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Bloomington's Water

Where does Bloomington's water come from?

Bloomington relies on surface water as its drinking water source, Lake Monroe. Locate more information about Lake Monroe.

How Bloomington protects your drinking water

Bloomington has a surface water source for drinking water, Lake Monroe. The Monroe Water Treatment Plant filters and cleans the water for public distribution. The MWTP is operated by the City of Bloomington Utilities Department. The Water treatment Plant is a conventional settling/filtration facility and has several stages of disinfection before the water is sent out into the distribution system.

Where does treated water discharge?

Bloomington has 2 wastewater treatment plants, Dillman Road Wastewater Treatment Plant and Blucher Poole Wastewater Treatment Plant. Treated water from Dillman enters into Clear Creek. Treated water from Blucher Poole enters into Bean Blossom Creek.

Hardness of Bloomington water

Hardness in water is caused by calcium and magnesium, two non toxic minerals. Water is considered hard when there is calcium or magnesium present because these minerals make it hard to form a lather or suds, which makes it "hard" to wash. Water with no calcium or magnesium is considered soft (and easier to wash with). The average hardness of Bloomington water is 50ppm (or 50 mg/L). Hardness can also be expressed in grains per gallon. To convert mg/L to grains per gallon, divide hardness levels expressed in mg/L by 17.1 to get grains per gallon.

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Water Quality

Water Quality Reports

Why does my water taste or smell funny, and is this harmful?

The three most common reasons for bad tasting water are:

Water heater information

The quality of your drinking water can be affected by your water heater. If you do not properly maintain your water heater, small, white particles (calcium carbonate) may begin to appear in your water and clog your fixtures. These particles appear when the thermostat in your heater is too high and causes the particles to loosen and end up in your water. To prevent this from happening, it is recommended that you periodically flush your water heater. Flushing a water heater consists of draining the water in the heater and filling it up again. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's owner's manual for instructions on how to flush your water heater.

What are Primary and Secondary contaminants?

Drinking water standards have been broken into two categories; primary standards and secondary standards. Primary standards are legally enforceable regulations that drinking water suppliers must follow. Primary standards protect drinking water quality by limiting the levels of specific contaminants that can adversely affect public health and are known or anticipated to occur in water (IDEM fact sheet on drinking water). There are 91 primary contaminants, including Benzene, PCB's Polyaromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH's), and Vinyl Chloride.

Secondary contaminants are those that may adversely affect the aesthetic qualities of water, such as odor and appearance. These qualities have no known adverse health effects and thus secondary regulations are not mandatory. However, these qualities do seriously affect acceptance of water by the public, and for that reason compliance with the regulations is strongly recommended. (AWWA: Water Quality - Principles and Practices of Water Supply Operations, Second Edition).

The following is a list of secondary contaminants:
Aluminum, Chloride, Color, Copper, Corrosivity, Fluoride, Foaming Agents, Iron, Manganese, Odor, pH, Silver, Sulfate, Total Dissolved Solids, and Zinc.

For more information on primary and secondary contaminants, please visit EPA's Office of Water Quality Website at

What is safe to pour down my home drain?

If you have any chemicals that you want to get rid of but are not sure how, you may contact the City of Bloomington Utilities Department at 812.349.3930 or the Monroe County Solid Waste Management District at 812.349.2020. There may be a marginal cost associated with the disposal of certain materials.

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Watersheds and Water Quality

What is a watershed?

A watershed is the area of land that drains into a body of water. The watershed also includes the creeks and other water bodies in the area. The quality of a water source depends greatly upon the watershed. The contaminants in a watershed will end up in the surface water body. This is the reason that watershed management is important. If the pollutants are controlled throughout a watershed, the body of water is protected as well.

What can I do to help keep the watershed/water source clean?

A clean water source begins with you. You can help prevent pollution from getting into creeks and lakes in many ways. Do not dump anything down the storm water drains, these drains discharge directly into creeks, therefore, so will your waste!! When you take your pet for a walk, take a plastic bag with you or use the bags that are placed on City walking trails to pick up pet waste.

Watersheds in Bloomington: (PDF 665.35 KB)

Cascades Creek Watershed (PDF 521.70 KB)

Jackson Creek Watershed (PDF 594.04 KB)

East Fork Jackson Creek Watershed (PDF 466.71 KB)

Clear Creek Watershed (PDF 628.15 KB)

West Fork Clear Creek Watershed (PDF 594.11 KB)

Stouts Creek Watershed (PDF 391.87 KB)

Griffy Watershed (PDF 525.96 KB)

Click on one of the above for a map of that watershed(s). These are in .pdf format and may take some time to download. These require the Adobe Acrobat reader, which can be downloaded for free.

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Stormwater and Water Quality

What is the major cause of pollution of drinking water sources in cities and towns?

Rainwater is the main source of pollution to surface waters. The rainwater itself is not harmful, however, as it travels to the catch basins, it picks up and carries untreated waste products from the streets and discharges it directly into the rivers, streams, and lakes. These rivers streams and lakes are the sources for surface water drinking systems.

So, if rainwater can be harmful, why is it not treated?

Storm water runoff is infrequent and it does not make sense to build special treatment processes for those times that it does rain.

How can I help prevent the pollution of drinking water sources?

Properly dispose of chemicals you use in your home. Don't dump waste into the street drains; this will end up in the creeks, Take them to your local Solid Waste Management District. Other ways to help are by picking up after your pet, maintaining your septic system, and recycling used motor oil.

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Glossary of Water related terms

Have you ever wondered what one part per million would look like?

Do you have trouble visualizing an amount when someone mentions 10 ppb? Listed below are examples of what a ppm and ppb equal in different terms:

One part per million equals:
One inch in 16 miles
One minute in 2 years
One cent in $10,000

One part per billion equals:
One inch in 16,000 miles
One second in 32 years
One cent in $10 million

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