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 water districts.