Saint Paul Regional Water Services (SPRWS) provides water to approximately 450,000 customers. To facilitate this, we operate and maintain a complex system of water supply, treatment, and distribution infrastructure. Our system provides Saint Paul and many surrounding communities with approximately 40 million gallons of high quality treated water on a daily basis. Below you will find detailed information about particularly important aspects of our work and projects we'd like to highlight to our customers.

McCarrons Water Treatment Plant Improvements

Front of McCarrons treatment plant
Entrance to the McCarrons water treatment plant. The building pictured here will remain in service after the upgrades are complete.

In January, 2021, SPRWS began an exciting project aimed at upgrading the McCarrons water treatment plant.

Since the mid-1910s, the McCarrons Water Treatment Plant has been providing reliable, quality drinking water to residents of Saint Paul and neighboring communities. Though the facility has been expanded on several occasions, much of the infrastructure which supplies our customers with water is nearing 100-years in age. Despite its age, the treatment plant continues to perform well and produce high quality drinking water for 450,000 people in St. Paul and the surrounding communities.

In fact, the McCarrons water treatment plant is one of only 31 facilities in the nation to have received the Presidents’ Award for Water Treatment from the Partnership for Safe Water. Our staff is proud of the role that our exceptional water quality plays in maintaining public health.

While current water quality remains exceptional, SPRWS is proactively looking towards the future and planning to make significant improvements to the McCarrons water treatment plant. These improvements will position SPRWS to continue providing high quality water far into the future. Most of the changes to the facility will be targeted at improving reliability and flexibility and will enable the utility to continue to meet the needs of customers in the future. The utility has a longstanding history of proactively investing in infrastructure. Those investments have made the utility one of nation’s best, and modern investments build on that tradition.

The project will include improvements to all the pre-filtration portions of the treatment process. This includes the treatment processes responsible for removing water hardness, increasing the clarity of the water, adjusting the pH to an appropriate range, and removing many contaminants. Most of the technologies included in the scope of the project are more modern, efficient variations of the same technologies and processes that have been used to successfully treat drinking water at SPRWS for decades.

One new technology will be added: ozonation. Ozonation is used at many water treatment facilities around the world and provides numerous benefits. Among the benefits are reducing the likelihood of unpleasant taste and odor in the water and removing contaminants of emerging concern, water pollutants that are not known to cause negative health impacts but that are still being studied. The project scope also includes a significant amount of demolition work to remove older, obsolete infrastructure.

The project recently reached a major milestone with the submittal of the 60 percent design in January of 2022. Construction work is slated to begin in the early spring of 2022 and continue into the middle of 2026.

Rendering of proposed changes to McCarrons water treatment plant.

A rendering of the planned new facility at 1900 Rice Street. The  bounds of new construction are outlined in red. Much of the work will occur below ground and is not visible in this rendering.

SPRWS staff will provide updates on this webpage as the project progresses.

Click to expand the items below to learn more about the project.

Main and Hydrant Flushing

Saint Paul Regional Water Services flushes its fire hydrants and water mains every year as part of a uni-directional flushing program. Click to expand the items below to learn more about this process and it's effects.

Lead Service Line Replacements and Payment Plans

We own and maintain the portion of the water service in the street right of way and we replace that portion of the service in conjunction with street maintenance projects. The property owner owns and is responsible for maintenance and replacement of the service within private property.

We are developing a 10 year plan to replace all lead water service lines in our service area (both the public and private side of the service) at no cost to property owners. The program will begin in full in 2023. During 2022 a small pilot of this program will be offered to those in water main construction project areas. For more information, visit our Lead Free SPRWS program page.

Diagram showing the portion of a water service considered private versus the portion owned by SPRWS


If you have a lead service and don't want to wait for the Lead Free SPRWS program to replace it, we offer an assessment program for Saint Paul residents that allows for the costs of such replacement work to be assessed and collected through property taxes. For information on this assessment program view our lead replacement packet (PDF - 1.39MB) or contact the SPRWS engineering division at 651-266-6270.

Free Lead Testing

Most lead services were installed in homes built prior to 1926. There were also a small percentage of homes built between 1942 and 1947 that have lead service lines. These homes are at higher risk of lead leaching from the pipes. We offer free lead testing for these customers and help them to interpret the results of their tests. Eliminating these lead service lines is the best long-term solution to the problem of lead in drinking water.

Lead testing kits are available for customers at the customer service desk at:

1900 Rice St
Saint Paul MN, 55113
Monday - Friday from 8:00 am - 4:30 pm

For more information contact customer service at 651-266-6350.

If you live outside our service area, you can have your household water tested by a private laboratory. Contact the Minnesota Department of Health for a list of certified laboratories.

Last Edited: October 5, 2022