Sunday, December 13, 2015

Environmental regulation by public service commission

December 10th's This Day in Water History contains the following interesting snippet, offering some insight on how environmental regulation was carried out before the establishment of agencies with "environment" in their title:
December 10, 1910: Municipal Journal article—Protest Against Impure Water. New Albany, Ind.-Col. Charles L. Jewett, acting for the law department of the city of New Albany, has filed with the Indiana Public Service Commission in Indianapolis a petition asking for the investigation by the commission of the water supply furnished by the New Albany Waterworks Company. It is alleged in the petition that the water is not pure and wholesome, and that the company has not complied with the terms of its contract and franchise, granted August 26, 1904, and for more than three years has failed, neglected and refused to furnish the city pure and wholesome water, as its contract specifically provided. The petitioner avers that the water company has furnished nothing but impure and unwholesome water, containing large amounts of mud, filth, sewage, industrial waste and other foreign matter. The petitioner asks that an investigation be made by the Public Service Commission, and that an order be entered requiring the water company to make improvements, additions and changes in its system.
Commentary: A similar lawsuit was by Jersey City, NJ against the Jersey City Water Supply Company in 1905.
Anyone know what the outcomes of these petitions were?

Update: Michael McGuire points out that the Jersey City lawsuit was covered in detail in his book, The Chlorine Revolution: Water Disinfection and the Fight to Save Lives (AWWA, 2013).

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