Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City Celebrates Earth Day by Recognizing and Re-committing to Environmental Protection

April 20, 2022

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall celebrated Earth Day early by visiting a natural stormwater treatment outflow on the City’s westside and re-affirming the City’s commitment to water conservation and environmental protection.

“While Earth Day is April 22nd, we’re thinking of ways to preserve our most precious natural resources 365 days a year,” said Mayor Mendenhall. “I’m committed to cleaner air, safe drinking water and investing in our public lands so that our children and grandchildren may have the same opportunities we do today.”

Mayor Mendenhall was joined by the City’s Director of Public Utilities Laura Briefer and Deputy Director of Sustainability Sophia Nicholas to highlight the environmental work the City is engaged in ahead of Earth Day on Friday.

The stormwater project along 900 South between 900 West and the Jordan River is an example of the City’s commitment to being a good steward of precious natural resources. The project re-engineered the existing stormwater canal to establish a wetland capable of treating stormwater that flows through the 900 South Storm Drain System.

Stormwater, coming from rain runoff and urban creeks, is polluted as a result of contact with streets, laws, home exteriors, and pesticides and fertilizers. Using water wise filtering plants, the constructed wetland cleans the pollutants from the stormwater before it is released into the Jordan River. 

Wednesday also marked the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, passed by Congress in 1972. The Act is the foundation of so much of the City’s environmental and public health work at the City’s Public Utilities Department. 

“Earth Day is an opportunity to reflect on actions we can take to protect the environment and steward the natural resources on which we depend,” said Laura Briefer, Director of Salt Lake City Department of Public Utilities. “From the Wasatch Mountain headwaters to the Great Salt Lake, water is the lifeblood of our communities and environment. This year, in a prolonged drought, we continue to ask our residents, businesses, and industries to conserve water and protect streams and lakes from pollution.”

Salt Lake City remains at Stage 2 of its 5 stage Water Contingency Plan and is asking residents throughout the City’s Public Utilities service area to decrease their water consumption by at least 5 percent. Last year, customers conserved more than 2 billion gallons – the equivalent to filling Mountain Dell Reservoir more than twice.

Sophia Nicholas, Deputy Director of the Salt Lake City Sustainability Department highlighted the City’s sustainability efforts.

“This week, we mark the 52nd annual Earth Day by urging climate action at all levels—particularly from our national and international leaders,” said Nicholas. “It might seem hard to remain focused on the environment when there are so many other competing demands. But Earth Day reminds us that it’s not just about the environment. It’s about us. It’s about our health, our families, our communities, and our future. Salt Lake City takes this responsibility for stewardship and sustainability seriously each and every day. We continue to prioritize carbon reduction, clean air, water conservation, resource management, and resilience.  We also want to thank residents for everything they do—big and small—to help care for our environment. Happy Earth Day today and every day!”

More info about the City’s water conservation efforts here:

More info about the City’s plan to address climate change here:


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