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University of California Berkeley 

Berkeley Gazette, October 10, 1 975 

Engineering professor 
McGauhey dies at 71 

8 SKS^Tfy He r ered from teaching 

instructor at Virginia 
Polytechnic Institute while 
earning a civil engineering 
degree there. He taught 
toere until 1951, becoming 
head of the department of 

ined the Berkeley faculty 
His special areas of re^ 
j search included waste 
water reclamation re 
moval of detergents from 
water, water pollution prob 
lems, and solid waste man 

He was a member of 
many organizations con 
cerned with water quality 
In 1950, he received the Ful- 
er Award from the Water 
works Association, and in 

fiW Ed > d r, Award f 

me Water Pollution Control 

He is survived by his 
widow Margo. Funeral ser 
vices will be private 

All uses of this manuscript are covered by a 
legal agreement between the Regents of the University 
of California and P.H. MoGauhey, dated 31 August, 1973. 
The manuscript is thereby made available for research 
purposes. All literary rights in the manuscript, 
Including the right to publish, are reserved to The 
Bancroft Library of the University of California at 
Berkeley. No part of the manuscript may be quoted for 
publication without the written permission of the 
Director of The Bancroft Library of the University of 
California at Berkeley. 

Requests for permission to quote for publication 
should be addressed to the Regional Oral History Office, 
4-86 Library, and should Include identification of the 
specific passages to be quoted, anticipated use of the 
passages, and identification of the user. The legal 
agreement with P.H. MoGauhey requires that he be 
notified of the request and allowed thirty days In which 
to respond. 

The Bancroft Library University of California/Berkeley 

Regional Oral History Office 

P. H. MoGauhey 


With an Introduction by 
Linvil G. Rich 

An Interview Conducted by 
Maloa Chall 


Copy No 
01974 by The Regents of the University of California 

P. H. McOauhey 
ca. 1958 

Photograph by Vernon Tarr, Richmond Field Station 



INTRODUCTION by Linvll G. Rloh 11 




Family Background - Grandparents and Parents 1 

Early Life In Eastern Oregon 5 

Elementary School In One-Room Schoolhouse 5 

High School In La Grande 8 

College In Corvallls 10 

Decision to Teach 12 

Virginia Polytechnic Institute, 1927-1948 14 

Sanatorium Years 17 

The Move to California, 1948 20 

An Attitude Toward Life and Work 22 

Avocations: Photography and Writing 24 

The McGauhey Family and the Homestead Ranch 2? 



Evolution of Sanitary Education Curriculum In 

the United States 31 

Pioneers In the Profession 39 

Evolution of Sanitary Engineering Curriculum at 

Berkeley, 1905-19^5 M 

Development After World War II 43 

The School of Public Health 4? 

Re-evaluation of the Curriculum 49 
Challenges of Developing Problems of Air, 

Land, and Water Pollution 54 
Reorganizing the Curriculum: Advanced Degrees, 

Academic Flexibility 56 


1950-1970 66 

Crisis in Solid Waste Management 66 

The Richmond Field Station 69 

Acquiring the Station 70 

Utilizing the Station 71 

Organizing the Sanitary Engineering Research 

Laboratory (SERL) 74 

Insuring Academic Integrity 76 

P.H. McGauhey Joins an Enlarging Staff, 1951 79 

P.H. McGauhey Appointed Director, 1956 84 
Reorganizing Staffing Patterns and 

Administration 85 

Some Philosophy About Administration 88 

Directing Research 91 

Financing Research 93 

The Value of SERL in Research and Training 95 



Obtaining the Research Grant 100 

Some Criteria for Determining Grants 104 

Techniques of Writing Grant Proposals 115 
Determining Contemporary Environmental 

Research Goals 120 

Some Noteworthy Research at SERL 123 

Solid Waste Management 126 

Solid Waste Defined 126 

Problems of Disposal 131 

Packaging and Recycling 135 

A Look at the Future 145 

Stating the Assumptions 148 

Economic Evaluation of Water 150 

Value Judgments Other than Dollars 152 

Developing the Criteria 156 

Water Quality 160 

Reaction to the First Reports 162 

The 160-acre Limit 163 

Assumptions 167 

San Franolsco Bay Studies 171 

Algal Systems 172 

New Directions in Public Policy 182 

The Results of Research 188 

The Professor and the University Structure 190 

Teaching 195 

Objectives of Education 197 


The Philosophy of Consultation 200 

Some of the Assignments 201 

Kuwait 201 

Israel 2 06 

India 207 

Chile 213 

Lake Tahoe 214 

Wastewater Treatment 220 

Solid Waste Disposal 221 

Hawaii 221 

Writing and Lecturing 223 

Curriculum, Research, and Other Matters 225 


INDEX 256 


The development of sanitary engineering in California since the turn 
of the century is the subject of a series of interviews conducted by the 
Regional Oral History Office of the Bancroft Library under a grant from 
the Water Resources Center of the University of California. 

Hie idea ibr documenting this history was initiated by Henry Ongerth, 
chief of the Bureau of Sanitary Engineering of the California State Depart 
ment of Public Health. In a letter to Professor Arthur Pillsbury, director 
of the Water Resources Center, he suggested that funds be provided to in 
terview Chester Gillespie, the first chief of the Bureau (1915-1 9^7), and 
Professor Charles Oilman Hyde, head of the Department of Sanitary Engineer 
ing on the Berkeley campus from 1905-19^. David Todd, professor of Civil 
Engineering, provided leads for other interviews and the series came to 
fruition. Major funding came from the WRC with some additional assistance 
from the Department of Hydraulic and Sanitary Engineering on the Berkeley 

Mr. Hyde was not well enough to interview, but Chester Gillespie, 
Wilfred Langelier (chemist and water purification specialist UCB 1916-1955), 
and Percy H. McGauhey (director of the Sanitary Engineering Research Labora 
tory, UCB, 1956-1969) did tape their memoirs. As a result there is on record 
information about administration, teaching, and research in sanitary engineer 
ing from 1905-1971, a period which spans the time when the major emphasis 
of the sanitary engineer was prevention of typhoid fever, to today, when con 
cern is with prevention and control of pollution of the total environment. 

These interviews have benefited greatly from the expert advice and 
assistance of Henry Ongerth and professors David Todd, Erman Pearson, and 
Robert Selleck. 

The Regional Oral History Office was established to tape record auto 
biographical interviews with persons prominent in recent California history. 
The Office is under the administrative supervision of James D. Hart, di 
rector of The Bancroft Library. 

Willa Baum, Head 
Regional Oral 
History Office 

22 February 1971 
Regional Oral History Office 
Room ^86, The Bancroft Library 
University of California 
Berkeley, California 



In the kaleidoscope of one's memories, most people appear 
and disappear In association with a bewildering Jumble of 
events and associations. They leave memories that reach no 
further than the events and experiences with which they are 
associated. Here and there, however, certain people step out 
of the time continuum and establish a presence that transcends 
these associations. They make their Introduction, they create 
vivid memories and then they remain to exercise a continuing 
Influence. P. H. McGauhey Is such a person. 

Mack McGauhey has many accomplishments to his credit. As 
an educator, he has worked diligently for the elevation of 
standards In the teaching of sanitary engineering. As a 
researcher, he has contributed to the technology of water and 
waste treatment. As an engineer, he has served his profession 
In many capacities. But, as significant as these accomplish 
ments are, they stand short In comparison with his greatest 
accomplishment- -the enrichment of the lives of countless 
graduate students who were fortunate enough to have known him. 
A broad fraternity of us exists who are In debt to Mack, both 
personally and professionally. Some of us were attracted to 
careers In sanitary engineering as a result of having had Mack 
as a teacher. Others made It through the rugged trek of 
graduate study only because Mack cared. And, doubtlessly, 
there are those of us who attained their professional niche only 
because of a recommendation (too charitable, perhaps) that he 
had provided. 

My own memory kaleidoscope Include the following vignettes 
with Mack: the first dinner In a professor's home; a search 
by match light below a sewer outfall late one night for mint 
to garnish our juleps; water sampling forays as an excuse for 
sun bathing and tale telling; Mack's sponsorship in the 
hospitality rooms at the first professional meeting; week-end 
explorations of the Mother Lode country, Reno, Yosemite, Lassen, 
etc. ; the introduction to rum drinks with exotic names like the 
Missionary's Downfall, the Shark's Tooth, and the Vicious 
Virgin; and the mornings after. 

Then, too, Mack has a way with words and phrases, both 
sense and nonsense. A "slow leak" to describe a time-wasting 
activity or "I feel more like I do now than when I first came in" 


to describe an over-indulged dinner. His llmerioks, though 
classic had best not be repeated here. Oh yes Mack is the 
only person I know who "gave church up for Lent and never went 
back. " 

The best way to describe Mack is that he is a humanist 
with class. It is the humanist in him that touches people. 
It is the class that makes him an institution. 

Llnvll G. Rich, 
Environmental Systems 


Clemson, South Carolina 



Percy McGauhey was Interviewed by the Regional Oral 
History Office in order to document the founding and subsequent 
work of the Sanitary Engineering Research Laboratory as well 
as other developments In the field of sanitary engineering. 

Sanitary engineering Is not a subject likely to Inspire 
excitement among many people, but translated as environmental 
engineering and brought Into focus as near at hand as the dally 
paper, It becomes a fascinating scientific discipline even to 
the average man. When this topic Is explained by someone as 
articulate, reflective, and deeply committed as Professor 
McGauhey, who combines these qualities with a balanced perspec 
tive on life and a capital sense of humor, much stimulation 
can be generated about a facility simply called a Sanitary 
Engineering Research Laboratory. 

On June 30 1969 Percy MoGauhey retired from the faculty 
of the University of California as Emeritus Professor of 
Sanitary Engineering and Public Health. One year later he was 
still diligently carrying on his customary full seven-day-a- 
week work schedule, completing research, writing reports and 
articles for Journals, and undertaking new consulting assign 
ments. Into this already over-crowded calendar he quite 
characteristically agreed to set aside time for an additional 
item the oral history interview. 

Pour taping sessions, each approximately two and one-half 
hours long, were held in his office at the Sanitary Engineering 
Research Laboratory in Richmond, California on July 16, July 25 
September 1?, 1970, and September 11, 1971. SERL had been his 
chief base of operations from the time he Joined the staff as 
research engineer in 1951 one year after the laboratory was 
organized, through 1969, the last thirteen years of which he 
functioned as its director. 

In 1971 it seemed that everyone in the United States was 
concerned about air and water pollution, solid waste management, 
and the many other aspects of environmental quality and degrada 
tion which had been undergoing rigorous scientific study at SERL 
since 1950. The object of the four interviews was to obtain 
from Professor MoGauhey a first-hand account of the origin and 

development of SERL, its relationships both to the University's 
engineering department and to the general community outside of 
aoademia, something about the research undertaken during the 
lab's dynamic twenty year history, and in the course of the 
telling thereof, to learn some of the pertinent details of 
Professor McGauhey's education and career. 

The major topics to be covered in each taping session were 
agreed upon in advance by Professor MoGauhey and the interviewer 
who then submitted to him prior to each appointment a general 
outline of the more specific items planned for discussion. He, 
in turn, prepared notes to insure that he brought out the many 
points he considered germane. 

When it came time for him to review the edited and chaptered 
transcripts of the taped Interviews which were sent to him in 
April 1972, Professor MoGauhey felt that he had not dealt 
thoroughly or clearly enough with some matters and decided, 
therefore, to amplify those portions which he thought he had 
neglected. Because of his skill as an author of scientific 
articles, as well as of poetry and humorous essays, the additions 
fit perfectly into the transcriptions and have improved immeasur 
ably the manuscript as a research tool. The kind of wisdom 
Imparted throughout this volume on so many aspects of life and 
education cannot be defined in a table of contents or an index. 
Neither can the wry humor so characteristic of Professor 
MoGauhey' s form of expression. The memoir is replete with these 
aspects of his personality as well as with his grasp of facts 
and his sense of history. 

Even while reviewing the transcript he kept up with other 
assignments, some of which included travel to Hawaii, Seattle, 
and other sections of the country. In the summer of 1973 he 
suffered a bout with Illness which circumscribed his activities 
for a short time. Nonetheless, this slightly-built man with 
his tremendous stamina and recuperative powers was soon hard at 
work again. By October, 1973 he had completed his editing and 
returned the oral history manuscript to this office for 

Professor MoGauhey 's honors and awards were not discussed 
during the Interviews. It is appropriate therefore to record 
here two distinguished awards. In 1971 Utah State University 
at Logan, Utah awarded him an honorary doctorate for contributions 
to the profession and science of water resources. In January, 
1973 he was elected to membership In the National Academy of 


Engineering for "oreativeness and leadership in environmental 
engineering in water, wastewater, solid wastes, and recycling." 
This is recognized as one of the highest honors that can be 
awarded an American engineer. 

As these honors indicate, and as the reader will quickly 
recognize, Professor MoGauhey represents not only a model of a 
professor, research scientist, and engineer, but the type of 
individual now being paid homage during this country's 
bicentennial celebration: a descendant of pioneer Americans 
who took literally the promise of the American dream, and who 
achieved it through the application of strenous physical labor 
and a never-ending quest for education and excellence. 

Maloa Ghall 

21 February 19 7^ 

486 The Bancroft Library 

University of California at Berkeley 






Born: Ritter, Oregon, January 20. 1904 
Marital Status; Married 1928; no children 


B.S. (Civil Engineering) Oregon State University, June 1927 

C.E. (Equivalent M.S.) Virginia Polytechnic Institute, June 1929 

M.S. (Hydraulic & Sanitary Engineering) Univ. of Wisconsin, Sept. 1941 

D.Sc. (honorary) Utah State University, June 1971 
Scholastic Honor Socities; 

Tau Beta Pi Phi Kappa Phi 

Sigma Tau Sigma Xi 

Omicron Delta Kappa Chi Epsilon 

Delta Omega 
Professional & Technical Socities; 

American Society of Civil Engineers 
President, Virginia Section, 1951 

President, Sanitary Engineering Division, San Francisco Section, 1955 
National Committee of Refuse Collection & Disposal, 1954 - date 
Member Research Committee, Sanitary Engineering Section, 1961 - date 
Member numerous local section committees, 1947 - date 
Chairman, SED Program Committee for Salt Lake Conference, 1964 

Chairman, SED Solid Wastes Research Conference, Milwaukee, 1967 
Chairman, Task Committee on Environmental Research, 1971 

American Water Works Association; 

Chairman, Virginia Section, 1945 

Chairman, Purification Division, California Section, 1956 

Member, Executive Committee, California Section, 1961 - 1965 

Chairman, Visiting Engineers Committee, 1963 

Member, numerous local section committees, 1947 - date 

Water Pollution Control Federation: 

Member, Board of Control, 1961 - 1964 
Member, Research Committee, 1952 - 1965 

California Water Pollution Control Association: 

Executive Committee, East Bay Section, 1954 - 1957 

President, 1959 

Member, Executive Committee, 1957 - 1965 

Member, numerous local section committees, 1953 - date 

Inter-American Association of Sanitary Engineers; 


National Society of Professional Engineers, 1958 - 1969 
Executive Committee, Contra Costa Chapter, 1958 - 1960 

American Public Health Association: 

American Society of Limnology & Oceanography; 

American Society of Engineering Education: 

American Academy of Environmental Engineers (Diplomate) 
American Association of Professors in Sanitary Engineering 

Richmond Engineers Club. President 1961; 1970 
Professional Registration: 

Certified Professioal Engineer, State of Virginia, Cert. No. 643 
C,E. member, Virginia State Board, 1947 - 1951 

Registered Civil Engineer, State of California. Cert. No. 7814 


Fuller Award, American Water Works Association, 1950 

Harrison Prescott Eddy Medal, WPCF, 1960 

Distinguished Service Award, Nat. Clay Pipe Institute, 1964 

Service Award, Calif. Water Pollution Control Ass'n., 1966 

Outstanding Service Award, Calif. Water Pol. Control Ass'n., 1968 

Gordon Maskew Fair Medal, WPCF, 1969 

Honorary Member, Inst. of g olid Wastes, APWA, 1970 



Virginia Polytechnic Institute 

1927-30: Instructor in Civil Engineering 
1930-37: Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering 
1937-42: Associate Professor of Sanitary Engineering 
1942-48: Professor of Sanitary Engineering 
1950-51: Head, Department of Civil Engineering 

University of Southern California 

1948-50: Professor of Sanitary Engineering 

University of California (Berkeley) 

1951-57: Research Engineer & Lecturer in Sanitary Engineering 
1957-69: Professor of Sanitary & Public Health Engineering and 

Director, Sanitary Engineering Research Laboratory 
1957-63: Chairman, Division of Hydraulic & Sanitary Engineering 
1963-65: Chairman, Department of Civil Engineering 
1969 - : Professor & Director Emeritus 


1930-37: Engaged in research in field of hydrology, mostly concerned 
with long-range rainfall-runoff relationships, analysis of 
storms that have caused great floods, and prediction of flood 



1937-' J 8: Directed and conducted research studies of various aspects of 

stream pollution, paper mill wastes, movement of pollution through 
reservoirs, efficiency of sewage treatment plants, etc. 

1951-57: Research Engineer and Assistant Director, Sanitary Engineering 

Research Laboratory, Univ. of California with particular interest 
in ground-water recharge, pollution travel in soils, and solid waste 

1957-69: Research Engineer and Director of SERL, Univ. of California with 
administrative responsibility for development and operation of an 
organized research unit involving staff and student research in 
air, water, and land environmental control problems. Served as 
principal investigator on projects related to ground water recharge, 
detergents, septic tank percolation fields, water economics, water 
treatment, and solid wastes management. 

1966-69; Principal investigator of multi-discipline research project on 
Comprehensive Studies of Solid Waste Management. 

Professional and Consulting 

1927: (Summer) U.S. Bureau of Public Roads on Highway location 

1930: (Summer) Topographer, Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Co. 

1929-1935: Designed reinforced concrete structures, including major 

building for Va. Poly. Institute. Designed and constructed small 
rock fill dam and power plant; laid out and supervised construction 
of numerous drives, walks, sewer and water lines; made feasibility 
studies and preliminary design of water supply and treatment works. 

1937: Carried out numerous small consulting assignments in the field of 

sanitary engineering, including water supply, waste water treatment, 
stream and ground water pollution, and refuse disposal. 

19U6-'i8: Served as General ISngineer on design and construction of sewage 
disposal plant, pumping station, and outfall sewer for Va. Poly. 
Inst. and Town of BlackiVburg, Va. 

1951: Sanitary engineer for various local groups developing a recreational 
state park on Claytor Reservoir in Virginia. 

1958: Special Consultant to Kuwait Oil Company in Arabia on public health 
engineering problems. 

1957: Special Consultant to U.S. Public Health Service on studies of 
failure of septic tank percolation systems, 

1959: Special Consultant to Building Research Advisory Board, Nat. 
Science Foundation. 

1960-date: Special Consultant, U.S. Public Health Service and Bureau of 
Solid Waste Management. 

1960-date: Chairman, Board of Coneultantn, Lake Tahoe Area Council. 

196?: Special Consultant, Bechtel Corp. on groundwater recharge. 

1962: Special Consultant, Ford Foundation on engineering education In Chile. 

1963,1965: Sanitary engineering consultant on water reclamation, AID, Israel. 

Consultant, Sanitary Engineering Education, AID, India. 
1965: Consultant, Calif. State Water Quality Control Board. 
1966,1970: Consultant on solid vaster,, Calif. State Dept. Public Health. 
1965-66: Consultant, Utah State University, Water Resources Institute 
1967: Consultant on storm runoff damage, County Court, Contra Costa Co. 

1968 : Consultant; 

Walt E. Disney Enterprises (wastes management at Disney World Fla.) 
District of Columbia (waste water treatment) 
Nat. Acad. of Science, NRS-NAE, (solid waste policy planning) 
New Mexico State University (water resources institute) 

1969.1971: Consultant (.project by project basis) 

Engineer ing -Science Inc. (various assignments) 

TRW Systems (solid wastes management) 

Aerojet-General Corp. (solid wastes management) 

City of Escondido, Calif, (wastewater reclamation and disposal) 

City of San Francisco, Calif, (wastewater treatment and disposal) 

Boyle Engineers (wastewater disposal) 

State Dept. Public Health (solid wastes planning) 

Calif. Water Resources Center (research program planning) 

Consoer-Bechtel (water quality studies of South S.F. Bay) 

Brown and Caldwell (water reclamation, Contra Costa Co.) 

Consoer and Townsend (waste water treatment) 

Environmental Engineers (project development) 

Utah State University (wuter resources research development) 

Loyola University (educational program development) 

Uniconsult Inc. (sludge disposal and water pollution) 

University of Hawaii (research project development) 

1971 - 1972 Consultant (project by project basis) 

Utah State Univ. (water resources research development) 
University of Hawaii (30% time, consultant on Sea Grant Program) 
State of Wisconsin (Chairman, Bd. Engr. Consultants (solid waste)) 
G.E. Tempo (consultant on groundwater quality and monitoring) 
Brown & Caldwell (consultant, state water resource studies) 
CH2M-Hill (Metro Seattle solid waste management program) 
Kennedy Engineers (Corps of Engrs. Spokane River Basin studies) 
PBQ & D (land disposal of reclaimed water, Corps of Engrs.) 
City of San Francisco (Chairman, technical Advisory Board 
Lake Tahoe Area Council ( Ch. Bd. of Consult., & project director) 
Bechtel Corp. (South Bay wastewater disposal studies) 
Carollo Engineers (Waste water disposal, Orange County) 
City of Escondido (wastewater disposal and groundwater recharge) 
Campbell Estates (Hawaii) (solid waste disposal project) 
City of Santa Barbara (review of water reclamation planning) 
Colorado State University (consultant on engineering research) 


Chall: You've been sitting at the top of an Important 
Institution for many years. How did you arrive 
where you are? 

MoGauhey: I am certain that the route one follows to get from 
where he starts to where he finishes depends a 
great deal on probability or ohanoe. But one of 
the principal factors in my case, I would say, is 
that I was fortunate to have parents who wanted 
their children to get an education, and were deter 
mined to give them such an opportunity if they 
showed interest and capacity In learning. Thus the 
ohanoe which brought me to Berkeley began with the 
chance to set out on the type of road which might 
lead in such a direction. 

Family Background - Grandparents and Parents 

MoGauhey: I was born on January 20, 1904 on my mother's homestead 
in the community of Ritter Hot Springs, Oregon. 
Hitter is in the dry cattle ranch country some seventy 
miles south of Pendleton; between Pendleton and John 
Day. This country In the early 1900s was still in 
a pioneer state, even though much of the world at 
that time had entered the age of the railroad. Our 
ranch was fifty-five miles from the railroad and the 
"wagon roads" which connected the two were spectacular 
for other reasons than ease of transportation. So 
we had to raise stock for a cash crop. Anything that 
couldn't walk to market was not going to get there 
in any worth while quantity on any predictable 
schedule. This meant that we had to do general farming 

MoGauhey: In order to grow feed for the stock, and to raise 
stock In order to make a living. The combination 
of stock raising and farming, I must say, Is a very 
nagged operation requiring the full attention and 
work effort of the entire family. But, then, my 
parents came from an ancestry to which work was a 
virtue rather than a stranger. 

My mother was Swiss. She was born In the 
State of Missouri but her parents both came from the 
same village Just outside of Bern, Switzerland. They 
met In Iowa at the age of fifteen. I never knew my 
maternal grandparents. For one thing, they lived In 
Santa Clara, California. In terms of time, the 
distance from our ranch to Santa Clara was somewhat 
greater than from the Earth to the Moon In 1972. 

Chall: What were the name of your grandparents? 

McGauhey: Grandfather's name was John Senn, and grandmother's 
-maiden name was Anna Blooh. John Senn died from 
Injuries resulting from a runaway team of horses he 
had hitched to a hay wagon. This may have been before 
I was born, as grandmother survived him for several 
years and I can only dimly remember when mother 
learned of her passing. I was probably about three 
years old at the time. 

My father was of Scotch-Irish and English 
extraction. His ancestors were adventurers who came 
to North America about as soon as the continent was 
opened. My paternal grandfather grew up in the 
vicinity of St. Joseph, Missouri Agency, Missouri 
may have been his birthplace. Prom there he drove 
ox teams down the Old Oregon Trail, hauling freight 
to the Pacific Coast. He met and married my grand 
mother, Eliza Simmons, in St. Joseph. She had gone 
there to live with a married sister after the Civil 
War disrupted their established home in Mount Airy, 
North Carolina. Thereafter, she lived always at or 
beyond the frontier until it reached the Pacific; 
always on the move until the final years when she and 
grandfather lived with us. Grandfather was a restless 
man. My father always said that if anyone lived 
within sixty miles of grandfather, he felt the country 
was getting too settled up, and moved on a rather 
interesting commentary on today's environmental 

MoGauheyi As a result of grandfather's migratory Instincts 
the family headed by David Sidney McGauhey, my grand 
father, moved often and my father grew up in an 
impressive sequence of places. He was born in 
Hiawatha, Kansas and several of his early homes were 
in western Kansas where ill-timed hot winds, hail 
storms, "cyclones, M and prairie fires had a way of 
freeing the settler from his commitment to the land. 
Charles Sidney McGauhey, my father, was the youngest 
of four children. He had vivid memories of the 
family's move to Colorado when he was a small child, 
probably because the wagon in which he was riding 
upset in a spectacular fashion. That was In Indian 
days when Colorado was essentially beyond the 
frontier. There roving bands of Indians were 
constantly present Intent upon stealing the livestock. 
Often they killed a family of settlers even though 
the tribes themselves might not be generally on the 
"warpath. " Grandmother told me in later years that 
day after day when grandfather was away from home 
she did not dare build a fire in the oookstove lest 
Indians know they were there and possibly come to do 
them harm. 

Prom Colorado the family moved to North Platte, 
Nebraska. There grandfather stayed longer than 
usual and my father got a few years of elementary 
schooling. They lived across the road from Bill 
Cody, the famous Buffalo Bill. Father loved to ride 
horses, especially bucking horses which to him was 
like sitting in a rooking chair. He really loved 
horses. So as a teen-ager he broke a good many 
saddle horses for Bill Cody. When Cody took his 
Wild West Show to England he wanted father to go 
along. My father declined the opportunity because, 
as he told me later, he was afraid to cross the ocean. 
He had, of course, never seen the ocean and, I 
suppose, shared with other humans some fear of the 
unknown. However, he left home to work as a cowboy 
In Nebraska and Wyoming, and within two years he 
came to California and Joined the marines. He then 
went down to Central America and saw a good deal of 
the ocean before he got back and left the Marine 
Corps Just prior to the Spanish American War. 

My mother, Mary Ann Senn, was born in Tipton, 
Missouri in 18?0. When she was six years old the 
Senn family moved to California and mother started 

MoGauhey: her schooling here in the town of Cottonwool. Later 
the family moved to the Santa Clara Valley where 
most of its members stayed the remainder of their 
lives. It was a large family; four sons and eight 
daughters. Mother was one of the two who eventually 
moved to Oregon. Her oldest brother, Fred Senn, 
went there first and bought a cattle ranch. He 
homesteaded some land and bought up a lot of adjacent 
land as homesteaders got title to their homesteads; 
then sold them and moved on in search of a better 
life. Thus my uncle acquired a fairly large cattle 
ranch in eastern Oregon. My mother was unmarried 
when she went to visit her brother in Oregon. He 
persuaded her to homestead land next to his ranch. 

At about that time my father was working in the 
Sacramento Valley for Walter Pierce, who in later 
years became Governor of Oregon and went on to the 
U.S. Congress. Pierce was one of a group of men 
from eastern Oregon who were trying to extend their 
wheat growing activities into the dry areas of 
California. My father was operating a harvest crew 
for Pierce and had no particular reason to stay in 
California; so he went along with his employer to 
continue the harvest in eastern Oregon. There he 
worked for a series of ranchers, gravitating to my 
uncle's ranch, I suspect, because he had more wild 
horses than anybody in the West. Anyway, if there 
were any wild horses to ride it was inevitable that 
my father would get into the act. When the Boer War 
came along, horse buyers seeking mounts for the 
British calvary appeared in eastern Oregon. The only 
requirement for a horse to be acceptable was that It 
had been ridden at least once for a distance of about 
one hundred yards. My father rode some 1500 horses 
through this yardage, and enjoyed every minute of it. 
In later years he often wondered how the British 
cavalry faired on such mounts, and what the effect 
might have been on the outcome of the war. 

While working for my uncle, my father met my 
mother. They were married on Christmas Day in 1900 
and settled on mother's homestead, although father 
continued to work for other ranchers and other 
employers to make their livelihood. When I was four 
years old and mother had title to her land, father 
took up a homestead and we moved into a new house he 

MoGauhey: built on the site. Subsequently, my paternal grand 
parents came to live with us. After grandfather 
died, in 1913* grandmother homesteaded land adjoining 
father's and lived alone in a small house a few 
hundred yards from ours. 

There was quite a lot of open range in those 
days. So with a few hundred acres and an open 
range, you could handle stock in scale with your 
ability to raise feed for them. Therefore, we stayed 
on there farming and ranching until the time had come 
when my sister and I were ready for high school. But 
in this kind of environment you couldn't make enough 
money to send children away to high school; and grand 
mother had two years yet to live on her land before 
she could "prove up" on it and acquire title to it. 

Early Life in Eastern Oregon 

Elementary School in One-Room Schoolhouses 

Challs You had to go away to high school; but what about 
the elementary education? 

MoGauhey We owned land in two separate school districts the 
Hitter and the Three-Mile District. When I entered 
elementary school each of these districts had a one- 
room sohoolhouse and about thirty to forty children 
in attendance, although by the time I reaolWthe 
eighth grade the numbers had dwindled to about a 
dozen each. At first my sister and I rode four miles 
to the Hitter school during the fall months. Then 
when the snow and cold of winter came, mother lived 
with us at the Hitter Hot Springs and we walked with 
other children a mile or so, vertically, to the school 
house. Meanwhile, my father and grandmother looked 
after the ranch. We did this for only two years. 

After that, when I was eight years old, we 
transferred to the Three-Mile school which was nearer 
to our house. We then had only three miles to ride. 
I might explain that these two three-mile figures 
were unrelated. The school district was named for its 

MoGauhey: location on the headwaters of Three-Mile Creek. 
The name of the oreek, and of several others, 
designated its approximate distance upstream from 
the Junction of the Middle Pork and the North Pork 
of the John Day River. Our three miles were a 
matter of geography, but I may say they were country 
miles, and country miles bear somewhat the same 
relation to a statute mile as a British Imperial 
gallon does to our gallon. 

Challr When you said ride, you meant ride on horses? 

McGauhey: Yes. We rode horses to school because in those time 
no rancher with any self respect walked farther than 
necessary to catch a horse. But there was also the 
matter of severe weather. Small children make 
limited progress through knee-deep unbroken snow. 
There was also real danger from rabid coyotes and 
dogs, as well as from bulls and a considerable variety 
of wild animals capable of generating considerable 
anxiety in children traveling on foot. 

As to the weather, it was often colder than a 
witch's heart when we set off for school. Our route 
was up dark canyons where the sun reached only at 
mid-day. We always beat the sun anyway. My mother 
being Swiss and very energetic was up early, living 
up to all the traditions of the Swiss, including 
their consciousness of time. She was fearful that 
we would be late for school a crime you can't explain 
to people in 1972 so we got off early. The result 
was that we got to school always before the teacher, 
who was like as not to be late. There we would have 
to build a fire in the stove and try to get thawed 
out before school started. 

But I started out to speak to the point of my 
elementary education rather than of the rigors of 
pioneer life. As I reflect upon the teachers in 
those old one-room schools I must conclude that they 
did a pretty good Job. I think they did surprisingly 
well in handling eight grades in one group. It 
wasn't all bad because in a one-room school you learn 
a lot by osmosis during the recitation period of the 
higher grades. The level of education of our teachers 
was not high; eighth grade, or occasionally one or 
two years of high school. I often wonder, however, 
how many courses in education would be required today 

MoGauhey: to qualify a teacher to do as well as my mentors 
in the one-room school. 

In ours there were a lot of children I 
shouldn't say a lot but some, at least, that were 
not notably endowed and did not learn much. Part 
of this was the result of family attitudes, hence 
the kids from many of the farms and ranches would 
come to school only when there wasn't anything else 
to do. Come spring plowing time they would drop 
out of school and perhaps not appear again until 
the fall harvest was over. Thus they might be 
nineteen years old and still in the eighth grade. 
Some quit by the time they were twenty and never 
finished the eighth. They simply grew big enough 
that the biggest seat in the school room was too 
small for them. They they gave up and spent all 
their time at farming. 

I was at the other extreme because in our home 
schooling came first. At least it was sandwiched 
in between the morning and the evening chores. I 
finished the eighth grade when I was twelve years 
old. I learned to read when I was four because my 
sister started school then. She was less than 
two years older than I and in the Isolation of ranch 
life we grew up quite close to each other. So when 
she started to school, setting off with a new primer, 
I was anxious to have a primer also. My brother was 
still a baby Just about learning to walk, and so I 
was pretty lonesome. The folks got me a primer and 
a slate, and being both unlettered and lonely, I 
followed mother about as she worked, making the 
inquiries necessary to learn to read. 

Chall: There were Just three of you then. 

MoGauhey t Yes, Just three. My sister, Dorothy, and my brother, 
David, and myself. 

By the time I was six years old I could read the 
newspaper although I didn't know what It meant; I 
don't yet, but nevertheless, I could read the words. 
I learned to write on my slate, which was a standard, 
if noisy, appurtenance to schooling in my day. In 
arithmetic I did all the routines they taught through 
the third grade before I went to school. Later when 
I was in the sixth grade I worked the arithmetic 
problems for the eighth graders, but I was no 


McGauhey: mathematical genius. In between I recall many 
evenings fighting both sleepiness and such 
problems as the number of tons of hay in an oval- 
topped haystack. 

The result of my "thirst for knowledge" was 
that when I started to school there wasn't anything 
for me to do in the first or second grades. The 
teacher tried for a while to find something to get 
me occupied. Finally, he decided upon the third 
grade and I found something challenging to do. Thus 
by the time I was twelve years old I had finished 
the eighth grade. 

As I mentioned before, my sister and I had two 
years to wait before high school was possible because 
of the residence problem Involved with grandmother's 
homestead. The first year we went to the school 
regularly as before, and the teacher, who had a good 
high school education, taught us algebra, physical 
geography, and English. The next year we didn't go 
to school at all. World War I was at its height and 
ranch help was scarce. I took on a full load of 
ranch activities, and did some riding to look after 
range stock belonging to a neighbor who had bought 
my uncle's ranch. Then in 1918, before World War I 
came to an end, my father leased his ranch and we 
moved to La Grande, Oregon. There my sister and I 
entered high school and father went to work for the 
railroad; and later for a bridge company, as a 
carpenter. Grandfather had been a carpenter and 
cabinet maker, and father was likewise an excellent 
carpenter and violin maker. He could make almost 
anything with hand tools in metal, or wood, or 
leather. He had a good mathematical mind, although 
he did not have a lot of formal schooling by the 
standards of today. 

High School in La Grande 

Chall: The family moved so that you could go to high school? 
The three of you? 

MoGauheyi Only my sister and I were ready for high school in 
1918. We moved on to Gorvallls to go to college by 

MoGauheyr the time my brother was ready for high school. 

When we moved to La Grande it was a railroad 
division point and a sawmill town. Its population 
was 60 percent Mormon and 30 percent Catholic. The 
other 10 percent each had its own church, it seems. 
Public schools were supported by the Mormons; the 
private schools by the Catholics. There was con 
siderable rivalry between the two. Moreover, the 
town was not poor in those days because of the big 
sawmills, the railroad payroll, and a prosperous 
farming country as well. The result of all these 
factors was that La Grande had excellent schools. 
Looking back, I think that the only Instance of a 
less than competent teacher in all my high school 
classes was that of a young woman whose specialty 
was typing and shorthand, but who was required to 
teach plane geometry one semester. I later studied 
typing under her guidance, by the way, and learned 
a skill that has been invaluable to me throughout 
the years. 

She learned some geometry before the semester 
was over from a combination of my sister and me and 
one of my boyhood pals in high school. For the 
first month the three of us were totally puzzled. 
We didn't have the slightest idea what plane geometry 
was all about, and neither did the teacher. But 
suddenly it dawned on us. Thereafter, plane geometry 
seemed too obvious to require more than a single 
perusal. When this happy day arrived, the teacher 
would send one of the three of us to the blackboard 
to explain whatever proposition was assigned for the 
day. This helped us a great deal in our later 
teaching careers and it got the teacher through the 

High school filled in a deficiency carried over 
from our elementary school days a deficiency in 
knowledge of the structure of the language. Grammar 
was a subject assigned in the sixth or eighth grades. 
I was about to say that it was taught in those 
grades, but that would be an exaggeration of fact. 
Our one-room school teachers were, as I previously 
noted, not highly educated and as the gap between 
my ignorance and the teacher's ignorance narrowed, 
as it did in the upper grades, the feedback was 
minimal. For example, the teacher would tell us by 


MoGauheyt rote that an adjective modifies a noun, but "modify" 
didn't mean anything to either the teaoher or pupil. 
So we did a certain amount of parroting and passed 
the grammar course, our errors probably undetected. 
This does not mean that we did not use correct 
English. Reading had taught us to use language but 
we didn't know the rules. 

However, the high school requirement that we 
study a foreign language for two years was Just what 
we needed. My sister and I elected Spanish because 
we were oriented to the language by what my father 
had learned in Central America. In those days you 
began language study with an in-depth examination 
of its grammar. So we learned grammar in Spanish 
and translated it back from Spanish to English. 

All the time I was in high school I kept my 
horses but had little time for riding as I worked 
every evening on a popcorn stand and every night in 
a movie house. In summers I worked. In the sawmills 
or in the fruit orchards to make the money for 
clothing and books. But as the time approached for 
going off to college both my father and I sold our 
horses and never owned one again, although we rode 
from time to time throughout the years. 

College in Corvallis 

McGauhey: I decided that I wanted to be a civil engineer so 

early in life that I cannot trace the origin of the 
idea. I doubt that I had much idea what a civil 
engineer does, but I had one time been in contact 
with a surveyor. The persistent rumor that a county 
road was to be built brought a survey party through 
our ranch and the men stayed at our house for a while. 
The road never materialized, partly because the 
county surveyor contracted Rooky Mountain spotted 
fever and died and the whole project fell through. 
Anyway, I came along with the notion that I wanted 
to study civil engineering. I was offered a 
scholarship to attend Whitman College in Walla Walla, 
Washington where I might study music or possibly 
science. But I didn't get started in music early 


McGauheyr enough and I felt I would never make It in that 

Challt What music were you interested in? 

MoGauhey: The violin. I took violin lessons throughout my 

high school years and played in the school orchestra. 
Then I had a small dance orchestra in college, and 
a chamber music and beer-drinking society in later 
years. I had a lot of fun and I still enjoy playing 
music, but it was my Judgement that I didn't have 
the fire-power to do it well enough. Besides, the 
desire to be a civil engineer had been around a long 
time before I thought of any alternative, so we 
decided that I should go to what was then the Oregon 
Agricultural College (now Oregon State University) 
at Corvallis. 

By that time my father had become the principal 
partner in a leather shop in La Grande. He was an 
excellent leather worker, among his many talents, 
and he taught us a lot of the techniques. La Grande, 
however, is not the warmest spot on earth In the 
winter; thirty below zero was common in those years. 
The houses were indifferently heated with stoves 
and the wind scarcely slowed down as it passed through 
the old house we had rented. Therefore, father and 
mother decided the family might as well move to 
Corvallis. "If you all are going to college, we might 
as well too," he said. And so we moved to Corvallis. 

My sister and I were ready for college at the 
same time. We had been in the same grade since the 
third grade and so continued until our senior year 
in college when I began the summer with an appendectomy 
and was unable to earn the money for the coming fall. 

When we got to Corvallis, my father, who by that 
time was sole owner of the leather shop, opened it 
for a while; then closed it and went to work for the 
county, again as a carpenter on bridge construction. 
But after four or five years he opened the shop again 
and kept it in operation until at the age of sixty-eight 
he closed it and retired. 

Challt What type of leather goods did he make? 


McGauhey: Almost any kind that anyone wanted made or repaired. 
He made boots and briefcases, and he braided leather 
bridles and trappings for horses desired by the 
horsey set. He repaired shoes and made special 
shoes for those who required them. But his local 
fame rested upon his ability to make or repair 
anything that someone else said couldn't be made or 

I went to college at Oregon State when it had, 
as it has today, some excellent professors. Originally 
I was in the class of '26 but, as I have said, I 
ran out of funds at the end of the 1925 session. I 
came to California and stayed with an aunt of mine 
for several months; then, my health improved, I went 
back to Corvallis and went to work in a grocery 
store to get money for my final year. With a little 
borrowing at the last I finished my B.S. degree work 
in June 192?. 

In 1927, employers were not standing in line 
to hire college graduates. I took civil service 
examinations and shopped around for about a month, 
finally getting a job with the U.S. Bureau of Public 
Roads. The Bureau was constructing a new highway on 
Mount Rainier from Narada Palls to Paradise Inn. 
It was a very interesting summer. It ended in my 
leaving the west to begin a teaching career, as I 
shall soon relate. First, a little more of the 
background that led me into teaching. 

Decision to Teach 

MoGauhey: I might say that although my father was anxious for 
us to go to school, and made every sacrifice to make 
it possible, we had to carry ourselves beyond the 
contribution of food and lodging. I was small for 
my age and never weighed 120 pounds until after I 
went to college. The sawmill work in high school 
years was hard so by the time fall came around I was 
rich enough to pay expenses and beaten up enough to 
be glad to get back to school and the night shift in 
the movie house. In college, prior to my disastrous 
summer of 1925, I worked on a forest fire patrol on 
a lookout station during the summers and on the 


MoGauhey: Janitorial force in the winters. I have estimated 
that I swept an area roughly equal to that of the 
state of Texas, but that may be an over-estimate. 
I supplemented my three hours per day on the broom 
gang with the orchestra and odd Jobs. The summertime 
was somewhat lonely as for more than six weeks I 
saw no humans, although I reported in each day via 
telephone. I did observe a lot of detail of nature. 

Chall: That was in Oregon? 

MoGauhey: Yes, in the magnificent forest area of western Oregon 
later destroyed by the infamous Tillamook Burn. 

Chall: With so strenuous a work program, how did you manage 
to study? 

MoGauhey: It has taken me overlong to get around to that 

matter. It was the work program that oriented me 
to the idea that I was better suited to live by 
my brain than by brawn, which I did not have. I 
studied with the same intensity that I worked, but 
part of my learning technique led on in the direction 
of teaching. Both in high school and in college I 
always had a satellite group of fellow students who 
were concerned to pass their courses and to say in 
school. They seemed to rely on me to explain to 
them what they didn't understand which in some oases 
was considerable. My father often told me that if 
I charged my hangers-on I wouldn't have to work so 
hard. But as I told him, I came to understand the 
subject matter of my courses by trying to tell my 
satellites something that I didn't know too well 
myself. By experimenting with ways to penetrate 
their darkness I came to see the light myself. I 
presume I saw it more clearly, as I got better grades 
than my students without withholding from them any 
key information. 

In high school during my freshman year I assisted 
my fellows by doing it for them a practice which I 
soon dropped for lack of time. I wrote themes for 
other students and collected fifteen cents per theme. 
Themes were usually required to be 150 words in 
length, which seemed to many students to be about a 
book-length novel. Despite my deficiency in the rules 
of grammar I could write "by ear," so to speak, on a 

McGauheyx variety of topics. One thing about ranoh life and 
hard work, you see enough action for a good many 
150-word reports. It didn't occur to me then that 
writing themes might not be quite cricket, but the 
teachers never complained, the students passed, 
and I got the fifteen cents. 

Chall: A pretty cheap rate per word. 

MoGauhey: Yes, although I think I am still writing for about 
that rate. I didn't gain much; Just got so I could 
write faster and so generate the longer themes 
required in today's world. 

Well, out of this background I began to think 
that perhaps I would like to teach. The idea 
developed near the end of my college days when it 
occurred to me that I really enjoyed matching my 
ignorance against that of another, working with 
people, and exploring the depths of natural phenomena. 

Virginia Polytechnic Institute. 1927 

MoGauhey x While casting about for employment prior to going to 
work for the Bureau of Public Roads, in 192? I had 
answered an advertisement in Civil Engineering 
magazine for an instructor in an unidentified college 
in the East. As the summer progressed it developed 
that the opening was at the Virginia Polytechnic 
Institute (VPI) Virginia's land grant college in 
Blaoksburg, Virginia. The need was for someone to 
teach in the field of surveying and water power 
engineering. I had taken all the courses offered 
at Oregon State that dealt with water and water 
engineering. I am fascinated by water, probably 
because there wasn't any where I grew up. I neglected 
to say before that the Middle Pork of the John Day 
River ran through our ranoh, about a quarter of a 
mile straight down below our ranoh house. But we 
were too busy to go near it and livestock patently 
preferred the water my sister and I had to wrench 
from the earth by means of a pitcher pump located in 
our well. 


MoGauhey: VPI was beginning a campaign to diversify its 
staff and I guess my background was about as 
diverse as one could ask. At any rate I accepted 
the offered instruotorship and moved to Virginia. 
In those days we got $1500 for nine months. I 
believe it was actually $1560, the difference being 
far greater than the affluent instructor of today 
might think. 

During my senior year I had been working in 
college at surveying and drafting, having graduated 
from the "broom gang" with the disaster of 1925. 
At VPI my new boss and Head of the Department of 
Civil Engineering, was Colonel R.B.H. Begg. Colonel 
Begg was a lineal descendant of Robert Burns, a 
delightful gentleman, a good civil engineer, and 
perhaps the most highly and broadly educated man I 
have ever known. He put me to work the first day on 
some surveying and drafting for the college, Inasmuch 
as school had not started, and finding that I was a 
skilled draftsman he never let me off the hook from 
then on. 

The Department of Civil Engineering was 
responsible for all the engineering work for the 
college: mapping, grading, constructing drives 
and walks, refurbishing buildings, developing and 
operating the water supply and sewerage systems, 
and supervising general construction. Thus I had 
the opportunity to do engineering work right from 
the beginning, even though I was not in a location 
where there was outside engineering that the young 
man could get involved in. In those days, 192?, 
and the years that followed, fifteen credit hours 
was a normal teaching load, although few faculty 
members ever got through the year without at least 
one quarter with eighteen credit hours of teaching. 
I often contrast this with the one or two courses 
we hear about today and through the years have 
found it hard, to shed a tear for the poor overworked 
professor. But in any event those were pretty heavy 
loads, especially when doing engineering work along 
with it. I recall one year in which I put in six 
hundred hours at drafting besides carrying the 
fifteen-elghteen hour teaching schedule. 

Challr What subjects were you teaching? 


McGauhey* In that first year I taught three or four varieties 
of surveying and water power engineering. But that 
was only the beginning. The variety oame later, as 
I shall describe in due course. 

At the end of the first year I invested in a 
secondhand oar and drove out to Oregon to marry 
Marguerite Gerow, whom I had met in college. We 
sold the oar and bought passage on a ship bound for 
New York via the Panama Canal and Cuba. Back in 
Blaoksburg we didn't have any money and we didn't 
have a oar. We had to walk all winter but felt it 
worth the price. Our salary was $1800 that year; 
and we stayed on at VPI because it soon became 
apparent that the college was going my way in my 
time. I had begun to do graduate study in what 
turned out to be sanitary engineering, chemistry, 
and microbiology. A minor area of study was required 
as well as a major area, so I selected mining 
engineering because it was one of the Important 
activities in the coal mining country. I learned 
a great deal about coal mining which I never 
practiced, although on one occasion I did teach all 
the courses offered in mining that quarter because 
the professor was taken ill. For this presumption 
I offered no apologies because the professor was a 
miserable teacher, although a fine engineer, and the 
likelihood of my doing worse was remote. 

Challi You were teaching the second year as well as taking 
all these courses; you were still an instructor 
with that heavy load? 

McGauhey: Oh, yes. Loads never seemed to be any great problem. 
I didn't know there was any other way of life and it 
never occurred to me that work could be overdone. 
It is largely a matter of organization and speed of 

In 1929 I received the Civil Engineering degree 
from VPI the equivalent of a Master's degree and 
was promoted to Assistant Professor at a salary of 
$2^00 per year. I worked that summer on construction 
and the following summer for the shipyard in Newport 
News, Virginia. Then I decided to go to the 
University of Wisconsin to work for the PhD. In 
those days we had to pay our own way in graduate 


MoGauhey: school so much of it was done in the summers at 
Wisconsin. By that time I was teaching water 
supply and sewerage, microscopy of water, chemistry 
and biology for sanitary engineers, water power, 
surveying design, and a few optional courses in 
applied hydraulics and public health engineering. 
I also was teaching two courses in photography, 
mostly at night; and doing a considerable amount 
of professional photography and writing. By 193**- 
I had everything done for the PhD except writing 
the dissertation, for which the research was 
finished, and completing the language and residence 
requirements. Then I broke down with tuberculosis. 

Chall: You were living in Wisconsin? 
MoGauhey: No, I was still living in Virginia. 
Chall: And studying for the PhD at Wisconsin? 

MoGauhey: Through summertime classes in Madison and off -campus 
research during the winter. 

Sanatorium Years 

MoGauhey t My physical breakdown was, perhaps, no surprise to 
others who have greater respect for the limitations 
of the human body. But be that as it may, I went 
into drydook with a 5 percent chance of ever getting 
out; and, in fact, with scarcely more than a 5 percent 
chance of living for six months. 

Chall: You must have been walking around for some time with 

McGauhey: Of that there can now be little doubt, although I 

was examined from time to time by the normal routines 
of that day. Evidently, I came from tough stock 
and it took a lot of beating to knock me out. And 
by then the hour was late. 

I went to the state sanatorium and as time went 
by I began to gain in weight and strength. But 
there was a small cavity high up in the left lung 


MoGauhey: and neither the pneumothorax nor the phrenectomy 
procedures oould close It up. 

Ghall: Did you then stay home and rest? 

MoGauhey: No; I spent more than two years In the sanatorium 
and in the hospital. My wife stayed on and worked 
at VPI. Eventually I went to the University of 
Virginia hospital in which we had a health membership 
and risked the surgical routines. In those days 
they were Just starting to collapse lungs by 
thoracoplasty and the percentage of survival was 
about 10 percent. I elected to take that chance 
rather than to drag on to eventual certain disaster. 
The surgery was done In three operations. The first 
two were done two weeks apart in the summertime when 
It was as hot as few places can match. There was no 
air conditioning at that time, so both the surgery 
and the weather sweat me out but I held on. 
Eventually a head nurse with a bad cold came in and 
sneezed in my face and the results were as bad as 
you might suggest. Again my ancestors pulled me 
through and the surgery cleared up the TB. So after 
the drydock years I went back to teaching at VPI. 
Of course, I rested some in the afternoons for 
several years, but I had no more trouble with the 
"bug" and lived on to become somewhat of a medical 
miracle and as active as ever in all aspects except 
"ground speed" and the strenuous types of physical 

During the two years I spent in bed I had 
plenty of time to read; and I did read and write a 
lot and do some study of cartooning. 

Chall: What did you read? 


McGauhey: I read all manner of things. I had every magazine 
you can imagine. I subscribed to the weekly 
newspaper from Mexico City and got so I could read 
even the Indian dialects. And I read classics, I 
read history, I read economics. Sometimes I got 
tired of reading, but I did a lot of it, and thought 
a great deal about what I had read and experienced. 

When I got out of drydook I went back to 
Wisconsin, did a new round of research, and wrote 


MoGauhey: a new thesis. But World War II caught me without 

the required residence and the language requirements. 
I had either to settle for a Master's degree in the 
hydraulic and sanitary engineering field or leave 
VPI and stay around Wisconsin while, as it turned 
out, I would have been left to do most of the 
teaching. So I settled for the M.S. and went back 
to my position at VPI where I became full professor 
of Sanitary Engineering. 

