Water Treatment Plant

The City of Defiance Water Treatment Plant draws water from the Maumee River to replenish its 74 acre upground reservoir. Water is then pulled from the reservoir to provide a constant, reliable raw water supply.

The Water Plant laboratory is certified by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA). All plant operators are also certified for chemical analyses. Three employees are also certified for bacteriological analysis.

This facility is a Class IV Water Treatment Plant. The Water Plant is staffed 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.


The City of Defiance Water Treatment Plant is designed to treat water by the following general process:

1.Raw water enters the Outlet Structure at the reservoir where large debris, leaves, sticks, fish, etc. are removed.
2. Sodium Permanganate is added prior to the plant for organic removal and to help with taste and odor control.
3. At the Plant, ferric chloride (a coagulant) is added to help with settling and powdered activated carbon can also be fed at this location to provide additional treatment during an Algal Toxin or severe taste and odor event.
4. The water flows to the flocculation basins where paddle mixers gently mix the water and chemicals to form particles (floc) which are large and heavy enough to settle out of the water stream.
5. The water and floc then flow to the sedimentation basins where the floc settles out of the water stream. Settled solids are removed and pumped to sludge lagoons southwest of the plant.
6. The settled water flows out of the resedimentation basins where ferric chloride (for coagulation) is added. It then proceeds to our four clarifiers where lime (for softening) is added. After mixing in the center of the clarifier, the clear water exits from the outer portion of the clarifier and the solids settles to the bottom. These solids also go to the sludge lagoons.
7. The settled water then flows to the recarbonation basin where carbon dioxide gas is added to the water to adjust the pH to a neutral level and improve its stability.
8. Following the recarbonation basin, Phosphate is added to prevent scaling and corrosion in the distribution system pipes. Next the water flows to dual media filters which filter out the particles which were too small and light to settle out in the sedimentation basins or clarifiers. When the filters become dirty, they are backwashed. The dirty backwash water is wasted to the backwash holding tank, and is recycled or pumped to the lagoons.
9. After conventional filtration, the water proceeds to the Granular Activated Carbon System. This removes very small particles of organic matter, taste and odor compounds, as well as several other chemical contaminants that were too small to be removed in the prior processes.
10. The filtered water then flows to the clearwells where chlorine is added for disinfection. The water remains in the clearwells for a period of several hours to provide enough contact time for complete disinfection. Fluoride is also added to the water as it enters the clearwells. This is supposed to prevent tooth decay.
11. From the clearwells the finished water flows to the high service pump station where it is pumped to the distribution system.

Depending on the rate of flow thru the plant, this treatment process can take from 12 to 25 hours. At an average daily flow of 3.8 million gallons per day (MGD), the treatment process takes 18hours. The plant is capable of treating 8.0 MGD.

The Distribution system consists of over 110 miles of waterlines ranging in size from 16” to 2” with the majority being 6”. There are two elevated water towers with a combined capacity of 2,000,000 gallons. There are approximately 1026 fire hydrants. Defiance also supplies water to Brunersburg, Ayersville and Christi Meadows.

Contact Information:

Water Division
1356 Baltimore Road
Defiance, Ohio 43512


Office Hours:
Monday – Friday 7:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Water Superintendent – Adam McDowell

Water Emergencies:

Anytime day or night, call: 419.782-1886

Questions regarding water bill or meter should be directed to Utilities.


Call Before You Dig.

For Water, Sewer, Electricity & Gas in Ohio: 1-800-362-2764 or 811

IT’S THE LAW. Ohio law requires that anyone digging contact O.U.P.S. at least 48 hours (excluding weekends and legal holidays) prior to beginning their work. Failure to contact O.U.P.S. could result in fines or penalties.


Water Quality & Solutions

The Water Treatment Plant is continually working to improve the quality of drinking water for the City of Defiance.


We’ve put together this collection of resources to provide more information on source water planning, education, and implementation.

