Tag Archives: Salton Sea

February 10, 1907: Colorado River Levee Repaired—End of Salton Sea Influent Supply; 1990: Perrier Water Recalled

Railroad trestles built across the breach; used to dump rock into the breach

February 10, 1907:  Colorado River Levee Repaired. In late 1904, water from the Colorado River started leaking from irrigation ditches built for the Imperial Valley into what would become the Salton Sea. After a flood on the Colorado River, the sea filled, and it would take two years of effort with many missteps to close the breach and control withdrawals from the River.

Commentary:  There are several accounts of how the breach in the banks of the Colorado River was repaired. One account by Laflin puts the repair date as January 27, 1907. Another by Kennan stated that the dumping of rock from the first trestle began on January 27 and was completed on February 10, 1907. Go to the January 27 blog post for Laflin’s account. Thanks to Ellen Lloyd Trover for bringing this to my attention. Here is Kennan’s version.

Dumping rock to heal breach in Colorado River levee

“The crevasse, at that time, was 1100 feet wide, with a maximum depth of forty feet, and the whole current of the Colorado was rushing through it and discharging into the basin of the Sink about 160,000,000 cubic feet of water every hour…

…so the Southern Pacific engineers determined to build two railway trestles of ninety-foot piles across the break, and then, with a thousand flat cars and “battleships,” bring rocks and dump them into the river faster than they could possibly be swallowed up by the silt or carried downstream. Three times, within a month, the ninety-foot piles were ripped out and swept away and the trestles partly or wholly destroyed; but the pile-drivers kept at work, and on the 27th of January the first trestle was finished for the fourth time and the dumping of rock from it began…

The crevasse was closed and the river forced into its old bed on the 10th of February 1907, fifty two days after President Roosevelt appealed to Mr. Harriman, and fifteen days after the first “battleship” load of rock was dumped from the first completed trestle.”

Reference:  Kennan, George. 1917. The Salton Sea:  An Account of Harriman’s Fight with the Colorado River.” New York:MacMillan.

February 10, 1990:  New York Timesheadline— Perrier Recalls Its Water in U.S. After Benzene Is Found in Bottles. by George James “The company that made bottled mineral water chic is voluntarily recalling its entire inventory of Perrier from store shelves throughout the United States after tests showed the presence of the chemical benzene in a small sample of bottles.

The impurity was discovered in North Carolina by county officials who so prized the purity of Perrier that they used it as a standard in tests of other water supplies.

The Food and Drug Administration said it is testing supplies in California and other states. In a written statement issued last night, Ronald V. Davis, president of the Perrier Group of America Inc., said there was no significant health risk to the public. But the statement did not go into the details of the recall, how it would work, the number of bottles to be recalled and the impact on a company that has built its success on its product’s image of purity and stylishness.

William M. Grigg, a spokesman for the Food and Drug Administration, said his agency’s Hazard Evaluation Board had collected samples of Perrier and found no immediate risk to the public from the benzene in the water.”

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January 27, 1907: Colorado River Levee Repair Begins; 1916: Typhoid in Louisiana

Railroad trestles built across the breach; used to dump rock into the breach

January 27, 1907:  Colorado River Levee Repair Begins. In late 1904, water from the Colorado River started leaking from irrigation ditches built for the Imperial Valley into what would become the Salton Sea. After a flood on the Colorado River, the sea filled, and it would take two years of effort with many missteps to close the breach and control withdrawals from the River.

 

Commentary:  There are several accounts of how the breach in the banks of the Colorado River was repaired. One account by Laflin puts the repair date as January 27, 1907. Another by Kennan stated that the dumping of rock from the first trestle began on January 27 and was completed on February 10, 1907. Go to the February 10 blog post for Kennan’s account. Thanks to Ellen Lloyd Trover for bringing this to my attention. Here is Laflin’s version.

 

“Ole Nordland, Editor of the Indio Daily News for many years, described the effort of the Southern Pacific [railroad] in these words: ‘The gargantuan effort of stemming the flood tied up a network of 1,200 miles of main [railroad] lines for three weeks while the [Southern Pacific Company] fought to bring the river under control. The work started the very day of the exchange of telegrams, December 20, 1906. Dispatchers sidetracked crack passenger trains to let rock trains through while amazed passengers looked on. Surplus engines stood by to aid in the massive haul of rock and gravel. The rock trains came from as far away as 480 miles to hurtle 2,057 carloads of rock, 221 carloads of gravel, and 203 carloads of clay into the break in 15 days. The loads were dumped from two trestles built across the river break and were literally dumped faster than the water could wash them away. The Colorado River put up a stubborn fight. Three times it ripped away the trestle piles. Finally, on January 27, 1907, the breach was closed and the valley’s farms and cities were saved. The Colorado River was returned to its former path but it left in its wake today’s Salton Sea.’”

