The Culture of Flushing: A Social and Legal History of Sewage

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UBC Press, Jan 1, 2011 - History - 432 pages
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To most, the flush of a toilet is routine: the way we banish waste and ensure cleanliness. It is safe, efficient, necessary, nonpolitical, and utterly unremarkable. Yet Jamie Benidickson's examination of the social and legal history of sewage in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom demonstrates that the uncontroversial reputation of flushing is deceptive. The Culture of Flushing is particularly relevant in a time when community water quality can no longer be taken for granted, as it investigates and clarifies the murky evolution of waste treatment.

The Culture of Flushing is essential reading for specialists in environmental history, environmental law, public health, engineering, and public policy. Those concerned with protecting water quality and the environment will also find it unique, comprehensive, and accessible.

  

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Contents

The Culture of Flushing
3
1 The Advantage of a Flow of Water
11
2 Navigating Aquatic Priorities
31
3 A Source of Civic Pride
57
4 The Water Closet Revolution
78
5 Municipal Evacuation
98
6 Learning to Live Downstream
128
7 The Bacterial Assault on Local Government
154
10 Streams Are Natures Sewers
244
11 Riparian Resurrection
267
12 Governing Water
291
Water Quality and the Future of Flushing
322
Notes
333
Suggested Reading
391
Illustration Credits
395
Index
397

8 The Dilutionary Impulse at Chicago
183
9 Separating Water from the Waterways
213

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2011)

Jamie Benidickson teaches at the Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa. He is the author of Idleness, Water, and a Canoe: Reflections on Paddling for Pleasure and other publications on the environment, water law, and social history.