Jeff Denbleyker

Development of water quality standards for Willard Spur, Great Salt Lake, Utah


Construction of the Perry Willard Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant adjacent to Willard Spur presented the State of Utah with a challenge that is becoming increasingly frequent in the management of terminal lakes.  Very little was known with regard to the composition and condition of Willard Spur’s ecosystem, its hydraulic and nutrient loading characteristics, and even the frequency with which water flowed through it to Great Salt Lake.  However, and most significantly, the State was challenged with divergent views on whether existing water quality standards were adequate to protect its beneficial uses.

Willard Spur Wildlife by Nicole Anderson

The Utah Division of Water Quality (DWQ) is beginning the implementation of an approach that engages stakeholders and technical experts to integrate current science and new research into recommendations that meet the defined project objective.  The project team, composed of a steering committee and expert science panel, was charged to answer the question: What water quality standards are fully protective of the beneficial uses of Willard Spur as they relate to the proposed POTW (publicly owned treatment works) discharge?  This presentation will summarize this project’s approach and plan to address this objective.


Jeff has been a project manager and water resources engineer at CH2M HILL in Salt Lake City since 1996. He has led a wide variety of permitting, investigation, and design projects covering water quality, hydrology, the assessment and restoration of streams and wetlands, and constructed treatment wetlands. Jeff’s focus is helping form solutions that integrate science with the people and uses that are affected. Jeff led the State’s effort to develop site-specific numeric criteria for selenium for GSL, has been involved with efforts to develop wetlands assessment protocol for GSL, and is the State’s project manager for its Willard Spur investigations. Jeff can often be found chasing his kids along the banks or shorelines of Utah’s waters.
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