Water Works Standardization Council Organizes
Important Session of This Important New Division—First Part of Official Proceedings of A. W. W. A. Convention
(Note—Following is the commencement of excerpts from the Official Proceedings of the Forty-first Annual Convention of the American H aler Works Association at Cleveland. Ohio, on June 6 to 10, 1921. These proceedings will be continued through succeeding issues until COMPLETED.-EDITOR.)
MONDAY, JUNE 6, 1921—4 P. M.
Standardization Council—George W. Fuller in the Chair
THE Chair—Gentlemen, please come to order. We have been waiting a little bit for Colonel Bartow, who has now arrived. The purpose of this meeting or conference is to exchange ideas on the program which is ahead of the Council on Standardization appointed at Montreal last June. This council has had quite a number of meetings, and its duty is essentially to act as a committee on committees, having in mind the desirability of coordinating efforts, stimulating activities and seeing that some real work is done in a helpful way to all classes of membership of this association. We have drafted a little circular which outlines some of the hopes and ambitions of this council. I am going to read this paragraph, in which it says “in a general way this committee will probably find it useful to function in two ways; the first is to carry on actual investigations which may not furnish much information exat long intervals. The second is to prepare for publication in the Journal brief abstracts of the reports of current developments of importance to members. The publication of such abstracts can be made of high educational value, and their preparation is an excellent way to secure the co-operation of some of the younger members in committee work. It is suggested that the association should compensate the members who do this work at the rate of one-half cent a word for the abstracts as printed. For some years it is probable that this abstracting of information will be the most productive educational feature of the council’s work.” Now, in regard to the programme of these several different committees: it was the idea of the council to make this a conference whereby we would get suggestions to help the council, whereby the members who have been tentatively put on differend committees would get suggestions; allow them to meet here in freedom and to get their work formulated to good advantage We want to get suggestions as to the scope and as to the personnel; that is, we want to have the different sections of the country represented, we want to have the different groups m point of experience joined together so that we will do the very best we can to bring practical information to aid the association. Now, I think it will be best, if it is agreeable to the members of this little conference, to take up first Standard Methods of Water Analyses. I want to make a few opening remarks in explanation of a rather precarious situation that exists in that respect. There has been a good deal of work done by the American Public Health Association in getting methods of water analysis to the front. Those methods are not thoroughly satisfactory from the standpoint of the water works man. There is some indication that the health people want to standardize upon a better basis these methods of analysis, without taking into account the water works men who are responsible for the water that goes into the mains—good or bad. 1 believe that the water works people have been just a little bit rennss m not taking more seriously the methods proposed by the United States Public Health Service for getting the quality of the water measured according to their standards in vogue, whether they are good or bad standards. The fact is that there are lots of water works departments which are getting records that are not of aid in allowing health authorities to pass on the quality of the water. I believe we have got to start right in from this time on and develop some team work. I mean by that, that the time has come when the American W ater Works Association have got to look after the interest of the water works men who are using laboratory methods, have got to co-operate with the health authorities, because it is only by joint co-operation that we can render the best service, and we have got to watch out for the official, legal status of the jurisdiction of the health authorities. By a little tact, a little activity, a little co-operation, I think we can do some real work. I want to say one thing in explanation of this standard method of water analysis that this council rather interpreted. An existing committee, which has this title, Official Standards of Water Analysis, is one that took jurisdiction on methods of water analysis. I am going to ask, in a moment, Major Hinman, to explain a little bit the viewpoint of his committee. This heading should also be interpreted as one that dealt with the standard quality of a satisfactory drinking water. In the programme of the council we have separated those two, and it was our thought that the personnel of the committee, headed by Major Hinman, could drive forward with the methods of water analysis, get such co-operative effort as they were able to bring about among the members of this association, and we are disposed to not only suggest, but come so near instructing that it will be practically equivalent to instructing this committee to co-operate with the American Public Health Association, with the Southwestern Water Works Association and with others who are keenly interested in this subject, and to get just as practical, efficient methods as it is possible to get. We won’t cross the bridge of whether the health department and the water works official are going to see a parting of the ways. I do not care to sec that subject discussed, and at this time there is work for the water works people to do. Let us do our part. Let us co-operate; let us co-ordinate our efforts and do our very best to put these methods of water analysis on a higher plane. There has been a good deal done; there is a heap undone; let us go to it. Major Hinman, will you kindly outline to this little conference what your idea is as to the scope of this committee, as to official standards of water analysis and whether you see any objection to our committee with its present personnel functioning as a committee on standard methods of water analysis designed to get co-operative effort among the members of this association, and with a view to making a definite effort to co-operate with the American Public Health Association and such other groups like the American Chemical Society, where you find signs of a real intention to do active work.
