The Importance and Historical Impact of the Provision of Pure Water and Effective Sewage Treatment

The Past

There is an extreme importance of the idea to make water pure and effectively treat water because human beings need clean water; it is a huge impact on the public health. As stated in the British journal Hygiene, Sanitation, and Water: Forgotten Foundations of Health “Adequate sanitation, together with good hygiene and safe water, are fundamental to good health and social and economic development”. Effective sewage treatment would not only have an effect on communities but it has a big impact on life expectance and a general well-being of the public. The importance of being able to have pure water is because it affects the way of life “Directly as well as indirectly, water affects all facets of life. Without it, there would be no vegetation on land, no oxygen for animals to breathe and the planet would look entirely different than it does today. Water is necessary and keeps peoples bodies and the environment healthy and should be valued and protected as the precious resource it is.” (Martonas)

The importance of the success was due to the fact that for a period of time sanitation problems was an accepted nuisance because the people knew that there would be waste and during that time it could only go in places that were easy to access. Idealistically with the presenting of the germ theory it gave the people the relief that they did not have to deal with living in sewage infested areas, that there was a solution to the problem.

The success of being able to purify water & treat sewage came to present the idea that water can be recycled and reused and to reuse water it must be at reusable clean state. With the idea of reusing water, the success presented a view on different ideas/treatments that allowed waste water to be cleaned & treated as well as paid the way for future advancements such as creating aqueducts and systems that would clean and purify water waste. In todays society water is used in at an alarming rate but majority is used for water waste, so to be able to create technologies that would eliminate the waste in water and recycle the water would cut down the loss of water resources. As stated in a Columbia University article “the average American used only about 10 gallons of water a day to drink, cook, clean, and bathe. Today, Americans use 100 gallons a day per person1 on average, causing stresses on our sources of drinking water.”  (United States Envioronmmental Protection Agency)Idealistically, with the way water is used in todays society, without some type of technological water system water resource would take a dramatic drop, and it would affect the way of survival and life.

Provision of pure water and effective sewage treatment is the most influential of the ten successes that shaped the 20th century because during a period of time before proper filtration and chlorination mortality rates were high.” In the early 20th century, mortality in the United States declined dramatically.  Mortality rates fell by 40% from 1900 to 1940, an average decline of about 1% per year. Life expectancy at birth rose from 47 to 63. Together with the 19th century, no other documented period in American history witnessed such rapidly falling mortality rates. This decline in mortality was part of the, epidemiological transition.” (Miller) The idea that having clean pure water and treating sewage in a proper manner showed a dramatic effect on mortality rates by dropping the causes of death by water-borne diseases. The reason provision of pure water and effective   sewage treatment should be ranked  as the most  influential  is  because if you look at  the facts, thousands and  thousands of lives were  lost due to the fact of diseases by water in the early 20th century and if nothing was done about that the human race would be border line lost because water plays a huge part of growth the 20th  century was able to take  those miner advancements and  use them to  better the quality of life forth going.

The Future

Looking towards the future of water purification & sewer are age treatment, there are new technologies to promote sustainability, energy efficiency, and that are cost effective when it comes to enhancing the quality of treatment of this success. “The wastewater industry is addressing environmental issues not only in terms of effluent water quality, but also with regard for water scarcity and reuse potential. “The shortage of water appears to be pushing utilities toward membrane bioreactors (MBRs) and reverse osmosis treatment systems. These systems are sensitive to solids and simply must be protected by high-tech and reliable fine screens, from hair to rags to plastics, the screens must get the material out” (Mackie). According to Mackie, treatment plants are moving to finer inlet screens. (Drake) “Many of the plant upgrades switch from bar screens with 1-inch openings to perforated plate fine screens with 1/4-inch or 1/10-inch openings, (Mackie) we’re even working on smaller openings. Were also seeing more plants in the 100 to 200 million-gallon-per-day (mgd) range install perf plate fine screens.” (Drake) The technology that was used to help form the sanitation of the 20th century is not becoming obsolete but is taking a route that will insure that future cities will continue to have a better quality of sewage treatment. Going into the future with sewage treatment  as long as there are  sewage treatment plants such as Arcata Wastewater Treatment Plant and Wildlife Sanctuary or the  Central Mainline Sewer Authority, as  well  as  scientists who follow  and make advance   experiments to the germ theory  by  the year 2050 the idea of water-borne diseases will seem  like a distant nightmare.


Ultimately the idea of provision of pure water and effective sewage treatment helped the planning of cities in the 20th century a tremendous amount. The fact that in  the late 19th /early 20th century a person could not drink out of a well without having to worry about ingesting some sort of bacteria or that high density cities had so much raw sewage that children were hardly living past the age of toddlerhood was a disaster. The success brought on the idea of change and a better quality of living for the 21st century and allowed technologies to eliminate the idea of outbreaks of diseases from contaminated water.