In 1885, a group of Washington D.C. investors came to Paducah and constructed the original water works plant on the shores of the Ohio River...

A History of Service...

In 1885, a group of Washington D.C. investors came to Paducah and constructed the original water works plant on the shores of the Ohio River. In the first three years, ownership of the water works changed no less than three times finally landing in the hands of Muscoe Burnett who, with his associates, were pioneers in the water industry. In 1903, Paducah Water was one of the first water treatment facilities in the country to operate, what was at the time, a state-of-the-art sand filter. Over the years, countless other innovations have made Paducah Water an industry pioneer.


Paducah Water Company is organized as a private enterprise by a Washington D.C. investment group. Construction begins on the original water works treatment plant on the banks of the Ohio River.



After changing hands at least three times, Paducah Water Company is purchased by Muscoe Burnett. Burnett runs the Paducah Water Company for the next 40 years.


In 1930, the city made plans to purchase the water works system from the private company to ensure more control over the utility.The history in the pages that follow demonstrates the commitment of Paducah Water to the community and the importance that PW has played in the history of our community. From the 1937 flood to the consolidation of the Reidland Water District in 1999, PW has been there. Enjoy this look back, and thank you for being part of PW's history and future.



Burnett is a pioneer in water treatment. A rapid sand filter plant is constructed. The plant is one of the first of its kind in the U.S. and becomes a standard for years to come.



Sedimenation ConstructionBy 1911, Paducah Water Company has laid more than 40 miles of water mains throughout the city.



Paducah Water Company becomes the first treatment facility in the country to have a dry feed machine used to feed chemicals for water filtration. A flyer encouraging residents to buy water from the Paducah Water Company boasts "Liberal Pressure and Constant Supply." The flyer continues, "Contains no bacteria, germs, extraneous matter, alum or other chemicals.Stand pipe of 175 feet high and 22 feet wide. 40 miles of water main. 100 pounds of pressure. "Not bad for the early 1900's. As a matter of fact, the Paducah Water Company was a leader in the water treatment process for many years.

The investors saw a need for clean water to promote health and the region's growth and filled that need.The private enterprise that was Paducah Water Company was purchased by the city in 1930 and became Paducah Water Works. Today, that legacy remains. Paducah Water's core values haven't changed. We provide clean water, promote health and economic growth and serve our customers with pride. PW serves over 23,000 customers and maintains 505 miles of water main. PW uses state-of-the-art technology to deliver on our promise of The Clear, Clean Choice. Our on-site Microbiology Lab conducts hundreds of quality tests each month, and our Water Quality Team continues to innovate the treatment process with ongoing pilot projects and training to keep up with the latest industry advances. And although PW has on-site lab facilities, all water quality reports we send to the State are from testing performed at an independent lab. This is to ensure our customers of our commitment to provide top quality drinking water.



Paducah Water Company is purchased by the City of Paducah through a bond issue for $2 million.



Paducah Water Works, along with the rest of the city, is devastated in the 1937



Now named Paducah Water Works — expansion begins with the construction of the Forest Hills Reservoir. The reservoir is still used today.



Sometime in the 1950's the treatment facility switches from coal and steam powered pumps to electric.



Several small water districts are formed including Hendron, Woodlawn, Concord and West McCracken.



Woodlawn Water District runs into financial problems and is consolidated into Paducah Water Works. Concord is also consolidated marking the first time the municipal water system financed infrastructure outside city limits.



Paducah Water Works completes construction on a new $15 million state-of-the-art treatment facility on North 8th Street.



Massac Water Association became part of Paducah Water.



Lone Oak Water District became part of Paducah Water.




The old treatment facility at First Street and Kentucky Avenue is demolished. The Carson Four Rivers Center now calls the site home.



Reidland Water District became part of Paducah Water.


Paducah Water received a performance-based permit from the Kentucky Division of Water to increase capacity at its treatment facility from 12 million gallons per day to 19.9 million gallons per day. The increased capacity came at no cost to the community and had no impact on water rates. 


PW’s water treatment plant was dedicated to long-time board member W. J. Brockenborough and was named in his honor. 


Hendron Water District became part of Paducah Water.


The PW business office moved from 401 Washington Street to a brand new office building located at 1800 North 8th Street. The goal of the move was to have all Paducah Water departments housed on the same property in order to improve overall efficiency.

Paducah Water is already planning for the future. PW continues to "meet our history" as we replace water mains at a steady pace. Many of PW's water mains are more than 100 years old and still in service today. And yet there are some water mains that are only 50-60 years old requiring replacement in our community and service areas. Because of you, our customers, PW has been an important part of the history of this community. The future of PW mirrors our past. Just as we were building for the future in 1885, in 1912 and in 1984, we are building today to ensure we meet the needs of the community.