We've only chlorinated our water for a hundred years
April 24, 2009

It's easy to imagine that drinking water in a "civilized" country like the United States has always been safe. But the truth is that municipal water disinfection using chlorine has only been in practice for about a hundred years. In fact, it only reached some major communities in the 1920s and took much longer to reach smaller communities. Today, we use remote water-quality monitoring panels and measure the effectiveness of chlorine at the point of dosing using low-cost, reliable digital instruments. But after 100 years, most American drinking water, whether treated from farm wells or treated in large municipal plants, is still dosed with some form of chlorine to kill pathogens. And the effective elimination of typhoid in the United States is the proof that chlorine disinfection works.

April 2009
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last revised April 2009