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Here’s how Des Moines Water Works improves water from the treatment plant

One of the ways Des Moines Water Works tries to improve raw water quality before it comes into our treatment plant is through underground filtration.

At our Saylorville Water Treatment Plant, water from the Des Moines River is collected underground as it flows through the alluvial aquifer near the bank of the river. This process can minimize treatment costs and provide more consistent water quality and reduce the turbidity of raw water.

Here, one of our wellhouses – the facility that brings water from the aquifer into the treatment plant – is being rehabbed. The well laterals will build up with iron, a naturally occurring metal in the ground, and need to be cleaned. You can see before and after in these photos.

Riverbank filtration helps remove protozoa, bacteria, viruses, algae and the algal toxin microcystin, and reduces nitrate concentrations, all which help improve the quality of the water before it enters the treatment plant and continues through the treatment process.

Water quality in our rivers, lakes and streams is diminished by manmade pollutants and nutrients that leave farmland and run off other properties into our public waterways. Our water treatment experts at Des Moines Water Works remove these from the water so the water you have at your tap is safe for drinking.

Des Moines Water Works underground filtration pipe before and after

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