Water Treatment & Distribution

Water Treatment

2022 Water Quality Report, click here

The City of Lowell water treatment and filtration facility has been in operation for over 45 years at its present location.  The current facility was dedicated on October 8, 1977. Since that time, the City of Lowell has made it a priority to supply the citizens with safe and clean drinking water.  The water is treated and tested daily in accordance to the State of Michigan and the Safe Drinking Water Act.  Information on the quality of the water can be found in our Annual Water Quality Report that can be found here.

Each year there are competitions held throughout the state to find the best tasting drinking water that is produced in Michigan. The City of Lowell has won numerous district awards for best tasting water (in 20, and in 2019 won the “Best Tasting Water in Michigan” award from the Michigan section of the American Water Works Association.

Water is pumped into the treatment facility by 4 groundwater wells that range from 87 to 110 feet deep. These wells are used in combination with each other to pump the amount of water that is needed each day.

The water flows from the wells into an upflow clarifier where lime and alum (Aluminum Sulfate) is rapidly mixed into the water to raise the pH of the water. The water flows from the bottom of the tank to the top of the tank slowing in velocity.  This allows hardness particles to grow larger in a process called flocculation.  This process allows the particles of hardness to settle back to the bottom of the tank. The material settled is referred to as the process sludge. This white process sludge is directed to the drying lagoons behind the plant, which are emptied periodically. At this point in the process the water is now softened and flows by gravity to the filters.

The filters are the final process of treatment. There are 2 filters that have 12 inches of sand and 18 inches of anthracite coal in them. The water is treated with a small amount of phosphate before entering the filters in order to condition the filters to keep them from “cementing” which is when the filters get too hard to allow water to pass through. At this point chlorine is added to the finishing process for disinfection through the filtering process and beyond.  Fluoride is also added to assist with oral health and strong teeth. The water then flows through the sand and anthracite, where particles left from primary treatment are caught in the filters, completing the water filtration process and leaving the water looking clear and ready for consumption. After this step the water then is pumped through the water distribution system.

Water Treatment Information & Capabilites

  • The water treatment facility operates 7 days a week, 365 days a year, for as long each day as is necessary to provide enough water to fill the needs of the City as well as the northwest portion of Lowell Township.
  • The treatment plant is designed to treat a maximum capacity of 1.5 million gallons per day (MGD).
  • The facility pumps approximately 254 million gallons of water per year.
  • There are 4 groundwater wells with the capability of pumping 3.9 MGD to the facility for treatment.
  • The plant has 1 ground storage tank that holds a total of 0.5 million gallons of water.  There are two storage tanks out in the distribution system that can hold 1.3 million galls of water for community use.
  • There are 2 full-time employees to run daily operations and maintenance of the plant. All employees are licensed through the State of Michigan in accordance with the requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act.
  • The plant is equipped to run a state-certified bacteriological laboratory. This enables the treatment facility personnel to perform the over 600 bacteriological sample tests each year that are necessary for operations.
  • Over 20 tests are performed each day in order to make sure the facility meets its treatment goals.
  • The City's water quality is constantly being tested. Each year we develop a Water Quality Report that is submitted to the State of Michigan and reviewed. Copies of the report are available at City Hall and are available online here.
  • Our water hardness level ranges from 130 to 150 parts per million, or between 7.5 and 8.7 grains per gallon.

Water Distribution
The water distribution system is the essential link between the water supply and the consumer. It is not just the water main that runs down the street. It is an elaborate conveyance system that allows water to be moved through miles of piping before reaching your tap. There are 3 high service pumps that provide the pressure that moves the water through the system and to the 2 storage tanks. The height of the tanks provides pressure to the system when the pumps at the plant are turned off. The water is distributed to homes and businesses, as it is pumped from the plant, or flows from the storage tanks, depending on when you turn on your tap.

The water distribution department is responsible for the maintenance of water mains, water services to the curb stop box, water meters, fire hydrants, water valves, and backflow devices to ensure that treated water is delivered safely to your tap.

Around 24 miles of water main delivers water to more than 1,300 residential and commercial customers within our service area. Water mains vary in size from 2 inch to 16 inches in diameter. Approximately 265 hydrants, 500 valves, 30 cross connection devices, a 800,000 gallon storage tank and pumping station on Gee Dr; a 500,000 gallon storage tank and pumping station on Shepard Dr. complete the distribution network.