Salt Lake City

A mountain of dirt – 1.9 million tons – is being trucked in to prepare new SLC Water Reclamation Facility site

Salt Lake City — Trucks have been moving like clockwork all summer at the site of Salt Lake City’s new Water Reclamation Facility—hauling more than 8,000 tons of soil daily to improve ground conditions in advance of the plant’s construction. 

In total, trucks will deliver 1.9 million tons of soil, or 48,000 loads, to the site at 1365 W. 2300 North. The public will eventually see a pile of soil 35 feet tall, covering 23 acres of land at the Salt Lake City Department of Public Utilities (SLCDPU) project location. That’s an area nearly the size of 18 football fields.

Based on core samples of the soil taken at key locations throughout the site, geotechnical engineers, who are responsible for the structural foundation of the new facility, determined the weak soil and high groundwater would result in a project likely to settle three to five feet unless improvements were made prior to construction. Using this method to compact or pre-settle the soil instead of driving piles saved SLCDPU roughly $40 million. The trucks will be dumping fill at the site throughout fall 2020. Piles will also be used for additional facility infrastructure at other locations on the site because of the schedule and condition of the soil.

“It is critical that the water reclamation facility be built to standards that will allow it to serve us for generations,” said Laura Briefer, SLCDPU Director. “But it’s also important that we provide a project that is the most cost-effective for rate payers. We’re pleased with our team’s innovative solution, which includes a combination of preload and piles, to this issue.”

The new Water Reclamation Facility, with a $700-million cost, is one of the largest public works projects in Salt Lake City’s history. The project must be completed and online by January 1, 2025. SLCDPU is building the new facility on the site of the current treatment plant, which will continue to operate during construction. The current plant is 55 years old. It must be replaced to meet mandatory new water quality standards, to improve efficiency and reliability, and to avoid any risks associated with operation of the current aging plant. 

The Water Reclamation Facility treats about 35 million gallons of wastewater per day and serves around 200,000 people. Because it is the only wastewater reclamation facility in the city, it must operate 24/7 without interruption, even during construction. 

The treated wastewater is returned to the environment to help keep our community healthy and safe, and the environment functioning.  

“We realize that having an increase in truck traffic coming from I-15 down 2300 North can have an impact on nearby businesses and residents that travel on that road,” Briefer said. “To reduce this impact, we have put in place traffic management and dust control plans. We have also been engaging with stakeholders to inform and update them on what to expect. We are committed to being a good neighbor and a responsible member of the community.” 

For more information about the project please visit or call the project information line at 801-917-1124. 

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