Guide to the Walter A. Lawrance papers, 1938-1983, n.d. | MC099

Summary Information

Repository
Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library
Creator
Lawrance, Walter A.
Title
Walter A. Lawrance papers
ID
MC099
Date
1938-1983, undated
Extent
8.5 Linear feet
Language
English
Abstract
The collection contains material related to Walter A. Lawrance's work as a consultant (1943-1946) and as Rivermaster (1947-1978) of the Androscoggin. Lawrance, a professor of Chemistry at Bates College, had the legal authority to control the amount of pollution discharged into the river by the three major paper mills located along it. Included are his annual studies of the river's odor and other qualities, as well as research projects aimed at limiting waste in paper production and removing pollution from the river. Some related correspondence, research and reference material are also available.

Preferred Citation

Walter A. Lawrance papers, Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library, Bates College.

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Historical Note

Walter Albert Lawrance was born in Pimlico Herts, England on September 4, 1894. He grew up in Canada, receiving an A.B. and A.M. from McMaster University in 1916 and 1919 respectively, and a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto in 1921. In 1916, he worked for the Aetna Chemical Company, and from 1920 to 1921, he served as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at McMaster. In 1921, he joined the Department of Chemistry at Bates College, where he remained as Stanley Professor of Chemistry until his retirement in 1965.

Lawrance became a consultant for the State of Maine in 1943 following the first of several lawsuits brought by the state against the International Paper Company in Jay, Maine, the Oxford Paper Company in Rumford, Maine, and the Brown Company in New Hampshire. The state charged that the companies' use of the river to discharge sulfite waste liquor, a by-product of wood pulping process, had resulted in such severe pollution that the river smelled of rotten eggs and caused buildings nearby it to discolor. Lawrance was given the responsibility of developing anti-pollution standards for the river, and thus initiated his annual study of the river's odor and other qualities.

In 1947, the Maine Supreme Court appointed him Rivermaster (later called Administrator) of the Androscoggin River. In this position, Lawrance had the power to restrict not only the amount of waste discharged into the river by the mills, but also their overall production, as previous measures had failed to reduce pollution significantly. In this role, Lawrance worked collaboratively with researchers from each company to determine other means of controlling the problem, including adjusting the water temperature and flow. The group formally became the Androscoggin River Technical Committee in 1948, composed of Lawrance as Chair and two representatives from each of the three paper companies. In 1953, the Committee recommended and the companies adopted pollution standards vastly more stringent than those imposed by the State, and yet the river continued to be one of the most polluted in the country.

A turning point for the river came in 1967 when the International Paper Company converted to the Kraft method of producing paper with Lawrance's encouragement. A German process, this technology allows for the strong waste materials to be burned and only weaker waste to be discharged into the river. The other companies converted by 1977. By this point, voluntary actions, as well as clean-up mandated by Federal laws, such as the Clean Water Act, had resulted in a significantly improved river, so much so that the Androscoggin River Committee was officially disbanded at the end of 1977. Early the following year, the Maine Supreme Court ended the position of Rivermaster, and Lawrance officially retired from his duties. He died in 1987.

Scope and Content Note

The collection documents the efforts of Walter Lawrance to identify, track, and resolve pollution-related problems impacting the Androscoggin River from Gorham, New Hampshire to Lewiston, Maine. The collection is composed of the reports Lawrance made of his annual studies of the river's odor and other qualities beginning in 1943 and continuing through 1977. These reports were based on water samples taken daily from late spring to early fall from hundreds of sampling stations. This work was completed by Lawrance along with several Bates College student assistants and colleagues from the mills and the College.

Also included are the annual reports of his research projects, undertaken from 1946 to 1959 with representatives from the three major paper companies located along the river and done under the auspices of the National Council for Stream Improvement. These projects focused on means of controlling and resolving water pollution, including investigating the river's flow, using sodium nitrate to replenish the water's oxygen, and filtering the waste water. Their encouragement, along with Federal pollution controls, ultimately led the paper companies to adopt the Kraft method for paper production, which resulted in significantly less pollution and a vastly improved river.

