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The Milwaukee Water Works was organized on April 18, 1871 and began operations September 14, 1874. We are proud to serve as the longest continuously operating water utility in Wisconsin. The utility is owned by the City of Milwaukee. Policy is set by the Mayor and Common Council. We adhere to regulations of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for facilities, operations, and water quality. The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) sets water rates and service charges and monitors our accounting.
We purify Lake Michigan water to provide pure and fresh drinking water to 861,882 people in 16 communities in Milwaukee, Ozaukee and Waukesha Counties.
To improve the reliability of our distribution system, we replace water mains based on an an index we've developed that ranks the condition of each segment of main and its likelihood of failure. In some cases, water main projects are moved up the list so they are completed prior to a street paving project or major development. We plan to replace 18 miles of main in 2019. One mile may not seem like a very long distance to replace, but each mile represents approximately 12 separate projects; 15 miles require administering about 180 contracts each year.