Chall: You never did get your PhD? 

MoGauhey i No, but that was not a oatastrophy. By the time the 

war was ended it was no longer of any great importance. 
Of course, If the degree had been the all-consuming 
goal of my life it could have been achieved. But 
there comes a time when a man has shown whether he 
can grow scholastioally and professionally. At 
that time the degree that suggests that the young 
man has such a potential is no longer critical. 
Either you have achieved some measure of growth or 
you are not going to. So in my case and at my age 
it was more appropriate to look to new goals rather 
than to achieve the goals of yesterday. 

In 1936, when I was back from the hospitals, 
our sanitary engineer departed from VPI for a 
government post and I inherited the Division of 
Sanitary Engineering. I continued to teach under 
graduate courses and graduate courses in both 
sanitary and hydraulic engineering and to keep up 
the photography courses. I worked one summer for 
the state on its marine biology boat engaged in 
shellfish sanitation work on Chesapeake Bay. I 
designed and built a sewage treatment plant for the 
town and the college and built several smaller 
treatment works. I built a small power plant and 
dam, drilled water wells, and conducted team research 
on stream pollution by cities and industry. I 
served for five years as the Civil Engineer member 
of the State Board of Engineer Examiners, and came 
to know most of the engineering profession in the 

In 19^8, when I had been professor for some ten 
years an opportunity arose to move to California. 


The Move to California. 

McGauhey: My wife and I had always told ourselves that someday 
we would like to move to California and eventually 
retire there. We had visited there often through 
the years and were inclined to the idea that if you 
have the opportunity you have talked about for 
years, you ought to take it. The opening was for 
a professorship at the University of Southern 
California. After considerable hesitation we accepted. 

Uprooting was even harder than we had expected. 
Our entire married life of twenty years had been 
spent in Virginia and we were not thinking of any 
going home in returning West. We loved Virginia and 
I was at the top of the profession there. So many 
students had gone through my classes that I felt 
that we knew everyone in the state. However, there 
was one deciding factor of which I have not spoken. 
That was a matter of ragweed hay fever. It had 
long given me trouble but after the pulmonary episode 
it moved in in earnest. Thus I was in misery or in 
the hospital every summer, and the irritation 
softened me up for another two months of misery when 
the furnace dried out the house dust in the winter. 
It was becoming obvious to me that Virginia was not 
the ideal climate for me much longer with my history 
of problems and the severity of the allergy. 

Once the move was made we enjoyed life at the 
University of Southern California. We bought a 
house and settled down with the intention of staying. 
However after two years, and through no particular 
fault of the university, it became evident that it 
could not go my way in my time, so I went back to 
VPI as head of the Department of Civil Engineering, 
replacing Colonel Begg who had retired. But an era 
at VPI had come to an end. All the people who had 
led the college in my years were soon to be replaced. 
Dean Earl Norris was about to retire; a new president 
had been appointed; and a new direction of growth was 
in order. It struck me that one ought not to linger 
on as the bridge between the past and the future. 
So in this mood, and with ragweed season soon to come 
around, I was receptive to events that were to bring 
me back to California. 


Chall: When did this return to Virginia and California 
take place? 

MoGauheyt I went back to Virginia in 1950 and left there at 
the end of the 1950-51 academic year. A new era 
was beginning at the University of California under 
the guidance of Professor Harold B. Gotaas; the 
Sanitary Engineering Research Laboratory was Just 
emerging, and Professor Harvey F. Ludwig, whom I 
had known in Southern California, suggested to Dr. 
Gotaas that he should have an assistant in the 
Laboratory and that MoGauhey should be the one. 
But that is a story we are scheduled to discuss in 
a later interview. 

Chall: Yes. Let us discuss today more of the background 
and personal factors which may have influenced 
your contributions in what you have called a "new 
era at California.' 1 You came to Berkeley in 1951? 

McGauhey: We arrived here on July 4, 1951. I think that was 
the coldest summer Berkeley ever had. I do not 
recall that the fog lifted during the period July 
to September that year and, being somewhat of a sun 
worshiper, I wondered what sort of a place we had 
gotten into. Either we became acclimated or that 
was one of the worst years; anyway we have lived 
here and enjoyed it. 

Chall: You seem to have crossed the United States many 
times during your career. 

McGauhey: Yes, we did most of the traveling for the family. 
We had no children and so we came West to visit 
relatives a number of times before we made the two 
moves I have described. My wife had one sister and 
her parents living in the Vancouver, Washington area. 
My father and mother lived with my sister in 
Vancouver, Washington and subsequently in Eugene, 
Oregon after my father retired. My father lived 
until five days before his ninetieth birthday. He 
Just finally wore out with age, although he did 
suffer some in final years from deterioration of 
the vertebrae injured sometime in his horse breaking 
days or from accidents on bridge construction. My 
mother died in 1971* six months past the age of 101 
years, as a result of a fall which broke her hip. 
Her mind was clear until the end. Most of her sisters 


MoGauheyt lived into their nineties, the last one passing 

away in the spring of 19 ?2 at the age of ninety-six. 

An Attitude Toward Life and Work 

Chall: You certainly came from good stock. 

MoGauhey: I credit my ancestors for the inheritance that made 
possible my survival. In 1934 I thought I had about 
used up my credit in that department, but in 1966 
I borrowed on It again. No one expected the survivor 
of a thoraooplasty to carry on for thirty years so 
we were not surprised when I eventually had some 
trouble with staphylooooous lingering on after the 
annual or biennial flu that we all seem heir to. 
Soar tissue Is a good place for such organisms 
because although they can't immediately get into the 
blood stream to harm you, you can't get at them 
either with antibiotics. Thus eventually they caused 
some small breakthroughs which showed blood. 

I took the matter up with Dr. Paul Samson, 
Oakland's famous chest surgeon who explained the 
matter to me and suggested that there was no way of 
telling whether one might live until ninety and die 
of some other ailment, or experience a catastrophic 
break in an arterial wall. The alternative was to 
remove the old lung. Well, even after time had 
erased many of the memories of the three previous 
operations, I did not know whether I wanted any more 
surgery. After considering the matter for some days 
I said "Let's take it out." So Dr. Samson did Just 

Chall j That's done satisfactorily these days. 

McGauhey: Yes they have made real advances in chest surgery. 

Back in the mid-thirties the survival rate was about 
10 percent. Today it is 90 percent. It took me a 
little longer this time to get back into full stride 
but I'm better off than ever for having taken the 
hard road. 

MoGauhey: I suppose my decision in this matter reflects 
an attitude toward life that dates back over many 
years. While I was lying in the sanatorium reading, 
I had time to reflect on many things. I developed 
a philosophy of life that leads me to believe that 
a lot of things that worry many people shouldn't 
be taken too seriously. I have often said that 
everyone ought to be required to attend a performance 
of Gilbert and Sullivan every six months until he 
learns to recognize opera bouffe when he sees it. 
This routine would be especially useful to university 
employees professors and. administrators who get 
ulcers or come apart at the mental seams at the 
things that go on around universities. Misfortune 
and good fortune left me glad enough to be alive, 
so that I don't take the comic opera of university 
life too seriously. After the drydock experience I 
approached my work with accustomed energy and 
seriousness of purpose, but when night comes I've 
been able to go to sleep without danger of ending 
up with ulcers. 

Chall: It's a point of view, then. 

McGauhey: It's a point of view, and it was a hard way to learn, 
but nevertheless, having learned, it becomes mighty 

Chall: You were able to use it effectively for quite a 
number of years; and I should think it would be 
better to work with a person like you who doesn't 
tend to take everything as if the next day was 

McGauhey: Obviously I would hope that such might be the case. 
One cannot know what other people think about him 
except if he is universally disliked. I only know 
that I have a multitude of friends all over the 
world and that I appreciate them. Instinctively, 
I like people. In that respect, as in many others, 
I am very much like my mother. I like people without 
having first to decide whether the way they behave 
is the way I want to behave myself. 

Chall: You accept them. 

MoGauhey: Yes. Occasionally the payoff leaves something to be 
desired, but it strengthens one's character. 

Avocations: Photography and Writing 

Chall: You seem to have been dedicated to your work and 

to have developed a philosophy of life which makes 
your work satisfying to you. Can you suggest what 
inner goals have led you on? 

McGauhey: I have spoken of my abiding interest in water; but 
I think that the answer to your question is that 
I have always been interested in anything that is 
going on. They said of Caesar, you know, "Because he 
was ambitious, we slew him." I have been to some 
degree slaughtered at times, probably because my 
ambitions were to satisfy my interests, rather than 
to dominate other people. I had ambition to do a 
lot of things. In fact, there wasn't much of any 
thing I didn't want to do. I wanted to be a 
photographer; I wanted to be a writer; I wanted to 
be a musician; I wanted to learn how nature and man 
had put things together. So I hacked away a little 
at all of them and had a lot of fun, but was never 
willing to put all my energies into one of them with 
the intent of becoming world renowned in that area. 

During the years that I taught photography, 
which I had studied in college, I did some pictorial 
work. There are some examples of it here on my 
office wall. I did an endless amount of commercial 
photography; pictures of machinery, laboratory setups, 
stock shows, and conference groups. I did some 
portrait work, especially of children, but didn't 
like this type of photography. People are no Judge 
of their own portrait and so if you don't charge 
them an outlandish price they are dissatisfied. 
Children are fun to photograph but before the photog 
rapher can set up his equipment the parents begin 
poking at them until they get so confused and 
nervous that good pictures are quite impossible to 

Chall: Where did you do this work? 

McGauhey: At VPI. There I had a large darkroom and equipment 
setup in my home. But after I came to California I 
did not have any darkroom; and I did not have time 
to do more than make color slides of our travels. 


McGauhey: I have also done an awful lot of writing, and 

perhaps a lot of awful writing, during the years. 

Ghall: Oh, you did that too? 

MoGauhey: Yes, I had to have something to do in my spare time. 

Challi You had some? 

MoGauhey: Probably it was more energy, or enterprise, than 

time that I had to spare. Anyway, I filled up most 
of the wastebaskets in the U.S. over a period of 
years, writing short stories and essays. I 
occasionally got one published. 

Ghall: Under your own name? 

MoGauhey i Yes, but they mainly served to teach me how to write. 
I did actually sell a poem; which Isn't too common 
In the world of engineering. 

Challi No, it certainly isn't. 

McGauhey: In college I found time to take courses in Journalism 
and in short story writing. This latter course I 
took with a class of English majors and was one of 
the two members of the class that got an A grade. 
I suppose they were thinking about how to apply rules 
while I was writing "by ear" as usual and from 
better observation of human beings. 

While at VPI I completed a book manuscript but 
did not work too hard to get it published after an 
initial rejection slip. I was moving to California 
at that time and so went on with other things. I 
came across the manuscript the other day and in 
reading it over, I now see what it needs. Half of 
it is salvageable, I think. In fact it is not too 
bad and I have in mind tidying it up when I can get 
through with the endless technical writing I have 
gotten into since my retirement in 19&9 

Chall: Oh, that's a book that you haven't published. I've 
read the one that you did have published your 
engineering book.* It reads well. 

*P.H. McGauhey, Engineering Management of Water Quality, 
McGraw-Hill, N.Y. 1968. 


MoGauhey: I wrote that in one summer to meet my lecture 

schedule for an Institute on Water Resources at 
the Utah State University. However, It Is more 
fun to write with less discipline about subjects 
that give freedom to the imagination. In that 
category I wrote a book of poems, which I had 
published privately. I shouldn't say poems it is 
really verse dealing mostly with ranch life. People 
that understand what I am writing about better than 
they do poetry seem to enjoy it, and I am giving 
some thought to including it with other material I 
hope to publish professionally.* But that doesn't 
matter here. 

The point is that being interested in writing 
all those years, and working at it, has been a 
great help to me because in the countless reports, 
technical papers, and research proposals I have had 
to turn out I have generally been able to produce 
final copies without first drafting them. That 
doesn't mean that I do not do a lot of erasing and 
foul up the desk around me, but nevertheless it 
has been easy and I have enjoyed it. I have no idea 
how many things I have written. 

Chall: Reports and papers? 

McGauhey: Reports and papers, chapters for various books, 

editorial comments, essays, and Journal articles. 
I like to get up in the morning and dash off such 
good-natured cynicism as this one which I call "To 
Raise a Cat."* 

Chall s May I take this and read it? 
McGauhey: You may, indeed. 

Chall: What about your stories? Were they all on your 

MoGauhey: Actually not, except that they dealt with people 
such as wandered through my background years. 
Principally I am concerned with situations, people 
caught in situations they don't understand. I 
prefer to write non-fiction, and my book is of that 
nature and intended to be humorous. 

*See Appendix. 


Chall: Does it concern things that went on at VPI? 

MoGauhey: No, that would be a task for a novelist. It is 

rich in material. I am concerned at present with 
an earlier period. You may understand that on a 
cattle ranch there's a lot going on. Prospectors 
spent the winter with us feeding cattle, sheep 
herders were everywhere, and interesting characters 
came and went. There is a lot of material in my 
memories of the one-room sohoolhouse. There you 
don't do the kind of things you do when sitting 
with your peer group today. In one of my little 
essays, I reflect on what It would have been like 
to have turned up as a boy in our school carrying 
his doll to show to other kids. 

Chall: Oh, yes. Show and Tell. 

MoGauhey: In a school room with merciless characters ranging 
up to eighteen years of age, life was traumatic 
enough Just having to wear knee pants but carrying 
a doll. God forbid! 

The kind of things that children do today as 
children would have required a stouter heart in 
my school days than is given to man. But these 
are some of the kinds of things I find interesting. 

The MoGauhey Family and the Homestead Ranch 

Chall: Well, they're lost, you know, if you don't get them 
down. The kind of society you knew is not with us 
anymore, and these things are useful to have in our 
collective memories, I think. 

What happened to your sister and brother along 
the line? 

MoGauhey: My sister studied home economics when we were in 

college together. Later she went back and got her 
Master's Degree in Spanish. She taught in high 
schools all over the West, beginning, as I recall, 
in Nevada; then in Arizona, Washington, and Oregon. 
She retired, in 1968 from Willamette High in Eugene, 


MoGauhey: Oregon, where she had been for some years. Her 

husband was a forester In the Oregon state department 
of forestry. He was injured in the woods and died 
some ten years ago. So she stayed on in the 
teaching in which she spent most of her active life. 
She also worked for a while for the federal govern 
ment back in the Depression days, when they were 
doing a lot of rural rehabilitation. 

My brother studied mechanical engineering but 
he was graduated in the Depression years. He was 
inclined to go into farming and ranching, and after 
some months working at whatever he could find to do 
he bought some land at Junction City, Oregon. His 
energy and enterprise Impressed the owner of the 
land who let him have it without any down payment. 
There he operated a general farm mostly producing 
seed grain and hay. He also owned enough sheep and 
cows to make some profit from wool and milk sales. 

When his daughter and son went away to college, 
married, and started teaching careers of their own, 
he leased most of his land and went to work as night 
superintendent of a large pre-stressed concrete 
plant. His area of interest while in college 
included heat engineering and his responsibility in 
the plant was the proper steam curing of large beams 
and structural members such as those used in bridges 
and modern buildings. There is enough money tied 
up in a few of these units to bankrupt a company if 
the curing operation fails. At this time my brother 
and his wife continue to live on their land, although 
the crop land is leased to others. 

Chall: So he got back into engineering after all. And your 
family didn't keep any of that land they had acquired 
in eastern Oregon? 

MoGauhey: No. They sold It while I was in college. People 

could make a living on that land only when a pioneer- 
type of life prevailed. We depended upon horses 
for power, and pumped water and sawed wood by hand. 
The time came when people Just couldn't make enough 
by hand labor to support a family. The work on a 
ranch such as ours was about 75 percent overhead, 
maintenance, and repairs; only about 25 percent was 
productive. As you know, in any kind of activity 
today, if you can't do it with machinery you are not 


MoGauhey: going to make any kind of a profit. The margin is 
Just too small. So homesteaders acquired ownership 
to the land by living on it and improving it for 
five years. Then when they had a clear title, 
they sold it and moved away. This phenomenon was 
already apparent in the decline in pupils in our 
school districts while I was in elementary school. 

Land ownership went into bigger and bigger 
units until now, in 2500 square miles of the area 
we knew, there are only six ranches. These six 
do not own the entire 2500 square miles. Most of 
the land belongs to the Georgia Pacific Company. 
Our old ranch belongs to a man and his wife who, 
incidentally, was the eldest daughter of our nearest 
neighbor. She was a schoolmate of mine when we were 
children. Her mother was trained as a nurse In the 
area near Blaoksburg, Virginia where I later went. 
She served as midwife at my birth and was, I believe, 
pregnant with the daughter at that time. Today the 
daughter and her husband own her parent's land as 
well as ours and that of other settlers. They manage 
8000 acres and a lot of stock. 

Challi So it f s basically still cattle country? 

MoGauhey: It's still cattle and cattle feed. They do little 
gardening now because the highways have made the 
towns accessible. Rural electrification has reached 
the area which helps to increase productivity. U.S. 
,395" Highway 05 crosses the Middle Pork twelve miles 

east of our ranch, and quite a good gravel road runs 
along the river to the ranches, so the area is not 
Isolated although it has few people. 

The old house that my father built when I was 
four years old is still in use. The owners have 
put siding on the outer walls but otherwise it is 
little changed. In 1968 when I last visited there 
they had the same old screen door frame on the 
kitchen that was there when we left in 1918, and it 
was old then. I think it was secondhand when we 
got it. An old woodshed that my grandfather built 
in about 1911 is still in use. The roof Is made of 
shakes which he rived out of yellow pine at the time. 
These shakes are still in good sound condition, 
probably because of the dryness of the climate. 

t3. *1 


McGauhey: I have been overlong in answering the question 
concerning the road that led me to Berkeley and the 
background against which my activities at the 
University of California might be understood or 
rationalized. Fundamentally, my summation is that 
I have always been Interested In everything that 
is going on and have tried to bring that same kind 
of interest into research. Whatever comes along 
Intrigues me, and in my ignorance I become curious 
about how it works. As I will explain later, if 
anything seemed to me to be worth doing, of if our 
Laboratory ought to be concerned with it, or if 
anybody was interested enough to work on it, I was 
interested enough to try to generate a project in 
that area. That it might entail work, was no 



Evolution of Sanitary Education Curriculum 
In the United States 

Chall: In our previous conversations you said that a new 
era at the University was beginning, under the 
guidance of Professor Harold B. Gotaas, at the 
time you came to Berkeley. 

McGauhey: I am sorry that I used the word "new," because it 
implies that what went before was "old." And to 
many people anything old is per se worthless, or 
at least is valuable only as a memento of antiquity. 
Nothing could be further from the truth about the 
sanitary engineering program at the University of 
California at Berkeley. What I should have said 
was that, in 1951 one of those periods when 
university programs experience rapid growth and 
expansion had set in and its eventual horizons were 
unknown. Thus from my viewpoint there was an 
opportunity to help build the future without the 
handicap of my own institutionalized commitment 
to the past. 

Chall: Then the University of California has a long 
history of Interest and education in sanitary 

McGauhey: It dates back over nearly two-thirds of a century. 
But to do it Justice and to show how its strength 
Influenced the expansion that began immediately 
after World War II and at the same time to get 
on with the story of the Sanitary Engineering 
Research Laboratory requires me to tell three 
stories simultaneously. 


Not an easy task. What are the three stories? 

McGauhey: The first story is about the changes in engineering 
curricula which affected the emergence of sanitary 
engineering as a specialty area of civil engineering. 
It concerns the background against which to describe 
and evaluate the program at U.C., Berkeley. 

The second story specifically concerns the U.C. 
program. And the third outlines the situation 
which I referred to as a "new era." It also described 
the development of the Laboratory as an organized 
research unit. 

To avoid the utter chaos, which I am capable 
of generating as a story teller, I think I should 
tell these three stories sequentially. In so doing 
I may have to use the familiar "meanwhile, back at 
the ranch" technique. 

Chall: I am sure you can organize the material. 

McGauhey: I shall certainly try. First let me outline the 

evolution of engineering education as it relates to 
sanitary engineering. The interpretations will 
have to be my own and the detail sketchy because It 
is not our purpose here to develop a complete 
history of sanitation. This may leave me open to 
criticism for omitting many important events, but 
it will advance our story. 

Chall: Undoubtedly there are some significant highlights 
which are worth recalling. 

McGauhey: There are several. First, I would say, is the 
famous Broad Street well case in London in 18*4-8 
when Dr. John Snow proved conclusively that there 
was something in water which caused the great 
plagues that had swept Europe for decades. Next 
was the verification by Koch and Pasteur that the 
something was the microbe. This was only one hundred 
years ago; in the I8?0s. In those same seventies, 
also, European engineers learned again what the 
Roman's once knew about the hydraulics of pipes and 
aqueducts. In the 1890s the famous Laurence 
Experiment Station in Massachusetts revived, 
codified, and expanded what the ancient Chinese 
and Egyptians knew about water clarification. And 


McGauhey: In 1910 , disinfection of water by chlorine was 
begun In the United States. These and related 
events made public water supply an early factor 
in civil engineering education. 

By the time I entered college in the early 
1920s every student in civil engineering was 
required to study some basic hydraulics. He then 
took a course in water supply engineering. This 
involved finding and developing a source of water, 
transporting water to the community, treating it 
to some degree and distributing it to the house 
holder. The course also involved the design of 
necessary pipes and structures. 

Initially there was no special course in what 
we now call wastewater engineering. Hydraulic 
courses included the Information necessary to 
design pipes and channels for drainage, or sewerage. 
The problem was to collect sewage or storm water in 
pipes and escort it out of town. This Job was 
relegated to the street department because there 
was a certain degree of holiness associated with 
the clean water engineers. They didn't want to get 
Involved with the dirty water boys. 

Chall: Is that why the same pipes are used for sewage and 
surface runoff in many older cities? 

McGauhey: Yes. Sewage treatment is a relatively recent 

development. It began in earnest in the 1930s. 
In San Francisco, for example, the most capable 
engineers in the U.S. in the 1920s recommended 
combined sewers; and they were built. It is easy 
to forget that our concept of the ocean as the 
cradle of life rather than a sink hole is of quite 
recent origin. 

Once a safe water supply was achieved there 
was a loss of public interest in water quality until 
sewage pollution of streams and beaches brought the 
health department back into the act. So late in 
the 1920s we had to introduce a course in sewerage 
into all civil engineering curricula. This word 
"sewerage," incidentally, means the whole science 
and act of collecting, transporting, treating, and 
discharging of wastewater. The first course dealt 

McGauhey: mostly with collection and transport but it wasn't 
long before it also included some degree of treat 
ment. Thereupon, water supply and sewerage, along 
with hydraulics, or fluid mechanics, became standard 
courses required of all civil engineers. 

The civil engineering curriculum had other 
standard requirements also. The goal was to make 
all civil engineering graduates equally prepared 
to go into structures, highways, hydraulic engineering, 
or general practice. There were a few elective 
courses, but for the most part engineering had to 
go through the first of two traumatic experiences 
before they became especially significant in terms 
of sanitary engineering. 

Chall: What was the nature of these "traumatic experiences"? 

McGauhey: The first was what I call becoming holy in the 

sight of the humanists. The second was a rush to 
become scientists. 

I had better consider these one at a time, 
beginning with our efforts to make engineers human. 
As engineering emerged from its more respectable 
ancestor natural philosophy the concept that 
engineers were an uncultured lot was echoed by 
various disciplines which considered themselves to 
be culturally superior. This routine, you know, is 
one way to put down those whom you cannot get at in 
any other fashion the assumption of cultural 
superiority. As far back as I can remember, and 
until World War II, the French used this technique 
effectively on Americans. But that is another story. 
Engineering curricula were in need of a reexamination 
anyway. They were top heavy with "how- to-do-it" 
courses based on current technology which was no 
longer current by the time the graduate was 
responsible for the doing. There was a certain 
amount of loss of self-confidence and a rush to 
confess our scholastic sins. But I think we in 
engineering education generally agreed that we had 
to make room in the curriculum for enough of the 
so-called "humanities" and general subjects to give 
engineers a greater area of common knowledge shared 
with other humans. At least, that was the theory, 
and we proceeded to institutionalize it in our 
accreditation criteria. 


Chall: About when did this occur? 

McGauhey: Generally In the early 1930s, although it was 

advocated and accomplished in different universities 
at different dates. So we stripped out part of 
the required courses dear to the hearts of some 
professors In order to make room for the humanities. 

Chall: What did you strip out? 

McGauhey: Railroad engineering, is a good example. The rail 
roads were all built before we abandoned our courses 
in how to build one. And we dropped about five 
courses In surveying. We used to teach lots of 
courses in surveying, not Just control surveys and 
mapping. We had courses in land surveying, city 
surveying, railway and highway curves and earth 
work. And we had courses in precise surveying and 
in astronomical surveying. All these were required 
In civil engineering. Drafting and descriptive 
geometry were also required. 

When I left college, back in what Is now the 
Late Stone Age, every civil engineer was expected 
to do time on the drawing board and in driving 
some stakes and doing surveying work. 

Chall: Doesn't he anymore? 

McGauhey: No. But the reason is not that at one time men did 
senseless things which were abandoned later when 
they regained their senses. It is that as knowledge 
and technology advanced so did the spectrum of skills 
needed to do the work of society. In engineering 
education the choice was between lengthening the 
period of formal education to something like the 
life expectancy of man, or increasing the variety 
of specialists required to carry out an engineering 

Chall: You followed the latter course. 

MoGauhey: Yes. Especially after the second trauma which I 
shall soon discuss, surveying and drafting became 
classified as sub-professional activities. By 
"sub- prof essional" I don't mean beneath the dignity 
of man, but specialty areas which can be mastered 


McGauhey: short of education as a professional engineer. 
Surveying and drafting are Important work that 
technology cannot do without, but there is no need 
to waste the time of people in preparing them for 
their careers. I once observed the supreme example 
of over-education a chap with three degrees beyond 
the master's, who was peeling potatoes for his wife 
who cooked in a logging camp. 

However, as I have implied, most of this 
shortening followed Trauma No. 2, but we did some 
of it in making room for the humanities. We 
eliminated design of wooden structures but we 
continued to make every student of civil engineering 
take courses in steel design and concrete design. 
Design by that time depended less on drafting than 
before, especially in skill of drawing rivet heads. 
In my college days they used rivets in steel 
structures; so we drew thousands of rivet heads in 
our design courses. And after you've drawn a few 
thousand little circles, there isn't much you can 
learn by drawing ten thousand more. 

With the decline in drafting as a requirement 
we discontinued our course in descriptive geometry. 
If you can't express yourself in graphic language 
there isn't much use in being able to visualize the 
conjunction of physical forms In space. It is 
analogous to being a poet without being able to 
speak or to write. I might say, that as it turned 
out later, one man with the ability to visualize 
can arrange for the computer to draw the intersections 
of forms needed for constructing what engineers 

But I am letting my interests lead me astray. 
The point here is that we eliminated from civil 
engineering requirements some courses in "how-to-do- 
it" and how to do sub-professional tasks. This 
made room for our beginning, however grudgingly it 
may have been, to get in at least some of the things 
that have since been called "humanities." 

Chall: Those were what? 

McGauhey: Courses which deal generally with Information you 
can't possibly sell to anybody. My criterion for 


MoGauhey: identifying one of the humanities is simple; If 
the knowledge gained is of any use as far as 
peddling it off for sale, the course doesn't 
qualify. But if it stretches the human imagina 
tion, or broadens his concept of life and his 
understanding of people, or acquaints him with 
what philosophers have thought and said and what 
good came of the saying; or if it introduces him 
to the accumulated wisdom of mankind, acquaints 
him with history, and makes him think about its 
lessons; it is, in my opinion a "humanity" at its 

Chall: That's an interesting definition. 

McGauhey: I trust that it reveals my respect for the 

humanities in engineering education. Unfortunately, 
the question of their true worth has not been asked 
by the engineering educator. Once room was provided 
in the engineering curriculum for the "humanities," 
nobody bothered to inqure whether a course was 
taught by a competent or incompetent individual. 
Too often, in my experience, the assumption of 
cultural superiority has generated the assumption 
that engineering students are unteachable and hence 
should be confined to special sections assigned to 
disinterested teaching assistants or to tenured 
deadheads who might dull the enthusiasm of majors 
in the humanities. The record here has been spotty 
ranging from excellent courses to those which should 
not be tolerated by either the engineering or the 
humanities departments. 

But quite aside from the merits of the package 
of humanities, is the effect on sanitary engineering 
education. This is what our discussion is concerned 
with this morning. 

Accommodating the humanities had several funda 
mental effects. It caused us to start recognizing 
that we were not simply minting pennies that all 
civil engineering graduates need not have exactly 
the same exposure to engineering subject matter. 
Obvious as this may seem on a rational basis, it 
was not accomplished without academic travail. 
Professors do not readily agree on anything, especially 
if it endangers their favorite courses. But we managed 


McGauhey: to get more of our courses into the elective 

category. These courses we packaged into options; 
one of which was sanitary engineering. Thus during 
the 1920s and 1930s we moved in education in the 
direction of specialty areas at the undergraduate 
level. By offering courses beyond those normally 
required of civil engineering students we turned 
out graduates at the B.S. level who were pretty 
well specialized in the sanitary engineering area. 

Chall: What were some of these courses? 

McGauhey: First in the package were the traditional courses 
in water supply and sewerage. Relevant courses 
such as hydrology and hydraulic engineering were 
also available. To these we added courses in the 
principles of treatment processes, and in functional 
design of both water works and sewage treatment 
plants. We added a course in sanitary engineering 
laboratory. In this the student learned to perform 
the tests necessary to the operation of treatment 
works and to an evaluation of their performance. 
We also offered in civil engineering a course in 
public health engineering. It involved several 
kinds of information; rural water supply wells 
and springs; devices for dealing with human wastes 
in the country the septic tank and even the old 
pit privy. It Included dairy sanitation, milk 
sanitation, restaurant sanitation, rodent and 
mosquito control. These things are done today 
largely through sanitarians and health inspectors. 
But there was a time when engineers in the health 
department were responsible for most of these rural 
and specialized problems as well as for the public 
water supply and wastewater systems. Some of us 
offered a course in something we called hydroblology. 

Chall: I don't know what that is. 

McGauhey: It is a term we no longer use, but the course 

concerned what is going on in the way of life in 
waters; how it affects water quality; how an 
examination of it may be used to detect pollution; 
and the effects of wastes from human or other sources- 
In those days we were more concerned with sewage than 
with industrial wastes, but we were concerned with 
things the eoologist is excited about today. You 
see, some of us went to a great deal of effort to 


McGauhey: prepare ourselves In this area a generation ago 

because few biologists of the day were interested. 

Pioneers in the Profession 

MoGauhey: Here I think I ought to do a bit of explaining. I 
have talked of how we developed a whole profession 
of sanitary engineering by providing courses in 
our colleges and. universities. But it is the role 
of the engineer to make use of the findings of many 
disciplines, including his own, In producing the 
systems, hardware, and structures needed or wanted 
by man. In engineering, educators cannot simply 
manufacture courses out of their own imaginations. 
There has to be some body of pertinent knowledge 
before there can be a profession. And that knowledge 
need not have been generated specifically for the 
purpose of engineered systems. In designing our 
courses we had a considerable body of knowledge 
upon which to draw. 

I cannot possibly in the time available today 
give credit to all the pioneers who were responsible 
for this knowledge. I have already mentioned the 
Lawrence Experiment Station in Massachusetts as a 
major example. Allen Hazen had developed and 
demonstrated his theory of sedimentation. The U.S. 
Public Health Service assembled in its Cincinnati 
laboraties such men as H.W. Streeter, C.T. Butterfield, 
W.C. Purdy, and James B. Lackey. Earl B. Phelps of 
public health fame at Columbia University Joined 
with the PHS group in pioneer studies of the Ohio 
and Illinois Rivers. The work of this group helped 
establish a basis for drinking water standards; 
clarified the interrelationships between organic 
wastes and aquatic life, as well as water quality; 
and generally evolved the objectives of engineered 
systems for pollution control and the principles 
which should go Into designs intended to protect the 
public health. 

Meanwhile at California, W.P. Langelier was 
developing the theory and process applications 
needed in water purification, and Charles Gilman Hyde 

MoGauhey: was teaching oivil engineers how to utilize all 
this knowledge in engineered systems. We drew 
heavily upon the work of these men, and others who 
I shall be flayed for not naming, in designing our 
oourses in sanitary engineering. 

Simultaneously, for less direct engineering 
purposes men like E.A. Blrge (Wisconsin!, M.C. 
Whipple (Harvard), H.B. Ward (Illinois), J.G. 
Needham (California), R.K. Kudo (Illinois), G.M. 
Smith (Stanford), G.E. Hutohinson (Yale); and others 
who I shall again be flayed for not citing, were 
actively generating scientific data which we found 
applicable in sanitary engineering. Without 
identifying the scope of the Interest of each of 
these individuals, I may say that sanitary engineering 
drew upon their discoveries in fields which we today 
call limnology, algology, protozoology, aquatic 
biology, ecology, and so on. It was from their work 
that we put together our initial courses in hydro- 

But I have left until last the two greatest 
deficiencies in courses required in any sanitary 
engineering specialty sanitary chemistry and 
sanitary microbiology, called simply bacteriology 
in those days. Engineers generally took one year 
of inorganic chemistry in the areas of qualitative 
and quantitative analysis. What the sanitary 
engineer needed beyond that was a combination of 
organic and physical chemistry scaled down to his 
available time, tangential to his background in 
chemistry, and interpreted in terms of water 
quality. In microbiology, his need was even more 
desperate, because he had no elementary course in 
the area. 

It is interesting and distressing to note 
that engineering has long defined science as 
chemistry, physios, and mathematics and persists 
even in 1972 in Ignoring biology as a basic 
requisite course. 

Solving this question of sanitary chemistry 
and microbiology course needs was not readily 
accomplished. There were seldom enough students 
to Justify special oourses within the chemistry 

McGauheyz and biology departments; there were few professors 
who knew enough about water to develop one; and 
the engineer could not ooncelveably follow the 
route of students majoring In chemistry and In 
bacteriology to achieve his goals. In many 
Institutions this problem continues unsatisfactorily 

Chall: What has been the situation at the University of 

McGauhey: I purposely delayed mentioning chemistry and 

microbiology until the end of my first story in 
order to sharpen the contrast between the general 
situation and the situation at Berkeley. Here the 
story is gratlfylngly different. Here the problem 
was solved at the very start by employing a 
competent chemist, Professor W.P. Langeller, directly 
in the engineering department. Thus the sanitary 
engineering program at the University of California 
began with a man who had both scientific knowledge 
and an understanding of how it related to sanitary 

Evolution of Sanitary Engineering Curriculum 
at Berkeley, 1905-194-5 

McGauhey: The story of sanitary engineering as an identifiable 
area of civil engineering at the University of 
California began in 1905 when Professor Charles 
Gilman Hyde Joined the U.C. staff. Hyde was an 
engineer's engineer a designer, a builder, and 
an Innovator. His interests were outstandingly 
broad. He was a highly organized individual and his 
files are a storehouse of knowledge on every aspect 
of what is now sanitary and public health engineering. 
His lecture notes on refuse management, for example, 
show that he was twenty-five years ahead of the rest 
of us in understanding of the problem and of its 
possible solutions. I do not know precisely what 
problems he encountered at Berkeley but I do know 
that the problem of chemistry and microbiology for 
engineers was solved in 1911 when Professor Wilfred 
P. Langeller Joined the civil engineering staff also. 

McGauhey: Professor Langelier was educated as a chemist 
but came to Berkeley by way of the Illinois Water 
Survey. I might note that the survey has for 
three-quarters of a century been an outstanding 
agency. It was a good place for a young man to 
start a career in water quality control. Professor 
Langelier brought to the University a rare 
combination of the pure scientist and the practical 
innovative engineer. At a time when most men dealt 
with isolated phenomena, he unlocked the secrets of 
the equilibria on which they depend. And he 
designed the processes by which to harness them 
in practical treatment plants. Consequently, his 
influence on both the science and the art of water 
quality control will not soon be forgotten. He is 
among the giants from which sanitary engineering 
drew its substance. And the program at California 
had the benefit of his guidance. Thus it was well 
established long before the years I described in my 
first story. 

Both Hyde and Langelier were enthusiastic and 
dedicated teachers. They were also among the finest 
members of the human race. I can understand why 
they attracted top quality students. 

During the period from 1911 to World War II 
the team of Hyde and Langelier turned out an out 
standing group of sanitary engineers. Essentially 
all of the leading sanitary engineers in public 
service and in consulting engineering In California 
were students of Hyde and Langelier. Professor 
Harold Gray was also a member of the team who should 
not be overlooked. He taught the courses in public 
health. In those days there was no school of public 
health. Langelier taught the chemistry and micro 
biology. Hyde taught the engineering. 

Related course available to the student 
concerned with the water supply and water quality 
aspects of sanitary engineering were available. 
You will recall from Professor Sidney T. Harding *s 
memoirs that he and Professor Bernard A. Etcheverry 
had a very strong program in irrigation engineering.* 

*3idney T. Harding, "A Life in Western Water Develop 
ment," 196?; Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft 
Library, University of California at Berkeley. 

McGauhey: So the student who wanted to go beyond the 
required courses in water supply and sewerage 
then took courses in sanitary chemistry and micro 
biology, design, hydrology, Irrigation, refuse 
disposal, public health, and similar subjects as 
he had time. Those who followed that route at 
California came out well prepared for advancing 
the level of sophistication of sanitary engineering 
systems of their time. Details of the program, I 
think, are best presented by Professor Langelier 

This went on until World War II. During 
World War II, we ran out of students in most of 
our schools. We always enrolled a few, and we also 
had some Army personnel. The Army Specialized 
Training program sent men for short term training 
in the field of sanitation. But during the war 
years the program at Berkeley, as elsewhere, lagged 
for want of students. 

Developments After World War II 

McGauhey: In the interval Just before the close of the war 
in 19*44 Professor Hyde retired. But when the war 
was over there came a big flood of young men back 
to college under the G.I. Bill. There was a demand 
for expansion of every institution; and scarcely a 
one that didn't tool up a great deal to do something 
about it. 

Chall: And the University of California was no exception. 

McGauhey: Indeed not. But to describe what occurred at 

Berkeley beyond expanding its staff to accommodate 
numbers, I will have to go back and introduce my 
third story; the one I have been calling "trauma 
number two." It parallels trauma number one; only 
this time it was science rather than humanities 
that shook up our program. 

*Langelier, Wilfred P. Oral history in process 

McGauhey: During the war the physicists worked under 

a protective cloak of secrecy in developing atomic 
weapons. There they closed very rapidly the time 
gap between discovery of a principle and its 
application in hardware. This was in contrast with 
the long lag period normally found in public works. 
Most everything we were doing in pipe lines in the 
twentieth century was known by the Romans. Basic 
scientists have generally prided themselves in pure 
discovery. Engineers have later sometimes centuries 
later put it to practical use. 

Shortening the lag period meant that the 
discoverer and the user were often the same man, 
as in this case the physicist. This frightened the 
bejabbers out of the engineering profession. 
Scientists, particularly physicists, were now about 
to inherit the earth and there would no longer be 
used for engineers. So now we had to get holy with 
the scientists. But having traded in our how-to- 
do-it courses for humanities we were about out of 
trading stock in our undergraduate curricula. At 
least, until we could go through a lot more soul 

We began at once to re-examine the undergraduate 
courses but we guessed correctly that it would take 
several years, and the effect would be minimal. By 
that time it would be too late. We had to act 
quickly to become scientific enough to meet the 
threat on its own grounds. That meant graduate 
work, Including a PhD program. Physicists have PhD 
degrees, you know, and to compete with them as 
scientists called for more than our customary under 
graduate knowledge of physics and chemistry. 

As it turned out the PhD was a good thing for 
engineering; not because it enabled engineers to 
protect their field from physicists, but because it 
enabled them to utilize science in the far more 
sophisticated systems needed to solve the engineering 
problems of today. 

Chall: Was the PhD program in sanitary engineering something 
entirely new? 

MoGauhey: No but it was uncommon, and it had not been initiated 

MoGauhey: at Berkeley. If I recall correctly, the first PhD 
specifically in sanitary engineering was granted 
by Harvard University in 1925 in a program initiated 
and led by Professor Gordon M. Pair. In the years 
that followed, his graduates Initiated programs in 
other universities. But for the most part these 
were the master's programs; the ones that offered 
in the fifth year most everything that constitutes 
a technical specialty. As I have said, curriculum 
changes growing out of the humanities trauma 
generally brought the student to the fifth year 
before he was free to take specialty courses. This 
enabled us to increase the degree of sophistication 
of the courses because the students were more mature. 
And we Increased the variety of courses as well. 

But I must not imply that Harvard was the only 
university that offered the PhD in the sanitary 
engineering field. Several did so with different 
areas of emphasis. Johns Hopkins, MIT, North 
Carolina, and Wisconsin were among the early group. 
I do not have in mind the entire list nor when they 
first entered their PhD programs. VPI Joined the 
group after the war. I would say that there were 
perhaps twelve or fifteen such programs in the U.S. 
by 19^-6 when Professor Harold B. Gotaas came to 

Chall: Dr. Gotaas took Professor Hyde's place? 

MoGauhey: No, you could hardly say that he took Professor 
Hyde's place. The world had so changed, with the 
war that there was a whole new set of conditions 
to be met. The PhD program was only a part of it. 
We were at the threshhold of an era of expansion 
of programs, a proliferation of sanitary engineering 
curricula throughout the U.S., government sponsored 
research and. training grants, and a new consciousness 
of environmental pollution which required attention. 

So Professor Gotaas took over a part of the 
position formerly assigned to Professor Hyde in 
the College of Engineering. With that he became 
responsible for the engineering aspects of sanitary 
engineering. The other part of his position was 
vested in the newly created School of Public Health. 

McGauhey: Principally he was to develop the area of 
environmental health sciences and to coordinate 
the program In sanitary engineering and the 
environmental health sciences so as to exploit the 
strength of each to the benefit of the University. 

Chall: Was Professor Gotaas a public health engineer also? 

McGauhey: In the United States It Is difficult to distinguish 
between the sanitary and the public health engineer. 
For the most part the public health engineers In 
health departments have been educated In engineering 
In the sanitary engineering programs. Thus they 
work with people educated In other aspects of 
health for regulatory purposes but they are still 
sanitary engineers. In fact, the Bureau of Sanitary 
Engineering Is a common section of a state health 

In Professor Gotaas 1 case he was experienced 
with all aspects of the task before him. He got his 
doctorate at Harvard and was teaching at North 
Carolina when the war broke out. However he had 
prior experience In public health programs and in 
consulting engineering. He went on active duty 
during the war and worked on health problems of 
the Americas. When he came to Berkeley he had Just 
been president of the Office of Inter-American 
Affairs. So he had plenty of public health experience 
as well as sanitary engineering experience, both in 
teaching and in design. He was well prepared to 
start the new program. 

The least well known of the tasks ahead was 
that associated with the School of Public Health. 
Schools of public health were a relatively new 
phenomenon. Perhaps we had best talk first about 
that aspect of the situation before we get on with 
our story. 

The School of Public Health 

McGauhey: The School of Public Health is somewhat different 
than the College of Engineering from an academic 
viewpoint. A college, I am sure you understand, 
is an administrative unit led by a dean, and which 
has structured departments within it. Specifically, a 
college has undergraduate students; that is, lower 
division students in the several departments civil 
engineering, mechanical engineering, etc. Such 
was the traditional structure of the College of 

The School of Public Health, on the other 
hand was a professional school. This resulted in 
the greatest assortment of academic dilemmas I have 
ever seen. To begin with it had some eighteen 
diverse specialty areas- -administration, epidemiology 
biostatistics, public health engineering, health 
education, material and child care, sanitation, and 
so on all representing appropriate activities of a 
large organized department of health. However, It 
had no departments. Each specialty area was a one- 
man department anxious to accept and further the 
education of students interested in that area. 

But the degree structure of the school was the 
Master of Public Health, and the Doctor of Public 
Health. The objective of these professional degrees 
was to broaden the background of the specialist and 
so to prepare him for administering a public health 
unit or a department of health. To qualify for the 
program the individual was required to have at least 
two years of experience, and already hold a degree. 
Here dilemma piled upon dilemma. Each professor, 
and in fact each student, wanted to work in his own 
specialty area. Yet everyone from the M.D. , with 
eight years of advanced study, to the sanitarian 
with a B.S. degree were to prepare themselves in 
the same courses to administer a health department. 
Everyone knew that no one but the M.D. will ever 
become director of a local department of health. 
And even in a large department the sanitarian will 
not be in a large enough section to require the MPH 
for his administrative duties. Public health 
engineering was an engineering college function, 
except for preparation for health administration. 

McGauhey: The question then was how to advance students 
in eighteen specialty areas under a degree umbrella 
that had only a single purpose built around a set 
of required core subjects. To make chaos certain, 
the school began with the admission of a number of 
undergraduate students. And to make the dilemma 
complete--a dean is an academic anomaly unless he 
has departments. Therefore, It was necessary to 
appoint one individual as head of the Department 
of Public Health, than give him also the title of 
Dean so that he might supervise himself, yet have 
the appropriate hierarchical title to sit with deans 
when the affairs of the school were considered. 

Chall: It sounds like an all but hopeless task. 

McGauhey: Well not all of these incongruities had surfaced 
at the time Professor Gotaas came. And they were 
not all resolved when he left. It was known, 
however, that the student should become professionally 
oriented in his particular specialty area to some 
extent, but broadly oriented to the whole field of 
public health. This took a lot of doing and it 
wasn't easy to resolve. But nevertheless, creation 
of the School of Public Health at the very time 
they were ready to refurbish the program in sanitary 
engineering was part of the picture when they brought 
in Professor Gotaas. 

Chall: How was the problem ever solved? 

McGauhey: In the academic world one learns to live with 

problems, hence a total resolution is not always 
possible. But I may say now, and explain later, 
that we did three things to resolve the problem 
after a few years of trying to identify the problem. 
First we discontinued the undergraduate program. 
Then we shrunk the required core course material 
to the extent that each student had some time to 
study in his professional specialty area. Finally 
we added the M.S. and PhD degrees to accommodate 
the student who wanted to apply his knowledge of any 
science or other field of learning to the area of 
public health. But much of that came along later. 

To begin solving the problem, Professor Gotaas 
took stock of what we had left after the war. 

McGauhey: Professor Langeller was still with us at the time 
and teaching the chemistry. In the PhD program to 
come it was recognized that chemistry would be one 
of its strongest areas in and beyond the M.S. level. 
Thus more of Professor Langelier*s time would be 
needed in guiding research. Therefore it was 
decided that microbiology should be vested in a 
professional microbiologist. Since he might have 
a strange professional home in the School of Public 
Health, where there was other activity of a 
biological nature, Professor Gotaas proposed to 
place him there. The idea was that although his 
professional home and payroll status was in the 
school, he would in fact be the microbiologist 
for sanitary engineering. 

Re-evaluation of the Curriculum 

McGauhey: Engineering curricula are always under constant 
scrutiny. The humanities experience did not for 
long suppress the idea inside engineering that the 
engineer should become what I call a "specialist in 
generalities." Prom the outside, the blame for 
failure of the non-technical specialties to solve 
economic or social problems for which they were 
educated, is normally placed upon the engineer. 
This current pastime was abroad in 19^6 as usual. 
Therefore, one of the early problems in establishing 
the graduate program was what changes should be 
made in engineering course context and requirements. 

W.C. Pardy, in the Public Health Service, had 
a sign on his wall dealing with how to write a 
technical paper. It said, "Revise, rewrite, delete, 
deplete, de-gas, de-water, and de-bunk." Step one 
was to apply that criterion to existing courses. 
This began in 19^6 and continues in 1972. Looking 
back I see that in sanitary engineering the principal 
task was to de-gas courses without depleting them 
too much, and to resist the perennial desire of 
structures-oriented civil engineers to de-water the 
curriculum entirely. 

McGauhey: At the undergraduate level there was competition 
between the various areas of interest in civil 
engineering for currlcular time. We were slow to 
recognize that the total of human knowledge had 
overrun our concepts of what a four- year curriculum 
should contain. The truth was that sanitary 
engineering as a field was by 19^6 already more 
diverse than was the whole field of civil engineering 
prior to 1920. The same was true of the structural 
engineering area. It had long since forgotten about 
drawing rivet heads and was eager to get room for 
such engineering sciences as elasticity, plasticity, 
computer science and so on. Transportation was no 
longer a course in pavement design. Traffic, vehicle 
safety, freeway "spaghetti," and numerous other 
environmental aspects were important. 

In 19^6 professors were all eager to get a 
foundation established in the undergraduate years 
on which to build both their scientific and 
engineering graduate programs. But there were still 
several types of resistance. We were not ready to 
abandon the historic concept that every civil 
engineer should take a course in electrical 
engineering, and another in mechanical engineering 
for the good of his soul. We did recognize that 
these courses had been generally useless for at 
least a generation. But we still hoped this could 
be corrected by correcting the course content one 
of the most persistent of all the futile notions I 
have experienced as an educator. 

Within the department we also behaved in 
predictable fashion. It was a rare professor Indeed 
who could entertain the possibility that society 
could survive a generation of civil engineers who 
had not taken his favorite course. This applied 
both to his existing course and to the scientific 
dream course he proposed to generate. I think civil 
engineering in 19*4-6 had reached the situation of 
"three little bugs in a basket, with hardly room 
for two. " The reasons were the rapid proliferation 
of knowledge and the glacier-like rate of change in 
educational viewpoints. 

Chall: This was going on when Dr. Gotaas came in? 


McGauhey: It was going on in the academic world, at least. 
And it was certainly waiting in the wings at 
California. At the time Dr. Gotaas came it was 
evident that we must go for higher degrees. But 
some of the most difficult problems confronting 
him were: What are we going to leave in the 
curriculum? Where, in the hierarchy of degrees is 
it to be located. 

Chall: This was evident because the college had to provide 
more sophisticated scientific knowledge, or because 
it seemed that you had to do it in order to make 
yourself scientific, whether it was needed or not? 

MoGauhey: I think that the initial shock wave generated by the 
physicists in wartime hastened our inevitable 
re-evaluation of engineering by the profession. 
It did not take long for us to see that the engineer 
in the years ahead could not fulfill his role as 
a synthesizer of knowledge so as to provide the 
structures and hardware and the systems needed in 
environmental control unless he had enough education 
to understand the knowledge to be synthesized. It 
was obvious that civilization was going to demand 
technology and that education must produce somebody 
to fulfill the role long assigned to the engineer. 
As I look back, the problem was the ancient one of 
changing institutionalized concepts rather than of 
self preservation against the cannibalism of science. 

Professor Gotaas was never impressed by the 
physicist as a bogeyman. His attitude on this point 
is best illustrated by his reaction to a report 
that another Individual was invading his particular 
area of research interest. He said, "There's enough 
work in the world for everybody. " I think that was 
his attitude toward, the engineer versus physicist 

Chall: How was the problem of courses approached? 

McGauhey: Action was begun on several fronts. One was the 
development of graduate courses. In sanitary 
engineering Professor Gotaas developed a central 
graduate course for sanitary engineering which ran 
through the academic year. It concentrated on the 
theory and principles of treatment of water and 

MoGauhey: wastewater. At first he shared with the rest of 
the profession the concept that functional design 
should be a part of this course. But it soon 
became evident that process design was all that 
could be expected. A separate course in the 
principles of functional design would have to fill 
that need for those who were interested. 

At the undergraduate level in civil engineering 
the courses in mathematics, chemistry, and physics 
were expanded. The basic engineering sciences were 
identified. And the perennial "curriculum committee" 
of the department was directed to the task of 
recommending which courses should be made elective, 
which required, and which discontinued. 

Chall: While these deletions, de-gassing, and other things 
were taking place, the humanities being brought in, 
and graduate studies set up, there must have been 
some professors with some specialties who couldn't 
have helped but be upset. Did they see themselves 
going out, being phased out, diminished in importance 
or what? 

