Louisville’s Quest for Safe Water

August is National Water Quality Month and we are thankful that Louisville has some of the best water in the country. However, that has not always been the case. In this article written by Greg Heitzman, WaterStep Board Member and former President of Louisville Water Company, we learn that Louisville was once dubbed the “graveyard of the west” because of the number of people who were dying from cholera and typhoid.

Louisville Water Company and WaterStep share a common mission: to provide safe drinking water. The same public health crisis that exists in developing countries today was plaguing Louisville more than 200 years ago. The proximity of water wells to outhouses had created epidemics of cholera and typhoid, though it would take many years for people to understand that contaminated well water was the culprit.

In 1896, William M. Jewell of the Jewell Filter Company, developed a chlorine generator using electrolysis to produce chlorine gas from salt water. Jewell’s experiments led to the advancement of chlorine as a water disinfectant. When Louisville began adding chlorine to water in 1913, the combination of disinfection and filtration reduced incidents of typhoid and cholera by 80%.

WaterStep uses this same technology today to provide access to safe drinking water to millions of people globally. We are so thankful for those who pioneered the early efforts in water purification. Their work and dedication has led to lives saved every day because people have safe water to drink.

Raise a glass of Louisville Pure Tap water and celebrate National Water Quality Month with the best water in the country!