History of Puyallup Water
The first settlers to arrive in Puyallup in the 1850s got their drinking water from springs and creeks, and later from small private water systems. This was satisfactory until the population outgrew the capacity. Water quality concerns and the lack of fire protection demanded change.
In 1890 the city was incorporated. One of the first official acts of city government was to award a franchise agreement to Puyallup Water and Light Company for construction of the city’s original public water and power systems. The City of Puyallup purchased this system in 1906 for $22,000 dollars, at which time they constructed a 20” cast iron, gravity feed water line that runs from Salmon Springs located on Sumner’s east hill to Puyallup. This source development and five mile long water main project was very ambitious for its time. Much of this source and transmission line is still in use today producing 1.78 million gallons of quality drinking water daily.
Our first reservoir, a surface water impoundment with a concrete dam, was built in 1908 at Salmon Springs. Although we still produce water at this site the reservoir is no longer in service. A second reservoir was constructed in 1928 at our Wildwood Park location. It was known by the locals as the “Swimming Hole”. It has been out of service since the 1950s, but the reservoir structure can still be viewed today. In the 1940s through the 1970s numerous steel reservoirs were constructed to provide steady pressure, fire reserves, water quality, and growth capacity as the City expanded up South Hill.
In 1982 a reservoir, pump station, and intertie were constructed to provide water to the silicon chip plant on 39th Ave SE. The chip plant closed its doors in 1998 and this site presently uses only a fraction of its total daily capacity.
In the 1990s, the City invested heavily in developing new sources and improving upon its existing sources to accommodate rapid population growth in the area.
Today’s modern water system is capable of producing over 13.7 million gallons of quality drinking water daily. The distribution system includes nearly four hundred miles of water mains and service lines. We serve over 35,000 customers and have 19.3 million gallons of storage capacity. We have real-time radio telemetry that gives us the ability to control and collect data from every remote component of our system from a central location. We disinfect with chlorine and filter out metal such as iron and manganese.
Our water staff is certified by the Washington State Department of Health and must meet continuing education requirements. We conduct ongoing routine water quality testing throughout our distribution system. We test for over 174 possible contaminants.
The City Water Division staff has mapped our entire water system using AutoCAD and Geographic Information System (GIS). This information is extremely valuable for the quick accessibility of our 5,500 isolation valves and 1,745 fire hydrants.
The City of Puyallup’s forefathers built a solid water system foundation, and we take our responsibility seriously to build upon that foundation for the future.