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The John Dye Water Conditioning Plant is located on South Cedar Street, east of downtown Lansing. Named for a former BWL chemist, the plant has the capacity to condition and distribute 40 million gallons of water per day. The Dye Plant’s architecture reflects the art deco style prevalent when it was built in 1939 as a project of the Works Project Administration (WPA). In the plant’s lobby large murals painted by artists Frank Cassara and Charles Pollock depict the beneficial and destructive forces of water. A 32-foot limestone relief titled “Aquarius” rises above the main entrance on Cedar Street, and represents the distribution of water to the city of Lansing.
A chemical conditioning process involving lime and soda ash is used to remove calcium carbonate from the raw well water, reducing hardness from about 400 parts per million, to 85-100 ppm. Water comes from wells located throughout the Lansing region.
Originally the former facility on this site utilized a pumping well next to the Grand River. This method essentially used river water that was drawn through over a hundred feet of soil. The water was distributed with the aid of a standpipe that maintained constant pressure on the water lines, similar to a water tower.