Report of International Commission on Pollution
The final report of the International Joint Commission appointed by the Canadian and United States Governments to investigate the subject of pollution of boundary waters, has been presented to the two Governments. The investigation naturally fell into two branches. The commission first brought together and secured the views of representatives of federal, state and provincial boards of health. As a result of this conference the commission engaged a corps of sanitary experts under the general direction of Dr. Allan J. McLaughlin of the U. S. public health service as chief sanitary expert and director of field work. .Associated with him were Dr. J. W. S. McCullough, chief officer of health of Ontario, Dr. John A. Amyot of the University of Toronto and Mr. F. A. Dallyn, provincial sanitary engineer of Ontario. They carried out what has been described as the most extensive bacteriological examination of water the world has known. It embraced the entire system of international boundary waters from the St. John River in the east to the Fake of the Woods in the west, a distance of about 2,000 miles. One of the most gratifying results of this bacteriological survey was the assurance that the great bulk of the Great Lakes water remains practically in its original purity, in spite of the fact that eight or ten million people have contracted the very bad habit of dumping all their sewage into these waters, and the entire shipping of the Great Lakes, carrying each season not less than 15,000.000 passengers, has followed the same evil practice. These experts were in agreement on certain basic principles. The most vital of these is that, while in certain cases where the ratio of water to sewage is unusually large the discharge of the latter into boundary waters may be made without danger to the public health, “effective sanitary administration requires the adoption of the general policy that no untreated sewage from cities or towns should be discharged into boundary waters. The other principles upon which an agreement was reached related to methods of sewage and water purification. While nothing has yet been done in the direction of conferring upon the commission jurisdiction to carry out its recommendations, the two governments have within the past few weeks requested the commission to submit to them a draft of a definite plan by which this and the other recommendations may be effectuated. Upon this important work, involving novel questions of international law, the commission is now engaged.