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Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission
Bureau of Archives and History
Pennsylvania State Archives



Series Descriptions


Water Resources

National Policy Files,
(1 box and 11 folders)

{series #472m.61} [Holdings]

Arranged alphabetically by subject.

Documents which pertain to a plethora of issues concerning water and it's varied uses comprise Series 61. Policy doctrines of the American and Canadian governments are a major focus of the series, but also included are various materials covering topics such as the Central Arizona Project, the disappearance of mid-Atlantic wetlands, water resource management and the status of national water supplies.

National Planning Materials,
(2 boxes)

{series #472m.62} [Holdings]

Arranged alphabetically by subject.

Series 62 includes articles, newsclippings, publications and reports pertaining to water planning issues on a nation-wide level in the United States. Two maps produced by the National Geographic Society which depict the United States and its water supply are also present

National Economics Files,
(1 box)

{series #472m.63} [Holdings]

Arranged alphabetically by subject.

Articles, newsclippings, publications and reports pertaining to water economics issues on a nation-wide level in the United States make up Series 63. Of note are two reports which discuss water economics issues in states beside Pennsylvania, specifically: “The California State Water Project Summary, Bulletin Number 132-70, Appendix C, 1969” and “West Virginia's Buffalo Creek Flood: A Study of the Hydrology and Engineering Geology, Geological Survey Circular 667, 1972.”

National Project Files,
(6 folders)

{series #472m.64} [Holdings]

Arranged alphabetically by subject.

Series 64 contains materials relative to large-scale water projects in the United States. Two of the projects covered are the Colorado River Aqueduct and the Central Valley Project (California). Also included are reports relative to general national water projects, as well as a publication from 1935 concerning water and power in the city of San Francisco.

Regional and State Policy and Management Materials,
(8 folders)

{series #472m.65} [Holdings]

Arranged alphabetically by subject.

Various documents looking at water policy and management issues, as they relate to various states and regions in the United States and Canada, comprise Series 65.

Regional and State Planning Files,
(1 box)

{series #472m.66} [Holdings]

Arranged alphabetically by subject.

Series 66 contains reports and papers of a various nature, all of which pertain in some way to regional and state water planning issues. Some highlights include an analysis of water management efforts in Tucson, Arizona and a set of circulars from the United States Geologic Survey which discuss a River Quality Assessment of the Willamette River Basin, Oregon.

State Water Resource Planning Papers,
(1 box)

{series #472m.67} [Holdings]

Arranged alphabetically by subject.

The bulk of Series 67 consists of papers and reports which describe miscellaneous water resource planning issues or initiatives in a number of states, including Arkansas, California, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Texas and other western states. General state water resource-documents are also included.

Groundwater Files,
(9 folders)

{series #472m.68} [Holdings]

Arranged alphabetically by subject.

Articles, newsclippings, papers, publications and reports relative to the contamination of the Earth's groundwater supply. Policies to deal these problems are discussed, as well as reports from various locations, including the Ohio River Basin, Ontario (Canada) and Vermont.

Conservation Materials,
(1 folder)

{series #472m.69} [Holdings]

Arranged alphabetically by subject.

Series 69 is comprised of one folder of water conservation materials. Present is an article on water from the Denver Post, a paper concerning the effects of conservation measures on water demands and a report titled “America's Clean Water - The States' Nonpoint Source Management Experience.”

Dam Safety Articles and Reports,
(1 folder)

{series #472m.70} [Holdings]

Arranged alphabetically by subject.

One folder of articles and also a report concerning dam safety in Pennsylvania and the United States is included in this series.

Delaware River Basin Files,
(4 boxes)

{series #472m.71} [Holdings]

Arranged alphabetically by subject.

One of the larger series in the collection, Series 71 focuses on numerous environmental aspects of the Delaware River Basin. Topics such as the history of development in the region, waste management, the Delaware Estuary, the Schuylkill River, Delaware River Fishery, Point Pleasant Pumping Station, and many others, are covered. A few documents date back to the 1930s, including publications relative to the Interstate Commission on the Delaware River Basin.

Great Lakes Files,
(3 boxes)

{series #472m.72} [Holdings]

Arranged alphabetically by subject.

Various documents, all of which pertain to the Great Lakes and the battle being waged against their contamination. Materials pertaining to various groups committed to this cause, including the Great Lakes Protection Fund, the Great Lakes Council of Governors, Great Lakes United and the Great Lakes Commission are contained in this series.

Lake Erie Materials,
(1 box and 1 folder)

{series #472m.73} [Holdings]

Arranged alphabetically by subject.

Series 73 is comprised of various reports and publications that discuss Lake Erie and the state of its waters. Water quality, wastewater contamination and offshore drilling are a few of the specific topics addressed.

