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Water Treatment

treatment facility pipes

Nearly 90 percent of Southern Nevada’s drinking water comes from the Colorado River via Lake Mead. The remainder comes from a deep groundwater aquifer beneath the Las Vegas Valley, which is used primarily during summer months to meet peak demand.

The Southern Nevada Water Authority uses cutting-edge technology to ensure that drinking water is treated and tested to the utmost standards of safety.

The Water Authority not only tests for more contaminants than required, it proactively tests many regulated and unregulated contaminants more frequently than required, and more intensively.

SNWA has two advanced water treatment facilities designed to do one thing—provide drinking water that meets or surpasses all state and federal Safe Drinking Water Act standards for water quality. Water drawn from Lake Mead is treated at the Alfred Merritt Smith Water Treatment Facility or the River Mountains Water Treatment Facility.

Water from Lake Mead is treated with small quantities of chlorine as it is withdrawn to deter invasive quagga mussels, which do not impact water quality but can plug pumping equipment and pipelines.

Water is then sent to either the Alfred Merritt Smith Water Treatment Facility or the River Mountains Water Treatment Facility, where it is treated with ozone to kill potentially harmful microscopic organisms that may be present. A multistage filtration system is then used to remove particles from the water.

As the water leaves the water treatment facilities, chlorine is again added to protect it on the way to residents’ taps. It also is treated to minimize corrosion in the pipelines.

Because it is naturally filtered, water drawn from the Las Vegas Valley groundwater aquifer is simply treated with chlorine as it enters the distribution system.