ISWS History

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  • Wilfred Langelier

    Wilfred Langelier, known for developing the Langelier Saturation Index, got his start at the Illinois State Water Survey. 

  • How ISWS helped end the 1916 typhoid epidemic in Pana, Illinois

    In 1916, typhoid fever swept through Pana, Illinois. Its origins appeared to be related to the public water supply until experts from the Illinois State Water Survey determined the unlikely source of outbreaks.

  • Specially equipped helicopter helped ISWS study the link between weather patterns and aphid migration

    In 1990, the Water Survey flew a helicopter equipped with special insect traps over central Illinoi to capture corn leaf aphids. Along with other University of Illinois researchers, ISWS was trying to understand how weather governs the migratory behavior of the corn leaf aphid, which carries destructive plant viruses that cause significant damage to Midwestern crops.

  • Tom Holm conducts water sampling, circa 2002

  • 1931 catalog of well contractors

  • Ingenious downhole camera

  • Young citizen assists with water testing

  • Morrow Plots weather station

  • Weather radars: measuring rain and detecting storms

    Radar is routinely used to provide early warnings for tornadoes and storms, but that wasn't always the case. Fifty years ago the Illinois State Water Survey played a key role in developing this technology.