Profile America: Purifying Water

​Tuesday, September 20 — We pretty much take for granted that the municipal water that comes out of the faucets in our homes is safe to drink. But getting to that point was a major advance for civilization and health. The nation’s first water filtration system began operating on this date in 1893 in Lawrence, Massachusetts. The system was a nearly three-acre sand filter, which trapped typhoid fever-causing bacteria from water piped from the polluted Merrimack River. In the four years after the filter was in operation, the town’s death rate from typhoid fever had fallen almost 78 percent from what it was in the four years preceding filtration. For those taking no chances, bottled water manufacturing is a $6.6 billion dollar a year business in the U.S. today.

You can find more facts about America’s people, places and economy, from the American Community Survey.

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