McGauhey: Well, I don't think that anyone was actually 
quarantined, but professors were upset at the 
prospect of students not electing their courses. 
I think Just the normal rate of attrition took care 
of course elimination. For example, when we quit 
teaching railroad engineering the people who taught 
it were tired of teaching it and they were getting 
on toward retirement. And so it sort of went by 
the board. Nevertheless, as changes came on more 
rapidly in more recent years, there have been 
traumatic experiences of individuals. But, in 
general, the change was not too abrupt. The cultural 
change or the social change was not so abrupt that 
it suddenly Just chopped off any need for doing 
some things at all. Irrigation engineering, for 
example, was a very highly respected department here 
at Berkeley. But when Professors Bernard A. 
Etoheverry and Sidney T. Harding retired, there 
wasn't anyone particularly competent to carry on 
their specific work at the same level. And so the 
department disappeared from the Berkeley scene. 


Then it went to Davis. 


McGauhey: The name and some aspects of the work were continued 
at Davis. But at Berkeley the emphasis shifted in 
new directions over a period of a few years. 
Irrigation engineering was discontinued as a separate 
department, but courses in this area were continued 
in the Department of Civil Engineering by Professors 
Russell Simpson and Fred Hotes. Professor Prank 
Clendenen came along with an interest in water 
resources management; and Professor David K. Todd 
began developing the area of surface and ground water 
hydrology. With the retirement and departure of 
Simpson, Hotes, and Clendenen, irrigation engineering 
entered a new phase. 

So our interest turned to resource development. 
It was one of those situations where sometimes a Job 
is finished and you get on to another Job. Professors 
went on to other Jobs or, having retired, It was not 
necessary for anyone else to start doing again the 
Job they had already done. That part of the problem 
which dealt with how physically to get water on the 
land had been pretty well solved. Now the questions 
were: How much water do we put on? When do you put 
it on? What are the relationships between water, 
soil, and crop yield? And where in California are 
we to get the necessary water? And where do we keep 
it before we bring it out for use? The first three 
of these questions were left largely to our Davis 
campus. At Berkeley, attention was directed to the 
last two. 

It isn't always that tidy, but a university can 
be great only in those areas where its young men lead 
it. We cannot simply achieve greatness in one area 
and then maintain that greatness by going out and 
hiring a great man to carry on in the same field. 
In engineering, especially in environmental control 
the task changes from time to time. Otherwise our 
greatness would gather dust and engineering would be 
a failure. 

Challenges of Developing Problems of Air, 
Land, and Water Pollution 



The war itself then was the break. 
a cultural break in every way. 

Well, it was 

It brought on the discontinuity that made opportunity. 
But there was one other factor that the war brought 
into sharper focus the matter of industrial wastes. 
That had to be considered in our educational package 
in 19^6. In early years our concern in sanitary 
engineering had first been in water supply; getting 
safe water, and engineering the systems necessary to 
keep it safe and distribute it to people. Then we 
became concerned to re-collect it and to do whatever 
necessary, albeit the minimum necessary, to permit 
it release back into the environment. 

But during the war Industries sprung up in 
great profusion here on the Pacific Coast. This 
meant that we now had more concern for water quality 
than Just what happens to water when it passes 
through the human being or through animals. This 
is pretty easily understood, although it is sometimes 
difficult to engineer a system to overcome its 
effects. But at least it was Just part of the normal 
natural cycle of organic growth and decay that we 
knew how to cope with. We may have been reluctant 
to spend the money to treat sewage and counted on 
dilution where it wasn't necessarily urgent to build 
treatment works. 

But as industries sprang up we were confronted 
with a whole new spectrum of wastes. And not all of 
that went into the water. I think 19*^8 was the first 
year that drastic action was taken in Los Angeles to 
control air pollution. At that time they thought 
it was sulfur dioxide. But in any event we recognized 
that we had a big air pollution problem. The war 
brought on atomic energy, and afterwards we wanted 
to see what we were going to be able to do with this 
technology. What were the dangers of continuing to 
test nuclear weapons; and the dangers of trying to 
use radioisotopes in peace time? So air pollution 
control and the whole area that we thought of as 
radiological health sprang up. Chemical pesticides 
and synthetic detergents were coming into widespread 


McGauhey: use. They were being manufactured and used in 
California, along with numerous other chemicals 
of unknown environmental effects. Thus industrial 
wastes in California became more than a question of 
wastes from oil extraction and refineries. 

The effect of some types of Industrial wastes 
and vast amounts of agricultural return waters was 
to make it pretty clear to engineers sanitary 
engineers at least that public health was not the 
whole story of water quality anymore; that there 
were other beneficial uses, such as irrigation, 
industrial use, recreation and protection of aquatic 
life all matters of concern that had little direct 
bearing on public health. 

At that point in time, a study known as the 
Dickey Report on water pollution was made by the 
19^9 assembly.* Out of it grew California's Water 
Pollution Control Law which split the responsibility 
for water quality between the State Health Department 
and an agency initially called the State Water 
Pollution Control Board. 

Chall: Are you familiar with the battle that went on over 

MoGauhey: Yes. I was at the University of Southern California 
when that went on. I was new here though and so 
probably missed some of the finer points. 

Chall: Heal political... 

MoGauhey: There were some who said (and I wouldn't want to 

have to document its accuracy) that the legislature 
never really intended to set up a Water Pollution 
Control Board. They Just Intended to scare the 
stuffing out of the State Health Department over 
some problems of Los Angeles discharging wastewater 
to the ocean. But whether this is true or not, I 
don't know. 

* "Report of the Interim Pact-Finding Committee on 
Water Pollution," published by the Assembly of the 
State of California, 


MoGauhey: In any event they did set up the board. Then 
they had to make a differentiation between con 
tamination and pollution to decide whether a health 
problem exists. If it's contamination, it's a 
health problem, and the health department can move 
in, and was required to move in at once with a 
cease and desist order. If it's pollution, then 
the Water Pollution Control Board had authority. 
With pollution we could afford to temporize; not 
that anyone was encouraged to do so, but it wasn't 
critical. It wasn't immediately that anybody was 
going to die from it, it was Just gradually going 
to get worse and worse. And how do we say when it 
is bad enough? 

Chall: What did all this mean to the sanitary engineering 
program at Berkeley? 

McGauhey: It meant that we now had to expand the scope of the 
sanitary engineering program to include courses and 
research in a whole new aspect of water quality 
industrial waste pollution. It meant also that a 
further expansion in scope was necessary to cope 
with both the health and environmental problems of 
air pollution and radioactive wastes. And it meant, 
further, that we could not expect to educate any 
single specialty sanitary engineer, chemical engineer, 
or anyone else to deal with this whole spectrum of 
concern single handed. Instead, we should have to 
organize our program in such a fashion that people 
in a greater range of specialties can work as a team 
on environmental problems. 

All of these added factors were recognized as 
the University of California set out to revitalize 
and reorganize its program in sanitary engineering. 

Reorganizing the Curriculum: 
Academic Flexibility 

Advanced Degrees, 

McGauhey: Reorganizing the curriculum to generate a strong M.S. 
and PhD program in sanitary engineering and in 
developing the strength of the School of Public Health 
was accomplished over a period of time. I will not 


McGauhey: undertake a chronological listing of events. 

Instead I will try to outline the rationale and 
how it was implemented. 

To serve the needs of engineers in the M.S. 
and PhD programs in the College of Engineering, 
and of the MPH and Dr. PH programs in the School 
of Public Health, courses were developed to avoid 
duplication. Their location in the system depended 
upon the location of the instructional competence 
and the general utility of the subject. Thus the 
School of Public Health was responsible for courses 
in administration, epidemiology, biostatistics, 
environmental sanitation, industrial hygiene, and 
our specialized courses In microbiology, and water 
biology, and also radiological health. Air 
pollution control was an engineering course taught 
in the school. 

In the engineering college were located our 
courses in water supply, wastewater management, 
industrial wastes, engineering design, chemistry, 
and instrumentation, as well as various other 
specialty courses not strictly of a sanitary 
engineering context. This was so organized that a 
student without advanced degrees but interested In 
sanitary engineering could enter at the master's 
level. However he did not have to come from a 
background of civil engineering. He could be a 
chemical engineer or any other type of engineer 
having engineering, mathematics, and the fundamental 
engineering sciences. His program would Include our 
hard core of water quality and water management, 
but it would be possible for him to specialize, to 
do some degree, in Industrial wastes, air pollution, 
or radiological health. And I neglected to say 
that in subsequent years solid wastes was added as 
a research emphasis. Solid waste was a strong area 
at Berkeley from the beginning, Professor Hyde having 
offered a course in waste management. 

In the revised situation, the engineer got his 
administration, his epidemiology, his biology, and 
his statistics in the School of Public Health. 

Chall: These were required courses for the masters? 

McGauhey: Generally, yes. However, If he had taken a course 
In statistics elsewhere it was not necessary to 
study biostatistlcs for the M.S. degree in sanitary 
engineering. The sanitary engineer might occasionally 
avoid the course in administration although normally 
the course served twin purposes to acquaint the 
engineer with the principles of administration, and 
to bring him in contact with a totally different 
point of view than he experienced in technical 
subjects. Pew students in the early years of the 
post-war program avoided the course in epidemiology. 
Not that they were inclined to resist it it was 
well taught and logical. Dr. Gotaas 1 logic was 
that if you are preparing yourself to protect the 
public health by changing the quality of water, you 
should have some idea of the route by which the 
health is injured if you don't protect it if your 
engineered system breaks down. 

All this applies to students in sanitary 
engineering. If the MPH degree was the educational 
goal, then statistics, administration, and epidemiology 
were among the required courses. 

I neglected to note that in those years the 
Public Health Service made grants for study in 
sanitary engineering and included epidemiology as 
one bit of evidence that the student had some 
orientation to the health field. In any event, the 
student had to know something about epidemiology if 
the purpose of his work was to protect the public 
health. However, at the master's level the engineer 
could emphasize the field of water, air, or 
radiological health. 

Chall: As a specialty? 

McGauhey: As a specialty or more accurately, as his special 

area of Interest in his sanitary engineering program. 

Chall: Was the sanitary engineering program limited strictly 
to engineers, once the field was open to others 
than engineers? 

McGauhey: It was not limited solely to engineers but the 

problem was not fully resolved until we developed 
the Environmental Health Sciences with M.S. and 
PhD degrees in the School of Public Health. 


MoGauhey: Our degree designation was in engineering. 
Therefore we had to stay holy with our own 
profession. This meant that the M.S. or PhD student 
in sanitary engineering had to have the basic 
mathematics, fluid mechanics, and mechanics of 
materials minlmals for engineers. He also had to 
have some design. This was not too much of a problem 
for the graduate chemist who wanted to enter the 
program. Chemists generally have the same mathematics 
background as engineers. Chemistry also is one of 
the strong areas of study for sanitary engineers. 
Thus the chemist has some trading stock some courses 
he can trade off against graduate requirements. 
So with some Judicious auditing and makeup course 
work, the chemist was not too much delayed. 

But suppose a biologist came along saying, "I 
want to put my knowledge of biology to work in 
environmental control. M The biologist normally 
takes very little mathematics, hence he doesn't 
generally know enough mathematics to get into 
engineering. Therefore he has less to trade off 
against engineering courses because engineering 
curricula generally are devoid of biology require 
ments. What route is open to this chap? Lord knows 
we need, his talents in environmental control. Yet 
he cannot generally get all he needs from the 
biology department. If a man studies biology in 
the biology department he generally wants to do 
those things which will enhance his stature among 
biologists, Just as engineers might wish to do in 

So here we have a student whose educational 
objectives make him somewhat of a hybrid. His 
educational goals are not quite holy enough for the 
biology department. He is definitely unholy from 
the engineering department's viewpoint because of 
weakness in mathematics. And yet he has something 
to offer that mankind, badly needs. For this student 
the Environmental Health Sciences of the School of 
Public Health is a natural home. 

Challt Was all this arranged for by Dr. Gotaas? 

McGauhey: The degree structure that made this possible was 
arranged after Dr. Gotaas left the University of 
California, but nevertheless, he laid the groundwork 


McGauhey: for it and it was a natural outgrowth of what he 
had organized. 

Ghall: Were the M.S. and PhD programs in Environmental 

Health Sciences developed, especially for biologists 
and other scientists who were in some way unqualified 
to undertake an engineering degree? 

McGauhey: No. The opportunity these degrees afforded the 
scientist was a valuable spin-off. The degree 
structure of the School of Public Health was 
initiated to solve some problems within the school 
and two years of experience in a health department 
was prerequisite to enrollment. We did get quite 
a few such people in engineering in the late 19^0s. 
They enrolled in the school and took courses in both 
the school and the College of Engineering. They 
could emphasize water, air, radiological health, 
or other specialty area Just as could the student 
enrolled in sanitary engineering. His degree, 
however, had to be the MPH. 

Challr Was the MPH an academically unacceptable degree? 

McGauhey: Not at all. It was unsatisfactory to some students 

because its experience requirements were oonstrlctive 
and its intent was to accomplish a different goal 
than the M.S. It was unsatisfactory to the faculty 
who guided, students desiring a depth of study in 
their specialty areas rather than broad study in 
public health. However, we did not let this prevent 
us from meeting the needs of students in the environ 
mental field. We simply used the degree somewhat 
as an M.S. for some students and as an MPH for others. 
The dichotomy was more of a strain on the faculty 
than on the student. Until the M.S. and. PhD degrees 
were approved, for the School of Public Health 
specialties, it was beyond the resolving power of 
the faculty mind to understand, how the school was 
to give the same administrative orientation to all 
students while simultaneously pursuing in fact the 
M.S. objectives in eighteen or more specialty areas. 
Before the worst of this dilemma was resolved by 
the introduction of the M.S. and PhD degrees, a 
vast amount of faculty energy was futilely directed 
to the question. In retrospect I liken our efforts 
to that of trying to convert the family auto into 
a Cadillac by adjusting the carburetor. 


Chall: The problem was solved, though. 

McGauhey: Yes; certainly as far as the student is concerned. 
Once we got the matter of degrees straightened 
out we had at Berkeley a program quite unique in 
the annals of environmental control. The student 
having an engineering background and an engineering 
objective could take advanced degrees in sanitary 
engineering, with emphasis in any of a wide spectrum 
of subjects; or he could obtain the degrees in 
environmental health sciences, with emphasis on any 
branch of science; or he could go the MPH/DrPH route 
for an administrative degree in public health. 
Similarly, the scientist from any of a great variety 
of backgrounds could enroll in the School of Public 
Health, taking his degrees in environmental health 
sciences, with emphasis on any of a variety of 
fields ( including engineering) ; or prepare himself 
to be an administrator in health departments. 
Moreover, in this arrangement, engineering, public 
health, and science departments had no need to 
generate overlapping courses or, at least, to 
proliferate courses. 

Chall: It sounds like an ideal arrangement. 

McGauhey: It made academic sense, but I am not certain of its 
life expectancy. In recent years, as the University 
has approached physical maturity and competition 
for positions has become a feature of departmental 
woes, an unhealthy situation has arisen. 

Chall: What is its nature? 

McGauhey: Well, to accomplish the ideal arrangement required 
a split appointment arrangement between engineering 
and public health, and the locating of courses in 
whichever division of the two was appropriate in 
terms of staff competence. Thus some courses required 
of engineering graduate students were under Public 
Health numbers and some required of public health 
students were listed under engineering or science. 
Administrative evaluation of staff needs based on 
student loads puts a premium on courses taught by 
an Individual department. The tendency therefore 
must certainly be to keep all students enrolled in 
a department in courses taught by that department. 



Chall : 


Chall : 

McGauhey : 

It is easier to violate the non-proliferation of 
courses policy (via elective courses which obscure 
the proliferation) than it is to disguise the fact 
that X number of students were taught by Y number 
of professors in a given quarter. The alternative 
is to become, in some cases, second rate by requiring 
two or three professors to teach all about everything, 
because everything multiplied by the number of 
students equals only the prescribed load for two 
or three professors. But this is a whole area of 
discussion in itself. The point here is that the 
impetus for some very important developments 
involving the Sanitary Engineering Research Laboratory 
came from Dr. Gotaas' serving half time in the 
School of Public Health and half time in Engineering, 
and from his adding more people (some of these with 
split appointments) as the program progressed. 

Why was Dr. Gotaas given this latitude? How was 
that he was responsible for so muoh hiring, and 
structuring of the program? 


Part of what I have described developed over the 
years. In fact, I, myself, played a major role in 
getting the degree structure for the School of 
Public Health. But the route was charted and the 
program initiated by Professor Gotaas. I should not 
imply that he was responsible for the hiring in the 
sense that authority to hire and fire was delegated 
to him. He made recommendations and they were 
approved. But Gotaas is a man with lots of 
imagination, and lots of ability to organize things 
and get tuned up to do a Job. There was a Job to 
be done and he was employed to evaluate it and to 
take action. 

But he was really Just one of the faculty members 
in the Department of Civil Engineering. 

True, but he was responsible for the area of 
sanitary engineering. Soon after his arrival in 
Berkeley he became Chairman of the Department of 
Civil Engineering and, later, Chairman of the Division 
of Hydraulic and Sanitary Engineering. And although 
the School of Public Health was not structured to 
have chairmen, Dr. Gotaas was the leader of the 
group responsible for public health engineering. 


McGauhey: In the role of chairman of C.E. it was his responsi 
bility to build up the department in line with the 
wishes of the faculty and the objectives of the 
college. I do not mean to imply that Dr. Gotaas 
came in and held back the ocean single-handed, but 
the climate was right for a major development in 
engineering education. He came with the imagination 
to set the system in motion, and he had the support 
of Dean M.P. O'Brien and Dean Charles E. Smith in 
getting things done. 

In the immediate postwar period a major 
expansion was needed to accommodate the student 
population. I don't think Dr. Gotaas or anyone else 
had a preconceived plan which he set out to implement. 
Positions were available for expansion of the 
department of C.E. These were filled only after the 
faculty has undergone its traditional travail and 
soul searching; its internal political maneuvering; 
and its Gilbert & Sullivan routines. Dr. Gotaas 
had ideas and he tried them out and evaluated them 
in discussions with other faculty members and 
administrators. They were by no means all accepted 
by faculty or administration. 

Chall: Why did he have these ideas? 

McGauhey: He was born on a South Dakota Farm and quite as poor 
as the rest of us. He learned early to scuffle 
hard to accomplish things. The war had delayed 
many of the things that ought to be done in the 
fields of health and sanitation. Moreover, Dr. Gotaas 
had been operating in a system where you get things 

Chall: And had money. 

McGauhey: Yes, the State Department and the Rockefeller 

Foundation had money and they were getting Important 
things done with it in the programs Dr. Gotaas had 
been associated with. He was aware of what needed 
to be done. He was also aware of the sources of 
funds that were becoming available for research and 
study in the sanitary and public health field, and 
in civil engineering in general. 


McGauhey : 

Chall : 

MoGauhey : 

So Dr. Gotaas set out to get money to do the things 
which needed to be done in the sanitary engineering 

Yes; both inside the University and outside of it 
money was becoming available. Many of the faculty 
who had been working for years with an annual 
budget of some $600 to buy glassware were somewhat 
shocked at the amounts of funds Dr. Gotaas began 
to bring in. 

They didn't know the money was out there? 

Many didn't know it was out there because there had 
been an interruption of departmental activities 
during the war and most university people did not 
yet realize in 19^5 what the war and technology had 
done to the costs of operating a department. What 
had happened was that the war had changed both the 
necessity for getting at things and the ways of 
getting at things. Electronic equipment had replaced 
glassware. Research as a fountain of information 
for instruction had come to the forefront. And the 
need for higher degrees, which I have discussed, 
further compounded costs. All this was ready for 

But academic arrangements were not there for 
simple discovery. They required imagination. In 
any event, what came out of the situation was the 
organization of something new and unique in the 
field of sanitary engineering education. 

And it was new right here in Berkeley, 
been tried before? 

It hadn't 

It had been invented right here. And we became 
the envy of a good many Institutions because we had 
the School of Public Health. At that time there 
were only eleven schools of public health. This 
was not a thing that each institution could decide 
by simply saying "Now I'm going to have a school 
of public health." There was the American Public 
Health Association and, of course, the medical 
profession and limits set by federal legislation 
involved in setting up schools of public health and 
In preventing their proliferation so that available 


McGauhey: funds might become too dispersed to be effective. 

By organizing and by keeping the number of 
eligible participants small a few schools of 
public health got the Congress, under the Rhodes- 
Hill Act, to establish a formula grant under which 
each would receive money each year for operation. 
This formula, incidentally, had a basic minimum 
amount which could be parlayed upward if you knew 
how and had the energy to work hard at research. 
The significant fact was that the schools of public 
health had a source of funds that others could not 
get at. It was not these funds, however, that put 
Berkeley in a good position. It was the spectrum 
of competence, the combination that the College 
and the School could offer, and the range of student 
background it could accept in environmental and 
health oriented programs that made Berkeley unique. 
It remained for the Sanitary Engineering Research 
Laboratory to round out the facilities needed to 
complete the program. 



Chall: What factors led to the creation of the Laboratory? 

MoGauhey: In addition to the research needed to support the 
graudate programs I have been describing there are 
two factors of especial importance. The first was 
the rise of environmental problems to the crisis 
status required to generate research support. The 
other was the establishment of the Richmond Field 
Station by the University. One crisis led to the 
establishment of the Laboratory, although various 
others nurtured its growth. Several needs, as I 
shall summarize, led to the purchase of the Richmond 

Crisis in Solid Waste Management 

McGauheyt The wartime growth of urban California is responsible 
for the crisis that led directly to the emergence 
of the Laboratory. It caused the whole string of 
discrete and separate towns that ran from San Francisco 
to San Jose to expand until they impinged upon each 
other. This created a crisis in solid wastes. 

The crisis was an interesting development in two 
ways. First, the towns and cities had been small 
prior to the war some in the three thousand population 
class. I am sure you know, as I do, something of 
the mentality of people who habitually or traditionally 
live In a town of three thousand people. I have used 
the wrong word here. It is the reaction rather than 
the mentality to which I refer. The mayor and the 


McGauhey: council are attuned to the tiny budget and the quiet 
streets. So, when, as happened in wartime, the 
population booms to say 25,000 overnight, life in 
the town is disrupted. The majority of people then 
are newcomers people who can't vote in the 
community. The political power, therefore, remains 
in the hands of the small town politician. People 
can't vote but they are there physically. They are 
driving in the streets. They are doing things 
which result in generation of tax monies. But it is 
awfully hard for a public official mentally scaled 
to the small community to realize what it means 
suddenly to have 30,000 people about. Even if the 
tax base Is expanded the old-timers continue to 
think small and to maintain their political hold 
upon the community. 

One difficulty that arose when this situation 
developed in California was the result of the way 
the towns had traditionally handled solid wastes. 
The procedure was to transport refuse beyond the 
edge of town and dump it along the working face of 
a fill, starting at one end of the site in the 
morning and spreading waste along the face as the 
day progressed. Pigs were allowed to come in and 
salvage whatever they desired. Then after the pigs 
had gone to rest for the night, men would set fire 
to the dump and burn off such things as were burnable. 
This facilitated the salvage of metal. In the 
morning the metal was cool and salvagers came along. 
Then the residue was pushed over the edge of the 
fill, the pigs arose, and the trucks arrived with 
another day's contribution of refuse. Having been 
burned, the residue did not need much cover and the 
cost of waste disposal was low. 

But as the towns grew and Impinged on one 
another there was no place to dump the garbage 
except in the other chap's city. This meant that 
there was no place for hog farms anymore; so the 
hog farm had to go. 

And about that same time vesicular exanthema 
which is a disease of swine that causes blisters 
in their mouths so they can't eat very well suddenly 
blossomed out in epidemic proportions across the 
United States. The disease had been endemic in 



McGauhey: California for years and years but was never 

eradicated. It Is spread by meat scraps, and meat 
scraps In garbage from the Union Pacific Railway 
began to Infect hogs In the big hog-growing states 
like Nebraska and Kansas. This, of course, created 
a crisis and meant that men had to cook garbage 
before feeding It to swine. So most states passed 
laws against feeding raw garbage to swine. Cooking 
Just added another cost so swine growers, who had 
been feeding with garbage, went out of business. 

Impinged Jurisdictions, plus the decline In 
hog farms using municipal garbage, generated a crisis 
in refuse disposal which reached the California 
Legislature in 19*4-9. Assembly Bill 2033, statutes 
of 19^9. appropriated special funds to the University 
of California for research relating to technical 
problems of disposal of sewage, garbage, refuse and 
industrial wastes, and for disseminating such 
information to people. 

""T/ OO ! lS~ O O 

The appropriation was $50 $000 tout the Governor 
cut this in half when the bill reached his desk. 
Of course, $25 T 000 sounded like a lot when measured 
against the pre-war academic department yardsticks 
that I mentioned previously. 

* .5r<2 , o oo 

Chall: To get $5rOOO to begin a new type of research at 
the University must have taken quite a bit of 
lobbying and pressure within the University itself 
and In Sacramento. 

McGauhey I do not know much of the politics of it. I do 

know that at that time the University had a strong 
president. And it had a strong lobbyist in 
Sacramento. I know that Professor Gotaas was 
articulate and that he was called to explain the 
problem to legislative committees at the time. I 
know also that the League of California Cities was 
deeply concerned with the question of how Its members 
were going to solve the solid waste problem and was 
anxious to get support of how the crisis could be 
dealt with. 

As to internal pressure within the University, 
I can only guess that it was not much debated on 
the campus. Those who dwell in Ivory towers do not 



McGauhey: concern themselves much with the rubbish at the 
base of the tower. I expect that it was not 
until the refuse research became institutionalized 
in an organized unit that the question of academic 
integrity came up. Let us come back to that aspect 
in the broader context of the entire program, after 
we get the Richmond Field Station and the SERL on 

The Richmond Field Stati on 

McGauhey: No amount of money makes research on "sewage, 

garbage, and refuse" an activity suited to ivied 
halls or marble towers. But there were other 
developments in the making. 

Dean O'Brien, among others, was getting badly 
crowded for space on the campus. Our hydraulic 
engineering group for one, in which the dean was 
active, had an old wooden structure where hydraulic 
engineering studies were conducted. They called It 
the "towing tank" because of the facility It housed. 
We had some top flight men like Professor Joe W. 
Johnson who was interested in hydraulic engineering 
and heavy ocean engineering, Hans Einstein who was a 
world expert in sediment transport, and Professor 
R.L. Wiegel who is one of the men who developed 
methods of anchoring ships and drilling rigs off 
shore. You know, during the war we sent ships into 
places that had no docking facilities, and there 
were some considerable problems of anchoring. 

At any rate we had assembled at Berkeley a 
number of people that were of outstanding competence, 
but whose research was ill-suited to desk top 
experiments. Besides, the old towing tank was 
getting In the way of other progress. 

Chall: Towing tank? 

McGauhey: A towing tank Is a tank of still water in which you 
calibrate flow measuring Instruments. There is a 
little oar that runs on a track over the tank at a 
controlled velocity. You can hang a meter from the 
oar and snll along to relate Its rotation to the 


McGauhey: car's velocity. Or you can use ship models or 
various shapes of this sort to study friction, 
etc. There are a lot of things you can do with 
a towing tank, but ours wasn't much of a structure 
and space on the campus was becoming too valuable 
for this one to survive. 

Acquiring the Station 

Chall: You certainly need something else for solid waste 
research anyway. 

McGauhey: Yes, and there were several other activities of the 
engineering college that needed space aerospace 
research, highway lighting, wind tunnel investigations, 
beach erosion models to name but a few. These were 
unsuited to teaching laboratories. Most needed space, 
some made noise, some required sewage or sea water. 
So in 1950 the University bought, with the encourage 
ment and certainly the enthusiasm of Dean O'Brien, 
these grounds here at the Richmond Field Station for 
use as a research station by the whole College of 
Engineering. This was an old blasting cap works 
which had furnished explosives for the mining industry 
and, I guess, later for the Civil War. It managed 
to carry on through World War II. By that time the 
facilities were obsolete, so the Richmond Cap Works, 
as it was called, was going out of business and the 
property was for sale. 

This area Is zoned for heavy industry. Therefore, 
it was felt that we could do things here on a scale 
that you couldn't do in a teaching laboratory. I 
used to say we could bore holes in the walls and put 
up pipes and pilot plants without cracking any marble 
or tearing down any ivy. Presumably, we could make 
noise and odors and generally carry on activities 
that couldn't very well be done on the campus. 

Heavy industry in the area was a little fearful 
of this development, lest the University move In 
right next door and plant a big lawn and make it 
another campus, and they say, "You fellows are 
creating a nuisance. We'll have to get rid of you." 


MoGauhey: I don't blame them too much for their fears but 
we ourselves needed something different than a 
campus environment. 

There were a lot of old wooden buildings on 
the property which we overhauled a little and 
used. Sanitary engineering was one of the first 
tenants on the Field Station. We got the old 
building 102 which had been a laboratory building 
for the Richmond Cap Works, and previously a grain 
warehouse for the Vallejo Ranch before the University 
was in Berkeley. There was presumably plenty of 
fulminate of mercury in the ground. Workmen were 
afraid to strike the ground too violently for fear 
the whole thing would explode. We simply covered 
over some old concrete footings instead of trying 
to knock them out I don't know that they would have 
exploded, but since explosives had been handled 
there, people proceeded pretty gingerly when breaking 
any concrete with a Jackhammer around that old 
laboratory building. 

Utilizing the Station 

McGauhey: Several problems attended the utilization of the 
RPS facility. Refurbishing the old buildings to 
meet the research facility needs of academic 
departments was necessary and, of course, expensive. 
To meet the needs of projects for services it was 
necessary to establish shops on the Station grounds 
a computer shop, a machine shop, a photographic 
and duplicating shop were among the services set up 
in refurbished buildings. Small stores, a receiving 
facility, and mail service were provided to expedite 
the research work. Then too, transportation had 
to be arranged to transfer faculty and students the 
seven miles between the campus and the field station. 
Reluctance of some faculty members to undertake such 
a long Journey was one of the problems of utilizing 
the facility. I once explained this phenomenon on 
the rationale that the RPS was located on the wrong 
side of the campus. Thus it was not on the way to 
Europe and hence geographically inconvenient. But 
this may have been an exaggeration. More likely the 
situation simply varied too far from the ideal. 


Chall: What would be the Ideal situation? 

McGauhey: I think it includes a reserved parking space on one 
side of one's office and one's laboratory and a 
library on the other. 

Chall: How Utopian. 

MoGauhey: We never quite achieved the ideal, but the College 
of Engineering did provide free hourly bus service 
and it worked out rather well for some professors. 
The route along the bay shore was always interesting 
and the traveler might reflect upon the flocks of 
shore birds or the phenomena which placed so many 
old auto tires upright in the mud flats north of 
the "Albany Hill." Besides, the atmosphere of the 
RPS was more conducive to thinking about research 
than was the bedlam in a campus office. 

Chall: I am interested in the phenomenon of the old tires. 
I have seen them standing there by the dozens when 
the tide is out. 

McGauhey: They floated in from an old refuse dump off the 

point at Golden Gate Fields race track. Air trapped 
in the old tire as it is lifted by tidal waters 
cause it to tilt. Sand Is deposited in the water- 
filled side and after a few cycles the tire is 
standing erect, firmly anchored in the mud. 

Chall: Now I understand. 

McGauhey: To provide the services needed by EPS-based research 
projects, and to assign space, and oversee and 
maintain the facility required some administrative 
structure. For this the College of Engineering set 
up what is now the Office of Research Services. It 
was something else then the IER, or Institute of 
Engineering Research. That was the arm of the 
College responsible for physically managing the 
grounds. But IER had also a more difficult task 
that of dealing with the proposals for research 
funds that professors in the College might develop; 
and of maintaining liaison between the University's 
Accounting Department and the faculty investigator 
during the life of a project. 


MoGauhey: In the first of these two functions the IER 
insured that the proposal met the requirements of 
University policy, both fiscal and educational. In 
setting up the RPS neither Dean O'Brien nor the 
University administration wanted it to develop into 
a research institute that didn't educate anybody. 
IER was the first in a series of filters intended 
to make certain that projects served some educational 
purpose. Specifically, that it enhanced the teaching 
competence of the faculty investigator and provided 
opportunity for graduate students in research. 

The second function of IER financial 
accountability was a must. Professors are 
notoriously "drunken sailor" economists when it 
comes to operating a budget. So the IER played a 
watch dog role, not only to oversee the physical 
facilities but to insure the educational objective 
as well. It served as a go-between the professor 
and the administration, looking after personnel 
policy when staff was employed and taking the load 
of paper work off the professor. 

Chall: This was the IER? 

McGauhey: The Institute, yes, in the first years of RPS. Its 
duties were later split so that physical management 
of the RPS is separate from the Office of Research 
Services which handles the other functions of IER. . 
Both are assigned, to an assistant dean in the College 
of Engineering. 

With the developments in the academic program 
and the establishment of the Richmond Field Station, 
the stage is set for a discussion of the Sanitary 
Engineering Research Laboratory (SERL). As I 
previously noted, SERL was the first tenant of the 
RSP. Some 6.6 acres of the station, plus several 
of the old buildings were somewhat informally 
dedicated to sanitary engineering activities, subject 
to approval of the manager of the RPS facility. 

Organizing the Sanitary Engineering Research 
Laboratory (SERL) 

McGauhey: SERL was not conceived in Its final form in any 

single spasm of planning. Neither was the concept 
nor the administrative structure of organized 
research units into which it fits within the 
University. Instead it evolved over a period of 
time with a considerable probably a normal 
amount of faculty turbulence. As a matter of fact, 

' t>o, ooc> the initial $25,000 project was called the Sanitary 
Engineering Research Project. So we carried on 
under the banner of SERF until we had so many 
projects in being that the word "Project" no longer 
described us. 

Chall: What was the nature of this turbulence? 

MoGauhey: To answer that question challenges my ability as a 
story teller. Some of the turbulence was generated 
within the University structure; and some of it 
related to the participants In the program. You 
will recall that Dr. Gotaas held a Joint appointment 
in the College of Engineering and the School of 
Public Health and that it was his task to integrate 
the two so that the School could maintain its proper 
interest in public health engineering without being 
devoured by sanitary engineering. This posed a 
considerable task because, as I previously noted, 
the public health engineers in health departments 
were traditionally graduates of colleges of 
engineering; yet there had to be room for public 
health engineering in the MPH program of the School. 
It did, however, lay the cornerstone for a subsequent 
research unit to serve as the graduate research arm 
of both sanitary engineering and the environmental 
health sciences, as I shall later explain. 

Chall: Concerning the University Itself, how did It go 

with the hierarchy setting up the School of Public 
Health and the new laboratory? Were they, at the 
administrative level willing to accept these kinds 
of changes and innovations? Was that a problem? 

McGauhey t I don't think the administration was any problem. 
But there is nothing quite as conservative as a 



r<H, ho c 



McGauhey: professor per se. I couldn't document this, but 

Judging from all of the years I've gone to faculty 
meetings, I'm quite certain that had the entire 
faculty been aware of what was developing it would 
have viewed it with considerable alarm as the close 
of one of the greater ages of culture. This would 
be my guess. But people were busy with their own 
aspirations and, besides, there is a great deal of 
insulation between sectors of a university as a 
result of both poor inter-disciplinary communications 
and mutual disrespect between disciplines. 

Some of the older professors of engineering 
shook their heads and wondered what all this might 
come to. Universitywise there was a good deal of 
discussion as to whether a School of Public Health 
belongs in a university or not. That went on for 
several years and hasn't died out yet. But, at 
least, it is, shall we say, no longer topical. 

Concerning emerging organized research units, 
one of the questions was "Where does this type of 
activity fit in?" Another was "How are we going to 
make sure that this does not become an empire- 
building research operation?" 

Chall: Or a trade school. 

MoGauhey: Trade school, yes. But what they were really afraid 

of was an empire. This happened at another university, 
not in California, where it hired a lot of good 
researchers on soft money. It gave them professorial 
titles, but didn't promise to pay them when they ran 
out of money. These fellows were energetic and 
concerned for their Jobs. They put all their time 
on research and publishing papers. They hustled up 
funds and paid themselves better salaries than the 
tenured professors who had to teach and research at 
the same time. Pretty soon they had built up a 
monster that it took the university a long time to 


Insuring Academic Integrity 

Chall: Was the University of California aware of this 
danger? How did it insure academic integrity? 

McGauhey: Yes, the University was well aware of the pitfalls 
of research units unresponsive to the faculty. It, 
like other universities, had solved the question 
in relation to the Agricultural Experiment Station 
by giving academic positions for part-time service 
to the scientists involved. It was also pondering 
how to deal with the Radiation Laboratory which had 
numbers of good scientists eager to acquire academic 
status. It was uneasy about the number of lecturers 
engaged in the School of Public Health on a part- 
time basis through the Hill-Rhodes monies. 

These problems, however, were peripheral to that 
of the SERL and similar units, but they must certainly 
have been considered in establishing the policy which 
made SERL a healthy facility. 

Chall: What is the nature of that policy? 

McGauhey: Its over all feature is that all authorized faculty 
positions must be backed by hard honey i.e. money 
in the state budget. Next, that every research 
project must be headed by a member of the faculty. 
More precisely, that anyone to be a faculty 
investigator on a research project must be a member 
of the faculty senate. His project will have to be 
approved by the department head, dean, and Research 
Office for relevance to its educational value, and 
by the budget and policy authorities of the University 
for conformance to fiscal policy. If a project is 
Just a matter of testing it is not acceptable. We 
would not, for example, be permitted to break ten 
thousand concrete cylinders Just because we can hire 
four students to do it. 

So a project must be the responsibility of a 
professor and it must be passed upon by the 
administration. If the grant is approved by the 
University it is accepted in the name of the 
professor and he is expected to Justify such 
confidence in him. He is expected not to go off 


MoGauhey: half-cocked and publish trash that won't stand up 
under scientific review. Of course, it is to the 
professor's advantage not to do so. 

By avoiding soft money professorships, by 
requiring that the chap who runs the project must 
be a faculty member, the University has held the 
line. This prevents the use of research money as 
a device to magnify the number of professors without 
authorization from the administration. That, I 
think, is the key to success of research units. It 
is a good policy. 

Chall: How did the faculty of the sanitary engineering and 
environmental health programs react to the concept 
of the laboratory? 

McGauhey: This brings me finally to the point in our discussion 
where I should leave off setting the stage and get 
on with the subject of SERL, which I set out to 
explain some two hours ago. Besides, I want to get 
on to the turbulence which surrounded the birth of 
SERL and which "enriched" my later experience as 
its director. 

At the time the Richmond Field Station site 
was acquired in 1950 , research on solid waste 
disposal initiated by the $25f^00 appropriation was 
already under way in campus laboratories and in the 
field. Professor Gotaas was faculty investigator 
of this project and he had several studies under way. 
Professor Erman A. Pearson, who Joined the sanitary 
engineering faculty in 19^9* was in charge of a 
very significant study of the economics and technology 
of refuse collection and landfill disposal. Professor 
Harvey P. Ludwig, who came to Berkeley at about the 
same time, was leading a group concerned with 
incineration of refuse. Gotaas himself was interested 
in composting and had made a tour of Europe to learn 
of the production and use of compost there. The 
question had. arisen within the University of whether 
the $25,000 appropriation was exclusively intended 
for Berkeley or whether it was a statewide fund 
which UCLA should share in. That is, should the 
emerging research unit be statewide in its organiza 
tion or confined to the Berkeley campus. Some funds 
had been sent to UCLA for field studies of incinerator 
performance, and a project there was in progress. 


McGauhey: Several staff members had been recruited to 
carry on the solid waste work. Dr. Jerome P. 
Thomas was employed in February 1950 to serve as 
sanitary chemist of the laboratory. Vlnton W. 
Bacon was employed to serve as assistant director 
of the laboratory. But he stayed only a few months; 
then went on to become the executive officer of the 
newly organized State Water Pollution Control Board. 
His place was taken by Mr. Raymond V. Stone who had 
previous experience with health department employ 
ment and had Just got his M.S. degree from Harvard. 
Ray B. Krone who had Just finished his first degree 
in soil science Joined the staff, as did Gerhard 

Up to this point there was only one project, 
and it was under the leadership of Professor Gotaas. 
But by March 1950 a new study was begun with money 
from the State Department of Health. This project 
was intended to determine to what extent bacteria 
and other pollutants travel through soil with 
infiltering and percolating water. You see it had 
long been said that sewage, or wastewater, or 
polluted water must not be discharged upon the land 
lest bacteria travel through the soil and get into 
the public water supply. 

As an aside, I must say that this fear, which 
had been codified in state laws is one of the least 
intelligent pieces of man's reasoning. Rain had 
been falling on a biologically active soil mantle 
since the beginning of time. Both song and story 
attested to the clarity and purity of spring water, 
so that one might have concluded that bacteria will 
not travel at all. Instead, the conclusion was 
that they might move freely and the State of 
California led the way in testing this hypothesis. 
The project was conducted in a field study at Lodi, 
California. It, too, was the responsibility of 
Professor Gotaas and so raised the question as to 
the limitations which might accrue to other faculty 
members under a laboratory led by a director. 

Soon thereafter, Professor Ludwig got funds 
from the Public Health Service to study the role of 
algae in wastewater treatment, and brought William 
J. Oswald on to the staff to pursue his PhD research. 


McGauhey: This, then, further raised the question of the 
relationship of the individual faculty member 
to the director of emerging Laboratory. M He*s my 
boss academically as chairman of the department, 
but is he also my research boss?" was the question 
that was asked and not yet answered. Before it 
was answered, the State Water Pollution Control 
Board provided funds to study the underground 
movement of pollution when reclaimed wastewater is 
used for ground water recharge. This further 
brought the question into focus because the funds 
were assigned to the Laboratory under Professor 
Gotaas. It also raised the question of the appro 
priateness of the title Sanitary Engineering Research 
Project to describe the activities of the Laboratory. 

Well this situation went on for a few months 
without anybody swallowing anybody else. In early 
1951 the activities began to coalesce into one 
major enterprise as these research projects were 
centered at the Richmond Field Station. 

With all of the organizational activity I have 
described, plus academic courses to develop and 
research to direct, Professor Gotaas became a very 
busy man. He was persuaded, partly by his recognition 
of the need and partly by Professor Ludwig, that he 
needed someone with experience to serve in the 
capacity of assistant director at the field station. 
I presume Professor Pearson was also in the act 
which went on to further persuade Professor Gotaas 
that MoGauhey was the man he ought to get. 

P. H. McGauhey Joins an Enlarging Staff, 1951 

Chall: Did Mr. Ludwig know you? 

McGauhey: Yes. I knew him from 19^8 onward. He was a 

consulting engineer in Southern California during 
the two years I was at USC before he came to 
Berkeley. I had met Pearson only once, I think, 
before I came to UC. 

Chall: You didn't know Professor Gotaas? 


McGauhey: I had met him a time or two. But I didn't know 
him personally. He had established a reputation 
of which I was aware. The sanitary engineering 
fraternity was not a large one. But I can't say 
that I really knew Dr. Gotaas at the time. 

Chall: So it was really Mr. Ludwig that... 

McGauhey: Ludwig, I think, was the salesman there. But anyway, 
after some negotiating and a personal interview, 
I agreed to join the staff as a full-time research 
engineer. I had been teaching for a long time and 
was chairman of a division, so I decided that I did 
not have to be a professor at least the lower grade 
academic title didn't bother me. 

I neglected to say that by that time the 
emerging Laboratory was fairly well structured in 
the University budget and provided four hard money 
positions in what was to be SERL: Two sanitary 
engineers, a chief chemist, and a chief biologist. 
I was one of the engineers. As it turned out, the 
program at Berkeley was expanding faster than 
personnel could be reouited, so immediately I was 
put to teaching as a lecturer because I had been in 
the business a long time and had, I trust, established 
a modest talent for that sort of thing. 

Chall: This was what year? 

McGauhey: 1951. I was on the payroll as of July 1, 1951- When 
I arrived at Berkeley I was confronted by the 
situation I have described briefly. That is, a 
Laboratory being established at the RPS, ongoing 
projects of major importance and plenty of challenge, 
some unanswered questions, and the program growing 
at an exciting pace. I also found the operation 
running on a real "drunken sailor" economy. There 
were thirty thousand dollars more In people employed 
than they had money in the budget. Of course, part 
of the work had to be done by an intensive summer 
study of land fill as well as in the field at Lodi, 
you recall, where we were measuring the movement of 
bacteria in the ground. The refuse incineration 
work going on down at UCLA, was asking for more funds. 
We Just didn't have the money. Fortunately, the 
budget year for some of our funds was Just beginning. 


McGauhey: Being a natural born Scotsman, I had to begin 
to consider how we were going to keep anybody alive 
till the end of the year with these kinds of 
expenses. So I wrecked two or three gravy trains 
along the way, but the anguish was temporary and 
no permanent hard feelings were generated. 

We got the budget back on a more hopeful 
course. Then, that fall Professor Ludwlg went back 
to the Public Health Service. Professor Gotaas 
then inherited the algae project by default and 
transferred much of his interest to that study, 
trusting the other of his projects to my care in 
their day-to-day operation. 

That first fall, in September of '51, he 
brought in Dr. W.J. Kaufman to head a radiological 
health research unit with some AEG money. Within 
a very brief period Dr. Kaufman was appointed to a 
teaching post in both the School of Public Health 
and In engineering. But he first came as a full- 
time researcher. Meantime, Dr. J.P. Thomas was 
made chief chemist in one of the hard money positions. 
W.J. Oswald was the project engineer on the algae 
project. Ray Stone had a similar post on the ground- 
water recharge project, and the Lodi study, assisted 
by Ray Krane. Gerhard Klein served as project 
engineer for Dr. Kaufman's AEC Study. 

The boys that were working on composting were 
Just getting started with experimental work. At 
that time the subject of composting, I must say, 
was veiled in a shroud of mysticism throughout the 
world. The most vocal of its advocates were peddlers 
of one or another brand of witchcraft upon which the 
process was alleged to depend. We needed a sound 
biologist to sort out the fundamentals of the process 
and to lay to rest much that was reported concerning 
its parameters. Therefore Dr. Clarence G. Golueke, 
who was Just finishing his doctorate after a good 
many years of experience elsewhere, was employed to 
be our chief biologist and to lead the composting 
study. Dr. Golueke and I went ahead on composting 
and Professor Gotaas and W.J. Oswald carried on the 
algae experiments. 


McGauhey: At this point In time, the concern over the 
relationship between the professor's freedom to 
carry on research In his own right and the role 
of the director of Laboratory reached Its greatest 
Intensity. By circumstance much of the research 
In sanitary engineering was In the Laboratory and 
under the faculty investlgatorship of Professor 
Gotaas. Professor Langeller was going about his 
usual profound experiments In the campus laboratories 
and elsewhere In the community. But younger men on 
the faculty had not yet got started on research In 
their own right and were somewhat fearful lest the 
road by which each faculty member must prove his 
own merit might be blocked. Happily, this situation 
began quickly to clear up in the fall of 1951* Dr. 
Kaufman, having acquired faculty status, became the 
faculty investigator of the AEG project. Professor 
B.D. Tebbens got some funds to begin research in 
air pollution. Professor Tebbens, by the way, had 
known Dr. Gotaas in South America and had been 
recruited by him to Join the academic staff of the 
School of Public Health and the College of Englnering. 
Dr. Thomas, the chief chemist of the Laboratory, 
then divided his time between the duties of the 
Laboratory and research as a teammate of Dr. Tebbens. 
To look after office affairs Dr. Gotaas sent Mrs. 
Raab from the campus...! don't know if you've ever 
met Jeanette Raab? 

Chall: No, but I noticed in your reports that she worked 
up from secretary to administrative assistant in 
her years of service to SERL. 

McGauhey: True. She began as secretary the first fall I came. 
There were one or two periods when she was away, 
but she stayed until the end of my tenure in 1969. 

This is very much the way SERL began: First 
the renewed vigor of the program in sanitary 
engineering program following World War II as 
education at higher degree levels became necessary 
and expansion of the engineering program and develop 
ment of the School of Public Health afforded a 
unique opportunity; second, the critical problems 
of environmental control came to transcend water 
resources and to Include air and land resources as 
well; third, funds for research made it possible to 


MoGauhey: seek solutions to critical environmental problems 

and acquiring of the Richmond Field Station provided 
a place for appropriate research to be conducted; 
and fourth, the individual faculty member learned 
that the Laboratory offered him opportunity rather 
than threatening to devour him. 

I should like to come back to this matter of 
organization of the Laboratory after I Introduce 
some more of a historical nature and bring a few 
more characters on stage. 

In 1956 Professor Gotaas decided to accept the 
post of dean of the Technological Institute at 
Northwestern University. The challenge appealed 
to him. I think Professor Gotaas enjoys building 
an organization more than he does the hammer, 
hammer, hammer of production. And I don't blame 
him. Having got the SERL going the next thing to 
do was to wait around for someone to grind out 
results. Dr. Gotaas got various unsolicited offers 
but the Northwestern one was too attractive to 
refuse. Nevertheless he took it only after a good 
deal of soul-searching. He was happy here and 
wasn't looking around for any place to go. He 
asked me one time, "Mack, what do we want anyway?" 
I said, "We want really to be left alone. We 
don't want anybody coming around offering us Jobs; 
Just leave us alone when we're happy." He said, 
"I think you're right." 

But in the end he decided to move on. That 
meant that now we were in a situation where we 
were headless. Whoever was director of the Laboratory 
had to be on the faculty. And I was not on the 
faculty. So, decisions were made which transferred 
the challenge of SERL to me. I had come with no 
promise of being on the faculty, with no expectations 
of being on it, and with no intent to shed any tears 
if I didn't get on It. 

P.H. MoGauhey Appointed Direotor. 1956 

Chall: No particular desire either. 

MoGauhey: Obviously I didn't want to get off Into an eddy 

current. But I had attended enough faculty- senate 
meetings for one life time, but not, as It turned 
out, all that I was destined to attend. By 1956 
Dr. Gotaas and I had been working closely together 
for five years and knew each other well In an 
atmosphere of mutual respect. I may say that 
although I have called him Dr. Gotaas or Professor 
Gotaas throughout our discussions here, he was H Ben H 
to everyone who knew him Just as I have been "Mack." 
At any rate, when we faced the problem of management 
of SERL upon his departure he had sufficient 
confidence In my ability to work as a member of a 
team that he went down the line for me. 

Wisely or unwisely I was appointed half-time 
to the academic faculty of engineering and public 
health. The other half remained In SERL In the 
role of Research Engineer and Director. My academic 
duties Involved 40 percent service In the College of 
Engineering and 10 percent in the School of Public 
Health. So I got split into several pieces. I was 
appointed chairman of the Hydraulic and Sanitary 
Division, director of the SERL, and general leader 
of the environmental health sciences of the School 
of Public Health with the duty of keeping that part 
of our program energized. I have neglected to say 
that by 1956 SERL had been formally recognized as 
an interdisciplinary organized research unit in the 
University serving as the graduate research arm of 
both the sanitary engineering program and the 
environmental health sciences. 

As a member of the faculty I could now serve 
as faculty investigator of projects so I began to 
go after funds to support our graduate program as 
well as to satisfy my own intellectual curiosity. 


Reorganizing Staffing Patterns and Administration 

Chall: You also had to teach. 

MoGauheyi Yes. The first year I taught, as Professor Gotaas 
had done, the three major courses in sanitary 
engineering. By this time, of course, we had 
around us a strong group of young men. We had 
Professor Pearson, Professor Kaufman, Professor 
Orlab, who was a good sanitary engineer with a lot 
of research and water resource interests similar to 
some of my own. Those three were all full-time 
faculty in the College of Engineering. Professor 
Tebbens was part-time engineering, with 90 percent 
of his time in the School of Public Health; Professor 
B.C. Cooper was our micro-biologist In the School 
of Public Health; and as Professor Langelier had 
retired, we had put Thomas half-time teaching in 
the college and half-time in the professional staff 
of the Laboratory. W.J. Oswald, having reached his 
doctorate, was put in a half-time teaching position 
and half-time here at the field station. We had 
Ray Krone full-time in one of our SERL staff Jobs. 
Dr. Golueke continued full-time in the other SERL 
staff position. 