A comprehensive plan for the Upper Maumee River Watershed. Developed through collaboration of Allen County Soil and Water Conservation District and Defiance County Soil and Water Conservation District.

This website includes a great deal of information on programs, partnerships, nutrient management, etc. It is a great tool for the public and for collaboration between the PWS and the watershed.

This site has educational information that helps residents and farmers with land management, farm safety, and pesticide/fertilizer application, among other useful material.

The site provides information for the health district in Defiance County. The Environmental Health tab includes information on Household Sewage Treatment Systems and Private Water Systems, among other items.

You will find information on educational materials, updates, guidance documents and fact sheets. The source water materials can be found under the Source Water Assessment Program link.

This temporary ODNR site provides a search tool for topics and documents.  More comprehensive resources will be available when the full-featured version of the Department of Natural Resources website is launched.

The Ground and Drinking Water page includes fact sheets and resource materials including key drinking water topics, regulations, and information for public education.

Comprised of federal, state, and local partners, the SWC has come together to further the goals of protecting sources of drinking water. Includes a Learning Exchange of educational materials and useful links.

The NESC site provides help for small, rural communities to resolve drinking water and wastewater problems–offering solutions to the problems they face and education on environmental issues.

Defiance City Reservoir

In the past, the Maumee River served as the sole water supply for the City of Defiance. Water was pumped directly from the river to the treatment plant. Because of the susceptibility of the river to contamination from agricultural runoff, organic matter, and accidental chemical discharges, the City completed construction of our reservoir in 2008. During normal operation, water is pumped from the river to the reservoir and gravity flows back to the treatment plant. The reservoir acts as a pre-treatment basin to provide a more consistent water quality to the treatment plant. When the water quality in the Maumee River is less than desirable, the river pumps are shut off and the plant continues to pull from the reservoir. This protects the raw water source for the plant. It is estimated that the reservoir could supply the City for up to 90 days without additional pumping from the river. The reservoir will also allow maintenance to be performed on the river intake structures and associated equipment and pumps without affecting the operation of the water plant.

The reservoir is located along Canal Road on the west side of Defiance. The reservoir contains approximately 350,000,000 gallons of water with a total water surface area of 74 acres. The average depth of the reservoir is 18 feet. The perimeter of the upper bank of the reservoir is approximately 1.6 miles. The ODNR has stocked the reservoir with Yellow Perch, Walleye, Saugeye, Bluegill, Large Mouth Bass and Channel Catfish.  A boat ramp allows access to the reservoir for fishing, however, no gasoline motors are allowed on the reservoir.

For information on reservoir trails and disc golf course, visit our Parks & Recreation page.

Water Tips

  • A slow drip wastes 15 gallons per day!
  • 1/32″ leak wastes 25 gallons in 24 hours
  • 1/16″ stream wastes 100 gallons in 24 hours
  • 1/8″ stream wastes 400 gallons in 24 hours!

Leak Detection & Repair
Studies show that dripping faucets and leaking toilets account for as much as 14% of all indoor water use, equivalent to 10 gallons per person of water lost per day.

Read Your Water Meter
Use your water meter to check for leaks in your home. Start by turning off all faucets and water-using appliances and make sure no one uses water during the testing period. Take a reading on your water meter, wait for about 30 minutes, then take a second reading. If the dial has moved, you have a leak.

Toilets can account for almost 30% of all indoor water use, more than any other fixture or appliance. An average of 20% of toilets leak. Older toilets (installed prior to 1994) use 3.5 to 7 gallons of water per flush and as much as 20 gallons per person per day. Replacing an old toilet with a new model can save the typical household 7,900 to 21,700 gallons of water per year, cutting both your water and wastewater bills.

Check for Leaky Toilets
The most common source of leaks is the toilet. Check toilets for leaks by placing a few drops of food coloring in the tank. If after 15 minutes the dye shows up in the bowl, the toilet has a leak. Leaky toilets can usually be repaired inexpensively by replacing the flapper.