Potomac River Files,
(2 boxes)

{series #472m.74} [Holdings]

Arranged alphabetically by subject.

The bulk of Series 74 pertains to the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin (ICPRB). The ICPRB is an interstate compact commission established by Congress in 1940 to help the Potomac basin states and the federal government to enhance, protect and conserve the water and associated land resources of the Potomac River basin through regional and interstate cooperation. Walter Lyon served as a commissioner of the ICPRB for a time, before retiring near the end of 1994. Numerous ICPRB reports concerning the Potomac River and its environmental upkeep are included, as well as other miscellaneous files concerning the river and its drainage basin.

Chesapeake Bay Papers,
(8 boxes)

{series #472m.75} [Holdings]

Arranged alphabetically by subject, then chronologically.

During his term as head of the Pennsylvania Bureau of Water Quality Management, one of the major interstate issues that Mr. Lyon faced was the degradation of the Chesapeake Bay. Its pollution was due in large part to industrial and agricultural run-off into Pennsylvania's many streams and rivers, most notably the Susquehanna River. The importance of this issue is evidenced by the size of Series 75, which includes seven boxes of material related to the Chesapeake and the fight to save the bay. Numerous subgroupings are contained in the series, including correspondence, general reports, newsletters, nutrients, special reports and toxics. A plethora of private organizations and government entities created to help resurrect the Chesapeake are also represented, groups such as the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, Chesapeake Bay Commission, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Chesapeake Bay Program and the Citizen's for the Chesapeake Bay, Inc.

Susquehanna River Files,
(2 boxes)

{series #472m.76} [Holdings]

Arranged alphabetically by subject.

Series 76 contains files which pertain in various ways to the longest commercially nonnavigable river in North America, the Susquehanna River. A majority of the papers chronicle the activities of the Susquehanna River Basin Commission, a Federal-Interstate Compact Commission formed in 1971 by New York State, Pennsylvania, Maryland and the United States of America. It was created to bring the water resources of the Susquehanna River Basin under the control of a single entity, which is governed by a Comprehensive Plan for Management and Development called the Susquehanna River Basin Compact. A copy of the compact is included in the series, as well as number of other interesting documents, including a number of publications concerning what governor Milton Shapp called Pennsylvania's greatest natural disaster, the massive flooding which occurred in the wake of Hurricane Agnes in 1972.

Ohio River Files,
(2 boxes)

{series #472m.77} [Holdings]

Arranged alphabetically by subject.

Files pertaining to the Ohio River and its drainage basin are included in this series. The vast majority of the files concern the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO). It was established on June 30, 1948 to control and abate pollution in the Ohio River Basin. It is an interstate commission representing eight states and the federal government, with the member states being comprised of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. Various commission reports, as well as meeting agendas and minutes, make up the bulk of the series.

Pennsylvania Articles and Reports,
(1 box)

{series #472m.78} [Holdings]

Arranged alphabetically by subject.

Miscellaneous reports and articles discussing water resources in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania comprise Series 78. A number of the files pre-date the 1960s, including a report on the Drought of 1930, one discussing flood discharge records of Pennsylvania streams published in 1950, and a 1940 report which chronicles the natural water loses from Pennsylvania drainage basins. Also present are files relative to the Clean Streams Program, dating mainly from the late 1960s.

Water Quality

General Water Quality Files,
(2 boxes)

{series #472m.79} [Holdings]

Arranged alphabetically by subject.

Water quality files of a more general nature, as opposed to the records contained in following series, are included in Series 79. A few notable items in this grouping are a a file discussing California's water problems, a history of the study of water quality, and two reports of the National Water Commission which chronicle water pollution control in the United States in the early 1970s.

Water Quality Policy Materials,
(2 boxes)

{series #472m.80} [Holdings]

Arranged alphabetically by subject.

Water quality laws, acts, and various other materials pertaining to public and private water quality policy issues are present in Series 80. A number of files relate to privatization in the United States and also Europe. A copy of the Water Quality Act of 1987, as well as supporting documentation, is also included.

Water Quality Planning Papers,
(2 boxes)

{series #472m.81} [Holdings]

Arranged alphabetically by subject.

Series 81 contains documents which discuss the planning efforts associated with improving water quality in various states and municipalities in the United States. Included are two studies concerning the Milwaukee Waterfront and plans for its improvement, preliminary reports from nine states relative their progress in a Clean Water Program in the early 1980s and numerous documents pertaining to the Comprehensive Water Quality Management Planning (COWAMP) Program for Pennsylvania, dating from the mid-1970s through the early 1980s.

Sewerage and Industrial Wastes Materials,
(2 boxes)

{series #472m.82} [Holdings]

Arranged alphabetically by subject.

