$44 million project to rebuild existing Silver Creek Facility
January 13, 2015
In 2015, the Snyderville Basin Water Reclamation District will begin designing one of the largest projects since its inception more than 40 years ago.
The Silver Creek Water Reclamation Facility Project (SCWRFP) is a $44 million endeavor to rebuild the existing Silver Creek Facility as an advanced wastewater treatment plant, with the capacity to handle four million gallons of wastewater a day.
"I don’t know that this is the largest public works project that has ever been locally funded, but if it’s not, it is near the top," Snyderville Basin Water Reclamation District General Manager Mike Luers said. "It’s certainly the largest project we have ever been involved in."
Design of the project will begin this year, while three years of construction will be spread out over four calendar years. The project is slated to be complete in June 2019.
"It’s a very complex project," Luers said. "And one of the things that makes it so complex is we, in essence, have to tear it down and rebuild it, without ever shutting it down."
The Snyderville Basin Water Reclamation District, which collects and treats sewage, serves an area of approximately 105 square miles throughout western Summit County. The district has two reclamation facilities, 12 pump stations and nearly 300 miles of pipelines.
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If the county’s growth continues, as it is projected to throughout the next 25 years, the Silver Creek Facility will be at capacity within five years. The facility currently handles two million gallons of water a day.
"That’s an immediate need since we are running out of capacity," Luers said. " the time we complete this project, we will be out of capacity at the current facility."
The water reclamation district originally planned to rebuild the facility in 2006, but when Summit County experienced an economic recession, the project was postponed.
"We’ve had this growth projected for some time and had planned to expand the Silver Creek facility in 2006," Luers said. "But when the economy tanked, we pulled the plug."
Around the same time, an environmental study was taking place in the county to measure the amounts of phosphorus and nitrogen in Silver Creek and downstream reservoirs, particularly Echo Reservoir, Luers said.
The results of the study indicated high levels of both nutrients were found in Silver Creek, Echo Reservoir and Rockport Reservoir.
"We kind of knew what the study was going to say, but we felt a little safer assisting the State of Utah, Division of Water Quality in completing the study and knowing exactly what we need to do," Luers said of delaying the project. "So, now we know what we need to do and that is build an advanced treatment plant to remove the nitrogen and phosphorous."
"There is too much nitrogen and too much phosphorous and we are obligated to do our part to reduce those levels in order to protect our local environment." he added.
The East Canyon Water Reclamation Facility, which was upgraded in 2003, was the first facility in the state capable of removing phosphorus from wastewater. The new Silver Creek Facility will not be a duplicate of the East Canyon Facility, but it will operate similarly and perform many of the same functions.
Recently, the district started preparing to sell approximately $20 million worth of revenue bonds to fund the project.
"We’ve been planning for this project for quite some time and we don’t anticipate any future large rate increases from it either," he said. "The growth is paying for the majority of this. We may or may not have to issue another set of bonds next year. But if growth stays as strong as it is right now, we might not need to issue more bonds later on."
The initial $20 million will pay for the design of the project and a portion of the construction during the next several years with the district requesting bids for the project in January 2016.
"This new facility, we think, will take care of that side of our service area for many years, probably at least 20 years," Luers said. "Again, it’s all based on zoning and how it changes and densities go up and down. But based on current zoning, this new facility will meet our needs for many years to come."
SCWRFP cost and completion schedule estimates:
- 2015: $3.6 million
- 2016: $12.2 million
- 2017: $14.2 million
- 2018: $10.2 million
- 2019: $4.1 million
- Total: $44.3 million