Spring thaw means Minneapolis water gets extra treatment

Minneapolis Water Works is taking added steps to treat the City's water, due to the spring thaw. Each spring, many water customers notice a change in the taste of our tap water, which is expected because of the melting snow that makes its way into the Mississippi River, which is our water source.

Those changes typically only last a short time. Water Works staff have begun adjusting treatments at the City's water plants to better absorb or destroy materials that cause undesirable tastes and odors. Water customers can be assured that the water is safe to drink and that it meets or is better than all the regulatory requirements on water quality.

One substance that the City uses is called powdered activated carbon, or PAC. In water it acts like a microscopic sponge, absorbing the smallest of particles that can affect taste and smell. Water quality experts add PAC to our water when needed during the treatment process to help improve the product for customers.

PAC is especially important this time of year when the chemical composition of river water changes due to the spring thaw. There’s a physical limit to how much PAC water plant workers can put into the water, and sometimes it’s not enough to eliminate all factors that affect taste. Although the tastes and odors are not pleasant, they are not harmful, and the water is completely safe to drink.

Public safety is the top priority for the crews who work in the City's Water Works division. They put the river water through a battery of treatments and extensive filtering before it reaches customers. Thousands of tests are performed to make sure the drinking water we get is clean and safe.

City of Minneapolis water goes to customers in Minneapolis, seven neighboring cities, the airport and Fort Snelling, reaching more than half a million people per day.

For more information about City of Minneapolis water, go to Water Department website.

Published Mar 16, 2010