Dumping rock to heal breach in Colorado River levee

Reference:  Laflin, P., 1995. The Salton Sea: California’s overlooked treasure. The Periscope, Coachella Valley Historical Society, Indio, California. 61 pp. (http://www.sci.sdsu.edu/salton/PeriscopeSaltonSeaCh5-6.html#Chapter6Accessed October 11, 2014).

January 27, 1916:  Municipal Journalarticle. Water Origin of Typhoid Epidemic. “Lake Charles, La.-Dr. Oscar Dowling, president of the State Board of Health, has been investigating the typhoid epidemic situation here, and has sent Louis Alberta, inspector of the board, to examine the markets, slaughter pens, and all places handling fresh meats, and J. H. O’Neil, sanitary engineer, to make a further survey of the water supply. Up to date there have been reported 153 cases of typhoid fever in Lake Charles and 15 in West Lake, which is practically a suburb, making a total of 168. There are sick at present in both places 90. There have been 12 deaths, 3 of these in West Lake. Investigation has been made and the case history taken of 138 patients. ‘Evidence as to the cause of the infection points to the water,’ says Dr. Dowling. ‘During September and October a number of specimens from the city supply were examined in our laboratories. After repeated analyses, permits to the railroads to use the city water were issued. The city supply is obtained from artesian wells, but in case of fire water from the river is added. This can be made safe by proper treatment and the equipment necessary was installed by the company after condemnation of the water by our board. From lack of supervision the treatment process evidently was not properly carried out.’”

Commentary:  That is an understatement. Clearly, the treatment of surface water put into the system to fight a fire was not properly done and people died.

Reference:  “Water Origin of Typhoid Epidemic.” 1916. Municipal Journal. 40:4(January 27, 1916): 111.

November 29, 1905: Colorado River Flood that Created the Salton Sea

November 29, 1905:  Colorado River Flood that Created the Salton Sea

Commentary:  The flood that filled the Salton Sea began in earnest on November 29, 1905, but it was not a singular event. As a result of decisions to supply water to an important agricultural area, the disaster seemed to occur in slow motion. Development of the irrigation system for the Imperial Valley occurred over many years and resulted in the construction of a canal that existed in both Mexico and the U.S. In 1905, one of the intakes (“cuts” or “headings”) to take the water from the Colorado River into the canal system began to erode disastrously. The quoted material below is only part of the account. I refer you to the complete book which is available gratis on Google Books.

Reference:  Kennan, G. 1917. The Salton Sea:  An Account of Harriman’s Fight with the Colorado River. New York:MacMillan.

 

  “Throughout the month of August 1905, the intake continued to widen, with the caving away of its banks, and in September Mr. Harriman and President Randolph decided that an other effort must be made either to close the break, or to regulate and control the flow of water through it. About the first of October, at the suggestion and under the supervision of Mr. E. S. Edinger, a Southern Pacific engineer, an attempt was made to close the channel west of the island by means of a six-hundred-foot barrier-dam of piling, brush-mattresses and sandbags. This dam, which was built in October and November at a cost of about $60,000, might perhaps have checked or lessened the flow through the crevasse if nothing unforeseen had happened; but on the 29th-30th of November a tremendous flood, carrying great masses of driftwood, came down the Gila and increased the discharge of the Colorado from 12,000 to 115,000 cubic feet per second. The dam could not withstand such pressure, and even before the peak of the flood was reached it went out altogether, leaving hardly a vestige behind. As a large part of the island was eroded and carried away at the same time, further operations in this locality were regarded as impracticable. The crevasse had then widened to six hundred feet, and nearly the whole of the river poured through it into the deepest part of the Sink, where there was already a lake with a surface area of one hundred and fifty square miles. The main line of the Southern Pacific, in many places, was almost awash, and the whole population of the Valley was alarmed by the prospect of being drowned out. If the break could not be closed and the river brought under control before the period of high water in the spring and summer of 1906, it seemed more than probable that sixty miles of the Southern Pacific track would be sub merged; that the irrigation system of the California Development Company would be destroyed; and that the whole basin of the Imperial Valley would ultimately become a fresh-water lake.