For the young men I don't think this was too 
good a deal. I was accustomed to working seven 
days a week had been doing It for most of my life, 
so I didn't feel a strain. But the young men who 
had to make their way up the ladder, having to teach 
half-time, having to work on committees, it was 
almost impossible for them to really do research 
on a half-time basis. I felt that they weren't 
getting much more research done than they'd do if 
they were nine months professors. This weakness 
was not any fault of the men. It is Just the 
scrambling is too hard that way. The part-time 
faculty are called upon to serve on committees and 
do academic chores without regard to their percentage 

So as it became possible I changed my mind 
about whether they ought to be half and half, and 
ultimately got Professor Thomas full-time on the 


McGauhey: campus nine months. And we got another young man 
out here in a professional capacity to serve as 
chief chemist in the Laboratory. Pretty soon I 
got Oswald switched over, too. So for several 
years I was the only one with an appointment 
divided between SERL and the faculty. However, 
Kaufman and Tebbens, and Oswald and I continued 
with Joint appointments in engineering and public 

I think this worked out rather well. By this 
time these people were maturing and they were 
beginning to quit asking the question: "How is it 
that we have a director? What can he tell me that 
I can't tell him?" 

It became amply evident that it was unnecessary 
to ask this question because I was not trying, as 
director, to make any encroachment on the prerogatives 
of professors. They did not have to work in SERL 
at the RFS if they elected not to do so. Their 
project could be elsewhere. 

However, they all found it to their advantage 
to work in SERL because of the facilities that we 
had put together and the housekeeping funds that 
the University funneled through the engineering 
college took part of the load off professors. The 
research energy of the chief chemist and biologist, 
and of the assistant director was an asset to the 
faculty and its graduate students, so they found it 
to their advantage mostly to work in the SERL 
facilities. And pretty soon they quit trying to 
solve this "angels on the point of a needle" type 
of question. 

One of the things though that caused this 
question to be asked was that the director of the 
Laboratory was responsible directly to the deans, 
of engineering and public health for research, and 
responsible to the chairman of the academic division 
for academic work. However, the duties imposed by 
the deans and by the system and properly so was 
to keep the SERL operation educationally oriented, 
and to see that what it did was educational in 
purpose rather than for any other personal objectives. 
I think the question died because there seemed no 





Chall : 

MoGauhey : 

longer any reason to keep asking it. To help 
alleviate the situation the University itself 
began to get a little more highly structured. The 
administration decided that all organized 
laboratories should have an advisory committee and 
so appointed one. I began immediately to request 
that they put on this committee all members of our 
participating faculty because there were only ten 
or eleven of us. 

Just ten or twelve, 
been thirty. 

I thought there might have 

If it were thirty, the board would certainly have 
had to be selective. But since there were only a 
few it didn't seem to me to make much sense to 
have six on the board and four or five that were 
not. After one year the Chancellor agreed with me. 

I noticed from your early reports that you met 
approximately once a week with this board. And I 
couldn't imagine what you would be doing once a 

The principal thing that happened was that the work 
of the board was combined with that of a faculty 
meeting. The entire participating faculty from 
sanitary engineering and environmental health 
sciences was on the board. This same group had the 
task of dealing with course content, academic 
program planning, and the adherence of SERL to 
policies which furthered this educational program. 
As Director, of course, I was not the chairman of 
the board; however, as chairman of the Hydraulic 
and Sanitary Engineering Division I could introduce 
matters which did not concern the hydraulic engineering 
staff into these meetings. I would say that three 
or four times per year we were concerned strictly 
with the Laboratory. So it was mostly academic 
business, and mostly a waste of time. It did serve 
to keep us all informed and so keep at a minimum 
the academic doubts that always attend ignorance of 
what the other fellow is doing. 


Some Philosophy About Administration 

Chall: I noticed, too, that you as director had the 

authority to act or overrule the recommendations 
of the faculty board on any or all matters. So 
that gave you quite a bit of authority. 

McGauhey: As a matter of fact the authority was more apparent 
than real. The truth is that the faculty board 
was advisory to the Chancellor and its task was to 
report to the Chancellor each year on the activities 
v of the SERL. That is, on its adherence to University 
educational policy and purpose. The board's function 
In advising the director was largely of our own 
agreement and the board. Itself wrote the stipulation 
regarding the director itself. Therefore the authority 
was probably meaningless. If it was not I would 
certainly have moved with caution. When one has the 
authority to do this kind of thing it must be used 
sparingly. You can wreck an organization pretty 
quick by over use of authority. 

But for example, suppose I had in the approved 
SERL budget a small sum of money for maintaining 
equipment and to keep it running. The board might 
say to me, "We have decided that you should take 
that money and buy a special piece of equipment that 
we agree professor X should have." In such a 
situation I would probably have recommended that 
they forget it because I would myself have to get 
permission for the dean to spend money for a purpose 
other than that for which I had requested and defended 
it. And so, nothing of that sort ever came up. I 
did get occasional suggestions from faculty members 
that the entire SERL budget should be divided among 
the faculty members participating In the Laboratory, 
but no such recommendation was ever made by the 
board . 

I might say In passing that the existence of a 
board can be an Insulator as well as an isolator 
of the administrator. Both of these phemomena arise 
from the same penchant of professors to disagree. 
Sometimes I have said in various degrees of facetious- 
ness that if two professors ever agree on anything, 
each would entertain the possibility that his 
Judgment had erred. Professors will combine against 


MoGauheyr the common enemy, leaving off their disagreements 
until the enemy disappears. These disagreements, 
incidentally, are not often personal matters. They 
may go on for years between the fastest of friends 
and are based on lofty principles rather than bad 
feeling. As for me, I never had much talent for 
appearing as the common enemy, hence whatever my 
associates may have thought of the idea of having 
SERL at all, they gave me support when it was 

But some of my group were quite literal minded; 
they wanted things all spelled out in great detail. 
I, in turn, contended many times that no matter in 
what detail you have it spelled out, if people 
don't do it, you're out of luck. If it's as slap 
happy as a hoot owl and yet works, why worry about 
its administrative structural weaknesses. [Laughter] 

But younger men are quite often that way. They 
want everything all spelled out. And they quite 
often want things spelled out that you don't dare 
spell out. As an example, the University says 
wisely, I think, that if the engineer doesn't take 
some part in engineering practice or have some 
contact with it, his teaching is going to be pretty 
sterile. The next obvious question then is, how 
much contact? Well, you can't put on paper how 
much. Some people have a greater capacity than 
others to do their Job. One might be capable of 
putting one day a week into outside work where one 
day a month might strain another. 

Imagine what would happen to the University 
budget if .it decided that professors could work one 
day a week in professional development, and put this 
decision into a rigid policy statement. Imagine 
further that our enemy of the University went to 
the Legislature with the story that professors get 
paid fifteen or twenty thousand a year, only work 
nine months, and only four days a week at that. 
We'd be down the tube quick. And it wouldn't be 
true, but once you write a lot of stuff on paper, 
then you're not given the chance to put in all the 
and's, but' s, and if's, and so on. This was the 
kind of thing I'd run up against in the Laboratory; 
a desire to have everything in great detail; and yet 
there are certain kinds of things that you can't detail. 


McGauhey: One of the things that the faculty would often 
say to me, "We ought to have a budget right at the 
beginning of the year stating Just how we're going 
to spend every dollar. Then we'll all adopt this 
budget and we'll spend the money that way." All I 
could give them by way of such a budget was what it 
cost us the year before. For example, if I were to 
decide, and to write into the budget that we'd 
spend only $1000 for maintenance of equipment even 
though five or six faculty projects depended upon 
the pumping station working continuously, the next 
week the whole thing collapsed, what good would be 
the budget if it cost me $3000 to get the pump going. 
So the best we could do was to put some funds into 
various categories and take precautions to stay within 
the overall budget, even if categorical changes had 
to be requested. 

For the most part, the professors got their 
own grants and they didn't bother too much with the 
central SEHL fund. It furnished supporting services 
and assistance which was of obvious service to the 
faculty and students. Of course they took such 
advantage of the central fund as was feasible under 
the elasticity of its director. 

In my first years, I had plenty to do in the 
School of Public Health to help keep our program 
there alive. To this end I put my energies in 
getting the degree structure approved for the M.S. 
and PhD degrees in the Environmental Health Sciences. 
Thus we overcame the problem there. 

I stayed on five years as the chairman of 
Hydraulic and Sanitary. I was then carrying about 
five to seven research projects in my own name. 
This kept me moderately active. 

Chall: To say the least. 

McGauhey: Then there came a time when we were preparing to 

change chairmen. Now the question arose again about 
the Laboratory. "What is the relationship between 
the director of the Laboratory and the chairman of 
the department, when he's no longer the same person?" 
This contingency had never arisen as both Gotaas and 
I served in the dual role of director and chairman. 


Chall: Why were you not going to be the chairman of the 
department any more? 

McGauhey: Because chairmen are appointed on a three-years- 
minimum, five-years-and-out schedule. This is a 
good thing, because there's only so much that you 
can do, in five years, if you* re not good, to 
destroy something that's already rolling. And 
there's only so much good you can do to accelerate 
it if you're a good chairman. A bad chairman can't 
ruin anything completely in three to five years. 
Whereas, if he were there for life he might drag 
down the whole thing. 

Once relieved of the duties of chairman of the 
Hydraulic and Sanitary Division, and largely as an 
act of self defense because I felt it was to the 
interest of our group, I took the post of chairman 
of civil engineering. At the end of two years, I 
asked to be relieved of being chairman and to confine 
my task to that of director. The dean agreed that 
the two were Just too much load on one man. Never 
theless, it was an interesting and challenging 
experience and quite an active one. 

Directing Research 

McGauhey: In my research I operated on a little different base 

than some other people. As director of the Laboratory 
I was under pressure to be faculty investigator on 
projects that no one else wanted but were of importance 
to students and faculty. Happily I was interested In 
anything that came along. I don't mean in terms of 
Just dollars. I mean there was hardly any subject you 
can think of that I wasn't Interested in. This 
didn't mean that I knew much about some of the things 
I undertook. But if I could get the outside funds 
to support students on studies related to environmental 
control, I did not hesitate to take responsibility 
for a project outside my field of major competence. 

As we discussed on a previous occasion, there 
are problems involved In environmental management 
which require teamwork between engineers and numerous 


McGauhey: other professionals from a variety of disciplines. 
My rationale was that it was important that SERL 
take part in preparing suoh students even though 
their degree work was outside sanitary engineering 
and environmental health sciences. On one project, 
I once had students in twelve different disciplines 
working on various aspects of solid waste management. 

The key to success, or even survival, in suoh 
an enterprise was, of course, the willingness of 
professors in appropriate disciplines to guide the 
thesis work of their own students. I generally 
served on the thesis committee to evaluate their 
performance as researchers, while their major 
professor made certain that they did not violate 
the principles of their special discipline. So the 
professors worked with me; the student was on my 
payroll and I knew what I wanted to get out of the 
project; and all concerned met from time to time to 
keep the activity coordinated. I am happy to say 
this boldness in research responsibility never let 
me down, although there were occasions when time 
might have been spent more efficiently had I possessed 
the depth of knowledge in the student's field that 
his major professor brought to the study. Obviously, 
such a situation has not been possible since Leonardo 
Da Vinci. 

This undertaking of projects without the 
competence to critically evaluate every aspect of 
the student's work is all right for the professor 
who is already mature. For the young man who has to 
develop his own depth of knowledge in a specialty 
area and to work his way up the academic ladder, it 
is unsuitable. He cannot get anywhere by continually 
working at things he doesn't know how to do. But 
later, when he has established himself in his 
profession, he can begin to grow laterally instead 
of vertically. 

In my opinion this branching out on an informal 
basis provided an opportunity for the Laboratory to 
make a great deal of contribution to education in 
more ways than Just teaching our own students. 


Financing Research 

Chall: Now over the years various little changes seemed 
to come about in the way this Lab was, not 
necessarily organized, but watched by the University. 

McGauhey: The principal reason for this is that when the 

post-war years began nobody knew exactly which way 
we were headed. Neither the University administration 
nor the faculty knew what the future was to be. We 
didn't draw a blueprint for the future and then try 
to follow it. And I doubt very seriously that Dr. 
Gotaas himself knew exactly what he was going to 
make of this Laboratory thing. Although I will say 
that I had not been there very long before he was 
able to tell me the visions that he had for the 
future what he had in mind, the kind of thing he 
was thinking about. Thus, while nothing was completely 
planned the direction the Laboratory was eventually 
to follow and the purposes it was to serve were not 

At that time, the University itself had no 
policy about organized research units, and as far 
as I know, no good experience with organized 
laboratories. There 'd been one situation in which 
an institute had been set up on the campus by outside 
money. The donor specified the well-known scientist 
who was to head it. Thus he became its director 
for life. He was a strong and able man, so the 
institute grew in reputation and stature until an 
academic program in this particular field was needed. 
By this time the director was a permanent giant who 
owned the tower and the transient state of academic 
chairmen made them unwelcome little men. Their 
presence in the tower was scarcely tolerated and 
they never could get enough strength at the academic 
level to overcome the top heavy organization of 
this particular institute. 

Having suffered with this problem the University 
didn't want this kind of thing to happen again. 
And I don't blame it. 

How do we prevent it happening? This question 
is still being debated, although, I think, it is now 
clearly understood what an organized laboratory should 

McGauhey: be like. I believe that part of this understanding 
came from Just watching the way in which SERL and 
one or two other organized units developed. To a 
gratifying degree the University's description of 
an organized research laboratory came to read like 
the early reports on the nature and organization 
of SERL. 

Another thing that worried the University was 
that anything the legislature sets up, as it did 
some money for SERL, or as it did in a bigger way 
for the Institute of Traffic and Transportation, comes 
with certain problems attached. The legislature 
says, "Here's something that ought to be done. The 
University ought to do it. We'll give the University 
some money to do it. H Thus a one-time special 
appropriation creates a continuing program. However, 
when the second year comes round and money is needed 
to continue the program, the legislature says, "We 
got you started, don't fool around with any more special 
appropriation bills. Just include the funds in your 
regular budget." Well, the regular budget is never 
approved at this expanded level and so, if the 
University is not careful more and more of its 
budget is tied up in things that the legislature 
passed on as institutes, centers, and laboratories. 

This impoverishes the instructional aspect of 
the University which, after all, is its primary 
function. The problem therefore becomes one of 
preventing legislature-generated services to the 
state, however important they may be, from establishing 
a prior lien that petrifies an Increasing fraction of 
the University's budget. 

Chall: Does the legislature now simply give money to 
specific research projects? 

McGauhey: Not always. You see the state-established institute 
like ITTE appears as a line item in the state budget. 
But this laboratory is only one sector of the state- 
supported research included in the University's 

That is to say that if the University is asked 
"What did you do with the money we approved for 
research?" the answer would be that part of it went 
to support SERL via an allocation to the College of 


McGauhey: Engineering at Berkeley, which administers the 
SERL funds. There Is no line Item In the state 
budget for SERL. 

Ghall: That clarifies that situation. 

MoGauhey: Yes, except that as budgets became more lean 
research is increasingly unidentified as an 
instructional element of the program, hence is 
downgraded at the state level. 

The Value of SERL in Research and Training 

Ghall: I have a quote here from your 1961 report that I'm 
sure you wrote. 

MoGauhey: Yes, I wrote the report. 

Chall: "Whether by design or by historic accident, the 
program of the SERL as envisioned by Dr. Gotaas 
and Dean O'Brien established a thoroughly new and 
unique pattern of sanitary engineering research. 1 * 
Do you think that it was by design as much as by 
historic accident that this came about as it did? 

McGauhey: That is a fascinating question the type one answers 
by talking all around it until the questioner is 
sorry the subject was ever brought up. I would say 
that the conditions which brought us to the end of 
World War II with a whole new concept of matter and 
energy was a result of the design made necessary by 
the accidents of history. Perhaps it should be said 
that the needs confronting the University, and the 
opportunities confronting It, were generated by 

Considering your question in terms of our 
responses to those needs, I would say that in setting 
up the Laboratory, the Idea of an area such as the 
RPS, where you can carry on activities on a scale 
greater than that feasible in a teaching laboratory 
that was definitely by design. Whether it was 
historic accident that brought together the School 
of Public Health and the College of Engineering and 
the staff and the stuff from which SERL was made and 


McGauhey: the program in which it serves depends upon one's 
point of view. I would presume that the faculty 
decisions which divided Dr. Gotaas' time between 
the two schools was historic accident. What alter 
natives there were to the employment of Dr. Gotaas 
at the time I do not know. My guess would be that had 
someone else been chosen the whole story would have 
been different. That makes it historic accident. 
But after these accidents had occurred, some of the 
elements of design are detectable. Perhaps I should 
avoid the question and say that we were Just lucky. 

Chall: But then Dr. Gotaas told you some years later what 
he had in mind. 

McGauhey: It was evolving in his mind as we talked it over. 
That is, how it came out is the way, very much the 
way, it was developing in his mind. Of course, 
there was a lot of feedback from the many people 
concerned. Because of what I have previously labeled 
the penchant of professors to disagree often as a 
reflex action much of the feedback was negative. It 
served, however, to refine the concept of SERL. I 
might say that in this refining process, and at the 
time the name Sanitary Engineering Research Project 
became incongrous, there was considerable debate as 
to whether the word "research" should be left in 
the title. I think at the time the designation of 
a unit as a "laboratory" seemed a little more holy, 
although to those of us who opposed the change it 
sounded a bit more pharmaceutical without the 
research designation. I Judge now that the logic on 
both sides stemmed from the "penchant" I have noted. 

Regardless of the threads that went into the 
fabric of SERL, the refining process resulted in a 
situation in which we have a place where people can 
work in a work atmosphere where we can put up 
pilot plants and build things of different size or 
scale than you can have on a teaching laboratory. 

I say a "work atmosphere" because one of the 
problems with graduate students around a professor's 
office is that if they were to chart what they think 
the professor does, they would say he arrives one 
minute before class and promptly goes off to coffee 
as soon as it's over. So he never sees the professor 


McGauhey: doing anything but talking. Students fall into 
that same habit pattern. They don't realize how 
much oil the professor is burning when the student 
isn't there to take his time; or that some freedom 
to rearrange your time is important to a professor; 
or that he ends up breaking his own neck if he 
doesn't hit the ball and do what's necessary for 
promotion. It is easy for the graduate student to 
fall into the habits he thinks characterize the 
professor; i.e. endless talking and coffee breaks 
for even more talking. This is not the way research 
work progresses. 

When I first Joined the SERL staff one of my 
difficult tasks was to deal with graduate students 
in the Laboratory who were working under individual 
scholarships in relation to those who were employed 
half-time on a project. The difference here is that 
one was not paid by SERL or any project. His source 
of support was really none of our business. We 
simply provided him with the space and the facilities 
to do his dissertation research and if he didn't do 
it he never attained the degree. In contrast, the 
doctoral student supported by us was paid half-time 
for full time attention to his thesis. In this 
fashion he supported himself and his thesis could go 
beyond the objectives of the research for which the 
project was funded. 

One example will illustrate. We once had a 
self-supported graduate student that arrived at the 
Laboratory when it suited his convenience and 
thereafter sat reading the morning newspaper. Not 
appreciating his situation the employed students 
took the attitude that if this bird doesn't work on 
the Job why should I have to. I had repeatedly to 
explain that nobody is paying him. If he wants to 
lie there, as long as he doesn't get in your way, 
forget it. 

Ghall: But you do have to show a little for the money that's 
gone into the project at the end of a period of time, 
don't you? 

McGauhey: Indeed yes. But graduate students are good producers. 
The particular case I noted was unique, but it does 
underscore the value of separating a work atmosphere 
from the campus routines. As an interesting aside, 


McGauhey: I may say that In the particular case I cited, 
when the student finally laid his paper down 
and thought for two minutes, he accomplished more 
than most people do In a half a day. He was one 
of the sheerly brilliant people. He appeared to be 
doing nothing, and all at once he'd have more done 
than the rest of them get done In the entire day. 

So at the field station there Is more of a 
work atmosphere than In an academic building, with 
people running In and out, and people going across 
the street to coffee and the "why don't you come 
along with us" type of thing. There's less time 
lost by Inertia of the system than there Is on 
campus. It has some disadvantage being a little 
further away. And yet It has some advantage, too. 
The distance never bothered me. I didn't mind. I'd 
go to the campus early In the morning and stay until 
noon; then go to the RPS. It wasn't hard to arrange 
the situation. 

Chall: Well, you're a disciplined person. And, I suppose, 
not all people are as self -disciplined as you are. 

McGauhey: One has to be either disciplined or fairly highly 
organized, as you have to organize each day pretty 
well In order to expand your capacity to do things. 
At least, as time goes on one's capacity to accomplish 
things does Increase. You work Just as hard. No 
harder than you did before. You Just get a little 
more done. 

Chall: You must have done a good Job or you wouldn't have 
been here all these years. 

McGauhey: Well, It's been really sheer fun. But It would have 
been an awful haul, if a person didn't enjoy It. 

Chall: Mrs. Langeller said that she was a laboratory widow. 
Is that what your wife says about herself? 

McGauhey: Well, she often says that she's long since learned 

to live alone. We never had any children, but since 
the HPS Is only two miles away, I go home for lunch. 
We go out to eat at night a good deal. And she has 
gone with me all over the world. 


McGauhey: Through the years we had what I called the 
McGauhey Foundation, an unlikely and Impecunious 
organization and a figment of the imagination in 
which I put the money that I made consulting, which 
wasn't much. But any that I got, I put In the 
foundation. The purpose of this was to pay for my 
wife's travel when we went overseas. And my 
rationale, which she laughs about, Is that it's far 
simpler to take her there to see for herself than 
it is to try to tell her about it. 



Obtaining the Research Grant 

Chall: I suppose that we ought to talk about financing 
the research and this Laboratory before we get 
Into the projects themselves. 

McGauhey: As far as the budget's concerned, It hasn't grown 

Chall: Your own budget at the Lab. 

McGauhey: The University's budget, yes. In dollar amounts It 
went up for several years as salary Increases 
occurred; then It went down as people left and 
positions reverted to lower grades, and as funds 
for equipment were out. Finally it decreased 
significantly as vacant positions or authorized 
positions were taken away. 

Chall: So how do you manage? 

MoGauhey: The principal thing is by fast thinking and horse- 
trading where you can, and by getting assistance 
from more projects getting more of the budget 
load onto research projects. I don't mean 
transferring the load that normally is the respon 
sibility of the University in the way of housekeeping 
activities. But we furnish fewer services in the 
answering of phones and xeroxing and kinds of things 
that clerical help might do. There is no choice but 
to reduce that part of the staff and let the people 
from the projects use the equipment themselves and 
pay for the cost of doing it. 


Chall: How do you apply for a grant that Includes that 
kind of overhead? 

MoGauhey: Well, this Is really not overhead. This Is direct 
cost, and we get at It this way: We ask for a 
certain amount of clerical and stenographic assis 
tance, for which we can demonstrate a need. But 
it isn't at all impossible for the granting agency 
to understand that if you have four or five men 
working in the Laboratory, half-time of a secretary 
or half-time of someone of the clerical and steno 
graphic level is necessary, Just to keep the letters 
answered, the literature in order, and the files 

In addition we include, generally, a separate 
item for preparation of the report. This doesn't 
necessarily mean only the typing of it. There's 
a lot to be done in the way of drafting and in 
xeroxing and in general legwork that goes into 
preparing and, ultimately, in publishing, the report 
itself. This is included in the budget and is clearly 
identified. SERL is in no position to ask for any 
overhead, but on the other hand, it isn't necessary 
or required that the University furnish a great deal 
of the staff assistance and financial assistance 
beyond that which is written into the proposal itself. 

The proposal Itself shows that the University 
is making contributions in terms of time of people 
and that is part of what is reviewed for approval. 
But on the other hand, if someone on the SERL 
payroll isn't busy, we'd rather have them doing 
productive work than sitting around Just because 
there is no project work to be done at that moment. 

Chall: I see. But you do assign to the project everything 

that has to do with getting it organized, accomplished, 
and then actually published, which is the end result 
of a project anyway. 

McGauhey: That is true. However, we have an editor who is 
paid half-time by the University, and it's always 
difficult to say that 50 percent of one's effort 
went into doing those things which the Laboratory 
would be doing if it didn't have any projects. It 
wouldn't be doing much if it didn't have any projects. 
Therefore we wouldn't need all the SERL personnel. 


MoGauhey: So the editor does a good deal of work for the 

projects advice and counsel, all of which takes 
time. But this, by the way, is also listed as 
part of the University's contribution, because 
it has to make some contribution in order to get 
these projects. There are hardly any granting 
agencies that simply say, "Here's the money, do 
something with it, do what you said you were going 
to with it. n You have to show that you have some 
thing invested in it. The percentage of project 
costs required of the applicant differs from one 
agency to another. At least 5 percent is required 
by the Environmental Protection Agency, for example. 

Chall: Doesn't the University take a certain amount off 
the top of the grants that come in? 

McGauhey: The University's overhead has to go over and above 
the amount of funds that are asked for operating 
the project. It is generally determined by the 
University, but in some cases negotiated with the 
agency Itself. It is largely applied to manpower, 
and not to other costs. The percentage at the 
time of my retirement was 44 or ^5 percent. This 
applied to that part of the budget which is manpower 
and general assistance, and not to the equipment and 
laboratory supplies and that sort of thing. So It 
actually isn't ^5 percent, or whatever the figure 
may be, on top of the whole budget request. 

Chall: You have to figure what it Is that you basically 
need and then add a certain percentage that you 
know the University's going to take. 

McGauhey: Yes, but the University, the Office of Research 

Services, is maintained for the purpose of developing 
that part of the budget for us. We take to the ORS 
the amount of money that we are asking for. They 
verify it go over it carefully to see that, at the 
classifications of people we are asking for, the 
money is In line with the University scale for that 
classification. The faculty Investigator can't 
simply put in "full-time assistant, $5*000," you 
know; you have to identify what sort of assistance 
this is, and that $5000 would be the normal pay 


McGauhey: Of course, the Office of Research Services 
itself supplies a considerable service to the 
projects, such as getting the proposal itself 
prepared, or at least typed, and through the mills 
of the University, and making a monthly accounting 
to the faculty investigator, or his designated 
project leader, on the status of the budget. 
Accounting sends this to the OHS, for transmittal 
in summary form to the projects; otherwise the 
University would be in an Impossible situation. 
Professors being what they are with other things 
on their minds, and what I have called a drunken 
sailor sense of economics would spend all of the 
money and the University would be the loser if it 
didn't watch finances pretty carefully. In all 
fairness to the faculty investigator I should say 
that the strange ways of accounting, and the funds 
that are in the pipeline of expenditure at the time 
the accounting is made, insures that the professor 
can not find out the status of his budget unless he 
keeps books himself. Only bills paid are charged 
against the budget. Fringe benefits are set aside 
at the outset. And other obscure factors are 
introduced into the accounting process. Thus the 
project may be in the red as a result of careless 
expenditures not yet in the paid category; or it 
may be well in the black as a result of employment 
of personnel not eligible for fringe benefits. 

Nevertheless, it is a part of the terms of the 
grant that the University's accounting will look 
after this money in appropriate fashion. If 
accounting sent out this material to each faculty 
man, it would get lost. We need an organization to 
look after all of this sort of thing. That is what 
ORS does, and we put in our budgets some money to 
cover such service. Charges by ORS are therefore 
based on actual service performed. It is not an 
overhead cost. 

It was one of my perennial tasks through all 
the years to try to make faculty investigators 
understand that they're not paying an overhead to 
ORS. They said, "Why can't we do that ourselves?" 
My answer was that we could hire somebody for a few 
thousand dollars, but why pay a few thousand when 
we can get it done by ORS fox $200. It doesn't make 

McGauhey: any sense to try to handle all of this through the 
faculty Investigator. 

Although University accounting and OHS services 
may serve to protect the University from faculty 
economics, it does nothing to make the life of the 
director of SEEL less complicated. Funds included 
in the budget for clerical and stenographic assistance, 
and for preparation of the report, were almost always 
grudgingly spent if at all for the purpose cited 
in the proposal. It is a rare faculty investigator 
who ever reads the objectives and methodology 
proposed originally, once his project is financed. 
Generally he immediately sets out to do something 
else at twice the cost. Or he becomes intrigued by 
the research paths that open up as the project 
progresses and attempts to follow them all. The 
result, in my experience, was that with but few 
exceptions the project came to the hour of report 
preparation with no funds left in the project. At 
that point the investigator is caught between the 
University, which may not get its money if the report 
is not submitted, and the alternative of trying to 
find some way to unload the cost on the basic SERL 
budget. For me it was easier to find a way to bail 
them out than it was to change the ways of professors, 
so I considered it a part of the game and managed 
always to meet the challenge. 

I believe I have already noted that OHS serves 
as the first filter to see that the proposals them 
selves are in line with University policy, and that 
they serve an educational purpose; that graduate 
students are involved, and education is a goal of 
the activity; it isn't Just a trivial repetition of 
routine things for the purpose of getting a few 
dollars to support a student. 

Some Criteria for Determining Grants 

Chall: Are they at all interested in kinds of research, or 
is that left up to you to determine what kind of 
research is needed, and where you take your proposal? 


McGauhey: That's pretty much left up to the professor. 
Generally the way a proposal is developed Is 
through the professor's own contacts with agencies 
that are authorized to provide funds for certain 
kinds of activities. That is, if one is in the 
field of sanitary engineering, he knows pretty well 
that the Public Health Service, and the federal 
water quality administration (now the EPA) and 
various other agencies, are funded for certain kinds 
of purposes. If those purposes happen to be some 
thing that the professor is interested in pursuing 
in research, he then makes unofficial inquiry from 
his own friends in the agency. "Here's what I have 
in mind. Is this anything you might be interested 
in supporting?" 

Such contacts are all strictly informal and 
are not binding on anyone, nor are they part of any 
formal negotiations. So this is done largely by 
the faculty member himself, although the University 
does have an office in Washington which keeps track 
of the availability of funds, and periodically 
inquires into the status of project proposals when 
requested to do so by ORS or the faculty investigator. 
So generally, before anyone from ORS goes to Washington, 
as they do every month or so, they inquire of the 
various professors whether they have any projects 
in Washington which ought to be looked into. Prom 
time to time, upon return of this individual, usually 
an assistant dean, we get a summary from ORS of the 
status of various projects at any moment. 

But what kind of problem is to be worked upon 
is pretty much determined by the chap who wants to 
do it. The University's interest then is to see 
that this serves an educational purpose and that it 
is something a university ought to be doing. 

There are some things that one might propose 
to do which are in direct competition with our own 
graduates that are in the business of consulting 
engineering. And these are things that are not 
really as appropriate to a university as they would 
be to some private research agency. An example of 
that is something that requires a considerable 
installation at a long distance from the campus, and 
the hiring and firing of people. 


McGauhey: Suppose for example that I were to get a 

demonstration grant to work with a city 150 miles 
away, and It Involves the employment of people 
to do certain kinds of tasks. Suppose It Involves 
laborers who are here today and absent tomorrow, 
and stay drunk for two weeks. In private business 
you could fire them. In a university, however, we 
hire everybody as though they were going to be 
permanent staff members, and we Just don't have 
the flexibility for dealing with the labor situation 
I have cited. Moreover, Just maintaining supervision 
of the distant project is extremely difficult, and 
wasteful of the professor's time in running back 
and forth. So this is one of the kinds of things 
that the University is not really set up to do 
well without interfering with its normal function. 
Then I suppose there are other kinds of things 
that are politically sensitive or Involve discussion 
between two groups of taxpayers. 

One other kind of thing that is not considered, 
and should not be considered appropriate for the 
professor to be involved in is something that is 
so secret that it doesn't become public knowledge. 
Everything we do as a public Institution must be 
public information, except in oases where the 
University itself has entered Into contracts with 
agencies like AEG, where restriction of information 
is part of the agreement. But the University Is 
not going to let me, and I say it shouldn't let me, 
take money to do a development task or a research 
task from which the findings go into the file of a 
business that doesn't want to reveal them. 

The reason behind this limitation is certainly 
a valid one. That is, that the advancement of the 
professor is based partly upon his scholastic attain 
ment; and scholastic attainment Is partly measured 
by publications In referred Journals. It doesn't 
do much good to say, "I wrote a really good report, 
but I can't possibly show it to you." This would 
not help a committee Judge the fitness of the 
researcher for promotion, so the University Just 
should not allow a man to paint himself into that 
kind of a corner. 

Challj It would happen that sometimes these kinds of 
proposals are made, and ORS would catch it? 


MoGauhey: I don't think the faculty would ever make that kind 
of a proposal. 

Chall: They know better? 

McGauhey: Yes. They know it is not in their own best interest. 
They are more likely to do that sort of work on a 
consulting basis, where it's only a small under 
taking. If it involves a large project they would 
recommend a consulting engineer. The consulting 
engineer might retain them, if they're particularly 
expert, for an occasional consulting day. But we 
don't get much of that certainly not out of SERL 
because most of its Interests and activities lead 
to public works. In fact, nearly all of the 
applications of sanitary engineering, and of any 
environmental control engineering, is public works. 
So we're really in the field that the public 
finances, rather than the field that is financed by 
private Industry. 

Chall: Yes. I've noticed that almost all of your grants 
are public agency grants. And the ones that are 
private are so important to the public like the 
soap Industry that it is in the public interest to 
get the work done. 

MoGauhey: Yes. That such research support comes from an 

association of manufacturers rather than from an 
individual manufacturer. That is, the Soap and 
Detergent Association has, as its members, most 
everybody of any important size that makes anything 
raw materials or detergent products for cleansing. 
Therefore, what the association does is public 
information as far as Its own membership is concerned. 

Chall: In your little story here, "To Raise a Cat," you 
indicate at one point that the limit of most 
granting agencies is elastic that's the word you 
use, "the elastic limit of most granting agencies." 

McGauhey: There isn't much use to ask for more money than 
the federal government has appropriated to an 
agency, nor to ask for all of it from one agency. 
[Laughter] So you have to get some kind of a feel 
for whether your proposal makes economic sense or 
not, In terms of the available funds. It has been 


McGauhey: estimated that we need to put in about two billion 

dollars a year for the next five years into research 
on solid wastes. Well the EPA may get fourteen 
million or eighteen million, or something of this 
sort for solid waste. It has to be spread around. 
For political reasons, they can't put it all in 
one region of the country. For reasons of produc 
tivity, It is unlikely that it will all be invested 
in one or two chaps' ideas, because in the academic 
world there are a lot of people with ideas, and some 
of them may turn out to be good ones. And so as 
a researcher you have to get some kind of a feel 
for whether you are working within the constraints 
of any feasible funding. This is what I think of 
as "the elastic limit" beyond which you can't go. 

Chall: However at any given time there is apparently a 

certain political or social climate and it changes 
rapidly that determines what you can do. 

McGauhey: It changes quite rapidly. It changed rapidly in 
the last five years. I believe I mentioned this 
in one of our previous discussions. The interpre 
tation placed by the HEW on what it meant by 
environment was the effect of environment on man, 
matters of crime and housing and things of this 
sort, as opposed to what man himself is doing to 
the e co-system, or to his own chances of survival 
in the long-run. Not that these are things of 
total unconcern, but at the moment they say the time 
has come to build things, and to come up with systems, 
and to move things around. So they are de -emphasizing 
research, in terms of dollars. 

The time may change again when the emphasis 
will shift back to very basic research. 

Chall: What happens to an organization like SERL, then, 
when research is out. Or is it out, really, this 
much, in your field? 

McGauhey: It's cut. It means that we Just come up with fewer 
projects and this means that we can support fewer 
graduate students. However, this is one of the 
good things about a policy that says don't load up 
a research laboratory with too many professionals. 


MoGauhey: We have to have some professionals around for 

assistance, particularly on long-term grants, but 
the elasticity comes without having to discharge 
any employees. When a graduate student ultimately 
gets his degree most people do live long enough 
to get their PhD in the United States, though it's 
getting near the life-erpeotancy of man by that 
time the project is over. The graduate departs 
and if there isn*t any other project, we have 
retrenched without dismissing any employee. 

What we have lost is the ability to support 
another graduate student. And of course the number 
of graduate students that can be maintained in a 
university is partly dependent upon support that 
if can offer them. The amount of support is about 
the same everywhere, so it isn't that we can offer 
more at the University than they can offer some 
other place. If the other place is not out of 
money, the student may say, "Well, I would like 
to go there," and it doesn't give us the choice 
that we like to have in selecting students for our 
own program. 

If we get down to where we have more professors 
than we have students, then we're below some kind 
of a critical mass. If a low graduate student to 
faculty ratio is a result of obsolescence of our 
whole program, then we ought to begin thinking 
about phasing it out and bringing into the University 
some other viable program. But if it is the result 
of over support of universities in a particular 
field that has diluted down the number of people 
that field can attract, then it becomes a somewhat 
critical thing. 

This occurred in sanitary engineering during 
the early years after the war. The federal govern 
ment, for good reason, supported the development 
of sanitary engineering programs in many universities, 
The number of programs then was sixty- three or more, 
whereas there were previously maybe fifteen that 
were doing most of the teaching. 

Now the support enables the people there to 
pay graduate students, and some of them had policies 
permitting them to hire a professor on soft money, 


McGauhey: as we call It. Having nobody in a program, they 
would hire one of our PhDs as an associate 
professor, where we would consider him as a Step I 
or maybe Step II Assistant Professor, and give him 
a chance to develop a program. 

Pretty soon we Just had more programs in the 
United States than we had students that we could 
attract to the field. Even though the need is 
there, the competition for the human mind is pretty 
great these days, and this is reflected back in the 
problem of getting research contracts. 

But to further answer the question, once the 
money gets tight, the number of projects that a 
faculty or laboratory can obtain shrinks. Then 
it becomes a little difficult to develop programs 
for support of graduate students. 

Chall: And is SERL feeling this kind of a money pinch now? 
Everything today is pointed toward water pollution 
control and environmental pollution control because 
of chemical or industrial pollution. All of the 
aspects of your Laboratory's work would seem to be 
very important today. 

McGauheyt We are definitely feeling a pinch, although we are 
beginning to get out of it. The pinch came here in 
two different ways. One is, as I've said previously, 
is that what a professor does, is largely his own 
area of interest. Now to maintain a varied faculty, 
we don't want seven chaps with all exactly the same 
interest. We have a lot of areas to cover. So 
when any one of them retires, as I did, part of the 
program that he was supporting goes with him. 

Some of the areas that I was working in, notably 
the economics of water, we didn't have anyone to 
carry on, because everyone else had his time committed 
to his own areas of interest. Although another person 
might have had an interest, he could generate Just 
so much financial support at one time and so stayed 
in his own area. 

Some projects, a large number of which I carried, 
died, or came to an end, anyway, and we didn't renew 
them. As the new director came on it took him a 
little while to begin to generate a greater load of 


MoGauhey: projects than he was carrying as a professor before, 
and he is doing that quite successfully. He got 
some work on the pollution of San Francisco Bay 
from the state, and it will build up again, but 
more people have to souffle a little harder. 

Another thing that happens is that, as a 
faculty member grows older, he gets more adminis 
trative duties and you can't get him to put the 
same hustle into research as he did when he was an 
assistant professor and trying to make a reputation. 
It Isn't that he's grown particularly lazy, but 
it's that the onset of responsibilities take part 
of his time, and public service takes more of it, 
and University committees take more, and he leads 
more graduate students at levels of research that 
cause him to have to put time into keeping his 
lecture notes current. And so you get the energy 
die-away curve appearing in research Just as it 
does with aging of people. 

Our group expanded rather quickly after World 
War II as I mentioned on a previous occasion. That 
meant that we had quite a number of people that 
were nearly the same age. The tendency of all 
university professors, I think, whenever a vacancy 
occurs, Is to think we must hire someone now who's 
already got a big reputation In this field. And 
this has to be resisted by the administration on 
two grounds: The most important one is if we have 
everybody retire at once, and get a big flame-out, 
we have lost all our stature in the field at one 
blast. So when a position opens we'd better get 
another young man who has potential and let him 
begin to demonstrate that potential and support 
his research. It's a little harder for the 
young man to get money that it is for the well- 
known one. 


We have dealt with this sometimes by Joint 
investlgatorships, in which a more seasoned 
individual appears as a Joint investigator. He 
assists the younger one In developing and pretty soon 
drops out and lets the other man write the papers. 
When you get old enough, it doesn't matter whether 
you write any more papers or not. 


Chall: Just as soon not, too? [Laughter] 

MoGauhey: Even though most of us keep doing it, It's not as 
critical a factor in our career as it is with the 
younger men. [Laughter] 

Chall: I see. It's Just a momentum you've built up. 
McGauhey: Yes. 

Chall: Is it also true that these changes might be forced 
upon you by other institutions competing? I mean, 
you're talking about your work on the economics of 
water, coming to an end, and I noticed that Resources 
for the Future has funded studies of water economics 
in other institutions. 

McGauhey: They funded us here at the very start. In fact, I 
think our first project In economics of water was 
funded by RFP. 

Chall: So they could be funding other institutions who 
could be also carrying on similar research. 

McGauhey: Yes. And they funded one of our graduate students, 
Dr. Richard Frankel, currently over in Bangkok, who 
has gone on to a considerable reputation in the 
field of water economics. His initial funding was 
from the Resources for the Future, although they do 
some of it themselves. 

Chall: Is there a great deal of competition among institutions, 
so that there is a duplication of effort? Or are 
granting agencies careful about duplicating effort? 

McGauhey: They're pretty careful about duplicating effort in 
this fashion: They're not unwilling to have people 
in different Institutions working on the same subject. 
The reason is that one man has a different idea 
than the other, and his approach is different, and 
you can't tell which one is going to pay off. But 
they are very careful not to fund an organization 
for doing the same thing that has already been done. 

Some of our early research here is a good 
example the algal systems started by Ludwig and 
taken over by Professor Gotaas, from which Professor 
Oswald has made a world-wide reputation. 


Challr What systems? Algal? 

McGauheyt Yes. The use of algae In systems for wastewater 
treatment and in life-support systems. As soon 
as these pioneers had published something that 
looked good, the agency began to get proposals 
to do the same thing. The attitude of the agency 
then was: "Well, look, somebody's already published 
that. What new idea do you have here?" If they 
can't show some new idea, they are filtered out, 
at least until a new generation takes over the 
agency and has not heard of the past. 

But as to the competition, it is healthy 
rather than awkward as far as our Laboratory's 
concerned, because it makes us scuffle to stay in 
the front rank, and this is what we expect the 
University of California to do to stay out front. 
There are only a few competitors for the front 
rank. There's lots of competitors for money, and 
I don't mean that these are inconsequential programs; 
but it's easy to understand that a university which 
has only a sanitary engineer, a chemist, and a 
biologist teamed together, and not much other support 
in the university structure, can't do the kind of 
thing that we can. 

When I say, "other support in the university 
structure" I am referring to the people we can go 
to on soil systems, in soil sciences, in metallurgy, 
and epidemiology, and entomology anything you can 
name you can find in our system somebody who has 
a pretty considerable reputation In that field. 
There's never been any problem getting them to sit 
with us and put us on the right track. But if one 
gets into an institution where these are limited In 
number, then he can move only so fast because he 
Just doesn't have the support, either in human 
resources that might assist him or, perhaps, in 
facilities as well. 

The competition never seemed to be a critical 
factor, although we have lost some graduate students 
that we'd like to have to other institutions for, 
probably, reasons of the length of time that it 
took to get through our admissions mill. They got 
frightened that they were not going to be accepted, 
and when somebody elsewhere said, "We need you here 
right now," they went. But that is part of the game, 

MoGauhey: and it's not anything that one can deplore in very 
tear- Jerking terms, anyway. [Laughter] 

Chall: You manage to get over it. What if somebody says, 
"I have some money to have you do some research on 
a project," might you decide that it isn't worth 
taking or going into that facet of research? 

McGauhey: Well, after you recover from fainting... 

Chall: I guess nobody really ever comes to you with money. 

McGauhey: In one case they did; and I turned it down. 
Chall: Oh, you have done this? 

McGauhey: Yes. It was some money of course we didn't get 
as far as discussing how much, but it wouldn't 
have been a lot from the construction industry 
that wanted to resolve the problem of disposal of 
demolition debris. I told them I couldn't take the 
money because I didn't have any idea of what to do. 
Unless I have some hopeful research ideas, Just 
having money isn't going to solve the problem. 
There may be other people with ideas, I said, but 
I don't know a confounded thing to spend your 
money on that would make any sense. 

You see one of the troubles with getting into 
research or accepting research money is, you are 
committed to producing some results. At least 
you've got to make some progress along the road 
toward solving a problem; so Just money without an 
idea doesn't help you any. That does not mean that 
there are not people In the world with Ideas, but 
it means if you don't have it you're a poor one for 
them to invest their money in. 

Chall: Yes. But there must be some projects on which you 
don't really have ideas, but you feel that somebody 
else in your general area here might have an idea, 
or it might at least be worth exploring. 

McGauhey: The Laboratory has never said no to any suggested 
study which was appropriate to our educational 
purpose and our commitment to public service. We 


McGauhey i always oheok to see if there's anyone around either 
in the Laboratory or elsewhere in the University 
that is interested. This is not an arbitrary 
decision by the director of the Laboratory. If 
there's any money around we find out whether anyone 
has an interest or an idea. 

Challt I see. Or any desire to take it on. 

McGauhey* Desire particularly if it's money that leads to 

the support of graduate students and our educational 

Techniques of Writing Grant Proposals 

Challt Some people, I think at your level, have criticized 
granting agencies because it takes so long to write 
a proposal properly. Apparently there are certain 
rigid systems to follow, every granting agency has 
its own forms, and so much money seems to be taken 
off of the top for whatever reasons there are, that 
it's hardly worth the effort. There must be some 
other way to finance the programs that we want. 

McGauhey: Well, people have talked of doing that by getting 
a big institutional grant. This is somewhat the 
way NSF [National Science Foundation] is worked. 
Get an institutional grant and then the institution 
Itself, by internal scuffling, decides who's going 
to be supported in what research effort. After a 
few years this becomes a comfortable sort of a 
vested interest, you know, and doesn't, in my 
opinion, fire up the imagination of the professor 
to the extent comparable to that of the project he 
has to go after for himself* 

But to the point that you made, one has to 
learn how to write proposals; that is, if he's 
going to get money. 

ChallJ Do you charge the time that goes into writing that 
proposal against the cost of the proposal when you 
finally get the money? 


MoGauhey: No, you cannot. No agency will permit you to put 
In any oost of going after the money. This comes 
out of your own energies. If you want support, 
then it's up to you to get busy and put together 
a proposal. 

Chall: But It must come out, not only of your own energy, 
It has to come out of your pocket, someplace. Is 
that a personal pocket? 

MoGauhey: No. Getting the thing ready and sending It off Is 
part of the service of the University through our 
Office of Research Services. It sends away many 
proposals and a good percentage of them come back 
without any olive branch, you know. [Laughter] 

Chall: Then what about all the time It takes you and a 

half-a-dozen other professors, let's say, to work 
out a proposal first, before you get It to the 
Office of Research Services? The secretary has to 
type it up. 

MoGauhey: Typing is only a minor aspect. The main task is 
getting something worth typing in a form that the 
secretary can read. That comes out of the seven- 
day-week that we put in on it. That's part of our 
responsibility, I think, to the University. The 
University, while it doesn't actually say, "X 
number of hours you should spend In teaching," 
generally implies that if you are not doing research 
your teaching load ought to be bigger than if you 
are. Some fraction of our effort is supposed to be 
dedicated to research. And while no one has ever 
codified that, and pity the one who tries it, it 
is rationally a sound approach. 

If we have people with energy and curiosity 
and Interest, they'll generate the proposals. I 
have written proposals that turned out to be a 
waste of time, except as they may have educated me. 
But not too many, not too many. The plain fact 
with proposal writing is that if you can't tell the 
granting agency what it is that you want to do, 
why it makes any difference to anybody in the world 
whether it's done or not, and what kind of an idea 
you have about how you're going to do it, then you 
shouldn't expect and can't expect it to get any 


McGauhey: serious attention. As in my "To Raise a Cat," 
there must be presented some idea of how the 
professor is going to do this, how he's going to 
get started, and what wonders will accrue if it 
works out. 

This is the difficult part with many people 
and their proposals I've read lots of them and 
have been on countless review committees they 
Just either oan f t tell you what it is they want 
to do, or really don't know what it is they want 
to do. Or why anyone cares. 

Chall: Or should care. 

McGauhey: Yes. Once you can tell what it is you want to do 
and show that you have an idea of how to go about 
it an idea that has not already been mined out 
and reported in the literature then you can get 
a proposal seriously considered. 

The ORS helps, of course, with the budget 
considerations, but writing the proposal is Just 
part of the chance you take. It's part of the 
cross you bear if you want to get research support 
for your students. 

Chall i Isn't there some way that you can obtain, in 

advance of writing a proposal, whether the granting 
agency might be interested in supporting your 

McGauhey: Theoretically there is, but it doesn't work out in 
practice. Of course, the granting agency lets it 
be known what areas of research it is interested in 
supporting. Thus if we are interested in study of 
air pollution control, water quality, solid waste 
management, or other subjects we can decide who to 
approach with a proposal. In many oases the agency 
also suggests that a brief letter be sent in advance 
of any formal proposal in order to determine the 
agency's interest in the project the researcher has 
in mind. "Don't bother writing a complete proposal,' 
they say. "Just tell us in a brief summary what 
you want to do. Write us a letter saying 'This is 
the area in which I would develop a proposal if 
you have an interest.'" To follow this course is 
to be assured of disaster. 


McGauheyt Let me cite an example. 

Recently I was called in to consult with a 
water resources center in another university to 
assist in preparing some new proposals. My role 
was that of an expert in grantsmanshlp rather than 
in the particular subject of the proposed research. 
The institution had employed two people (who were 
getting ready to leave) when I arrived, but they 
weren't getting any research money the way their 
program and manpower justified. I found out at 
once that they were following the rules, or following 
the suggestions, of granting agencies; and they 
were exciting no interest. 

Challt How do you explain that? 

McGauhey: To answer the question one must inquire: who gets 
such letters as the agency suggests? No one knows. 
In a large agency, somebody presumably reads it; it 
isn't in enough detail to tell anybody what the 
professor is going to do and the message Just doesn't 
come through. So the reader advises his agency to 
say "We are not interested. " 

My advice was, "Write a proposal as though you 
meant it, even though this takes a lot of effort. 
Send this proposal informally to your contact In 
the agency, and make it clear that the document is 
unofficial and subject to refinement to fit the 
objectives of the agency as long as they are 
compatible with the university's policy. 11 

Then somebody will read it. Quite commonly 
the Judgment will be either, "This is good, but the 
budget's far too big," or "This aspect of It we 
are already supporting elsewhere," or "We don't 
want to support some phase of It. " After this 
initial evaluation you can rewrite the proposal on 
the agency's standard form it doesn't have to go 
out on the forms to begin with and submit it 
through proper university channels. Prom my 
experience the flow in university channels is like 
cold molasses. Therefore, I advise that the 
university be badgered into sending out an advance 
copy which Is official except for some signatures 
required by the university process. Most agencies 


MoGauhey: will let the applicant meet deadlines with this 
kind of proposal. 

But you simply can't get money by Just 
skeletonizing what It Is you want to do. Because 
the chap who reads It will say, "There's not enough 
detail here to tell how he's going to do lt. H Even 
though the policy of the agency may be that the 
skeleton proposal Is adequate, It won't work. Not 
with me, anyway. 

Chall: Did It help when you changed their methods? 

MoGauhey: Yes. They quickly got two more projects supported, 
and have continued to be successful In obtaining 
research grants. 

