|Water Department: 457-8272|
|Hours: 7:00 am-3:30 pm Monday through Friday|
|Emergency: Call the Law Enforcement Center 457-6302|
Frequently Asked Questions
- Does the water we drink come from the Mississippi River?
The water supplied to the city comes from deep and shallow wells located in Levee Park and the Westfield well field. The depths of these wells are from 142′ to 502′ in depth. The exception to this is the Wincrest area that has two wells that are 1070′ deep.
- Is the water safe to drink every day?
The water is chlorinated to kill any micro-organisms and bacteria that may be present. The Minnesota Dept. of Health requires us to sample at a minimum of 30 locations throughout the city at least once a month and send them to an independent lab for testing. If a positive sample shows up then there is a retest, if positive again a notice is sent to all residents telling them to boil the water till the problem is resolved.
- What is the definition of safe water?
Water is considered safe to drink if it came from a natural source (river, lake, spring, groundwater) and it meets or is better than all of the federal, state, and provincial standards that are legally enforceable. In the United States if your tap water does not meet any one of the standards, according to the law, your water supplier must notify all its customer as of the problem. Water is called potable when it is safe to drink. “Potable” rhymes with “floatable”.
- What other chemicals are added to the water we drink?
The State mandates us to add fluoride to the water which we do at the Johnson Street Plant, Westfield Plant, and the Wincrest Wells.; We take a sample daily of the fluoride level and a monthly report is sent to the Minnesota Dept. of Health to show compliance with state laws.
- I am installing a water softener and need to know the hardness of the water. How hard is the water supplied to the city?
The hardness of the water is 14 grains or 220 PPM.
- Why is my water so discolored lately?
The water being pumped out of the Johnson Street and Westfield Plants is being filtered at this time. There are a few reasons that your water may be discolored. If there was a fire in your area often times this will make the water discolored because of a large demand for water going through the water mains. You may have a service leak which will discolor the water. We flush the water mains in the spring and fall, this will cause discolored water.
- Why did my water bill go up so much?
There are many reasons to have a water bill higher than normal. You may have a leaky toilet (the number one cause), out side faucet was left on, water softener not working properly, other water related appliances not working properly. Also if you do not have a newer style water meter that can be read from the outside of your home we may not have been able to get an actual reading. This will result in an estimated reading and we would not be able to determine if you have a leak in that three month period. Please contact us if you need to have a newer style meter installed in your residence. This will guarantee that the water will be read every quarter. The Water Department will gladly come to your residence to help you in any way that we can.
- When is my water meter read for my bill?
The water department reads water meters every month. The city is divided into three sections so that your water meter is read every third month. Example: all meters west of Grand Street were read in February and your bill was mailed to you the first of March. We will read the meter again in May and the bill will be mailed the first of June.: Meters east of Franklin Street were read in January and the bill sent the first of February, we will read these east meters again in April with your bill mailed to you in May.
- I heard that there is an ongoing meter change out program happening in the city. How do I get on the list to get mine changed?
We currently have about 90-95% of the meters changed to the new “ECR” type meter. “ECR” stands for “Electronic Encode Register” and we are able to read these meters by touching the small box we attach to the outside of your home. If you don’t now have one of these types please call our office and we can set up an appointment to change your meter to a new one. This will mean that every quarter we can get an actual reading for your water usage and not have to estimate your usage on your water bill.
- On my water bill it says cubic feet, how many gallons is that?
One cubic foot of water is equal to 7.48 gallons, one hundred cubic feet of water is equal to 748 gallons.
- What is the pipe of some type sticking up in the area between the street and the sidewalk in front of my house.
The pipe is the “stop box” for your water service. There is a valve under ground on your water line that is accessed with a special wrench through this pipe. In an emergency situation (water flooding your basement) this is where your plumber or the water department would turn off the water to your home. If this pipe is bent, broken, or filled with dirt then the water may not be able to be shut off in time to prevent flooding of the basement. This “stop box” is the home owner’s responsibility to keep in good operating condition.
