Staying informed and engaged.
SLCDPU is implementing a robust public information and engagement effort to ensure people know about the rebuilding of the Water Reclamation Facility and the Collection System Improvements. We’re committed to providing the information people need, as well as opportunities for sharing feedback about the projects, design and educational elements, and construction impacts.
Water Reclamation Facility Engagement
To ensure the project reflects the community’s needs, values and goals, SLCDPU is engaging stakeholders and the public to seek input on the Facility’s architectural design, as well as sustainability and educational elements.
Building a completely new Facility provides the rare opportunity to incorporate elements to educate residents, students and visitors about the wastewater-treatment process and environmental sustainability. Depending on public feedback, the building may also include meeting space for educational and community use. Multiple occasions are planned for the public to share their ideas and opinions.
During construction, we also want to make sure people are aware of what is happening and how they can navigate the impacts. Coping tips and tools are in development; public feedback on these will be sought at engagement events.
We’re planning the following information and engagement activities:
- Public open houses
- Community briefings and presentations
- Working groups – Great Salt Lake, sustainability, educators, youth
- Informational materials and mailings
- Construction flyers
- Project website updates
- Media relations
- Community care line
Building a completely new Facility provides the rare opportunity to incorporate elements to educate residents, students and visitors about the wastewater-treatment process and environmental sustainability.
Public Engagement Activities
Fall 2016 through Present
- Stakeholder interviews – Oct 2016
- Design charrette workshop – Oct 2016
- Rose Park community festival – May 2017
- City Council tour – Mar 2017, 2022, 2023
- Stakeholder interviews – Oct 2018
- Presentation Women in Water – Feb 2019
- Open houses (2) – Apr 2019
- Open house ads (2) – Apr 2019
- Mailers sent to customers about the proposed rate increase – May 2019
- Working groups meetings – Sep & Dec 2019
- Orange snow cone neighborhood outreach events – Sep 2019
- Groundbreaking event – Oct 2019
- Open houses (2) – Jan 2020
- Open house ads – Jan 2020
- Construction starting letters mailed to city residents and businesses – Jan 2020
- Mailers sent to customers about the proposed rate increase – May 2020
- SLCDPU budget hearings – May/June 2020
- Construction flyer mailing – Aug 2020
- Presentation WEFTEC – Oct 2020
- Construction flyer mailing – Feb 2021
- Working group flyer emails – May 2021
- Construction flyer mailing – Oct 2021
- Working group – Dec 2021
- Rate increase mailers – May 2022
- Open houses (2) – May 2022
- Open house ads – May 2022
- Construction flyer distribution – July 2022
- Avenues Street Fair – Sept 2022
- WEFTEC presentations 2019, 2021, 2022
- SAME presentations 2021
- WEAU presentations 2019, 2021, 2022
- AWWA presentations 2021
- Construction flyer – January 2023
- Guadalupe School coordination – 2023
- Construction flyer distribution – May 2023
- Rose Park Community Council presentation – May 2023
- Rose Park community festival tabling – June 2023
- Groove in the Grove tabling – Sept 2023
PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT TOUCHPOINTS & COUNTING!
Virtual Open House
What We’ve Heard From Community Members
The project has broad support. People have been interested in finding out more about the overall project, water delivery and consumption, wastewater, and project opportunities that can benefit the community. Productive discussions have taken place and information exchanged.
Understand the need for the project. As people learn about the project, they readily agree that it is needed. No one has questioned this. In fact, several interviewees and open house attendees voluntarily voiced their support for the project.
Accepting of the cost and how funds will be raised. People understand the project is expensive and are supportive of SLCDPU’s efforts to navigate the challenging construction environment, while keeping the project on budget. No one has questioned the measures taken by SLCDPU. In fact, some of those who attended the 2022 open houses expressed appreciation when they learned about the the $154,324,000 in savings the project team has been able to achieve in this challenging situation.
