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New $50 million pipeline project looks to improve water quality at the Great Salt Lake

Posted at 4:14 PM, Jun 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-08 18:21:30-04

SALT LAKE CITY — A $50 million pipeline project is in the works at the Great Salt Lake and its goal is to improve water quality and preserve the natural habitat.

Right now, treated wastewater from the North Davis Sewer District flows into Farmington Bay - but that won't be the case for much longer.

District officials say too much phosphorous from its wastewater is going into the bay, which causes harmful algae to grow.

To address the problem and meet newer state water quality standards on phosphorous, the district came up with a plan for a roughly six mile pipeline and pump station around Antelope Island.

"There are two components to implementing this," explained District Manager Kevin Cowan, "The first is the pipeline construction which is underway. The second is a pump station that connects to the pipeline."

The pipeline will instead pump the wastewater to Gilbert Bay. Cowan explained that Gilbert Bay is better equipped for the treated water.

"Gilbert bay has a higher salinity and it address the issue of nutrients going into the lake and causing harmful algal blooms," he said.

Along with the pipeline, the project will also preserve and enhance the habitat around Farmington Bay.

Read - New North Davis pipeline project seeks to improve birds' habitat

Some of the initiatives include investing in a three-year program to mitigate phragmites which is an invasive grass and working to support bird populations in the area.

The pipeline construction is expected to be finished by 2023.

This article is published through the Great Salt Lake Collaborative, a solutions journalism initiative that partners news, education and media organizations to help inform people about the plight of the Great Salt Lake—and what can be done to make a difference before it is too late.