The library has 3 collections of Water Department records. First there is a scrapbook (1893-1907) created by Arthur deMerrick Marble, the city Engineer from the late 19th century to the early years of the 20th. The collection also includes Water Commission and Water Board reports. The second collection has 5 sewer plans from the 1920s. Finally the library acquired the Water Department records from the Water Department in 2004. This is a large collection that includes books that monitor the original hook ups to the city sewer system. There are also administrative records of the department. This collection was processed in 2009.
For twenty-five years the citizens of Lawrence used wells and cisterns to supply water for domestic use. In 1848 John Tenney of Methuen, Alfred Kittredge of Haverhill, and Daniel Saunders of Lawrence with other associates formed a corporation called the Lawrence Aqueduct Company to bring water in from Haggett’s Pond. The capital was $50,000 was immediately deemed insufficient to cover the needs of the growing city. Three years later the Bay State Mills and the Essex Company built a reservoir of 1,000,000 gallons capacity on Prospect Hill. The water in this reservoir was raised from the canal by pumping through iron pipes and was kept on a level of about 152 feet above the crest of the Merrimack River Dam. Several corporations forming the Lawrence Reservoir Association owned this property. Each company had its own system of distributing pipes. This system supplied the needs of most business as well as the Common Pond. In 1871 and 72 Henry Barton and other citizens argued for a municipal water supply and after investigation, the Merrimack River was decided for the source. Governor William B. Washburn signed an act passed by the legislature on March 8, 1872 to provide for the appointment of three commissioners appointed by the City Council to execute, superintend, and direct work approved by the authority of the act or subsequent acts. In May 1872 the voters approved a special committee on water supply and on April 18, 1873 and ordinance was passed providing for the election of a board of water commissioners. A pumping station and a new reservoir (on Tower Hill) were constructed in 1874-75. In 1893 the first filter was completed. This was the first municipal filtration system for the elimination of bacteria established in this country. This reservoir had a capacity of 40,000,000 gallons. The Tower Hill water tower was built in 1896 to increase water pressure on Tower Hill. A booster pump was installed on Phillips Hill in 1917 to increase water pressure in the Mt. Vernon Street neighborhood.