Clean Water Shreveport Blog

How the McNeil Treatment Plant changed Shreveport

The McNeill Street Water Treatment Plant was constructed in July of 1887 as the original waterworks for the City of Shreveport, Louisiana. It was the second waterworks built in Louisiana and one of the first in the post-Civil War South. As with many other municipal utilities developed during this era, it began as a private franchise that constructed and operated water treatment and distribution and sewer collection facilities.

Shreveport’s waterworks were the second in Louisiana, preceded by New Orleans in 1837. It was built under a franchise agreement with Samuel R. Bullock & Company of New York. However, disputes soon arose because the waterworks failed to produce the level of service and quality water that was agreed upon. Bullock began to make improvements by beginning the addition of filters in 1889 after the city and many customers refused to pay their bills, as the water was often muddy and unfit for consumption. At this time, less than 10% of the nation’s waterworks filtered water, and only 12 of those were in the South. That’s right, Shreveport was one of the first cities in the south to implement water filtration.

In the fall of 1892, prominent local businessman Peter Youree purchased the water franchise and would ultimately invite his brother Henry to assume the duties of superintendent. Several improvements were made that increased water production under the Youree tenure.

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