News Flash

Waste/Water Department

Posted on: December 17, 2020

Aquarius Award

The city of Pipestone, Minnesota, has received an Aquarius Award through the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency's Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) program for its excellence and leadership in the financing and construction of a new water treatment plant to address public-health and environmental issues.


Pipestone needed to reduce the concentration of gross alpha emitters in its drinking water to protect public health.  The new treatment plant was also designed to reduce the hardness of water leaving the plant, eliminating the need for residents to have water softeners in their home, which contribute to chloride concentrations at the city's wastewater plant.  Reducing the chloride concentration protects the environment in surface and groundwater downstream from the wastewater facility. 


The Pipestone project was one of the first in Minnesota to deal with a wastewater issue by treating their drinking water supply.  "By taking a holistic approach to solving their problem, the city was able to meet both their public health and environmental standards far more cost effectively," said Chad Kolstad of the Minnesota Department of Health DWSRF program.


With the new water treatment plant, Pipestone has reduced gross alpha emitters to below detection levels and has allowed the city to continue to optimize and remove home water softeners as needed to meet their chloride wastewater discharge permit limit.  In addition to the new water treatment plant, the project included the installation of watermains and new wells.  The $15.4 million project was funded with a DWSRF loan of $8.4 million and a point source implementation grant of $7.0 million from the state. 


The Aquarius award recognizes exceptional projects for excellence in innovative financing, problem solving, and protection of public health and serves as an examples of the high level of innovation possible with the DWSRF.

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