Documentary History of American Water-works

Introduction Historical Background Chronology Geography Biography Technology Ownership and Financing General Bibliography

Technology Disinfection

Filtration Technology in American Waterworks


Filtration was used throughout the 19th Century in American water works, initially with small water filters used by individual consumers that were eventually replaced by filtration systems that could handle all of the water delivered by a water utility.  Although filtration proved ineffective in preventing certain diseases, it is still important in improving the quality and appearance of water.

Also see the references for Disinfection Technology.


References
1793 A Short Account of a New Method of Filtration by Ascent ; with Explanatory Sketches, Upon Six Plates. By James Peacock, of Finsbury-Square, Architect

1794 "Art. XXII. A Short Account of a New Method of Filtration by Ascent," The Analytical Review, Or History of Literature, Domestic and Foreign, on an Enlarged Plan 19:295-296 (July, 1794)

1795 "Art. XVII. A Short Account of a New Method of Filtration by Ascent," The Monthly Review 16:178-180 (February, 1795)

1801 "Remarques Sur la clarification," Par le citoyen Parmentier, Annales de chimie ou recueil de mémoires concernant la chimie et les arts qui en dépendent et spécialement la pharmacie 16:113-136 (30 Thermidor an IXᵉ) [August 17, 1801]

1802 "Observations on Clarification," by Citizen Parmentier, Repertory of Arts and Manufactures, 16(92):130-138, 16(98):176-184.

1822 "On Purifying the Water of the Seine at Paris," Technical Repository, 1:316-317 {April, 1822)

1822 "Purification of the Water of the Seine at Paris," Quarterly Journal of Science, Literature and the Arts 13:423-424 (July, 1822).

1838 "Fonvielle's Filtering Apparatus," The Architectural Magazine 5:278-279 (June, 1838)

1838 "Report Made to the Academy of Science on the Filtering Apparatus of Henry de Fonvielle," by Dominique Francois Arago, Tr. by J. Griscom, Journal of the Franklin Institute (New Series) 22(3):206-213 (September, 1838).

1839 "Fonvielle's Filtering Apparatus," Journal of the Franklin Institute (New Series) 23(5):350-352 (May, 1839)

1850 "Report of a general plan for the promotion of public and personal health," by Lemuel Shattuck, Presented April 25, 1850, commonly referred to as the Report of the Sanitary Commission of Massachusetts  |1948 reprint |

1853 "Die Filtrazion des Wassers im Grossen," von Delbrück, Allgemeine Bauzeitung Mit Ubbildungen 18:103-129

1865 Report on Water for Locomotives and Boiler Incrustations: Made to the President and Directors of the New York Central Railroad

1869 Report on the Filtration of River Waters, for the Supply of Cities, as Practised in Europe: Made to the Board of Water Commissioners of the City of St. Louis, by James P. Kirkwood

1880 "The Porter-Clark Process for the Softening, Purification and Filtration of Hard Waters," The Sanitary Record New Series 1:398-401 (April 15, 1880)

1883 "Methods of Filtration of water in use in the United States and Europe, with details of construction, cost, and efficiency," by J.J.R. Croes, Proceedings of the Annual Convention of the American Water Works Association 3:18-30 (May, 1883)

1883 Water Supply Considered Mainly from a Chemical and Sanitary Standpoint, by Prof. William Ripley Nichols of MIT

1884 "The Porter-Clark Process," by John Henderson Porter, The Journal of the Society of Chemical Industry 3(2):51-55 (February 29, 1884)

1885 "The Purification of Water by Aeration," Engineering News 13:134 (February 28, 1885)

1885 "The Purification of Water by Aeration," Clayton Air Compressor Advertisement, Statistical Tables from the History and Statistics of American Water Works, by John James Robertson Croes, (March, 1885).
Page 32:  December 4, 1884 testimonial letter by Charles B. Brush, Chief Engineer and Superintendent, Hackensack Water Company

1885 "The Artificial Filtration of Water," by M. T. Turner, Engineering News 13:245-246 (April 18, 1885)

1885 "The Purification of Water by Aeration," The Manufacturer and Builder 17:125 (June, 1885)

1886 "Remarks on the Aeration of Water," by Charles B. Brush, Scientific American Supplement 22(541):8641-8642 (May 15, 1886)

1887 "Purification of the Water-Supplies of Cities," by Albert R. Leeds, Journal of the Franklin Institute (Third Series) 123(2):93-107 (February, 1887)

1887 "Purification of the Water Supplies of Cities," by Albert R. Leeds, Scientific American Supplement 23(583):9309-9310 (March 5, 1887)

1895 “Sand Filtration of Water, with Special Reference to Results Obtained, at Lawrence, Massachusetts,” by George W. Fuller, American Public Health Association, Public Health Papers and Reports 20:64-71 (1895)

1895 “Sand Filtration of Water, with Special Reference to Results Obtained, at Lawrence, Massachusetts,” by George W. Fuller, Scientific American Supplement 996:15920-15921 (February 2, 1895)

1895 The Filtration of Public Water-supplies, by Allen Hazen

1896 "Report of the Results Obtained with Experimental Filters at the Pettaconset Pumping Station of the Providence Water Works," by Edmund Brownell Weston, Appendix to the Seventeenth Annual Report of the State Board of Health of Rhode Island, for the year ending Dec. 31, 1894.

