Documentary History of American Water-works

Introduction Historical Background Chronology Geography Biography Technology Ownership and Financing General Bibliography
Southwestern States
Arkansas Pine Bluff

Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Pine Bluff was incorporated in 1839.

The Pine Bluff Water Works Company was incorporated in 1861 by Josiah Snow, James Katchum, and William D. Snow "for the erection of a water works in the city of Pine Bluff."  This company did not build anything.

The Pine Bluff Light and Water Company received a franchise from the city on January 17, 1887.  The company built a system in 1888 that pumped water from the Arkansas River to a stand-pipe and direct.  The company was sold to the Pine Bluff Water and Light Company in 1889, and that company in turn was sold at public auction in 1908 to the Pine Bluff Corporation.

The Arkansas Municipal Water Company was incorporated in Delaware on July 1, 1942 to acquire the water properties of the Arkansas Power & Light Company.  The name was changed to General Waterworks Corporation on April 17, 1945.  In 1946 General Waterworks formed the Pine Bluff Water Company as a separate entity to reduce regulatory issues as the parent company operated in several states. 

The following information is from various annual reports:

The Company, formerly General Waterworks Corporation of Pine Bluff Arkansas, Inc., was founded in the year 1942 as the Pine Bluff Water Company and formed General Waterworks Inc. which became its parent Company. In 1967, International Utilities Company purchased General Water Works and in 1984, General Water Works was acquired by Lyonnaise des Eaux, a French company, which later became Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux. The Pine Bluff Water Company became affiliated with United Water Resources when General Water Works Corporation and United Water Resources merged in 1994, resulting in approximately 30 percent of United Water Resources stock being owned by Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux. In 1995 - Pine Bluff Water Company changed its name to United Water Arkansas. Finally, Suez acquired all the outstanding stock of United Water Resources in 2000.

The company operated as United Water Arkansas until February 1, 2013, when a stock sale was completed that transferred all ownership to Liberty Utilities, Inc, and the name was changed to Liberty Utilities (Pine Bluff Water), Inc.

On February 1, 2013, Liberty Utilities completed the acquisition of issued and outstanding shares of United Water Arkansas Inc. (“Pine Bluff Water System”), a regulated water distribution utility from United Waterworks Inc.  The Pine Bluff Water System is located in Pine Bluff, Arkansas and serves approximately 17,700 water distribution connections.  Total purchase price for the Pine Bluff Water System, adjusted for certain working capital and other closing adjustments, is approximately U.S. $27.9 million.

Water is provided by Liberty Utilities (Pine Bluff Water), which is a subsidiary of Algonquin Power & Utilities Corporation.

1861 An act to incorporate the Pine Bluff Water Works Company. January 21, 1861.

1887 Ordinance granting franchise to Pine Bluff Light and Water Company. January 17, 1887. Includes amendments, etc.

1888 "Pine Bluff," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 1.

1890 "Pine Bluff," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 2.

1891 Pine Bluff Water Co. v. Sewer District, 56 Ark. 205, May 16, 1891, Supreme Court of Arkansas.

1891 "Pine Bluff," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 3.

1893 Pine Bluff and Jefferson County, Arkansas
Page 22:  Water Works. The water works were erected and mains laid in 1888.   The mains are 14 and 18 inches, and extend throughout the city. There are 186 fire plugs of the most approved pattern. The first pumps proving inadequate, in September 1892 two new Gordon steam pumps of two million gallons capacity each daily were completed. The city has now an unsurpassed water works system and fire protection. The property is owned by the Pine Bluff Water and Light Company. The water has been analyzed by Prof. Potter, of Washington University, St. Louis, and he declared it to be "most excellent."

1896 Pine Bluff Water & Light Co. v. City of Pine Bluff, 62 Ark. 196, March 28, 1896, Supreme Court of Arkansas.
An ordinance of a city requiring water companies and others desiring to take up the pavements of any street to deposit a certain sum before doing so, and to pay the city engineer for superintending the work, is purely legislative, and not reviewable on certiorari.

1897 "Pine Bluff," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 4.

1908 Municipal Journal and Engineer 29:567 (October 14, 1908)
Water and Light Company Change.- A deed has been filed transferring all of the property of the Pine Bluff Light and Water Company, of Pine Bluff, Ark., to the Pine Bluff Corporation.  The property was recently publicly sold to satisfy judgment in Federal Court.  The purchase price was $450,000.

1910 Pine Bluff Corporation v. Toney, Mayor, et al, 96 Ark. 345, October 31, 1910, Supreme Court of Arkansas.
Where a water company obligated itself to supply water to the city and its inhabitants, and acquired the right to use the streets, alleys, sidewalks, and public grounds of the city for placing “mains, hydrants and other structures and devices requisite for the service of water,” it was its duty to lay the service pipes from the mains to the curb line without charge to the consumer.

1946 "Water System at Pine Bluff Sold," Arkansas Gazette (Little Rock, Arkansas), May 2, 1946, Pgae 16.
General Waterworks Corporation, which owns properties in Arkansas and nine other states, was authorized by the state Public Service Commission yesterday to sell its system at Pine Bluff to the Pine Bluff Water Company, Inc., a subsidiary..

1958 Arkansas Gazette (Little Rock, Arkansas), October 2, 1958, Pgae 11.
The state Public Service Commission approved a request by General Waterworks Corporation to merge the Pine Bluff Water Company and the Pine Bluff Corporation.
The Pine Bluff Company leases the system to its parent company, the Pine Bluff Water Corporation.  This corporation is a subsidiary of General Waterworks.

The web site of the Arkansas Public Service Commission has a lot of information about the various companies that have owned the Pine Bluff water system, including annual reports and regulatory filings.

© 2015 Morris A. Pierce