The City of Moline has taken its water supply from the Mississippi River since 1883, when
Moline contracted the Davis Brothers to construct and operate a 2 million gallon per day (MGD)
capacity pumping station. This steam powered pumping station was constructed at the foot of
Bass Street on Sylvan Slough and pumped raw Mississippi river water through a seven mile
network of cast iron water mains that were installed by the Davis Brothers. The City took
ownership of the pumping station and water system in 1886.
In 1902, the City constructed its first filtration plant immediately adjacent to the steam pumping station. Chlorine disinfection and alum coagulation were subsequently added in an effort to improve treatment operations. However, operational difficulties persisted and typhoid fever epidemics, related to water treatment deficiencies, occurred in 1917 and 1918. As a result of these typhoid epidemics, the City recognized the importance of having competent responsible personnel in control of the City’s water system and Mr. A.E. Anderson assumed full-time responsibility for Moline’s water supply. Mr. Anderson implemented proper operational controls and routine analytical procedures to achieve water quality goals. He also implemented city-wide metering to reduce water waste and treatment demands associated with the previous flat rate billing system.
The original filtration plant was successfully operated under Mr. Anderson’s skillful direction, until the City constructed a new 4 MGD filtration plant at Sylvan Park in 1933. The original 1883 steam powered pump station remained in operation until 1950, at which time a new electrically powered pump station was constructed adjacent to the 1933 filtration plant. At the same time, the plant capacity was increased to 7.5 MGD to support post-WWII City growth, a new raw water intake was constructed and the practice of lime softening was adopted. The plant capacity was increased to 12 MGD in 1960, to meet additional water demand associated with continued expansion of the distribution system.
Moline’s plant has operated continuously through major Mississippi River flood events in 1965, 1993, 2001 and 2008. Additional plant improvements were constructed during the last quarter of the 20th century to comply with the Clean Water Act and to enhance operational reliability and efficiency. Most recently, the City completed a $25 million plant improvements project in 2005. This project involved comprehensive renewal and modernization of water treatment, pumping and storage facilities. The adaptive reuse of Moline’s 1933 water treatment plant has been recognized with an ACEC Merit Award, an IEC Outstanding Engineering Achievement Award and a Historic Preservation Award.