Fort Wayne, Indiana Places

Three Rivers Water Filtration Plant

See Outhouses on our Diseases page.

River me Timbers! Water Treatment Facility June 6, 2024 College TV Fort Wayne on YouTube
Made as part of the Center for Collaborative Media's Riverfront Fort Wayne project for the City of Fort Wayne in 2019.

Hand water pumps and windmills were common before modern plumbing enabled public water facilities to pump purified water to connected homes.
Old hand water pump   Old windmill

Broken hand water pump under windmill. Notice the tree next to the pump indicating how long since it was last used. Copied from a May 18, 2024 post by 4WARD on Facebook: Thank you to LC Nature Park  for the opportunity for our boys and board members to put in some sweat equity today! I love that our group truly lives our mission to “pay it forward”!

You can learn more at the Mid America Windmill Museum 732 S Allen Chapel Road in Kendallville, Noble County, Indiana.

This heartwarming Kentucky mining community scene, captured by Russell Lee, is on display in our #ArchivesPowerAndLight...

Posted by Archivist of the United States Colleen Shogan on Thursday, May 30, 2024

Thursday, May 30, 2024 post by the Archivist of the United States Colleen Shogan on Facebook:

This heartwarming Kentucky mining community scene, captured by Russell Lee, is on display in our #ArchivesPowerAndLight exhibit. Bobbie Jean, 4, and Lucy, 26, who is blind, fill a water pail together, 1946. See this photo & more at the US National Archives:

Power & Light: Russell Lee's Coal Survey

Ground-Water Availability

Generalized Ground-Water Availability

June 6, 2024 post by Indiana Department of Natural Resources on Facebook:
DNR DIVISION OF WATER: The DNR has many online resources available to the public concerning the groundwater beneath our Hoosier landscape. A series of county aquifer systems maps and digital coverage assessing Indiana’s groundwater resources includes information describing aquifer thickness, depth, yield, static water levels, and contamination potential. This information completes a single consistent map and GIS coverage of Indiana's groundwater resources at Ground Water Assessment Maps & Publications.

IN DNR Water Well Viewer

IN DNR Water Well Viewer zoom in to the pins of well locations.

June 3, 2024 post by Indiana Department of Natural Resources on Facebook:

DNR DIVISION OF WATER: In order to install a water well, or to install or repair water well pumping equipment in the State of Indiana, a person must be licensed under IC 25-39. Water wells and pumping equipment must also be installed in accordance with Rule 312 IAC 13 which sets minimum standards for well depth, well grouting, pump depths and well abandonment. A water well record must also be submitted by the driller and are available for over 420,000 wells on the DNR webpage at Water Well Record Database.

Additional water well driller and pump installer licensing information can be found at Well Driller and Pump Installer Licensing.

Check out these drillers in action!

Water drillers in action! INDNR

1200 US-27 across from Historic Fort Street View photo from Google maps with photos

Street View photo from Google maps

Water Filtration Plant posted March 22, 2021 by Friends of the Rivers on YouTube.

Three Rivers Water Filtration Plant The Three Rivers Water Filtration Plant was constructed at the confluence of Fort Wayne’s three rivers in 1933. When it was built, it had the capacity to produce 24 million gallons of treated water per day (MGD). Since the original construction there have been two major additions: a 24 MGD expansion in 1955 and a 24 MGD addition in 1981. The total capacity of the Plant today is 72 million gallons per day, enough to supply the needs of Fort Wayne for at least the next 10 to 15 years. Copied from Three Rivers Filtration Plant on City of Fort Wayneweb site.

A December 12, 2023 post by History & Memories of Michiana on Facebook shows photos of South Bend’s old wooden water main. It’s about 10-12” in diameter, wrapped with a steel band and tar coated. It inlcuded links to the newspaper article Our Water Supply The South-Bend Weekly Tribune South Bend, Indiana, Saturday, July 19, 1873, Page 2 and More Water-Pipes Article clipped from The South Bend Tribune, South Bend, Indiana, Tuesday, June 30, 1874, Page 4. Documentary History of American Water-works in South Bend, Indiana and Wyckoff Wooden Water Pipe.

See 1901 discussion of wooden water pipes.

The Fort Wayne, Indiana of Documentary History of American Water-works does not mention wooden pipes in Fort Wayne but does show a newspaper article from The Fort Wayne Sentinel, Fort Wayne, Indiana, Saturday, July 26, 1879, Page 1.

