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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

The Culture of Flushing

A Social and Legal History of Sewage

The flush of a toilet is routine. It is safe, efficient, necessary, nonpolitical, and utterly unremarkable. Yet Jamie Benidickson’s examination of the social and legal history of sewage in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom demonstrates that the uncontroversial reputation of flushing is deceptive. The Culture of Flushing investigates and clarifies the murky evolution of waste treatment. It is particularly relevant in a time when community water quality can no longer be taken for granted.

Table of Contents

Foreword: Risk and Responsibility in a Waste-Full World / Graeme Wynn



1 The Advantage of a Flow of Water

2 Navigating Aquatic Priorities

3 A Source of Civic Pride

4 The Water Closet Revolution

5 Municipal Evacuation

6 Learning to Live Downstream

7 The Bacterial Assault on Local Government

8 The Dilutionary Impulse at Chicago

9 Separating Water from the Waterways

10 Streams Are Nature’s Sewers

11 Riparian Resurrection

12 Governing Water



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