Catalogue description Department of Scientific and Industrial Research: Water Pollution Research Board and Laboratory

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Details of DSIR 13
Reference: DSIR 13
Title: Department of Scientific and Industrial Research: Water Pollution Research Board and Laboratory
Description:

Agenda and minutes of the meetings of the Water Pollution Research Board and its committees. Also files relating to sponsored research in universities and research establishments, or containing correspondence with private firms and individuals respecting water pollution.

Date: 1920-1967
Related material:

For papers of the board see Subseries within DSIR 36

Separated material:

See also AY 2

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English
Creator:

Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Water Pollution Research Board, 1927-1965

Physical description: 675 file(s)
Access conditions: Open
Accruals: Series is not accruing
Administrative / biographical background:

The Water Pollution Research Board was set up in 1927, mainly as a result of representations by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, which were becoming increasingly concerned with the problems of river pollution and its adverse effect on the supply of pure water for a growing population and industry. It had the following terms of reference:-(1) To submit from time to time schemes for research on the prevention of the pollution of rivers and other sources of water supply by industrial effluents and sewage, and on any relevant matters affecting the purity of water supplies. (2) To supervise the execution of approved investigations.

Initially, the board sponsored research in the Universities. Committees were also set up by the Board to survey the pollution in certain English rivers and to make arrangements for the necessary research to be put in hand. A Water Pollution Research Board was established to submit schemes for research on the prevention of pollution, by individual effluents and sewage, of rivers and other sources of water supply, and to supervise the execution of approved investigations. Accordingly the board sponsored research in universities and set up committees to survey pollution in certain English rivers and make arrangements for the necessary research to be put in hand. Initially the organisation had no laboratories of its own and farmed out its work or, as in surveys of the Tees and Mersey, maintained small teams of workers in temporary accommodation to deal with special local problems. In June 1938 the board recommended the creation of a central station adequately equipped to investigate the problems of water pollution. Plans for a new laboratory at Garston alongside the Building Research Station were approved in 1939 but abandoned on the outbreak of war. Instead temporary premises were found at a house in Watford and huts at the Building Research Station; other sections worked at Birmingham from 1938 and Coventry from 1947. These various elements were replaced by a new central Water Pollution Research Laboratory at Stevenage in 1954. A Scottish branch was opened at East Kilbride in 1961.

In 1965 the laboratory passed to the Ministry of Technology, and the research board was replaced by a Water Pollution Research Laboratory Steering Committee. In 1970 it was transferred to the Department of Trade and Industry, and in January 1971 to the Department of the Environment. In 1974 it became one of the constituent parts of the new Water Research Centre at Stevenage, grant-aided by the department. The laboratory conducts research into the treatment of sewage and trade effluents, the causes and prevention of pollution in rivers, and the purification of natural waters for the nation's water supplies.

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