1879 - "Sentinel" Map of Fort Wayne - Pipes, Reservoir, Wells - Water Works

Article from Jul 26, 1879 The Fort Wayne Sentinel (Fort Wayne, Indiana) 1879, Water works, Fort wayne, Indiana

1879 - "Sentinel" Map of Fort Wayne - Pipes, Reservoir, Wells - Water Works The Fort Wayne Sentinel, Fort Wayne, Indiana, Saturday, July 26, 1879, Page 1

Examples of wooden water pipes.

Our ABCs of Artifacts keep on with W is for...Wooden Pipe. Prior to 1882, the Springfield city water system consisted of...

Posted by Clark County Historical Society at the Heritage Center on Monday, May 23, 2022

 

Monday, May 23, 2022 post by the Clark County Historical Society at the Heritage Center on Facebook:

Our ABCs of Artifacts keep on with W is for...Wooden Pipe. Prior to 1882, the Springfield city water system consisted of springs, wells, and cisterns looked after by the City Marshall whose duty it was to make sure that no one “defiled the public water supply.” We have several of the original 1880s wooden water pipes that was once used downtown. This photo shows the evolution of the water supply system including the Old Stand Pipe on E. Main and the Old Water Works (Now Old Reid Park).

November 8, 2023 post by Old Images of Philadelphia on Facebook:

Wooden water pipes that were removed and replaced by new cast iron pipes, sit outside of 13th and Market Streets. October 1st, 1901. Image Source: Philadelphia City Archives.

November 8, 2023 post by Old Images of Philadelphia on Facebook:

13th and Market Streets, removal of wooden water pipe. December 6th, 1901. Did you know? In 1804 Philadelphia became the first city to switch entirely to cast iron pipes. Their new intricate system of water delivery made them a global leader in plumbing. This particular pipe was laid between 1801 and 1817 and it was excavated in 1901. Image Credit: Philadelphia City Archives.

A November 10, 2023 post to the Perris Valley Historical & Museum Association Friends on Facebook showed a Harper’s Weekly article from 1891 talking about the wooden pipes with metal hoops that they used to transfer water from the San Bernardino mountains to the Perris Valley for irrigation. The article is from page 762 in Harper's Weekly 1891-10-03: Vol 35 Iss 1815 on Archive.org.
  1. Three Rivers Filtration Plant fact sheet  on the City of Fort Waynewebsite.
  2. City Utilities Drinking Water We Treat It Right
  3. Fort Wayne, Indiana Fort Wayne was incorporated as a city in 1840. After a decade-long struggle, the city built a water works that began service on December 14, 1880. The system was designed by Josiah D. Cook with a reservoir 97 feet above the level of the court house that would be filled by two steam engines, an efficient one of 3 MGD and a less-efficient back-up engine of 2 MGD. Cook felt this was less expensive than a system of direct pumping, which would have required to complete sets of pumping apparatus. Holly engines were selected and the reservoir was only partially completed for several years, so the system functioned mostly as a regular Holly water works system, with a Holly triple-expansion engine added in 1891. Copied from Documentary History of American Water-works which lists dozens of online sources from 1870 thru 1981.
  4. In 1933, engineer R.L. McNamee wrote, “The architectural finish of the new Three Rivers station has afforded the architect an unusual opportunity to use the nationally known product of our state: Indiana limestone. City officials gave much thought to the selection of an artistic yet durable color and texture of stone, and the wisdom of their choice is well expressed in the pleasing ensemble of the structure as a whole.” Water Filtration Plant by Tom Castaldi, local historianat Heritage Trail by ARCH ( Architecture and Community Heritage).
  5. The Story of Fort Wayne's water system Date Issued 1933. Abstract: Dedication souvenir booklet honoring the completion of a waterworks improvement plan, the Three Rivers Project at Hagley Digital Archvies. Found in one of the links above by the Documentary History of American Water-works.
  6. Water Filtration Plant Audio: “Filtration Plant” featuring Tom Castaldi. Courtesy of 89.1 WBOI in the Landmark series by ARCH ( Architecture and Community Heritage).
  7. Mayor Hosey’s Three Rivers Water Plant by Tom Castaldi published July 10, 2014 in the History Center Notes & Queries blog.
  8. Three Rivers Filtration Plant - 1933

    Randy Harter, Fort Wayne historian and author

    Fort Wayne Reader

    July 5, 2018

    In the mid-1800’s, Fort Wayne’s water supply for both drinking and firefighting came from being pumped from the Wabash & Erie Canal (1843-1874), ponds, creeks, cisterns or wells. By the mid-1870’s it had been determined that a single reliable water source was needed for the growing city, and so our first major water works project was planned.

