Permit sought for RO discharge to Great Salt Lake

A proposal from the Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District (JCWCD) in Utah, USA, to discharge reject brine from a 7-14 MGD (26,000-53,000 m³/d) reverse-osmosis desalination (RO) plant into the Great Salt Lake is out for public comment from 1 December 2010 as part of the permit process.

The Southwest Groundwater Project will remediate groundwater contaminated from historic mining activities in southwest Salt Lake County. This project will improve groundwater quality and prevent further contaminant migration in the Salt Lake Valley.

The project will extract groundwater with elevated total dissolved solids via a series of deep aquifer wells and purify the extracted water utilizing an RO treatment process at the JCWCD’s Southwest Groundwater Treatment Plant. The project will also extract groundwater from shallow wells with elevated total dissolved solids that have not been impacted by mining activities.

The drinking water generated will be distributed by JVWCD to its member agencies for supply to their drinking water systems. RO concentrate will be routed via a 21 mile (33.6 km) pipeline to Gilbert Bay in the Great Salt Lake. Initial construction of the SWGWTP will discharge a maximum of 1.5 MGD (5,700 m³/d) of byproduct. At ultimate build-out, the discharge will double that amount.

Salinity levels of the discharge are said to be considerably less than those already existing in the Great Salt Lake, but levels of selenium and mercury are a cause for concern and will be subject to a monitoring program.