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Water Quality & Health Council Marks 108th Anniversary of U.S. Drinking Water Chlorination

September 26 marked the 108th anniversary of the first continuous use of chlorine to disinfect a public drinking water supply in the United States, notes a Water Quality & Health Council (WQ&HC) Perspectives article (September 23). In an extensive feature story, the WQ&HC notes that in 1908, “chlorine chemistry’s germ-defeating properties were demonstrated in drinking water in two very different settings in the United States. ”First, a test of chlorination improved the quality of animal feed water, drawn from a highly polluted stream in Chicago’s Union Stockyards”, states the story. “Days later, in Jersey City, chlorinated water was supplied for the first time on a permanent basis to a large U.S. municipality. The results included a dramatic decline in the local typhoid fever rate and a water supply that, according to a 1928 sanitary engineering report, ‘is not only of a high sanitary quality, but…it compares favorably with the best in the country,’” according to the story. “Good news traveled quickly and within a decade, drinking water chlorination spread to nearly every large city in the country. It has been called ‘a tremendous boon in the safeguarding of public health all over the world and is probably the most important and efficient sanitary measure of protection ever introduced.’” Contact: Mary Ostrowski, 1-202-249-6705.

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