    This resulted in the construction of the 5 million-gallon, brick-lined hill at Reservoir Park (now Ivan Lebamoff Reservoir Park) that was built in 1880 at a cost of $250,000. Sitting on a 13.1 acre parcel of land, the wood capped reservoir had water pumped to it from 37 wells located throughout various sections of Fort Wayne.

    By the 1920’s the well-fed reservoir was reaching the point where it would soon be unable to supply our burgeoning city’s needs. In 1930, during the administration of Mayor William Hosey, plans were developed for the new modern Three Rivers Filtration Plant. Groundbreaking took place in 1931, and the completed “water factory” shown in this image taken from the top of Lincoln Tower was dedicated in December of 1933. Construction of the Collegiate Gothic style limestone building had come at a good time for Fort Wayne as we, along with the rest of the county, were in the throes of the Depression. However, this was not a WPA project, but rather locally funded with $2.5 million in bonds.

    In conjunction with the filtration plant, the St. Joe River Dam was built near today’s Coliseum Blvd. Located adjacent to the dam is the pumping station that feeds water through two 42” pipes that run alongside Parnell Avenue and the St. Joe River to a submerged crossover and then to the filtration plant. The plant today has a 20 million gallon underground reservoir, which is backed up by the water stored behind the St. Joe River Dam (1933), the Cedarville Dam (1979), and the 1.8 billion gallon Hurshtown Reservoir that was built near Grabill in 1969. (Image courtesy Craig Leonard)

    A tip of the hat for the use of research by Mary Jane Slaton, Don Orban and Creager Smith, City of Fort Wayne.

    Randy Harter is a Fort Wayne historian, author of three books on local history, and the history/architecture guide for FortWayneFoodTours.com

  9. August 1, 2018 post by The History Center on Facebook:

    It’s National Water Quality Month! Fort Wayne has improved the quality of its potable water throughout its history. Water was initially drawn from local bodies and wells, which became undersized and contaminated due to urban expansion. No water works existed in the city until 1880. The Feeder Canal was initially considered as a source for this works, but the City ultimately chose Spy Run Creek. The creek’s inadequate size forced the City to dig water table wells shortly after. In the 1920s, Mayor Hosey sought to capitalize on new water treatment methods and commissioned a filtration plant. The new Three Rivers Water Filtration Plant was finished in 1933. The striking gothic-style civic landmark features Indiana limestone and has expanded multiple times. It still draws and treats the waters of the St. Joseph River at the Hosey Dam, utilizing both chemical and physical processes. #sociallyhistory

  10. October 13, 2018 post by Riverfront Fort Wayne on Facebook:

    The Three Rivers Water Filtration Plant was constructed at the confluence of Fort Wayne's three rivers in 1933. When it was built, it had the capacity to produce 24 million gallons of treated water per day (MGD). Since the original construction there have been two major additions: a 24 MGD expansion in 1955 and a 24 MGD addition in 1981. The total capacity of the Plant today is 72 million gallons per day, enough to supply the needs of Fort Wayne for at least the next 10 to 15 years.

  11. KEVIN LEININGER: Fort Wayne’s history is linked to water, and it’s worth preserving June 27, 2019 in The News-Sentinel newspaperarchived on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine.
  12. 1939 Rudisill sewer tunnel

    Sewer System Rudisill sewer interior when almost complete, 21 September 1939, including tracks from the Allen County Public Library Digital Collections at the Allen County Public Librarydiscussed February 19, 2024 on True Fort Wayne Indiana History on Facebook.

  13. Episode 125: Drinking Water by Granite Ridge Builders posted Oct 15, 2019 on YouTube
    Learn more about the process of getting drinking water from the river, filtration plant, and to the home. We will explore this topic at one of Fort Wayne's newest and popular destinations, Promenade Park!
    Granite Ridge also has videos called Episode 6: Water (Part 1) April 2, 2015, Episode 7: Water (Part 2) May 15, 2019, and Episode 126: Water Management November 21, 2019.

