Wastewater pipeline to Great Salt Lake nearly approved

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WEST JORDAN -- A controversial plan to dispose of waste material into the Great Salt Lake has been given nearly a final approval by state regulators.

Last March, KSL reported on a pipeline built by the Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District. The district is also building a pipeline and a treatment plant to clean up groundwater contaminated by a century of mining activity.

The dilemma has been about what to do with the waste material taken out of the water, which contains a potentially hazardous naturally-occurring element called selenium.

A recent study has shown, however, selenium and other minerals would not harm the lake.

"Our studies show the selenium that goes into the lake has been going in for eons and has reached a balance, and we're not seeing increases in the levels of selenium," said Utah Director of Water Quality Walt Baker. "The majority of the selenium is volatilized and goes into the air."

State regulators will issue a draft permit Wednesday, allowing the pipeline to run the waste material into the Great Salt Lake. It would be carried from the treatment plant through a 21-mile pipeline to the lake's Gilbert Bay.

The public has 60 days to comment on the project, and there will be a hearing in January.

E-mail: mgiauque@ksl.com

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