Various files pertaining to sewage and industrial wastes are contained in this series. Lyon kept his own detailed file system on this topic, including folders which discuss combined sewer overflows, the costs associated with implementing sewerage systems, industrial wastes, nutrients, on-site systems, sludge and storm drainage. A number of the reports in these files date back to the 1950s, with a few ranging into the 1940s. Files concerning sewage legislation are also found in Series 82, in particular a file documenting the Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act of 1993.

General Nonpoint Source Pollution Files,
(9 folders)

{series #472m.83} [Holdings]

Arranged alphabetically by subject.

Nonpoint pollution is defined as pollution which cannot be traced back to a single origin or source, such as storm water runoff, water runoff from urban areas and failed septic systems. Series 83 through 87 deals with various nonpoint pollution topics, with this particular series containing general articles, government and private reports, legislative materials and papers concerning this particular type of pollution.

Phosphate Detergent Ban and Eutrophication File,
(1 box and 7 folders)

{series #472m.84} [Holdings]

Arranged alphabetically by subject.

Series 84 documents phosphorus detergent bans that were enacted in many states during the 1970s and 1980s to limit the amount of phosphorus that entered various bodies of water. It was believed that if phosphorus levels were reduced, water quality would improve. High phosphorus levels can induce a process known as eutrophication, or algal and other plant growth, that helps speed up the natural process by which bodies of water age. This can lead to decreased aquatic life and a noxious odor and unpleasant tasting water. One of the main phosphorus-enriching culprits is laundry detergent, which brought about calls for the phosphorus detergent bans, or “P-Bans.” Numerous types of materials relative to these P-Bans, including legislative materials and reports of various enterprises which investigated phosphorus levels in lakes and streams, are present.

Storm Drainage Papers,
(8 folders)

{series #472m.85} [Holdings]

Arranged alphabetically by subject.

Various articles, bills, papers and reports pertaining to storm drainage and related issues. Included is a report from 1948 providing assistance to persons who lost homes or farms to flooding, as well as a copy of Pennsylvania's 1978 Storm Water Management Act.

Navigation and Pilotage Materials,
(7 folders)

{series #472m.86} [Holdings]

Arranged alphabetically by subject.

Documents relating to commercial vessels and their navigation, especially as it concerns harbors, ports and possible cargo spills, are contained in Series 86. The bulk of the series is comprised of minutes, reports and miscellaneous other files pertaining to the Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor Safety Committee, spanning the years 1992-1996.

Spills and Toxics Files,
(8 folders)

{series #472m.87} [Holdings]

Arranged alphabetically by subject.

Series 87 includes papers relating to various types of material spills and toxic substances involved in those spills. A number of groups committed to dealing with or preventing and reducing the harmful effects of spills, such as the Donner Canadian Foundation Project, the American Society of Civil Engineers' Spills Task Force and the States/British Columbia Oil Spill Task Force, are present. Various articles, correspondence, papers and reports comprise the remainder of this series.


General Files,
1958-1981, 2007.
(3 boxes)

{series #472m.90} [Holdings]

Arranged alphabetically by subject.

Miscellaneous Walter Lyon personal files comprise Series 90. Included are biographical sketches of various persons, mostly in the environmental engineering field, Lyon biographical sketches, travel and expense report files and a file pertaining to Karl Mason, the man widely-recognized as the father of government-led environmental administration in Pennsylvania. Also included are papers from two binders, a draft and a final version, of a compilation of Pennsylvania environmental regulations, timelines, and other supporting documentation, which was given to the Archives in early 2007 by Walter Lyon.

2005, 2006.
(1 box)

{series #472m.101}

Arranged alphabetically by subject.

Transcripts, releases and notes related to interviews conducted with Walter Lyon and the family of Karl Mason during late 2005 and early 2006. The interviews of Lyon, conducted by Vagel Keller, PhD., were done as part of the Karl M. Mason Conservation Heritage Project, and funded through the Mason family and the Pennsylvania Association of Environmental Professionals, through the Pennsylvania Heritage Society. The careers of both Lyon and Mason are the main topics discussed in the interviews, particularly as they pertain to the creation and administration of Pennsylvania's environmental and sanitary engineering policies in the mid-20th century.

Newspaper and Original Publications,
(4 boxes)

{series #472m.91} [Holdings]

Arranged chronologically by subject.

This series contains publications such as articles either written or co-written by Mr. Lyon, spanning over a fifty year period. They provide an interesting insight into Walter Lyon's career, with the topics for the various works pertaining usually to either whatever position he held at the time or his main focus of research.

Personal Correspondence,
1980, 1981.
(1 box)

{series #472m.92} [Holdings]

Arranged chronologically.

The personal correspondence file of Walter Lyon, with most of the correspondence between Lyon and other professionals in the environmental field.

Speeches and Speech Notes,
(3 boxes)

{series #472m.93} [Holdings]

Arranged chronologically by speech date.

