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 at least three times, finally landing in the hands of Muscoe Burnett. He and his associates were pioneers in the water industry. In 1903, Paducah Water became 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. The history that follows demonstrates the commitment of Paducah Water to the community and the important role PW has played in our area’s history. Enjoy this look back, and thank you for being part of Paducah Water’s past, present and future.

LATE 1800's


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


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

EARLY 1900's


Under Burnett’s leadership, a rapid sand filter plant was constructed. The plant was one of the first of its kind in the U.S. and became a water industry standard for years to come.


By 1911, Paducah Water Company had installed more than 40 miles of water mains throughout the city.


Paducah Water Company became the first treatment facility in the country to have a dry feed machine used to dispense chemicals for water treatment.

MID TO LATE 1900's​


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


Paducah Water Works, along with the rest of the city, was devastated by the 1937 flood.


Expansion began with the construction of the Forest Hills Reservoir. The reservoir is still used today.


The treatment facility switched from coal and steam powered pumps to electric pumps.


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


Woodlawn Water District ran into financial problems and consolidated with Paducah Water Works. Concord eventually did the same, marking the first time the municipal water system financed infrastructure outside city limits.


Paducah Water Works completed 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 was 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 departments of Paducah Water housed on the same property in order to improve overall efficiency.


West McCracken Water District became part of Paducah Water.

Our Future

Paducah Water is always planning for the future. Our employees are hard at work installing water mains,  discovering innovative water treatment options and caring for our customers, because, to put it simply, that’s what we do! 

PW serves over 29,000 customers and maintains nearly 700 miles of water mains. We continue to utilize state-of-the-art technology to deliver on our promise of being 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.

Because of you, our customers, PW has been an important part of the history of this community. The future of PW mirrors its past. Just as we were building for the future in 1885, in 1930 and in 1984, we continue to do the same today to ensure we meet the needs of the community.