How water is processed

A complex journey from groundwater back to groundwater

Bloomington's water comes from deep underground aquifers and the Mississippi River. Processing begins by treating, testing and softening this "raw" product into a safe, drinkable liquid. This treated water is then stored in reservoirs and towers to be distributed as needed through the pipes under our streets.

In homes and businesses, water is put through a workout. At home, water is needed to wash clothes and bodies, flush toilets and even cook vegetables. It can also be savored from the tap as a cool, delicious and refreshing drink.

After being used, this versatile liquid is collected as waste water through another system of pipes. After processing, this water is returned to start the journey again.

Water treatment process

The City's Sam H. Hobbs Water Treatment Plant treats groundwater from six deep wells and then pumps it into the distribution system for use by residents and businesses. Four wells were put in service in the mid-1970s and two more were added in 2002 as part of the water treatment plant expansion.

Bloomington supplements its water supply by purchasing treated surface water from the City of Minneapolis because our plant does not have the capacity to treat and supply all the City's water needs, especially on hot summer days when demand rises to its highest. This water is delivered via a pipe system from the Minneapolis Water Plant to Bloomington reservoirs where it is then pumped into the distribution system. All of Bloomington's water connections receive water that is a blend of water from our plant and water from Minneapolis.

The water plant monitors and controls the inflow of water to the reservoirs and pumping into the distribution system by utilizing a state-of-the-art Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system. This system allows the plant to monitor and control the pumps and valves that control the water pipes supplying the reservoir as well.

Tests are conducted on water during the treatment process, as it enters the distribution system, and on samples routinely collected from sampling points throughout the city. Over 85,000 tests are performed on our water annually. Bloomington's water consistently meets or exceeds all of the criteria established by federal and state regulations and guidelines.

Storage towers and reservoirs

Once the water is treated, it is then pumped to the distribution system and into the storage towers and reservoirs. The storage facilities are generally built at the highest elevation possible. The pressure created by the weight of the water in the towers and reservoirs allows gravity to help the water easily move to all points in the city.

Towers & Reservoirs

Water distribution

Once water leaves the storage towers and reservoirs, it goes into a large water main (pipe) that lies underneath the street. Smaller pipes are tapped (connected) to the main water line and go to each home and business along the street. These connections are called "service connections."

Safe water is distributed to the homes and businesses in Bloomington for use.