Campus water system filtration plant and storage tower

Find out more about how MSU is working to improve water quality.

Project Information


  • Construction


  • 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.
  • 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.


  • The new water tower and water treatment plant are under construction and are 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, fluoridation and iron removal.
  • The new water treatment plant and tower are expected to become operational in early 2020.
  • Only after extensive water quality testing will water treatment and distribution to the campus begin.
  • Users of the water system still may see occasional water discoloration, especially when the pipes are flushed out annually during routine maintenance, but the discoloration will become more infrequent as sediments are removed.
  • The old reservoir will be taken out of service when the new water treatment plant becomes operational.
  • The new system will result in significant cost savings to the university. The tower eliminates the need for powered pumps, saving money while providing pressurized water even in the event of an electrical disruption. The treated water also will result in reduced water softening material needs, thus saving additional funds.


  • Construction start: June 2018
  • Ready for use: Summer¬†2020


  • $21 million, including a $2.1 million contingency
  • The source of funds for the project is 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.


Construction Junction progress update

Capital project number

  • CP16086



    Robert Nestle
    Project Manager (517) 355-3372