The difficulty of dealing with this menacing situation was greatly increased by the necessity of furnishing an uninterrupted supply of water to the farmers of the valley while engineering operations were in progress. It would not do to shut the river out altogether, because that would leave without irrigation nearly two hundred square miles of cultivated land. The Colorado must be controlled, but not wholly excluded. Several methods of solving this problem were suggested, but the only two that seemed likely to succeed were advocated by Consulting Engineer Schuyler and Chief Engineer Rockwood. Mr. Schuyler proposed that a new steel-and-concrete head-gate be put in near Pilot Knob, where a solid rock foundation could be secured; that the four miles of silted channel be re-excavated and enlarged by a powerful steam dredge specially built for the purpose; and that the whole low-water flow of the river be then turned through this head-gate into the enlarged canal and thence into the Alamo barranca [deep gully] west of the break. By this means the settlers would be continuously supplied with water, while the crevasse-opening would be left dry enough to close with a permanent levee or dam. The whole work, it was thought, could be finished in three months, or at least before the coming of the next summer flood….

   The task [to close the eroding intake and put the Colorado River back on its previous course] set before Messrs. Randolph, Cory, Hind and Clarke was one that might well have daunted even engineers of their great ability and experience. As the [1906] summer flood approached its maximum, in the latter part of June,the crevasse widened to more than half a mile, and the whole river, rushing through the break, spread out over an area eight or ten miles in width, and then, collecting in separate streams as it ran down the slope of the basin, discharged at last into the Salton Sea through the flooded channel of the New River barranca. Thousands of acres of land, covered with growing crops, were inundated, and thousands of acres more were so eroded and furrowed by the torrential streams that they never could be cultivated again. The works of the New Liver pool Salt Company were buried under sixty feet of water; the towns of Calexico and Mexican” were partially destroyed, and in many places the tracks of the Inter-California Rail road (a branch of the Southern Pacific) and the Holtville Interurban were deeply sub merged or wholly carried away. The wooden flumes which carried the irrigating water over the New River barranca were swept down into the Salton Sea, and 30,000 acres of cultivated land in the western part of the Valley became dry, barren and uninhabitable. At the height of the flood, the Colorado discharged through the crevasse more than 75,000 cubic feet of water per second, or six billion cubic feet every twenty four hours, while the Salton Sea, into which this immense volume of water was poured, rose at the rate of seven inches per day over an area of four hundred square miles. The main line of the Southern Pacific was soon inundated, and five times in the course of the summer the company had to move its track to higher ground.”

 

Reference:  Kennan, G. (1917). The Salton Sea—An Account of Harriman’s Fight with the Colorado River. New York:MacMillian. beginning at page 50.

#TDIWH-January 27, 1907: Colorado River Levee Repaired-End of Salton Sea Influent Supply; 1916: Typhoid in Louisiana

Railroad trestles built across the breach; used to dump rock into the breach

January 27, 1907:  Colorado River Levee Repaired. In late 1904, water from the Colorado River started leaking from irrigation ditches built for the Imperial Valley into what would become the Salton Sea. After a flood on the Colorado River, the sea filled and it would take two years of effort with many missteps to close the breach and control withdrawals from the River. This is an extract from a description of how that levee breach was fixed. “Ole Nordland, Editor of the Indio Daily News for many years, described the effort of the Southern Pacific [railroad] in these words: ‘The gargantuan effort of stemming the flood tied up a network of 1,200 miles of main [railroad] lines for three weeks while the [Southern Pacific Company] fought to bring the river under control. The work started the very day of the exchange of telegrams, December 20, 1906. Dispatchers sidetracked crack passenger trains to let rock trains through while amazed passengers looked on. Surplus engines stood by to aid in the massive haul of rock and gravel. The rock trains came from as far away as 480 miles to hurtle 2,057 carloads of rock, 221 carloads of gravel, and 203 carloads of clay into the break in 15 days. The loads were dumped from two trestles built across the river break and were literally dumped faster than the water could wash them away. The Colorado River put up a stubborn fight. Three times it ripped away the trestle piles. Finally, on January 27, 1907, the breach was closed and the valley’s farms and cities were saved. The Colorado River was returned to its former path but it left in its wake today’s Salton Sea.’”

Dumping rock to heal breach in Colorado River levee

Reference:  Laflin, P., 1995. The Salton Sea: California’s overlooked treasure. The Periscope, Coachella Valley Historical Society, Indio, California. 61 pp. (http://www.sci.sdsu.edu/salton/PeriscopeSaltonSeaCh5-6.html#Chapter6 Accessed October 11, 2014).

