Planning for Water Quality: 1776 to 1976

by Donald L. Hey, (A.M.ASCE), Vice Pres.; Hydrocomp, Inc., Chicago, Ill.,
W. Henry Waggy, (M.ASCE), Sr. Environmental Engr.; Hydrocomp, Inc., Chicago, Ill.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Water Resources Planning and Management Division, 1979, Vol. 105, Issue 1, Pg. 121-131

Document Type: Journal Paper


Sewerage works appeared in America in colonial times. Boston had sewers prior to 1700 and cesspools by 1709. These facilities were designed to dispose of waste. The emphasis in national planning was on development. The natural resources were regarded as inexhaustible and the Nation's waterways were simply convenient disposal sites for the wastes generated by development. A major change in thinking about water quality occurred when the link between sewage pollution and fatal epidemics was established late in the 19th century. Regional water quality planning was initiated to protect water supplies and treat drinking water. Public health continued as the dominant theme in water quality planning until the 1960's when broader concerns about environmental quality came to the fore. Water quality planning today is concerned not only with the protection of human health, but also with the preparation and rehabilitation of aquatic ecosystems.

Subject Headings: Water quality | Public health and safety | Water supply | Sewers | Waste disposal | Waste sites | Water pollution | Water resources | Boston | Massachusetts | United States

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