- I have very low water pressure and there is is sound like water running even when all my faucets are off. What could cause this?
It appears that you may have a service leak. The piping to your home may have broken and the water is flowing out into the ground (the noise you hear). The low pressure is because not all the water is coming into your home but leaking out at the break. This should be addressed immediately since the water leaking into the ground may start flowing into your basement or your neighbors basement resulting in property damage. If this is the case call the Water Department or the Law Enforcement Center after hours for help.
- What can I do to prevent my water from freezing in the winter?
Your water meter is where the water service first enters your home. This meter is designed with a frost plate that will break when water in the meter freezes. This is to prevent further damage to the rest of the meter. We suggest that you eliminate all cold drafts in the area of the meter and other piping. In the case of services that are notorious for freezing we suggest to let a small stream of water flowing through the pipes during the colder part of winter.
- I am interested in where my water comes from. Is there a way that I can see the City Water Plant?
We do give tours of the Water Plant to many school classes through out the year and would be happy to show you our operations here. Please get in touch with us and we will try to help.
The water history for the City of Winona has its roots in the year 1882. In that year the Board of Municipal Works constructed it’s first water plant and two large, circular, shallow, seepage wells. The water plant and the wells were located on the levee at the present site of the Johnson Street Water plant. Both shallow wells were 50′ in diameter and 25′ deep. Seepage from the Mississippi River filled these two shallow collection basin type wells and the water was then pumped by the means of steam-driven pumps to a 218′ tall, brick standpipe for the needed pressure for fire protection as well as domestic water supply. Construction for this stand pipe was also started in 1882 and it’s location was approximately 50′ east of the present Johnson Street Water Plant office.
After approximately thirty years of service it became apparent that Winona’s water needs had grown along with the size of the bustling river town. The seepage wells had become badly plugged and could not supply enough water to meet the needs of the community.
In 1915, the Board of Municipal Works contracted a well drilling company to drill four artesian wells in Levee Park. All four wells were located on the Levee Park between Johnson and Walnut Streets. These deep, artesian wells were 10″ in diameter and approximately 500′ deep and provided additional water to the existing shallow seepage wells. The seepage wells were taken out of service after the 4 drilled wells came on line. Several years later when the artesian wells quit flowing on their own and a more dependable water supply had to be developed.
In 1924, another deep well#5 was drilled northwest of the present water plant. Well#5 was 16″ in diameter and 500′ deep. By this time the “air lift method” of pumping water was popular and by 1925 all five wells were converted to the “air lift method”
utilizing steam power as the energy source. In addition to the well conversion, a new underground concrete reservoir was constructed just west of the Johnson Street Water Plant. This reservoir was capable of holding 2 million gallons of raw water pumped out of the five newly converted airlift wells. Steam power was then used to pump this water up into the standpipe for the needed water pressure to supply the city.
By 1929, plans for a new riveted water tower of a 500,000 gallon capacity were drawn as well as plans for two more deep wells(#6 and #7) . The method for pumping water also changed from the “airlift method” using steam, to conversion to electrically driven motors and pumps.
The original four artesian wells were taken out of service and capped but not sealed. However, the discharge piping for #4 and #3 artesian wells were used in connection with the new discharge piping for wells #6 and #7. In 1931 the original brick standpipe was taken out of service and with the completion of the new 500,000 gallon water tower, our city’s water needs were met for the next several years.
Additional wells(all shallow ,150′ deep) were drilled in Levee park in years 1934, 1947, 1950, and 1953 (wells #8, #9, #10, and #11). By 1954, the Board of Municipal Works realized the need for future wells and for water storage. Plans were developed for a new well field in the west end of town, as well as for a new elevated storage reservoir of three million gallons capacity to be located on the bluff south of Lake Winona adjacent to Garvin Heights road. A large supply water main was also included in this project which became a reality by 1958. It was shortly there after that the water tower at Johnson St. was taken out of service and plans for the Cities first filtration plant for iron removal was developed. This was the Westfield Water Plant with its’ adjoining wellfield , comprised of 3 wells (#12 Shallow,#13 & #14,Deep.) All drilled in the years 1957,1958,and 1959.
