Sunday, July 31, 2016

Water pollution regulation in 1909

Last week This Day in Water History reproduced a 1909 article from Municipal Journal and Engineer, "Stream Pollution in America", according to which state authorities were very active in prosecuting violations of water pollution regulations. Some highlights:
The Ohio State Board of Health has been asked to investigate 18 complaints under the act prohibiting stream pollution, and has ordered sewage disposal works to be installed in four of the cities before Jan. 1, 1910. The constitutionality of the law under which they act has been questioned, but if decided in their favor they hope to prevent the pollution of all the streams in the State.
In Maryland many of the larger towns maintain sewage disposal plants, but about 120 restraining orders have been issued against municipalities and corporations during the past year on account of stream pollution. 
Indiana’s new anti-pollution law, passed this year, forbids the pollution of streams, its enforcement being in the hands of the State Board of Health. 
The blog comments: "The important thread that runs through most of the state reports is that pollution of waterways was prohibited by state law. However, we know from other sources that these laws were seldom enforced or had penalties that were too lenient, so they were ignored."
"The Governor of Maryland Accompanying the Sewerage Commission
 and the Chief Engineer on a Tour of Inspection through the Outfall Sewer"
 (courtesy Water and Me)

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