Documentary History of American Water-works

Introduction Historical Background Chronology Geography Biography Technology Ownership and Financing General Bibliography

Technology Aqueducts

Notable Long Aqueducts Used in American Waterworks

This is a list of some notable longer aqueducts built in America for water supply:

Length (Miles)
MGD Owner Material
Source Comments
1754 Northampton MA 2
Charles Goodrich
Bored wood logs Springs Unsuccessful either to bad construction or broken up by neighbor
1786 Hudson NY 2
Bored wood logs Springs
1798 Albany NY 5
Benjamin Prescott Bored wood logs Springs at Five Mile House Unsuccessful, replaced by aqueduct from Mazelant Kill
1798 Boston MA 5
Aqueduct Corporation Bored wood logs Jamaica Pond One mile replaced by iron pipe in 1822, all replaced with iron in 1840.
1800 Albany NY 3.5
Albany Water Works Co. Bored wood logs Mazelant Kill Replaced with cast iron in 1813
1801 Philadelphia PA 0.83
City of Philadelphia Bricks Schuylkill River 4,400 feet long, 6 foot diameter, also functioned as a reservoir holding about 900,000 gallons
1842 New York City NY 40 72 City of New York Masonry
Croton Reservoir 7 ft. 5 in. wide and 8 ft. 6 in. high, ultimately delivered 95 MGD
1848 Boston MA 14.5 7.5 City of Boston Brick Lake Cochituate 5 ft. wide, 6 ft. 4 in. high, able to deliver 10 MGD
Brooklyn NY 12.39
47 City of Brooklyn
Hempstead Pond
10 ft. wide, 9 ft. 8 in. high
1859 Washington DC 11
68 Corps of Engineers Masonry
Potomac Great Falls 9 ft. diameter, Capacity increased to 100 MGD in the 1930s
1862 Baltimore MD 3.6 20 City of Baltimore Brick Lake Swann 24.75 sq ft
1870 Rochester NY 17 3.5
Rochester Water Works Co. Wood staves Smithton Creek 24 inch conduit, completed September 27, 1870, but never operated.
1873 Virginia City NV 8 2.3 Virginia and Gold Hill Water Company Riveted wrought iron pipe
Very high water pressure 750 psig
1876 Rochester NY 30 7 City of Rochester Wrought Iron Honeoye Lake
1878 Boston MA 15 110 City of Boston

Sudbury Aqueduct
1879 Williamsport PA 100
Tide-Water Pipe Line Company.

First long distance oil pipelin;, used Holly triplex pumps that were adapted from water works designs.
1881 Tombstone AZ 27

Wrought iron Springs Still in use
1890 New York City NY 33 300 City of New York

Second Croton Aqueduct
1892 Denver CO 17 35 Denver Union Water Company
Wood Stave Platte River 48-inch diameter
1893 Chicago IL 100
Waukesha Hygeia Mineral Water Company 6-inch cast iron Hygeia Springs Supplied drinking water to the World's Columbian Exhibition in Chicago.
1913 Los Angeles CA 233 313 City of Los Angeles Various Owens Valley Second aqueduct opened in 1970.
1917 New York City NY 163 880 City of New York

Catskill Aqueduct
1926 Washington DC 11 120 Corps of Engineers

Runs parallel to 1859 aqueduct
1934 San Francisco CA 167 400 City of San Francisco

Hetch Hetchy Reservoir

1880 "Aqueduct," from Appletons' Cyclopedia of Applied Mechanics, 1:83-92, edited by Page Benjamin

1886 "Aqueduct," from Johnson's Universal Cyclopaedia 1:181-184

1888 "A Big Water Project," Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, New York), November 24, 1888, Page 1.
Cleveland, Nov. 23. - A project is on foot among capitalists here to supply the cities and towns of Ohio with water from Lake Erie. They think a large pipe line 230 miles long can be operated as successfully as tbe small pipe 600 miles long, which carries oil to Chicago. It is designed to run the water pipe line direct to Columbus and thence to Cincinnati.  Reservoirs are to be constructed for securing an uninterrupted flow in case of accident.  The main line would be tapped to supply smaller cities.

1889 "The Water from Bladensburg," Evening Star (Washington, DC), February 8, 1889, Page 1.
Senator Gorman to-day introduced a joint resolution to enable the United States to accept from James Crutchett a present of the springs of spa water at Bladensburg, Md.  The resolution contains an appropriation of $35,000 to bring the water to Washington in iron pipes.

1889 The Boston Globe, August 2, 1889, Page 8.
One of the Saratoga newspapers, "The Union," states that it is proposed to lay a pipe line from Saratoga Springs to New York for the transportation of water of one of the springs to Troy, Albany, Poughkeepsie, New York, and Brooklyn.

1889 Boston Herald, August 3, 1889, Page 4.
A pipe line to convey spa water from Saratoga to New York City in the latest project. This ought to save the expense of going to Saratoga, anyhow.

1889 "Milk By Pipe Line," The New York Sun, December 22, 1889, Page 24.

1890 "A Milk Pipe Line," The News (Frederick, Maryland), March 19, 1890, Page 1.

2017 Morris A. Pierce