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An Accidental Statistician: The Life and Memories of George E. P. Box by George E. P. Box

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There's nothing like eating hay when you're feeling faint.

Chapter Fifteen

The Many Sides of Mac

For years, a staunch friend of mine has been Mac Berthouex (or more formally, Professor Paul Mac Berthouex) (Figure 15.1). He taught in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Wisconsin for 28 years, and he is a world expert on wastewater treatment. His knowledge of how to get a supply of drinkable water to almost any place you care to name has made him internationally famous, and he has spent many years working on projects abroad, usually in poor countries.

Figure 15.1 Mac Berthouex and me.

c15f001

Clean water is essential to life, but there is only a certain amount of water in the world, and this must be used and reused. Nature has provided a means for this cleansing to be done. It is achieved by aerobic microorganisms that exist in every body of water that is exposed to air. About ten parts per million of oxygen can dissolve in perfectly clean water, and if you check, you'll find that some quantity slightly less than this is to found in streams, rivers, and oceans. Every natural body of water is to some extent slightly polluted. The pollutants provide aerobic organisms with nutrients, which they absorb at the expense of slightly lowering the level of dissolved oxygen. This sets up a tension, and as more oxygen is needed, more is dissolved, so that we have a permanent system ...

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