Water Reclamation Facility

We must rebuild Salt Lake City’s water reclamation facility.

To ensure Salt Lake City continues to have access to clean, safe, high-quality water – now and for years to come – that can be used by people, businesses and industry, then treated and safely returned to the environment in a continuous and responsible manner, Salt Lake City Department of Public Utilities (SLCDPU) is building a new Water Reclamation Facility.

Why rebuild the facility?

  • As the City’s only wastewater treatment facility, it must operate reliably and without interruption 24/7/365. The City cannot run without an operational water reclamation facility. The Facility is 55 years old, has aging infrastructure and is near the end of its lifespan, therefore it needs to be replaced to ensure continuous treatment of wastewater for the City.
  • 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 potential future regulations.
  • The existing Water Reclamation Facility was not designed or constructed to meet current building, seismic, electrical, and other current code requirements. Replacing the existing facility with a new facility designed and constructed in accordance to current code requirements provides increased safety during operation of this facility, and reliability and resiliency of this critical facility 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.
  • A new, state-of-the-art Water Reclamation Facility – that meets all state and federal safety regulatory standards and provides a modern, safe way to treat water and return it to the environment in a responsible manner – is good for everyone.

The Water Reclamation Facility’s critical role – it’s the City’s only wastewater treatment plant and services more than 200,000 customers over roughly 110 square miles – requires taking a strategic, methodical approach to its construction. Because 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.

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.

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. Estimated cost of the project is $528.3 million, paid for with user fees, State and federal grants, and other sources.

Site-preparation work for the new facility begins fall 2019, with major construction starting in spring 2020; completion is anticipated in 2025.

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.

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.

SLCDPU’s Water Reclamation Facility is located east of Redwood Road between 2300 North and Rose Park Golf Course. 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. All major construction will take place within the existing facility boundary. A small pump station at the south end of the complex will be moved to the main site and also be rebuilt and enlarged.

Key elements of the new 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
Proposed Site Layout

Project Timeline

The reconstruction will be implemented in phase with a project completion date of 2024

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. After going through a multi-step process, treated wastewater is discharged into the Northwest Canal, which flows into Farmington Bay and, ultimately, into Great Salt Lake. Biosolids from the process are removed and put to beneficial use for landfill cover and soil fertilization.

Water reclamation facility sustainability elements.

SLC Green

Salt Lake City has wisely invested in its green mission to help our community conserve resources, reduce pollution, minimize carbon emissions, and ensure a healthy, sustainable future. The City’s approach to sustainability and programs to support it have made us a sustainability leader among American cities.

As a sustainability leader, the City is always pushing to accomplish more. We are evaluating various sustainability measures to improve effectiveness and efficiency of the new Water Reclamation Facility. We’re committed to building a model Facility, while also being prudent with public funds.

OUR SUSTAINABLE APPROACH

On January 12, 2017, Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski signed the Sustainability Infrastructure Executive Order, calling for citywide collaboration on sustainability. The executive order includes:

  • Net-zero energy buildings
  • LEED design standards
  • Sustainable infrastructure
  • Comprehensive energy management

This is how we will apply the Sustainability Executive Order to the rebuilding of the Water Reclamation Facility:

EXECUTIVE ORDER AFFECTED FACILITIES
Executive Order Title Administration Building
LEED Design Standards
Sustainable Infrastructure Campus Infrastructure
Comprehensive Energy Management Existing Buildings

DECISION-MAKING FRAMEWORK

We’ve established a clear plan to integrate the sustainability elements that make the most sense for each part of the new Water Reclamation Facility. Our process is to continuously assess all planning, design and construction decisions to optimize long term community value.

Sustainable Return on Investment (sROI)
Sustainable Return on Investment (sROI)

We are using an innovative evaluation approach to identify the most cost-effective means to achieve project objectives within risk tolerances and life-cycle triple bottom line (TBL) cost constraints. sROI has been used to support all major design decisions and will be used to assist with the selection of LEED and Envision credits to pursue.

LEED
LEED

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System is a voluntary, consensus-based, market-driven, high performance building rating system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council. Projects using LEED seek to achieve a level of Certified, Silver, Gold, or Platinum based on what is implemented and points achieved. The Administration Building will be Certified Gold at minimum.

Envision
Envision

We are piloting an infrastructure specific green rating system known as Envision, both to capture the sustainable benefits of looking beyond the buildings and to help determine how beneficial Envision could be for other City projects. This system is unique because it looks at the more specialized equipment and structures needed to treat and convey water, and at the project comprehensively. This means designing for increased resiliency, thinking about potential impacts from climate change, and ensuring that all the entities involved have certain commitments to sustainable practices. The Envision rating system encourages stakeholder feedback and interaction.

Strategies

Transformative Energy Solutions

We’ve established a clear plan to integrate the sustainability elements that make the most sense for each part of the new Water Reclamation Facility. Our process is to continuously access all planning, design and construction decisions to optimize long term community value.

Water Conservation
Water Conservation

Investing in energy efficient solutions can reduce the cost of operating and maintaining the new Facility waste aligns with the City’s goals of reducing its overall energy use, including electricity and natural gas. Renewable energy options may include a mix of on-site and off-site options, and alternatives to conventional heating and cooling equipment. The existing plant captures digester gas from the treatment process and uses it to provide heat and electricity for some of the plant’s needs, an option being explored for the new Facility as well.

Green Infrastructure
Green Infrastructure

Stormwater runoff from non-process areas will be redirected to a re-configured wetland. This, along with other modifications to the wetland, will help to reduce the amount of run off that would have to be treated otherwise. We are considering including a public educational component of the new administration building, that can show case sustainability practices such as:

Rain gardens – planting native shrubs, perennials, and flowers in a small depression to temporarily hold and soak in rainwater runoff.

Permeable parking lots – allow rainwater to soak into the ground through the pavement surface.

Rainwater harvesting – catching and holding rain for use at another time, typically from building rooftops.

Re-directing rainfall – moving rainwater to specific areas for irrigation purposes.

Treatment wetlands – using natural processes involving wetland vegetation, soils, and their associated microbial assemblages to improve water quality.

Sustainable Materials
Sustainable Materials

For major site materials like concrete, soil, and pipe, we are evaluating options to use recycled and local materials. These options will be reviewed and incorporated into the new Facility as the design progresses.

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