March 9, 1973: Miami Water Tainted by Waste

1973 Vintage Postcard

1973 Vintage Postcard

March 9, 1973: New York Times headline–Drinking Water Is Tainted By Waste in Miami Beach. “Miami Beach’s supply of drinking water is contaminated with organisms from human waste, Dr. Milton Saslaw, Dade County health director, told the County Commission today. He said that residents should boil all water used for drinking, making ice and brushing teeth. Dr. Saslaw said that the problem, apparently confined to Miami Beach, was not related the recent outbreak of typhoid in the town of Homestead, 25 miles south of here. He said that the unsanitary conditions would last for several days until the chlorine level of the water supply could be raised to combat the organisms. Hotels in this resort town immediately began boiling water before serving it to guests.”

Commentary: The contamination problem was linked to a drop in the chlorine residual. Chlorine equipment was flown to Miami Beach from Alabama to alleviate the problem. Wait a minute. There was typhoid fever in Homestead, FL? Look at the year—1973. That sure sounds like a story worth telling.

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