City of Saginaw, Michigan

10-steps-diagramTen Steps to Potable Drinking Water

  1. Raw Water is drawn from Lake Huron
  2. Pre-Chlorination kills disease causing organisms
  3. Adding ferric chloride causes fine particles to clump together for easier removal. Lime is added for stabilization and pH balance. Carbon and chlorine additions improve taste and odor, and fluoride is added to promote strong teeth.
  4. Rapid Mix blends these chemicals
  5. Flocculation helps form larger particles to aid the sedimentation and filtration processes.
  6. Clarifiers and settling basins remove larger suspended particles and other sediments. Chlorine feeds provide additional disinfection.
  7. The Dual Media Filters remove remaining particles.
  8. Post-chlorination provides continued disinfection and protects water during distribution.
  9. The storage reservoirs allow chlorine contact time for disinfection and provide water storage for use during peak demands.
  10. The high service pumps provide pressure to deliver clean drinking water to customers.

The City of Saginaw Water Treatment Plant is designed to provide disinfection and filtration. Water flows from the pipeline or is pumped in from the Lake Linton reservoir located outside the Water Plant.

The following treatment methods are used:


City of Saginaw utilizes chlorine bleach to disinfect its water supply. Chlorine bleach is an effective killer of disease causing organisms which helps ensure the continued safety of our drinking water. The raw water is chlorinated at the source. Additional chlorine may be added as needed at the water treatment plant.

Contact Time

Chlorine is added to the water in the pipeline to Saginaw.  Additional chlorine is added at the Water Treatment Plant.  Maintaining ample contact time with chlorine ensures disinfection is taking place. 


Fluoride is added to the drinking water to increase bone density and tooth development especially in younger children. It is proven to reduce dental carries also known as cavities. For more information, please see the Water Quality page.

Coagulant Addition

Ferric chloride and synthetic polymer are added to bind particles in the water. This causes them to settle out and aids in optimizing filtration of the water.

Carbon Addition

Activated carbon may be added to the raw water to reduce taste and odors in the water. Due to the high quality of raw water, carbon addition is rarely needed.

Lime Addition

Lime is added to the water to increase the pH to approximately 8.5 su. The higher pH prevents corrosion of the pipes in the distribution system and your home plumbing. This also helps to prevent Lead and Copper from entering your drinking water from the pipes and solder. For more information on Lead and Copper in drinking water click here.


After allowing the particles to settle, water flows through 1 of the 18 filters at the Water Plant. The conventional filters are dual media consisting of sand and anthracite coal. This process removes any additional particulates in the water, producing a final product with low turbidity, or high clarity of the water. Each filter has a maximum flow of 3.0 MGD and is equipped with water backwash facilities, surface wash, wash water troughs and underdrains. Finished water from the filter clearwells moves to two 10 MG clearwells to be pumped to the distribution system.

Distribution and Reserve

The potable water is pumped into the distribution system. The City of Saginaw Water Treatment Plant supplies city residents and additional wholesale customers.