Great Salt Lake agencies want mineral-extracting companies to return water to lake

Sep 14, 2023, 4:56 PM | Updated: Sep 20, 2023, 12:57 pm

great salt lake shore -- Multiple agencies overseeing the Great Salt Lake want any mineral-extracti...

FILE: Paddleboarders leave the water at the Great Salt Lake State Park in Salt Lake City on Friday, June 10, 2022. (Laura Seitz/Deseret News)

(Laura Seitz/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Multiple agencies overseeing the Great Salt Lake want any mineral-extracting newcomers to put all the water they use back into the lake instead of the more common practice of evaporating the water.

Utah Division of Water Quality Director John Mackey said both the DWQ and the Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands want new mineral extractors to the Great Salt Lake to, at least in most cases, put all the water they use back into the lake under a new law passed by state lawmakers.

The agencies want newcomers to use advanced extraction technology to remove the minerals. The final process is to return all or most of the water into the lake.

“And in some cases, I mean I think a lot of the science says ‘Well, there’s bound to be some loss.’ But very close to being ‘what comes out, goes back in,” Mackey said about the process. “It’s just critical that they wind up net neutral.”

This approach is different from the evaporation pools used by many existing companies on the lake. Many of the existing companies that extract minerals from the Great Salt Lake use the pools to separate the water from the salt.

While it could take time to see it in action, the hope is that companies can extract the minerals, but not contribute further to the still-struggling water levels.

Mackey said this could save a lot of water the lake can’t afford to lose anymore.

“I mean these are hundreds of thousands of acre-feet. And those are really, really big quantities. Those are not quantities that you can make up.”

Mackey said this rule, once it’s in place, would target new companies, not those who’ve been operating on the lake previously. 

Related: GSL license plate nears halfway mark

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.


Cars drive on I-80 with a snowy mountain backdrop after snowstorms hit the Wasatch Front throughout...

Adam Small

Overnight storm clearing out but another storm is on the way

The overnight storm that hit northern Utah has mostly cleared however, another storm expected this weekend.

18 hours ago

After starting the new year with poor air quality, Utah may finally be able to take a breath and fi...

Heather Peterson

New black carbon sensor is more portable but just as accurate, study finds

A new study from the University of Utah finds that recently released black carbon new units are just as accurate in detecting black carbon, but they are more portable and affordable.

20 hours ago

utah lake shown, a bill tackling a failed lake project has advanced...

Adam Small

A bill to undo law regarding controversial, failed Utah Lake project advances to the full House

The law that would be repealed through this bill is the same law that created the Utah Lake Restoration Act.

1 day ago

People experiencing homelessness walk in the street near a winter overflow shelter at St. Vincent d...

Peter Johnston

Code blue bill would open emergency beds at 18 degrees

The legislature is considering whether to raise the temperature at which emergency beds open up during code blue alerts. 

2 days ago

Rainy drive...

Adam Small

Rain and snow on its way to the Wasatch Front

Utah will be seeing rain and snow along the Wasatch Front over the next couple of days. Nice weather returns by week's end.

2 days ago

Endangered Utah butterfly...

Ashley Imlay, KSL.com

Rare Utah butterfly lands on list of species at risk of extinction

A petition to list the Utah butterfly as threatened was submitted to the Fish and Wildlife Service more than 10 years ago.

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Great Salt Lake agencies want mineral-extracting companies to return water to lake