Before his death on July 10, 2001 at 98, Dr. George E. Symons, former president of AWWA, honorary member of WEF, and fellow of ASCE was working on an historical review of the environmental field. His manuscript was posthumously completed by James Symons and Nancy Zeilig and was published in the Journal of the New England Water Works Association (Symons, G.E., "The Origins of Environmental Engineering: Prologue to the 20th Century, JNEWWA, 115, 4, 253-287 (December, 2001)).
The abstract of the paper reads: "George E. Symons, almost literally a lifelong environmental engineer, began writing his memoirs after he retired. Because he had been born near the start of the twentieth century (in 1903-he died in 2001), he intended to start his book with a summary of environmental developments through the ages, leading to his arrival on the scene. This article is an edited version of the introduction to his uncompleted book, Water Boy. It traces the history of the field of water supply and pollution control from about 10,000 B.C. to 1900, mostly in northern Africa, Europe, and the United States."
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This paper would make a good overview of the field for students. Copies for
student use must be cleared with the copyright owner, the New England Water
Works Association, 125 Hopping Brook Road, Holliston, MA 01746-1471