Monday, October 1, 2012

Norman, Oklahoma Water - 1918

I ran across a copy of the July 9, 1918 Daily Transcript - the newspaper for Norman, Oklahoma, and was surprised to find 5 articles therein that mentioned "water".

The first was on the front page and was reporting on the water quality results of a new well Norman had recently completed.  The article reads:  "Analysis of water coming from the new city well shows it to be fully the equal of that of the old well, according to a report made to Mayor S.W. Hutchin, by Dr. Edwin DeBarr, state chemist, who has recently completed an analysis of the water for drinking and domestic purposes," says Dr. DeBarr in his letter to the mayor.  No pathogenic germs nor acid-forming bacteria are present in the water, according to the report. The chemical analysis of the water is as follows:  Odor, none. Albuminoid ammonia, .22 parts per million.  Free ammonia, .4 parts per million. Nitrogen as nitrates, .0005 parts per million.  Chlorine, 17 parts per million.  Magnesium oxide, 4 parts per million.  Calcium oxide, 53 parts per million.  Sulfuric anhydride, 119 parts per million.  Alkalinity, 175 parts per million.  Total solids, 315 parts per million."

As a student (many years ago) at OU I remember that the chemistry classes were always held in DeBarr Hall.  Now at least I know where they got the name for that building.

There is also an article reporting that Chicago's drinking water from Lake Michigan was undergoing "strong chlorination" due to an unusual number of dead fish washing ashore.  It's nice to know that the Health Department tested the fish and found no poison was involved, and found no pollution of the Lake Michigan water either.  You don't suppose the 17 parts per million Chlorine in the Norman City well was a result of Chicago's shock treatments, do you?

Another article covered the daily routine of the quartermaster  in the Office of the County Food Administrator.  It included a visit from " elderly spectacled gentleman who looked neither decidedly sweet nor sour..", and from ".. a middle-aged, stout, healthy "farmerette".." who asked "Do you think you can arrange for us to have some water soon for our crops?"  No, she wasn't wanting rain, but an irrigation well.

All in all, an eclectic set of articles for a 1918 newspaper from Norman, don't you think?

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