Cleveland Division of Water

cleveland division of waterThe Cleveland Water Department has been supplying Cleveland Area residents with drinking water as well as for bathing, cleaning and other various uses since 1856.  Lake Erie is where the city of Cleveland receives its water from and the Cleveland Water Division takes extreme pride in its work as the guardian over Cleveland’s water supply.

There are many processes that go into making sure that the water that we drink and use to wash dishes is safe and the Water Department has and continues to make sure that the general public is protected from environmental changes and that service is maintained to keep the supply healthy.

Cleveland Water Department History

Cleveland water distribution has by many accounts dates back to entrepreneur Benhu Johnson delivering barrels of water to citizens for 1 cent per 2 gallons.  Ultimately, the City of Cleveland approves funding for the creation of the Water Department in 1853 and in 1854 the first water facility was built.

In 1856 the Cleveland Division of Water began service.  In 1870 the first water meters began to appear.  In 1911 The City began to treat its water with chlorine in an effort to fight cholera and typhoid fever.  In 1916 famed inventor Garret A. Morgan saved several miners when a Cleveland water tunnel collapsed.  In 1917 a new water treatment plant, intake and pump station was built which would later be renamed the Garrett Morgan Plant in 1991 when this plant was renovated. In 1956, cement lined pipes became the new standard  and is installed system-wide.

In 1972 all Water Dept business and management operations was consolidated at then1201 Lakeside Rd location and in 1975 the Water Dept converted to electric power from steam.

In 1985 the Water Dept modernized its operations and in 1995 the Water Dept launched its PEP program which revamped all four of the city’s water plants.  This was completed in 2000.  in 2006 The Water Dept celebrated its 150th anniversary and recreated the original water fountain that was displayed at the 1856 Ohio State Fair at Public Square.

In 2014 the Automated Water Meter project was completed.

Lake Erie, Water Supply Concerns and Customer Service

city of cleveland waterThe Cleveland Water Dept uses Lake Erie surface water for our drinking water.  Besides delivering water, The Water Dept monitors Lake Erie constantly for fluctuations in the ecosystem that can threaten the overall well being of the water which affects all of us.

Dead zones and invasive species have an adverse effect on the water supply and these are one of many variables that are under close scrutiny. In addition to ecosystem and environmental issues, the Cleveland Water Dept treats the water so that we do not get sick.

Lead in the water is a major concern and the Water Dept continues to focus on solutions to reduce risks to the public.  There are many options for Water Dept customers to have issues addressed and to make payment.  You can call customer service and also find answers on the Water Dept’s website.  You can also establish service and make payments online.


The Cleveland Water Department is one of the finest Departments of its kind and has unique challenges in its mission to provide quality water which is critical in maintaining public health.


Cleveland Water Department
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