Minneapolis: our water beats bottled in taste tests!

Minneapolis marketing its tap water to other cities


Minneapolis, Minn. — Before water from the Mississippi River reaches faucets in Minneapolis, it is coagulated, flocculated, carbonated, fluoridated, and chlorinated.

In other words, that don't rhyme, the water has to be treated with chemicals that make the tiny things floating in it clump together, making them big enough to get caught in filters. Water also gets dosed with disinfectants that kill other nasty things that can make people sick.

Some of that happens at the city's ultrafiltration plant in Columbia Heights in a room with more than 1000 white, plastic tubes stacked horizontally in rows. Inside each tube are filters that contain thousands of tiny straws made of a high-tech polymer. The water moves slowly through the filters and waste material gets stuck in the thin membrane of the straw.

Ultrafiltration is more effective than the older sand filtration method in removing harmful pathogens from water, according to plant manager Dale Folen. The holes in the membrane of the filters are small enough to capture things that sand can't
In 2007, the city dedicated $200,000 towards promoting Minneapolis water to residents and to other municipalities. Golden Valley, New Hope, Crystal, Columbia Heights, Hilltop and parts of Bloomington and Edina buy and use Minneapolis water. They pay a total of around $10 million a year and Rybak would like to see that list expand.

There are other reasons why public water is better than what Rybak calls "plastic water". The plastic bottles are showing up in greater numbers in landfills. Plus, he says, Minneapolis water tastes good.

"The water you drink out of the tap in Minneapolis is great drinking water. And we'll put that up against private, plastic water any day of the week. And in fact, in all these taste tests that are done. We wind up coming off just great."

Several years before the new filtration plant was built, Minneapolis tap water was selected over a couple popular brands of bottled water in a taste test on public radio's The Splendid Table.

Officials at the filtration plant say the taste of Minneapolis water comes from the addition of activated carbon which removes certain odors.

Comment: Nice slideshow! In contrast to Minneapolis, Plymouth (and Maple Grove) derive their water from wells.

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