We Must Rebuild Salt Lake City’s Water Reclamation Facility

Why rebuild the facility?

The Facility is 60+ years old, has aging infrastructure, and is near the end of its lifespan. It needs to be replaced to ensure continuous treatment of wastewater for the City. As the City’s only wastewater treatment facility, it must operate reliably and without interruption 24/7 every day of the year.

New state and federal water-quality regulations starting January 2025, require the reduction of phosphorus in treated wastewater before it is returned to the environment. The existing Water Reclamation Facility is not designed to treat wastewater to meet these new regulations in a sustainable, efficient or cost-effective manner. It is also anticipated that additional nutrient and water-quality standards will be required in the future. The new Facility will use a biological nutrient removal (BNR)process that is designed to reduce phosphorus as well as other nutrients in the wastewater. The new Facility will be designed in a manner that enables Salt Lake City to meet the new phosphorus regulation as well as anticipated future regulations.

The existing Water Reclamation Facility was not designed or constructed to meet current building, seismic, electrical and other code requirements. A new Facility designed and constructed in accordance to current code requirements provides increased safety during operation and reliability and resiliency in the event of fires, earthquakes or other extreme events.

The City’s residential and business population is growing steadily, resulting in increased demand for water and wastewater to be treated. While the new Facility is being designed to match the existing plant capacity, provisions are being included to accommodate potential future expansion of the plant should additional capacity be required.

Our Guiding Principles

Treat Wastewater
Cost and Budget
Public Engagement and Education

The Water Reclamation Facility is the City’s only wastewater treatment plant and services more than 200,000 customers.

The Water Reclamation Facility sits on 135 acres in northwest Salt Lake City, near the Rose Park Golf Course. The complex includes 29 buildings and 20 processing units. The new Facility will be built within the existing site. New buildings will be constructed, some existing elements will be retained, while others will be removed or decommissioned until they can be removed.

Due to the Facility’s critical role, it requires taking a strategic, methodical approach to its construction. It’s simply not an option to go without wastewater treatment services. Planning must ensure that the existing Facility continues operating without interruption while the new Facility is built.

SLCDPU is working with engineering consultants to complete additional analysis and design of the new Facility. Building the new Facility is one of the City’s largest-ever public works projects.

Construction began in March 2020 and will continue through 2025. The original estimated cost of the project was $700 million. The current estimated project cost is $837 million. The project will be paid for with user fees, and by leveraging one of the most favorable financing loans available, which can be paid off slowly, overtime.

Quick Facts

Wastewater is used water from homes, businesses and industry. In homes, it comes from sinks, showers, bathtubs, toilets, washing machines and dishwashers. Wastewater includes human waste.

SLCDPU’s top priority is to deliver high-quality, safe, clean drinking water to all its customers, collect the water that is used, treat the wastewater and return it to the environment and Great Salt Lake.

Water reclamation is the process of treating wastewater into reusable water that can be used again or safely returned to the environment.

The current Water Reclamation Facility is the City’s only wastewater treatment plant for the City.

Every minute of every day, wastewater is created by people, businesses and industry in the City. SLCDPU receives about 33 million gallons of wastewater every day; this number is expected to nearly double as the City’s population increases.

The Water Reclamation Facility must operate 24/7 without interruption. The Facility will continue to operate without interruption, even during construction.

Water Reclamation Facility Site Plan

The Water Reclamation Facility is located east of Redwood Road between 2300 North and the Rose Park Golf Course. All major construction will take place within the existing Facility’s boundary. The new Facility will be built just west of the current Facility, after which the old Facility will be decommissioned and the land repurposed. There are some elements of the existing Facility that will be reused.

A small influent pump station at the south end of the complex will be rebuilt adjacent to the existing pump station. The new pump station will have the initial capacity to receive and convey 105 million gallons per day (MGD) of wastewater and 172 MGD at complete build out. Construction work for the influent pump station will begin in the spring of 2023 and completed around spring of 2025.

Key elements of the New Water Reclamation Facility include:
  • Biological nutrient removal (phosphorus)
  • UV disinfection
  • Energy capture and reuse
  • Odor control
  • Reuse of biosolids
  • Addition of educational components
Existing Site Layout
Proposed Site Layout

Project Timeline

The reconstruction will be implemented in phases with a project completion date of 2025.

Wastewater Treatment Process

The wastewater treatment process used at Salt Lake City’s Water Reclamation Facility is designed to clean wastewater and safely return it to the environment and Great Salt Lake. After going through a multi-step process, treated wastewater is discharged into the Northwest Canal, which flows into Farmington Bay and, ultimately, into the Great Salt Lake. Biosolids from the process are removed and put to beneficial use for landfill cover and soil fertilization.