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  • 1940s ISWS project noted radar’s potential for storm warnings

    In 1948, radar was a fairly new technique applied in meteorology to detect rainstorms and determine their location and movement. That summer, ISWS meteorologists Glenn Stout and Floyd Huff collaborated with the Pfister Hybrid Corn Company in El Paso, IL to study the ability to induce rain from an aircraft and, for the first time in Illinois, to evaluate the effectiveness of radar equipment for precipitation studies.

  • Who was Minna Ernestine Jewell?

    Minna Ernestine Jewell (1892-1985) was an early 20th century aquatic ecologist and zoologist who studied Midwestern aquatic habitats extensively. Although she has gained some recognition for her contributions in ecology, a fact that has gone unreported is her brief affiliation with the Illinois State Water Survey.

  • Thomas A. Prickett

    In the 1960s and 1970s, Thomas (Tom) A. Prickett was famous for his involvement in advancing electric analog groundwater modeling and developing the precursor to the U.S. Geological Survey MODFLOW model.

  • Civil Works Administration

    During the Great Depression, the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) was approved to work on a project under the Civil Works Administration (CWA) that would not only hire people but would also expand the understanding of Illinois waters. Through this project, ISWS added 48,900 well records and analyzed about 1,250 water samples. A report titled A Survey of the Ground-water Resources of Illinois detailed the project. 

  • ISWS historic wastewater research on display at WEFTEC

    ISWS displayed posters featuring scanned images from glass slides that depict early ISWS efforts in sanitation, waterborne disease, and wastewater treatment, at the 2021 WEFTEC conference, which draws nearly 20,000 water professionals annually. 

    ISWS will exhibit again at WEFTEC 2022, which will be held at the New Orleans Convention Center, October 10-12.

  • Dr. Edward Bartow

    During his 15 years with the Illinois State Water Survey, Dr. Edward Bartow greatly influenced both the survey and the field of sanitary chemistry.

  • A landmark for chemistry and science: The history of Noyes Laboratory is rooted in fire, discovery, public service, and kindness

    Noyes Laboratory is a mark of American scientific achievement, with 12 former students and faculty members who worked in the building eventually earning the Nobel Prize. The story of Noyes starts with Arthur Palmer, the indefatigable head of the Department of Chemistry; a specialist on arsenic, he founded the Illinois State Water Survey to enable the department to help the state.

  • Stanley A. Changnon Jr., Illinois State Climatologist and Water Survey chief

  • Lake Forest sewage treatment system, 1910

    Because of its longtime role in helping to ensure Illinoisans have safe drinking water, the Water Survey holds many historic documents and images related to seweage treatment. For example, the Water Survey has plans and photos from the development of the wastewater treatment plant in Lake Forest, Illinois, around 1910. The location on the shoreline of Lake Michigan was the standard approach to treating wastewater at the time.


  • Illinois' oldest official weather records

    In 2012, then-Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel and Lauren Graham, a recent University of Illinois graduate, obtained original weather records from the 1820s and 1830s from the Rock Island Arsenal Museum. These are believed to be the oldest official weather records ever found in Illinois.