Where does my water come from and what is in it?

Where-does-my-water-come-from-st-paul-pipeworks-1In the Twin Cities, the water comes to your home underground and is supplied to you by your local city water department. Often times, like in the Minneapolis and St. Paul metro areas, the city will treat the water for its residents. Some cities will take water from very deep wells; some cities take it from large rivers nearby or a chain of lakes in the area. In Minneapolis, most of the water comes out of the Mississippi river and for St. Paul, the rest from a chain of lakes and from wells. There are many possibilities. If your home is located far enough out of the central city, then you may get your water from your own private well. Some suburbs will buy water from a larger neighboring city. People have the idea that all water is the same and that is not the case. The methods for water purification can vary from city to city.

The three primary issues with the water in the Twin Cities are:

How hard is the water in the Twin Cities?

“Hard water” is water that contains a quantity of dissolved minerals in it that are not hazardous to the user who is drinking it or cooking with it. The first thing that many people wonder about is the hardness of their water. Some municipalities soften the water at the Water Department plants. In the St. Paul and Minneapolis metro areas, both water departments soften the water at the plants. It gets delivered to the customers at a measurement of six grains hard. People usually start to notice hard water at around ten to twelve grains hard. Once water gets above 16 grains hard, you pretty much have to have a water softener in your home. Hard water can shorten the life of fabrics and clothing as they are washed over time, the insides of plumbing pipes and faucets and many other things.

How much iron is in the water in Minneapolis and St Paul?

Two of the other minerals that are dissolved in the water are iron and calcium. Iron in your drinking water is not hazardous to your health. Most tap water supplies about five percent of the dietary requirement of iron. But, if there is too much iron in the drinking water it can have a negative effect on the taste of the water. It can also affect water delivery or how much water is coming out of the tap by clogging things up. When St Paul Pipeworks does water re-piping, they are usually taking out threaded galvanized pipes that are all clogged up. They get clogged with iron and calcium particles, among other things. The new pipes that are a mixture of copper and the cross-link polymer PEX. The water delivery improves dramatically.

How much calcium is in our city water?

Calcium is important but it also can be detrimental to certain plumbing. Calcium will build up and eventually start clogging things in your home, such as your shower head. In older cities, like Minneapolis and St. Paul, there are still pipes that are made of soft lead. The water department purposely adds extra calcium to the water to coat the inside of the pipes to keep the water away from the lead. There is confusion by many consumers that the threaded pipes in their homes are made of lead. They are not made of lead; they are made from steel with a galvanized coating. There is no danger of lead in those pipes, but there is potential for having lead pipes underground leading from the water main in the street into your house. The calcium coats those pipes so that we are not ingesting lead. Often during construction in the St. Paul and Minneapolis metro areas the plumbing contractor on the job will go ahead and replace those pipes with copper piping while the roads are torn open. The water service pipe from your property line running underground into your house is owned by you. Replacement cost is the responsibility of the homeowner.

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People are becoming more suspicious of whether or not their municipalities are ensuring safe water quality. Interestingly, the St. Paul Water Department has won multiple national awards. They publish a monthly report that shows a chemical analysis of what is in their water. This information is available to anyone who is interested. They will take phone calls from anybody who has questions about the contents of their local water.

Saint Paul Regional Water Services | Saint Paul, Minnesota (stpaul.gov)

Water Department – City of Minneapolis (minneapolismn.gov)

If you are in need of a quality plumber in the St. Paul and Minnesota metro areas, do not hesitate to call St Paul Pipeworks today.

Yours Truly,
Matthew Dettwiler
Social Media Manager

3 Issues to Know About City Water in Minneapolis and St Paul