Water Treatment Division

The Water Treatment Division is responsible for all water treatment activities, in-house engineering and management of water treatment projects and water rights procurement management. The Division works in cooperation with the Distribution and Quality Control Divisions to ensure a safe, reliable and aesthetically pleasing water supply to the citizens of Lawrence and surrounding communities.

The Water Treatment Division operates two treatment facilities, The Kaw River Water Treatment Plant and the Clinton Reservoir Water Treatment Plant.


The Kaw River Water Treatment Plant was completed in 1917 and an addition to this plant was completed in 1958. The capacity of this plant stands at 16.5 million gallons per day (MGD). This plant draws its water from the Kansas River and six alluvial wells on the River banks.

The Clinton Reservoir Water Treatment Plant has a capacity of 15 million gallons per day and was put into service on March 1, 1980. A recently completed expansion increased the capacity from 10 million gallons per day to 15 million gallons per day. The Clinton Reservoir serves as the source of raw water to this plant.

Where does the water come from?

All drinking water begins in a watershed. The City of Lawrence diverts water from two surface sources, the Kansas River and the Clinton reservoir. Supplemental water is also drawn from the Kansas River Alluvium. Each source is independent from one another and consequently increases the reliability of service through the two treatment plants and supply sources.

What common contaminants may be present in source water?

As water travels over the land surface of the land or through the ground, it dissolves naturally occuring minerals and can pick up substances resulting from presence of animals or from human activity. Some examples of contaminants:

  • Microbiological contaminants such as viruses and metals;
  • Inorganic contaminants, such as salts and metals;
  • Pesticides and herbicides, which may come form a variety of sources such as agriculture, urban storm water runoff and residential uses;
  • Organic chemicals from industrial or petroleum use

In order to ensure that the tap water is safe to drink, EPA prescribes regulations which limit the amount of certain contaminants in water provided by public water systems.

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