Syracuse Herald - October 22, 1919
the beginning, there were outhouses. As cities became more
densely populated, sewers were installed to collect wastewater and
carry it away, typically dumping it into a lake or stream.
This early 20th century
political cartoon from Syracuse, New York depicts a monster in Canal
Harbor on Onondaga Lake. The mayoral candidate criticized
his opponent for allowing nearly 100% of the city's wastewater to
be dumped into the lake.
The sewage discharge was
covering the water with scum and building up sludge deposits that
threatened navigation. The stench was strong enough to turn
away a ship-board inspection trip by New York's governor.
Some believed that rates of infant mortality were high because of
conditions in the harbor.
In 1925 the city constructed its first
wastewater treatment plant on the shores of Onondaga Lake.
Treatment upgrades were implemented throughout the 20th and into
the 21st century. The city continues to discharge its treated
waste to the lake today.