Chall: There's a system then that you should be following. 

MoGauhey t You have to follow a system, such as I have noted. 
But first you must have an Idea, preferably, an 
Idea about new subjects that are emerging, and be 
able to state clearly what It Is you want to do about 
that Idea. We at the University of California 
normally search for the new idea. We expect to 
attack these Impossible problems that are coming on 
fast, or that we can foresee. It Is possible 
sometimes to see so far down the road that there 
isn't enough interest yet on the part of the granting 
agency. I believe I mentioned on another occasion 
that this is one of the pitfalls of research, that 
you have to shout that the sky is falling In order 
to get anybody excited enough to take an Interest In 
financing a project. Only If you can make the 
world believe that the sky Is falling can you get 
enough lead time In research to come up with the 
measures needed when the falling begins. [Laughter] 

If It is, indeed, already falling, as in the 
case of air pollution in urban centers, something 
has to be done, and will be done politically, before 
research can possibly produce results. Then we 
hear again the familiar refrain: What good did 
research ever do? They research, and research, and 
nothing ever comes of it. This Is the major cross 
the researcher must bear; that in order to obtain 
research funds the problem has to be so immediate 


MoGauhey: that it Is difficult to get lead time enough to 

oome up with results that can be put into hardware. 

Along with that is the danger that the 
researcher will become so intrigued by what he 
finds, that he thinks it necessary to attack 
smaller and smaller pieces of the problem he set 
out to work on before any conclusion can be reached. 
This is what I call receding into the background, 
Instead of moving along in the direction of the 
horizon. Fragmentation of a problem is unavoidable 
because as you crack it you see that it wasn't one 
problem at all. It was ten thousand problems 
locked up in one nutshell. Following his instincts, 
the researcher feels he must get at each of the ten 
thousand little problems before he reaches a con 
clusion befitting a scientist. Thus cracking the 
big problem may never have any effect in the real 
world as the reseaoher follows the intrique of 
interesting pathways and forgets his original purpose, 

Determining Contemporary Environmental Research 

Chall: That has to be watched, then, I suppose, by somebody 
who* s giving the money. 

MoGauhey: It isn't so much that the granting agency serves as 
a watchdog to insure that its money is well spent. 
The phenomenon that leads to research support only 
when crisis is upon us has yet another facet. This 
is that the granting agency itself, particularly 
the federal agency, gets its funds from the Congress 
only when the Congress believes that the sky is 
falling. In the matter of environmental control 
most of the research funds come from federal agencies. 
Five or six years is about the length of the attention 
span of people to any particular crisis. After that 
the excitement is gone and we need a new crisis to 
make life exciting or to keep up our accustomed 
level of sensitivity to impending doom. So interest 
shifts periodically to some new threat. This doesn't 
mean that the old crisis is resolved. Water pollution, 
for example, goes on and on but a new buzzword 
replaces the one of the moment in an endless sequence. 


MoGauhey: Thus every five or six years the granting agency 

will say "Look, we've been supporting your project 
for X years and are now shifting our research 
emphasis to another subject." In such a changing 
world the professor should not expect a single 
research Idea to last him all his lifetime. He 
ought to have another occasionally. 

The trick In good grant smanshlp, beyond writing 
a proposal that does not boggle the human mind, Is 
to foresee the crises ahead with enough clarity to 
Judge when the lead time Is down to about five 
years. At that time his cry that the sky Is falling 
seems plausible to some granting agencies. With 
good luck, the researcher may get funds and be in 
a position to provide some of the answers when the 
critical questions are finally asked. In that case 
he becomes the established authority on the subject 
and the reputation of the university for leadership 
in the overall field is enhanced. If the coming 
crisis is too far down the road, the researcher will 
merely become a Jackass braying in the wilderness, 
and will have to compete for support with a host of 
unimaginative researchers for funding when the crisis 
is finally upon us. 

In one of the many forgotten papers I have 
written I call attention to the reasons why research 
of a very subtle and multi-disciplinary nature is 
required in today's environmental climate. Of 
course, we in SERL have made it our business to 
look for the coming problem and to be prepared to 
attack it at the earliest moment we can excite some 
support. The overall situation, as I see it, is that 
we are now entering an era when reconquering the 
environment is our major problem. Incidentally, I 
did not invent this particular Idea. I got it from 
some long forgotten writer who failed to elaborate 
upon it. Nevertheless, In pioneer days the first 
task of the engineer and nearly everyone else was 
that of conquering the wilderness Just overcoming 
gross environmental problems. Much of this was done 
with well known hardware the plow, the pick and 
shovel, the mule drawn scraper, and a little dynamite. 

Then came the second era in our national develop 
ment. This is the one in which most of us have spent 
our lives. Now, having conquered the wilderness to 


MoGauhey: a vast degree, we set about exploiting the resources 
that we found In the wilderness developing technology 
and science and all manner of Industrial enterprise 
chemical and metallurgical, and so on. That we did 
this with considerable abandon as far as residues 
and environmental Impacts were concerned gave birth 
to the third era the era of reconquering the 
environment. Only this time, Instead of having 
gross wilderness or obvious environmental problems 
to deal with, we have subtle ones and long-term ones. 
When conquering the wilderness was a matter of 
chopping down trees, we could eventually see the 
sky and the ashes and know that we had them chopped. 
The Immediate objective of creating a field for our 
crops was achieved by relatively simple, If 
strenuous, means. But what we did not know, or 
care much about, was the long-term effects of our 
gaining a field. These effects have now become our 
environmental concern. So It's this area of "don't 
know" In which we need research far more than we 
need hardware, because we don't know what kind of 
hardware to make. 

Chall: And a whole new attack on values, too. 

MoGauhey : Yes. A whole new attack with a different kind of a 
team, too, because there's no individual discipline 
so uniquely prepared that it can attack a major 
environmental problem with all its implications and 
come up with a solution. What happens is what has 
happened often in the past: we may come up with a 
simplistic solution, and all that solution does or 
at least one of the things it does is to create 
unforeseen dislocations in equilibria in the environ 

As a result we are now confronted with a 
situation where multi-discipline research is far 
more Important than it was in the past. I use 
this term multi-discipline, rather than inter 

Chall: Oh, that's something else? 

MoGauhey: Yes. Because the way the system works. If it's 
multi-disciplinary it means you have assembled 
together a group of appropriate disciplines that 
understand the problem and are working together on it; 


MoGauhey: but when you get into interdisciplinary ones, this 
means or has meant, at least that each discipline 
will take what money it can get and go off and do 
what it pleases with it, and in the end, as I have 
said on another occasion, you never can put all of 
this product together and get any observable gain 
toward the original objective. [Laughter] 

Chall: Heally? So if you start out with the phrase, "It's 
going to be multi-disciplinary, H then they know 
what you mean, and what your final objective Is. 

MoGauhey: The definition, or distinction, is not well established 
yet, so one had best erplaln what he means. On my 
multi-disciplinary team I propose to assemble a proper 
crew of carpenters, and plumbers and electricians to 
do a Job on this site, rather than to encourage each 
to go off and do what he thinks is a good idea and 
send me a bill at the end of the month. 

Chall: Each in his own lights. 

McGauhey: There's plenty of room for the individual to purstie 
his own area of interests. But let him do that 
when he goes for his own grant. [Laughter] 

Some Noteworthy Research at SERL 

Chall: Tell me, now that you have somehow managed to get the 

money, with all the painstaking effort that it requires, 
from the foundations and the funding agencies, what 
kinds of research projects have you done here which 
you think are most Important. 

McGauhey: In listing tha ones where this Laboratory has led 
the field, particularly those that have made a 
considerable impact, I will not try to put them in 
any order of importance. In the field of solid 
waste management, for which the Laboratory was 
initially created, we have made a major and continuing 
impact. I will say a bit more about this later, as 
it concerns multi-disciplinary research as well as 
technological and scientific discovery. One area 
that has attracted world-wide attention is our work 
in algal systems for waste management and life 

MoGauhey: support. Another is the area of kinetics of waste 
treatment processes. 

I might explain briefly what this is all 
about. When we are disposing of organic matter 
such as human wastes or dead vegetation, or any 
natural organic matter, by biological means, the 
rate at which bacteria will break the material down 
and carry out their biochemical processes is not 
particularly different from one city to another, 
or from one situation to another, at the temperatures 
that prevail outdoors. So we have been able to get 
along pretty well in designing treatment plants 
with a rather home-grown, roughly determined, value 
of what we call "rate constant" for the way the 
thing progresses. But as soon as treatment of 
organic industrial wastes is the problem and the 
rate constant is unknown, then the whole set of 
parameters we have used for designing a system are 
inapplicable. Sometimes, the practice has been to 
Just go on and use the same old rate constant that 
applies to something else. The results have not 
been spectacularly successful. So at SEHL we have 
done a lot of work in the field of reaction kinetics 
which has been quite significant. 

We also did significant work In detergents. 
The fate of detergents in waste treatment systems, 
and out In the environment we did very significant 
work on that and then followed it through with 
checking out the new detergents In the same kind of 

On groundwater recharge, and with it the 
movement of travel of pollution in soil systems 
we've done pioneer work, and have stayed pretty 
well at the forefront of that field, although the 
field has expanded, and of course we're no longer 
the only ones in it. But we led in it. 

And in the whole matter of things as presumably 
simple as septic tanks, we clarified the situation 
of percolation system failure for the Federal Housing 
Administration the result of our work pretty well 
leading the PHA to abandon septic tanks In urban 
situations. Most significantly we revealed the 
misconceptions on which septic systems were predicated 
and generated a new concept of systems design. 


MoGauhey: Presently (1972) as revived interest in land 

disposal of wastes has come to be the buzz word, 
a considerable amount of research is emerging 
from our findings, often rediscovering what we 
have long had in the literature. 

We also did significant early work in the 
area of radioactive wastes in the environment, 
particularly in the wastewater system. 

Recently and currently, I would say, we are 
doing pioneering work on the processes for waste- 
water treatment. Professor W.J. Kaufman is 
particularly at the forefront in that area, and I 
think the system that he now has in the pilot-plant 
stage and which the University has patented, is 
very likely to be the direction that wastewater 
treatment takes in the immediate future. 

Chall: You mean it's different from what we have had for 
the last fifty or sixty years? 

MoGauhey: Yes. Of course, It uses biological and chemical 
systems, but in a different combination, on a 
different rationale, and in producing better results. 

Chall: I see. Are you getting at the chemicals in the 
water now is that part of it? 

MoGauhey: We're using chemical treatment, but the University's 
big contribution in the matter of removal of minerals 
has been through its saline water laboratory, the 
seawater conversion laboratory here under Professor 
Everett D. Howe, now under Professor Alan Laird. 

One other area where we have gained an appreciable 
reputation is the principles and engineering, including 
design, of ocean outfalls dispersion of waste waters 
into receiving waters. In this area, Professor 
Erman Pearson and Professor Robert Sellek have been 
most active. Professor Pearson is Mr. Kinetics as 
far as our shop is concerned, too. [Laughter] 

We did some exceptionally significant work in 
the economic evaluation of water during the 1960s. 
The detergents, the solid wastes, the septic tanks, 
the economic evaluation, and the soil systems, and 


MoGauhey: water reclamation were all areas in which I 

personally participated in research, and with 
some very able men. Dr. Krone, who now heads 
civil engineering at Davis, and Dr. Golueke, who 
is our chief biologist at SERL, were among the ones 
who did much of the work here. 

Solid Waste Management 

McGauhey: We've done enough work in the field of solid wastes 
that I think we are, if I may say it modestly, 
probably the leaders in that particular field. You 
see those big red volumes on the bookshelf; the 
Public Health Service has Just published two of 
our major reports. The Bureau of Solid Waste 
Management--it used to be the Public Health Service 
has published them. Of them they said to us, "Well, 
this establishes you chaps as the center for solid 
waste for the whole United States I" 

Chall: You've been working on it for fifteen years. 

MoGauheyt Yes. The first significant thing that has been 
accomplished here was Dr. Golueke 1 s work on 
composting. At the time when people thought it 
involved witchcraft and specially-trained bacteria 
and all other kinds of mystical rituals, the 
University and this Laboratory sorted out what 
was the truth of the situation and established the 
criteria and the parameters for composting. They 
have stood up through the years. 

So in the area of solid waste management we 
have been running in the lead position for a long 
time, and were pointing out the problems and some 
of the solutions long before the public got much 
excited about wastes. 

Chall I believe you referred to solid waste management 

as a field where you have utilized multi-disciplinary 

MoGauhey i Yes. Through the years I gave a great deal of 

thought to how a multi-discipline research project 


McGauhey: oould be suooessfully organized. I am sure you 
have been around the University and professors 
long enough to know that, as I mentioned the othr 
day, they have to swim by their own energy If they 
wish to advance. Moreover they are Inclined to 
work only on things In which they have an Individual 
Interest. How oould you bring such a group of 
Individualistic people to direct their combined 
fire power on any one Individual field? 

With the rise of concern for the total environ 
ment, social sciences discovering the earth, and 
a whole new spectrum of saviors concerned with the 
environment, there arose a great deal of Interest 
In the federal government and other agencies In 
products which Involved Interdisciplinary or multl- 
dlsclpllne research. The concept also had a good 
deal of appeal to universities on the rationale 
that you can't do anything with resources without 
Involving administration, and economics, and 
sociology, as well as engineering, public health, 
science, etc.; in fact you can hardly find any 
field that doesn't have some relevance to environ 
ment. There ought, therefore, to be some way the 
University can bring all this to bear on the overall 

The formula that Dr. Golueke and I ultimately 
came up with In solid waste management was one in 
which, on the basis of our presumed competence, or 
at least our stature in the field, we would seek to 
get support for a project which would be multi- 
disciplinary. In It we would bring interested 
individuals from other disciplines as participating 
faculty people. We would support graduate students 
in the particular areas of the cooperating or 
participating professors; we would have this group 
of professors constitute a project control committee 
that met every week, or at least every month, to 
review the progress and the relevance of our work 
and to fit together what we were finding in the 
various activities of the project. We would manage 
the budget in SERL, but the fraction to be allocated 
to each activity would be determined by the group In 
developing the project. Money would be allocated 
for the several purposes, but the funds remained In 
SERL. Thus, If the participating faculty member 
failed to work on his agreed area, I oould shut off 


MoGauhey: the money. This Is the secret of multi -disciplinary 
research: central responsibility for budget. In 
my opinion you cannot invest money In a whole series 
of projects fitted together with any hope of holding 
them together. They Just go off in any direction 
and the result is choas. 

We started our multi-disciplinary project by 
going In the field the first summer and learning 
what the problem was all about; the entire group of 
participating professors taking part at once. 

Chall: What were the disciplines Involved here? 

McGauhey: There was sanitary engineering, agricultural 

engineering (Davis); chemical engineering, mechanical 
engineering, forestry, planning and economics, and 
operations research, and public health. Thus in the 
waste disposal group we had a good spectrum of 
technology in agricultural waste, disposal, landfilling, 
incineration, and composting* The economics and 
planning group worked closely with operations 
research to set up first a waste-generating model, 
and then an overall management model. Then we carved 
out for research teams the areas where we needed 
information to fit Into these models; and it worked 
well. I think ours is about the only way that you 
can get multi-discipline effectively to attack a 

In each of the several disciplines where 
graduate students were working they were guided In 
their thesis activities by an expert in their own 
field, and this made it possible for us to get quite 
a variety of points of view developed and quite a 
variety of technology analyzed, and Interrelated. 

After about three years some of the technology 
became more advanced than others. That is, some 
aspects of the project were ready for pilot plant 
experiments. Some were obviously of a long-term 
basis nature. Some were brought to a satisfactory 
conclusion. Thus when I retired in 1969 the time 
had come for some aspects of the project to go on 
as separate projects. You can carry multi -disciplinary 
research only so far. By and by you get into the 
niceties of the technology, or the details of a 


McGauhey: technology and we must then expose that aspect to 
the granting agency to see whether they want to 
support It or not. At that point the multi- 
disciplinary phase will concern largely the 
economics, planning, overall engineering, and 
operations research aspects In one package, the 
various technologies and long-term scientific 
studies being packaged otherwise. 

Solid Waste Defined 

Challr What is solid waste as you study it? 

McGauhey: Most of the attention has been directed to those 

wastes that are generated in a city and are handled 
as solids. Of course, air pollutants are largely 
partioulate matter which are solids. So are the 
things that go into water and pollute it. These are 
solids which are dissolved or floating. Thus, in 
general, most of the pollutants which give us 
concern are solids. 

But what we are talking about In solid waste 
management are those resource residues that we have 
to handle as solids anywhere in the community. 
Solids which if not remaned by man are going to 
stay right there and impoverish our environment. 

Most of the attention has been directed to 
what we would call municipal refuse. This is more 
than garbage. Garbage per se is Just vegetable 
scraps, from food and the preparation of food, and 
is increasingly handled by grinding into the sewer. 
Thus, more and more In our domestic refuse Is paper, 
plastic containers of all kinds, metal containers, 
non-returnable bottles lots of glass, and paper, 
and combinations of plastic and paper, such as they 
use in milk cartons. This is an ever increasing 
load. In the Bay Area it's between six and eight 
pounds per person per day. 

Besides municipal refuse there's a lot of other 
things that we haven't paid much attention to on a 
utility basis. For example, there is the debris from 


MoGauhey: demolition, redevelopment of housing, and building 

of freeways. We didn't give that a lot of attention 
because we left disposal to the people who were 
generating it. They commonly have hauled it off 
to a private dump. Then ^there are agricultural 
wastes generated in the vicinities of cities, and 
the debris that comes from the commerce and Industry. 
A lot of that the producer used to haul away to a 

As we begin to occupy more and more the land 
with people, and begin to say we must manage the 
land in some fashion by zoning, we tend to zone out 
the dump. Eventually there is no place where the 
individual can discard wastes himself, because the 
public is governing land use. Thus eventually the 
demolition debris and other solid wastes once hauled 
by Individual arrangements becomes a public problem. 
In California, this total of wastes generated in the 
community approaches nineteen pounds per person per 
day. All of this then becomes a problem of the 

Historically the way a city got rid of its 
solid waste was to export it. But now it can't 
find any place to export it to. At the same time it 
can't burn it Inside its own Jurisdiction because 
of air pollution, and it can't bury it inside because 
of lack of land. 

Chall: It can't dump it in the Bay because nobody is allowed 
to fill it anymore. What do you do with it? 

MoGauhey: Certainly it won't go away. If you burn it, you 

still have 50 percent of the mass that's left. It 
has to go on the land someplace, whether people like 
it or not. The appropriate rationale for land 
disposal depends upon how one looks upon the material. 
First, is it a resource material, or is it a waste? 
And second, what is it feasible to do with it? 

If we consider unwanted materials as residues 
of resource use, and resource exploitation, rather 
than wastes that we don't know what to do with, 
then the question is, if they're resources, what 
are we going to do with them? How are we going to 
reclaim these resources? 


McGauhey: There are two things we could do. One, we 
could take the attitude that this is a mixture 
of bits and pieces of all kinds of resource 
materials, and because it's extremely expensive 
to sort them all out we will look upon it as cheap 
fill material. Then if we could find a place where 
we could make a fill, the resource that we could 
reclaim would be a land resource. This is what is 
going on in Mountain View and in the Los Angeles 
area. Thus we are salvaging a land resource rather 
than trying to reclaim individual resource values 
that are in the mixture. 

Chall: How did you test out that theory? 

MoGauheyt It evolved in my own thinking of what indeed are we 
doing in the Los Angeles area, where we are putting 
it on the land. My questions were: on what 
rationale do you say let us put this material in a 
landfill where it is lost to us forever, if it's 
a resource? What is the rationale for not reclaiming 
it as a resource? The obvious answer is that the 
resource we are gaining is land. 

On the other hand If we say we don't really 
want land resource, or we have no place that we 
can generate a land resource with refuse, then we 
may consider it as resource material. Either one 
of two things can be done with resource material. 
Part of say 50 percent can be destroyed by 
burning. All of it might be destroyed as a resource 
by making a deep water ocean fill somewhere. But if 
we are not inclined to destroy it, then the rationale 
would have to be that either we must stockpile it, 
and keep it till we need it, or we have to recycle it 

Problems of Disposal 

McGauhey: Historically and traditionally when people speak of 
recycle they have been Impatient and want to recycle 
the whole works at once. This Is the attitude of 
the present cult of environmentalists. Realistically, 
however, we know full well that we don't know what to 


McGauhey: do with some of it. Paper, and aluminum cans, and 
certain other major components, such as the non- 
ferrous metals and, in a few cases, rags could be 
salvaged now. 

But it certainly wouldn't make any sense, 
either economically or logistlcally, to take all 
the solid wastes and make one pile of cans, and a 
pile of aluminum, a pile of plastic, and a pile of 
this, and a pile of that, and a pile of brick, and 
a pile of broken concrete, and then find out you 
can only use two of the piles you Just wasted your 
time and money and still don't know what to do with 
them. So under this kind of a concept, storage on 
the land, as a resource that we don't know what to 
do with yet, is the answer. 

Personally I think this is the answer, in 
California at least. Transport it over as long 
a distance as necessary, to land that is not in 
competition for subdivisions and other things 
desert land that is government-owned or state-owned, 
which we don't have to buy in competition with sub 
divisions, and make a proper landfill. And by proper 
landfill I mean one that permits nothing to blow 
about, where things are properly covered, and properly 
drained so it doesn't endanger any ground water. 
Such a fill would serve the needs of communities 
in every direction which may find it a feasible 
solution to their local problem of disposal. Under 
this rationale, the landfill becomes a big stockpile 
of resources that we don't know what to do with at 
the present time. Maybe we'll never need them. But 
if we ever need the organic matter that's in there 
it will be partly composted. We can go in with 
industrial machinery, because by that time the pile 
will be a whopping big one which can be worked over 
economically. We can sort out resource values when 
we need them. 

An example of this concept can be drawn from 
the mining industry. When we first mined iron, no 
one knew what to do with vanadium and tungsten; 
they Just threw it in the tailings. And so by 
inadvertence rather than by Intent we came up with 
a big stockpile of vanadium and tungsten when, 
forty years later, we knew what to do with it. When 


MoGauhey: we wanted it, we went and took out more wealth than 
they ever did in the form of iron. 

To say in regard to solid wastes that if we're 
going to reclaim it we've got to reclaim everything 
now, would be equivalent to saying in the age of 
iron, you've got to figure out what to do with 
tungsten and vanadium or you can't mine any iron. 
We'd have never gotten out of the stone age, if 
we'd had to take that attitude. 

So you see what I'm saying is that in solid 
wastes we're going to have to put some of it on 
the land. If we put it in one big, well-managed 
pile we'll have sequestered there resources values 
that someday we'll want, and some that we know we 
never will want. We're never going to go and get 
old, broken concrete in competition with other earth 
materials for making cement. And there 're more 
brickbats than people can throw through windows. 
Stockpiling of wastes as resource materials is one 
emerging rationale. 

Some cities, of course, do not have the prospect 
of long distance transport to some stockpile. It 
has been noted that on Manhattan Island it would be 
impossible to park enough railroad oars to haul 
away the day's wastes even if every inch not occupied 
by buildings could be covered with oars. Obviously, 
the alternative here is to destroy as much of it as 
possible on the site, although there is no reason 
why heat should not be salvaged as a byproduct of 
waste destruction. 

But as I have noted, incineration gets rid of 
only about half the total of solid wastes of a 
municipality. The remainder must go into the sea 
or onto the land. The choice here is a matter of 
local geography and land availability. The choice 
may lie between hauling the residue a long distance 
for deposit on cheaper land; reclaiming land as a 
resource} or dedicating land as a matter of public 
policy and public necessity to waste disposal. 

Chall: So a general conclusion of the economists is that 

it would pay to haul this stuff aw&y let's say even 
a thousand or two thousand miles to a desert, if 
possible, or necessary? 

McGauhey: Well, I think that we could calculate quite simply 
how far you should go. Here in the Bay Area we 
could probably talk in terms of 100 or 150 miles, 
before we came to land that is not in competition. 
But if we go to the heartland of the U.S., say 
Iowa, or of Illinois, or other Midwestern states, 
there isn't any land beyond the immediate vicinity 
that isn't Just as good as the land right there. 
So they either have to dedicate, as a matter of 
public policy, some land, somewhere, as a receiver 
for wastes, or they would have to go to very long 
distance haul which wouldn't be too feasible. 

It wouldn't be too feasible because in hauling 
refuse we're not going to clean it up so there isn't 
some degradable organic matter in it. Therefore it 
has to be transported from the point of origin to 
the discharge point in a relatively short period of 
time. We can't have a railroad oar sitting for a 
week on a siding while somebody wonders where it is. 
Local residents will find it quickly enough by their 
sense of smell. 

Where refuse is to be exported the community 
must accomplish export in an acceptable fashion from 
the standpoint of sanitation, and it will have to go 
fairly rapidly. So there are going to be places 
where land will be valuable as a waste receptacle or 
else we'll have to produce a smaller amount of solid 
wastes. Most likely we shall have to do both. 

The fill can be used to develop a recreational 
resource. One example is Mt. Trashmore at Virginia 
Beach. It has 700,000 cubic yards of refuse in it 
already mixed with dirt obtained from an old fill 
made by the Corps of Engineers. As a result they 
have a mountain sixty-five feet high where the 
highest elevation above sea level is about twelve 
feet. This makes quite an impressive mound. They 
are building on it a soapbox derby run. Also it 
overlooks a pond where people can fish, and an 
adjacent picnic area. I think it would be a good 
place to fly a kite because rising up as high as it 
does the wind comes up the face of it and makes your 
hair stand on end. Michigan, and Oregon, and 
Illinois are also building recreational mounds from 


MoGauheyt A few moments ago I spoke of one oonoept of 
solid waste as that of resource materials which 
might be recycled. Although the true believer 
often applies this oonoept to the entire waste 
mass, recycling is one method of reducing the 
total amount which must go upon the land, while 
at the same time conserving certain non-renewable 
resources. In the household waste stream packaging 
wastes and paper are the predominant components. 

Packaging and Recycling 

MoGauhey: What some of us are advocating as a result of our 
research and our thinking about the solid waste 
problem is that industry, particularly the packaging 
industry, should embrace the notion that one of the 
objectives of design of a package or of any kind of 
packaging material Is its degradabllity. At least 
one of the things that a designer will have to bear 
In mind is where is this thing going to come to 
rest in the environment after people no longer want 

It Isn't realistic simply to say, "Let's don't 
exploit the resources," because our whole economy 
depends on exploitation of resources. Nevertheless 
in the case of a good many materials, we can't keep 
throwing away the residues and not end up with most 
of our resources in the Junk heap. 

I have what I call the tidal theory of resources. 
We have resources here In a stockpile, and we exploit 
them and throw them over there in a refuse pile. 
Eventually we have to take the refuse pile apart 
and move resources back the other way. There is 
some loss In the process, so we have a pendulum 
action In which our resources get smaller and smaller. 

Chall: Do you think that it's possible to halt In some way 
this Is all a matter of public policy however the 
use of the basic original resource first? That is, 
what if you didn't have bottles that were non-returnable? 


Chall: If a law were passed to make this impossible, or 
impracticable, then you would probably be reusing 
your bottles. 

McGauhey: I think if you passed a law saying that bottles 
have to be returnable, you would see some new 
faces in the law-making bodies pretty soon, and 
they'd pass another law. [Laughter] That is, even 
the legislators can't run against the tide of a 
civilization or a culture, if you want to call it 
that. And you couldn't get one of them right now 
to talk about making the householder separate refuse 
into its components. 

There are problems with the returnable bottle. 
If you say let's make people return them, some 
things become evident. First, there's always a 
tremendous stockpile of them in the system. Take 
Coca-Cola, for example, with returnables right In 
this area. I think they have to have more than 
ten thousand bottles before they get one back, Just 
in this one little distribution area. Until every 
body's garage is full of Coca-Cola bottles they 
don't start coming back. And then they're heavy. 
Going from non-returnable to returnable bottles 
involves passing back to the retailer the costly 
task of dealing with them. The entire system seeks 
to pass the buck to the retailer for handling these 
things, and he doesn't want to fool with them. And, 
at the present state of affluence, a lot of people 
Just won't take bottles back, at any price. 

And there's another factor. Some bottles 
especially those used for alcoholic beverages are 
not coming back even if they were returnable because 
the law against having an open bottle of spirits 
in your car is a great deal more ferocious than the 
law against littering. So whether one would rather 
take the risk of having a bottle of wine in his 
oar or pour it all down and throw the bottle out 
real quick you know what's going to happen. No 
matter what the reward for return is. So you've 
got a lot of bottles that end up as litter. This is 
not perhaps the biggest concern. If the law permitted 
re-use of liquor bottles I shudder to think of the 
material that would be purveyed as I.W. Harper. 


McGauhey: By the way, we are talking about twenty-nine 

billion glass containers in the U.S. this year, and 
forty billion other containers other than glass. 
So we are talking of a vast amount of waste which 
comes from earth materials that are by no means in 
short supply. Thus the rationale for the returnable 
bottle is based on reducing the volume of refuse 
rather than on any resource conservation need. 

What I think we need to do is to say maybe it 
isn't necessary to make the container of glass; 
make it of some other material. Or if you make it 
of glass, make it of glass that can be recycled as 
a resource material, not as a bottle. Instead of 
saying let us take it back and we'll use It again 
as a bottle, let's be a little more sophisticated 
and break it all up into sand and use it for ballast 
on the highways or aggregate of concrete or making 
glass wallboard. You can't make glass wallboard 
out of colored glass readily because of a problem 
of lubricating the dyes, but if one designed the 
glass if it's Just for ordinary purposes so that 
it could be used for some of these other things, 
then I think recycle through re-processing rather 
than recycling directly is where we will go. 

And it might be well to say that you can't 
make certain kinds of containers. It isn't 
necessary, really, to have so many seventy, eighty, 
ninety alloys of aluminum In order to use aluminum. 
And it isn't necessary to have so-called tin cans 
the iron cans made by four different alloys Just 
because it's made by a different manufacturer. 

So one thing society could do, or that the 
whole technology could do, is to give some thought 
to what is to be the end of this particular item. 
Simply to require that we Just use an item over 
again, until it's worn out, is a naive and simplistic 
remedy for a dimly understood problem. 

Chall: I see which is what the recycling people are now 

MoGauheyi That's the simplistic one. I don't think we'll go 
back to it on bottles. We're not going back to 
bottles on milk; I don't think we ever will. In fact 


McGauhey: I doubt that man ever goes back to anything 

effectively. He does go forward though, and I 
think we are going to have to go forward in solid 
waste management. Containers now are often a 
combination of paper and plastic that's laminated, 
and you can't reclaim the paper because of the 
plastic laminates. It isn't physically impossible, 
but it would be economically catastrophic to try 
to go to that waste that much of our wealth on 
trying to unravel some of those little bits of 

Chall: A milk carton can be burned. 

MoGauhey: Yes, you can burn a milk carton. You can burn them 
in a high-temperature furnace. You can't burn them 
in your fireplaces anymore, because they're made of 
plastic. They used to be parafln and were good for 
starting a fire. Now they won't burn readily because 
they've got plastic on the outside. They're laminated 
plastic, you see. You can burn them in an incinerator- 
that kind of plastic will burn. There are some 
plastics, the ones with chlorine in them the polyvlnyl 
ohorldes, like the pvo pipe and those things, which 
burn only at a high temperature. The chlorine then 
comes out as hydrochloric acid. Then we have a 
problem of keeping the chimney from falling down as 
well as the gas attacking the neighbors, and so forth. 
So there's not a very simple answer there, but we 
might make a plastic that could be burned. All this 
is part of the design, I think, so that more material 
is going around the cycle, albeit only maybe two or 
three times. 

Newspaper, for example. If we pulp newspaper, 
about the third to tenth time you pulp it, the 
fibers begin to get broken up, and by and by we have 
Just a soup, like a slurry of clay, so finely divided 
that it won't hold together as paper anymore. Part 
of this can be used in a new stock, but it isn't 
that we can Just take it round and round forever. 
Eventually it wears out. But three or four passes 
before It wears out would reduce the solid waste load 
to be managed. 

What they have made from all the wonderful paper 
generated in the Pentagon is these paper egg orates. 


McGauhey: You don't get to read all the secrets that the 

Russians already know, unless you can see through 
those egg orates. 

Challi Is it Just In the East they make the egg orates 
from Pentagon paper? 

MoGauhey: No, they're doing it a good many places, but you 
can take the egg orate and pulp it up and make 
another egg orate from it. But by and by it becomes 
difficult to do much with it because it's such a 
soup. That's not true of this brown paper, Kraft 
paper. You can keep recycling these old cardboard 
boxes with a little more Kraft material. 

Of course everybody is excited about recycling 
and as many of these environmental ideas come along 
they get carried away with simplistic and naive 
concepts, either for forbidding somebody to use 
something, or to pick it up and use it in too simple 
a manner. What I am saying is that recycling 
of solid wastes will have to be done and will be 
done eventually as an industrial-type undertaking 
and will probably have to be subsidized, partly by 
the public because there isn't enough material in 
there the value of the material isn't enough to 
pay for its reclamation. But it will be cheaper 
than doing what we are doing with it and in the long 
run, a better use of resources. 

Chall: The recycling that was begun by volunteer groups who 
agreed to take the tin cans and all of that has this 
pushed industry in any way to reuse material that 
they wouldn't have done otherwise? 

MoGauhey: Oh, no, it has done this: It has given people who 
were extremely interested in environment something 
to do that gave them a sense of achievement. It 
is not particularly different than the World War I 
routine, which I perhaps told you about, where they 
had a barrel of buttons which they took to the 
basement of the church and they had the ladies 
gather and they persuaded them that success in 
sorting out all these sizes and shapes and cards of 
buttons was what the war depended upon. So the ladles 
would gather at tables and sort out the buttons. At 
the end of the week the army would mix them all back 
together again and they'd start over the next week! 

Chall : 



Chall : 

[Laughing] Are you saying that all the work I do 
in flattening out my cat's and dog's tin cans 
every day is a useless effort? 

Not necessarily, 
part i ci pat ion. 

It gives you some sense of 
But it isn't helping? 

It helps in the fact that it reduces the volume in 
your garbage can, but that's about all. 

To get back to your original question, the first 
thing that happened was that it was possible to get 
quite a lot of publicity and good public relations 
out of accepting cans. It also meant you had children 
and housewives and everybody working for nothing. 
This is a good enough deal as long as you can get 
work done for nothing. But the attention span being 
what it is, it is not going to continue forever or 
at least they'll get smart enough to say, "We're not 
going to do this Job for you for nothing! H By that 
time the company will have achieved, through its 
advertising, enough publicity and good will for being 
good Joes that things cool off. You don't pay too 
much attention to it. 

But what happened to those who really knocked 
themselves out to try to do it? Well, they set up 
bins for collecting cans and within a very few weeks 
they Just become receptacles for the swinish part of 
the community who Just throw anything in them. They 
throw garbage and old newspapers or any kind of thing 
in it grass clippings, rubbish, all sorts of things. 
So the poor ecology groups had to go out of business 
when they couldn't sort out this stuff. The same 
things happened on the big boxes that they put in 
the supermarkets. They said, "Well, we'll put a box 
here and you can throw bottles and cans in." Very 
soon it was Just a receptacle for all kinds of 

That's Interesting, because in South County area 
where we live it was very well organized and nothing 
goes into the barrels in the wrong way and volunteers 
are there full-time. I don't think they've had this 
kind of thing happen. 

MoGauhey: Well, the Boys Scouts In Kensington collected 

newspapers for years, till all this came along, 
and they began to catch the same kind of rubbish. 
Now the newspaper drive ended up by filling all 
the warehouses from Los Angeles to San Francisco 
with paper. Well, they've got no place to store It 
any more. It starts out with a simplistic approach 
and it takes quite a long time for industry, for 
the whole equilibrium, to readjust. 

Challi But will paper be recycled by industry? 

MoGauhey: Yes, but that isn't the motivating factor. Twenty- 
one percent of it has been recycled right along. 
The motivating factor is economics. If we went up 
to ^5 percent recovery of newsprint, this would be 
the equivalent of ninety million acres of forestland. 

Now this sounds like something very urgent and 
would save a lot of forest if we were to do this. 
Well, much of this land Is trees that are planted 
and grown Just like cornfields and it is quite as 
easy to keep cropping that indefinitely as it is to 
sort out paper. So you are not really saving a 
resource, as a matter of fact you might be destroying 
a resource because if the big paper companies quit 
planting the land, who takes charge of it and 
maintains it, and for what purpose and for whom? 
The ramifications of the thing are complex. The 
packaging people will tell you have told me "Don't 
get too excited about building a big, expensive 
system for reclaiming metal cans or aluminum cans 
because probably within a year we will be able to 
put beer in aluminum headed cans with a combination 
of plastic and paper like we put frozen orange Juice 
in. So the technology of packaging is not frozen 

In an article In Waste Age which I have written 
which will come out soon, I postulate that it is 
absurd to think that the ingenuity of American 
industry is so lacking that It can't use a bottle 
with an aluminum ring around its neck. Before this 
was ready for publication, before it is published, 
one of the companies, Sohweppes, has come out with 
a aluminum twist top that cracks the ring and it 
comes off In one piece. I brought a sample of it 

MoGauhey: with me, I have it out at the house. You see, we 
can't reclaim them because of the aluminum in the 
middle of the glass. Well I have faith enough in 
American industry to think they can lick that one. 
If you can make a bottle you can take that off. 
Already it has been done without having the ring 
stay on the bottle. 

So that to avoid getting Involved in simplistic 
things and naive approaches is something that all 
of us want to do. We don't want to be suckers 
nobody does. But on the other hand, the fact of 
participation, if a lot of people are doing it, may 
inspire a whole lot of changes to come along a 
little faster. We've got a society in which a great 
number of people have no sense of participation. 
This is one of the problems of youth. There is 
nothing to do that seems to have any meaning. Stay 
off the labor market, stay on the streets, stay out 
of the way, stay out of trouble and stay out of 
everything, you know? They get, understandably, 
restless and with energy to burn; if you can pick 
up cans and feel that you are doing something useful, 
that you are doing something that society wants done, 
then good I 

I have an article coming in Waste Age also on 
since I have to write for it every month under 
pressure, under duress [chuckles] in which I 
postulate that the way to solve the problem of 
collection is to applaud people for being refuse 
collectors. If we have them doing things society 
doesn't think worth doing and, if we associate human 
worth on the same scale that we measure the value 
of refuse, we are not going to get many people 
volunteering to take that kind of Job. 

Furthermore, I predict that in the short run 
at least, we are not going to be able to solve this 
aspect of the solid waste problem by any sophisticated 
equipment. Equipment may take part of the physical 
load off people but in refuse collection we may be 
up against something we have not accepted previously 
in our society. This is that we may have to pay a 
man a living wage, whatever that means, for the 
amount of production he can do with his hands. You 
see, in industry, his pay is Justified on the 

McGauhey: production he oan achieve with all kinds of equip 
ment. But when It comes to collecting refuse there 
Is no mechanical system that as yet they have found 
which Is going to work. We may Just socially have to 
accept the fact that If this man does all he oan by 
hand produce all he can do by hand he may well 
have to be paid for that, even though It represents 
a high cost per unit of product. 

Ghall: That's the ordinary garbage man you are talking about? 

MoGauhey: Yes, what they call the tipper. The one who picks 
up the can. In the trade they call him the tipper. 
Generally, the pay scale traditionally In labor 
are related In some fashion to the productivity of 
the Individual and productivity Is Increased by 
reducing the number of people and putting In 
machinery, the number of horsepower each man Is 
manipulating. But when you are collecting a whole 
lot of miscellaneous things at an Infinite number of 
points In the community, I don't foresee any great 
monster that will come down the street and seize a 
oan without a man who sets It out there and runs to 
get out of the way! [Laughs] 

But back to the question, I don't think that 
we are going to sort out refuse by hand in any 
home with but few exceptions possibly newspapers 
and maybe glass bottles. Generally it is going to 
have to be picked up mixed because it is going to 
have to be hauled as a mixture. I think we will 
set up an industrial-type operation to take refuse 
apart again, remove whatever we want and recycle It. 
What we don't want to remove at any point in time 
will be the material we don't know what to do with 
at that point in time. Therefore In many communities 
this residue will very likely have to go into a 

Ghall: Then the waste disposal activity could very well be 
another municipal activity or community activity 
like waste water or the reclamation of sewage? 

MoGauhey: I don't think it will be. When we go to reclamation 
I think then is when private industry comes in. 
The city will do the collecting, undoubtedly, and 
the transferring and delivering it to industry. It 
will probably have to pay industry for some appreciable 


McGauhey: time to take refuse, and it may well have to be the 
one to pick up the residue again and haul it to the 
fill. The municipality will have to decide where 
in this community can we put a fill, and very likely 
operate the fill. But the stripping off or pulling 
out of the stream that material which is to be 
recycled, I think is most certainly to be a private 
industrial operation, albeit under contract with 
the city and under appropriate terms so that it can 
be done at a profit Just like any other utility. 
You see, our waste water treatment utility some of 
them are private, some of them are public. The East 
Bay Municipal Utility District is a private utility 
but of course it can only do what the utilities 
commission will let it do in terms of rates and 

Chall: Oh, I thought it was a public utility. 

McGauhey: It is a private utility under public control Just as 
the telephone company is really a private utility 
but its rates are established by public control. 

Chall: So you think that is the way it will go. 

MoGauhey: I think so because no city charter permits a city 
to go into a commercial business or mercantile 
business. It can't manufacture products for sale. 
That doesn't mean the charters can't be changed if 
this is the way society wants to go. But it means 
changing them is a stumbling block and marketing 
is pretty hard to set up in a community. The 
companies who know paper markets and glass markets, 
the markets for metals and this kind of thing it 
used to be called the Junk business now it Is the 
reclamation business these people know markets and 
are sharp traders and are the kind of people who 
could do it. I think they are the ones who properly 
should do it because it would be pretty hard to have 
a civil service alert enough to market, to figure 
out when and how to sell waste paper, aluminum and 
all those kinds of things. 


A Look at the Future 

Chall: Does your positive attitude toward life give you 
a feeling that some of these problems will be 
solved before it's too late? 

McGauhey: I have no fear that solid wastes are going to 
overwhelm man. He may Impoverish his life by 
piling them in the wrong place. He may get so 
many people that it's inconvenient to get around, 
and therefore there's less room for the results of 
his activities. But I don't think he's going to 
make the environment so unllvable that either by a 
catastrophic event on himself or by inadvertently 
disrupting all of the eoo-system he's going to 

I would expect that eventually the part of 
the earth that we are populating now will be 
populated by people that are considerably less 
affluent than we are. The next civilization that 
occupies this part of the earth, may be living 
farther back toward the beginning than we are, but 
I think this environmental problem is a problem of 
cities rather than of the whole environment. And 
of course cities is where people are and their 
problems can't be totally resolved inside the limit 
of cities. Just overload the environment with people 
and you're going to overload it with the results of 
their activities too. 

But I think it's something we've got to be 
about, because cities are filling up with people 
that have nothing to do in the city, and filling 
up with so many layers of people that there isn't 
standing room, so life is further impoverished, and 
the problem of hauling the residues Just logistically 
moving them around in the community is an unsatis 
factorily solved one. 

Chall: There's such a time-lag. At the time you began to 
study solid waste it was an obvious problem, or 
you wouldn't have been granted the money, but it's 
more obvious today, and still the cities are 
struggling to come up with some not answers, there 
are probably none but... 


McGauhey: Resolution. 

Chall: Yes, a certain resolution to get something done. 

MoGauhey: And a realization of what it's going to cost to 

do it. And a real attack by technology. In solid 
wastes we have never really asked technology to do 
more than three simple things: pick it up, haul 
it that is, transport it somewhere and unload it. 

Chall z And that's not hard. 

McGauhey: That's all we've asked technology to do, although 

we invented more sophisticated equipment for picking 
it up, but we've never said to technology, "Our 
objective is to have this material recycled as a 
resource material and we're going to insist that 
this be done to the extent that it is at all 
feasible. Find out what we can do. M 

And yet in other cases we have said to technology, 
"Find out a way that you can make a motor with X 
number of horsepower per pound so that we can get it 
off the ground and fly a plane." You see, we're 
Just really in a very primitive condition in solid 
waste. We've always picked It up and we've hauled 
It somewhere, and unloaded it. Now we've decided 
that nowhere in our environment are we willing for 
it to be unloaded. We don't like all the traffic 
of hauling it. 

But, given enough pressure from the citizenry, 
and from our own aesthetic sense, we can come up 
with money and men. With money we can hire men and 
can also buy trucks. We can load refuse onto a truck. 
We can find some time of the day when we can work 
our way through the streets and haul it somewhere, 
even though it's awkward, and generally unsatisfactory. 
But now, where do we unload it? Nowhere in the 
community will they let you unload it. It used to 
be we went outside the community to unload it. But 
now out there is another community and it won't let 
us unload our trucks in its Jurisdiction. So we 
are only Just at the point where we are going to have 
to ask technology to make some relatively sophisticated 

Chall : 


Chall : 


Who asks these questions of technology today? Or 
does it Just suddenly occur that it's got to be 

I would say that our Laboratory has asked it as 
many times as anybody in the world, in literature 
at least. We have posed these questions. But the 
people that are asking It largely today are, I 
think, the Bureau of Solid Waste Management in the 
government. They're beginning to say, and Ive 
been saying, "Let us put up some money for demonstra 
tion grants to try to solve the waste management 
and recycling problem." 

Unfortunately it hasn't been working very well, 
not because of any fault of the government, but 
because the demonstration grant is looked upon 
largely by the city as a way to get some money from 
the government to build something conventional. So 
if we get the money to do here something that's 
unsatisfactory everywhere else, we Just end up with 
another unsatisfactory solution. 

I have long been saying to the Bureau of Solid 
Waste Management, "What you should do is to set up 
a demonstration plant in some real situation in 
which the endpolnt is not a piece of hardware that 
some individual city can use to deal with waste, but 
is, instead, designed to establish engineering 
parameters and economic parameters. With such 
parameters engineers can then design with confidence 
a waste management suited to the needs of any 
particular city. In addition, you should work with 
industry that produces the hardware so that they 
can say, with confidence, what the necessary hardware 
will cost." 

And where would something like this be built? 
you do It on a small scale? 


No, it would have to be done on a full-scale, I 
would think probably at least 100 ton per day 
capacity plant; possibly 50 tons, but a big scale 
unit. To get at the economics, we're probably going 
to need 100 or 200 tons per day plant. But when 
they have found out all those things the demonstration 
plant is capable of revealing, the installation doesn't 

McGauhey: become a unit that the city takes over and operates. 
It becomes a facility, Just like any other research 
facility, which is redeveloped and put to work on 
some other experiment. 

Ghall: So something like that could even be built out here? 

McGauhey: That is true. It would be a demonstration facility 
rather than a production unit. It would, however, 
be more likely built in a big city where it could 
be adjacent to a sewage treatment plant, or in an 
industrial section, or something of that sort, and 
where the city itself would participate in the study. 
But what the city would get out of it through 
participation would be know-how on the part of its 
engineers, plus proper financial compensation for 
its participation in the demonstration. 

Chall: We haven't much experimentation like that yet? 

McGauhey: Not on any big scale. There have been efforts to 

get at this with recycling, but the plant operators 
have Just got poorer and poorer and are finally 
closing down for lack of economic feasibility of 
the project. They don't come up with any great 
resolution of the problem. 

Stating the Assumptions 

Chall: It seems that what you do first those of you who've 
made this experimentation on solid wastes it's 
mainly a thinking operation to begin with, and then 
you get a place where you need to go out and test. 

MoGauhey: One has to get some kind of a rationale that opens 
up possibilities for research or for study. As 
long as one believes that the earth is flat, and 
he's going to fall off the edge of it, there isn't 
much use going out there and taking a chance of 
falling off the edge. Before men could circumnavigate 
the world, they first had to develop a rationale that 
the thing is round. The first step in launching a 
successful experiment is that of getting the mind 
open and the possibility open. 

MoGauhey: Question the assumptions. If ire start with 
the assumption that there's no place in the world 
where we can put solid wastes we can't put it in 
the land, we can't put it in the Bay, we can't burn 
it in the air if we start with that assumption, 
it isn't a very big problem to figure out what lies 
ahead. But if we start with the assumption that 
we're going to kep exploit ing resources, we have 
to maintain our standard of living, we have to look 
to the future of these resources then in a little 
longer time, are we going to have to become 
imperialistic and go and take resources away from 
somebody else when ours are short, or are we going 
to begin to recycle our own resource materials. 

Chall: I should think that with this multi-discipline 

approach you might find that you don't all agree 
on some of the assumptions. 

MoGauhey: The first point where the disagreement comes quickly 
is between those who deal with people and those who 
deal with mathematics, as I mentioned the other day. 
You can set up a system where you should most 
advantageously put X number of transfer stations 
and route your collection trucks. This you can do 
without questioning anybody, other than about the 
physical geography of the area. But, when you come 
up against the hard-nosed fact that people won't 
let you put a facility there you want five transfer 
stations and you can only find one place people will 
let you build, then is where one researcher's 
knowledge of people keeps another member of the 
research team from building up a big network of 
dreams that can't possibly come true. 

Chall: This is a good reason for your approach because he 
could really be way off on the wrong track. 

McGauhey: Yes. I have a saying reversing an old adage, 

maybe I mentioned it the other day that anything 
not worth doing is not worth doing well. [Laughter] 
Some research gets us into that situation. If it's 
infeasible in this century or in this particular 
cultural climate, then maybe it isn't the thing that 
we ought really to be putting our energy into first. 
It may not be the critical point in environmental 
management. There are probably better ways to spend X 


MoGauhey: number of dollars and X number of man-years of 

energy in attempts to resolve these environmental 

Economic Evaluation of Water 

McGauhey: Another field in which we built up a reputation so 
big we couldn't keep it, because we couldn't get 
enough money to support us, was this matter of water 
economics, and particularly the application of the 
input-output methodology. [Laughter] That project 
area produced four PhDs, two of them in water 
resources, two in economics, and a master's degree 
in public administration. We got a lot of mileage 
out of that project, and we generated a national 
reputation in it. The research participants are 
now out working elsewhere, but at least, it is an 
area in which this Laboratory pioneered in the 

Ghall: What were you indicating in this study? 

MoGauhey An approach to an evaluation of both water quality 
and of the water resource management. That is, 
management of quality and of quantity on a regional 

Chall: Did you come out with results in terms of how much 
water can be taken from one end of California to 
the other, and from the Colorado River and where it 
can best be used? 

McGauhey: We came out with a model that could show the economic 
effect, in a whole region, of dedicating any given 
amount of a scarce water supply to any of the major 
areas that are used In calculating our gross national 
product. It can tell you when you begin putting In 
more money than you're getting out, and what would 
be the economic effect of dedicating any given amount 
of water to any set of uses. We constructed a model 
for the eleven western states, although it still 
needs some refinement. 

We also made one study in which we determined, 
by setting up a mathematical model using the Bay here 


McGauhey: as an example, what would be the minimum cost of 
achieving any particular water quality that might 
be specified in the Bay. What would be the 
distribution of the cost? It turned out that, if 
least cost to the whole system was the objective, 
one little industry shouldn't have to treat its 
waste at all, and another one might have to treat 
it to a much higher degree, but the combination 
of the total cost the overall cost of doing it 
is quite different than making everybody do the 
same thing the popular national way of pollution 
control. For example, if reducing phenol discharge 
by 99 percent is the objective of control of phenol 
pollution, requiring everyone who discharges phenol 
to make a 99 percent reduction isn't the cheapest 
way to do it. It would take a different political 
organization of course to get the cost properly 
adjudicated but these are the kinds of things that 
our models lead to. There's still obviously work 
to be done in those areas. 

Challt Who's taking over? 

MoGauhey: In the area of the systems, our Operations Research 
Center, Dr. [Charles Roger] Glassey, I think very 
likely. He is the man in the Operations Research 
Center who is most interested in It. He worked on 
the multi-disciplinary solid wastes study as the 
systems man, and he is very interested in continuing 
in applying systems engineering to water quality. 
But as to the economic end of the thing, there are 
various other agencies and universities working on 
it now, and we are not. 

