We are the oldest investor-owned utility in the United States!
Today, we supply high quality drinking water and wastewater services to over 210,000 people in York, Adams, Franklin, and Lancaster Counties. But did you know that The York Water Company was founded to provide water for fighting fires?
To see the Service Territory Map enlarged, click here. The map will open in a new window.
As we’ve grown, we’ve kept our community spirit. Through our water and wastewater services, community involvement, and philanthropy, we lift the communities that we serve.
Step Back in Time
We’ve come a long way, from water mains made from logs, through the American Civil War, all the way to ringing the NASDAQ closing bell. Learn more about our history.
1816: York Water is Incorporated
On February 23, a group of local businessmen met at the Indian King Tavern. They issued stock and formed The York Water Company. It is the oldest investor-owned utility in the nation!
This historical marker was unveiled on the company’s 200th anniversary. You can find it just outside the 130 E. Market Street office in York.
1816: Why York Water?
Fire almost destroyed York many times in the 1700s and 1800s! To put out fires, the community needed a public water supply with reliable water pressure.
This Lewis Miller print depicts the first water hydrant test in York.
1816: Log Pipes
York’s first water mains were made from logs. The logs were bored out with a hole 3 to 4 inches in diameter.
The wooden water mains did not stand the test of time. In 1840, they were replaced with cast iron.
1816: 35 Homes
By the end of 1816, 35 York homes had water on their premises. The first water source was a spring where Penn State York Campus is today.
The blue line on this map shows where log pipes distributed water from the spring.
1849: A Tobacco Pipe and a Steam Pump
The York community grew, and so did its water needs. A steam pumping station was constructed to pump water from the Codorus Creek.
According to York Water legend, the fire in the first steam pumping station boiler was started from the pipe of a workman, and it burned continuously for 107 years!
1863: Confederate Army Occupies York
In June 1863, the Confederate Army occupied York. During the occupation, water service continued, and in October that year, York Water issued a dividend to stock holders, keeping its record of never missing a dividend.
This is a photo of a fire engine behind a hydrant during the 1863 Confederate occupation.
See more photos and sketches of the 1863 occupation in our 2012 Annual Report.
1896: Industrial Pollution
Before there were environmental regulations, York industries discharged water and waste into the Codorus Creek and polluted it. York Water had to secure a new, clean water source. It constructed Brillhart Station upstream of the City of York to ensure safe drinking water for the community.
1896: Brillhart Station
Brillhart Station was originally powered by steam engines. Workers fueled them with coal.
The pump pictured is one of two original pumps installed at Brillhart Station, which remains there to this day.
YWC donated the other pump to the National Museum of Industrial History in Bethlehem, PA, where it is on permanent display.
1899: Typhoid Fever
In 1899 York Water constructed a new filtration plant on Grantley Hill to prevent the spread of typhoid. After filtration, chlorine was added to the water supply to kill any remaining bacteria.
The 1899 Grantley treatment plant was in operation from 1899 to the 1930s and was the first water treatment plant in Pennsylvania.
1903: Reservoir Park
York Water opened Reservoir Park to the public. It was labeled “a public breathing spot” to relieve the stress and strain of modern life.
Reservoir park remains “a public breathing spot” to allow the community to connect with nature and to relieve the stress and strain of modern life. The view overlooks the entire City of York, and the lower part of the hill is known for being the best sledding spot in the winter.
1910: Planning for Lake Williams
To keep up with York’s growing population and industrial community, York Water purchased land where Lake Williams and Lake Redman are today.
1913: The Original Lake Williams Dam
York Water completed the original Lake Williams Dam to impound the water supply.
Lake Williams was named in honor of Smyser Williams, Secretary of York Water from 1883-1920.
1928: 130 East Market Street
Architect William B. Billmeyer designed York Water’s office building – the same building on East Market Street where we work today.
Billmeyer incorporated elements that symbolized the “gift of water” to mankind throughout the lobby.
1929: York Water’s Headquarters Open
Artist Gustav Ketterer was commissioned to paint and decorate the ceiling with the “gift of water” to mankind. The ceiling was later restored in 1996 by James Vallano, a conservator who had extensive experience, including ceiling restoration in the Pennsylvania Capitol Building .
The lobby is open to the public. There you can visit with Customer Service, pay your water or wastewater bills, or check out the architecture.
1931: The York Filter Plant
The filter plant that York Water uses today (with many updates and upgrades) was constructed.
Today, the same filter plant can produce up to 39 million gallons of finished water product every day. The finished water is stored in two 20 million gallon storage basins on Reservoir Hill, which were covered in 1993.
1956: From Steam to Electric
Electrical pumps replaced the steam engines at Brillhart Pumping Station. The steam engines were maintained as backups until 1982.
1967: Lake Redman
In the midst of the “drought of record” York Water built a second dam, creating an upper lake, Lake Redman.
The Lake and dam are named after York Water’s then General Manager, John G. Redman.
1993: Reservoir Basins Covered
The water basins at Reservoir Park were covered in 1993 to meet regulations and best practices regarding protection of treated potable water.
These images of the empty basins while they are being retrofitted for covers show their enormous capacity.
2000: NASDAQ: YORW
York Water stock, YORW, became available for trade on NASDAQ!
2004: The Susquehanna River Pumping Station
Due to continued growth of the community, York Water constructed The Susquehanna River Pumping Station and 15-mile pipeline.
The River Pumping Station can supplement our source waters with up to 12 million gallons of water per day.
2010: York Water Rings the Closing Bell
York Water closed NASDAQ’s daily market.
Jeff Hines, York Water president at the time, remarked, “York Water continues to grow as it progresses towards its 200th anniversary due to the efforts of its employees, the support of its customers and regulators, and the commitment of its shareholders benefitting from NASDAQ’s trading platform.”
2012: York Water Provides Wastewater Service
York Water began wastewater service when it acquired Asbury Pointe Wastewater and East Prospect Wastewater systems.
President at the time, Jeff Hines, said, “We’ve been infrastructure experts for nearly 200 years. … York Water does a superb job managing water systems. Wastewater is the natural next step…”
2016: 200th Anniversary.
In 1816, The York Water Company distributed water to 35 homes in what was then called York Borough. 200 years later, the company provided over 20 million gallons of water to 200,000 people every day in nearly 50 municipalities in York and Adams Counties.
2018: The First Phase of the Lake Williams Project Begins.
York Water began a three-phase project to enhance the Lake Williams Dam structure. In 2018, the Lake was drained in preparation for rebuilding and enhancing the Dam with state-of-the-art engineering technology.
2024: Looking to the Future
Today, York Water is the oldest public utility in the United states. We supply over 20 million gallons of water every day to more than 200,000 people. We also own wastewater collection and treatment systems in 56 communities in four Counties.
We continue to invest in our water and wastewater systems and the communities we serve as we look toward a sustainable future.
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The 1925 York Water Company Board of Directors poses for a photograph in the former York Water Company office. The original office was demolished to make way for an expansion of the Yorktowne Hotel.