The Broad Street Pump

It's pretty crazy to imagine that we would all die without water!  The fact that it is important is pretty obvious.  So how did we get to the point where our water is safe to drink?  Lets take you back to a time when water treatment wasn't what it is today.  This is the story of the broad street pump incident in the Soho district of London England, on Broad Street (now Broadwick Street), where a nasty cholera outbreak happened.

In 1854 a cholera epidemic hit the Golden Square neighborhood.  Over 500 people died during the outbreak, and nobody could figure out what was happening.  At the center of the problem was the broad street pump, and the Dr. knew it had to have something to do with the outbreak.  September 7th he convinced the Board of Governors and Directors that the pump was the problem.  The pump handle was removed the next day to curtail the problem.  Dr. John Snow proved that the outbreak was not from miasma which as originally thought.  The Dr. showed how an epidemiological study could be used to pinpoint the cause of a disease, and showed that water could carry unnoticeable diseases.

Dr. John Snow was a firm believer in distilling his water, and was way ahead of the pack.  He showed that reforms were needed to fix the problematic water sanitation issue.  Next time the CDC finds a water born pathogen, raise your had to the Dr. and thank him for the work that he did.