January 27, 1916:  Municipal Journal article. Water Origin of Typhoid Epidemic. “Lake Charles, La.-Dr. Oscar Dowling, president of the State Board of Health, has been investigating the typhoid epidemic situation here, and has sent Louis Alberta, inspector of the board, to examine the markets, slaughter pens, and all places handling fresh meats, and J. H. O’Neil, sanitary engineer, to make a further survey of the water supply. Up to date there have been reported 153 cases of typhoid fever in Lake Charles and 15 in West Lake, which is practically a suburb, making a total of 168. There are sick at present in both places 90. There have been 12 deaths, 3 of these in West Lake. Investigation has been made and the case history taken of 138 patients. ‘Evidence as to the cause of the infection points to the water,’ says Dr. Dowling. ‘During September and October a number of specimens from the city supply were examined in our laboratories. After repeated analyses, permits to the railroads to use the city water were issued. The city supply is obtained from artesian wells, but in case of fire water from the river is added. This can be made safe by proper treatment and the equipment necessary was installed by the company after condemnation of the water by our board. From lack of supervision the treatment process evidently was not properly carried out.’”

Commentary:  That is an understatement. Clearly, the treatment of surface water put into the system to fight a fire was not properly done and people died.

Reference:  “Water Origin of Typhoid Epidemic.” 1916. Municipal Journal. 40:4(January 27, 1916): 111.

November 29, 1905: Colorado River Flood that Created the Salton Sea

November 29, 1905:  Colorado River Flood that Created the Salton Sea

Commentary:  The flood that filled the Salton Sea began in earnest on November 29, 1905, but it was not a singular event. As a result of decisions to supply water to an important agricultural area, the disaster seemed to occur in slow motion. Development of the irrigation system for the Imperial Valley occurred over many years and resulted in the construction of a canal that existed in both Mexico and the U.S. In 1905, one of the intakes (“cuts” or “headings”) to take the water from the Colorado River into the canal system began to erode disastrously. The quoted material below is only part of the account. I refer you to the complete book which is available gratis on Google Books.

Reference:  Kennan, G. 1917. The Salton Sea:  An Account of Harriman’s Fight with the Colorado River. New York:MacMillan.

  “Throughout the month of August 1905, the intake continued to widen, with the caving away of its banks, and in September Mr. Harriman and President Randolph decided that an other effort must be made either to close the break, or to regulate and control the flow of water through it. About the first of October, at the suggestion and under the supervision of Mr. E. S. Edinger, a Southern Pacific engineer, an attempt was made to close the channel west of the island by means of a six-hundred-foot barrier-dam of piling, brush-mattresses and sandbags. This dam, which was built in October and November at a cost of about $60,000, might perhaps have checked or lessened the flow through the crevasse if nothing unforeseen had happened; but on the 29th-30th of November a tremendous flood, carrying great masses of driftwood, came down the Gila and increased the discharge of the Colorado from 12,000 to 115,000 cubic feet per second. The dam could not withstand such pressure, and even before the peak of the flood was reached it went out altogether, leaving hardly a vestige behind. As a large part of the island was eroded and carried away at the same time, further operations in this locality were regarded as impracticable. The crevasse had then widened to six hundred feet, and nearly the whole of the river poured through it into the deepest part of the Sink, where there was already a lake with a surface area of one hundred and fifty square miles. The main line of the Southern Pacific, in many places, was almost awash, and the whole population of the Valley was alarmed by the prospect of being drowned out. If the break could not be closed and the river brought under control before the period of high water in the spring and summer of 1906, it seemed more than probable that sixty miles of the Southern Pacific track would be sub merged; that the irrigation system of the California Development Company would be destroyed; and that the whole basin of the Imperial Valley would ultimately become a fresh-water lake.

The difficulty of dealing with this menacing situation was greatly increased by the necessity of furnishing an uninterrupted supply of water to the farmers of the valley while engineering operations were in progress. It would not do to shut the river out altogether, because that would leave without irrigation nearly two hundred square miles of cultivated land. The Colorado must be controlled, but not wholly excluded. Several methods of solving this problem were suggested, but the only two that seemed likely to succeed were advocated by Consulting Engineer Schuyler and Chief Engineer Rockwood. Mr. Schuyler proposed that a new steel-and-concrete head-gate be put in near Pilot Knob, where a solid rock foundation could be secured; that the four miles of silted channel be re-excavated and enlarged by a powerful steam dredge specially built for the purpose; and that the whole low-water flow of the river be then turned through this head-gate into the enlarged canal and thence into the Alamo barranca [deep gully] west of the break. By this means the settlers would be continuously supplied with water, while the crevasse-opening would be left dry enough to close with a permanent levee or dam. The whole work, it was thought, could be finished in three months, or at least before the coming of the next summer flood….