Chall: What becomes of this kind of study, which points 
out even though you say it may be primitive in 
some stages a problem that's got political 
implications? What happens to a report of this kind? 

McGauhey i The reports are fairly widely distributed. We see 
that they get into the hands of the legislators 
that are interested. But the effect will be felt 
only in the long term, and I think the long-term 
effect will be a much more sophisticated basis for 
making decisions. That is, in the end, decisions 
about what to do with resources are political. But 
with the kind of tools which research can provide 


McGauhey: we can test very quickly on a computer the probable 
consequences of any one of a number of different 
political decisions, and so come up with a better 
basis for political decision than existed before. 
And also, with a basis for new legislation that 
makes management possible, 

Chall: The output depends so much on who's setting up the 
input. Does this have to become, in a multi- 
discipline approach, something that you can all 
agree on? 

McGauhey: No. We have to agree on the objectives that our 
program is going to try to achieve, and, when 
reports are made, review the progress of the whole 
group of disciplines toward those objectives. We 
have to do some interpretation. We may find that 
one discipline hasn't gained much, because the kind 
of problems that it has to deal with are long-term 
in nature. Another may have produced a whole lot. 
But nevertheless, we can still interpret the best 
information we have at the time of decision. We can 
then suggest: "Here's what you ought to do. H 

Value Judgments Other than Dollars 

Chall: In terms of the use of water: you mentioned that 
the input had dealt with all the aspects that go 
into the gross national product. Does recreation, 
as such, and open space, go into the gross national 

McGauhey: No, but it goes into our model in two fashions: One 
way that it can go in is by an arbitrary evaluation, 
but the other is by a system of evaluation better 
than dollars. This one is as yet quite primitive. 
So we need an evaluation system for the environment 
that Isn't strictly cost-benefit in terms of dollars 
of investment versus dollars of profit resulting 
from that investment. 

This is one of the areas of research that has 
been opened up, and we've attempted to put it in the 
model as qualitative factors, and this is what sends 
the mathematicians reeling. In this field of sanitary 


McGauhey: engineering, and In agricultural economics, 

particularly, we have both quantitative Inputs 
and qualitative Inputs. 

And when you start linear programming 
mathematically on non-linear systems to begin 
with, and have to put In some qualitative value 
Judgments, then the hard-core mathematicians who 
like to deal with quantitlve material don't want 
much to do with It. But nevertheless, a good deal 
of progress Is being made, particularly In agricul 
tural economics, with this kind of thing, where a 
value Judgment is made and put into the model 
albeit recorded, so that the next chap who thinks 
he has better value Judgment can put in his value 
Judgment and run it out on the machine, too. 

There is no way, unfortunately, yet, to say 
what is the value, compared to dollars, of having 
a man be able to see a long distance Instead of a 
short distance, or of being able to contemplate 
the forests or the ocean how many more dollars we'd 
have to spend keeping him in a nut-house if we 
didn't have these things is Just unknown. 

But I don't think we have to get at it that 
way. I think we can get at it the other way 
around, by saying that here is the kind of environ 
ment we want. Technology, we ask of you to provide 
that, or at least to show us that it's going to 
cost so much that we're unwilling to provide It. 
Bring the findings back to us for a decision whether 
we can afford it or not. 

We have never asked technology to do that in 
years past. We've asked them to do simple things: 
figure out ways to separate this ore from that one, 
and do it economically; or a cheaper way to do It, 
and so on. But we haven't asked them to figure out 
a way to do that, and at the same time maintain 
certain environmental objectives. This Is what we're 
beginning to ask now. And if we start from that 
point of view, then technology and research can 
continuously feed back either the systems to do it 
with or, at this point in time, an estimate of the 
money that it's going to take to do it. Then if 
the public says, "We're Just not going to put that 

McGauhey: much money In It, because we have other things 

more urgent," at least the decision is back on the 
public, rather than letting him become the victim 
of his own request of technology. 

This is where the whole picture has to change 
in our research as related to environment, and 
why we need a value scale other than dollars. But 
even putting it in dollars, we can set the values 
that we want first and cut them into slices 
according to level of environmental quality achieved, 

By the way, Prank Stead and I did this once, 
and published an article that got us quite a lot 
of mileage.* It was our first attempt to establish 
different levels of environmental quality for land, 
and for water, and for air pollution, and to say 
what the effects are on man of having this or that 
level of reaction whether an aesthetic effect, 
total enjoyment, or general feeling of depression, 
or the actuality of disease. We arbitrarily 
established the various levels and then estimated 
what it would cost to achieve that level. We got 
a pretty good response from that article and It has 
generated, I think, a considerable Interest around 
the United States. At least it caused people to 
think about reasons why we might be naive and 
thereby we caused them to think about the problem 
a littler harder! [Laughter] 

Chall: It's certainly one of the great problems facing us 

MoGauhey: This, I think, is the real challenge, and where I 
think this Laboratory will head in its research 
projects. It's already doing that in Its new work 
on toxlclty of wastes in water. 

*P.M. Stead and P.H. McGauhey, "Air, Water, Land, 
and People," Journal of Water Pollution Control 
Federation, *K)-2, February, 1968, pp. 233-2*K). 


Chall: There Is a question about whether placing agriculture 
on the west side of the San Joaquin valley is a 
wise idea. It seems to be loaded with economic, 
political, and water quality problems. Could this 
the economic evaluation model be used to determine 
whether or not it's a good idea to put agriculture 
there? Is there some system for determining this? 

McGauhey: There's no system for doing it. The University's 
Water Resources Center has a very considerable 
project aimed at trying to answer some of those 
kinds of questions for that west side. But one 
has to assume a static future. It might well be 
that when we get the west side planted it will 
change the whole crop situation. 

I recall when they were building Bonneville Dam 
the opponents of it said, "Here we're going to 
produce a whole lot of power. The Northwest is a 
land of sheepherders , and they don't need all this 
kind of power. What In the world are we ever going 
to do with it? It's Just a big boondoggle and a 
waste of money." Well, perhaps by good fortune, or 
blundering along, the war came and here a whole 
aluminum Industry was invented and saved by the 
power that we had available. Now we're short of 

The same thing might be true of agriculture. 
Maybe we don't have to grow the things that are now 
profitable to agriculture. Maybe we don't have to 
grow cotton for the Surplus Commodities Corporation. 
Maybe that isn't what we should be doing with our 

So, while it may be strictly true, and I have 
no way of knowing, that this kind of sheer eventuality 
would occur, I'm quite certain that a new equilibrium 
would build up in which something different prevails. 
In the long run we're probably not going to have 
more cropland than we need. If we're going to take 
what we have and put it in cities, we're going to 
have to develop some more somewhere, maybe the west 
side is the place to do it. [Laughter] 

Chall: Those are important questions in terms of what 

we're going to do with our water and our land, and 


Chall: whether or not, at some time, we'll have to look 
at these farmers who are making so much at the 
public expense, and consider whether they have to 
pay a little more for this subsidized water that 
they're getting. 

McGauhey: I think that that has to come, yes. But to the 
researcher it's a great challenge, and to the 
researcher in the field of sanitary engineering, 
it imposes the necessity for teaming up with 
economists, and agriculturists, and others involved 
to do research that is going to be interpretable. 

Chall: And have meaning for man. 
McGauhey: Yes. 

Developing the Criteria 

Chall: How did you get into this economic study of water? 

McGauhey: Several years ago there was a conference on Man in 
California in the 1980s. It was held on the Davis 
campus, as I recall. But anyway the intent was that 
the conference would be a real blue-sky brains terming 
event. I turned up as a member of the program 
committee that was to figure out Just how blue the 
sky should be. One of the questions that came up 
was, why don't we have a paper on the economic value 
of water. What is water worth? Not Just, what can 
you sell it for, but what is water worth in a 
society or civilization that uses water? All of us 
thought this was a good idea and Prank M. Stead, 
of course, was one of those advocating the blue-sky 
concept. We all agreed that this would be a good 
paper if somebody would write it. So someone said, 
"Well, McGauhey, you write it." 

I agreed reluctantly that I would do it, under 
two conditions. One of them was that I would say 
whatever I darned please without trying to document 
it. The other was that other members of the committee 
would review it in advance and decide whether it 
was worth presenting, and make suggestions and 
corrections. So I wrote this paper and nobody changed 


McGauhey: it much. I presented it at the conference and it 
didn't change the course of history perceptively; 
but nevertheless it did come and go. Time passed 
and some money became available in the Water 
Resources Center and one of the subjects that was 
of most concern was this matter of how do you 
evaluate water economically? But who might do 
some research on it? Well, McGauhey is the only 
one who has written anything on it. So he is 
obviously the one who should do it. 

I now had funds available and I recruited Mr. 
Harry Erlich to lead the project. Harry Erlich was 
an excellent writer. He had been a newspaper 
reporter and at the time was working for his degree 
in public administration. He also had a degree in 
economics, as I recall, and Harry and I went to 
work on this. He was extremely good at finding 
material in the library and learning what was going 
on, and he amassed a tremendous amount of Information. 
We came up with a report on the "Economic Evaluation 
of Water," Part I, "A Search for Criteria" on the 
rationale that if there was some unallocated water 
that was available and was to be allocated, how 
would one decide into what beneficial uses it should 
be directed or what combination of beneficial uses 
should receive it?* How do you make that decision? 

We came up, after studying the things that 
had been written on the subject, with the idea that 
an appropriate criterion would be to divide the 
water between the various competing beneficial uses 
in such a way that it would generate a maximum or 
optimum growth of the economy. That seemed sensible. 
But after it was all written and published and we 
were no longer considered heretics, it became 
obvious to everyone that we had sort of documented 
the obvious. 

Initially, though, our report had a considerable 
impact. Some people thought we were saying that 
agriculture shouldn't have water. In fact, it said 

*P.H. McGauhey and Harry Erlich, "Economic Evaluation 
of Water," Part I, "A Search for Criteria," Water 
Resources Center, University of California, December 



MoGauhey: In the newspaper one time, on the back page albeit, 
that McGauhey says that California can't have both 
agriculture and industry. Someone called me up 
to see what I thought about this article. I said 
it was totally irrelevant; don't even bother to 
think about it. But if it caused any great problem 
anywhere in the University or in the state I presumed 
that I would hear about it. If it didn't there was 
no use to poke at it, because to try to correct what 
it was you'd said wouldn't be news. If it got in 
the paper it would be on the back page and nobody 
would read it anyway, so forget it. I didn't get 
alarmed about this kind of baloney. 

But the concept was soon well accepted and 
the rationale of our group was that if we accept 
this criteria and say, "Now we shall divide water 
on that kind of a basis," what kind of Jurisdiotional 
arrangement will it take to do this? So Harry Erlich 
and I started with the idea that a democratic society 
could certainly find some way to change the regula 
tions and laws if they prevented society from doing 
what it wanted to do. What kind of a Jurisdiction: 
should it be a public Jurisdiction, what should be 
its objective? We intended to make a book of Volume 
II but it got so far out of scale. In fact, Harry 
Erlich Just got so much material together that it 
finally overwhelmed him. He decided to leave before 
he would get it totally written and I had to finish 
it. But it had the makings of a good book, I think, 
at the time. 

We took three particular cases. One in which 
water was taken by a highly developed economic 
community, from an area in the Owens Valley that 
had not yet developed economically. Here we wanted 
to see what effect this had on the economy of the 
undeveloped region. Our second case was that of 
the East Bay Municipal Utility District, where we 
had a highly organized, well-organized, well-run 
utility but having a relatively limited objective 
in water resource development. That is, it 
couldn't bring in water for irrigation. Under its 
charter of getting water for the community, it had 
a constrained objective. We took as our third case 
the city of Stockton where an attempt was made 
before there was economic strength in the community 


McGauhey: to do what ultimately made sense and what was 

ultimately done. It was seen and planned fifty 
years before there was enough economic base in 
the community to handle a multi-purpose water 

On the basis of our three case studies we 
decided that to apply our criterion we had to have 
a broader type of Jurisdiction, which certainly 
could be set up by government, to provide a basis 
for policy by which our criterion could be applied. 
At this point we had about reached the end of the 
road of public policy considerations as far as our 
study was concerned. But that was not the end. 

People who were interested now said, "Very 
well, we buy your criterion. We accept the fact 
that we could set up a Jurisdiction to carry out 
the criterion. But, how do we decide what is the 
optimum economic good? At this point it was 
necessary to turn to systems analysis and computer 
technology, about which I made no pretense of 
knowing anything, but I couldn't back out. I had 
to go forward with further work in the area, but I 
needed some help. I felt reasonably comfortable 
in searching for criteria and exploring public 
policy, but this kind of thing was something else. 
Fortunately, I got E.M. Lofting and later Craig 
Davis. Craig was working for his doctorate in 
economics. Lofting, who had some ten years of 
experience in the industrial world, was also 
working for a doctorate in economics, but after 
working on my project for awhile, and before he had 
finished the work in economics, he decided that he 
wanted to get into the water resources, so he 
transferred to water resources and got his doctorate 
in that area. But he was a good and experienced 
economist, and both men knew how to deal with the 
computer. We hired a programmer. 

So we made the third volume, Part III, of our 
report, and went on to Part IV, and various other 
parts, which dealt with how one might go about 
dividing water among its many users, so that it 
would achieve an optimum growth of the economy. 


McGauhey: This launched us then into an area of input- 
output studies, the interrelationships of water 
and economics and the economic growth of the 
community. Many agencies became interested and 
we got money from other sources to supplement our 
studies and so continued until Lofting, and a 
group around him, had developed a considerable 
reputation in this field. At that point we neared 
the time when I was proposing to retire and we Just 
didn't have anyone in SEHL or in engineering with 
sufficient interest in this kind of area to carry 
it on. The young men working on the project were 
eager to get into positions where their futures 
were assured, rather than working here in the 
Laboratory forever, on uncertain support. So Dr. 
Davis went to the University of British Columbia, 
and Dr. Lofting went with the Corps of Engineers in 
San Francisco, and later to the U.C. Radiation 

This is the story of my entrapment and my 
exciting years in study of the economic evaluation 
of water. We did get a lot of mileage out of this 
study. Unfortunately Volume II is no longer in 
print. We have loan copies here at SERL. With a 
bit more time it might have sold well in book form. 

Water Quality 

McGauhey: We worked at the time I have noted on the method of 
input-output analysis as a device for policy 
decisions. That objective was furthered in two 
ways part of it as a supplement to the Water 
Resources Center, and some as additional funds from 
the Corps of Engineers, from the State of California 
Water Resources Planning group, and from the 
Department of Agriculture. We had five small grants 
to extend the scope of the mathematical model that 
had been made, to include material areas in which 
they were particularly interested. So there are 
some other reports on these phases sponsored by 
groups which had an interest in both water resources 
and water quality. On the economic evaluation of 
water quality, we were originally supported by the 


McGauhey: Public Health Service, which finally became what 
Is now the EPA. This project was started by a 
young man named Richard Prank el, who got his 
doctorate here and who is now out at the SEATO 
Graduate School at the moment, but who has been 
with Resources for the Future in the interval. 

Prankel began his study under Professor Orlob, 
who left us and went to consulting engineering, 
but who is now back quarter-time, I believe, on 
our Davis campus as a professor. Orlob and I 
teamed up on the Prankel project, with Orlob being 
the one interested in the systems end. Prankel 
got some support from Resources for the Puture-- 
$5000 which helped him get started and. it looked 
like he was going well on a thesis. So to keep 
him alive, I applied for funds from the then Public 
Health Service. We got a three year grant. When 
Prankel finished his thesis and left here, I had 
two more years to go and I didn't know exactly what 
to do about it! I have a talent for getting into 
that kind of trap. 

So we changed the direction of the project a 
bit and got some economists on the program to do two 
studies. The first of these was done with the 
assistance of the Department of Economics, serving 
as principal adviser to the man Mr. John Carew 
working for me. He eventually got his doctorate 
by evaluating some quality aspects of San Francisco 
Bay within an economic framework. Then we went a 
bit into the technology of Bay water quality control 
as well as the economics of that technology. Mr. 
S. Mukherjee got his doctorate in systems analysis 
and operations research. Thus Mukherjee finished 
out the project at the time I was ready to retire. 
I didn't try to carry it any further. But the 
project served to educate some very good students. 
Dr. Mukherjee is with Bechtel now as a systems man 
on water quality control. Dr. Carew is engaged in 
University teaching. 


Reaction to the First Reports 


McGauhey : 

Chall: When your first report came out in 195? I would 
think it would have had some rather serious 
political implications from the standpoint of 
people who want to do things as usual. The 
criterion of stimulating an optimum growth of the 
economy by water allocation might have been con 
sidered highly critical of the proposals in the 
state water plan. I am not sure whether the 
proposals made in 1957 were substantially different 
from what they were in I960 when the ballot measure 
was put before the voters. 

The engineering plan was not changed in that 

The policies on which it was based were changed. 

The policies yes. But the engineering plan, you 
see, only said what could be done and what kind of 
a schedule could be followed to do it to reach 
certain ends. Our report was considered a useful 
contribution at that time, I believe, because it 
dealt with the kind of things which hadn't been 
settled as to what criteria you should use in making 
political decisions, and we spoke to that point. 

Chall: Was there any flak from the governor or the Farm 
Bureau Federation? 

McGauhey: No, nobody fears that a university professor is 

going to cause any serious political ripples. He 
simply doesn't have the influence. We got only 
one or two squawks that agriculture was being short 
changed, but we had not said that no water should 
go to agriculture or anything of the sort! We did 
get calls from a great number of citizen groups. 
The League of Women Voters, for example, had Erlich 
and me to several of their meetings to discuss this 
problem. And I don't recall how many others called 
on us; but we did write quite a number of papers 
and attended probably twenty public meetings at 
which we were invited to talk about this, and where 
discussion of this matter took place. There were 
people trying to make up their minds and they were 


McGauhey: not asking us how the water plan ought to be run, 
whether it was immoral to live in Southern 
California or this kind of question. [Laughs] 

I felt our study had a considerable impact 
at the time. The second one did too. It documented 
things that were obvious once you had documented 
them. Quite often it is necessary to do that kind 
of thing because if one Just makes a statement and 
someone else says, "Well, I think this is how it 
is f n you may nave a ci ozen different ideas, and 
unless somebody documents them, they are Just in 
the realm of opinion. While we didn't set out with 
the criterion in mind, we did ultimately come to 
the conclusion that these were appropriate criteria, 
on the basis of the material we had studied and 
reviewed, and we didn't hesitate to say what we 
thought this added up to. 

The 160-Acre Limit 

Chall: Well, it was interesting to me because it gave some 
new insights into studies I've been doing on the 
California water history. Just now I am concerned 
with the controversies over the 160-acre limitation 
and all that this has meant from the year 1902 to 
the present time. 

McGauhey: If you have time for a little interesting reading 
for a lot of reading, [chuckling] a little of which 
is interesting, shall I say borrow Part II and Just 
read to see if you enjoy it. But the narrative 
concerning the three cases, as I read it over, seems 
to me to flow along nicely and it has a lot of 
interesting information in it, which includes this 
160-acre question. As I recall we quoted Paul Taylor 
on that and we had given some consideration to the 
kind of Implications involved in the limitation. 
There are those who say with some certainty, some 
conviction on their own part, that this 160-acre 
business was a deeply political thing. 

We point out in our writing that the objectives 
of society have changed a great deal. At the time 
the 160-acre went in the objective was to keep 


McGauhey: Individual families on farms, self-supporting, 

because agriculture was the economic base of life. 
When it became no longer feasible for people to 
live on 160 acres without a pretty intensive type 
of crop, we then had to go to industrial type 
farming. Now this meant that either we have very 
large holdings with smaller increment of profit 
per unit, or we have to have extremely high prices 
to pay for the chap working with his hands. You 
can't use very high priced machinery on a small 
acreage. So now here we were caught with our 
whole cultural pattern changed. The basis of our 
economic system had changed from agriculture to a 
combination of industry and agriculture, and the 
commercial activities of urban communities, and 
yet we had a water policy based on the earlier 

So with all the agriculturists growing cotton 
in the Central Valley for the Surplus Commodities 
Corporation and pumping water out of the ground, 
the time came when they were running out of water 
in the ground. Then there was only one or two 
things that anybody could do. One was to try to 
crack the 160-acre limit and failing that, to try 
to get the state to develop its own water, in the 
hope that it would be easier to manipulate the 
political scene in the state than it is in the 
nation. There are those who say that this was the 
politics that led to the whole water plan of 
California, but nevertheless, whether it was or 
not, these forces were at work. 

Chall: Many young people, and others today, are urging 

the return to the land. Can they make a living on 
160 acres? 

McGauhey: They could make it as social drop-outs or queer-balls, 
but they couldn't make it as viable members of 

Chall: Is the large acreage necessary for the fruits, and 
nuts, and vegetables that are really consumer 

McGauhey: It is not necessary for certain types of vegetables, 
berries, and a few other high value crops. But the 


McGauhey: location of such enterprise is critical. You have 
to be near a market. You can't be a long distance 
away. You have to have good land, too, as in some 
areas of Pennsylvania and Westchester County in 
New York. In such circumstances it is possible to 
make money on a small operation. With 160 acres of 
irrigated land if you irrigate that much of your 
land you run into the question of what it is you 
are going to grow and how you are going to tend it. 
If it has to be done by machinery then you must 
have a very high value crop. Most of agriculture 
is extractive industry. The value added by labor 
is relatively small. In terms of water, if you can 
get l.?5 to 1 return on your investment, you are 
doing pretty well. In industry if you don't get 
a 1,000 to 1 in terms of water costs you don't have 
a really flourishing type of Industry. 

The extractive nature of agriculture is one 
of the reasons why if one must work by hand he 
can't make a living, and if he has to do it by 
machinery, the machinery costs make a bigger area 
necessary. So one might become a recluse or a 
hermit and manage to stay alive on a small piece of 
land. But at the time we wrote Part II, there were 
5,000 farms in California that grossed less than 
|5000 a year and some of them were up in the 5000- 
acre size. They were big-sized pieces of land but 
they weren't, of course, all irrigated land. 

Chall: If there hadn't been subsidies for water, that 

brought water from the Central Valley Project into 
that San Joaquin area, for example, do you think 
that the land would have been used as it has been 
for cotton, and rice and things of this kind which 
opened up these vast acreages? 

McGauhey: They might have as long as they had ground water. 

Chall : But they are ruining the land. 

McGauhey: It's falling in in some places! [Laughs] 

A few years ago one cotton farmer in the Fresno 
area told me with a laugh, "I didn't make a quarter 
of a million dollars this year. I can't even buy 
a new Cadillac! " But it is a complex situation and 


McGauhey: I feel that subsidy of agriculture, by subsidy of 
the water for agriculture, was probably necessary 
originally and probably still is necessary. It 
was certainly necessary to open up the western 
country and so tie the United States together. 
Because as soon as man got west of the adequate 
rainfall belt into most of the seventeen western 
states he Just couldn't occupy the land. We 
probably wouldn't have unified our land into a 
nation if we hadn't gone for governmental aid to 
water development. 

In Part II of our report we trace the attempts 
of men with their own hands or a limited economic 
base to irrigate western land. They simply could 
not finance the necessary works by mortgaging the 
long term potential of land to pay the cost. 
Government had to step in; and it did so with 
limitations such as the 160-aore provision so that 
families could live by agriculture and huge land 
holdings were discouraged. If we didn't subsidize 
agriculture but simply let it seek its own market, 
western agriculture couldn't possibly have developed. 

We can grow enough corn in Iowa and Illinois 
to feed the United States. But there is a lot of 
difference between a dry corn economy and an 
economy that lets us have lettuce everyday in the 
wintertime. So I hold with those who say that with 
a climate and soil such as we have here in California, 
it would be a pity not to use it for agriculture if 
we can find the water. There may be other possible 
policies than those we have adopted, but we'd have 
a pretty poorly balanced state economy if we Just 
depended upon retired people that liked the climate 
in Southern California. I was somewhat surprised 
to find out how much of the value of our state 
economy actually did come from agriculture; a lot 
of it from the processing of agricultural materials 
and processing, rather than from Just the production 
of agricultural products. 



Ghall: Today the economic and population statistics are 
quite different from what they were, and what 
they were expected to be when you began your 
study. What do the programmers do about these 

McGauhey: We know what to do about it. We don't know how 
to do it I To get at the economic interrelation 
ships between water use and product we had to 
take the statistics that we have in California on 
the amount of water used and the product produced 
in the whole economy. First we started with eighty- 
six sectors of the economy and set up a program 
which would show what would happen if we put X 
number of acre feet of water into a particular 
industry. What would be the pattern of increase 
in product in each of the others? Some of them 
in fact were very low. This approach involves the 
assumption that we are not putting in more water 
and producing more products than anyone can use. 
So what this revealed was the marginal value. What 
would water have to cost, or be sold for, before 
this industry can no longer function? Thus the 
start was with a static assumption. When one tries 
to program this dynamically, to say that, suppose 
now, this industry dries up and that one booms, 
then we get deeper and deeper into a morass of 
assumptions. In the simplest mode we also have to 
assume that the interchange of goods between 
California and adjacent states remains the same. 
However, suppose Washington decides not to grow 
apples but wants to chop down its orchards and make 
high-rise houses like we do. Then there is a whole 
shift in the interchange between California and 
the other states. 

We started and did complete an eleven-state 
model of the interchange. But again it had to be, 
first a static model and then a dynamic program. 
A dynamic program can evaluate the effect of changes 
but it certainly never could answer the whole 
question. We have to go as far as we can, then make 
a value Judgment and go on again with the computer. 
The model can't be made into a fixed thing to be 
used for all time to come. 


Ghall: I was interested that in his oral history Harvey 
Banks said that it would have been extremely 
helpful if he'd had some of the economic studies, 
like the McGauhey-Erlich study in the water-pricing 
before letting the contracts.* 

McGauhey: Yes. Well, you see, he had to write that plan and 
it was pretty well done by 1956. 

Chall: Yes, the plan was done and I suppose the assumptions 
of pricing were already based upon it. 

McGauhey: Yes, they had to do it on the best information or 
whatever information they had at the time. This 
is one of the problems the difference say between 
the true researcher and the practicing engineer. 
There comes a time when we have to pour some concrete 
and we have to do it on the basis of what knowledge 
we have at this point in time. Then, when we get 
a little farther along, we can look back and say if 
I had just had that tool in time I could have done 
differently and presumably better. 

Chall: Now they have the tools and I wonder how you expect 
this tool to be used in terms of balancing the 
resources at the present time, let's say between 
agriculture and the building of homes. Who's to 
make the decision that this land has to be saved 
for agriculture instead of homes? 

McGauhey: The people in the legislature that I've talked to 

through the years have always said, and I agree with 
them, "Bear in mind that these policy decision are 
political decisions and will be made by the people 
whose responsibility it is to make the political 
decisions. What we would like you as researchers 
to do is to develop a system, or a procedure, by 
which we could predict the consequences of alternate 
decisions. Then, having that capacity, we will make 
wiser decisions. We might make the one that helps 
us to get reeleoted, but nevertheless this is politics. 

*Harvey 0. Banks, "California Water Project, 1955- 
1961," 1967; Regional Oral History Office, The 
Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley. 


McGauhey: I personally think it Is quite likely that 

wiser public decisions would accrue if there were 
some way to take a dozen different proposals that 
people apparently in their right minds are making, 
and run them through the computer to see what are 
the probable consequences to the economy, or on 
the pattern of distribution of people, in doing 
this as opposed to that. If we had that kind of 
capability, then for example, water might be used 
as a policy instrument to direct population or city 
growth to more appropriate places, and to guide 
agricultural development in, say, the west side. 

But we don't have any way, that I can see, to 
say to one farmer, "You can subdivide your farm," 
and to the adjacent owner, "You can't subdivide. 
You have to keep your land for a greenbelt so that 
the people who live in the high-rise buildings can 
look out and see an open space." You can't do this 
unless society wants to pay him the profit that he 
would make otherwise. This is where the greenbelt 
both foundered and floundered, because there is no 
way. society could make that decision. There is no 
way yet that you can keep the community from moving 
the city limits out and then suddenly putting the 
farmer out of business by taxing him at city rates. 

So I don't foresee any way that this is going 
to be done, although I do see emerging, I think 
quite clearly, a temper in the state and in the 
nation that we have to do something about land use 
management, about controls for it. 

The first signs we see in California are those 
of interpreting the Porter-Cologne Act as giving 
the Water Resources Control Board, authority to do 
some land use controlling in the interest of water 
quality or of water resources. So I think it has 
started. We hear it more at the national level 
although it is going to take a lot of courage to 
make an effective law so that the effect is useful 
to us in time. It won't save the Tahoe Basin; but 
someday I think there will be a great deal of 
constraint on what one can do with his land. He 
will be subject to a requirement that his activities 
fit in with a plan that some organization set up by 
society, has come up with and that society has, 
in some proper fashion, approved. 


Chall: Then you think that having made the start on 
economic evaluation studies that this kind of 
thing will be used as a tool? 

McGauhey: It will be used as a tool if only for determining 
what the consequences of alternative actions would 
be. Decision makers will be able to choose between 
alternatives. This, I think, is already being done 
in a good many contexts. Not in the context of 
agriculture vs. other kinds of land development, 
but it is being done in a great many of the decisions 
that involve strictly engineering projects. 

What the outcome may be, I don f t know, but 
nevertheless this kind of approach is being used 
to study the alternatives of waste disposal in the 
San Francisco Bay Area. Several models of the Bay 
made for that purpose are being used. Whether what 
the model shows ought to be done in what finally 
is done, may depend on other factors, and those 
other factors may well be environmental objectives 
that emerge from considerations other than water 

Chall: That's interesting to speculate on, but I suppose 
that you feel a sense of personal gratification 
that you were in on the beginning of some kind of 
important study. 

McGauhey: Oh, I don't look back with any feeling that I made 

any particular contribution. But it has been exciting 
to be in the mainstream. One of the advantages of 
having been with the University here, with the 
Laboratory, was that we operated in the mainstream. 
It is more fun to play in the deep water than in 
the shallows, as any child who goes in a swimming 
pool will demonstrate I [Laughter] 

So it is that kind of thing that I think one 
finds gratifying, rather than what value there was 
to have been in the pool. 


San Francisco Bay Studies 

McGauhey: I have been talking at great length about some of 

the studies which have attracted favorable attention 
to the University and to the SEHL participating 
faculty. Another area of especial significance 
has been studies of San Francisco Bay. Bisecting 
as it does, a community of some four million people, 
being the outlet for and draining the great Central 
Valley of California, the Bay is very much a part 
of the life and interest of people. Conversion of 
the Peninsula and the Santa Clara Valley from 
villages and agriculture to high density urban 
development has intensified concern for the effects 
of domestic waste water on the ecology and the 
environmental quality of bay waters. Moreover, the 
upper reaches of the Bay, although known under 
assorted names, are bordered by industry, much of 
it of the chemical or petro- chemical type. This 
lengthens the spectrum of wastes which may be of 
significance to water quality in the Bay. In this 
circumstance it was only natural that the SERL group 
should be active in studies of San Francisco Bay. 

The most extensive of these were conducted 
for the State of California under the leadership 
of Professors E.A. Pearson, and R.E. Selleck. 
Their extensive and intensive study of the Bay over 
a period of some ten years has revealed the residence 
time of water in the South Bay; characterized the 
water of the entire area as to chemical, physical, 
and biological characteristics; evaluated the 
productivity of Bay waters; and estimated the 
toxlcity resulting from waste water discharges. 
The results contained in some eight volumes is the 
major source of information of the problem of water 
quality control in San Francisco Bay. 

Other studies of the Bay have been made through 
SERL. Professor H.A. Einstein and Dr. Ray B. Krone 
traced the movement of sediments in the Bay by the 
use of radioactive gold. More recently, Dr. W.J. 
Kaufman is leading a series of studies of toxicity 
in Bay waters, again as a service to the State of 


McGauhey: Although I am not prepared to describe In 
detail the findings of this research, it is one 
of the major accomplishments of the Laboratory, 
and the Bay will continue to provide opportunity 
for the Laboratory to serve the State. 

Algal Systems 

Chall: Now, what about the whole problem of algal systems? 
That's clearly important research. 

McGauhey: There are a good many aspects to it. The problem 
Itself is that in highly industrialized countries 
where labor is expensive Western Europe and the 
United States, particularly waste treatment went 
in the direction of mechanized systems. There was 
nothing to sell in the way of equipment in a pond, 
and anybody could build a pond and dump wastes In 
it. Nobody knew what happened. The poor, undeveloped 
countries had to use that kind of a pond or else 
dump wastes into the water supply. They began early 
to use ponds. As their students came to this 
country to study they learned how to build 
sophisticated plants, and they'd go back home but 
nobody had the money to build a sophisticated plant. 

So it was a long time before people began to 
ask, "Could we put organic matter into a pond, let 
bacteria break it down and release nutrients that 
algae want; and then grow all these algae and 
harvest algae the way we do grass on the ground? 
Then we would be able to remove from the water the 
nutrients that were put in with the original organic 
matter; or at least a fraction of them. 

It was that concept that we started out with 
here at SERL. First, we asked what do we have to 
do to grow algae? How do we produce a maximum crop 
and under what circumstances? How much can we grow 
in waste water, and is it a matter of light, 
temperature, and other factors we have perhaps not 
Identified? What kind of controls do we have to 
have? And then, how can we get the algae out? And 
also, what good are they after we get them out? That 


MoGauhey: was the thrust of the first work. 

It became apparent rather quickly that we 
could grow more photosynthate on a one-acre pond 
than we can on an acre of land, no matter what 
crop we plant on the land; and. we can grow it 
quicker. Algal cells are 55 percent or so protein, 
and so it would compete well with fish meal or 
cottonseed, meal for animal feed supplement. 
Animals can eat it, if you mix it in the right 
proportions to bring the protein down to the proper 
level. All of these things required research, 
here at SERL and with animal feeding at Davis. 

When we knew how to grow algae Dr. Oswald and 
Dr. Golueke had the idea that maybe we might use 
an algal system as a life-support system in space. 
They started out first with supporting some mice 
in a completely closed gas and liquid chamber 
system in which all that was put in was some food 
for the mice, because they can't eat straight algae. 
Some of the algae were removed from the system to 
compensate for the added food. But the gas system 
was completely closed and all the oxygen that the 
mice got came from the algae growing on the products 
of bio-degradation of the bodily wastes of mice and 
the CC>2 from their breathing. Condensate from the 
coils used in keeping the chamber cool was the water 
supply for the mice. The Air Corps supported this 
study and we got lots of publicity out of it as 
well as inspiring dozens of children to undertake 
related studies for their science projects and fairs. 

Chall: Did the mice live? 

McGauhey: Oh, yes. We ran the experiment as long as forty- two 
days on one occasion. This is equivalent to six 
years of the life of a man, and the mice were doing 
all right. We terminated the experiment because 
there was no object in carrying it further, but we 
kept the system going for several years because of 
public Interest in seeing it. Later we built a 
big unit a two-man system but the war reduced the 
Air Corps' money, and the project is moving a little 

MoGauhey: Dr. Oswald's group has Just completed a study 

of the possibility of using algal system for getting 
rid of chioken manure. This is a big problem in 
egg and poultry production business because egg 
production, and poultry production too, is done in 
a factory now. We don't have chickens running 
around on the ground kicking up the dust. They 
stay in cages. Egg and poultry plants could be 
built right in the city if we had some way of 
handling the wastes. We've Just finished a study 
that shows, on a hundred-hen basis, that you can, 
without any difficulty, convert all these wastes to 
algal cells, and harvest the cells. The cells can 
be fed back to animals but the harvesting is still 
expensive. Nevertheless the results of this project 
represent a major step forward in waste management. 

Along the way we've considered how algal systems 
might be used now that one of the objectives of 
wastewater treatment is the removal of nutrients. 
This is an emerging objective, being imposed at 
Tahoe and Washington, D. C. , and various other places. 
So if we could incorporate these nutrients into 
algal cells and then harvest them, this might be a 
good way of stripping out the nutrients. So we're 
doing a good deal of research on that and the 
problems associated with it. 

Chall: Some of the results of the pond approach with algae, 

has any of that been converted into on-going projects? 

MoGauheyi Yes, Indeed. Many communities are using ponds, and 
Dr. Oswald has served as consultant to many people 
in building and operating them. St. Helena has one 
pond system that is working very well, Concord has 
one. There are about one hundred of them in California. 

Chall: Is this part of the sewage treatment plant? 

McGauhey: Yes. It can be used either Just for raw sewage or 
for secondary treatment, or for final treatment 
after the waste water has gone through an ordinary 
treatment plant. We're using it here on sewage from 
which the solids have been settled, which is called 
a primary treated sewage that is our principal 
source. But at St. Helena they use one pond for the 
anaerobic digestion of material and other ponds for 


McGauhey: treating it more highly. At Santee they're using 
ponds to produce an effluent highly enough treated 
for recreational use. 

Chall: I see. That means that you're actually allowing 
algae to be growing in there, purifying the water 
up to a point. .. 

MoGauhey: In these particular ones, algal ponds precede the 

ones that are actually used for fishing and swimming. 

Chall: That's the end result, the water that is used, then. 
And what becomes of the algae? 

McGauhey: They're not operating the pond at Santee so as to 
grow the maximum number of algae. They operate so 
that the minimum number of algae are grown. To do 
this the waste water is first run through a treatment 
plant that removes much of the nutrients to begin 
with so that they don't get such great growths as 
we do in our high- rate ponds. Algae die and are 
decomposed by bacteria in the bottom sediments Just 
as they do in natural lakes and ponds. 

Chall: In Europe I think during the thirties the Soil 
Conservation Service adapted them here they 
developed fishponds, which operated somewhat on the 
same principle, where you put the big pond out in 
a field and let fish live for several years, then 
drain the pond and grow grains in the soil which 
had been fertilized by the fish. 

McGauhey: The principle is the same. The thing is, the 

efficiency is less, as the algae convert nutrients 
to cells very quickly and with high efficiency. 
If has to go through organism after organism, and 
ultimately to fish, much efficiency is lost. That 
Is, if we feed high protein food to a steer, we 
get about 16 percent conversion of protein. Somewhere 
between 6 and 16 percent conversion is typical of 
animal efficiency, the rest goes out as waste. With 
algae you can get a much higher conversion in the 
60-?0 percent range. In the fish pond they are trying 
to keep an entire eoo-system in the natural state. 
Ycu put in the organic matter that is unstable, and 
end up with a crop that's easier to harvest than 
is algae. 


Chall: Yes. And I guess these are used In areas where 

fish, rather than something else, is a prime source 
of the diet. 

MoGauhey: Or you can use the fish for fishmeal Just to make 
fertilizer, you see. This could be done if we are 
growing rough fish. Generally these fish ponds have 
harbored edible fish but there's no reason why it 
has to be so. As long as we oan get them out cheaply, 
it's no problem to convert fish to dog food or cat 
food or fertilizer. 

Chall: I think they would, take the fish out at the end of 
three years; I don't know what they used them for, 
but I think in Prance they ate them. All of the 
fish droppings made fine fertilizer; they'd dry 
out the pool and then plant wheat the following year, 
so that it kept the eoo-system in balance. 

MoGauhey: Yes. If you don't do that, the system may run out 
of carbon. A growing plant in soil In shallow 
water has its roots in the fertilized soil but its 
leaves are up in the atmosphere and hence it oan 
get a lot of carbon dioxide. We oan grow such plants 
by supplying Just nitrogen and phosphorous and minor 
elements, whereas in a pond we have to have a source 
of carbon. This is the real difficulty In using 
algae to take the nitrates out of the water that 
they propose to send down the San Luis Drain. There 
is enough nitrogen to cause worry lest the drain 
water over-fertilize the Bay. But to take out the 
nitrogen with algae, some source of carbon will have 
to be added. To supply a carbon source to agricultural 
drain water Is part of the expense of getting out 
the nutrients by biological means. 

Chall: Could you develop and harvest algae in such a way 

as to feed people in areas where there Is widespread 
malnutrition now or famine foreseeable in the future? 

McGauhey: Basically, the answer is no. Unfortunately "true 

believers" have spread the impression that the high 
yield and growth rate of unicellular algae is a 
hopeful prospect for assuaging human hunger. The 
truth is that algal cells are low in carbohydrates. 
The protein content is high but the material is not 
readily dlgestable by human beings, causing a great 


MoGauhey: deal of bloating of the body. The algal cell 

material could best be fed to chickens or pigs or 
goats and so increase the supply of food from such 
sources. It might also be used as a fertilizer 
in the manner you described in relation to the fish 
ponds. To grow algae in a pond, however, nutrients 
must be made available. Thus human wastes, animal 
manures, and other organic debris would have to be 
placed in the pond. Then there is the task of 
harvesting the algae. I doubt that such a prospect 
offers much hope for alleviating malnutrition or 
famine in the undeveloped countries. The best bet 
it seems to me is to use wastes to fertilize fish 
ponds and then to eat the fish. The method is 
inefficient and marginal but not impossible for the 
technology of non- industrialized societies. So I 
must conclude that the algal pond is not much of a 
hope in the situation you suggest. 

Chall: It's Interesting with all this experimentation with 
algae, that on one side you develop it, almost grow 
it, for some beneficial purpose, and on the other 
hand, in some of the big lakes and other areas, ).t's 
a serious problem, and it has to come out. 

McGauhey: The serious problem, the one that they call 

eutrophlcation, is characterized by an excess of 
algae at certain times. An aquatic eco-system 
generally has some species of algae in it at all 
times. But algal blooms come in waves. When 
available nutrients are introduced the first response 
of the system is a crop of algae. Then come the 
grazers water fleas and tiny orustaoae, and so on 
to harvest the algae. These grazers are microscopic 
in size but you can see many of them with the naked 
eye. They move in and the algae crop disappears. 
Then, of course, having exhausted their food supply, 
they die, and become organic matter to be re-oyoled 
by bacterial decomposition. 

And so we get these pulses of living things. 
But a llmnologioal situation isn't that simple. 
There is also a sequence of algal species that will 
predominate. Some of them will depend on temperature, 
time of year, so one of them will wipe the other out 
in competition for nutrients. With lots of nutrients 
present a tremendous growth of algae will suddenly 


McGauhey: appear. Then the growth will die and decay, and 

in the decaying process require so much oxygen that 
the lake becomes an anaerobic, stinking mess. 

Chall: That's the concern for man. 

McGauhey: That's man's concern, yes. It changes the eco 
system some, but at least it doesn't interrupt it 
completely. So what we want to do is keep the limit 
of nutrients down to the point that we still grow 
fish and have water that's nice for swimming, and 
boating, and suitable for drinking after proper 
treatment, yet not so enriched that we get a sudden 
overwhelming bloom of algae that causes difficulty. 

Eutrophicatlon can led to very unpleasant 
conditions. A biologist named Thomas described 
rather graphically in the literature what happened 
in a Swiss lake at Zurich, in which the rushes 
growing in the edge of the water, fertilizing the 
lake, caused so much material to grow on the bottom 
that it gave off gas and the gas rose up to the top 
carrying a carpet of ugly sludge to the top. This 
carpet drifted toward shore by the wind and the 
reeds then were physically constrained at the water 
surface. Then when the wind blew the reeds couldn't 
sway and they broke off and fell down in a big mish 
mash of dead, decaying organic matter. They had a 
wonderful promenade alongside the lake that people 
didn't care much about using while this was going 

Chall: Is much of the problem with the growth of algae in 
the lakes caused by industrial pollution, by 
phosphates in the soap for example? 

McGauhey: About half of the phosphates, in waste water come 
from products that we use; but there's enough 
phosphates in human wastes or in animal manures If 
we Just consider the milk we drink and the food we 
eat to go with all the nitrogen that's available. 
The problem with the phosphates is that if we put 
in a tremendous lot of phosphates into water and 
there isn't enough nitrogen to go with it, the 
water becomes nitrogen sensitive. If the material 
carrying the phosphate is degradable organic matter 
in a quantity sufficient to exhaust the oxygen 


McGauheyr resources of the receiving water, the system 
became anaerobic. Then we get a growth of 
organisms which can get nitrogen from the 
atmosphere. With plenty of phosphorus the 
population of organisms will tend to equal Its 
food supply, Increasing to the extent 
phosphorus will permit. 

Even In a normal system an anaerobic situation 
is going to smell bad anyway. But in this new 
situation we're confronted with now, the problem is 
compounded. This is why there has been so much 
worrying about phosphates in waste water. But no 
one has shown yet that taking out phosphorus as 
a part of sewage treatment is going to do much 
good, except in isolated instances. 

We are going to have to out down the nitrogen 
concentration, too. One source of nitrogen Is 
human sewage, so if a great amount of the water is 
used repeatedly we get a build-up in nitrogen. 
Excess nitrogen comes also from some poor waste 
management practices. In parts of the Midwest, 
when the farmer runs out of anything else to do in 
wintertime, he hauls all the annual manure out and 
throws it on the frozen ground, and then when the 
snow melts it flows into the lakes Instead of into 
his field, and initiates a problem with algal 

In dairies the practice is to wash out the 
stables with water, and the holding-pen area is 
washed down, either by man or by nature. Dairies 
and feed lots where animals are fattened contribute 
a tremendous lot of organic matter which nobody 
knows what to do with. At present it is often held 
in a pond, and this pond become pretty odorous. 
Nitrites may be present in the pond and will kill 
a cow if it drinks from the pond. So we have all 
manner of problems we haven't resolved yet. 

In fertilizing there is a problem of when to 
put the fertilizer on, and how much to put on in 
order to produce a crop, yet minimize washoff to 
surface or ground waters. In the case of corn, for 
example, we have to put on more fertilizer at the 
time when the plant stalk isn't growing, but the 


MoGauhey: ears are setting. The rest of the time we oan put 
on fertilizer and It's used by the plant just about 
at the rate that it is put on in growing cornstalks. 
But at the time when the ears are forming, when 
the salable crop Is about to materialize, we must 
then really pour on the fertilizer in order to get 
anything to sell. So excess nitrogen is on the 
ground or in the ground near the end of the growing 
season. Presumably, this is leaohable and some of 
it can get off into the ground water or surface 
water. Although we haven't identified that as an 
extremely serious problem, in the irrigated country 
we know, for example, that the San Luis Drain will 
have nitrogen In it from agricultural sources. 

So there is a lot of serious problems that are 
associated with how to get the nutrients out of 
water. Part of our algal study is in that direction. 

Chall: I see. In the meantime, I guess the San Luis Drain 
may be built before we've solved the problem. Does 
that kind of thing bother you? Do you ever think of 
this in the political sphere? 

MoGauhey: Yes, we think a great deal about it about the 
problem of how to come up with answers that are 
clearly enough defined and certain enough In their 
proof to Justify drastic political action. Some 
say that the whole ecology of the Bay will change 
when we start exporting water, and others say, yes, 
it will change but not all changes are bad; maybe 
the new ecosystem will be Just as happy as the 
old one, even though It's different. Some people 
don't want any change at all. Others are fearful 
that somebody either doesn't know or is obscuring 
what will be the real nature of this water in the 
Bay once the drain Is built. And so we make models 
of the Bay those have been made and attempt to 
run them out to determine what the situation will 
be like. 

But we really don't know enough about it to 
answer this primary question and this does worry 
me. On the other hand, I don't think we should 
take such drastic action as to say, well let's Just 
don't go on with any more development of water 
resources, because we don't know what kind of trouble 
we're going to get in. 


Chall: In the case, let's say, of the San Luis Drain, 

which is an immediate problem, and the Peripheral 
Canal, would it be possible to say, "Wait until 
we've done some more research." Is more research 

McGauhey: It would be possible. There are those who feel 

and document their feelings, how well I don't know, 
that putting all that land into production on the 
western side [of the San Joaquln Valley] may well 
be catastrophic to agriculture because of over 
production of things that are marketable at the 
margin level only now. 

Chall: I thought that perhaps your input-output system 
could be used to answer that kind of question by 
this time. 

McGauhey: The reason that it can't answer it is that we 

can't get the information necessary to put in it. 
You can make a model all right, but one doesn't 
know how the wastes, say from industry, move out 
of this Bay and in what concentration. Do they go 
out streaming with the tide or do they disperse? 
We have a good deal of information but when you 
make a model of it some assumptions must be made. 
Either we get a one-dimensional model so that the 
water is being distributed longitudinally, or we 
make it two dimensions, a model in which wastes 
are dispersing laterally as well as longitudinally 
with the flow. 

At best these involve vast over-simplioations 
of what happens in nature, and it isn't that we 
can't find out what happens in nature, it's that 
what happens in nature here may not be happening 
at all over there. That is, the same forces are 
at work, but they're not working in the same 
combinations, the same ways. In one case we might 
end up with a great eddy-current of wastes. In 
another the flow might sweep it right on out and 
cause no trouble. So there isn't any easy way to 
translate from one particular situation to the 
other, and it's infeasible and essentially 
impossible at the moment to get all of the kind 
of Information we need, particularly when we begin 
to ask what is going to be the effect on the eco 


New Directions in Public Policy 

McGauhey: We're not going to get the answer, I fear, before 
the answer become evident. [Laughter] Because 
we are not going to be able to predict what 
happens. I do think, though, that one thing is 
certain to happen. This is that the Environmental 
Protection Agency will consider grants-in-aid for 
sewage treatment plants only if certain federal 
water quality standards are met both in the discharge 
stream and in the receiving water. The grant-in- 
aid is a big percentage of the cost of building a 
plant acceptable to the EPA. Even if it should 
continue to be so that a community could theoretically 
avoid certain restrictions by going it alone, no 
such decision is likely to occur. As long as the 
major portion of taxes go through Washington the 
taxpayer will take the attitude "Why shouldn't some 
of it come back here? Why should I now have also 
to pay all the cost of these bonds to build a 
treatment plant?" And even though there's a lot 
of fallacies in this method of financing, nevertheless 
it's effective. 

The next step is going to be that if a city 
or a municipal utility wants federal money for 
building a plant, It will have to adopt first some 
policy on industrial wastes. I'm certain that that's 
the way it's going to be done In the Bay Area. The 
kind of things that are going into the Bay as toxic 
materials can't be taken out in an ordinary sewage 
treatment plant. So we are just going to have to 
go back to industry and say, "Look, you can't put 
this pollutant in the sewer in more than this 
amount." Or, "You can't put it in at all." 

For example, the paint industry here may well 
be responsible for the kind of an oil slick you 
can see if you go out in a boat to look for it and 
know what you're looking for, over the sewer outfalls 
in the Bay. It may be that the sewage treatment 
plant can never take it out and the utilities 
district will have to say to this Industry, Just 
for an example, "It's up to you to take it out. 
The goal of your technology must be not to put it 
in our drains. " 


McGauhey : 
Chall i 

McGauhey : 
Chall : 

This Is how I think the toxiolty question is 
going to be answered. 

This article here, "One Strategy for Pollution 
Control," approaches it in a somewhat different 
way, if I can get the sense of it.* 

One is that you treat the water as a natural 
resource like land. If you're going to use it, 
you pay rent on it. 

That has been proposed. 

An "effluent charges" system to pay for using it. 

This emerges from a reversal or discussion, at 
least, of a reversal of our age-old idea that 
air and water are free and belong to everybody. 
And that if we now say that the water resource 
belongs to the public it is a public resource and 
freedom to use it by any individual or any company 
is granted only subject to these particular 
constraints then, we could make a considerable 
change in the whole Jurisdiotional approach to 
quality management. 

One of the limitations is that much of what 
happens to water is a result of what we do on land, 
and we haven't yet got to where we say the land is 
a national resource and you have to husband it in 
this fashion in order to have permission to use it. 
Although, I think, legislation on land-use, or 
maybe I*d better say "environmental quality as 
related to land," or perhaps even a "land-use 
system" is going to be proposed pretty soon. 

