April 27, 1916: Typhoid Outbreak After Fire at Filtration Plant

0427 WTP fire and typhoidApril 27, 1916: Municipal Journal article. Typhoid Follows Burning of Filtration Plant. “South Fork, Pa.-South Fork has a typhoid fever epidemic. There are ten people ill with the disease now and a number of suspects are under observation. South Fork authorities say the sickness is the result of people not heeding the warning of the board of health to boil the water during the period in which the water was not treated because of fire destroying the filtration plant. The plant was burned several weeks ago. Circulars were distributed all over the town asking the people to boil all water used for domestic purposes. Ministers and school teachers announced the warning and the newspapers published it. Analysis of the water while the filtration plant was not working indicated possibilities of typhoid. The plant is again in operation and tests show the water free from pollution.”

Reference: “Typhoid Follows Burning of Filtration Plant.” 1916. Municipal Journal article 40:17(April 27, 1916): 590.

Commentary: Typhoid fever was still endemic in the U.S. in 1916. Any breakdown in the water treatment barriers caused spikes in disease such as the one described in this article. This also shows the problem with public notification. I guess that they did not have Twitter and Facebook back then.

2 thoughts on “April 27, 1916: Typhoid Outbreak After Fire at Filtration Plant

  1. Michael Kelly

    Direct calling of customers even during a boiled water event could be possible and practiced with an upgrade concerning customers billing and location information ! Most do have cell phone numbers also and direct calling could be a powerful tool i in the future !! If the customer base upgrade their information such as cell numbers web addresses !! Even placement of large signs on roads in the affected area could be useful !! It is vastly hard to place 1000 boiled water notifications to every customer’s front door in time !! The whole system needs a revamp through the guidelines of the AWWA !!! The AWWA should also set guidelines toward proper piping all companies using the same standard pipe and all companies following the same standard security concerns as to not have a weakly guarded plant or system stand out !! The AWWA can become a more powerful tool toward everyone’s betterment !! Mike Kelly N.J. plant operator looking for employment !! Ha ha !! 732 987 -6143 !!!!

    1. safedrinkingwaterdotcom Post author

      Thanks for your comment Mike. With a water community so diverse, it is hard to get everyone to use exactly the same procedures. Requiring action while leaving the details to the states and the systems seems to work best. Requirements from EPA or AWWA can be counter productive. Good luck with your job search.


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