Salt Lake treatment facility works to keep drinking water safe despite flood pollution


Officials with the Salt Lake City Public Works Authority said their system was ready to deliver clean water to residents, despite the mud and silt pouring out of the mountains.

2 News visited the Big Cottonwood Creek water treatment plant on Thursday to ask if there were any pressing water quality issues from the spring runoff.

So far, officials have said “no.”

Several streams leading to utility facilities were expected to reach flood capacity soon. This made it even more difficult to keep the water clean, but there was a system in place to keep clean drinking water flowing to residents.

The Big Cottonwood Water Treatment Plant purifies approximately 25 million gallons of water per day, even though the stream has not reached flooding stage.

In that case, excess dirt and silt can become a problem if the levels get too high.

“At a certain amount, it becomes difficult to treat, so it is constantly monitored,” said facility manager Russ Rank.

On a bad day, incoming untreated water can be about 600 times dirtier than legal water.

Rank said the dark orange, murky-looking, untreated water 2News saw in one of the rooms was about 100 times dirtier than the water that should be drinking water.

He said the paddle, which continues to stir under water, is now invisible because the water is dirty.

“You can’t see it because of the turbidity, but it’s circling in four different sections,” Rank said.

A chemical called ferric sulphate is added, which binds the dirt so that it hardens and sinks to the bottom, leaving the water above clear.

So what if the water is too dirty to clean? They just don’t clean it. They closed the factory and dumped all the water into the Great Salt Lake.

“(Water) travels through a series of pipes on the surface and underground to reach the Jordan River,” said Teresa Gray, water quality and treatment manager for Salt Lake City.

She said that over the years the factory had to close because floods washed away so much sediment. In that case, they get their drinking water from another factory or a well within the system.

They don’t expect the runoff to be too dirty to clean up, but Gray said they’re ready for it.

“We’re gearing up for that. To be honest, we haven’t seen the currents yet. We expect more to come in the next few weeks as the currents (from the mountains) disappear. there is,” she said.

Gray said people across the state who have cloudy or dirty water coming out of taps should call their local water department.

Description: The first push alert in this article said flood waters were affecting drinking water. Flooding and debris should have affected the treatment of drinking water, but no water was deemed unsafe for use. Big He should also have noted that the Cottonwood Creek facility has been closed for years due to flooding, but not recently.



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