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Publication Abstract

Pollution of Streams in Illinois 1927  Illinois State Water Survey, Champaign, IL,  ISWS B-24    Full Text Available

There has been a recent awakening of interest in the protection and rehabilitation of our streams. The value of lakes and rivers, not only as sources of public water supply but also as places for recreation, is beginning to be generally appreciated by the citizens of Illinois. The, fact that large and valuable crops of food can be produced annually in our public waters lends support to the plea of sportsmen, fishermen, and hunters, that a sane program be adopted for the protection and development of our natural water resources. Before such a program can be formulated,- it is necessary to have at hand information concerning the sources and foci of destructive agencies.

A preliminary survey of stream pollution in the State was published by the Water Survey Division in 1924 as a part of Bulletin 20; The information at that time was limited almost exclusively to the pollution caused by domestic sewage. During the past three years an effort has been made to extend the study to include the industrial sources of pollution insofar as this could be done.

The collection of information on industrial or manufacturing wastes is a matter of considerable difficulty. The usual sources of such information are not sufficiently specific to be of any material assistance; there is considerable change in industry from year to year, resulting in the shutting down of some plants and the starting up of others; and the amount of wastes produced by any given plant varies so widely during the year that the estimation of the amount of pollution is impractical. Fortunately, detailed data are not important for the present purpose. It will be necessary for each individual community to make a complete investigation of its wastes at the time that it undertakes a treatment program. The results of a thorough study made even a year or two in advance of that date would probably be obsolete by the time they would be needed.

It has been our immediate purpose, therefore, to present a general picture of the situation which exists in Illinois. We will welcome any additions or corrections which interested persons or organizations may offer in order to make the picture more accurate.

An attempt has been made to cover the State as thoroughly as possible. That this has been done with reasonable success is evidenced by the fact that of 1112 towns in the State having public water supplies our report covers 884. Most of those not included are. very, small communities, very few having more than 1000 inhabitants. A check of various sources of information indicates that no important source of pollution has been omitted.

The results of the survey are presented in the form of maps, which, taken together, cover the whole State, as shown in the key (Fig. 1). Bach map represents an area having common drainage. The larger drainage basins, those of the Illinois and the Mississippi, have been subdivided into areas of convenient size for mapping on the same scale as that used for the smaller streams. The various industries are indicated by characters which are explained in the legend of each map.

Coal mines have been located according to post office addresses rather than actual position of the mines. There has been no attempt to indicate the location of oil wells; they are practically limited to the basins of the Embarrass-Wabash and the Kaskaskia. More detailed data concerning these two industries may be obtained by addressing this office or the State Geological Survey Division.

In addition to the maps, there is given in alphabetical order a' list of the counties in the State, showing for each town the known factors in the pollution problem. These factors include (1) the population of the community, indicated by numbers in parentheses, (2) the existence of a sewer system and its type, (3) the character of sewage treatment, if any, and (4) the nature and number of industries having liquid wastes, with brief notes on the size of the plants wherever such information was available. The information assembled in this form should call attention to the danger spots and should afford starting points for detailed investigations in communities throughout the State.

The principal means of securing information for this Bulletin was by use of a questionnaire as shown in Bulletin No. 20, a copy of which was sent to each community in the State. The number of replies to this Questionnaire was very gratifying, and the information thus obtained was sufficiently extensive to serve our purpose.



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