SALT LAKE CITY — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the first loan of its kind in Utah to update Salt Lake City’s wastewater treatment plant, providing nearly $350 million to help the 55-year-old facility take on new life to resist earthquakes and meet nutrient limits set by the state.
Under the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act, the $348.6 million loan to the Salt Lake City Department of Public Utilities will help the existing facility comply with new state regulatory requirements and boost the system’s resiliency to earthquakes and flooding.
EPA’s associate deputy administrator Doug Benevento, in Salt Lake City for the announcement Thursday, said that nationally this program has provided $6.1 billion in credit assistance to help finance $13 billion for water infrastructure while creating 27,200 jobs.
With this investment in Utah, the loan will finance nearly half of the cost of the $711 million upgrade.
“The reconstruction of Salt Lake City’s aging water reclamation facility and EPA’s financing tools provide an important win for the entire region,” said EPA Mountains and Plains Regional Administrator Greg Sopkin. “Together, we are improving the environmental and ecosystem health of the Great Salt Lake, improving the resiliency of the community’s vital wastewater services, saving the city and its ratepayers money, and creating jobs in the process.”
Salt Lake City and other wastewater treatment plants that discharge to the Great Salt Lake, are under a deadline to meet new nutrient standards from the state by 2025 to reduce pollution that contributes to the formation of harmful algal blooms — especially problematic for Utah Lake.