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The Chlorine Revolution | Michael J. McGuire

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SOMETIMES IT TAKES A REVOLUTION TO SAVE LIVES.

The Chlorine Revolution: Water Disinfection and the Fight to Save Lives was published in April 2013 by the American Water Works Association. Written by Michael J. McGuire, The Chlorine Revolution is about a courageous physician and his partnership with the greatest sanitary engineer of the time to plan, build and operate the first, large-scale drinking water disinfection system in the U.S. It is also about a court case that extended over two trials (1906-10) that pitted engineering and scientific experts of the day against one another. The verdict approving the use of chlorine for the Jersey City water supply caused an explosion of its use, which led to the conquest of waterborne disease in the U.S.

No other book has investigated this critical event in the history of public health in the U.S.  Any mention of Jersey City and the Boonton Reservoir water supply is usually contained in only a few sentences.  Certainly, no book or periodical in the last 100 years has published the details of the incredible Jersey City court case that was essential to the successful application of chlorine.  This book makes extensive use of the twelve volumes of trial transcripts that have only recently been brought to light. From the transcripts, the most famous chemists, bacteriologists and engineers of the early 20th century presented their opinions in their own words why a “poison” should be used for drinking water treatment.

Registered professional engineer Michael J. McGuire has authored over 200 professional articles and has edited five books. An Honorary Member of AWWA, McGuire is the recipient of the George Warren Fuller Award and the A.P. Black Research Award. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

Aimed at lay readers as well as professionals, and based on a great deal of original research in a wide range of archives as well as a thorough knowledge of the existing secondary literature, McGuire’s book is sure to be the definitive account of the chlorine story for years to come.

Trust me you don’t have to be a water chemist to appreciate this intriguing and true story. And after reading this you will enjoy every glass of water even more than you do now.


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    May 23, 1904: First delivery of water from the Boonton supply to Jersey City, New Jersey. At the end of the 19th century, the water supply for Jersey City, New Jersey was contaminated with sewage and the death toll from typhoid fever was high. In 1899, the city contracted with a private company for the […]
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    May 22, 1854: Birth of Leonard P. Kinnicutt. In 1909, Leonard P. Kinnicutt was Professor of chemistry and director of the chemical laboratory at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute. He graduated with a degree in chemistry in 1875 from MIT and spent several years in Germany studying under well-known chemists including Professor Bunsen. He completed his […]

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