The collection also includes Lawrance's related research material, including material documenting similar work he did to improve the Presumpscot River. There is also material about civil defense against biological and chemical weapons, an area in which Lawrance maintained expertise, and a sizable collection of reference material related to water pollution.

Organization and Arrangement

Organized into four series: I. Androscoggin River (including Lawrance's River Studies); II. Correspondence and Research; III. Other Rivers; and IV. Reference Material.

Administrative Information

Publication Information

 Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library

70 Campus Avenue
Lewiston, Maine, 04240
207-786-6354
muskie@bates.edu

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

The collection is the physical property of Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library. Bates College holds literary rights only for material created by College personnel working on official behalf of the College, or for material which was given to the College with such rights specifically assigned. For all other material, literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. Researchers are responsible for obtaining permission from rights holders for publication or other purposes that exceed fair use.

Acquisition and Custody Information

Transferred from the Carpenter Archives, April 2007. Accession No.: 07-019.

Processing Information

Processed by Kat Stefko, April 2007.

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Related Materials

Related Material

Androscoggin River oral history collection, Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library, Bates College.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Bates College (Lewiston, Me.)--Faculty
  • National Council for Stream Improvement

Geographic Name(s)

  • Androscoggin River (N.H. and Me.)

Subject(s)

  • Industries--Environmental aspects
  • Paper mills--Maine
  • Pollution control industry
  • Water--Pollution--Androscoggin River (N.H. and Me.)

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Collection Inventory

 MC099/01 Androscoggin River 1940-1983   6.0 Linear feet

Scope and Content Note

This series contains studies, reports, raw data, and other information primarily documenting pollution and its control in the Androscoggin River. The series is arranged in several subseries reflecting the various efforts of Lawrance and others to study, document, and ultimately improve the river's water quality.

Most significantly, the series contains the annual reports produced by Lawrance from 1943 to 1977 as consultant and the Rivermaster. Additionally, there are his annual project reports produced from 1946 to 1959 for the National Council for Stream Improvement. The need for Lawrance's work, as well as some of the funding to support it, came from the three major paper mills, The Brown Company, The Oxford Paper Company, and The International Paper Company, which discharged unfiltered waste material into the river.

Organization and Arrangement

Organized into five subseries.

 MC099/01.01 Androscoggin River studies 1943-1977   3.5 Linear feet

Scope and Content Note

This series is composed of the unpublished annual reports of the Androscoggin River studies completed by Walter Lawrance and other researchers, known collectively as the Androscoggin River Technical Committee, from 1943 to 1977 (the 1964 report is missing). The earliest report is from 1943 and was dedicated to determining the intensity and cause of the river's nauseous odor in the Lewiston-Auburn area. Daily observations were made from May 19-Sept. 30, 1943, followed by weekly observations in Oct. 1943. The resulting annual report contains information on air temperature, humidity, weather conditions, wind velocity, wind direction, volume over Lewiston Falls, color of the river water, river surface conditions, and the type and intensity of the river odor. Additionally, the report included press coverage on issues relative to the Androscoggin River and pollution control efforts. The study followed a similar model each year, beginning in the early summer and concluding in the early to mid fall.

By 1948, the annual report was expanded to include water, as well as air, quality data. Additionally, attention was given to the use of sodium nitrate as a means of supplying oxygen to the river water. The 1962 annual report includes the "Final Report, Androscoggin River Odor." Subsequent years contain a variety of reports, such as "Lewiston-Auburn General Data," "Androscoggin River and Pool Data," "Mill Pollution to Androscoggin River," "Benthal Activity in the Pool" "Analytical Data," along with the press clippings. The last annual report, produced in 1977, includes a summary of water quality and important achievements in its improvement. The report begins, "Water quality in the Androscoggin river from Berlin, New Hampshire to Rumford (V.B.), Maine, is now the highest in at least thirty-five years. All three waste treatments were in continuous and stabler operation and the effluents contained a very low pollution load."