Okay with how funds will be raised. During the open houses in 2019 and in 2020, a few questions were asked about how the project would be paid for and the potential impacts to people on fixed incomes. People accepted the information provided by SLCDPU and did not raise any other concerns of note. In fact, two open house attendees in 2019/2020 even remarked that the cost seemed “cheap.” In 2022, when information was provided on SLCDPU’s financial strategy – leveraging the most favorable financing available (a WIFIA loan), investigating applicable federal and state funding options, determining how the project will be paid for over time, etc. – those that were engaged with were supportive.
Interested in sustainability opportunity. Many of those who attended the public open houses and participated in working group meetings expressed support and interest in sustainability, and how this project presents sustainability opportunities beyond the typical. People see that this is a unique project that can incorporate sustainability and green elements in a way that is good for the City and community. In 2022, SLCDPU reported the project is on target to reach Envision Platinum status, and that using recycled materials has saved $11,217,393. Those who heard this information are interested in it and have been pleased.
Want public access and educational elements. Those who attended the project’s initial engagement activities – design charrette (2016), public open house (2019) and working groups (2019) – expressed interest in having public access and educational opportunities at the facility. They noted the many different opportunities for people to learn about the treatment process and wastewater, the water cycle, water conservation, the plants and animals in the wetland area, sustainability, and stewardship. Since then, engagement activities in 2020, 2021 and 2022, have centered on how public access and educational elements could be incorporated into the project. Ideas from stakeholders include indoor and outdoor meeting spaces, tour paths and educational elements in the wetlands and processing areas, and a trail connecting the project to other recreational amenities, such as parks, trails, and the Jordan River.
Support for the architectural vision and how it will be implemented. Those who attended presentations, public open houses, and working group meetings, have expressed support for the architectural vision. The architectural vision was also shared with those who live near the facility and there were no questions r comments received. In 2022, those attending the public open houses and working group meetings were provided an update on how the architectural vision is being incorporated into the facility and how efforts to manage costs was influencing the decision making. Attendees supported this approach and efforts being made.
Stakeholders have been kept updated on the project and community care line set up. Construction update flyers are mailed each quarter to residents and businesses located near the facility. Flyers were mailed in summer 2020, winter 2020, fall 2021, summer 202 and winter 2023. The flyers provide an overview of the project and construction updates, introduce key team members working on the project, and provide water, wastewater and sustainability information and tips. An information line (801-917-1124) has been set up and is publicized on these flyers and other materials. As of January 2023, we have only received two calls to the community care line. A community member called and reported that work on an unrelated road project had sprayed oil onto homes and yards. The person was aware of the community care line and did not know who else to call. This information was passed on to the appropriate City agency for resolution. Another community member called about an alarm that was going off that could be heard in the nearby neighborhood and that the lights on one of the buildings was shining into his home. Staff members immediately changed the volume of the alarm system and arranged the lights to point differently. The nearby resident was interested was also interested in the construction activities and so was invited to tour the site. Afterwards he responded that we was impressed with the response to his call. The project has also set up a website (MakeItPureSLC.com): no complaints and very few questions have been received to date. The construction flyers are available on the website.
Engagement has proved to be valuable, and input has been incorporated into the project. SLCDPU has tracked the input received through engagement activities, along with stakeholder feedback that is being incorporated into the project. During engagement activities, SLCDPU has reported what has been incorporated into the project and has received affirmative responses. Engagement with stakeholders has proved to be important and valuable in making the project better. It has allowed SLCDPU to inform and increase understanding of the project, water, wastewater, sustainability, and the agency itself. It has helped to build relationships and provided stakeholders the opportunity to have a say in the project. During an open house in 2019, UTA Board Chair Carlton Christianson mentioned to SLCDPU that the mosquito abatement building would be coming available and might be an option for the project. SLCDPU acted upon this input and purchased the building to act as a temporary operations and maintenance building. This saved the project millions of dollars. When this was reported on at an open house in 2022, Carlton was again in attendance and was pleased to see the idea had come to fruition and was helpful. During our working group meetings in 2021-22, Tracy Aviary CEO Tim Brown and National Audubon Gillmor Sanctuary Manager Ella Sorenson provided us with a list of target bird species for the wetland area. SLCDPU has incorporated this list into the wetland planning process.