The Philadelphia Municipal Water Supply was the first of its kind

The early water system of colonial Philadelphia wasn’t much of a system. According to the website PhillyH2O.org — curated by Adam Levine, a historical consultant to the Philadelphia Water Department — public wells were dug in the streets for average citizens, and private wells were dug in the backyards of the wealthy. “Human wastes were disposed of in privy pits, often located in the opposite corner of the backyard,” Levine writes on the site. “Since Philadelphia lots are narrow, that often meant that the water for drinking was coming out of a hole in the ground located 20 feet

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