Lawrance served as Chairman of the Androscoggin River Technical Committee from 1943 to 1977. He was joined by representatives from each of the big three paper mills who used the river. Other known committee members include: Stuart R. Cooper, who served from 1958 to 1977 and represented the Oxford Paper Company and the Boise Cascade Paper Company, Thomas E. Linder, from 1970 to 1977, who represented the International Paper Company, and Earl L. Hanson, from 1974 to 1977, who represented the Brown Company.

Organization and Arrangement

The subseries is arranged in chronological order.

Box Folder

Annual report 1943-1947   

1 1

Annual report 1948   

1 1

Annual report 1949   

1 3

Annual report 1950   

1 4

Annual report 1951   

1 5

Annual report 1952   

1 6

Annual report 1953   

2 1

Annual report 1954   

2 2

Annual report 1955   

2 3

Annual report 1956   

2 4

Annual report 1957   

3 1

Annual report 1958   

3 2

Annual report 1959   

3 3

Annual report 1960   

3 4

Annual report 1961   

3 5

Annual report 1962   

4 1

Annual report 1963   

4 2

Annual report 1965   

4 3

Annual report 1966   

4 4

Annual report 1967   

5 1

Annual report 1968   

5 2

Annual report 1969   

5 3

Annual report 1970   

5 4

Annual report 1971   

6 1

Annual report 1972   

6 2

Annual report 1973   

6 3

Annual report 1974   

7 1

Annual report 1975   

7 2

Annual report 1976   

7 3

Annual report 1977   

7 4

 MC099/01.02 Androscoggin River projects 1946-1959   1.0 linear foot

Scope and Content Note

The series contains unpublished annual reports produced by Walter Lawrance for the National Council for Stream Improvement Inc. describing the results of several research projects. The reports contain information about benthal deposits in the Androscoggin River; the microbial utilization of nutrients in the river under aerobic and anaerobic conditions; the time of passage of pollution from Berlin, N.H. to Lisbon Falls, Maine; suspended solids entering and leaving the pond; and hydrogen sulfide production in the water. Lawrance was assisted in his research by a number of people, including William H. Sawyer, Jr., who did bacteriological research, Donald A. Campbell, and Richard M. Briggs. Each report was also distributed to the three major paper mills.

Organization and Arrangement

The subseries is arranged in chronological order.

Box Folder

Annual report 1946   

8 1

Annual report 1947   

8 2

Annual report 1948   

8 3

Annual report 1949   

8 4

Annual report 1950   

8 5

Annual report 1951   

8 6

Annual report 1952   

9 1

Annual report 1953   

9 2

Annual report 1954   

9 2

Annual report 1955   

9 3

Annual report 1956   

9 4

Annual report 1957   

9 5

Annual report 1958   

9 6

Annual report 1959   

9 7

 MC099/01.03 Raw data 1940-1966   0.25 Linear feet

Scope and Content Note

This subseries includes raw data collected by Lawrance and his associates about water quality of the Androscoggin. Also included is information about the location of the initial 361 water sampling stations in Gulf Island Pond.

Organization and Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically by folder title.

Box Folder

Description of the location of the three hundred sixty one sampling stations in the Androscoggin Pool. July-August 1946   

10 1

Pool. July 31, 1964   

10 2

Pool. Sampling station locations. 1946   

10 3

Test data. 1945   

10 4

Thursday data. 1943 [1948]-1966   

10 5

Untitled. 1940-1947   

10 6

 MC099/01.04 Reports by Lawrance 1943-1978   0.25 Linear feet

Scope and Content Note

This subseries has published and unpublished reports by Lawrance about the Androscoggin River. Included are summary reports of pollution control activities published on the 20th, 23rd, 25th, and 36th anniversary of the Androscoggin River Studies undertaken by the Androscoggin River Technical Committee.

Organization and Arrangement

Arranged in chronological order.

