WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) – Wausau's water utility is turning 125 this year, and the city received accolades from around the state.
Wisconsin Water Association chair Nancy Quirk says that Wausau's long commitment to improving water quality and expanding the technology has lead to the city being a leader in the industry. The water system was started in the 1880s to help combat fire, but quickly grew to provide fresh drinking water to all of the city.
Quirk says the work of the industry and Wausau in particular has helped drastically improve public health. Tuberculosis, cholera, typhoid fever and malaria have all but been eliminated thanks to a fresh water supply. The changes have also reduced infant mortality by 74 percent and child mortality by 62 percent.
Members of the Wausau Water commission have gone on to serve on national water boards including the EPA, DNR, and the Public Service Commission. The city's water has been consistently voted among the best in the state, and the water rates remain among the lowest in the region.