Quality of water in the upper Ohio River basin and at Erie, Pennsylvania

Water Supply Paper 161




This paper discusses the quality of water on the most important tributaries of Ohio River in Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia, and Maryland, and the nature of the water supply at Erie, Pa. The amount and character of the pollution is described and the results of drinking contaminated water as shown by typhoid statistics are indicated. The conditions on the tributaries of Ohio River in Ohio are discussed in Water-Supply and Irrigation Paper No. 79, United States Geological Survey, pages 129-187. The water supplies and sewerage of small towns high up toward the head of a large drainage system do not in many cases receive the attention they should. Epidemics of a waterborne disease which affect large municipalities near the mouth of the river and therefore attract attention must necessarily have their origin in the pollution of the watershed above. It is evident, therefore, that adequate sanitation of the small towns and a water supply as carefully guarded as that of a large city would prevent disease at its very source and be far less expensive than the costly battles which are waged against epidemics in huge centers of population after disease has broken out. Typhoid fever statistics for small towns in this section are seldom available and are more or less unreliable at best. The few figures given show the existence of virulent typhoid fever in most towns of the drainage areas in certain years, and as these towns drain into the streams the liability ofthe water to infection is evident. The significance of typhoid fever death rates will be better understood from the statistics presented below, which have been collated from a number of cities having excellent water supplies.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Quality of water in the upper Ohio River basin and at Erie, Pennsylvania
Series title:
Water Supply Paper
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Government Printing Office
Contributing office(s):
Pennsylvania Water Science Center
114 p., 1 l. :illus., VI pl. (incl. fold. diagr.) ;23 cm.