Check for Leaky Faucets
The next place to check for leaks is your sink and bathtub faucets. Dripping faucets can usually be repaired by replacing the rubber O-ring or washer inside the valve.

Common Water Problems

It is often difficult to isolate the cause of taste or odor problems. If you experience objectionable tastes or odors, please contact the water plant at 782-1886. A representative from the water plant may want to collect a sample.

  • When did you first notice the problem (time of day)?
  • Is the problem with both the hot and cold water?
  • Have you installed a new water heater recently (within the past year)?

Rusty water is safe to drink, but is objectionable because it discolors laundry and affects the flavor of some beverages (such as tea and coffee). Usually, problems with rusty water are caused by some sort of disturbance in the distribution system. If you experience rusty water, try to avoid using any water. That way, you limit the amount of rust you pull inside your plumbing system. Postpone doing laundry until after the problem clears up. If you have already done laundry and it is stained, do not dry it! The water plant has a product available that may remove stains. When you experience rusty water, please contact the water plant at 782-1886. Have the following information ready when you call:

  • When did you first notice the problem (time of day)?
  • Is the problem with both the hot and cold water?
  • Are you aware if any of your neighbors are experiencing the same problem?
  • Are you aware of any construction work occurring in your area.

If you notice lower than normal water pressure, please contact the water plant at 782-1886. Try to have the following information ready when you call:

  • How long have you experienced this problem?
  • Have you had any plumbing work done lately? (If you have, and the problem is isolated to a single faucet, check the aerator for debris.

The most common reason for being without water is due to a water main break. However, anytime you are without water and don’t know why, please contact the water plant. Be ready to answer the following questions:

  • When did you first experience this problem?
  • Do you live in a apartment? If so, you should contact the manager to learn if they are doing any plumbing work within the facility.
  • Are you aware if any of your neighbors have the same problem?

Usually caused by small particles from existing plumbing or hot water heaters, dislodged due to rapid changes in pressure or flow. Also see Rusty Water.

Resolution: Symptoms can be resolved by flushing water lines (faucets) and flushing hot water heaters. There is a possibility that old water lines and/or the water heater may need to be replaced. If symptoms persist, collect a sample of the sediment for analysis to determine the origin.

This concern is due to leaking kitchen or bathroom fixtures which leave standing water or moist surfaces. When this happens, the chlorine dissipates from the water and algae growth results from spores in the air.

Resolution: The algae can be eliminated with common household bleach in a spray bottle. Toilets with algae “rings” can be treated the same way or a toilet bowl cleaner containing chlorine is effective in removing the algae. When using the spray bottle, particular attention should be taken to get the chlorine bleach solution up into the faucet/aerator and into the flush opening under the commode lid to insure a good kill of the algae/fungus.

The City is responsible for leaks in the distribution system. Customers are responsible for any problems beginning at the curb stop (valve where your pipes connect to the main). If you suspect a water main is broken in the distribution system, contact the water plant at 782-1886. Please provide as exact of a location as possible.

See: Leak Detection & Repair under Water Tips on the main Water Treatment page.

The most probable cause of milky water is air in the water lines. This may be caused by water main repair, low pressure, temperature changes, or overheating of water in the hot water heater.

Resolution: This concern can be resolved by either the customer flushing their water lines (faucets) and/or the city flushing the water main. Check the setting of the hot water heater thermostat and measure the water temperature. Normal setting should be below 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Ensure that the pressure/temperature relief valve on the hot water heater is functioning properly.

Water softeners can sometimes cause more concerns than they cure. If not properly installed and maintained, water softeners can cause taste, odor, sediment, or other problems. There are a variety of softeners that can eliminate chlorine and minerals from the water while adding sodium to an already stable drinking water. Destabilization of the water can cause increased corrosion in the plumbing system.

Resolution: If a water softener has been installed, test the water quality before and after the unit to make sure that it is operating correctly. Ensure that the unit is serviced and maintained regularly.