Box Folder

Some Observations on Odor Intensity in the Lewiston-Auburn area. 1943-1947   

10 7

An Investigation to Determine the Retention Time of Pollution in the Androscoggin River and Pond by Measuring the Oxygen Consumed from Potassium Permanganate Solution. 1945   

10 8

Determination of the Time of Passage of Pollution in the Androscoggin River and Pond. September 1948   

10 9

The Addition of Sodium Nitrate to the Androscoggin River. June 1950   

10 10

A Twenty Year Review of Androscoggin River Pollution Control Activities. June 1961   

10 11

A Twenty-Three Year Review of Androscoggin River Pollution Control Activities. April 15, 1964   

10 12

A Twenty-Five Year Review of Androscoggin River Pollution Control Activities. March 15, 1967   

10 13

Androscoggin River Pulp and Paper Industry and Pollution Abatement, 1942-1977. Final Report of the Androscoggin River Technical Committee. Published version. August 1, 1978   

10 14

Androscoggin River Pulp and Paper Industry and Pollution Abatement, 1942-1977. Final Report of the Androscoggin River Technical Committee. Draft. August 1, 1978   

10 15

 MC099/01.05 Reports by others 1942-1983   1.0 linear foot

Scope and Content Note

This subseries is composed of reports about the Androscoggin River compiled or written by people other than Walter Lawrance. Includes information about pollution, sanitary conditions, catalytic oxidation of hydrogen sulfide, sewerage, sewage treatment facilities, fishery management and recreational use. Authors include a number of engineering firms, and state and federal agencies.

Organization and Arrangement

Arranged chronologically.

Box Folder

Campbell, Elmer. Investigation of the Pollution of the Androscoggin River and Remedial Measures. 1942   

11 1

Van Horne, Willis. A Report Representing a Compilation and Classification of Information Concerning the Pollution Problem on the Androscoggin River. 1943   

11 2

Metcalf and Eddy. Sanitary Condition of the Androscoggin River in 1943 and 1944. 1944   

11 3

Metcalf and Eddy. Sanitary Condition of the Androscoggin River in 1945. 1945   

11 4

Velz, C.J. Preliminary Report on Pollution of the Androscoggin River. June 1946   

11 5

Velz, C.J. Second Report on Pollution of the Androscoggin River. December 1946   

11 6

Metcalf and Eddy. Sanitary Condition of the Androscoggin River in 1946 and 1947. 1947   

11 7

Mellon Institute of Industrial Research. Catalytic Oxidation of Hydrogen Sulfide in the Androscoggin River at Lewiston, Maine, June 23 to Sept. 12, 152. 1952   

11 8

Pollution Control Study and Report Group. Androscoggin River Basin (4 versions and related correspondence). 1952-1953   

11 9

Pollution Control Study Group. Draft Revision to Androscoggin River Basin. 1954   

11 10

Chase, E. Sherman. A Twenty-Year Study of Pollution of the Androscoggin River. 1960   

11 11

James S. Minges & Associates. Preliminary Report, Sewerage and Sewage Treatment Facilities, Town of Rumford, Maine. October 1961   

11 12

Report on Androscoggin River, New Hampshire-Maine. August 1962   

12 1

Sidio, A.D. Supplement to Report on Androscoggin River, New Hampshire-Maine. Jan. 1963   

12 2

Federal Power Commission. Androscoggin River Basin, Maine and New Hampshire. July 1963   

12 3

Camp, Dresser & McKee. Report on Sewerage and Sewage Treatment, Lewiston, Maine. October 1963   

12 4

Camp, Dresser & McKee. Report on Sewerage and Sewage Treatment. Auburn Sewerage District, Auburn, Maine. July 1964   

12 5

U.S. Army Engineer Division. Northeast Flood Studies Report on Review of Survey for Flood Control and Allied Purposes Androscoggin River Basin. April 1965   

12 6

State of Maine Water Improvement Commission. Little Androscoggin River Classification Report. 1966   