The Westfield Plant was unique in that it filtered the raw well water for iron and manganese. It wasn’t until later(1969) that the Johnson Street Plant was redesigned to filter iron and manganese from the raw water as well. Along with the well and plant improvements at Westfield, new discharge piping from the Westfield Water Plant was connected to the distribution system which enabled both water plants and the well fields to be in operation at the same time and maintain water levels in the new Garvin Heights reservoir. (1957) By 1965 the old 500,000 gallon water tower was taken out of service permanently.
In 1962 the old brick stand pipe was completely torn down and removed. For several years not much was done to the main water system. However, in 1962, with the housing industry moving to the bluff tops, the Board of Municipal Works realized a need to develop a separate water system to serve the Wincrest area. Another deep well was drilled (#15). This well and it’s accompanying 100,000 gallon water tower met the needs of this new housing development, which was completely isolated from the water system of the lower valley.
In 1965 and 1966 the Sugarloaf Booster Station and it’s accompanying one million gallon exposed, metal reservoir was constructed on the south side of Sugarloaf bluff. The Johnson Street Water Tower was taken out of service and a major remodeling project on the Johnson Street Water Plant was designed, started. The newly completed Johnson St. Water Plant came on line in 1969. Our city now had two filter plants on line to supply chemically treated and filtered water to it’s residents. We met the needs of a building boom, which now was moving up the valleys surrounding Winona on the south side.
After several quiet years, the year 1975 marked the year when well #12 was taken out of service and given to the Westfield Golf Course. The following year another building boom occurred and a booster station was added to the new Knopp Valley housing addition. As time went on it was apparent that a reservoir was needed to provide more stable water pressure and better fire protection. It wasn’t until 1985, that a new inground, concrete, 500,000 gallon, reservoir was built.
In 1987, similar circumstances occurred in the new Valley Oaks housing addition. Here, however the booster station and the new elevated, 500,000 gallon, concrete, in-ground reservoir were built at the same time and again the need for quality water was met by our city.
The years 1987 through 1991 marked the demise of two wells in the Levee Park well field (#6 and #8). Available space in Levee Park to accommodate any new deep wells is at a premium since there has already been 4 generations of wells drilled here. However space was found on the east end of Levee Park for a new deep well #16 in 1991. This was the first well drilled by the city since 1962. However, it must be remembered that wells #5, #7, #9, #10. #11 are all old wells and they will not produce water forever. This was made even more apparent in the drought years of 1987 and 1988 when the static level in the wells fell 20′ and our well capacity dropped drastically. We have never recovered. We have had to add column pipe to each of our deep wells and throttle back on our shallow wells to keep them producing water. Competition for water from heavy industry surrounding the Levee Park well field has also taken it’s toll. The municipal wells are in direct competition for the same water in the aquifers used by the industries.A standby generator was installed at the Westfield plant in 1988,to provide an alternate power source in the event of a power outage or for peak demand shaving.
In 1992, the first major remodeling project on the Westfield Iron Removal Plant was started. The old gravity filters were removed and replaced by 2 large pressure filters with dual media, for better quality water. A new booster station was added for secondary pumping and a backwash reclaim tank built to reclaim water used in the backwash cycle, which would normally be wasted.This feature and a combination air/water backwash made for a more efficient running water filter plant. The new remodeled Westfield Plant came on line in June of 1993. It was in this year that the old water tower at Johnson St. was also torn down.
In addition to the newly remodelled Westfield Water Plant, a new 16″ water main was also added to the design, located on Bierce Street, directly in front of the plant that would go north under the tracks and connect to the 16″ main on Riverview Drive. This new 16″ main would help eliminate pressure and volume problems that were developing west of the plant, due to industrial expansion on Theurer Boulevard. A new 8″ sewer line was also installed on Bierce Street to the north to aid in eliminating the heavy backwash sludge, which we could no longer dump into the open ditch, to the west of the Westfield Plant. New chlorination and fluoride equipment was added for chemical feed systems to produce a quality finished water for our public. The cost was approximately 1.3 million dollars.
