Get our newsletters

HISTORY LIVES: Sanitary Sewerage System


In October 1902, Doylestown Borough Council discussed “scores of dry wells in the borough which have been in use for years and years, and which are in such filthy condition that they form just the places for the breeding of the bacilli of typhoid...transmitting the germs to wells which are in use where borough water has not been introduced.”

In May 1904 the council held a special meeting with representatives of the Doylestown Sewerage Company and approved the construction of a sewerage system (with the support of the Board of Health of Doylestown Borough). It was promised that “the cost to property holders would be comparatively low” and “it will only be necessary to dig a trench eighteen inches wide in the middle of the streets and to the houses.” The main sewer would be on Franklin Street. “Pipes will be laid on almost all the streets north of Ashland street. Below Ashland, they will not be laid unless fifteen residents contract to take sewage, as that part of the town is not as thickly settled. The dumping beds, which will be located north of the town along Cook’s Run, will be the first part of the plant to be constructed.”

The April 1908 report of the Borough’s Board of Health noted that “the number of cases of contagious and infectious diseases has been lower than in any year since the organization of the Board.”

The Board’s May 1913 report stated, “The sanitary condition of the borough has been excellent,” but it was necessary “to compel the (Doylestown Sewer) Company to abate the nuisance caused by sewage flowing into East Ashland street” near the foot of Church Street.

Today the public sewer system of Doylestown is owned by the Bucks County Water and Sewer Authority. The dumping bed along Cook’s Run is now the Harvey Avenue Wastewater Treatment Plant, built in 1957; and the disposal bed at the foot of Church Street has been relocated to the Green Street Wastewater Treatment Plant, built in 1975.

Join our readers whose generous donations are making it possible for you to read our news coverage. Help keep local journalism alive and our community strong. Donate today.