Water Operations

General Overview

The City of Salem owns and operates a 10 Million Gallon per Day water treatment plant and approximately 150 miles of water distribution pipe, providing service to approximately 9,400 customers. The City's main source of water is the Roanoke River. However, we also draw from multiple groundwater sources. This water is treated and distributed to several water storage tanks in and around the City. Our commitment at the Water Department is to provide a continual source of high-quality drinking water to our residents, businesses and industries.

Water Treatment

Water Treatment Process

Before arriving at your tap, water is treated at the Salem Water Treatment Plant to remove sediment, bacteria and other contaminants.

Water Sources

Our main water source is the Roanoke River. In addition to the river, we have multiple groundwater wells. In emergency situations, we can exchange water with the Western Virginia Water Authority.

Water SourceFishing

Chemical Addition

Once the water arrives at the plant, coagulant (Delpac), fluoride (fluorosilicic acid) and sodium permanganate (seasonal for algae control) are added and rapidly mixed with our raw water.


After rapid mixing, the water flows into flocculators, where the flow of water is slowed and allowed to mix more thoroughly, allowing colloidal particles, better known as floc, to form.


Next, the water flows into sedimentation basins, where the heavy floc particles sink to the bottom and are removed.

Sedimentation 1

Sedimentation 2


Then the water travels through filters that are composed of anthracite, sand and gravel. Filtration removes any remaining microscopic particles and microorganisms.

Filtration 1

Filtration 2


Our water is disinfected to protect it against bacteria and other harmful organisms. The City of Salem Water Treatment Plant uses gaseous chlorine as a disinfectant. Gaseous chlorine will efficiently kill microorganisms during water treatment and maintain the quality of the water as it flows from the water treatment plant to the consumer's tap.


Clean, safe water is then pumped into pipes that deliver it to homes, businesses and storage tanks throughout the City of Salem.

Water StorageWater Tank

Process Flow Diagram

Process Flow Diagram