 

Intake No. 3, looking out toward the river. February 15, 1905

The task [to close the eroding intake and put the Colorado River back on its previous course] set before Messrs. Randolph, Cory, Hind and Clarke was one that might well have daunted even engineers of their great ability and experience. As the [1906] summer flood approached its maximum, in the latter part of June, the crevasse widened to more than half a mile, and the whole river, rushing through the break, spread out over an area eight or ten miles in width, and then, collecting in separate streams as it ran down the slope of the basin, discharged at last into the Salton Sea through the flooded channel of the New River barranca. Thousands of acres of land, covered with growing crops, were inundated, and thousands of acres more were so eroded and furrowed by the torrential streams that they never could be cultivated again. The works of the New Liver pool Salt Company were buried under sixty feet of water; the towns of Calexico and Mexican” were partially destroyed, and in many places the tracks of the Inter-California Rail road (a branch of the Southern Pacific) and the Holtville Interurban were deeply sub merged or wholly carried away. The wooden flumes which carried the irrigating water over the New River barranca were swept down into the Salton Sea, and 30,000 acres of cultivated land in the western part of the Valley became dry, barren and uninhabitable. At the height of the flood, the Colorado discharged through the crevasse more than 75,000 cubic feet of water per second, or six billion cubic feet every twenty four hours, while the Salton Sea, into which this immense volume of water was poured, rose at the rate of seven inches per day over an area of four hundred square miles. The main line of the Southern Pacific was soon inundated, and five times in the course of the summer the company had to move its track to higher ground.”

Reference:  Kennan, G. (1917). The Salton Sea—An Account of Harriman’s Fight with the Colorado River. New York:MacMillian. beginning at page 50.

#TDIWH—January 27, 1907: Colorado River Levee Repaired—End of Salton Sea Influent Supply; 1916: Typhoid in Louisiana

Dumping rock to heal breach in Colorado River levee

Dumping rock to heal breach in Colorado River levee

January 27, 1907: Colorado River Levee Repaired. In late 1904, water from the Colorado River started leaking from irrigation ditches built for the Imperial Valley into what would become the Salton Sea. After a flood on the Colorado River, the sea filled and it would take two years of effort with many missteps to close the breach and control withdrawals from the River. This is an extract from a description of how that levee breach was fixed. “Ole Nordland, Editor of the Indio Daily News for many years, described the effort of the Southern Pacific [railroad] in these words: ‘The gargantuan effort of stemming the flood tied up a network of 1,200 miles of main [railroad] lines for three weeks while the [Southern Pacific Company] fought to bring the river under control. The work started the very day of the exchange of telegrams, December 20, 1906. Dispatchers sidetracked crack passenger trains to let rock trains through while amazed passengers looked on. Surplus engines stood by to aid in the massive haul of rock and gravel. The rock trains came from as far away as 480 miles to hurtle 2,057 carloads of rock, 221 carloads of gravel, and 203 carloads of clay into the break in 15 days. The loads were dumped from two trestles built across the river break and were literally dumped faster than the water could wash them away. The Colorado River put up a stubborn fight. Three times it ripped away the trestle piles. Finally, on January 27, 1907, the breach was closed and the valley’s farms and cities were saved. The Colorado River was returned to its former path but it left in its wake today’s Salton Sea.’”

Railroad trestles built across the breach; used to dump rock into the breach

Railroad trestles built across the breach; used to dump rock into the breach

Reference: Laflin, P., 1995. The Salton Sea: California’s overlooked treasure. The Periscope, Coachella Valley Historical Society, Indio, California. 61 pp. (http://www.sci.sdsu.edu/salton/PeriscopeSaltonSeaCh5-6.html#Chapter6 Accessed October 11, 2014).