In 1994, well #14 was changed over from submersible to line shaft turbine and a new well house was built to accommodate the new motor and discharge piping and flow meter. By doing this change our city will now save approximately $10,000 to $20,000 when the well needs to be pulled and the payback will be realized in two to three years. In the previous year, well #13 was converted using this procedure, so now the Westfield well field is complete in it’s update to match those of the newly remodeled Westfield Water Plant.
In 1995, a 70′ x 24′ pole shed was constructed in the storage yard of the Johnson Street Plant. This is used to store our hydrants, valves, valve boxes, repair clamps and other material used on the distribution system out of the weather. In 1996 a consultant (Summit Envirosolutions) was hired for the well design of a new well (#17) at Wincrest. At the Johnson Street Plant, the reservoir controllers for both the Garvin Heights reservoir and the Johnson Street reservoir were replaced by Electro Tech. Much of the old MCP equipment was replaced with new computer equipment as part of this upgrade and is working well. At the Westfield Plant we replaced the bulk tank scale for the fluoride with a new digital scale with four load cells to give us a more accurate daily fluoride consumption record for the monthly report required by the Minnesota Department of Health. Improvements were also completed on the chlorine system by eliminating post chlorination. This cured the black speck problem that had plagued the west end of town since the plant went back on line in 1993.
In March of 1996, the construction of a new deep well in the Wincrest area began with Keys Well Drilling as the contractor. This new well will be used on an alternating basis with the existing Well #15. Keys Well Drilling was the low bidder on the project at $234,000 and completion of the new well is targeted for Fall of 1996. Yaggy Colby Associates was employed by the city to develop the specs for the new well house with an estimated cost of $158,000 for the well house, pump, motor, column discharge piping, and electronics controls. However work on the well house will not be started until spring of 1997. Yaggy Colby was also contracted to design a new booster station at a new subdivision at the southeast end of our water system. This new subdivision called Treetops will have construction starting on the new booster station in spring of 1997 with an estimated cost of $167,000.
In 1997, several updates on the electronic equipment at the following booster stations were completed. At Knopp Valley, a new PLC was installed to replace the old controls that shorted out as a result of a water leak in the main MCP. Sugarloaf also had a controls update with a variable speed control for both pumps with an alternating features and significant cost savings.
1997 also marked the completion of Well #17 and well house to serve the Wincrest area. Well #15 also had a new flow meter installed as well as new tower electronics and pressure transducer. Treetops booster station was added to our list of new buildings serving the new Treetops subdivision. This station has the capabilities of pumping water to a future reservoir in the area as well as providing fire protection and water to the residents at the new subdivision.
In 1998, Summit Envirosolutions was contracted to install a smart well field computer system in Levee Park to help us run the well field more cost effectively. This system, called RealFlow, will also provide the beginning equipment for our SCADA system to be added over the next few.
The water Department also contracted Electro Tech to do a controls update on the Wincrest tower controls and alarm system which now is integrated into the Johnson Street alarm panel. The alarms for Treetops booster station will also be tied into the alarm panel at Johnson Street.
In 1999, several projects were started and completed by year’s end. Key’s well Drilling Co. drilled a new well (#18) in the Westfield well field, at the corner of Third and Bierce St. This well was added to act as an alternate or relief well for the other two wells (#13 & #14) in the well field. In conjunction with the new well, the renovation of the Johnson Street Water Plant began in early November, with the demolition of the old filters in the plant. Several new street valves were also replaced as well as the 30″ & 12″ watermains at 2nd & Main. Also a new 20″ valve was added at Front and Johnson Streets. These key valves will be useful during the major plant shutdowns for the ongoing Johnson Street Plant Renovation Project. The Johnson St. Water Plant renovation was completed in late 2000 with an estimated cost of 3.5 million dollars. This project was similar to the Westfield project in that the old filters were replaced by 4 horizontal pressure vessels with a combination air/water backwash with backwash reclaimation and standby generation for an alternate power source.
