Sewers and Cities: France and the United States Compared

by Gabriel Dupuy, Prof.; Directeur de L'Enseignement, Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussees, France,
Joel A. Tarr, Prof. of History and Public Policy; Dept.of Social Science and School or Urban Public Affairs, Carnegie-Mellon Univ., Pittsburgh, Pa. 15213,

Serial Information: Journal of the Environmental Engineering Division, 1982, Vol. 108, Issue 2, Pg. 327-338

Document Type: Journal Paper


The development and impacts of wastewater systems in France and the United States and their application for developing countries are discussed. Watercarriage technology was adopted in both nations because of the public health problems created by cesspools and privy vaults in growing urban areas and the nuisances generated by the development of piped-in water systems. Both nations experienced controversy over questions of sewerage system design and sewage disposal. French cities had fewer difficulties with drinking water pollution than American because they seldom utilized adjacent rivers for drinking water supplies. A major problem today in France is that of insufficient stormwater capacity. In the United States problems of water quality are of most concern. In terms of impacts, in both nations questions of waste disposal resulted in a larger role for the central government in local affairs, creation of a new sanitary ethos, and reliance upon technology for problem solutions.

Subject Headings: Water pollution | Sewers | Public health and safety | Municipal water | Urban areas | Water supply | Drinking water | Water quality | France | Europe | United States

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