Water Department

Responsibilities & Services

The City of St. James Water Department is responsible for the supply of safe, dependable, and clean drinking water. There are eight wells ranging from 48 to 194 feet deep that draw water from the Quaternary Water Table and the Quaternary Buried Artesian Aquifer.

Water Processing

The filter plant does not soften or remove hardness but does take out iron and manganese. The plant also removes toxic gases, such as hydrogen sulfide and carbon dioxide. This is accomplished through aeration with spray nozzles and forced air through the aeration chamber.


After this is accomplished the water goes through detention where potassium permanganate is added to further allow sedimentation of iron and manganese. The water flows to the filtration side of the filter where it is filtered. The water flows through 15 inches of anthracite and 18 inches of manganese greensand, which is supported by 12 inches of red flint gravel.

After Filtration

After filtration, chlorine gas is added to the water for a disinfectant and fluoride is added because of the Minnesota Department of Health requirements. From the filter water flows to a 1,000,000-gallon reservoir and from there it is pumped to the system and the water tower. The tower is a 600,000-gallon tank the helps to regulate the pressure in the system when the pumps are off.


Starting in 1894, the City of St. James Water System was started. At first there was only a well feeding the town and no filtration plant. The first plant, a lime softening plant, was built at the present location with many upgrades throughout the years. In 1984 a new iron and manganese removal plant was built. Then, in 200I, a new addition of a third filter was completed and the two older filters were rehabbed to give a larger capacity to process a greater amount of water. Throughout the years many changes and upgrades have occurred.

Learn More

If you have any questions or need to report a problem of any kind call City Hall at (507) 375-3241 from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm or after hours call the Watonwan County Communication Center at (507) 375-3121.

Lower your bill! Stop by City Hall to get a free brochure with information on how to save water!