Several other distribution system improvements were completed in 1999 as well. The water main loop was completed on Storrs Pond Road to the Shain Industrial Park and the 14″ water main on Highway 14 by St. Mary’s College was relocated for the new bike path. The Wincrest well house was also set up for a standby generator to deal with Y2K.
The new millienum (year 2000) was started with much anticipation for the remodeled and up-graded Johnson St. Water Plant to come on line. After many delays in the construction schedule this finally occurred in late 2000 but the plant was to be in for a major filter internal up-grade since the design and manufacture of the filter vessels was less than desired. Tonka was finally hired to complete this work at an additional cost to the City but the plant was finally put on line in June of 2001. In the mean time several other improvements were completed on the water system. In Sept. of 2001 KLM Engineering was hired to do a compliance inspection of the Wincrest water tower. It was found that over $100,000 of improvements are needed on the tower to bring it up to OSHA specs. This includes repainting inside and out. With this information we can budget for this project and put in the CIP for future improvements to the water system. However since a new larger water tower is needed, land purchase for the new tower and the construction project for the new tower will likely happen first.
Aerator packing was also replaced in the Westfield Water plant aerators and a water main extension was completed from Valley Oaks subdivision
to Hwy 43 to the new Bluffview subdivision. Another watermain project occurred at the Gilmore Valley area. In 2001 well #11 was pulled for routine maintenance by Traut Well Co. Other work completed this year included the Boonestro Flow Model of the entire water system, spray washing the exterior of the Sugarloaf Reservoir and the utilization of GIS/GPS of all hydrants and valves in the water system.
In 2002, a risk management plan was developed as a result of 911. Security plans for the water reservoirs was laid out and budgeted for. A preliminary design and plan for an HMO chemical feed system was started for the Westfield Water Plant to reduce the Radium in the finished Water, however, the first attempt was not successful. Plans were set for the follow up design the next year. Levee Park wellfield had major control line improvements when we eliminated all hard line communication lines and changed over to radio signal. The Westfield Plant also had the roof replaced over the front office and plans to complete the rest of the building were laid for the following year for budget purposes.
In 2003 water projects included a new subdivision in the Wincrest area called Crestview, installation of VFD’S at both the Treetops Booster Station and the Johnson St. High Service Pump house. This will reduce our electrical costs and have a pay back of 3 years. Plans were also designed for an HMO system for the Westfield Plant for Radium
removal and this plan was actually followed through on by the Water Dept with assistance from Sioux Valley Environmental. By December we were on line and our Radium problem was slowly corrected. Purchase of a mobile Genset from the City of Goodview also took place and each remote Water location pumping facility was equipped with the electrical connections for the hookup to this portable genset. Work was also started on the sealing of 2 old wells at the Johnson St plant by Traut well Co. late in the fall. This set the stage for a new well (#19) to be drilled in the approx location of old well #10. Both old wells # 5 and #10 were sealed and abandoned with their wells houses torn down. Security fencing was also installed at Johnson St. Plant and the Garvin Heights Reservoir with the adoption of a vulnerbility assessment and implimentation plan as required by the EPA.
In 2004 there was another major push to expand our city with several more housing developments. These included, Creekwood subdivision, East Garvin Heights, and Gilmore Valley phase two. Wapasha Construction completed the Well house #19 and by June we were on line with this well. The Franklin St. track crossing was also completed. Design plans for the new Wincrest Water Plant were also finalized. Security fencing was also installed at the Valley Oaks reservoir road. Data transfer was also started on the hard copy records at the Water Dept. The Cities Wellhead Protection plan was also completed as was the vulnerable study. Construction of a new pole shed to house the portable genset was also started at the Sewer Plant. There was also an electronics up-date at the Johnson St. plant for the alarm circuits by having radio replace the hard wire circuits. Windows were also replaced at the Westfield Plant office, and a major access road cut through to the Garvin Heights Reservoir to repair the exposed 20″ watermain.
