Water Pollution

July 24, 1953

Report Outline
Indequacy of Anti-Pollution Safeguards
Hazards and Losses in Water Pollution
Current Progress in Water Purification

Indequacy of Anti-Pollution Safeguards

Population growth and industrial expansion have so aggravated the problem of water contamination in the United States that existing treatment and purification facilities are considered far from adequate to protect the health and economic well-being of the nation. Private and public expenditures of $9 billion to $12 billion, according to U.S. Public Health Service estimates, would be required over the next ten years to meet satisfactorily both the current and the anticipated needs for sewage treatment plants and plants to handle industrial wastes.

The problem is primarily that of “an increasing pollutional load against a fixed supply of water.” Virtual cessation of non-defense public works construction during the war, when the population was gathering more densely around expanded industrial establishments, and further growth of industry during the postwar defense effort have placed a greater burden on existing waterworks than was originally anticipated.

Recognizing the interstate nature of the problem, which requires coordinated planning for river basins that spread over state boundaries, Congress in 1948 established a five-year federal program, later extended for an additional three years, to stimulate pollution abatement activities. However, actual appropriations have fallen far short of the amounts authorized, and the current appropriation bill calls for further curtailment. Activities of the Water Pollution Control Division, set up as a branch of the U. S. Public Health Service, have been restricted largely to surveying needs, providing technical assistance, and carrying on a limited amount of research in methods of pollution control. Actual construction of facilities and enforcement of clean-water laws have been almost entirely the responsibility of states and local communities.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Water Pollution
May 12, 2023  Safe Drinking Water
Jul. 15, 2016  Drinking Water Safety
Oct. 17, 2014  Protecting the Oceans
Jun. 18, 2010  Water Shortages
Aug. 01, 2003  Water Shortages
Nov. 24, 2000  Water Quality
Dec. 15, 1995  Global Water Shortages
Feb. 11, 1994  Water Quality
Apr. 19, 1991  California: Enough Water for the Future?
Jan. 30, 1987  Western Water
Jul. 12, 1985  Preventing Groundwater Contamination
Jan. 14, 1977  Western Water: Coming Crisis
Feb. 15, 1974  Drinking Water Safety
Aug. 11, 1965  Water Resources and National Water Needs
Dec. 08, 1960  Pollution of Water Supplies
Oct. 02, 1959  Water Needs and Resources
Jul. 01, 1955  Water for the Future
Jul. 24, 1953  Water Pollution
Feb. 15, 1950  Water Supply
Oct. 03, 1947  Unclean Waters
Sep. 17, 1935  Stream Pollution and the Disposal of Waste
Water Pollution