A benefit of urban life often taken for granted is an abundant supply of clean, safe water. This book describes the planning, building, operation and improvement of the Burlington waterworks in Vermont from 1865 until 1915. Interwoven with materials from the extensive historical record is a discussion of the motivations of the engineers and officials responsible for the water supply system. Vigorous debates during the planning and building of the waterworks demonstrated a complex interaction of public spirit and raw self-interest in Burlington’s early civic leadership. Municipal service began in 1867 with an innovative pumping system and expanded as the city grew. Water quality issues alarmed health officials and residents as rates of illness and death from water-borne diseases rose during the 1870s and 80s. The water intake pipe was extended nearly two miles into Lake Champlain in an attempt to secure a purer supply in the 1890s, but statistics show that public health improved significantly only after a filtration system was installed at the lakefront in the early 20th century.