In 2005 Traut Well Co. pulled well #16 for routine maintenance and work was started on the new Wincrest Water Treatment plant. Several other water projects were slated to be started as well and these included the 16″ watermain project on West Burns Valley Road and the Theurer Blvd watermain project to TRW. Roofs at the Westfield Booster Station and the Valley Oaks Booster Station were also replaced. Some of the backwash valves were also replaced on the filters at Johnson St. at no cost to the City since this was a warranty issue with the valve manufacturer. The Garvin Heights Reservoir got reclaimed from mother nature as we cleared and grubbed the area and spread single ground mulch over the area for future years. Other projects that remain to be completed include the repainting of the Westfield Filters and the replacement of the airconditioning system in the Westfield Plant filter room and wellhouses for both wells #18 and #16.
In 2006 an unexpected failure of #1 high service pump (installed in 1969) at Johnson street meant a replacement of a 75 HP high efficiency U.S. Motor as a necessary up-grade. The Westfield plant got the exterior of the filters repainted. The second phase of the window replacement was finished and an upgrade to the filter controls was completed. The remainder of the backwash valves at the Johnson Street Plant were replaced under warranty from the manufacturer. At the same time repair was done to some of the stainless steel piping and an additional isolation valve was added to the system.
In 2007 the new Wincrest Water Treatment Plant went on line with a Tonka pressure filter to finally supply filtered water to the residents in the area. With the new plant we are now able to reclaim the water wasted during cold weather to keep the water tower from freezing. Our meter change out program is now 99% complete and we are now in the process of adding “MXU” reading devices to the meters so we can read them with a radio signal. Sometime in the future we anticipate the need to read water meters on a monthly basis so we are trying to be able to read the close to 9,000 meters every month. Late in the year we removed the well motor, column pipe, and pump from well #9. After sealing the well we demolished the building and plan on drilling a new well at this location the following year.
In 2008 a new well was drilled in the levee at the end of the East parking lot where old well #9 was. This new well was completed late in the year by Keys Well Drilling going down into the Mt Simon Aquifer at 489 feet. This new well #20 will be able to pump an anticipated 1250 to 1300 gallons per minute. The building and pump motor etc. will be completed next year and should replace well #11 completely. Another update to our distribution system was the new 400,000 gallon tower at Wincrest. This is a glass-fused on steel structure mounted on a concrete base so we will save on the future painting costs associated with a conventional steel tower. We are only utilizing 250,000 gallons at this time in order to keep the water fresh in the tower but now have the capacity to serve any and all development in the future for this area. Two subdivisions were also added to our system with Cobblestone Creek and Meadow Acres. A new depth sensor was installed at the Valley Oaks reservoir, and a third pump installed at the booster station there.
In 2009 we built a new building and installed the piping and motor to have our new well#20 on line in the levee well field. With this well on line and working well we were able to seal well #11 well. This was the last alluvial well in the system and with it being only 150 feet deep it was vulnerable to any contamination that might occur to our system. Traut Well Co sealed this well and also pulled the pipe, pump, and motor from well #7. We kept the transducer in well #7 for monitoring purposes since it is drilled down to the Mt Simon aquifer as are the rest of the wells now on the levee. At the Westfield plant we replaced the air and backwash valves on the south filter as we have been having problems with them. The old steel water tower at Wincrest was taken down as the new glass-fused on steel one is working well with no problems. The one million gallon steel tank at Sugarloaf was drained, sandblasted and painted this year. We also installed a fence around the perimeter to attempt to keep the vandals from writing graffiti on the tank. At Westfield we added an HMO feed system for radium removal so now we don’t need to mix two separate chemicals by hand as this is a bulk delivery injection installation. We also finished the upgrades at the Westfield wells for our SCADA system.
Old Tower Removal