First Picture—Mrs. W. H. Van Winkle had a smile for every one. Here she is enjoying the observation platform on the Lackawanna Special. Second, from right to left—Mrs. George M. Keefer, chairman, Cleveland Entertainment Committee; Mrs. A. I. Fisher and Mrs. Lehr, of the committee. ThirdAll aboard! Chief Engineer F. Latourrette, Jersey City, and G. H. McKay of the Leadite Company show the ladies some of the scenic beauties en route. Fourth—Mrs. Lehr after a strenuous day.
MAJOR J. J. Hinman—In reply to Mr. Fuller’s request, I would say that our committee has understood its function in the past to be to deal with both phases of the question, that is to say, with the methods of analysis and also with the interpretation of those methods as employed, that is to say, in regard to the standards of water supply. We have prepared a report which will properly come up at a certain specified time in the proceedings of the convention, but it is not at all improper, I judge, to make such statements concerning that report as are pertinent at the present time. We have suggested that our committee, which apparently would otherwise function somewhat independently and perhaps not in thorough accord with the Standardization Council, unless there could be some close liaison between the two organizations—we suggest that our committee be discharged as such, and that if there is any desire to continue it, I suppose it could be continued as a subordinate committee of the Standardization Council. If continued as a strictly subordinate committee of the Standardization Council, it would, of course, not in any way interfere with the plans which the superior organization might formulate. We have also suggested certain lines of what seemed to us would be fruitful lines of endeavor along the lines of water analysis and the manner of standards of interpretation, the matter of securing proper co-operation between such societies as the American Water Works Association, the American Chemical Society, the American Society of Bacteriologists, the Association of Official Agricultural Chemists and other organizations which are concerned in these matters, as well as the officials of the United States Department of Agriculture where they have standards employed, and of the United States Public Health Service. Certainly also the officials of the Dominion of Canada. All those organizations must be taken into consideration. Otherwise we will find that there will be conflict, and that the methods which are in use in the laboratories at Washington and other official places will take precedence over our methods in a court of law. It seems to me that the Standardization Council has a large problem in getting all of these functions of the different organizations correlated so that whatever work is done in regard to the standardization of methods or the standardization of interpreting analyses, will be put upon a satisfactory plane, and I am sure that the personnel of our committee is anxious to do anything that will fall in fine with the programme which will be carried out by the Standardization Council, either individually or as a collective unit.
THE Chair—I would make this comment in response to your remarks, that it is very satisfactory as a general procedure. My thought would be that the interpretation of analyses—we would let that ride a little bit and get this co-operative work under way. This council has in mind getting a secretary, Mr. Pirnie, who is here, getting in touch with the situation. That step has not been formally undertaken, but we realize that there has got to be a lot of preliminary work to make official arrangements. Mr. Brown, you are in the Southwestern Association, you are in favor of co-operating, are you not?
MR. Brown—Yes, sir.
THE Chair—Not with the idea of suppressing the activities of your association, but let us go ahead and build up some team work; are you in favor of that?
MR. Brown—Yes, sir.
