AWWA History Summary


A summary by Nicole Oblad of National Storage Tank, Inc. and based on information provided by By Former AWWA Director Jack Hoffbuhr.

Today AWWA is the largest, oldest, preeminent water organization in the world.”

In 1832 the United States there were several Cholera outbreaks—In 1849 another outbreak occurred and 10% St Louis Americans died of cholera. There was no real understanding at the time of water born disease.

In 1881 there were several events occurring in the United States. Billy the kid broke out of jail. 22 men came together in the Engineers Hall in St Louis MO, to create a system to communicate with other territories and states about public water systems. At the time they did not know or understand water born disease. These 22 men started as a committee to talk to other people in other states about how they are dealing with water.

The purpose is to exchange information to manage water for the greater use of the customer. The death rate was high back then. Average life span was 47 years of age. Infant death rate was roughly 140 deaths to every 1000 live births.

In 1901 at an AWWA conference, George Warren Fuller gave a paper saying that those who drank from systems of ground water or filtered surface water had a far less incidence of disease that those who did not. In the next 8 years 13 times the number of filtration plants were built in the US than ever existed before. Typhoid fever rate plummeted by 55%. AWWA started to gain an international reputation at this time.

1908– AWWA adopted the very first standard for cast iron pipe. This was created to make introduce size standards to make repairs easier and more reliable.

1914—AWWA Created committees for local means of communication. They started meeting once a year. As the committees communicated they decided to increase their meetings to several times a year. They started a Water journal, which was published 4 times a year. As information was flowing and new ideas emerging from this communication between states AWWA decided to publish monthly. In 1942, with the war ending, there was a huge demand for jobs with men coming home. Growth of AWWA increased to make up for demand.

With the changes made by AWWA in public water safety and filtration, the average life span has increased by 20 years to 67 years of age. Infant mortality rate is significantly decreased as well.

1941—First Addition AWWA D100 Carbon Welded Steel Tanks

1966—First Addition AWWA D110-95 Wire and Strand Prestressed Concrete Tanks

1980—First Addition AWWA D103-09 Factory Coated Bolted Steel Tanks

1987—First Addition AWWA D130-96 Flexible Membrane Lining and Floating Covers