History & Overview
The Leavenworth City and Fort Leavenworth Water Company, a private company, constructed the
original waterworks system in 1881-1882. It consisted of the original water treatment plant
(North Plant), 14 miles of transmission and distribution water mains, and the 5 million-gallon
Pilot Knob Reservoir. The water treatment plant consisted primarily of reciprocating pumps and
the existing north reservoir, a 9 million-gallon settling basin. The City of Leavenworth
purchased the system in 1921. In September 1937, the citizens of Leavenworth voted to
establish a Waterworks Board and a separate water department which continues today. The
intent of the citizens was to ensure that the Waterworks would be operated in a business
manner. Also, all water sales revenues were to be used strictly for operating and improving the
water system since the Waterworks receives no tax revenues.
The original plant, with the exception of the two large settling basins, was replaced in 1938
with a 4 million-gallon per day water filtration plant and a high service pumping station.
Numerous capital improvements have been made over the years to the 1938 North Plant to include
a water softening system (1948-1949) and expansion to a 6 million-gallon per day capacity (1961).
The North Plant's water source is an Intake Facility on the west bank of the Missouri River. To
meet increasing water demands, the Waterworks Board built a second plant in 1977-1978. The
South Plant has a 6 million-gallon per day capacity and is designed for expansion to 12
million gallons per day. Its water source is nine wells located on the west bank of the
Missouri River. Both plants pump to the Pilot Knob Reservoir.
The distribution system includes 180 miles of raw water transmission mains and treated
water transmission and distribution mains. The sizes of the mains range from 2 inches
to 24 inches. The system also has approximately 10,000 customer meters and one booster pump station.
Capital improvements to the two water plants, distribution system, buildings, vehicles,
and equipment occur each year. In fact, the Board has invested over $35.5 million during
the last 25 years to ensure the overall system remains reliable and meets the needs of
all customers. Improvement projects include an extensive rehabilitation of the North Plant
in 1987 - 1989 ($4 million), major upgrades at both plants in 2002-2004 to ensure regulatory
compliance ($11 million), and an expansion of the distribution system with the installation
of 1.5 miles of 24-inch water main, along 155th Street south of Eisenhower Road, in 2006.
Over $1 million has been spent on computers, automated instrumentation, and software to
increase efficiency and to stay current with technological advances in the drinking water
and customer services industries. All capital improvement projects are in addition to the
$3.5 million currently spent each year in normal operating and maintenance costs.
The Waterworks currently has 34 employees who work hard to operate the Waterworks efficiently and to meet the Board's goals of quality, abundant drinking
water, friendly customer service, and economical water rates. The service area has
a population of approximately 50,000 people and includes the cities of Leavenworth
and Lansing (Lan-Del Water District) and six rural water districts. Water sales have
averaged about 5 million gallons per day for the past 15 years. About 22% of the
total water production is sold wholesale to Lan-Del Water District and the 6 rural