Top Municipal Water Treatment Methods: Transforming Water Quality for Environmental Compliance in the USA

municipal water treatment methods

Water supplies in the U.S. are among the safest in the world. According to the CDC, more than 90% of Americans get tap water from community water systems, which must adhere to strict water quality standards. However, just because the U.S. has safer water supplies than other parts of the world doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement and better municipal water treatment methods and solutions.

Drinking water in the U.S. is under threat for various reasons, the biggest being pollution. Contaminants stemming from multiple sources are infiltrating water bodies, and the products used to disinfect water often introduce other chemicals. The situation is worsened by factors like climate change. Under investment in water infrastructure is also a negative contributor—U.S. water systems have aged to the point of being unsafe. In 2022, for example, flooding in Jackson, Mississippi, damaged a water treatment plant, leaving over 150,000 people with hazardous drinking water for weeks.

For the U.S. to improve, it must implement a multi-pronged strategy to address all the factors decreasing water quality. However, that strategy must include innovative municipal water treatment systems. These technologies have the power to help officials meet environmental standards, regardless of the state they call home, which is good news since impaired water bodies are spread across every U.S. region.

States Facing Water Quality Challenges

From the East to the West Coast, states are grappling with water quality challenges. In fact, nearly every municipality needs help addressing contaminants to meet environmental standards. To provide a bird’s eye view of the situation, below is a list of each U.S. region and one of the states in that region facing challenges with water quality.

1. West Coast: California

A recent analysis by UC Berkeley and UCLA found that over 370,000 people in California are exposed to drinking water contaminated with nitrate, arsenic, and other chemicals. Additionally, studies suggest that 95% of California’s lakes, rivers, wetlands, and bays are contaminated by trace metals, pesticides, sediment, and trash, making them unsafe for fishing, swimming, or drinking.

The low supply of clean water is not great for California, particularly since the state suffers from frequent droughts and floods and water conservation efforts are often met with resistance. Because every drop in the state counts, California must adequately care for its water supply by implementing the proper treatments.

2. Midwest: Iowa

Iowa is known for its agriculture industry—the state produces billions of bushels of corn every year. But the success of the industry is impacting the state’s water quality. The runoff from farms affects nearly every mile of Iowa’s rivers and streams and almost every acre of its lakes and ponds. Some of the primary pollutants are nutrients and toxins from farm fertilizer runoff.

3. South: Florida

Florida is a popular vacation destination and a great place to live. One of the major challenges it’s facing, though, is decreased water quality. According to a survey by Water Defense, a non-profit organization that assesses water quality, Florida is ranked one of the top five states with the worst drinking water.

Contaminants in groundwater and rapid population growth are two main contributors affecting the state’s ability to meet environmental standards. Additionally, saltwater intrusion, agriculture runoff, and sewage & septic tank leakage are seeping into Florida’s underground aquifers. This is despite the surrounding limestone shell and soil designed to protect them.

4. Southwest: Texas

Since the implementation of the Clean Water Act, experts believe Texas has improved its waterways—but the state still has significant work to do. According to the Environment Texas Research and Policy Center, 9,711 miles of Texas rivers are not safe for swimming or fishing. The same is true for 590,241 acres of Texas lakes and 1,248 sq miles of Texas estuaries and bays.

Beaches in the state are also faced with contaminated. For at least one quarter of 2020, half of Texas beaches had high levels of fecal bacteria. Toxic algae blooms also affect the beaches, and water pollution has played a significant role in hurting Texas waterways, too. Additionally, runoff from cities and factory farms has carried contaminants into the state’s water bodies, securing Texas the number one spot for toxic dumping in U.S. waterways.

5. East Coast: Pennsylvania

Every two years, Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection updates the Integrated Water Quality Report (IWQR) with the state’s latest water quality data. Between 2020 and 2022, the state assessed the condition of its streams and found that 33% of its miles of streams were impaired. That’s slightly more than what was impaired in 2020, which was only 30%. However, the main sources of water pollution in Pennsylvania have been the same for several years. Agriculture runoff, acid mine drainage, and stormwater runoff from developed communities are the main culprits in this state.

5 Municipal Water Treatment Methods

The states listed in this article are by no means the only municipalities facing water quality challenges—they’re just some of the top states experiencing the biggest hurdles in their region. Therefore, if you’re responsible for improving a municipality’s water quality and are facing the same challenges as other states, you can benefit from considering innovative municipal water treatment methods. There are five different solutions that our team at Genesis Water Technologies offers to enhance water quality so that municipalities can meet environmental standards consistently.

  1. Reverse Osmosis: This solution is designed to tackle saltwater intrusion. For Florida and other states noticing saltwater content in their freshwater sources, reverse osmosis can help improve the safety of drinking water and wastewater.

  2. MBBR Biological Treatment: Perfect for wastewater treatment, this solution uses specialized biofilm carriers in reactor tanks or aeration basins. The carriers reduce TSS, BOD, COD, and other contaminants.

  3. Water Treatment Media: Multiple water treatment media can improve water quality. The ones we use meet AWWA standards for drinking water and are NSF-certified. Depending on the treatment media used, municipalities can remove organic compounds, trace hydrocarbons, suspended solids, trace metals, chlorine taste and odor, and more.

  4. Zeoturb Bio-organic Liquid Flocculant: A sustainable and eco-friendly treatment, this solution is designed for the flocculation and clarification of stormwater, process water, and wastewater applications. States like Pennsylvania that are dealing with stormwater runoff from developed communities can benefit from this treatment.

  5. Genclean: This solution handles disinfection after water treatment without introducing harmful by-products. Its success lies in its advanced oxidation process, which produces hydroxyl radicals and reactive oxygen compounds powerful enough to oxidize nearly every pollutant in water and wastewater at the molecular level. Given its effectiveness in removing multiple contaminants, every state trying to meet water quality standards can benefit from using Genclean.

Enhancing water quality to meet environmental regulations is possible with the right municipal water treatment system. Even as climate change continues and water infrastructure ages, states can make a difference—but progress will lie in the water or wastewater treatment technologies that municipalities use.

As climate change continues and aging water infrastructure poses challenges, the key to progress lies in the adoption and retrofitting of state-of-the-art water and wastewater treatment technologies. Our commitment is to empower municipalities in their quest for superior water quality, ensuring compliance with environmental regulations.

For those responsible for municipal water and wastewater quality improvements, the journey begins with a consultation. Contact our expert team at Genesis Water Technologies today at +1 877 267 3699 or via email at

Together, let’s embark on a path towards water treatment excellence, safeguarding the well-being of communities and meeting the demands of an ever-evolving environmental landscape.