Cincinnati Water Quality: Yesterday
Early settlers of Cincinnati used hollowed-out logs to carry untreated water from the Ohio River to the main city center. As the Cincinnati grew, residents could pay 25 cents a week to have water delivered by horse and oxen from the natural spring to their houses. By 1805, Cincinnati had 1,700 residents taking advantages of this service. In 1824, a steam engine from the riverboat Vesta replaced the horse and oxen and allowed the system to pump about 1.2 million gallons of water a day. In 1828, Cincinnati started to install cast iron pipes as the hollowed-out logs could not sustain the increased water flow and pressure. By the 1890s, Cincinnati was the nation’s fifth-largest city and was one of the few to take water treatment seriously.
In 1928, Cincinnati pioneered the use of activated carbon filtration to improve taste and eliminate odor from chlorine treatment.The distribution system was expanded in 1941 to better serve the expanding city limits. To meet the growing demand of the 1970s, Cincinnati constructed The Charles M. Bolton Plant to produce water from the Great Miami Aquifer. Cincinnati was the first utility in the nation to adopt the use of granular activated carbon in 1992.