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January 12, 1901


JAMA. 1901;XXXVI(2):114-115. doi:10.1001/jama.1901.02470020042014

Streams may purify themselves in two ways: of the chemical constituents of sewage and of sewage bacteria. The latter mode of self-purification is discussed by Jordan1 on the basis of observations made during a study of the water of the Illinois river in connection with the newly constructed drainage canal connecting the Chicago river with the Desplaines river. This—a stupendous piece of sanitary engineering—was recently completed at an expenditure of about $35,000,000, and it conducts the sewage of Chicago into the Desplaines and Illinois rivers and finally into the Mississippi. In order to determine the condition of the water of the Illinois river a series of chemical and bacterial analyses of the water of this river and its tributaries was undertaken and carried on regularly during a period of about eight months. Throughout this period about 85 to 90 per cent. of the total sewage of Chicago passed into