This series contains speeches given by Lyon to various organizations over his long and distinguished career. They span a forty-year period, discussing topics such as water pollution abatement, water conflicts on Lake Erie, the Schuylkill River, Pennsylvania's Clean Streams Program and the Great Lakes Pilotage Study. Also present are notes for various speeches, not all of which directly relate to the group of numbered speeches initially listed in the series, although they do date from roughly the same time period as the listing of numbered speeches.

Testimony and Legal Reports,
(2 boxes)

{series #472m.100} [Holdings]

Arranged chronologically.

Series 100 includes legal reports, testimony transcripts, depositions and correspondence all of which relate in some way to Walter Lyon. He was paid to testify as an expert environmental or water quality witness at a number of trials involving various corporations, such as the Aetna Casualty and Surety Company, the Rohm and Haas Company, SmithKline Beecham Corporation, Travelers Indemnity Company, and others.


Audio Tapes,
ca. 1956-1977.
(1 box)

{series #472m.94} [Holdings]

Arranged chronologically.

Six reel-to-reel tapes and one cassette tape are included this series. All the recordings are of interviews or conferences, with the speakers either consisting of employees of the Pennsylvania Department of Health or various members of the engineering profession.

Lantern Slides,
ca. 1940s-1960s.
(3 boxes)

{series #472m.95} [Holdings]

Arranged alphabetically by subject.

Roughly 200 lantern slides comprise this series. The images depicted on the plates cover a number of topics, including coal mines and mine drainage, methyl orange alkalinity, the Shippingport nuclear power station, presentations of various types, maps, small sewage plants, the status of waste treatment projects, as well as miscellaneous slides.

Microfiche, Microfilm, Negatives (4"x 5") and Camera Cards,
ca. 1950s-1978.
(1 box)

{series #472m.96} [Holdings]

Arranged by medium, then either alphabetically or chronologically.

Series 96 is divided into four subseries: microfiche, microfilm, 4x5” negatives and camera cards. The microfiche section includes twenty-eight sheets, with the bulk relating in some way to the Delaware Estuary Comprehensive Study, which was conducted in the 1960s. The remainder pertain in one way or another to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. House of Representatives or various Pennsylvania-related water issues. One roll of microfilm, removed from Box 27 of Series 18, comprises the second section of the series. It includes various files relative to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resource's Bureau of Water Quality Management. The negatives depict miscellaneous scenes and also forty-six unidentified and undated “sampling stations,” which lie along streams presumably in the commonwealth. The camera cards include three images pertaining once again to the Delaware Estuary Comprehensive Study, with the other six containing newspaper articles relative to the pollution of the Philadelphia city water supply by various wastes, particularly anthracite mine waste.

ca. 1960s.
(1 binder)

{series #472m.97} [Holdings]

Arranged by subject.

One binder of photographs, many of them including Walter Lyon, most of them depicting members of the Pennsylvania Department of Health in various settings. Some of the images were taken inside a coal mine, some at a dock, one in a classroom, with the rest taken outdoors at various places, presumably within the commonwealth. Also included are portraits of Mr. Lyon, dating from the late 1970s, which were placed here from Series 90, Box 110 and 4 images, including one of Governor Scranton signing a piece of legislation, which also includes Governor Shafer, which were placed here from Series 18, Box 26.

Slides (35mm),
ca. 1950s.
(1 binder)

{series #472m.98} [Holdings]

Arranged by subject.

The first set of slides in Series 98 includes five maps of Pennsylvania, all in some way pertaining to water flow or usage, as well as one chart discussing water use for selected industries in the United States from the years 1954 through 2000 (projected). The second group of images depicts various scenes from the construction of the Johnstown Sewage Plant. The third set contains slides of the Shippingport nuclear power station, a silt lagoon near the Reading Airport, three views of a water research laboratory at the Mellon Institute and finally one shot of United States Steel's Irwin Works plant outside of Pittsburgh. Twenty images from a series titled “Pollution Source Demonstration Series #1” comprise the second grouping of slides. All are color aerial views of various bodies of water, which are being visibly polluted in one way or another. Finally, a number of duplicates from the maps in the first group are included.

Video Tapes,
1958, ca. 1960s.
(1 box)

{series #472m.99} [Holdings]

Arranged chronologically, then alphabetically by subject.

Five film reels, one dating from May 1958 entitled “Lock Haven and Bradford Areas,” the other four dating from roughly the 1960s, all containing “Clean Water TV Spots.” Two of the spots pertain to “Sprays,” with one lasting twenty seconds and the other sixty, with the other two reels discussing “The Water Man-Lake,” with one once again lasting twenty seconds and the other sixty.

PA State Archives Hours, Directions, & Fees Research Topics Online Catalog Land Records