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About the Milwaukee Water Works

The Milwaukee Water Works is a national leader in providing high quality, healthful drinking water.

The Water Research Foundation (WRF) honored the Milwaukee Water Works with its Outstanding Subscriber Award for Applied Research for the utility response during the two decades following the 1993 Cryptosporidium crisis. Read the Milwaukee Water Works Ozone story. 

The award honors utilities that have successfully applied WRF research to make notable improvements to their water treatment, delivery and management processes and "celebrates the persistence and dedication of some of WRF's most influential partners." Milwaukee water continues to participate in WRF projects benefitting the drinking water community, as seen in a video here.

Since the Cryptosporidium crisis in 1993, the Milwaukee Water Works has invested $508 million in its infrastructure, to ensure a reliable supply of safe drinking water.

Your Water Utility is 147 Years Old - Read our history brochure
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.

  • Average daily pumpage in 2017 was 94.3 million gallons, down from 97 million in 2016 and 98 million in 2015.
  • Daily per-person, indoor and outdoor use in Milwaukee is 41 gallons.
  • The utility has 320 employees in Plants, Distribution, Business, Engineering, and Water Quality work units.
  • 2017 Utility General Information
  • View all annual reports


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Water Treatment

The Milwaukee Water Works treats Lake Michigan water with ozone as the primary disinfectant to destroy microorganisms that cause disease, reduce the formation of disinfection byproducts, and remove taste and odor. Particles are removed through coagulation, flocculation, settling, and biologically active filtration. Chlorine is a secondary disinfectant. Fluoride is added to reduce dental cavities. A phosphorous compound is added to control pipe corrosion to prevent lead and copper that may be present in pipes from leaching into the water. Chloramine disinfection maintains a residual in the distribution system. We continuously conduct water quality monitoring, or sampling, from the lake source water to the distribution system of 1,956 miles of water mains that carry over 100 million gallons of treated water every day.

The treated water enters homes and businesses through a service line pipe and a water meter. After you use water, it leaves your property through the sanitary sewer pipe and flows to the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District treatment facility where it is treated and returned to Lake Michigan.

Honors for the Milwaukee Water Works

The Wisconsin Section of the American Water Works Association presented its 2016 Utility Special Achievement Award to the Milwaukee Water Works for working effectively with health and regulatory agencies to shape field and water quality monitoring activities and customer outreach to reduce lead at customers’ taps. Read about the Lead Service Line award.

The MWW water quality team was published nationally in January 2017 when the Journal of the American Water Works Association ran Milwaukee's research findings about lead and drinking water sampling, which were reviewed by the City of Milwaukee Health Department, Wisconsin Department of Health Services and Department of Natural Resources and EPA. Read "Lead Water Service Lines: Extensive Sampling and Field Protocol Protects Public Health"

Sustainability Practices

Milwaukee is enriched with an abundant water resource in Lake Michigan. Water treated and used is returned to the lake. The Milwaukee Water Works practices environmental stewardship, reducing its energy, carbon, and water footprints to use water wisely and conserve energy resources. Here's a diagram of how Best Practices Support Sustainable Water Water Systems.


Customer Service Center

M-F   7:30 am - 5:00 pm (414) 286-2830
24-Hour Control Center (414) 286-3710
Email (non-emergency)
North Point Tower

The North Point Water Tower

A national landmark, Milwaukee's 175-foot Victorian Gothic tower guards the bluff above Lake Michigan at 2288 N. Lake Dr. at North Avenue. It was part of the first water works in 1873. The tower houses a tall, open standpipe that absorbed pulsations of water from steam-driven engines in the pumping station below the hill.
Service Area Map

Service Area

MWW serves 11 wholesale clients who operate their own water utilities, bill customers and maintain the distribution system.
Retail customers receive full water service from MWW, including customer billing and distribution system maintenance.

Wholesale customers

  • Brown Deer
  • Butler
  • Greendale
  • Menomonee Falls
  • Mequon
  • Milwaukee County Grounds
  • New Berlin
  • Shorewood
  • Thiensville
  • Wauwatosa
  • West Allis

Retail customers

  • Greenfield
  • Hales Corners
  • St. Francis
  • Franklin (a portion)
  • West Milwaukee receives billing services from MWW and maintains its own distribution system. 


American Water Works Association Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies
Water Research Foundation Wisconsin Section of the American Water Works Association