Skip to main content

Chain of Rocks Water Purification Plant

Location: St. Louis, MO, USA
Date: 1903
Category:

Clarifying the turbid waters of the Mississippi River for use as drinking water was a formidable challenge. The Chain of Rocks Water Purification Plant provided the first application of a system of flocculation, sedimentation, and rapid sand filtration for water purification.

The system played a major role in reducing the impact of St. Louis' typhoid and cholera epidemic of 1903 that claimed 287 lives. Continued improvements to the plant reduced that number to 91 by 1914. It is estimated that 1,900 lives were likely saved between 1903 and 1915 due to the filtration system.

The plant was the world's largest water treatment and filtration facility when it opened. It remains fully operational and continues to serve the city of St. Louis. 

Tags: Era: 1900-1909
Innovation designated by:
Chain of Rocks Water Purification Plant
Public Domain (Author's Choice)
Chain of Rocks Water Purification Plant
Address:
Mississippi River
St. Louis, MO, USA

Mississippi River

We hope you enjoyed this essay.

Please support this 70-year tradition of trusted historical writing and the volunteers that sustain it with a donation to American Heritage.

Donate

Stay informed - subscribe to our newsletter.
The subscriber's email address.