1898 Report on the Investigations Into the Purification of the Ohio River Water: At Louisville, Kentucky, Made to the President and Directors of the Louisville Water Company, by George Warren Fuller

1898 The Purification of Public Water Supplies, by John Willmuth Hill

1903 "The Filtration Works of the East Jersey Water Company, at Little Falls, New Jersey (with discussion)," by George W. Fuller, Presented April 1st, 1903, Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers 50:394-472.

1903 "Descriptive Notes on the Filtration Works of the East Jersey Water Co., at Little Falls, N.J.," by George W. Fuller, June 24, 1903, Proceedings of the Annual Convention of the American Water Works Association 23:226-252 (June, 1903)

1903 "The Failures and the Possibilities of Water Filtration," by Allen Hazen, Engineering News 50-582-584 (December 31, 1903)

1904 "On Sedimentation," by Allen Hazen, Proceedings of the American Society of Civil Engineers 30:350-376 (April, 1904)

1904 "Purification of Water for Domestic Use, American Practice (with discussion)," by Allen Hazen, Papers of the International Engineering Congress, St. Louis, October, 1904, Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers 54(Part D):131-154 (1905)

1906 "Development of Mechanical Filtration," by F. B. Leonard, Fire and Water Engineering 40:740-741 (December 29, 1906)

1909 "Water Filters of Providence, R.I.," Municipal Journal and Engineer 27(3):85-89 (July 21, 1909)

1909 “Mechanical Water Filtration,” Municipal Journal and Engineer 27(24):893 (December 15, 1909)

1913 The Purification of Public Water Supplies, by George A. Johnson, USGS Water-Supply paper 315

1917 State Sanitation: A Review of the Work of the Massachusetts State Board of Health, Volume 1, by George Chandler Whipple | Volume 2 |

1921 A half century of public health: jubilee historical volume of the American Public Health Association, in commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary celebration of its foundation, New York City, November 14-18, 1921
Pages 161-180:  Fifty Years of Water Purification, by George C. Whipple, C.E.

1990 The Sanitarians: A History of American Public Health, by John Duffy
Page 201-202:  The conquest of typhoid came in part from the sanitarians' quest for pure water and in part from the findings of bacteriology. In 1886, before the American medical profession was convinced that typhoid resulted from a specific bacillus, the Massachusetts State Board of Health established the Lawrence Experimental Station, essentially an engineering laboratory to measure water quality and study methods for improving it. In 1890 the town of Lowell requested the state bacteriologist, William T. Sedgwick, to investigate an outbreak of typhoid. Although he was unable to isolate the bacillus from the town's various water supplies, he systematically traced the epidemic to its source and thus pointed up the need to purify drinking water. Sedgwick's findings and the work already done by Hiram Mills, head of the Lawrence Engineering Laboratory, paved the way for the construction of the first open slow sand filter in 1893, an effective method for producing safe drinking water.
Almost at the same time, studies in Providence, 1893-94, and Louisville, 1895-97, demonstrated that the addition of coagulants to a mechanical filtration system could remove bacteria. The net effect of this and other research was that filtration of water was rapidly adopted in European and American cities, with most American cities relying· upon mechanical systems. By 1911 about 20 percent of America's urban population was using filtered water.  The next major step was the treatrnent of water with chlorine. It was used fairly extensively in Europe in the treatment of sewage in the late nineteenth century, but it was not until the early years of the twentieth century that it was used to purify water. In 1908 Jersey City, New Jersey, began treating its water supply, and within a few years chlorination was adopted by many cities. Chicago, which had one of the highest typhoid rates in the country, solved itS problem, first, by draining its sewers away from Lake Michigan, its water source, and, second, through chlorinating its entire water supply by 1916. In consequence, the typhoid rate, which had averaged 67 cases per 100,000 people in the 1890s, fell to 14 by 1910, and to 1 per 100,000 by 1919, the lowest rate in the country.

1991 Manual of Design for Slow Sand Filtration

2005 "A Century of Water Treatment, 1804-1902," by Edward H. Winant, On Tap (Summer, 2005)

History of Water Filters (Wikipedia)


Also see the general bibliography page, which includes links to several lists of waterworks with information about pipes.





© 2016 Morris A. Pierce