We pretty much take for granted that the municipal water that comes out of the faucets in our homes is safe to drink. But it wasn’t always that way. A dramatic example is the nation’s first water filtration system in Lawrence, Massachusetts, which began operating on this date in 1893. The system was a sand filter of nearly three acres, designed by Hiram Francis Mills, which trapped typhoid fever-causing bacteria from water piped from the polluted Merrimack River. In the four years after the filter was in operation, the town’s death rate from typhoid fever had fallen almost 78 percent from what it was in the four years preceding filtration. Across the U.S., there are nearly 52,000 community water systems, serving a vast majority of the nation’s population. You can find more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau, online at <www.census.gov>.
Friday / Weekend Open Line
September 20, 2013 1 Comment