  14. October 4, 2023 post by John McGauley on Twitter:

    My water seemed to taste a little better this morning after seeing the

    @CityofFortWayne

    Water Filtration Plant like this. From sunrise this morning. #water #fortwayne #indiana

  15. October 19, 2023 post by City of Fort Wayne Government on Facebook:

    For the second straight year, Fort Wayne wins the best tasting water award in Indiana.

    Read more: FORT WAYNE WINS BEST TASTING WATER AWARD AT ANNUAL STATEWIDE EVENT

    October 19, 2023 - For the second consecutive year and the third in the past five years, the Alliance of Indiana Rural Water picked the water produced by Fort Wayne's City Utilities for Best Tasting Water in Indiana. The award was announced at the organization's annual Fall Conference at the Grand Wayne Center on Wednesday, Oct. 18.

    The Three Rivers Filtration Plant can treat up to 72 million gallons of water daily. Water is delivered to homes and businesses through nearly 1,500 miles of water pipe daily.

  16. Huntertown is proud to present the 2023 annual water report. Also, learn about what Huntertown is doing to protect our...

    Posted by Town of Huntertown on Wednesday, July 3, 2024

    Wednesday, July 3, 2024 post by the Town of Huntertown on Facebook:

    Huntertown is proud to present the 2023 annual water report. Also, learn about what Huntertown is doing to protect our watershed and provide quality drinking water to our residents at: A Note from Huntertown

MamaJo

MamaJo is a tunnel system built to help clean the city's rivers. Derived from taking the first two letters from Fort Wayne’s three rivers, the Ma from Marys, Ma from Maumee and Jo from Joseph, MamaJo seems only fitting for a project that’s had an engineer's working title of the Three Rivers Protection and Overflow Reduction Tunnel (3RPORT). And so MamaJo becomes the protector of our rivers.

Mining lore says that as far back as the 1500s, workers prayed to Saint Barbara for protection while working in the dark underground. Since then it’s been tradition to name the tunnel boring machine. More at MamaJo at the City of Fort Wayne.

See our Three Rivers page. The City of Fort Wayne Tunnel Program FAQS states: Fort Wayne is under a federal court order to greatly reduce the amount of combined sewage going into our rivers each year, to reduce sewage that backs up into homes during wet weather events, to eliminate discharges from sanitary sewers and to enhance the sewer system’s reliability through ongoing operation and maintenance, repair, rehabilitation and replacement. Fort Wayne negotiated with the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) and the United States Department of Justice for more than ten years before an agreement was reached in late 2007 that governs how City Utilities will reduce discharges from the combined sewer system into our rivers during wet weather. The agreement – incorporated into a federal Consent Decree that is enforced by a federal court – is a result of the Clean Water Act. See the Fort Wayne City Utilities MamaJo page: https://utilities.cityoffortwayne.org/mamajoupdate/.

It’s part of an 18-year, $240 million effort to reduce the number of combined sewer overflows into Fort Wayne’s three rivers – the St. Joseph, St. Marys and the Maumee – from an average of 76 overflows per year to four. The St. Joseph is the first watershed that will reach compliance with the consent decree, Wirtz [Matthew Wirtz, City Utilities deputy director] said. Overflows occur when high water volumes, such as what might occur during heavy rainfall, back up the city’s combined sewer system, causing it to alleviate the pressure by discharging into the rivers. The St. Joseph River typically overflows 12 to 15 times a year, causing sewers to dump 9 million gallons of wastewater into the river. Through some earlier sewer separation projects, City Utilities has been able to decrease that amount to about 5 million gallons per year. "All those overflows (on the St. Joseph River) will be reduced to one or less in a typical year," Wirtz said. He said this portion of the project will be completed four years ahead of schedule and is expected to come in significantly under budget. Once the project is complete, it’s expected to discharge only about half a million gallons into the river in a typical year – a 97 percent decrease from the current overflow levels. Copied from Watershed year for St. Joe River Will achieve compliance with 2008 decree next year by Dave Gong published December 25, 2014 in The Journal Gazette newspaper.

Fort Wayne sewer overflow project nearing its end 89.1 WBOI | By Tony Sandleben, Published November 15, 2022 

The city water filtration plant video City Utilities Today created by Patrick Stelte published October 28, 2017 on Access Fort Wayne.

City Utilities Today Date Created: October 27, 2017 Creator:Patrick Stelte October 2017. At Fort Wayne Government Access - City TV.
Topic this month: The Three Rivers Water Filtration Plant with guests Mike Gierscher, Superintendent and Vicky Vehr, Water Quality Supervisor.

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