THE Chair—And we propose to continue this committee to act as a committee on committees. Just what scope and function we may find that it puts on us is not for us to discuss here. We are after suggestions, right now. Is there any objection to that style of handling standard methods of water analysis and making this association put forth its very best effort toward co-operative work on the part of all interested? If not, we will pass to topic number two, which deals with Electrolysis. That is a committee that has been under way for some time, and this council is letting that matter ride.
SECRETARY DIVEN announced that a resolution of co-operation passed by the Southwestern Association was in his trunk, which had not yet arrived. This resolution had been introduced in the Southwestern Association by C. Arthur Brown.
THE Chair-—We will see that there is an official recognition and acknowledgement made of the courtesy extended by that association. The Committee on Electrolysis has been under way for some time. It is not our purpose to interfere with committees that are doing good work; what we may be called upon to do in the line of help, or what we may be able to do, I do not know. We have thought that when it came to the making of abstracts for the use of the non-technical members of this association we have got to rely on the efforts of the younger men; the older ones are busy. The younger men are doing splendid work in the American Chemical Society, for instance, and getting out the best abstracts for that society of any institution’ in the world. Those fellows are paid about the price you would pay to a hotel stenographer for their abstracts, about one-half cent a word; is that right, Mr. Goodell ?
MR. Goodell—Yes, sir.
THE Chair—That is one of the things we have in mind in making a rather informal canvass of what the needs of this council might be in that line. We have no specific recommendations to make at this time. We do think it is unwise to start a lot of cooperative work where our representatives are to come in contact with the representatives of the government of another association and be entirely devoid of funds. We propose to take that matter up with the proper officers of the Association in due time, and have taken the precaution to make a request for a reservation of funds. Our Council will take that up later on, and it is a point we can discuss in detail to advantage right now. What I have said in regard to the Committee on Electrolysis will apply also to the new Committee on Standard Form of Contract, which has not yet gotten under way. We will pass that and go to Standards for Satisfactiory Drinking Water, which means practically a review of present evidence on the so-called Treasury Standard which was adopted some five or six or seven years ago, and which is now in vogue in passing on the quality of water used in interstate traffic, and there is a certain personnel that has been designated. I have not heard from Dr. Frost, who is a member of the original committee and is now on the staff of the United States Public Health Service. I have heard from Dr. Freeman, who is now state health officer of Ohio, and he has signified his consent to serve on that committee. I have not discussed it in detail with the members of the council, but if Dr. Frost is unable to serve, it was our thought to make Dr. Freeman chairman. Now that is the status in regard to that committee. I do not think this is the conference to discuss details, but I think it is fair to have our notes of this conference record the fact that there is need of reviewing those standards in the light of data which were not available in 1914. Does any one want to make any brief comment on that subject?
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MR. Bartow—I wonder whether – the better method would be to take up directly with the United States Public Health Service, which is responsible for the appointment of the original committee —of course there they call it the Treasury Department standard, but the work is all done under the direction of the surgeon-general of the Public Health Service.
THE Chair—We thought it would be wise to get together all the data we could get together throwing light on the competency of those standards, and a good many people have done quite a little in the line of radium work on that subject. We thought this committee would perhaps function to the best advantage at the outset in considering the data or the evidence without trying to draw any conclusions or even necessarily taking it for granted that changes would be made in the standards. Is not that the logical view?
MR. Bartow—I would think so, but the surgeon-general’s office, or the United States Public Health Service would he willing to take any evidence simply to make changes, if necessary. I am quite sure they are continuing the work of investigation. Dr. Frost has been relieved from the Public Health Service by Dr. Hopkins, and has not done anything personally for some time. I am not sure who is to be his successor, but I should think they would be willing to consider changes if necessary.
C. ARTHUR Brown—A member of the Public Health Association, at Oklahoma City, stated that some changes had already been effected in those methods, and they were just on the point of being made public.
(To be continued)