The Public Works Department maintains the City’s water system. The system has seven wells from which to pump water. The wells vary in depth from 80-105 feet and are located in three different areas of town. They are located in Arvig Park off of County Road #8 north, the central area of town near the public library, and on the south side of town by Heart of the Lakes Elementary School on 2nd Ave. SW.

The system has two water towers, one on the south side of town by Heart of the Lakes Elementary School on 2nd Ave. SW and Coney St and the other in Arvig Park off County Road #8. The oldest tower holds 500,000 gallons of water  and the newer well, erected in 2009, holds 1,000,000 gallons of water. The system has over 21 miles of water mains varying in size from two inch to twelve inch. There are roughly 200 fire hydrants on the system. The average flow through the system in the winter months runs around 800,000 gallons a day. In the summer months the flow will run around 1,300,000 gallons per day.

The water is treated with chlorine and fluoride at each well house. This is required by the Minnesota State Department of Health. Fluoride level is maintained between 0.7mg/L and 1.5mg/L.

The City of Perham takes many precautions to ensure that residents have safe drinking water. The City's drinking water supplies are monitored and tested on a regular basis to make sure that they meet State and Federal Safe Drinking Water Standards. The City tests its water supplies three times a month to measure total coliform bacteria and nitrates. Independent testing laboratories certified by the State of Minnesota perform these tests. The test results are submitted to the Minnesota Department of Health. The Minnesota Department of Health independently tests our water supplies periodically to verify results. In addition to nitrates and coliform, the Department of Health tests for fluoride, radon, and barium. The results of these tests are provided to the City. Every fours years we test our water for lead and copper. These tests are taken from private homes and businesses at various locations in town.

The City, in compliance with the 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act, publishes a Consumer Confidence Report annually in June or July in the Perham Focus.  Additional copies of the report are available at the City Office and a copy may be viewed at the Perham Area Public Library. A copy of the most recent report can also be read by clicking the quick link. The report notes any violations of the Safe Drinking Water Standards. The City of Perham does not exceed any of the Safe Drinking Water Standards. 

The City of Perham Public Works Department flushes city water lines two times a year, in April and October, as a part of ongoing water line maintenance.  During these periods, water is more likely to have a brown tinge to it; however, the water should return to normal within a couple of days. Notice of water line flushing is given in the Perham Focus or in the monthly city utility billing, it will also be posted on Facebook and in the bi-annual City Newsletter but is often scheduled in the last half of the month. As a result of the flushing, you may notice particles or discolored water for a short duration in your household faucets. If this occurs, run your water for a few minutes and it should clear up. For information on laundry stain removal caused by occasional rust in the water, click here.


In the Perham area, a group of local ag producers and agronomists was recently assembled to review groundwater quality concerns and exchange ideas to protect groundwater in the area, including the city’s water supply.  The City of Perham is involved in this conversation and will work with the ag industry to accomplish this.  The collaboration is a result of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s (MDA) review of nitrate data collected from individual wells in Perham’s water supply.  In addition to local producers, agronomists, and staff from the City of Perham, staff from the East Otter Tail Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) and the MDA are included.  Over the next year, this team will meet to develop a strategy for cropland in the area to reduce nitrogen levels in groundwater. 

Nitrogen levels in groundwater are not easy to change, and sometimes the benefit from actions taken on the land surface can take years to show up in well water samples.  The coarse soils and geologic conditions in the Perham area make groundwater especially vulnerable to impacts from the lands surface.  Perham’s water supplied to the community has not approached levels of nitrate that are unsafe for people.

Over the past 20 years, producers in the Perham area have been able to make changes to protect groundwater including changes in crop rotation, the addition of cover crops in the fall, and improvements to nitrogen fertilizer management.  All of these have had positive impacts on groundwater.  The current effort is a continuation of the changes that producers and cropland owners have already accomplished and an opportunity to consider additional changes to further protect Perham’s drinking water supply.  The goal of this team is to find local solutions to protect groundwater and benefit everyone who lives, works, or visits the Perham area.

Official Website of the City of Perham, MinnesotaPO Box 130 125 Second Ave NE Perham, MN 56573218-346-4455 (phone) 218-346-9364 (fax)24 Hour Public Works Utility Emergencies: 1-888-262-3837The City of Perham is an equal opportunity provider and employer.