History of Water Treatment in Athens, GA

Municipal Water System Origins
In 1880, a private water company built the first water works in the City of Athens. In the early 1890s, after years of complaints from the local residents, the city ended the private water company’s franchise and constructed a municipal water works. The first municipal water system had a capacity of 1 million gallons per day (MGD) and 16 miles of water lines serving a limited area of the community.

Present Day Water System
Today, our water system has the capacity to produce 36 MGD, with about 800 miles of water lines delivering high-quality drinking water to 98% of our population. Water treatment is more complex and the technology far more advanced than in the 1890s, but one thing has not changed - the importance of water to us all.

Our state-of-the-art technology and committed staff produce safe, high-quality drinking water being delivered to the homes, organizations, and businesses of Athens-Clarke County. Your drinking water consistently meets or surpasses all water quality standards established by the EPA and the Georgia Environmental Protection Division.

Learn More

To learn more about the history of the J.G. Beacham Drinking Water Treatment Plant, read J.G. Beacham Water Treatment Plant:80 Years of Heritage and Innovation, Journal of the American Water Works Association, October 2016.

View the Annual Water Quality Report, referred to as the Consumer Confidence Report, which complies with the federal and state rules for issuing a report.  If you need more detail, check out our Quarterly Tap Water Analysis. For questions about these reports or assistance with environmental or regulatory issues, contact the Administration Division at (706) 613-3470.

More information about drinking water can be obtained by calling the Environmental Protection Agency’s Safe Drinking Wate Hotline at (800) 426-4791.