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Water and Wastewater Slide Shows

December 2010 Previous month Next month

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Part 4. Sewage Treatment is my favorite part of this series. In it, you will find a classic collection of 44 black-and-white images from glass slides (circa 1940s). This was a period when 'sewage' still existed and sewage treatment in the U.S. was still in its infancy. Decades more would pass before collection systems and treatment works permeated the rural interior of our nation.

 

Overall, this review is a visual reminder of just how recent sewage collection and treatment is in our history. A large share of U.S. systems today are barely 50 years old.

 

Questions:

          Have you ever seen coagulated sewage?

          Using today's standards, how many OSHA violations can you detect from the photos?

          Have you ever used, or even seen, a  glass Imhoff cone?

          Are you familiar with the once widely used measure of 'relative stability?'

 

A Brief (Illustrated) History of Human Waste Disposal -- and its possible future.

Part 1. Cesspits & Outhouses
Part 2. Toilets & Water Carriage

Part 3. Sewerage
Part 4. Sewage Treatment
(attached pps)
Part 5. Wastewater Treatment
Part 6. The Future: Wastewater Reclamation

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Widespread construction of sanitary sewers is a comparatively recent technological advance. Most sewerage in the U.S. has been installed after 1960. Even more surprising is the early opposition to sewerage as 'municipal socialism'.

 

A Brief (Illustrated) History of Human Waste Disposal -- and its possible future.

Part 1. Cesspits & Outhouses
Part 2. Toilets & Water Carriage

Part 3. Sewerage
(attached pps)
Part 4. Sewage Treatment
Part 5. Wastewater Treatment
Part 6. The Future: Wastewater Reclamation

Outhouse.jpg

 

Many in the wastewater field lament the fact that the development of toilets and water carriage flushed in an era of massive clean water use simply for moving poop around. Part 2 of the History illustrates the development of toilet technology.

 

A Brief (Illustrated) History of Human Waste Disposal -- and its possible future.

Part 1. Cesspits & Outhouses
Part 2. Toilets & Water Carriage
(attached pps)
Part 3. Sewerage
Part 4. Sewage Treatment
Part 5. Wastewater Treatment
Part 6. The Future: Wastewater Reclamation

 

Interested in the history of analyses of water and wastewater?

 

     What parameters were first measured to detect contamination of drinking water supplies?

     What was the first APHA Standard Method of Water Analysis?

The following is a six-part series of not-too-serious slide shows chronicling the evolution of human waste disposal practices - and their possible future.

 

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A Brief (Illustrated) History of Human Waste Disposal

Part 1. Cesspits & Outhouses
Part 2. Toilets & Water Carriage
Part 3. Sewerage
Part 4. Sewage Treatment
Part 5. Wastewater Treatment
Part 6. The Future: Wastewater Reclamation

 

These slide shows were presented at the venerable Missouri Water and Wastewater Conference in October, 2010.

(MWWC is primarily an organization of water and wastewater plant operators.)

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Water Fountain - Sicily

 

The evolving, tragicomic slide show, The Story of Bottled Water, explores the phenomenal growth of the industry, the recent challenges to its adverse environmental impacts, and some of the extremes reached in the creative marketing of packaged water. To this day, the story continues.

 

My interest in bottled water developed in 1980 after I obtained 101 finished drinking waters from Missouri public water supplies and analyzed them for total organic carbon (using the newly introduced low-level TOC analyzer) and total bacterial cell counts (using epfluorescent microscopy). I compared the results with waters then being sold in glass, often colored glass, bottles. Thereafter, friends and associates began bringing me bottles of water from an increasing array of venues. Tracking the development and marketing of these products then became a hobby.

 

Full disclosure. I drink tap water.

 

John O'Connor

 

 

The Story of Bottled Water has been updated. The original file has been removed and a modified Story is now appended.

 

 

We are grateful to those who take the time to make comments, offer corrections and share insights.