We have simple things like zoning ordinances 
which say you can't build it here, you can build it 
somewhere else, or art commissions that say you can 
only built it this high, or it's got to look like 
this or that, but that doesn't prevent the over-crowding 
of our environment with buildings and people, or solve 

*"0ne Strategy for Pollution Control," Resources 
(Resources for the Future), June 1970, pp. 5-7 


MoGauheyz many of our land-use problems. So if we go to the 
kind of rationale the artlole suggests we may 
well have to Include the land as a resource on 
which we're also going to place some quality 
standards. Not arbitrary, that all land's got to 
be alike, but that to carry on this kind of an 
activity you shall have to maintain this level of 
environmental quality in this individual circumstance. 

Challi I see. The author is under the impression that the 
present subsidy system we grant an industry a 
certain subsidy, or the federal government gives 
money to communities to build treatment plants 
doesn't properly answer the question, because some 
of the plants are not really efficient or they're 
not really the very best kind of plant, and then 
after they're built nobody's really paying very 
much attention to what happens. And the same is 
true of industry's pollution sometimes they Just 
let a treatment plant in the community take care of 
it, and then they don't bother with the pollution 
at its origin. 

MoGauhey: Well, he has a good point there in saying that the 
government tends to give money for the purpose of 
assisting a locality to provide adequate facilities 
that are currently not adequate. 

But this other thing of saying what constitutes 
adequacy. We have to recognize the Inadequacy of 
the plants to treat many industrial wastes and to 
force the development of a plant that will handle 
these problems rather than Just relying on the 
same old treatment system. And the granting or 
withholding of money also forces the people who ere 
responsible for treatment local water quality 
boards to go upstream, and say, "Look, we have r.o 
technological way of taking this out, therefore you 
can't put it in." Then, it's up to Industry. 

Now, it wouldn't make much difference to most 
industry or to a city if water cost two or three or 
four or five times as much as it does today. Of 
course we'd complain at the end of the first month, 
but the cost isn't great in comparison with the 
whole expense involved in manufacture. In most 
industry the value added by manufacture is great 


McGauhey: enough to deal with greatly Increased water costs. 
It's not strictly true of big water users like 
pulp and paper, but they're solving thatthose 
industries are doing pretty well. 

But where stringent water quality objectives 
hurts is in water for agriculture. Here's where the 
big amount of water is, and, as a matter of public 
policy, we have an arrangement whereby we provide 
water for agriculture. This policy has been upheld 
by the Supreme Court various times, and I'm not 
arguing that subsidies to agricultural water is 
evil. But as I mentioned before the multiplying 
factor on water used in agriculture is probably 
at best not over l.?5 to 1. 

If we put upon agriculture what it costs to 
get the water on land actual cost to go buy it 
and deliver it we'd be out of business in irrigated 
agriculture. Or we'd have to let the price of food 
go very high, which would be politically untenable. 
Or we would have to say we won't grow food in the 
arid country. We can all live out there and drink 
the water, but we must eat the dried corn from 
Iowa of which I previously spoke. Dropping agri 
cultural water subsidies would damage the economies, 
and make such lopsided economies, that this is not 
a reasonable or feasible alternative. 

The endpolnt then is, if we're going to put 
water on at public expense, who but the public is 
responsible for taking the salts out of return 
waters from agriculture. We can go to industry and 
say, "Look, you can't put that salt in there; you 
either locate where it doesn't matter, or you can 
get busy with your Inventiveness and figure out a 
way to take it out, or change the process." They've 
got lots of ways they can go, and, except for 
marginal industries, that's probably the way to do 
it. Industry also has the ability to pass the cost 
on to the public in the price of its product. 

So we can get as tough as we want to with 
industry, we're paying the bill; although, I must 
say at this moment, we don't seem to know It. The 
warm glow that comes with standing unmovable on 
high principles of environmental quality has not 
yet felt the cool breeze that comes with the bill. 


MoGauheyt But if we went to a farmer, and said, "Look, 
you're discharging out here so many acre-feet of 
water that's got nitrogen in it. You can't do 
that." We've really said, "You're out of business." 
There's no way he can get it out. We don't know 
how to get it out, or at least we don't know how 
to get it out economically, so how the dickens can 
a farmer get it out? 

I conclude then that if the public says, 
"We'll put water on land at our expense," then I 
think the public is still responsible for what 
happens to that water. I believe that the first 
step in recognizing such public responsibility is 
the idea that the public will build a drain, like 
the San Luis Drain, possibly taking it off to the 
ocean, quarantining it and taking it away. But 
someday they may have to say, "We can't afford 
that to throw that water away we've got to find 
a way to recapture the water. " But this will have 
to come from something other than Just regulating 
the agriculturist's use of water. 

Chall: I would like to have you interpret a little 

quotation that I took from your book.* You said, 
"Engineers should become more innovative, but this 
is difficult because municipal officials are 
concerned with costs and don't like to risk untried 
systems. Sometimes, therefore, they continue to 
accept systems customarily used even if it is poor. 
This, together with the Innate conservatism of 
public works engineers accounts In part for a 
dismaying lack of progress in water treatment in 
more than a generation. " Has that changed? Are 
you finding a different type of engineer around 

McGauhey: It's changing, not because these engineers were 

stone-age chaps who didn't see what was going on, 
but because when they are spending the public's 
money, they are in a conservative system. The 
engineer can't Just say, "I'll build a full-scale 

*P.H. MoGauhey, Engineering Management of Water 
Quality (New York: McGraw Hill Book Company, 1968), 
P. 171. 


McGauhey: experimental plant here, and my oity will be a 

big test tube for the world to see." He wouldn't 
last long In the business. [Laughter] The public 
Just wouldn't tolerate that kind of thing. So 
there Is no oholoe but to use proven systems. 
This Is what I mean by the Innate conservatism of 
public works. It's Just frozen In there. 

The way it's being overcome Is one I spoke of 
a few moments ago In which Increasingly government 
takes over the matter of specifying quality standards 
for resources water, air and land and then offers 
the financial assistance to build plants that meet 
the standards. This, then, forces Innovation, and 
it takes the onus off the city, and It puts up to 
the consulting engineer to design a better system. 

Chall: And then the consulting engineer has to come to 
fellows like you. 

MoGauhey: He often has to go back to those who've been in 
research to ask, "What can you tell us that can 
improve existing systems?" This Is going on right 

Chall: It would have to be, because otherwise the whole 
consulting business would be frozen, too. They 
make their standard plans, and they can sell them 
all over the world. 

McGauhey: Pulling Dlans out of the drawer and changing the 
scale on them. There has been a lot of that done 
in the world but this is by no means as common 
as popularly believed. It has been most often done 
by the marginal engineer preying upon the belief 
of the small town official that money spent on 
engineering is wasted. It is not a practice of the 
type of engineer that Is likely to do the work 
calling for innovation or up-to-the-minute knowledge. 
I don't think we will see much of that sort of thing 
as engineers respond to the assumption of responsi 
bility by government for the quality that it is 
going to demand for the air, water and land resources. 
But technology Is not automatically advanced by a 
quantum increase in the holiness of a Washington 
bureaucrat. Municipal authorities are screaming 
right now in many areas because the standards have 


MoGauheyt been raised and the time limits for conforming so 
tightened that the olty oan not possibly meet them 
on sohedule. I am consultant to one or two 
consulting engineers who are working for western 
cities, and I may say that the answers to the 
problem of meeting federal requirements are far 
from clear. It is quite clear that the city and 
its engineers are going to have to find answers 
one way or another, if they're going to get any 
federal construction money. I do not mean to agree 
here that cities have let pollution go on until 
forced by government to depart from their evil ways 
and follow the paths of virtue staked out by holy 
men in government agencies. Much of what is 
required by government oan be shown to be appropriate 
in one situation and arbitrary and asinine in 
another. The point is that government at all levels 
has been increasingly setting objectives which may 
not be achievable by conventional systems and hence 
the findings of research are being more carefully 
examined and more quickly incorporated into 
engineering practice than in the past. 

But I don't want to explore the wellsprings 
of governmental ukases today, I believe we are 
more concerned in our discussion with their impact 
on research. Shall we pursue this question further? 

The Results of Research 

Chall: Pursue research, I think, as much as we oan. 

McGauhey: I believe you asked a little while ago about the 

fate of the product of research once the researcher 
himself has written it up, and it has been published 
in an obscure Journal or a technical Journal that 
is not widely read. 

Chall: Professor Pearson had a big press conference when 
he finished his report on Bay pollution. That was 
rather unique, I thought, in the annals of academic 


MoGauhey: Yes, although day before yesterday we had a big 

press conference here at SERL on the life-support 
system. It was on the television and there was 
some good publicity in the metropolitan newspapers 
of the Bay Area. 

So we do get some momentary recognition on 
occasion, but I think what becomes of research, 
and the best thing that becomes of It, is that the 
graduate students who worked on it, now go out into 
the profession and make some impact with their 
advanced knowledge. 

Take, for example, the input-output studies of 
economics: two of the people who worked on it 
first are now involved in important follow-up 
studies. Mr. Erlich, who was a public administration 
and economics student, is with the Corps of Engineers 
In San Francisco, working on a multiple system 
approach to the effect of what the Corps of Engineers 
do from an environmental point of view. Dr. Lofting 
is with the Corps of Engineers, working out for them 
an extension of the model that I talked about 
previously the model of California's economy, and 
the economy of the eleven Western states. The Corps 
of Engineers have some real money to put into such 
work and the results of our research will not be 

Mr. Craig Davis, the first one to get his PhD 
on the SERL project, Is on the professorial staff 
at the University of British Columbia, developing 
for Western Canada an economic model of the kind 
that was done here. 

Richard Prankel, whom I mentioned a while ago, 
went to the army and worked for them for awhile on 
the same economic analysis. He was the one I cited 
who was originally supported at SERL by Resources 
for the Future. Later he went with Resources for 
the Future for a two-year assignment. Now he Is 
out teaching and is working on some similar approaches 
for the less-developed parts of the world. 

These men are all going to make major contri 
butions to the resolution of some very complex 
problems. They are among the ones who are out in 


McGauhey: real life agencies bringing to them, now, the kind 
of approach we developed here in research. And 
here's where the hope lies. Even though the 
professor and his report may be forgotten, the 
students who worked on it, as we get enough of 
them, begin to have some impact. This is, I would 
say, a further Justification of the University's 
policy of seeing that the research projects that 
we undertake do involve graduate students, and serve 
some educational purpose other than Just educating 
or intriguing the professor. 

TheProfeifor and the University Structure 

Chall: I notice that Professor Pearson is the chairman of 
a conference on water quality which will be meeting 
for several days in San Francisco next week. Is it 
typical in the University system that a professor 
will teach, carry on research (I noticed, for 
example, that Professor Pearson has projects going 
on the Laboratory ) , can be chairman of a department 
for awhile, and then also get himself involved as 
an officer in a major organization in his field? 
Sometimes all at the same time? 

McGauhey i Not only is It typical, it is almost a necessity 
for a professor in a great university. Perhaps I 
should turn that statement around and say that if 
a university is to be a great university it must 
recruit men who have the energy and the competence 
to teach, to lead research that both refines the 
context of their courses and leads to experiments 
in engineering practice, and to serve as leaders 
in the profession. In the case of Professor 
Pearson, along with all the things you point out 
goes also membership in some of the state level 
committees on ocean outfalls, because he has 
established some considerable expertise in that 
area. And as a result he's called upon to consult 
with people with agencies as well as with practicing 
engineers. So, by the time all of these things get 
put together, there isn't much time left. 


MoGauhey: But he himself, like most Investigators 

doesn't do a great deal of the detail of research. 
The picture of the researcher in a white laboratory 
coat behind a rack of intrl uing glassware is more 
likely to fit the graduate student or a very basic 
scientist than the faculty investigator of a major 
environmental study. But Dr. Pearson does a great 
deal of the review of the research. He's very 
meticulous and when the report has been drafted, 
he goes over it in great detail evaluating and 
interpreting data. He is very careful to make 
sure that a report is something that he can live 
with. He insists that his graduate student on the 
project extend himself intellectually to interpret 
and evaluate the data. Such an approach is necessary 
if the graduate is to have the impact I have cited. 

Chall: Then it's a pretty strenuous life for some of these 
people on the faculty? Pour or five years or more 
at a time, particularly when they're department 
chairmen. Is it all valuable? Is it all worthwhile 
in your estimation this kind of activity? 

McGauheyi Obviously I must think it worthwhile or conclude 
that my lifetime has been misspent. The question 
raises the issue of whether or not one might have 
been happier or more useful to mankind if he had 
adhered to a narrower field and planned it deeper. 
For my part I believe that one expands his capacity 
to produce by working in a system that keeps him 
always at full capacity. This is the basis of the 
old adage "If you want something done, give it to 
a busy man to do." Prom my observations of men I 
would say that the capacity of a man who has too 
little to do shrinks to the size of his productivity. 
Thus the classic professor who spends two hours on 
the campus three days per week (and there are still 
some of these around) is more certain than the busy 
man that he Is terribly overworked. Concerning some 
I have worked with on committees at Berkeley and in 
other universities I would revise the old adage to 
say "If you have something you don't want done, give 
it to Professor to do." 

But this is a matter about which I hope to get 
around to writing in another context. Concerning 
your question I would say that those who perform 
at the strenuous level could do even more if it 


MoGauhey: were not for inescapable Ineffioiencies in the 

The tendency for the University, I'm afraid, 
is to get over-organized. Just as the whole 
profession of engineering is over-organized. I 
belong to, at least, fifteen organizations each 
one of which seems to be legitimate and to serve 
a purpose. But these in themselves consume quite 
a bit of time Just being in them and participating 
in the profession as a practitioner of the 

Within the University, of course, we have a 
tremendous number of committees. Everything is 
done by committees. And committees move like 
glaciers, you know, to begin with. Although in 
the end I think the committee system comes up with 
some very sound conclusions, it nevertheless takes 
an awful lot of peoples' time. 

The department chairman or the division chair 
man is at the receiving end of paper chutes from a 
considerable number of administrative sources. The 
administrator spends his full time in generating 
paper and has the prerogative of sending It along 
down the line. However, It gets hung up on his 
desk, so by the time it goes down to the department 
It Is already due back in the chancellor's office. 

The bigger the University gets, in my opinion, 
the more administratively top heavy it gets. And 
the more administration you have, the more people 
who are employed to generate paper. And this paper 
has to go somewhere. And a lot of it has to go 
down to the level of departments. Then quite often 
the paper demands, or at least requests that the 
chairman come up with an opinion of the department. 
The department chairman is expected to speak for 
the department. And then when you try to speak for 
sixty people, you have to get them together. This 
is physically Impossible because of the percentage 
who are presenting learned papers, or are In Europe, 
at any given moment. Moreover, it Is intellectually 
impossible as well because their capacity for 
disagreement is expanded by Indignation over what 
the paper requests of them. The best the chairman 


McGauhey: can do Is to appoint some more committees at the 
department level. And we end up with committees 
dealing with curriculum, for example, at the 
division level, at the department level, at the 
college level, at the University, or at least at 
the campus level, and the state-wide level. And 
it takes a lot of time, consumes a lot of energy, 
and its cost-effectiveness is too frightening to 

Yet I don't see exactly how one might run a 
teaching operation by Just going off in a vacuum 
with students and teaching them, particularly in 
this area of environmental control. What are we 
going to teach them, particularly in, a graduate 
school? We really don't have much to teach in 
engineering unless we participate in research and 
in the profession. The alternative is to do as 
they do in some undeveloped countries: the 
professor Just recites the notes which he took 
when he was in college. What we know of environ 
mental control becomes obsolete pretty fast. In 
the fast-moving world we have today, scientific 
and engineering as well as social, the cultural 
changes are so rapid that it becomes absolutely 
necessary that a professor be doing something in 
research. Also he must be having some contact 
with people because you can do only what people 
will let you do. So, again there's no use for 
research on things that have no relevance at all 
to what humanity wants or will accept. 

Therefore, Just to be sufficiently informed 
to teach or lead a class at the graduate level 
in a modern context makes it necessary that a man 
be pretty active on all fronts in his field. 

Chall: I would think there would be some way to cut some 
place along the line. But I suppose only the people 
in the field would be able to analyze this. 

McGauhey: I don't know how to go about cutting it. I know 
some people who say "Well, I Just can't do it. 
You'll Just have to get somebody else." But much 
of the reputation of the University depends upon a 
man doing his Job. Sometimes he is motivated by 
the old dog in the manger concept. Sometimes you 
have to do something because the penalty for not 

MoGauhey: doing it is for somebody else to do it. And that 
somebody else isn't going to do it the way you 
want it done. Or is going to do it and get the 
rewards . 

Then, this may be kind of a negative approach, 
but nevertheless, if the University wants to have 
a world-wide reputation or a national reputation 
or any kind of a reputation for excellence, it has 
to do two things. It has to do those things that 
result in it getting credit and it has to surround 
itself, or at least staff itself, with people who 
do more than an ordinary amount of thinking and 
turn out more than an ordinary amount of product 
And this is one of the tasks that one comes up 
against in administering at a departmental level, 
or at least that the administration comes up 
against when it is thinking about what is a proper 
teaching load in view of the other activities that 
go along with making teaching relevant. 

One of the things they come up against is the 
question of whether a man who's doing his Job and 
doing it well is Justified in putting an appreciable 
amount of energy into other activities outside the 
University, if they don't directly contribute to the 
stature of the University. This often comes up 
in relation to consulting activities. One professor 
Justifies his activities on the rationale, "Well, 
I'm doing a good Job." But "good" isn't good enough 
for an excellent university. We have to do a little 
better than the ordinary good Job. 

I've always contended that if we hire people 
of greater than normal capacity, then the University 
has a right to expect greater than normal production 
from them, and in turn greater than normal, or 
greater than average, at least, reputation as a 
result of this. This is an area that is hard to 
deal with, and yet it is something that we have to 
think about. 

Chall: It's a standard that you set, Isn't it? 

McGauhey: Yes. You have to set the standards high, and then 
get high-quality men to staff this kind of an 



Chall: I don't know about the students in the engineering 
departments, but in other areas of the University 
they've been upset with the faot that in their 
undergraduate years, at least, they aren't dealing 
with the major minds of the department, because 
the professors are doing their research and working 
with graduate students. Is this a problem that 
you have had to contend with? 

MoGauheyi I've not had to contend with it in the Department 

of Civil Engineering and in the College of Engineering 
where the classes are not so large. There 've been, 
certainly, oases where individual professors were 
hard to get to, but this I don't think is really a 
bad situation. I don't think I know of any students 
who've had difficulty getting to see the professor 
if they really want to. The big problem is to get 
them to come around, at least before they get into 
so much trouble nobody can help them. 

Chall: Get the students to come around, you mean? 

MoGauhey: Yes. Before they're beyond help. I don't think we 
have too much of a problem there. It is true that 
the professors largely work with graduate students, 
but on the other hand, half of our people are 
graduate students, and a lot of that working with 
them is in a research area. 

The real problem with the undergraduate occurs 
when classes are very large. I was Just talking 
with Rolf Ellasson of Stanford a few moments ago. 
He had a class, "Man in his Environment 1 * with four 
hundred people in it. But he kept an open door, 
and they came through that door, and he's taken all 
summer to try to recover. Spring quarter was a 
strenuous activity I [Laughter] 

Where there are large classes there are often 
numerous teaching assistants involved. The student 
can't get past the TA to see the professor, or may 
Justly feel that the professor is someone that 
appears in the huge lecture hall beyond the resolving 
power of the human eye. We don't have much teaching 


McGauhey: done in engineering in fact we don't have any 

teaching done in civil engineering that I've ever 
come across that was done by teaching assistants. 
Their task in our organization is to take the 
problem sets and grade them, not necessarily to 
put a final grade on them, Just criticize them, 
and go into the detail of writing on the margins 
what the student overlooked, or did wrong. In 
my classes, at least, the TA used solutions that 
I provided. 

I used to tell them, "I only ask you the kind 
of questions I can answer myself. I only give you 
the kind of problems I can work. Therefore, it 
shouldn't be too hard." Sometimes the student 
found that I made an error. I always liked this to 
happen because it made for good relations with 
students when I came to class with the confession 
that I had goofed, then distributed the correct 
solution, and upped the grades of those who had it 
right. I had the teaching assistants in my class 
pass the student's problem solutions through my 
office for final grading. In general these teaching 
assistants hold office hours, and if the student 
wants to know, what did you mean by this what's 
this you're criticizing here then he goes first to 
the teaching assistant. But the teaching assistant 
then, if it's a matter of context, refers him to 
the professor. This way you can get a lot of the 
underbrush chopped, out, you might say, without 
wasting manpower on the problems or detail that 
isn't necessary. 

But then where teaching assistants are leading 
in laboratory experiments, the professor is on hand. 
He may not be standing right there, but he's in the 
vicinity, so that the teaching assistant is largely 
manning the machines or saving the equipment. 

We don't have any real cause for widespread 
complaint of mishandling of teaching of our own 
students. But it is different when these students 
go to other departments, particularly engineers or 
scientists going to a humanities department. The 
people In the humanities are, understandably, 
concerned to teach their graduate students. So if 
they get five hundred in one class, of people from 
a group like engineering, it is awfully easy to take 


MoGauhey: the attitude: "Well, these fellows are unteachable 
anyway or they wouldn't be taking engineering. 
They'd be over here studying under us if they were 
interested in this field." And so, they pass them 
down the line to a teaching assistant. If they 
didn't pass them down the line, they wouldn't have 
manpower enough to teach them anyway. 

In many classes the lectures have been given 
by the professor to two or three or four or five 
hundred students. Then to measure any of the impact 
on the student, the professor simply cannot do it. 
He has to have some subcontractors to work with 
smaller groups to evaluate the impact. Sometimes 
they call these quiz sections, or discussion sections, 
or recitation sections with years, the terminology 
has changed. This approach brings the high-level 
professor into view, but the students never get close 
to him. Even at best even if students would sit 
in the front row, which they don't like to do they 
would not get very close to him. 

And I don't think this is any reflection on 
the integrity of the professor. -It's Just that if 
the University is going to accept mass teaching, 
this is one of the evils of it. If we're not going 
to have mass teaching, then we have to make a far 
greater investment in facilities and staff. Either 
we have to go for greater Investment or limited 
enrollment. We can't hire a Nobel Prize winner for 
every twenty students. We get at Berkeley far more 
prize winners than the normal university. But if 
we had hired all the talent in the world Just to 
teach five hundred students, it would take a lot of 
money and a lot of recruiting to get these people 
all to work on one group in one university. 

Objectives of Education 

Chall: Partly a problem of size then? 

MoGauhey: It's partly a problem of size and, of course, an 
objective. And I'm not, personally, too worried 
about the fact that some of these people are working 
in large classes as long as they're confronted with 


MoGauhey: a professor that challenges them to think and get 

interested in the subject. Certainly for engineers, 
with the time they have to spend on it, are not 
going to become economists, or philosphers, or 
historians by attending undergraduate classes. The 
need is to get them interested enough to study these 
subjects in the years ahead. 

There's some who say and I concur with them 
that, "The educated man is an old man. 11 So if we 
are going to get them educated, the first thing is 
to get them interested because no one is going to 
sit and hold their hand all their lives. They've 
got to become interested. And it's this challenge 
that awakes an interest and opens an avenue. If the 
student gets the feel of how to follow this avenue 
he may go on to become educated in that area. If 
he doesn't follow it, the impact of his attending 
class the half life of human knowledge being what 
it is is probably pretty small. 

I feel that in engineering we've done a good 
Job of teaching. It may have involved a lot of 
unsolved problems. We've had to work at solving 
them as we went along Just as the rest of the 
educational world has. 

One of those problems is the objectives of the 
course or of the entire program. What do we erpect 
to achieve if we are successful in our educational 
effort? In engineering, I think, it would be almost 
necessary to say that we expect a student to have 
learned enough about the fundamentals that he can 
go ahead and develop, as the knowledge of fundamentals 
develops, without someone to guide him. And enough, 
perhaps, guidance in those courses that you can't 
learn Just by sitting down and reading. 

In my lifetime I've only known one chap who 
was born knowing differential equations. And he, 
by the way, is one of the men who designed the 
Feather River Dam. He was a classmate of mine who 
never bothered to get a degree because he already 
knew so much about it by the time he started that 
it was hardly worthwhile waiting around. 

Generally most of us need some guidance. But 
in the case of some other fields or some other 


MoGauhey: subject matter, a person by individual studies can 
learn a great deal about it and become an expert 
in it if he gets that first excitement of interest 
in it. Excitement of interest is the reason for 
some of our courses. Even though they may be 
poorly taught, as long as that doesn't drive the 
student away from it, it has served a purpose in 
generating interest in some facet of our society. 

When I was in high school it was, of course, 
normal for everyone either to have to take Latin 
or think pretty fast how to get out of it. But 
there was no way to get out of reading Shakespeare. 
I am persuaded that if any of the high school 
students had the slightest idea what Shakespeare 
was talking about, the authorities would have banned 
it. This would have caused all students to read 
Shakespeare and the lives of many more would have 
been enriched. But high school English actually 
did more to keep people from reading Shakespeare 
than any other particular activity. And largely I 
say because no one (well, perhaps I shouldn't say 
no one), but in general, students didn't have the 
slightest idea what was going on in Shakespeare's 
plays . 

Challt Bet the teachers didn't either. 

MoGauhey: That I'd buy, too, in several instances I could cite. 



The Philosophy of Consultat ion 

MoGauhey: We were talking the other day about this matter of 
outside consulting. 

Challt Yes. I did want to talk to you about your various 
consultations because I know you've done a great 
deal of it around the country and abroad even. 

McGauhey: Perhaps we ought to begin with the matter of philosophy 
of consulting. When I was starting out in teaching 
there weren't many opportunities for consulting 
and we had bigger teaching loads than now seem 
feasible to professors. But even at that time the 
philosophy pervaded the academic world that a professor 
ought to do some outside work, whether during the 
summer or on a consulting basis, so that he kept in 
contact with the engineering profession. To this 
end there were attempts from time to time to set up 
financing so that one might take a leave to do some 
outside work. 

However, I was in a bit more fortunate situation. 
When I started teaching at Virginia Tech, the civil 
engineering department did all the engineering for 
the campus. This included everything from roads, 
and streets, and grading, and some building design, 
to design, construction, and operation of the waste- 
water treatment plant and the water supply. So I 
had all of this kind of experience working with 
contractors, and drilling wells, and doing a good 
many things, aside from outside consulting. It was 
thought at that time and I still hold to the notion, 
that the young professor often tries to get into 


MoGauhey: consulting too soon. He may have nothing to sell, 
and he may dilute the efforts that would lead to 
his advancement, or to his development as a 
professional man and a teacher, and moreover, he 
runs the risk of letting consulting fees get into 
his standard of living and so eventually give too 
much attention to consulting. 

I started from the very beginning not letting 
any money I got for consulting become Involved in 
my standard of living. I put it in what I called 
"The MoGauhey Foundation, 11 which was generally broke 
but mainly used for buying my wife's ticket when we 
traveled. So it never got into a situation where 
I had to keep up this kind of thing. I did some 
consulting on several Jobs in my early years with 
the mining industry and with the city of Chicago 
in hydrology. At that time they were going to bxiild 
a sunken freeway and didn't know whether it would 
fill up with water or not during heavy rains. So 
they had some of us in as hydrologlsts to deal with 
that question. 

Most of my consulting work I began after I 
reached the full professor grade. I did some con 
sulting when I was in Southern California. I did 
a bit in Virginia. But most of it since I've been 
at the University of California. The consulting 
that I've done overseas was largely upon assignment 
by the University itself. 

Some of the Assignments 


MoGauhey: The first trip I took overseas was to Kuwait with 

the British Petroleum, the Kuwait Oil Company half 
British Petroleum and half an American company. In 
this particular situation the British had set up a 
city, ten years previously, in which they had built 
all of the utilities and were responsible for their 
management. They wanted to see, ten years later, 
the outcome of their program of water distillation 


MoGauhey: from the ocean, their solid waste disposal system, 
the wastewater disposal system, some unique 
problems they have there related to files, and 
general public health engineering problems. So I 
went over there with the consent of the University. 
The University thought this was something that 
one of Its staff might well be doing to the credit 
of the University. So they let me go there for a 
month and I had a rather interesting experience. 

Chall: Just you? 

MoGauhey I went with Professor Bruce from Kings College in 

London. But Professor Bruce had to leave before it 
was over, due to some problems with his family, 
and I ended up writing the report and taking all 
the people who had been good to me out to dinner 
for which, incidentally, the oil company ultimately 
paid I [Laughs] 

Chall: Were you paid for this by the University? 

MoGauhey: No, I was paid by the oil company but the University 
let me keep that as extra pay because of the nature 
of the request and nature of the assignment. They 
felt that it was to the advantage of the University 
for one of its staff to get this kind of experience. 

Chall: How had the works shown up at the end of the ten 
year period? Were they in pretty good shape? 

MoGauhey: Well, some very interesting things happened. One 

is, that Beohtel had built a whole new oil facility 
at Mina Al Ahmad! and the old oil lines that were 
submerged and went out to where the ships would 
anchor, were still there. They used them for sewers 
and dumped the sewage from the city of Ahmad! into 
the Persian Gulf. 

Chall: Untreated? 

MoGauhey: Untreated. But big clams, six inches across, soon 
moved Into these outfall lines and clogged them up. 
When one would get clogged they'd out it off upstream 
from the clams, then the clams would move in again. 
By the time I got there they were dumping sewage 
right at the tide line. 


MoGauhey: Of course this was a pretty touchy political 
situation because some of the sheiks had their 
summer places along the head of the Persian Gulf, 
Just a few hundred yards away. While they weren*t 
particularly worried about the water quality there 
was always the possibility, politically, that they 
might say, "Ours may be a backward country but even 
we want better standards than this. Obviously 
you're Just here to exploit our oil." Such an 
eventuality would mean trouble and the oil company 
didn't want to be the cause of trouble. 

We made a float right away to see where all 
this waste water was going in the Gulf. We put 
out some big oil drums as floats at the discharge 
point of the sewer and followed them by boat. They 
floated out into the Gulf and then turned around 
and came right back into the boat harbor and up to 
the intake of the pumps that pump water into the sea 
water distillation plant. It did no harm. The 
sheik himself had three yachts in the same harbor 
and they dump all their wastes right into the basin. 
But it was quite politically difficult and environ 
mentally undesirable. 

One of the most interesting things, if I may 
Just digress to tell you this: We went out of town 
to a place which was called Raudatain which was 
sixty miles north of Ahmadi near the Shattal Arab 
where the Tigris and Euphrates come together. They 
were going to build a pumping station there to 
deliver oil from a new oil field to the wharf at 
Mina. The problem was to keep about two hundred men 
housed for operating this pumping station way out 
in the desert. Of course, the Arabs being family- 
minded, this meant that there would be about 1200 
people and no one knows how many goats and donkeys 
at the site. But we could supply water for that. 
The question of what to do with waste water was 
simply answered in terms of our culture. Just pipe 
it downwind out into the desert a mile and tell it 
to get lost. 

Well in Arabia this is no answer at all because 
if we were to do this the Bedouins will spring up 
overnight around it with their donkeys and goats. 
In Islam all of the spiritual wastes as well as 
the physiological ones are associated with sewage. 


MoGauhey: Thus It is a somewhat more fearsome material than 
even we think it is. So as soon as the Bedoua 
found out that this was waste water, they would 
consider it an indignity that the infidel would not 
be permitted to impose upon the faithful and so 
raise a lot of fuss. If we put a fence around the 
wastewater pond then, these being unlettered people, 
would take the attitude that here in this country 
where there is no water, the confounded infidel 
fences us away from the water. So the common 
engineering answer was no answer at all. We Just 
had to keep it under control and treat it and use it 
for irrigating trees to make a windbreak because 
there was no way to get rid of it. [Laughs] 

This was some of the kind of things that I 
learned there and which Americans haven't always 
learned as soon as they should that things we do 
have to be culturally acceptable and may have very 
little to do with a simple engineering answer. It 
may not be an answer at all. 

Challt When were you in Kuwait? 
McGauhey: That was in 1958* as I recall. 

Chall: How were the problems of pollution in the Persian 
Gulf resolved? 

MoGauhey t I must admit that I really don't know. At the time 
I left there were alternate plans. One was to 
exclude from the sewer the sea water that was used 
in Ahmad! for cooling air conditioning units. This 
was to make the sewage low enough in chlorides to 
respond to normal biological treatment. The treated 
effluent was then to be used by the oil company to 
irrigate tamarisk trees as windbreaks. Windbreaks 
are quite useful there because during certain seasons 
sandstorms may turn day into night, and both day 
and night into nightmares. 

The alternative was to settle the sewage to 
remove solids and chlorinate the effluent, discharging 
it further out into the gulf. These ideas were well 
received by the oil company at the time. However, 
the oil business being what it is, or was, oilmen 
plunge from high optimism into darkest gloom if the 



Chall : 


Chall : 
MoGauhey : 

price of oil drops one-tenth cent per barrel. Gloom 
descended soon after I left and I later heard that 
nothing was done. Then later again I heard that 
ohlorlnatlon was being practiced. After that I lost 
touch with the situation, hence I really don't know 
the outcome. 

The only thing I know of the consequences of 
this venture Is that I was deeply Impressed, with 
the need for understanding the social and cultural 
aspects of the other country before attempting to 
apply U.S. technology to Its problems. I attempted 
to bring this fact home to students thereafter. If 
I was successful it Justified, perhaps, the 
University's judgment that some educational good 
would come from letting me go. 

With respect to the problem of treating waste water 
at the pumping station at Raudataln, would we, today, 
not look upon this as an impossible thing, now that 
we are reclaiming waste water? 

Well, the possibility exists. But it is still 
difficult right here In California and in the West 
where water is scarce it is still difficult to 
overcome the psychological association of water with 
waste. I've often suggested that this won't last 
forever and have pointed out in some of my writings 
that one would hardly hesitate to eat oatmeal hauled 
in a freight oar because the freight oar had once 
hauled a load of fertilizer. I contend that water 
is the same kind of thing. It is a transport system. 
We don't have to throw away the freight car Just 
because we hauled something in It. We unload it and 
we have the water back again. This is what waste- 
water treatment is all about. I think it will become 
acceptable, but at the present it is, for reasons 
of social and cultural attitudes, and also because 
of some of our uncertainties about the virus problem, 
not suited to direct reuse. We prefer to put it 
underground and let it lose identity. 

But they are using it in Santee now. 
ground but also for recreation. 

It is under- 

That's true. It is put into the ground and brought 
back out again for recreational use and Irrigation. 



Chall: By the same token, It might make some of the desert 
bloom in the Middle East. 

MoGauhey: Well, they are doing a lot in Israel. I went, by 
the way, to Israel on a consulting tour. 

Ghalli You did? When was that? 

McGauhey: That was let me make sure what year it was because 
the half-life of human memory being what it is 
the past loses clarity. It was in the summer of 
1963 that I went to Israel. By that time the 
University had changed my payroll status and ruled 
that I was on a nine months appointment. I was paid 
a stipend for being director and I interpreted that, 
personally, as being compensation for staying here 
on the Job except for a month's vacation, although 
that was not the strict interpretation of the 

So I went over on the Invitation of the AID 
the State Department in response to a request from 
the Israeli government for someone who knew something 
about groundwater recharge or the use of reclaimed 
water for groundwater recharge, and worked there 
with the Tahal, which is the Israeli semi-government 
organization for water resources. 

This was also an interesting assignment and 
I prepared a report for AID before I left. I found 
there that they were using waste water everywhere 
to great advantage. They were using it for irrigation, 
particularly of crops that weren't to be eaten raw 
or green. Their standards of sanitation were 
inherited from us, I guess. Certainly they are the 
equal of ours. But they were not letting any water 
go to waste if they didn't have to and they were 
really making orange groves, and alfalfa, all manner 
of crops, bloom beautifully. So that was one of the 
Interesting overseas assignments. 

Chall: You found that they were doing a great deal with a 
computer there, too, in terms of when the water was 
going to be used? 


McGauhey: Oh yes. 

Chall: I've heard that they were advancing their computer 
technology for this purpose. 

MoGauhey: They were certainly aware of it and alert and 
using it. 


McGauhey: In 1965, I went to India on an assignment for the 
University. The University of California was one 
of nine universities In a consortium to establish 
an engineering school the Indian Institute of 
Technology at Kanpur. I went overseas again with 
AID sponsorship through the University to look 
over the programs in sanitary and public health 
engineering in institutions in India and to discuss 
with agencies that hire graduates from these schools, 
what they would do with a graduate if they had one, 
and ultimately to help decide whether it was 
appropriate to establish a public health engineering 
program at I.I.T. Kanpur. 

I spent twenty-one days, flying by night and 
working by day, in the monsoon season, visiting 
institutions throughout India. Then the rest of 
the seven week tour I spent In the institute itself 
at Kanpur. I also looked at the sanitary installa 
tions around the country and found again some 
interesting and difficult cultural problems. One 
of the situations with the difference in attitude 
toward fresh water between myself and the villagers. 
At one village the World Health Organization had 
built a water well and put a pump on it. Nobody 
objected to this. People who lived close to it 
were perfectly happy to use It, but those who were 
150 feet away would Just come out with a brass bowl 
and dip water out of a mud hole a cow was standing 
In. They didn't think it worthwhile to bother to go 
to the well. 


MoGauhey: It developed that the fresh water from the 

pump ran out alongside a narrow road, and the head 
master of the village finally demanded that the 
WHO build a concrete channel about forty or fifty 
feet long to carry this water away from the site 
of the well to essentially nowhere; but this was 
what he wanted. World Health was trying to show 
how cheaply a village could build a well and this 
ran up the cost. 

However the rationale was interesting: it was 
that before the well was built they only had a mud 
hole in the street during the rainy season. But now 
that they had a well, they had a mud hole all year 
round I Well the road was only about eight feet wide 
and right below the site was a grassy slope that 
led into a pond. People were in the pond everyday 
washing their water buffalo as we might wash an 
automobile. The spillage at this well being fresh 
water, I said, "Why don't we Just put a tube under 
the road here and let this water run down into the 
pond. " 

The answer was, "Ah, but this was not permitted. 11 
I attempted to find out who would not permit it. 
There was a vague notion that it was the Ministry 
of Health. Going over India I never did get an 
answer until finally I was talking with one of my 
former students who was high up in the Indian govern 
ment and a very fine and able engineer who had done 
graduate study here in Berkeley. He said, "What 
we're trying to tell you is that we never have done 
it and by golly we are not going tol" 

So working in that kind of circumstance, in 
what I would call a culture-bound society, one has 
to do things in a different fashion than an impatient 
American might do in our particular cultural framework. 

Chall: Is it possible to solve some of these problems in 

health while using water in the old traditional ways? 

McGauhey: I am worried about the possibility of doing anything 
very rapidly in India. It is difficult to get 
anyone to take responsibility. If one takes responsi 
bility then someone has something on him. Because 
there is lots of manpower in India, a great deal of 
work involves Just passing papers from one person to 


MoGauhey: another and it takes a long time to accomplish 
anything. So I don't know about solving its 
problem of basic sanitation. 

In one village I visited World Health had built 
a device for making an Eastern type toilet. It 
was made of burlap and Portland cement in two 
sections which could be put together and installed 
with two pits in the ground. One pit was used for 
about a year; then a curved clay pipe which drained 
into it was Just flipped over to deliver wastes to 
the other pit for another year or so. This whole 
installation could be made for seven rupees, which 
was about $!.**? at that time. A village industry 
had been established and was making these devices. 
The problem was to get anyone to use them. To 
Induce the people to use it WHO got the village 
headmaster, who was comparable to our mayor, and 
who was interested in this industry to install it. 
They installed it out in the compound behind his 
house. But people normally accustomed to seek the 
fields, took the attitude, why go over to that 
thing when I am right here. When I visited the 
place the toilet obviously had never been used. It 
could be flushed with Just a half gallon of water 
poured from a can; but the can looked like red lace. 
It had rusted out without ever having been used, 
Just sitting there in the weather. 

So WHO had some psychologists try to find out 
why people didn't use the facility. Well, they 
learned that the Hindu (or at least some branch of 
that philosophy), if he went to the toilet under a 
cover, that is with a roof over his head, must 
immediately change all his garments. Having only 
one garment, this was quite obviously an impractical 
routine. So this precluded his use of it. 

Then the clincher on the whole thing was that 
the women seek the fields at night and it Is a 
social occasion; and they weren't about to have 
their social life disrupted because some boob in 
the United States thought they ought to have this 
kind of a facility. This is what the sociologists 
reported to us; this Is the reason they couldn't 
get the simplest sanitation program going. Well, 
some 80 percent of India's vast number of people 
live in 30,000 villages, and sanitation and the 


MoGauheyz attitudes toward, it don't move out into these 

villages as they do into the cities. One of the 
reasons is that when the people that we educate 
here go back home they want to live in the city. 
They don't want to go out in the village. So the 
brains are stacked up in the city and not out where 
they are most needed. 

Chall: Is the incidence of disease greater in the villages 
under these conditions than it is in the cities? 
Certainly it would be more dangerous in the cities 
if you didn't have proper sanitary facilities? 

McGauhey: Yes, a great deal more so, because waste water is 

collected in the principal cities, albeit discharged 
after some treatment which may break down or be 
poorly operative but nevertheless it is concentrated 
at some point of discharge rather than left where 
one could come in contact with bare feet or where 
it will go into a well. For example, in the country 
one of the problems with the wells is that they are 
open at the top. Initially the water in a dug well 
may be clean. But poor people there live essentially 
in two dimensions. They squat on the ground and 
they have all their possessions there upon the 
ground. Among these possessions is a rope and a 
bucket for pulling up water. This rope is thrown 
on the ground where animal manure and human wastes 
abound. When water is needed they tie the rope to 
the bucket, stand with their toes over the edge of 
the well, and throw this bucket into the well and 
pull it up again. It doesn't take many of these 
trips to get water before the well is contaminated. 

Such pollution is eliminated in the city by a 
simple water treatment plant, albeit the same people 
that run the treatment plant do not operate the 
distribution system. So a city may be very proud 
that its water is chlorinated and fit to drink at 
the plant, but you may still have to boll it to drink 
it downtown. For this the treatment people disclaim 
responsibility. Their pride Is in producing the 
water, not delivering it because that is somebody 
else's responsibility. If it didn't get there fit 
to drink, don't look at me. So there's some problems 
of organization. 


MoGauhey: But In the city the health is a whole lot 

better among the people who are not extremely poor. 
Of course in Calcutta, which is notoriously bad, 
a lot of people are in what we would consider 
pretty abject poverty. When the temperature drops 
five degrees, thousands of people may die of 
pneumonia. They are Just that close to the border 
line. So what we can do over there is uncertain. 
My hopes were, and they are partially being fulfilled 
in the Institute, that we could get a graduate 
school in which the problems of the East could be 
dealt with by Easterners, or by people with their 
education finished in the United States or Britain 
or some other country. Then with the kind of 
education and the qualifications necessary to be a 
professor in one of our universities, they could 
teach students the kind of thing that we can't 
teach them here how to achieve basic sanitation. 
In the U.S. basic sanitation is taken for granted. 
We have highly diversified engineering organizations, 
and we have the possibility of a considerable 
specialty area in engineering education. Being 
highly mechanized we naturally teach our student 
how to function in an industrialized society. In 
the U.S. school neither we nor the foreign student 
learns what the foreign student needs at home. 

Chall: I suppose that in any country of this kind where 
they have their own culture, it would be always 
better if you could get well-trained people, and 
let them handle the problems in terms of their 

McGauhey: Well this is why I hold great store for IIT at 
least what its prospect is. There we could give 
graduate courses dealing with the kind of things 
that those countries need. They don't need experts 
in activated sludge treatment. They don't need 
to know how to build a South Tahoe plant that 
kind of thing or a reclamation plant, because that 
is not the problem. We can't do very much to meet 
the needs of the student that comes here. He Just 
has to fit in with ours and study the kinds of things 
that our students, graduates, will be doing in the 
United States. 



Chall : 

Chall : 


I asked my former students in India about the 
result of this useless educational experience. 
They told me one of three things happens. The 
student may go back, and when he can get no Job 
doing the kind of thing that we have educated him 
to do here, he is frustrated and unhappy. To avoid 
this he may Just decide to forget it all, to go 
back where he was and erase it out of his mind. Or 
third., he may be so unwilling to recognize his own 
shortcomings and like many humans try to pass the 
buck to somebody else, and so end up with a lasting 
hatred for the country that educated him. 

And disoriented him to his own culture. 

What we do so much, not by design but by inadvertence, 
is to disorient students to their own culture and 
so they either don't want to go back, or going back 
are unhappy. If we could set up an institute arid 
this is what our dream was at Kanpur if we could set 
up an organization or an institute that would 
educate people for their own culture or for the 
culture of the Southwest, it would be a good thing. 
Happily a good deal of that is going on in Bangkok 
at SEATO's graduate school there. 

3EATO Graduate School? 
SEATO governments? 

You mean it is run by the 

Yes. We have one of our former professors of civil 
engineering there, John Hugh Jones. He went to 
Bangkok for a couple of years and has stayed on now 
for more than ten years. He stayed, and I hear from 
him occasionally through people who travel by. He 
likes it very much. 

We are achieving some of these more appropriate 
goals out in Hawaii also at the East-West Center. 
There we are educating people of a Polynesian back 
ground to deal with the problems of the South Pacific, 
You don't send a red-headed Irishman there to tell 
the natives how to do their business. They have a 
unique approach and they will use things they make 
themselves and won't use things you make and give 
to them. It is far better to have somebody who 
looks more like them than my sending a red-headed 


Chall: You're right. It has taken us about a quarter of 
a century to arrive at this conclusion though, 
hasn't It? 

McGauheyr Yes. America's missionary spirit dies hard. 
Chall: Your wife went with you to India? 
McGauhey: Yes. 

Chall: So you were able to travel as a tourist as well as 
a visiting and working professor. 

iYIcGauhey: My wife traveled with me as a tourist and I went on 
a working assignment. We had with us a young man in 
India. One of my assignments was to observe this 
young man who they had in mind for an assistant 
professorship at IIT, Kanpur, and decide whether 
he was suitable for PhD work in the United States. 
He was one of my traveling companions and was 
extremely intelligent. On my favorable report AID 
sent him to Berkeley. He got his doctorate with 
us and went back to teach at IIT. His name is Guru 
Dass Agrawal. He made straight A's in his work here 
and managed to live through two years with us. How, 
I do not know, because he insisted on walking right 
up the middle of the street Just like he did in 
India. Coming to my house he had several narrow 
escapes, but [laughing] nevertheless lived. He got 
back to India. 


McGauhey: The other overseas work that I've done as a con 
sultant was paid for by the Ford Foundation, but 
here again the University was Involved. It sent 
me and Dean Whinnery [John R. ] down to the Catholic 
University of Chile in Santiago. I was there for 
five weeks (and my wife was with me) to determine 
whether that university had the potential to make 
real educational use of funds they had applied for 
from the foundation. It did, indeed, have the 
potential and several of its staff came here to 
Berkeley on an exchange basis and got their advanced 

McGauhey: degrees. Unfortunately, under the present (Allende) 
government things have happened. I don't know the 
full story except that some of the professors I 
knew left the country the day of the election. 

Challi Is that right? Is this an on-going useful institution 
for the country? 

MoGauhey: Oh yes. It is a long established university with 
a good engineering school and it got more money 
after that original grant and developed very well. 
Under the present political regime, I don't know 
what the status of the university may be. But it 
was a very pleasant assignment. Chile is a delightful 
country. It was the one in South America that I 
held a great deal of hope for. If they survive 
this present regime my hope will be revived, I think, 
because they are very fine people living in a fine 

Santiago is in a valley Just about as far south 
of the equator as Paso Robles is north. It is Peru, 
and Ecuador, and Columbia, and Bolivia that you get 
into the high country. In Chile there is some high 
mountains in the south. I've been there in the lake 
country. It is certainly beautiful and even I can 
catch trout there. 

Lake Tahoe 

Chall: What about your consulting work at Lake Tahoe? 

McGauhey: That is some of the kind of consulting I've gone 
into since I retired. But along the way I did a 
good many small, one-day Jobs. I did take on, in 
1961, the Lake Tahoe Area Council task as chairman 
of a board of consultants which set forth a rather 
unique approach to an engineering study and helped 
guide this study by a consulting engineer. Professor 
Pearson and I, and Professor Rohlioh from Wisconsin 
comprised the board through most of its tenure. At 
the beginning Professor Eliasson from Stanford was 
on it. 


McGauhey : 

McGauhey : 

MoGauhey : 

McGauhey : 

McGauhey : 

Chall : 
MoGauhey : 

After the engineering study was completed in 

we got some money from the then Water 
Pollution Control Administration, now the Environ 
mental Protection Agency, to continue some studies 
of water quality. I did that as a part-time 
consultant a day or so a month, probably was about 
what it amounted to. That was what I got paid for 
anyway. But both Professor Pearson and I did a lot 
of work at Tahoe as a public service. 

This was federal? 

Federal, yes. After a year or so the Peds decided 
not to allow consultant fees in the council's 
budget. That left me in the role of project 
director. But I have sufficient interest to put 
in quite a lot of public service work and get paid 
for a few days a year. 

Now you are project director of what? 
Tahoe, right? 

This is Lake 

Project director on demonstration grants to the 
Lake Tahoe Area Council which I help generate. 


Yes. The project was entitled "Eutrophioatlon of 
Surface Waters, Lake Tahoe. " There we added a 
parallel one which has the same title but involves 
Indian Creek Reservoir. That is where the treated 
waste water from South Tahoe is impounded for 
recreational purposes and used for irrigation. The 
prospect is that that project will continue this 
coming year (1972); so 1*11 still be involved with 
that for another year anyway. 

You're not involved, in consultation and decision 
about the so-called General Plan at Lake Tahoe? 

I've had some Interviews with those people and have 
written for the press on it and probably will go 
Friday on to one of these TV shows to discuss it. 

This Friday? 

Yes. But it isn't a problem that can be solved by 


McGauhey: the kind of thing we're doing in LTAC. The problem 

there is one of what is done to the land. Ultimately 
the damage that is done to the land is reflected 
back in water quality. One can't stand down at the 
water's edge and say, "Don't chop down that tree 
because here comes the pollution. " It is a longer 
term problem and there is no hope that by looking 
at water quality we can control what's done to the 
land. I have told the reporter for the Sacramento 
Bee in an article they published the other day, 
and I probably will, on Friday, say on television 
that the way the land is being torn up it won't be 
a suitable environment for a lake, regardless of 
whether it is blue, green or brown by the time they 
get through. The quality of the water will be a 
secondary consideration if this becomes the high-rise 
urbanized situation toward which it seems to be 

Chall: But your Job as a consultant is, apparently, to 
look at the water and see what is happening in 
terms of eutrophioation. And the eutrophication, 
as I understand it is based upon the silt. Is that 
part of it? 

McGauhey: Well mainly the fertilizers, the nitrogen and 

Chall: It comes from where? 

MoGauhey: Some of it comes from rain and some of it comes 
from disturbing the soil and from runoff washing 
debris into the lake. These sources produce 
nitrogen concentrations in water about double the 
normal amount that would go in from a wilderness 
area. We have turned out several reports on the 
Lake Tahoe situation, but they are scientific 
reports, rather than political policy statments. 

Chall: You assume that from your scientific reports the 
policy makers will get the message? 

McGauhey: I assume that they'll pay no attention to them 


McGauhey: The original study that the board of consultants 
directed was made by the consulting engineering firm 
of Engineering Science. Harvey Ludwlg, the president, 
you know, was once an associate professor here and 
one of our graduates from the University. This report 
recommended removing waste from the basin as one of 
the alternatives and. made other recommendations 
concerning the collection, and these are being 
carried out. The difficult problem is that there 
are no laws in the United States that constrain 
Americans from using the land largely as they see 
fit. This, of course, is part of the heritage of 
Americans: freeholding and free use of land. So 
we have, as a pollution control measure, attempted to 
overcome that limitation by looking harder and harder 
at the water and putting tighter and tighter standards 
upon its quality. 

