Ketchikan Public Utilities Water Division

The Water Division is committed to providing the residents and businesses of Ketchikan with potable water that meets all state and federal drinking water requirements for residential, commercial, and industrial purposes. In order to accomplish this task, the Division is responsible for the maintenance and operation of over 32 miles of distribution system within the municipality, several reservoirs, and associated pump stations. Daily tasks of the Water Division include continuous monitoring and chemical testing to ensure water purity and quality at all times. The Water Division stands ready to assist its customers as efficiently and effectively as possible within guidelines established by federal and state law, the Charter of the City of Ketchikan, the Ketchikan Municipal Code and the ratepayers of the Utility as represented by the City Council.

Physical Addresses:
Manager & Technical Support 
Water Warehouse
1029 Fair Street
Ketchikan, Alaska 99901
(907) 225-3543 – days
(907) 225-4011 – after hours
(907) 225-0204 FAX

Water Division
2930 Tongass Avenue
Ketchikan, Alaska 99901
(907) 228-2441 - days
(907) 225-4011 – after hours
(907) 247-3232 FAX

KPU Limited Alternative to Filtration 7-minute video: 


Ketchikan Public Utilities presently only provides potable water to our customers located within the City Limits and only within the area demarked between the United States Coast Guard Base south of Ketchikan to Ketchikan Ready-Mix to the north of town. Although the former Shoreline Service area is now within the City limits, KPU does not presently provide water service to that area. The individual property owners own and maintain their own systems. Plans are presently being developed to extend service northward to the Shoreline area and construction will begin when financing becomes available.

Similarly to the south and beyond the Coast Guard Base, the Mountain Point and Shoup Street service areas are served by a potable water system owned and operated by the Ketchikan Gateway Borough. The City of Saxman also owns and operates a municipal water system operating within its City limits. With those exceptions, everything else is privately owned and the individual property owners are responsible for their maintenance. This includes the Herring Cove Water Users Association that serves a limited number of residences located within the Herring Cove area.

An agreement is in place for bulk water sales by KPU to the Ketchikan Gateway Borough. The Borough has already constructed a water main connecting the Mountain Point and Shoup Street service areas that will ultimately connect to Ketchikan’s municipal water system at the southernmost City limit. In the interim, private water haulers with certified tank trucks deliver water to individual residences and businesses on an as-needed basis for a fee.

KPU Water Division 

Ketchikan Public Utilities was established by the City of Ketchikan when it purchased the assets of Citizens Light, Power & Water Co. Inc. on June 25, 1935 for the sum of $954,000. It was the first city in the United States to own and operate all three of its own utilities – Electric, Telephone, and Water.

The most important item that KPU’s Water Division has been involved in is ensuring continuing compliance with the EPA’s present Administrative Order (AO).  For the past twenty-six years, this Order has allowed Ketchikan’s municipal water system to remain unfiltered and has saved the community much of the cost of constructing a water filtration plant which has an estimated cost in 2018 dollars of over $70-million as well as additional annual operating costs of $2-million for chemicals, electricity, and labor.  Issued in July 1993, the AO required KPU to make several major system modifications, install additional instrumentation, and begin additional continuous water quality testing before we met EPA standards.  Our drinking water must be analyzed for each of these identified contaminants and the results must be less than the maximum contaminant level (MCL) for Ketchikan to remain as an unfiltered system.  

The EPA’s Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule and the Stage 2 Disinfectants/ Disinfection Byproducts Rule (Stage 2 DBPR) placed additional responsibility upon Ketchikan to meet these increased water quality requirements in order to remain as an unfiltered system. On April 8, 2014, chlorine and ultraviolet light (UV) began to be used as dual disinfectants followed by ammonia injection to create chloramines to reduce the formation of disinfection byproducts. Although chloramination reduced the amount of haloacetic acids being created by about half, it was still not enough.  Earlier full-scale testing had demonstrated that the creation of haloacetic acids could be further reduced by lowering the amount of chlorine added at the Chlorination Plant while adding the just the remainder needed for chloramine formation downstream of the UV reactors and just before the Bear Valley Reservoir.

After Two-Point Chlorination began on June 14, 2016, the haloacetic sample results have been further reduced and are consistently remaining in the 40 part per billion (ppb) range.  Although there are still unidentified causes for the seasonal year-to-year variance found in the quarterly samples, but even with these inconsistencies, it is continuing to demonstrate that reducing the amount of chlorine at the Chlorination Plant, adding just enough chlorine at the Two-Point Facility and then finally adding ammonium hydroxide to form monochloramines is successful.  By the time disinfected water leaves the Bear Valley Reservoir and enters the distribution system, the monochloramine reaction has almost completely quenched further formation of haloacetic acids.

When the EPA’s Stage 2 Disinfection Byproducts Rule (Stage 2 DBP Rule) went into effect in October 2013, the required DBP sample points changed.  The week and month that the samples must be collected is now specified and KPU can no longer average the results over the entire distribution system.  Instead each sample point must stand on its own merits and when averaged over the mandatory February, May, August, & November samples, these become the official results that are measured for compliance and must unequivocally be below a 60 parts per billion (ppb) average for haloacetic acids (HAA5) and 80 ppb for total trihalomethanes (TTHM).  Under the Stage 2 DBP Rule, compliance is based on the locational running annual average (LRAA) of the previous four quarterly samples from each site, not on the result of an individual sample.

334 Front Street Ketchikan, AK 99901 Phone: (907) 225-3111 Contact Us