12 7

State of Maine Water Improvement Commission. Androscoggin River Classification Report. 1966   

12 8

DeRoche, Stuart E. Fishery Management in the Androscoggin River. 1967   

12 9

Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments. Lower Androscoggin River Recreation Study and Management Plan. April 1983   

12 10

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 MC099/02 Correspondence and research 1918, 1948-1967, n.d.   1.0 linear foot

Scope and Content Note

This series contains Lawrance's correspondence and research on a variety of subjects. Included is information about: his work as an expert witness in a lawsuit brought by several property owners in Bristol, New Hampshire against the Franconia Paper Corporation; civil defense against biological and chemical weapons, an area in which he apparently maintained expertise; the Federal Water Pollution Act amendments proposed by Edmund S. Muskie; the S. D. Warren Company and pollution of the Presumpscot River, and various chemical processes and structures. Also included in the series is a commemorative binder given to Lawrance on the occasion of his retirement from Bates College in 1965. Within the binder are congratulatory letters from a variety of former students, professional colleagues, and friends.

Organization and Arrangement

Arranged in alphabetical order by folder title.

Box Folder

Bristol, N.H. re: Franconia Paper Company. 1965-1967   

13 1

Civil defense against biological and chemical weapons. 1961-1964, n.d.   

13 2

Constitution of Certain Polynitro Compounds by Tingle, J. Bishop and Walter A. Lawrance. 1918   

13 3

Federal Water Pollution Act amendments (Muskie bill S. 649) and other legislation. 1963-1964   

13 4

The Microbial Oxidation of Pure Carbohydrate in the Presence of Calcium Lignosulfonate by Lawrance, Walter A. and Henry N. Fukui. December 1956   

13 5

Polarographic Determination of Nitrate by Lawrance, Walter A. and Richard M. Briggs. Undated   

13 6

Sanitary Water Board. 1948-1949   

13 7

S.D. Warren Company and Presumpscot River. 1960-1961   

13 8

Student theses (1 of 2). 1947-1948   

13 9

Student theses (2 of 2). 1948-1949   

13 10

Congratulatory letters (1 of 3). 1965   

13a 1

Congratulatory letters (2 of 3). 1965   

13a 2

Congratulatory letters (3 of 3). 1965   

13a 3

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 MC099/03 Other rivers 1938-1939, 1952-1962, n.d.   0.5 Linear feet

Scope and Content Note

This series contains pollution, odor, and related studies of other rivers beyond the Androscoggin, and includes information about rivers in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, and Maine. Two studies related to pollution of the Presumpscot River were co-authored by Lawrance; the remainder were presumably collected by him for reference purposes.

Organization and Arrangement

The series is arranged in alphabetical order.

Box Folder

Delaware River. Report of Pennsylvania Water Resource Committee. February 1953   

14 1

Fox, East and Green Bay Rivers (WI). Investigation of the Pollution of the Fox and East Rivers and of Green Bay in the Vicinity of the City of Green Bay. (1 of 2) 1938-1939   

14 2

Fox, East and Green Bay Rivers (WI). Investigation of the Pollution of the Fox and East Rivers and of Green Bay in the Vicinity of the City of Green Bay. (2 of 2) 1938-1939   

14 3

Mascoma. Staff Report on Mascoma River Watershed. April 1952   

14 4

Piscataquog. Staff Report on Part of the Piscataquog River Watershed. May 1952   

14 5

Presumpscot. Camp, Dresser & McKee. Report on Presumpscot River Pollution Abatement. June 1, 1960   

14 6

Presumpscot. Lawrance, Walter A. et al. The Presumpscot River Problem. January 28, 1961   

14 7

Presumpscot. Lawrance, Walter A. and R.A. Parmenter. Report on Presumpscot Estuary Odor Abatement. February 23, 1962   

14 8

Saco. Staff Report on Part of the Saco River Watershed. May 1952   

14 9

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 MC099/04 Reference material 1947-1971, n.d.   1.0 linear foot

Scope and Content Note

The series primarily contains publications by the American Chemical Society, the National Council for Stream Improvement, Inc., and the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission. There is also a general section of publications on water pollution produced by a variety of people and organizations.