0127 Lake Charles LAJanuary 27, 1916: Municipal Journal article. Water Origin of Typhoid Epidemic. “Lake Charles, La.-Dr. Oscar Dowling, president of the State Board of Health, has been investigating the typhoid epidemic situation here, and has sent Louis Alberta, inspector of the board, to examine the markets, slaughter pens, and all places handling fresh meats, and J. H. O’Neil, sanitary engineer, to make a further survey of the water supply. Up to date there have been reported 153 cases of typhoid fever in Lake Charles and 15 in West Lake, which is practically a suburb, making a total of 168. There are sick at present in both places 90. There have been 12 deaths, 3 of these in West Lake. Investigation has been made and the case history taken of 138 patients. ‘Evidence as to the cause of the infection points to the water,’ says Dr. Dowling. ‘During September and October a number of specimens from the city supply were examined in our laboratories. After repeated analyses, permits to the railroads to use the city water were issued. The city supply is obtained from artesian wells, but in case of fire water from the river is added. This can be made safe by proper treatment and the equipment necessary was installed by the company after condemnation of the water by our board. From lack of supervision the treatment process evidently was not properly carried out.’”

Commentary: That is an understatement. Clearly, the treatment of surface water put into the system to fight a fire was not properly done and people died.

Reference: “Water Origin of Typhoid Epidemic.” 1916. Municipal Journal. 40:4(January 27, 1916): 111.

#TDIWH—January 27, 1907: Colorado River Levee Repaired—End of Salton Sea Influent Supply; 1916: Typhoid in Louisiana

Dumping rock to heal breach in Colorado River levee

Dumping rock to heal breach in Colorado River levee

January 27, 1907: Colorado River Levee Repaired. In late 1904, water from the Colorado River started leaking from irrigation ditches built for the Imperial Valley into what would become the Salton Sea. After a flood on the Colorado River, the sea filled and it would take two years of effort with many missteps to close the breach and control withdrawals from the River. This is an extract from a description of how that levee breach was fixed. “Ole Nordland, Editor of the Indio Daily News for many years, described the effort of the Southern Pacific [railroad] in these words: ‘The gargantuan effort of stemming the flood tied up a network of 1,200 miles of main [railroad] lines for three weeks while the [Southern Pacific Company] fought to bring the river under control. The work started the very day of the exchange of telegrams, December 20, 1906. Dispatchers sidetracked crack passenger trains to let rock trains through while amazed passengers looked on. Surplus engines stood by to aid in the massive haul of rock and gravel. The rock trains came from as far away as 480 miles to hurtle 2,057 carloads of rock, 221 carloads of gravel, and 203 carloads of clay into the break in 15 days. The loads were dumped from two trestles built across the river break and were literally dumped faster than the water could wash them away. The Colorado River put up a stubborn fight. Three times it ripped away the trestle piles. Finally, on January 27, 1907, the breach was closed and the valley’s farms and cities were saved. The Colorado River was returned to its former path but it left in its wake today’s Salton Sea.’”

Railroad trestles built across the breach; used to dump rock into the breach

Railroad trestles built across the breach; used to dump rock into the breach

Reference: Laflin, P., 1995. The Salton Sea: California’s overlooked treasure. The Periscope, Coachella Valley Historical Society, Indio, California. 61 pp. (http://www.sci.sdsu.edu/salton/PeriscopeSaltonSeaCh5-6.html#Chapter6 Accessed October 11, 2014).

0127 Lake Charles LAJanuary 27, 1916: Municipal Journal article. Water Origin of Typhoid Epidemic. “Lake Charles, La.-Dr. Oscar Dowling, president of the State Board of Health, has been investigating the typhoid epidemic situation here, and has sent Louis Alberta, inspector of the board, to examine the markets, slaughter pens, and all places handling fresh meats, and J. H. O’Neil, sanitary engineer, to make a further survey of the water supply. Up to date there have been reported 153 cases of typhoid fever in Lake Charles and 15 in West Lake, which is practically a suburb, making a total of 168. There are sick at present in both places 90. There have been 12 deaths, 3 of these in West Lake. Investigation has been made and the case history taken of 138 patients. ‘Evidence as to the cause of the infection points to the water,’ says Dr. Dowling. ‘During September and October a number of specimens from the city supply were examined in our laboratories. After repeated analyses, permits to the railroads to use the city water were issued. The city supply is obtained from artesian wells, but in case of fire water from the river is added. This can be made safe by proper treatment and the equipment necessary was installed by the company after condemnation of the water by our board. From lack of supervision the treatment process evidently was not properly carried out.’”

Commentary: That is an understatement. Clearly, the treatment of surface water put into the system to fight a fire was not properly done and people died.

Reference: “Water Origin of Typhoid Epidemic.” 1916. Municipal Journal. 40:4(January 27, 1916): 111.