Bacteria in the Lawrence Water

Bacteria in the Lawrence Water

Why the bacterial count in the water of Lawrence, Mass., should be so high is what has been puzzling the scientists of that city. The water plant has been carefully examined and the recommendations of the expert have been faithfully carried out by the local water company, which, as has been satisfactorily proved, has not been using raw water from the river, only that from the wells. A hypochloride treatment plant was installed by the company, but not only did the bacterial count not grow less, but the bacillus coli was found, thereby increasing the mystery, with the result thdt orders were given that the water for drinking purposes should be boiled. Not a case of typhoid fever followed the discovery of the harmful bacillus. That the hypochloride treatment was not effective pointed to the fact that the water became impure after leaving the settling basins at the water plant. If so, only the open standpipe could be blamed, but that does not appear to be the source of the rise in the bacterial count, and now it is thought the appearance of the Colon bacillus may be due to defecation on the part of some birds or animals apart from men, in which case it is held that the supply is not in a dangerous condition, since, say the experts employed, “it is only when the bacilli indicate the presence oi sewage in the water that they need cause alarm’ fa theory which admits at least of doubt). The open settling basins at the city plant are conducive also to a high bacteria count. A higli wind could drive enough dust into the water to raise the bacterial count to alarming proportions in a single day, but the bacteria might be harmless (but cannot be guaranteed not to be hurtful). For the better protection of the supply the settling basins ought to be covered (this as a necessary precaution demanded by common sense), and this would serve another useful purpose in preventing the growth of algae which give the water an unpleasant smell in the summer time.

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