Ohio River History 101

Students at Laukhuf Elementary“Water, when it starts is kind of dirty, but then it goes through and it filters, so it’s clean.”

Fifth graders at Laukhuf Elementary had lots of ideas about Louisville Water’s water source: the mighty Ohio River.

Seventy-five billion gallons of the river flow by Louisville every day, providing water to nearly a million people in our area.

Louisville Water Educator Missy Payne visited Ms. Matthews’ social studies classes to teach them about the history of the river. The students learned how people used the river hundreds of years ago, where it starts and ends, that it’s 981 miles long, and that it travels through six states.

Laukhuf elementary Ohio River lessonFrom the history to the future, children divided into teams and got creative about what they could build along the river. The catch was they had to think about how they could try to reduce pollution around the area.

Ideas ranged from a hydropowered Pizza Hut and café to a playground, an amusement/water park, and a basketball court with solar powered lights.

All of the ideas incorporated trashcans and recycling bins to reduce waste.

The goal was to get the kids thinking about where our water comes from and how we can protect the Ohio River, so Louisville Water can continue delivering safe, high quality drinking water every day.


“You guys (Louisville Water) keep your water really, really clean,” one girl said.

Ohio River lesson at Laukhuf ElementaryShe’s exactly right and now some of her classmates know that too!

At the end of the lesson, each student wrote something they learned and posted it on Tapper. One shared they learned the city has a water company that filters our drinking water while another learned it takes two days to make the Ohio River water clean and safe to drink.

Learn more about our water quality!