Deseret Morning News graphic

Opponents to a new sewage treatment plant in Riverton are making progress in getting government officials to listen to them, but they still may not get their way entirely.

Great Salt Lakekeeper Jeff Salt and several local residents made their feelings known in a Salt Lake Council of Governments meeting Thursday, and the officials made sympathetic noises, but as things stand they still aren't getting all of what they want — re-establishment of a county watershed council that would meet to examine the proposal, as well as a complete updating of a 1978 regional water-quality management plan.

"We're asking that you use good, sound government in this process," said Draper resident Scott Cottis, part of a group opposing the plant. "Do not be intimidated or bullied by the argument of impending doom" in depleting sewage treatment capacity.

While the watershed council — which hasn't met since 2000 — will likely be reinstated, it won't be as a council meeting together, working through plans, county engineering director Neil Stack said.

"We'll give them the materials and let them give public input, but they won't have any approval or anything like that," Stack said.

Nevertheless, "I think Jeff (Salt) might well be satisfied" with what the county is planning, public works director John Patterson said. "This is not going to be a plan that's just done in a month."

The Riverton Planning Commission has given a conditional use permit approval to the plant, but that approval is subject to the county amending the 1978 plan to allow it. Nevertheless, amendment (which would basically comprise adding another sewage treatment plant to the three envisioned by the plan) does not mean update.

Salt and Cottis and their group — Citizens for Responsible Water Resource Planning — want the plan to reflect the greater importance of the Jordan River (into which the plant would put effluent) in the lives of residents, new technology, changed populations and other factors.

That's not likely to happen, Patterson said.