That’s why we must make improvements to some of our critical infrastructure.
Salt Lake City Department of Public Utilities (SLCDPU), established in 1876, is the oldest retail water provider in the West. Our long and successful history has instilled in us a strong value of protecting and managing our precious water supply. We understand the stewardship responsibility we have been given for water, the environment, and protecting public health and we take that stewardship very seriously. To ensure we can continue to provide the highest-quality services and keep our critical drinking water and sewage treatment facilities running continuously, means we must make improvements to them.
The Water Reclamation Facility treats an average of 35 million gallons of wastewater daily. That’s almost 50 Olympic-size swimming pools treated every day.
New Water Reclamation Facility
One of the most critical parts of Salt Lake City’s wastewater system is the Water Reclamation Facility, which treats an average of 35 million gallons of wastewater every day. That is almost 50 Olympic-size swimming pools of wastewater that is treated daily. Wastewater is water that goes down the drain into the sewer collection system after it has been used by residents, businesses and industrial customers. At the Facility, the wastewater is treated to meet water quality standards set by the state and is safely returned to the environment and Great Salt Lake in a responsible manner. The existing Water Reclamation Facility, which is now a 60+ year-old facility that is near the end of its service life, must be replaced to avoid operational failure and meet new state and federal water quality regulations. Construction work began in March 2020 and is planned to continue through 2025. The original estimated project cost was $700 million. The current estimated project cost is $836 million.
As we greet another winter, it is exciting to look back at what we’ve accomplished over the past year with the design and construction of Salt Lake City’s New Water Reclamation Facility and to provide an overview of what to expect in the coming months.
The Water Reclamation Facility treats wastewater collected across Salt Lake City to remove solids, pollutants, pathogens, and other items that are potentially harmful to the public and the environment. Wastewater includes sewage, wastewater from industry, and some stormwater and groundwater that inﬁltrate into the sewer collection system.
Like the existing Water Reclamation Facility, the New Water Reclamation Facility is comprised of two treatment “trains”: one that treats the liquid component of wastewater, and one that treats the solid components of wastewater. Over the past year our team has been focused on completing the design of the liquid train, issuing a bid for the work, and authorizing the contractor to proceed with construction. This is a major milestone for the project because the liquid train elements consist of approximately 80 percent of the costs for the project at $616 million in construction work. Overall design of the New Water Reclamation Facility is near 95 percent complete; the remaining 5 percent of the design will be completed over the next year.
Throughout the project, our team has been working hard to minimize the impacts of surging materials and labor on construction costs, while still building a high- quality facility that will last for generations.
People don’t really think about the water they use and how it is returned to the environment in a responsible manner. It takes a lot of effort to “Make it Pure.” That is why SLCDPU has created the “Make It Pure” initiative to educate people about what it takes to capture and treat wastewater, why we must use water wisely and to think about what we are putting down our sinks and toilets. By doing a few simple things we can help Make it Pure, protect the environment and lower the cost of wastewater collection and treatment — this will help us all save money.