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Michigan State UniversityMichigan State UniversityInfrastructure Planning and Facilities

Water distribution - campus water system improvements

Project phase: Construction

Project background

  • MSU operates its own water system and draws water from wells in the agriculture district to provide approximately one billion gallons annually and service most buildings on the East Lansing Campus.
  • The water meets all regulatory requirements. Routine water sampling for biological constituents such as coliform, inorganic materials such as copper and lead,radionuclides such as radium, and other substances consistently fall well below any recommended and regulatory thresholds for safety. A complete analysis is included in the MSU Water Quality Report (2017).
  • Concerns remain however, that the overall water quality is not pleasing to users relative to color and taste. The raw water supply has high levels of turbidity, hardness, iron, and manganese. Periodic 'red water events' occur, as do maintenance problems with local water softeners due to iron solids settling out of the water in the distribution system pipes.
  • Treating the water at each building is inefficient and creates other challenges with the distribution system.

Project details

  • The proposed water tower and water treatment plant is located southeast of the intersection of Service Road and Recycle Drive in the service district.
  • After evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of several sites, the project team concluded that a site on Service Road, east of the T.B. Simon Power Plant, offered the best compromise between cost and disruption to the campus.
  • The project involves construction of a 2 million gallon elevated storage tank that is 150 feet tall.
  • Also included is a 11,500 gross square foot water treatment plant which will include water treatment processes such as chlorination and fluoridation (in addition to iron removal), which are currently done at the reservoir.
  • The old reservoir will be taken out of service when the new water treatment plant becomes operational.


  • Construction start: June 2018
  • Ready for use: May 2020


  • $21 million, including a $2.1 million contingency
  • The source of funds for the project is expected to be from the general fund - utility reserve or debt financing with dept repayment from the general fund - utility reserve, with the participation of other campus non-general fund users.


Project webcam



Interactive detour map with current closure information for motorists and pedestrians.

Construction Junction progress update

December 2018