeguard public health and quality of life by protecting and improving environmental quality. DEQ also considers the benefits to public health, the impacts on economic development, property, wildlife, tourism, business, agriculture, forests, and other interests, and the costs to the public and to industry.

By creating statute, the department has regulatory authority for environmental protection of air, water, drinking water, solid and hazardous waste, radiation control, and environmental response and remediation.

The department is administered by an executive director who is appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the Senate. There are five statutory boards and two statutorily created advisory boards.

The department is organized into the following divisions: Solid and Hazardous Waste; Emergency Response and Remediation; Radiation Control; Air Quality; Water Quality; and Drinking Water. The divisions are coordinated by a Support Services Director. The department also has a Human Resource Management director and a Planning and External Affairs director as well as a Deputy Director and administrative staff.