Showing posts with label water. Show all posts
Showing posts with label water. Show all posts

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Letter of the Day: June 11

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 06762

Surgeon General's Office
U.S. Army Medical Museum and Library
Corner of 7th and B Streets
Washington, June 11, 1903.

Capt. W. F. Clark, 2d Cavy.
Fort Myer, Va.


Replying to your letter of the 8th inst. in regard to the location of the intake pipe for the water supply at your post I would suggest that you consult Lieut. Col. Alexander M. Miller of the Engineer Corps, whose office is at 2728 Penna. Ave., Washington, D.C. Col Miller has been engaged for some years in the practical study of the water supply of the city of Washington, he is no doubt familiar with the points at which sewage and factory refuse are poured into the Potomac, and could give an expert opinion as to the points from which water could be taken with the least danger of sewage contamination during unusual conditions of flood in the river.

This seems to me to be a matter of vital importance and one that should be decided only by an expert who is familiar with the local conditions.

I have only a hearsay knowledge of your water supply but I shall be very glad to render any assistance in my power, at any time you may see fit to call upon me.

Very respectfully,
James Carroll
1st Lieut. Asst. Surgeon, U.S.A.
Asst. Curator.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Letter of the Day: August 18

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 8573


War Department,

Office of the Surgeon General,

Army Medical Museum and Library,



August 18, 1905.


Major Ogden Rafferty,

Surgeon, U.S. Army,

Fort Monroe, Va.




I have the honor to report the following as result of the bacteriological examination of four samples of water forwarded by you August 1, 1905, and received at this laboratory on the following day:


Sample A. Creek water, brought in claret wine cask, from New Market Creek, Hampton, Va.


Numerical count 459 bacteria per c.c.

1 c.c. of this water was added to each of 10 glucose bouillon fermentation tubes with the result that all of them contained gas on the third day of incubation. The amount varied from 20% to 60%.


Sample B. New Market Creek water, after treatment by electrolysis.


Numerical count 6491 bacteria per c.c.

Of ten fermentation tubes receiving each  1 c.c. o this water, five contained gas on the third day of incubation, the amount varying from 109% to 85%.


Sample C. Creek water, mixed with a typhoid culture and subjected to electrolysis for five minutes.


Numerical count 23141 bacteria per c.c.

All of the glucose bouillon fermentation tubes charged with 1 c.c. of this water, contained gas on the second day, varying in amount from 55% to 95%. No typhoid bacilli were recovered from this water after inoculating large flasks of sterile bouillon and then using the method of Conradi and Drigalski four days later.


Sample D. The same as sample C. strained through a layer of absorbent cotton.


Numerical count 18616 bacteria per c.c.

The ten fermentation tubes, charged in the usual way with 1 c.c. of this water, all contained gas on the second day of incubation. On the fourth day the amount of gas present ranged from 30% to 75%. All attempts to recover typhoid bacilli from this water resulted in failure.


REMARKS: The failure to recover typhoid bacilli is probably due to the well-established fact that this organism usually disappears from water containing ordinary bacteria within three or four days.


“A” is quite turbid, is tinted red and gives off the aroma of wine.


“B” shows a faint tint, contains a moderate amount of coagulum.


“C” is the most turbid of the set.


“D” contains a moderate amount of coagulum, but is perhaps the clearest of the four. It is possible that the tannin, or other substance in “A” has inhibited multiplication of the bacteria present in that sample.


“B” contained about one-third as many bacteria as “D”, and nearly four times as many as “C”. From the bacteriological standpoint “B” is the least objectionable of the four waters; whether this is due to the mode of treatment or some other cause cannot be well determined without an intimate knowledge of the details of the manipulations. Neither of the samples can be regarded as a good potable water.


Very respectfully,

James Carroll

1st Lieut., Asst. Surgeon, U.S. Army,

Curator, Army Medical Museum


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Letter of the Day: August 7

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 1642

August 7, 1896

R. H. Cooper, Esq,
City Clerk,
Palatka, Florida

Dear Sir:

Your letter of August 5th inquiring in regard to an examination of the water used for drinking purposes, etc., at Palatka, is received.

We will endeavor to make the desired examination, and inform you of the result.

Please forward to the Army Medical Museum about a gallon of the water referred to. It had better be sent in a glass demijohn which has previously been thoroughly cleaned, rinsed with boiled water and then with alcohol, the latter being allowed to evaporate. The water should flow directly into the demijohn from the source of supply in order to avoid contamination from any substance whatever. The cork stopper should be charred in the flame. The sample should be sent at once by express in order that it may reach here as soon as possible.

D.L. Huntington
Deputy Surgeon General, U.S. Army,
In charge of Museum and Library Division

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Letter of the Day: August 5 (2 of 2) - malaria?

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 1642


Office of R.H. Cooper,

City Clerk.


Palatka, Florida, Aug 5, 1896


The Curator Army Medical Museum

Washington DC


Dear Sir


The City Council of the City of Palatka desires to as-certain whether you subject a sample of water to an analytical or microscopic examination which will determine whether the water is the cause of a considerable amount of malarial sickness which is prevailing in our City at the present time.


If this can be done please inform me of the cost and the amount of water it will be necessary to transmit. The water in question is that which is used for drinking and general purposes throughout the City.


Yours respectfully

RH Cooper

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Excellent water public health article in NY Times

The Times has an excellent investigative report on the public health issue of clean water in today's paper -

Toxic Waters
Clean Water Laws Are Neglected, at a Cost in Human Suffering
Published: September 13, 2009
In the past five years, companies and workplaces have violated pollution laws more than 500,000 times. But most polluters have escaped punishment.