Water Treatment Plant Bringing Clean Water to St. Paul Park


St Paul Park, MN






City Engineering

Construction Materials Testing & Inspection

Drinking Water

Project Management & Construction Administration

Public Engagement

In June 2018, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) notified St. Paul Park officials that two of its three wells, which supply the city’s drinking water, exceeded the recommended amount of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to be considered safe for public consumption. The community moved swiftly, hiring WSB to work on bringing cleaner drinking water to residents and businesses in the community. The project was to design a water treatment facility and remove PFAS on account of public health and safety.

PFAS are a family of manmade chemicals that do not naturally decompose. Consuming drinking water with elevated levels of PFAS, overtime, can be associated with high cholesterol, reduced immune response, thyroid disease, kidney cancer and other distressing health problems.

WSB partnered with the city to design the new Granular Activated Carbon Water Treatment Plant. The project, situated within a city park and in the middle of a residential neighborhood, utilized an innovative modeling software, Matterport, to video scan the interior of the plant and provide a three-dimensional layout. Leveraging Matterport software ensures important equipment data, plant drawings, and schematics can be accessed from any location with Wi-Fi or internet connection.

The city’s Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system was redesigned to accommodate the entire water system. The new system now operates the water treatment plant in addition to water wells and elevated water storage tanks. System efficiency allows the overall operation of the entire water system while providing continuous monitoring and security of the facility.

During planning, WSB studied alternative water supply and treatment options such as purchasing water from a nearby public water system. That alternative was found to be impractical and expensive. The city would still need to charge its customers to maintain its own water system, in addition to charging an extra fee to purchase treated water from the nearby drinking water system. To improve health and reduce costs for St. Paul Park residents, a new plant was determined to be the best long-term option for the city.

To support the city’s vision for providing a sustainable solution, WSB performed services for design, bidding and construction administration and observation. The project was completed with a scheduled and actual completion date of April 30, 2020.

Since its opening in April of 2020, there have been no detectable traces of PFAS.

Additionally, the water supply at the plant exceeds all drinking water and health standards. The significance of this water treatment will have a lasting impact and provide high quality drinking water for the city of St. Paul Park for generations to come. Plus, the facility was designed to serve as both a short-term and long-term solution to address PFAS for the city, which ultimately saves the state money and frees-up settlement funds for other communities that require additional funding to implement their own water treatment solutions.

The community will also incur almost no environmental costs from the plant since it produces nearly no wastewater and almost no emissions other than heating costs during the winter months.


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