Water from the Great Lakes

Water from the Great Lakes

A discussion having arisen as to the probability of the water of Lake Huron and its fitness for domestic use, a reply has been sent from the office of the surgeon-general of the United States army to the effect that the department has no information on the subject. “In general terms,” the letter reads, “it may be stated that the waters of the great lakes are potable provided there is no sewage contamination near the intakes. The city of Oswego, N. Y., until recently had the intake of its water supply only 800 feet from the shore. This water was unfit tor consumption without purification. The intake was moved out 8,000 feet further from shore and examination now shows that the water is safe for use without purification. With respect to the water sup ply of Chicago and the pollution of Lake Michigan by that city’s sewage, the surgeon-general states that Chicago has reached the point where the water supply must be purified or the pollution of the lake by sewage must be prevented, and that the time will doubtless come when it will be necessary to purify all the water taken from the great lakes for drinking purposes. The letter further points out that, although London’s water supply depends mainly upon the River Thames, and Lee or deep wells in the Chalk, it is subject to the most rigid government supervision. All the water is filtered and is inspected by an experi examiner at frequent intervals.

The water supply of Berlin, Altona, Hamburg, Amsterdam, Antwerp, Rotterdam, Magdeburg. Breslau, Budapest, St. Petersburg, Warsaw and other large cities of Europe, it is stated, comes from water courses and lakes, and is purified before, and “the use of surface water in Europe without filtration is comparatively limited. In Germany the law requires that all surface water shall be filtered before being used for drinking. The best English practise, too, requires the filtration of such water even if it is not known to receive sewage. The unpolluted supplies of Liverpool, Bradford and Dublin are filtered before using.”_

Filtration of all lake water is strongly urged, and filtration plans, it is shown, can be built in units, capable of expansion as the growth of a town demands and the cost of purifying the water is less than $3 per 1,600,000 gallons. Oklahoma City has recently constructed such a plant and Leavenworth is now planning a similar plant, the water to be taken from the Missouri. A report of the analysis of five samples of water taken from the Oklahoma C ity filtration plant showed that in four instances less than fourtenths of 1 per cent of the bacteria remained in the water after purification. In one instance 90 65 per cent of the bacteria was removed while the sample showing the greatest proportion of bacteria was still 99.19 per cent pure.

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