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Water Treatment Plant

This is where water from nature gets converted to water that is safe to drink.

Kirksville’s water is drawn from Forest Lake and Hazel Creek Lake. Water is pumped approximately 6-7 miles to the plant and stored on a raw water pond. This pond holds about two days' worth of water in case there is an emergency such as a water line break from the lakes. The storage pond is treated with chemicals that control algae growth. As with other parts of Public Works, there is always a secondary backup system should the main system fail.

Listed below is information on the Stages of Cleaning, Storage & Pumping Capacity, Water Pressure, Safety Testing & Maintenance, Plant Operator's Qualifications, and How this Division Benefits You.

Stages of Cleaning (Water goes through three stages of purification before you drink it)

Stage 1
  • Water from the storage pond is sent to an "up-flow unit" or a primary clarifier. These are big round basins with a mechanical cone that you may have seen at the Water Treatment plant.
  • In the primary clarifying unit, disinfectant from the raw water pond is injected into the line. "Floc" is created when added chemicals stick to the organic materials in the water. Together, they weigh more than the surrounding water and sink to the bottom in a floc blanket. The water in the basin is slowly stirred, causing the floc particles to collide and stick together. As water flows up into the basin, the heavier particles on the bottom are scraped to the center and pumped out to be hauled away.
Stage 2
  • After the primary basin process, gravity causes the water to flow from the up-flow unit to two secondary clarifiers. The secondary clarifiers allow more time for particles to settle out of the water. As it flows, small amounts of fluoride are added to the water, per the American Dental Association’s recommendations (fluoride in our drinking water helps build strong teeth).

Stage 3
  • Water flows through filters that contain layers of anthracite coal, sand and gravel. There are three tertiary treatment filters at the Kirksville purification plant, and a fourth will be completed in the future. After this third stage of cleaning, water is ready for consumption. Each tertiary filter can clean about 1,500,000 gallons of water per day.

Storage and Pumping Capacity

The clean water is stored in an underground water tank. Once these are full, water is pumped to other ground storage locations or to the City as needed. Kirksville can store almost four million gallons of water in its above-ground tank and four water towers. Kirksville goes through about 2.4 million gallons of water per day in an average month and there are always at least 3 million gallons of water available for one day.

Water Pressure

Water flows through the plant at a rate of 2,400 gallons per minute. This rate is held constant to make sure that chemical treatments are administered properly. The city maintains a pressure of 40-60 pounds per square inch (psi) throughout the distribution system. The Department of Natural Resources mandated that pressure be maintained above 20 psi. Rates lower than 20 psi would make it difficult to fight fires and accomplish other tasks that require higher water pressure.

Safety Testing and Maintenance

The water treatment staff tests the water in all three treatment areas and in storage areas every two hours. These tests are done to make sure that the quality of water meets guidelines set by the Department of Natural Resources and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The "floc" chemical blankets are maintained through a constant addition of new chemicals and extraction of the particles that have sunk to the bottom. The extracted "sludge" is pumped to a storage area until it can be disposed of. It is often spread on local farmers’ fields as fertilizer because it is high in organic materials and clay that are suspended in the water.

Plant Operators’ Qualifications

Water plant operators are certified by the State of Missouri Department of Natural Resources. There are four levels of operator certification. Several years of experience are required before the highest certifications can be obtained.

How this Division Benefits You

The average consumer uses 125 gallons of water per day. The water treatment plant supplies clean, safe drinking water to the entire community.

Additional Links


Lead & Copper Report

2016 Lead & Copper Results

2023 Water Quality Report

Contact Information


1900 W. Potter Ave.
Kirksville, MO 63501

Phone: 660.665.3720
Fax: 660.785.6937

Office Hours:
Monday - Friday, 7:00 am - 4:00 pm

Russell Pruett, Superintendent