Organization and Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically by author and then title, with the general section on water pollution filed last.

Box Folder

American Chemical Society. Conference papers. September 3-8, 1961   

15 1

American Chemical Society. Conference papers. September 9-13, 1962   

15 2

American Chemical Society. Conference papers. January 14-16, 1963   

15 3

American Chemical Society. Conference papers. March 31- April 5, 1963   

15 4

American Chemical Society. Conference papers. September 8- 13, 1963   

15 5

National Council for Stream Improvement. Annual report. 1950   

15 6

National Council for Stream Improvement. Annual report. 1971   

15 7

National Council for Stream Improvement. Biennial report. 1961-1962   

15 8

National Council for Stream Improvement. Index to National Council for Stream Improvement releases. 1963   

15 9

National Council for Stream Improvement. Technical Bulletin 8. Sulfite Waste Research Report. Investigation of the Production of Yeast from Sulfite Liquor. April 1947   

15 10

New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission. Annual report. 1959   

15 11

New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission. Annual report. 1962   

15 12

New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission. Annual report. 1963   

15 13

New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission. Annual report. 1970   

15 14

New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission. Industrial Waste Surveys of Two New England Cotton Finishing Mills. June 1953   

15 15

New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission. Industrial Wastes in the New England Interstae Water Pollution Control Compact Area. December 1951   

15 16

New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission. The Occurrence of Copper in Water, Sewage and Sludge and Its Effect on Sludge Digestion. June 1961   

16 1

New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission. Standards of Water Quality. September 14, 1966   

16 2

Water Pollution. Abstracts of Papers. Symposium on Recent Research in the Field of Water, Sewage and Industrial Wastes. June 23-24, 1949   

17 3

Water Pollution. Carr, Donald E. "Death of the Sweet Waters." 1966   

17 4

Water Pollution. Day, G. A. "Magnesium Base Process Summary." December 12, 1955   

17 5

Water Pollution. Dillingham, E.O., D.T. Knuth, and G.E. Wessman. "A Manometric Method for the Rapid, Practical Determination of Biochemical Oxygen Demand." Undated   

17 6

Water Pollution. Guidelines for Establishing Water Quality Standards for Interstate Waters, U.S. Dept. of the Interior. May 1966   

17 7

Water Pollution. The Industrial Wastes Problem: Utilization, Treatment and Disposal of Gases, Liquids and Solids. Undated   

17 8

Water Pollution. International Conference on Water Pollution Research. Pre-registration list. August 24, 1962   

17 9

Water Pollution. Levine, H.S. and O.J. Williams "The Polarographic Determination of Dissolved Oxygen in Dilute Sulfite Waste Liquor." 1953   

17 10

Water Pollution. Mainestream: A Study of How Maine Uses and manages Its Water Resources. March 1960   

17 11

Water Pollution. McKeown, James J. "The Control of Sphaerotilus Natans" Industrial Water and Wastes. May- June 1963   

17 12

Water Pollution. Morris, J. Carrell and Walter J. Weber, Jr. "Discussion of the Paper Removal of Biologically Resistant Pollutants from Waste Waters by Adsorption." 1962   

17 13

Water Pollution. Symposium on Waste-Disposal Problems of Southern Mills. Proceedings. June 1955   

17 14

Water Pollution. Velz, C.J. "Factors Influencing Self-Purification and Their Relation to Pollution Abatement." July 1947   

17 15

Water Pollution. Water in Industry: a Survey of Water Use in Industry by the National Association of Manufacturers and the Conservation Foundation. December 1950   

17 16

Water Pollution. Water Pollution Control. A Seminar. 1965   

17 17

Water Pollution. Water Pollution in the United States. Federal Security Agency. 1951   

17 18

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