July 01, 2016
Last month, we began our investigation of Clean Water, particularly the history of water treatment. We learned that, as a direct result of water treatment, “By the beginning of World War II, typhoid, cholera, and dysentery were, for all practical purposes, nonexistent in the United States and the rest of the developed world.” It’s not therefore surprising that the CDC calls the last century of water chlorination and treatment “one of the Ten Greatest Public Health Achievements of the 20th Century.”
As the incredible results of water treatment became more apparent, the U.S. Public Health Service set standards for water purity, standards that have been revised over the years, as new contaminants have been identified. Modern water systems carefully monitor water throughout the treatment process for traces of chemical pollutants and microbes; they have sophisticated computerized devices capable of detecting contaminants in the parts per trillion.