We're Proud of Our Water

SPRWS is one of only ~30 water utilities in the nation to have received the Partnership for Safe Water "President's Award" for five consecutive years. This award recognizes utilities that have optimized their treatment process to produce exceptional water quality that exceeds regulatory requirements.

The video below provides a look at where our water comes from and how we treat it. 

For more information, you can follow the path our water takes with an interactive story or get an alternative, more global view of where our water comes from presented by one of our suburban customers (Maplewood).

Monthly Water Analysis

We analyze our treated water monthly for various physical and chemical properties. The results are used to monitor the effectiveness of the water treatment process and to assure that adequate levels of disinfection are present throughout the system. Portions of the test results are reported regularly to state and federal agencies, including the Minnesota Department of Health, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

You may request that a paper copy of the report be sent to you by calling a customer service representative at 651-266-6350 during normal business hours or by emailing us with your request.

Water Contaminants

Saint Paul Regional Water Services actively monitors and treats for a wide variety of potential water contaminants. Click to expand the options below to learn more about these contaminants of particular concern, or refer to our water quality reports linked above for more comprehensive information.

Treatment Process

The utility’s water treatment plant was built in 1920-1922, since then it has been enlarged, modernized, and provides up-to-date treatment techniques to ensure high quality drinking water. Click on the items below to learn more about each step in the treatment process:

Watershed Protection and Restoration

The source water from the Mississippi River is pumped through a chain of natural lakes north of Saint Paul. When the lakes are at optimum elevations, there is an available supply of 3.6 billion gallons of water. In years past, excessive nutrients in the lake reservoir system created taste and odor problems. To address these problems, the utility and partnering neighbor municipalities, began a watershed management and reservoir restoration program.

Sampling Sites

The watershed strategy established 22 sampling sites which helped identify the basic problem, nutrient enrichment, created mainly by water from the Mississippi River and Rice Creek, recirculating reservoir sediments, and runoff from local watershed rainfall.

Control Measures

Excessive nutrients, called “phosphorous loads”, increase the amount of blue-green algae which imparts taste and odor compounds. To inhibit the growth of excessive algae several controls were implemented:

  • Installation of ferric chloride feed systems
  • Installation of aerators
  • Restoring water levels to near-natural conditions in certain wetlands

The control measures targeting the Mississippi source water and the lake sediment loads have successfully reduced the phosphorus concentration from approximately 60 to 80 micrograms per liter to 20 to 40 micrograms - very near the goal of 25 micrograms. For example, restoration work on the Lambert Creek watershed area was selected by the Governor's Clean Water Initiative in 2004 as one of two metro area clean water projects. The addition of a weir, pond, and ditch in the watershed will help us reduce the phosphorus levels of water coming into Vadnais Lake.


Watershed and reservoir management has reduced significantly taste and odor problems in the reservoir system and increased the effectiveness of the plant treatment process. Due to improved raw water conditions there has been a significant reduction in chemical cost. This approach allows Saint Paul Regional Water Services to provide quality, cost-effective water that meets regulations and customer expectations.

Upper Mississippi River Source Water Protection Project

The Upper Mississippi River Source Water Protection Project (UMRSWPP) was formed by the cities of St. Cloud, Minneapolis, and St. Paul, along with local units of government, to partner together for source water protection of the Upper Mississippi River.

Last Edited: May 10, 2023