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A national landmark, Milwaukee's 175-foot Victorian Gothic tower guards the bluff above Lake Michigan at 2288 N. Lake Dr. at North Avenue. It was part of the first water works in 1873. The 140-year-old tower houses a tall open standpipe that absorbed pulsations of water from steam-driven engines in the pumping station below the hill. Tour the tower Sept. 20, 2014 during Doors Open Milwaukee.
The Milwaukee Water Works is the City of Milwaukee-owned utility that treats Lake Michigan water to provide pure and fresh drinking water to a population of 867,000 in 16 communities. These include Milwaukee, Brown Deer, Butler, Franklin, Greendale, Greenfield, Hales Corners, Menomonee Falls, Mequon, New Berlin, Shorewood, St. Francis, Thiensville, Wauwatosa, West Allis and West Milwaukee. The utility sells water to the Milwaukee County Grounds facilities.
Average daily pumpage in 2012 was 101 million gallons. Total annual water sales for 2012 were 32 billion gallons. Residential water use for 2012 was 50 gallons per person per day. The utility has 300 employees in Plants, Distribution, Business, Engineering, and Water Quality work units.
The Milwaukee Water Works treats Lake Michigan water with ozone as the primary disinfectant. This highly reactive gas destroys illness-causing micro-organisms and harmful compounds, removes taste and odor compounds, and reduces the formation of disinfection byproducts. Particles are removed through coagulation, flocculation, settling, and biologically active filtration. Chlorine is added as a secondary disinfectant. Fluoride is added to reduce dental cavities. A phosphorous compound is added to control pipe corrosion to prevent lead and copper that may be present in pipes from leaching into the water. Finally, chloramine disinfection maintains a residual in the distribution system to protect against bacterial contamination. Pure, fresh water arrives at your taps.
Milwaukee is a national leader in producing high quality water and water quality monitoring. Read more about the Water Quality Monitoring Program.
Since 1993, the Milwaukee Water Works has invested $417 million in its infrastructure, as reported to the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, to ensure a reliable supply of high quality drinking water.
Only tap water delivers public health protection, water for fire suppression, and support for the economy and a high quality of life.
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