Minneapolis tap water safe to drink following incident at filtration plant

Minneapolis tap water is safe to drink, following an incident today at the City’s water filtration plant in Columbia Heights. Emergency crews were called to the facility after chemicals used to clean filtration equipment were accidentally mixed. However, drinking water was never at risk of contamination.
Emergency crews responded after a reaction of hydrochloric acid and caustic soda was detected. The building was evacuated as crews made sure the area was safe, and the reaction was contained to one tank in the building. Public Works staff worked closely with the Columbia Heights Fire Department, Minneapolis Fire Department hazardous materials crews and other emergency responders at the scene, and the building is now back open for employees.
The Columbia Heights plant is currently off line, however water customers will see no change in their service during this time. The City’s primary water filtration plant is in Fridley, which continues to function normally.
Background on the Columbia Heights Ultrafiltration Plant
The Columbia Heights plant is one of two filtration plants Minneapolis uses to make tap water clean and safe. The facility process up to 70 million gallons of water per day, removing particles so small that a standard microscope can’t detect them. In fact, the plant removes impurities more effectively than even federal drinking water standards require.
Public safety is the top priority for the crews who work in the City’s Water Works division. Water from the Mississippi River is put through a battery of treatments and extensive filtering before it reaches customers. Thousands of tests are performed to make sure the drinking water that around a half million people get daily is clean and safe.
In addition to providing tap water to Minneapolis customers, the City’s water goes to Columbia Heights, Crystal, Golden Valley, Hilltop, New Hope and the Morningside neighborhood of Edina. It’s also one of the sources for Bloomington’s tap water, and visitors to the international airport and Fort Snelling State Park get Minneapolis drinking water as well.

Published Feb 14, 2012