The economic pressures at Tahoe are Just the 
same as they are at any other subdivision that's 
part of the situation. The methods of construction 
are essentially taken UP to Tahoe and used the same 
as they would be In Fremont. So we have great 
pressure for subdivisions and to develop the economy 
of the region. The region is unique and it therefore 
should require unique controls and unique construction 
methods with unique planning. But we use the same 
non-unique ones that we use elsewhere and so the 
land is being torn up and it Is being torn ut> in 
great haste now to beat the September 22nd creation 
of a planning agency. This agency may or may not 
prove to be effective but nevertheless, anything that 
is torn up by the time the agency comes into being 
will not be stopped. The result is that developers 
have got everything moving that will move day and 
night, tearing up the basin in a fashion that leads 
me to believe that the loss of the basin will be on 
the land and not in the water. 

They're going to build a lot of marinas and 
concentrate people on the waterfront, and going to get 
a great deal of debris into the water, and the 
impression Is going to be that the water is bad even 
though it is going to take a long time out in the 
middle of the lake before the whole thing Is destroyed. 
By that time, I think or at least I fear, that nobody 
will care much because, as I put it, the basin won't 


McGauhey: be a suitable environment for a lake. 

Chall: Have you any feelings about the regional planning 
agency that was set up by the federal government? 
How is that as a functioning organization? 

MoGauheyi Well, it is not too effective. The principal 
problem is that at the time it was set up the 
County Board of Supervisors had already approved 
all sorts of things and this regional agency then 
elected to say that well, since these supervisors 
approved it then we can't come in now and. disapprove. 
This is the story that has gone on, agency after 
agency. They dream up plans and then nobody pays 
any attention, or immediately gets exceptions. 

The Board of Supervisors of Douglas County 
in Nevada, and Placer County (not quite as bad) in 
California, have a great deal of difficulty in 
bringing themselves to refuse construction that 
broadens the tax base. There is a great deal of 
noise made but when you look at the record you find 
very few things that have ever been proposed that 
haven't been ultimately approved. 

Chall t Just within this last year or two, when they are 
working on the general plan, apparently. 

Do you know Stephen Brandt? Do you care to 
comment on his activities with the League to Save 
Lake Tahoe? 

MoGauhey: I have met and talked with Mr. Brandt and am 

certainly in agreement with the League's objectives. 
I don't know that I am competent to evaluate Mr. 
Brandt's efforts per se because I really do not 
know their bounds. The League, however, has one 
advantage: it can take a definite point of view 
and persist in it. Not being, as I understand, a 
tax-exempt organization, it cannot be intimidated 
by the usual routines by which politicians quiet 
down organizations. One drawback, however, is that 
it is the voice of people who throughout the state 
of California believe that Lake Tahoe should be 
saved for man's esthetic, in contrast with his 
economic, enjoyment. Thus its interests are more 
objective than that of the developers who live in the 


MoGauhey: basin. The Lake Tahoe Area Council oan, of course, 
not entirely team up with the League because it is 
a non-profit membership organization. Because its 
members include people whose financial interests 
are in the basin, it cannot fight its own members. 
That is, its continuance depends upon the retention 
of membership, hence it cannot take action of the 
type that the League might take without merely 
committing suicide. 

The League is confronted by the same phenomena 
that constrain others in the Lake Tahoe area. That 
is, by the time any agency has accommodated two 
states and several counties, its composition includes 
the land developer, the banker who makes real estate 
loans, the procurer for a big investment prospect, 
etc. This insures that what it does may not be very 
radical except that it helps compound the number of 
approvals one has to get to do anything in the 
basin. The individual is confounded by the system 
but the big investor with a thirty billion dollar 
project oan still make his voice heard. 

Chall: Now there are two general plans, one that was laid 

out by the consultants which, I guess, the landowners 
and the South Lake Tahoe City have decided was 

McGauhey: Here is the most recent general plan. 
Chall: Is that Mr. Richard Heikka's? 

MoGauheyi Yes. Well, you see, you paint all the steep land 
and all the tops of the mountains green and say 
that represents recreation. So it makes it look 
like the whole basin is recreational land. 

Chall: I see. But it doesn't show that it might be houses? 

McGauhey: Well, it does show along here [showing the plan], 
at the Incline, and over there the red lines which 
mean high-density residential. They don*t look 
quite as fearsome on this chart as they do if you 
drive along the lake and take a look at it. Not 
only is the lakefront obliterated by buildings, but 
the appearance of these buildings is such an affront 
to the human eye as to warrant redefining architecture 
as the "cult of the ugly." 


MoGauhey: The Lake Tahoe basin is an area where there 
is a lot of work to be done and where a lot of 
things have not been done. It's too bad, really, 
that the federal government did not declare that 
it had. authority there because the lake is inter 
state water. Ten years ago they threatened to do 
this. It's too bad that it did not. Development 
of the land might have been planned so that the 
housing was set baok from the lake and left the 
trees and the waterfront more or less natural. But 
the pressure right now is to build more marinas. 
The pressure to get by the Corps of Engineers at 
the north end of the lake is for the purpose of 
making it possible to build a hundred more condominiums, 
It is not public beach. It is to provide a private 
marina for this many more people. So one can hardly 
be less than somewhat cynical if you look at Tahoe 
through the eyes of one who thinks of it as a national 
asset that ought to be maintained as something of 
national importance. 

Wastewater Treatment 

MoGauhey * Some of the other consulting work that I have done 

has been less continuous than the Tahoe study. Some 
of It extends over a year or two but may only 
involve a day now and. then. At the present time, 
since I've retired, I've taken on Jobs In the 
District of Columbia. 

Chall: What are you doing there? 

MoGauhey: This was on wastewater treatment, as a special 

consultant to the District, to review engineering 
plans as they were developed. Right now I am doing 
essentially the same thing on a somewhat smaller 
scale for the City of San Francisco. 

I am also consultant to the City of Esoondido 
in San Diego on a similar project, and a number of 
projects with a good many of our graduates over at 
Bechtel Corporation, and Brown and Caldwell, 
Consulting Engineers. These are specific projects 
on the San Francisco Bay wastewater disposal. 


Solid Waste Disposal 

Challt This all has to do with the wastewater disposal 
treatment done around the Bay Area here. 

McGauheyt Yes, all these here are in wastewater reclamation 
and disposal. I've done some on solid wastes with 
Aerojet General and with the State Health Department 
with their solid waste planning. 

Chall: Are you getting anywhere there, with solid waste? 

McGauheyt Gains are being made in the state. California is 
by no means in danger of being overwhelmed by 
solid wastes. The rhetoric is mostly political 
and Jurisdiotional. The state already leads in 
disposal technology. We can solve our problems 
quickly when the need really arises. 

Chall : You've been working on that since 1956 or so, since 
before this Laboratory was opened? 

MoGauheyt Well, I've been working on it since 1951- Poking 

at solid wastes is an activity in which I have done 
a great deal of public service and research more 
than consulting, because there hasn't been a great 
deal of demand for consultants. When the demand 
comes it is a demand for something that nobody knows 
how to do [laughs] and I try to keep out of tasks I 
don't have any idea how to taoklet 

I do have a major consulting Job coming up 
with the state of Wisconsin on solid waste recycling, 
and another with a consulting firm engaged in studies 
for the Seattle metropolitan area. The field is 
beginning to open. 


McGauhey: I am serving as consultant to the University of Hawaii 
on its sea grant project for coastal water quality. 
This, of course, may end at any time but I have been 
there four and a half months of the last year already 


MoGauhey : 

McGauhey : 

MoGauhey : 

MoGauhey : 

working on that, and some four months of 1972. 

That is the coastal water quality problem. Does 
that have to do with sewage disposal? 

Yes, the sewage, and raw industrial wastes, and 
run-off from landthe whole activity of man that 
ends up with increased or changed materials going 
into the estuaries and into the coastal waters. 

Is this for the entire island chain? 

It is for the state, but most of the work is being 
done on Oahu and Kauai. Although we may do some, if 
we get enough money, on Maui. It isn't a task that 
is intended to solve all the problem. It is intended 
to find out how to solve some of the problem. So 
we have taken a typical situation of the sugar 
industry, one of mixed agriculture, one of urban 
development and one of undeveloped land and made 
detailed studies of the land use water quality 
relationships. We are measuring quality by the 
well-being of aquatic organisms and societies, 
rather than simply by laboratory analyses. We have 
a great number of marine biologists and eoologists 
involved in this project, because they abound in 
Hawaii and they are very sensitive to the quality 
of the water. 

Has there been much degradation? 

There is evidence of degradation, not all of it of 
a permanent nature. Loss of coral, particularly in 
Kaneohe Bay, which is probably the finest bay in 
the islands, has been attributed to waste waters. 
There is treated waste going into Kaneohe. Algae 
are growing and killing coral. Nobody is too certain 
what the cause is but they do know that chlorinated 
wastes will kill coral. They are very concerned to 
find out what the problem is and to solve it. They 
are already designing a system to go to deep water, 
to take the treated wastes out of Kaneohe Bay and 
another one to clean up Pearl Harbor by going to 
deep water with partially treated sewage. 

There is a lot going on and they have Just as 
many true-believers out there as anywhere. They 


MoGauhey: have somewhat I oall coo-maniacs, you know, 

tunnel-visioned types that see only one answer, 
which would only cause another problem to come 
into ascendancy. 

Writing and Lecturing 

Chall: How come you have to write articles for Waste Age? 

MoGauhey: Well, I agreed to serve as an editorial writer for 
them until they decide whether they go broke or 
not. [Laughs] Maybe we won't know for a while, 
but I'm having a lot of fun with it. It is one of 
those things that I write for fun except that 
generally when the times comes to do it and they 
name the subject it is always something that I 
don't know anything about so I have to think up a 
whole new point of view in order to meet the dead 
line, and to meet the objective of that particular 

I have some other writing I wanted to do but I 
get called to a lot of these places where they want 
someone to give a talk, for an honorarium, and 
suddenly find that they won't be happy unless they 
have something that they can put in the proceedings. 
I have to write some dad-blamed thing that I had no 
Intention of writing. 

I wrote one on solid wastes for the 1972 Yearbook 
of Science on the Future of the Encyclopedia 

One area of Interest that has carried over from 
my pre-retirement days is that of presenting seminars 
or special lectures to graduate students and faculty 
members at other universities. This is a part of the 
academic scene everywhere. It Is related to consulting 
in that it pays a modest honorarium plus travel 
expenses within the usual university's limits. It 
is related to teaching in that it brings to the 
audience a different point of view or some new informa 
tion. The system works in academla in this fashion. 
A university department sets up a seminar series for 


McGauheyt its graduate students and faculty, with some general 
theme. It then identifies people who might have 
something to say on particular subjects. The next 
step Is to write a letter inviting each individual, 
Including the stock phrase, "I am sorry that we 
cannot offer you a proper consulting fee for this, 
but we can offer you a modest honorarium of X dollars 
(usually $100 or $150) and reimburse you for out of 
pocket travel expenses." Sometimes it is thought 
well to add a few remarks about the glories of the 
surrounding area in the spring or fall, or In 
whatever season the talk is to take place. We do a 
lot of this in the academic world} sometimes getting 
off with Just buying the speaker's lunch if we are 
smart enough to catch him in the area. I continue 
to do a considerable amount of this although I have 
no longer any way to return the compliment. 

Challr On what topics do you lecture? 

MoGauheyj I am not particular I will talk about anything they 
wish. Generally, however, they check to see what 
Is on my mind that is pertinent to their program, and 
we work out, by phone, which of several topics might 
be of most concern to the group which Is to be 
addressed. Sometimes I speak on such matters as 
solid waste management, water reclamation, leaching 
from dumps, engineered soil systems, or some other 
topic of current engineering Interest. Sometimes, 
I talk about man and his environment from one or 
another point of view. Often it is about what we 
should expect of education In the future; or on how 
to bring numerous disciplines into environmental 
design of public works. I enjoy most talking about 
sujeots that force me to use my Imagination, to 
generate a new idea and to apply what I know (or 
believe at the moment) about the habits and foibles 
of man to either the absurdities or the opportunities 
that surround his quest for environmental quality, 
Improvement or resource conservation. I prefer to 
discuss ideas that as far as I know have not been 
previously explored. 


Curriculum. Research and Other Matters 

Challi What about your work last year for the Chancellor? 
[Roger Heyns]. 

McGauhey: To answer that question in a manner that has any 
meaning to the person who might some day persist 
to this point In the record of our discussions 
during the past few days, I think I should state 
briefly what this work was all about, especially the 
need for it. I am sure you recall that about two 
years ago environment suddenly came up as the buzzword 
of the moment. At that time we had a considerable 
peaking of the notion that the University should be 
an action-oriented, or perhaps an activist camp. 
Students were impatient with the task of learning. 
They wanted to solve, within the University program, 
the problems of the moment without going to all the 
trouble of learning how to solve problems. I 
contended In many of those public and university 
lectures that I spoke about a few moments ago, that 
should the University devote its attention to 
solutions to the crisis problems evident at the 
moment our programs would be futile. 

My reasoning was that by the time the student 
got out into the real world equipped to cope with 
aluminum cans by the roadside, we would not be 
utilizing aluminum cans. His how-to-do-it knowledge 
would be useless. Meanwhile, back at the campus 
another generation of students would be learning how 
to attack the crisis of that moment. Furthermore, 
the rate of onset of imagined crises was such that 
no student could finish his program before the crisis 
that he was learning to face had been replaced by a 
succession of at least three others. In any event 
our graduates would be in a how-to-do-it educational 
effort far more visoious than the old how-to-do-it 
courses we traded in for humanities and science, 
because he would be forever obsolete at the moment 
of his graduation. 

Obviously, if a university program was to be 
worth support by public funds it should teach students 
the basic principles by which one attacks problems; 
the reasons why people behave like they do or at 


MoGauhey: least how they behave; some economic, political, 
and technological facts of life; and so on. In 
this manner we would continue to turn out graduates 
who could attack any crises that comes along and 
so make some contribution to man's social and 
cultural advancement. Although this might be 
reactionary in the sight of students, I contended 
it was the purpose of a university to provide such 
an education. If the individual wanted at once to 
pick up cans, let him apply to the highway department 
for a Job, and not fool around marching up and down 
demanding that the university initiate a curriculum 
in can collecting. 

So my contention was that the student who wanted 
to be active in environmental studies would have to 
acquire the discipline and the basic information 
necessary for solving problems, most of which were 
not at the moment identified. However, I contended 
the student should have the opportunity to learn 
from the very beginning of his program what relevance 
the tools he was acquiring might have to environ 
mental management. Moreover, he should have some 
time to work in projects which kept his Interest in 
environment alive. That Is, he should not be told, 
"Just go ahead and learn the basic foundamentals of 
problem solving, and then some day you can get at 
some problems." Thus it was my belief that the 
Interest of the individual student should be nurtured 
by his program, thereby heightening his ability to 
confront whatever succession of crises he might 
encounter in the future. Further, I contended that 
the opportunity for a student to apply his knowledge to 
environmental problems should exist in every depart 
ment, but it should not constrain another student 
in the same department from pursuing a similar 
interest in design, research, or pure self development. 

Paralleling the student insanity to which I 
refer, every department of the University suddenly 
discovered that it was the true center of gravity of 
environmental concern. Thus each wanted to Initiate 
some kind of a program of environmental studies. 
Some departments found this more appealing than others 
because they had in fact outlived their usefulness, 
were running out of students, and so were in need of 
some gimmick to insure their continuity. These 


MoGauhey: departments were particularly anxious to get on with 
environmental programs and to capitalize on the 
wave of student desire to leave off learning for 
participation in some mass project which I have 
likened to can collecting. 

Interestingly, but not surprisingly, the most 
insistent of the departments desirous of taking 
over environmental studies were those which had 
the least context in terms of basic principles of 
problem solving, and who dreamed that only by 
destroying the structure of the University and 
substituting some entirely new "innovative" approach 
could man cope with problems of his environment. 
The concept was that by creating "general is ts" In 
environmental studies great leadership would accrue 
to those who understood everything but could do 

With the financial constraints on the University 
becoming increasingly damaging, and some student 
Interest remaining in producing the systems and the 
scientific know-how to achieve environmental goals, 
the Chancellor's office thought it desirable to look 
into the situation and to evaluate the role of the 
University in environmental studies. Obviously, the 
major objective of each department could not be its 
own version of something called environmental studies. 

It was in this situation that I spent six months 
working half-time for the Chancellor to find out Just 
what was going on within the Berkeley campus and 
to report my findings to him. I did complete the 
study and turned my report over to the Chancellor 
with the recommendation that it be reviewed and 
refined by the University. At that point we changed 
chancellors. The new Chancellor, Albert Bowker, was, 
of course, quite busy and as far as I know never got 
around to looking at the report. But some copies 
of it were distributed by his office to people on 
the campus who were Interested in the program of 
environmental studies. The report was intended to 
show, and did show how the University could use the 
strengths on which its reputation was built in 
achieving the environmental education goals of any 
student without encroaching on the educational goals 
of any other student. 


MoGauheyi I suppose it was disappointing to some in that 
it didn't reoommend dismantling the University 
summarily in order to cope with the first buzzword 
in the sequence to oome. But what it proposed is 
very muoh what has developed at Berkeley and in 
other universities which went through the same soul 
searching. Berkeley was by no means the only place 
the student and departmental proposals to save the 
environment documented the child-like naivete of 
which we in universities are capable. 

In the report I also spoke to the point of 
research, first how we might get greater visibility 
for the University for what we are already doing, 
by interpreting it In an environmental context, and 
how we might deliberately keep up a program of 
information that would cause the public and the 
legislature to realize the extent to which we are 
Involved in environmental management. I suggested 
that the results of our vast output of technical 
reports might be interpreted in understandable 
language and utilized to the benefit of the University 
and the public. 

So having finished my report I had completed 
my agreed assignment. Possibly I could have stayed 
on but I didn't want to take on the actual manage 
ment of any program. It is a big enough Job to tell 
people how to run their business, without having to 
go in and run it I 

Ghall: [Laughs] Leave it at that. 

This wasn't a unique kind of assignment for you 
because you had been working for a number of years 
on a project like this. 

MoGauheyr I had done that kind of thing before; analysis of an 
overall situation. In fact I finished one a year 
or so ago on evaluation of the policies and activities 
of our Water Resources Center. 

Chall: Yes, I've read that at least the little brochure 
that they put out about various types of research 
that are now being recommended. 


McGauhey: That was our committee report. I wrote a companion 
report myself, which I believe really had more 
en eot than the one our committee finally put out. 
When committees start doing things the rhetoric 
generally gets loftier and loftier as times goes on. 
isventually it becomes so obscure that it doesn't 
really say very much of anything to anyone who 
doesn't already know what it is you are talking 
about. I believe that the second version of our 
report was far better than the final one as far as 
telling anybody what was on our minds. You might be 
interested in it. I'll give you a copy if you are. 

Chall: I'd like that. 

MoGauhey: Then I had done some work for Utah State University, 
not as extensive as at Berkeley, but in advising 
them on educational programs; on organizing programs 
In the environmental area and in the water resources 
area. They ended up by hiring two of our staff to 
do some of these things and gave me an honorary 
Doctor of Science [laughs]. It is about all the 
reward you could possibly expect for that sort of 

Chall: Saying, as you do now, that dealing with water 

Just one facet of the problem and maybe the most 
minor facet, because what happens on the land is 
so very important, then I imagine that the thing 
that you have to do is bring into the field people 
In other disciplines in agriculture, in geography 
and forestry. 

McGauhey: This was the case in preparing this proposal for the 

University of Hawaii. Here we had fourteen professors 
In ten disciplines involved and we met every week 
for awhile there while preparing the proposal. To 
get proposals out of a team of professors you must 
write the proposal yourself. I did this, then I 
sent it to each individual with a note: "Here's 
what is going to appear in your name If you don't 
correct it." Obviously I don't know all about 
everything so I put the experts in a position of 
having to produce or appear pretty ignorant to their 
own peers. But by setting the framework it took a 
load off the busy professor. He had only to correct 
my version and the proposal was ready. It worked out 


MoGauhey: very well. The result was an organized multl- 

disolpline approach and, I think, a fairly unique 
kind of a proposal. At least it was enough of a 
tear-jerker to get us some money at a time when 
prospects were far from hopeful. 

Chall: You look back and it's all been exciting you've 

told me. No one thing stands out as more exciting 
than another? 

MoGauhey: In considering that question I am reminded of Mr. 
Smith, the gardener in charge of a rose garden of 
some three thousand varieties at Virginia Polytechnic 
Institute. When asked by a visitor which rose he 
thought most beautiful, he replied, "The last one I 
looked at." I think I can say in good conscience 
that I have never had anything to do that I didn't 
find interesting. The trouble was that there were 
so many interesting things I didn't have time to get 
around to exploring! 

Final Typist: 

Helen Kratins, Arlene Weber 
Keiko Suglmoto 



"To Raise a Cat," a short story by P.H. McGauhey 232 

Concerning the Poems - a brief explanation by P.H. 

McGauhey 235 

"Pioneer" 236 

"The Brave and Strong" 238 

"On the Nature of Public Health: A Preview of 

Literature" by P.H. McGauhey 239 

Principal Publications and Papers, 1951-1973 245 


P.H. McGauhey 

Dr. Bjerstein was on his way to the faculty club to play a few hands 
of gin rummy and have his lunch before going home for the afternoon when the 
idea first struck. Bjerstein was a behaviorial scientist whose flair for 
inconsequential research had won for him considerable stature among his peers. 
Thus it was not unprecedented that the vagaries of his mind should lead him 
willy nilly into the realjn of scholarly creativity. If his memory was no more 
imperfect than the professional norm, the article had appeared in College Humor 
magazine about the middle of the nineteen twenties and was entitled "How To 
Raise a Cat". With good economy of words, as the professor recalled, it 
directed: "Go into the nearest alley and find a cat. Bend over. Grasp the 
cat by the scruff of the neck with the left hand and by the tail with the 
right hand. Straighten up." 

Dr. Bjerstein brushed aside any residue of a sense of humor which he may 
have had as a youth, or of the ridiculous which may have colored his mature 
judgment, because he was interested in the cat rather than in the situation. 
He postulated that the feeling of wellbeing lurking in the creature's 
subconscious since the days when it was carried about by the scruff of the 
neck by its mother would essentially offset the traumatic memories of being 
hoist by the tail by a brat whose parents thought every child should have a 
pet and so learn to be kind to dumb animals. If this surmise proved correct 
the cat's legs would hang straight down and there would be no preceptible 
change in the animal's heartbeat. 

The consequence of incorrectness of such a postulate were not considered 
by Professor Bjerstein because by that time he had reached the door of the 
faculty club and had to consider where he might have left his keys. 

Dr. Bjerstein did not immediately get on with a research proposal. He 
was not a man easily deflected from his normal routines. Besides he had to 
lead his graduate students in a, window- smashing assault on the President's 
office; then participate in a long series of faculty senate meetings to consider 
whether the administrative tongue clacking that followed the incident 
constituted a violation of academic freedom. Consequently the deadline for 
submitting proposals caught Dr. Bjerstein somewhat unawares and his request 
had to be put together in a rather hasty fashion. 

In order to tailor the project to the time scale of a doctoral disserta 
tion, and to the elastic limit of most granting agencies, Dr. Bjerstein 


requested support for a three-year period. His budgetary computations began 
with a stipend for one graduate student. But then the Department was short 
of stenographic assistance so he included a full time secretary. This made 
necessary appropriate office furniture and, for some curious reason, two 
electric typewriters. Computer time and programming services being necessary 
to assure the grantor that the investigator is abreast of the times, Bjerstein 
included these items also. When it came to "Travel" he remembered the 
Society's January meeting in Majorca and so upped the cost of "attendance at 
scholarly meetings" to three thousand dollars. By this time the first year's 
budget totalled some $108,000, plus appropriate overhead to the University to 
cover the confusion in accounting generated by scholars such as Bjerstein. 

After a period of bureaucratic gestation during which one typewriter was 
deleted and travel funds were reduced to one thousand dollars per year, the 
granting agency approved Dr. Bjerstein's project. However, there was some 
disagreement in the reviewing committee which was compromised by allowing only 
two years of support. As often in the case of academic research these two 
years passed unveventf ully . Bjerstein attended several scholarly meetings; 
the secretary tidied up his normally chaotic desk and looked after his personal 
correspondence; and the graduate student made a search of the literature. 
Unfortunately as the end of the grant period approached he had not yet located 
the original reference which had inspired Dr. Bjerstein that day on the way to 
the faculty club some two years previous. Obviously, if the good professor's 
theory was to be evaluated experimentally the project must be renewed and 
extended. To this end Dr. Bjerstein turned his attention as the project had 
now become a comfortable habit - and the thought of losing the secretary was a 
bit frightening. 

By this time, however, the research climate had changed significantly. 
The University was gung-ho for multidiscipline projects; national priorities 
had turned from the gentle dreams of academicians to a virulent concern for 
problems or urban blight, degredation of the environment, and, so as not to 
overlook anything, to something called ecosystems. To these new constraints 
Dr. Bjerstein turned his attention; and with such delightful results that he 
marveled that he had not thought of them sooner. 

If there be an alley, he reasoned, there must exist within the city an 
old degraded neighborhood. Subdividers and builders have not included alleys 
for a quarter of a century. Obviously the city is long overdue for urban 


renewal and the research team should therefore include a city planner. 
Moreover, the presence of a cat in the alley could only mean that the place 
is infested with rats and mice. If there are rats and mice, there must be 
rubbish. If there is rubbish, culturally deprived people must live there. 
Unquestionably- the whole place is a ghetto, occupied by frustrated men and 
women deprived of civil rights, overwhelmed with poverty and despair, ripe for 
communism, and with no recourse but rioting to bring their plight to the 
attention of a callous Establishment. The prospect vas enough to incite 
Dr. Bjerstein to break every window in the university. But that would have to 
wait until renewal of the project was assured. He would need a city planner to 
renew the housing; a public health specialist to deal with the rats; an 
engineer to cope with the rubbish; a sociologist to deal with the people; a 
political scientist to fend off the communists; and, of course, Dr. Bjerstein 
himself to observe the reactions of the cat. 

This time Dr. Bjerstein had the perfect proposal. His project was 
sufficiently multidisciplined to delight the University. It had all the 
factors of poverty, crime, and urban decay needed to give it national 
priority. And it cost 1.5 million dollars for three years. Thus it was 
expensive enough and absurd enough to be attractive to the major foundations. 

How could he lose? 

The answer was unexpected both by Dr. Bjerstein and the academic world 
in general. By the time the new proposal by Bjerstein et al had cleared the 
University hurdles, the national scene had undergone a further change. The 
plight of cities, the rise of crime, and the restlessness of poverty, it was 
reasoned, had grown to critical dimensions in spite of years of research. 
Action; construction; demonstration of new systems were now in vogue and 
research had declined in prestige. Besides the nation had elected to fight 
communism overseas. This proved so costly that it was no longer possible to 
fight it at home - at least not through multidiscipline research. 

Dr. Bjerstein had to be satisfied with a mere $10,000 and a one-year 
extension of his project in which to carry out its important experimental 

phase --to raise a cat. 



February 1974 

Early in life I developed a love for poetry and during my 
college days spent many hours in the library reading classic and 
contemporary verse. In those days, which most of the people alive 
today might consider as predating the dawn of mankind, the Waring 
Blender had not been invented. Therefore poetry was still some 
what structured and more often than not conveyed some impressions 
of life to the reader, or at least persuaded him that the poet in 
some manner had a depth of perception of the subtleties of nature 
and the emotions and vicissitudes of mankind. Of course, there 
was some attempt to randomize words or to symbolize non-thought 
in terms of non-language, but the technology for producing 'poetry" 
by dropping Webster into the blender did not exist. My first 
attempts at verse go back to high school days and a recent encoun 
ter with some old high school annuals reveals that more of it got 
into these annual publications than I remember. Thank goodness, 
the publications no longer exist. They did show, however, that 
in verse as well as in other aspects of my life I was quite highly 
disciplined a bad approach to poetry. 

I long ago ceased to designate my writings as poetry, 
preferring the word "verse " as being less presumptive and better 
for the ego than "doggerel ". In the two examples which follow 
I say something I wanted to say, in the way I wanted to say it. 
Others may classify them as they choose. 



He came with bull -tongue plow and grubbing hoe 
To clear away the crop the Lord had sown; 
To make a field with tilth and ordered rows; 
To make a spot on earth to call his own. 

Sagebrush and juniper and needle grass, 
Greasewood and rabbit brush and creosote, 
Succumbed to sharpened steel and searing fire, 
That earth each year might wear a greener coat. 

The new wife brought a cow with suckling calf, 
A rooster and a half a dozen hens - 
The wedding gifts of uncles in the east 
Who settled where the arid west begins. 


By sweat and toil he prospered for a while; 
All life bore fruit, and blessings multiplied; 
But speeding years outraced ambition's scale; 
The subtle hand of Time reversed the tide. 

An ox that weighed a ton stepped on his foot. 

A falling timber broke his collar bone. 

So opened avenues to aches and pains 

By which impending weather change is known. 

The red rust came to take the bull-tongue plow. 
Microbe and insect lurked in post and rail. 
The barn grew weary, leaning all awry, 
As joist and rafter sagged as if to fail. 

The children grew, and wed, and moved away. 
He sold the stock and harness when they'd gone. 
A sheepman bought the land, but left the house 
And let the pioneer and wife a while stay on. 

I think the Lord admired this rugged soul 

Who fought him for the land men thought was free. 

He sent his tares to take the field away - 

But let the old man die with dignity. 



He who climbs the highest mountain 
Peels no need to seek the pass. 
He who conquers creeping glaciers 
Must disdain the dark crevasse. 

He who stalks the lurking tiger 
Discards the wisdom to beware. 
Who defies the restless ocean 
May neglect to say a prayer. 

Who must show the world his courage 
Seeks his own respect to win. 
In the Valley of the Shadow 
I have walked with braver men. 


Reprinted from AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PUBLIC HEALTH, Vol. 57, No. 11, November. 1967 
Copyright by the American Public Health Association, Inc., 1740 Broadway, New York, N. Y. 10019 

In a world surveyed by flying saucers in periodic waves we are not surprised 
to learn of a report produced by a process of apparition and prepared 
by an observer from Laputa. Readers who are so inclined are invited 
to comment on these observations or perhaps to rebut them. 


P. H. McCauhey, M.S., F.A.P.HA. 

\\QTUDIES on the Physical and Psycho- 
O logical Structure of the Nuclei of 
Certain Conceptual Systems Existing on 
an Obscure Minor Planet, and the 
Mechanism of Their Creation." 

Under this somewhat ponderous title 
there has recently appeared* a report 
which because of its pertinence, or im 
pertinence, seems worthy of our atten 
tion. Its author is an ultra-scientific ob 
server from somewhere in ultra-space 
about whom little is known beyond the 
fact that unusual qualities of mind en 
abled him to analyze conceptual sys 
tems in a manner such as atomic physi 
cists might apply to physical systems; 
and an inordinate curiosity led him to 
direct his attention to certain aspects 
of human affairs. Unfortunately the re 
port is written in a language nobody can 
read, hence it is reviewed here neces 
sarily in imperfect form. 


Our observer reports that while idly 
scanning a minor planet generally con 
ceded to exhibit no characteristics of 
interest to the serious ultra-scientist, he 
came across what at first appeared to 
be relatively formless conglomerate 
masses within a matrix or universe of 

' By process of apparition. 

pseudo-reality. On closer observation, 
however, 'these masses exhibited enough 
structural similarity to suggest that 
there existed some degree of order 
which was recurrent in each of the psy 
chological blobs. To describe these 
blobs the scientist coined the word 
"communities" and employed a modern 
artist, who specialized in attempts to 
express non-dimensional psychological 
matters in graphic form, to prepare a 
lantern slide which might be useful later 
in lectures before ultra-learned societies. 
It looked somewhat like Figure 1. 

The Public Health Organization 

Intrigued by his preliminary observa 
tions, the ultra-scientist began to exam 
ine in detail the structure of the com 
munity. He found it to consist of a whole 
series of conceptual systems linked to 
gether in a sufficient variety of forms 
to suggest a random, rather than a sys 
tematic association. Like any good sci 
entist, Dr. Ultra vowed to explore rach 
of these submolecular systems as soon 
as they could be classified and finan 
cial support developed. He was particu 
larly intrigued, however, by one pe 
culiar submolecule which seemed to ap 
pear at the heart of each community 
system essentially always in the same 








Figure 1 Lantern slide 

form, whereas other submolecules, al 
though always recognizable, did not ap 
pear so constant in their makeup. This 
led the ultra-scientist to postulate that 
this one particular group of atoms was 
the driving force of the whole commu 
nity. He therefore singled it out for 
first attention and justified this in his 
notes on the grounds of its apparent lo 
cation at the center of gravity of the 
mass, its constant size and form, and 
"other characteristics" which he did not 
catalog. Thinking it to be a single ideo 
logical particle, a nucleus, on which the 
organization of the community mass 
must somehow depend, and for reasons 
of reference and communication, he 
named this "particle" the "Public 
Health Organization." 

A footnote in the report records that 
this led a group of ultra-conservative 
ulfra-semanticists, concerned with things 
of a higher level of culture than ultra- 
psychoscience, to inquire, "What indeed 
does 'Public Health' mean?" Such 

quibbling over meaning annoyed our 
scientist and he reports in the footnote 
that he dismissed the matter with a re 
fusal to debate it and with the curt 
statement that the phrase "may be just 
words, but if you are going to talk about 
a phenomenon there must be words ; and 
from what I have thus far observed, 
'Public Health' may well prove to be 
worth talking about." 

Nature of the Public Health 

Turning attention to the nucleus of 
the community the ultra-scientist re 
ports that he soon found it to consist 
not of a single cell but a number of 
apparently identical atoms arranged in 
an almost invariable pattern. Each atom, 
he noted was roughly spherical in shape 
but with numerous recognizable facets. 
Curiously enough, one of these facets 
was always larger than the others. Also, 
this large facet was invariably highly 


VOL. 57. NO. 11. A.J.P.H. 



polished and, as if to reflect its glory, 
the smaller ones immediately surround 
ing it were also polished, although to a 
lesser degree. In contrast, the remainder 
of the facets appeared rough. Crude 
sketches from the ultra-scientist's note 
book made at the time and reproduced 
in his report, together with the terms 
invented to describe the several facets, 
are shown in Figures 2a and 2b. No 
attempt to list the number of facets was 

Specialty Areas (Smashing the Atom) 

First evidence that the several atoms 
were identical began to be questioned 
by the scientist when he observed that 
certain elements of the community were 
always oriented toward the specialty 
area of one atom while others were 
oriented toward the specialty area of 
another atom. This led to the discovery 
that the highly polished "specialty area" 
of one atom appeared as a smaller satel 
lite area in others, and in still others, 
as the rough subspecialty area. Thus 
each atom presented a different specialty 
area to the community and so polarized 
some other element of the commu 
nity structure. Thereupon the scientist 
smashed a series of atoms and estab 
lished several intriguing facts: 

1. Each atom had a common core divided 
into four spherical segments which the 
scientist named: 

(a) Administration 

(b) Epidemiology 

(c) Biostatistics 

(d) Sanitation 

2. Each core segment exerts a force on each 
of the surfaces, or facets, in the sur 
rounding shell. 

3. Each facet has identifiable characteristics; 
hence the scientist gave each one an 
identifying name, such as: 

(a) Public Health Administration 

(b) Epidemiology 

(c) Biostatistics 

(d) Environmental Sanitation 

(e) Health Education 

(f) Public Health Nursing 

(g) MCH 

(h) Hospital Administration. 

A School of Public Health 

Having split the complex atom and 
resolved the nature of the specialty area 
phenomenon, the ultra-scientist, using 
advanced methods of ultra-omniscience, 
explored and reported on the nature of 
the forces that create the atoms which 
in combination constitute the Public 
Health Organization of the community. 
His report notes that the machine to do 
this, which he called a "School of Pub 
lic Health," is vastly more complicated 

Figure 2 Nature of a PHO (Public 
Health Organization) component atom 








Figure 3 Illustrates a schematic cross- 
section through a typical PHO com- 
ponrnt atom 


than its product. In a philosophical 
mood the scientist speculated that, in 
general, creators are more complicated 
than the things they create. 

The system (or School of Puhlic 
Health) discovered by the Ultra-scien 
tist was reported by him pictorially as 
in Figure 4. 

By way of explanation the school was 
described by our scientist as consisting 
of a series of specialty area professors, 
plus satellite minds (not shown in Fig 
ure 4), arranged in an orderly system 
and separated by mutually repulsive 
forces, yet all positively oriented to the 
four-segment common core. Each pro 
fessor remains relatively static. He has 
two negative charges with which he 
keeps other professors at a proper dis 
tance. Likewise he has two positive 
charges, one of which contributes to a 
'potential characteristic of one of the 
four core segments (a, b, c, d, Figure 
4). The second positive charge repre 
sents the specialty potential which ap 
pears as thn polished facet of one of the 

PHO (Public Health Organization) 
component atoms of Figure 2. This en 
tire system is held together by a single 
dean, somewhat akin to the lone elec 
tron of a hydrogen atom, rapidly orbit 
ing the ring of professors which our 
scientist, semantic inventor that he is, 
has called the "Faculty" of the system. 
This single dean, or "academic elec 
tron," traverses his orbit at such velocity 
that he seems to be everywhere at once. 

Production of the PHO Component 

A PHO component atom is generated 
when a fragment of anti-intellect (or 
"student" as the ultra-scientist calls it) 
is forced at high velocity through the 
center of the system, i.e., into the page 
at center of Figure 4. In passing through 
this inner core potential this fragment 
is converted directly into a four-sector 
spherical core such as forms the nucleus 
of each of the PHO component atoms. 
However, because of velocity and the po 
tential of other systems of education 
which influence it, this newly created 
core often escapes the gravitational pull 
of the School of Public Health and ap 
pears in the community without the 
shell shown in Figure 3 but in some 
mass polarized toward the Public Health 

A few such nuclei, or cores, how 
ever, stray into an elliptical, apparently 
unguided, path and eventually return 
to orbit the school in a circular eccen 
tric orbit which at one point approaches 
the outer potential ring as indicated in 
Figure 5. A few appear to approach too 
closely and so collide with the dean and 
disintegrate. Most, however, pass close 
to one or another of the specialty po 
tential points. 

The phenomenon is sketched by the 
ultra-scientist (Figure 5). As the four- 
sector core orbits the school it tnkrs on 
all the multiple facets observed and re 
ported by Dr. Ultra. Its polished facet 


VOL. 57. NO. 11. A.J.P.H. 


results from the influence of the poten 
tial of that professor most closely ap 
proached by the core in its headlong 
path, e.g., (a) in Figure 5. The less 
polished facets result from nearby satel 
lite specialty potentials less closely ap 
proached, e.g., (b) in Figure 5, and the 
rougher ones from still lesser exposure to 
those potentials most remote from the 

After one, two, or three annual orbits 
around the School of Public Health, the 
surface charge (mysteriously designated 
by the author by the symbols MPH or 
Dr.P.H.) acquired by the newly created 
PHO component atom is sufficient to 
repel it from the system and it flies off 

tangentially to become a part of the 
PHO system within a community, i.e., 
nucleus of blobs, Figure 1. 

Further Research Necessary 

Having discovered the nature of a 
human community, the presence of a 
Public Health Organization within it, 
split the specialty atom, and determined 
the nature of its creation in a School 
of Public Health, our ultra-scientist 
could no longer delay publishing his re 
port. However, the report concludes that 
further research on the nature of the 
minds of Public Health Professors is 


Figure 4 School of Public Health 


If 71 






Figure 5 Path of exit to PHO system 

Since the report was released the ul 
tra-scientist has revealed in private com 
munications that systems involving a 
professor of high reputation potential, 
himself orbited by one or more satel 
lite professors each with increasing po 
tential of his own, is a quite simple phe 
nomenon. However, preliminary ex 
planations of the professorial mind do 

not seem encouraging. There is some 
thing there all right but no evidence 
of order has thus far been found. The 
scientist, an inveterate sketcher, reports 
that he has been unable to prepare "the 
first slide" for a forthcoming lecture 
on "The Professorial Mind." "Have you 
ever," he asks pointedly, "tried to 
sketch a plate of spaghetti?" 

Mr. McCauhey is professor of public health engineering, University of Cali 
fornia, Berkeley (1301 South 46th St.), Richmond, Calif. 94804. 
This paper was submitted for publication in June, 1966. 


VOL. 57. NO. 11. A.J.P.H. 

24. 5 

rrJ!u;:ip;.l rublikvitJuiK! and Papers (195.'' - dote) 

* McGauhey, P. 31. "Flow through orifices," Water Works Eng.. 104-758 

731-82 (8), August 1951. 

# McGauhey, P. H., co -author. "A critical review of the literature of 

1951 on sewage, waste treatment, and water pollution," 
Sewage and Ind. Wastes, 24_:54l-64l (5), May 1952. 

*McGauhey, P. H. "Sanitary engineering research project of 

University of California," Water and Sewage Works, 9j?: (8), 
August 1952. 

'* McGauhey, P. H- "New methods of refuse disposal," Sanitarian, 15:59-64 
(2), September-October 1952. 

November 1952- 

*McGauhey, P. H. "Concrete pipe in sanitary sewer construction," 
Concrete Pipe News, :39~45 (4), April 1953- 

*McGauhey, P. H., co-author. "A critical review of the literature of 
1952 on sewage, waste treatment, and water pollution," 
Sewage and Ind. Wastes, 25:633-84 (6), June 1953- 

McGauhey, P. H., and C. G. Golueke. "Possibilities of composting 
municipal refuse," Public Works, 1-4, October 1953- 

*McGauhey, P. H., and H. B. Gotaas . "Stabilisation of municipal refuse 
by composting, " Proc . Paper 2767* Trans. Am. Soc . Civil 
Engrs . , 120:897-915; disc.: 916-920, 1956- 

*McGauhey, P. H., and C. G. Golueke. "Composting of municipal refuse," 
Boletin Oficina Sanitaria Panamericana, 3j5:l67-80 (2), 
February 1954. 

McGauhey, P. H., and H. B. Gotaas. "Urban service and utilities," 
paper presented at Conf . on Calif. Development Problems, 
Berkeley, Calif., 4-5 February 1954. 

* McGauhey, P. H., R. G. Butler, and G. T. Or lob. "Underground movement 
of bacterial and chemical pollutants," J. Am. Water Works 
Assoc., 46_: 97-111 (2), February 1954. 

*McGauhey, P. H., co-author. "Refuse collection," report of a sub-committee 
of the Comm. on Refuse Collection and Disposal of the Sanit. 
Eng. Div., Proc. Am. Soc. Civil Engrs., 8_0:l-l4 (Sept. 473), 
Aufe-ust 1954. 

*McGauhcy, P. H-, co-author. "Dumping and land fill," report of a 

subcommittee of the .Comm. on Refuse Collection and Disposal 
of the Sanit. Eng. Div., Proc. Am. Soc. Civil Engrs., 8_0-:3.-23 


Golueke, C. G., B. J. Card, and P. H. McGauhey. "A critical evaluation 

of inoculums in composting," Appl . Microbio] . , 2_:45-55 (l), 1954. 

*McGauhey, P. H., and H. B. Gotaas. "Discussion of 'Stabilization of 
municipal refuse by compacting, '" Sanit. Eng. Div., Proc . Am. 
Soc. Civil Engrs.. 81:1-2 (Sep. 593), January 1955. " 

*Greenberg, A. E., and P. H. McGauhey. "Chemical changes in sewages 
during reclamation by spreading," Soil Sci., 79:35-59 (l) 
January 1955- 

*McGauhey, P. H., and R. B. Krone. "Waste water reclamation," Civil 
Eng. Div., Bull. Am. Soc. Elec . Engrs., 2.1:9-14 (2), 
February 1956- 

* McGauhey, P. H. "Economic worth of reclaimed water," in: Proc . Conf . 
on Waste Water Reclamation, 26-27 January 1956. Berkeley: 
Sanit. Eng. Research Lab., Univ. of Calif., pp. 68-75, March 1956. 

* McGauhey, P. H- "Theory of sedimentation," J. Am. Water Works Assoc., 
48:437-48 (4), April 1956. 

McGauhey, P. II . "Sewage reclamation," Proc. Western Development Conf., 
3rd Ann . , Stanford Research Inst., January 1957- 

* McGauhey, P. H. "The why and how of sewage effluent reclamation," 
Water and Sewage Works, 104:265-270 (6), June 1957- 

*McGauhey, P. H., co-author. "A critical review of the literature of 
1956 on sewage, waste treatment, and water pollution," Sewage 
and Ind. Wastes, 2: 727-56 (7), July 1957- 

Krone, R. B., P. H. McGauhey, and H. B. Gotaas. "Direct recharge of 
ground water with sewage effluents," Proc. Paper 1335* Sanit. 
Eng. Div., J. Am. Soc. Civil Engrs., 8_3_:l-25 (SA 4), August 1957- 

McGauhey, P. H. "Studies of detergent breakdown and air pollution by 
insufficient combustion," Public Works, 88: (12), December 1957- 

Economic Evaluation of Water. Part I. A Search for Criteria. Berkeley: 
Sanit. Engr. Research Lab., Univ. of Calif. Water Resources Center 
Contribution No. 13, December 1957 x+237 pp. Co-author H. Erlich. 

* McGauhey, P. H., and G. T. Or lob. "Surface and ground -water quality 
changes resulting from water disposal practice," Proc . Conf . 
on Quality of Water for Irrigation, Univ. of Calif., Davis, 
pp. 119-24, 22 January 1958. 

*McGauhey, P. H., co-author. "A review of the literature of 1957 on 

sewage, waste treatment, and water pollution," Sewage and Ind. 
Wastes, 3_: 609-33 (5), May 1958. 

"McGauhey P. H . "Sewage effluent reclamation," Water and Sewage Works. 
105_:R24l-45 (R.N.), September 1958. 


#Erlich, 11., and P. H. McGauhey. "Economic value of water," paper 

presented at Regional Water Resources Conf . at State College 
of Washington, 6-7 November 1958, Water, Proc. Reg. Water 
Resources Conf., p. 77- 

tfMcGauhey, P. H., and S. A. Klein. "Removal of ABS by sewage treatment," 
Water and Sewn go Works, 10J>: 518-19 (12), December 1958. 

MeG.'.uhey, T.H. and H. Erllch. Statement Before Subcommittee on Economic and 
Policies for Htate Water Projects of the Joint Committee on 

SHIS, lifornia Gtate Legislature. September 15, 1958. Mimeo. 30 pp 
McGauhey, P.H., G.T. Or lob and J.H. Winneberger. A Study of the Biological Aspects 
of Septic Tank Percolation Fields. 1st Progress Report. Berkeley: Sanitary 
Engr. Research Lab., Univ. of Calif. December 1958." 

McGauhey, P.H., E.S. Crosby and S.A. Klein. A Study of Operating Variables as 

they Affect ABS Removal by Sewage Treatment Plants. Progr. Rept. 2. Berkeley: 
Sanit. Engr. Research Lab., Univ. of Calif., April 1958. Rept. 3, Nov. 1958 

Greenberg, A.E.. P.M. McGauhey, and H.B. Gotaas. Field Investigation of Waste 
Water Reclamation in Relation to Ground Water Pollution. Final Report. 
State Water Pollution Control Board Publication No. 6, 1953 

Krone, R.B., P.M. McGauhey, and H.B. Gotaas. Report on the Investigation of 
Travel of Pollution . State Water Pollution Control Board Publication 
No. 11, iy|ji 

McGauhey, P.H., C.G. Golueke, and H.B. Gotaas. Reclamation of Municipal Refuse 

by Composting. Tech. Bull. No. 9, l.E.R. Series 37. Berkeley: Sanitary Engr. 
Research Proj., Univ. of Calif., June 1953. 

Todd, D.K., P.H. McGauhey, and T.R. Simpson. An Abstract of Literature Pertaining 
to Sea Water Intrusion . Tech. Bull. No. 10, l.E.R. Series 37. Berkeley: 
Sanit. Engr. Research Proj., Univ. of Calif., July 1953 

McGauhey, P.H. Studies in Water Reclamation . Tech. Bull. No. 13, l.E.R. Series 37, 
Berkeley: Sanit. Engr. Research Proj., Univ. of Calif., July 1955 

McGauhey, P.H., E.S. Crosby, and S.R. Klein. The Fate of Alkylbenzenesulfonate 
in Sevage Treatment. Final Report. Berkeley: Sanit. Engr. Research Lab., 
Univ. of Calif., July 1957 

McGauhey, P.H., G.T. Orlob, and J.H. Winneberger. A Study of the Biological 
Aspectss of Failure of Septic Tank Percolation Fields . Progr. Rept. 2. 
Berkeley: Sanit. Engr. Research Lab., Univ. of Calif., July 1959 

McGauhey, P.H., S.A. Klein, and P.B. Palmer. A Study of Operating Variables 
As They Affect ABS Removal by Scvngc Treatment Plants. Final Report. 
Berkeley: Sanit. Engr. Research Lab., Univ. of Calif., October 1959- 

McGauhey, P.H. and H. Erlich. Economic Evaluation of Water. Fart I. A Search 

For Criteria . Tech. Bull. No. 14, l.E.R. Series 37. Berkeley: Sanit. Engr. 
Research Lab., Univ. of California, July 1960. 

P.H. McGauhey, and H. Erlich. "Economic Evaluation of Water". Journal Irrig. and 
Drainage Div., Proc. ASGE, 85 IR ?-, Paper 2059, June 1959 

McGauhey, P.H., and S.A. Klein. "Removal of ABS by Sewage Treatment." Sewage 
and Industrial Wastes, 31 (8): 877-99- August 1959 

Golueke, C.G., W.J. Oswald, and P.H. McGauhey. "The Biological Control of 

Enclosed Environments." Sewage and Ind. Wastes 31 (10): 1325-'*, Oc >ber 


*Banta, J-, P. H- McGnuhey, J. L. Vincenz, I,. Weaver, and D. T. Mitche.11. 
"Sanitary landfill," in: Manual of Engineering Practice, 
No. 39- New York: Am. Soc . Civil Engr:: . , 19 59. 

* McGauhey, P. H. "Discussion of composting," in: Waste Treatment, 

Peter C. G Isaac, ed. Oxford, Eng.: Pergamon Press, Symposium 
Pubs. Div., pp. 360-61, I960. 

McGauhey, P. H. "Reclamation of water from domestic and industrial 

wastes," in: Waste Treatment, Peter C. G. Isaac, ed., Oxford, 
Eng.: Pergamon Press, Symposium Pubs . Div., pp. 429-39, I960. 

-McGauhey, P. H. "Refuse composting plant at Norman, Oaklahoma," 
Compost Sci., 1^5-8 (3), Autumn I960. 

*McGauhey, P. H., co-author. "A review of the literature of 1958 on 
sewage, waste treatment, and water pollution," Sewage and 
Ind. Wastes, 31.: 511-41 (5), May 1959. 

McGauhey, P. H., and H. Erlich. "Economic evaluation of water," Proc . 
Paper 2059, Irrigation and Drainage Div., J. Am. Soc. Civil 
Engrs . , 8_5_:1-21 (IR 2), June 1959- 

McGauhey, P.H. "Water Development for Urban Use." Progress Report No. 2, 
Water Resources Center Conference, May 1960. 

McGauhey, P.H. "Some economic Considerations in Water Planning." Presented 
ASCE National Meeting, Reno, Nevada, June 1960. 

McGauhey. P.H. "Quality - Water's Fourth Dimension," Report No. >, Berkeley: 

Sanit. Engr. Res. Lab., Water Resources Center Water Policy Conf. Jaa. 1961 

,.. McGauhey, P.H. "Quality Aspects of our National Water Resources." Address 
AGU Conference, Univ. of Calif. January 26, 1961 

McGauhey, P.H. "Problems and Research in the Field of Environmental Health." 
Northwest Research Symposium, Portland, Oregon April 18, 1961 

*McGauhoy, P. H. "Ground water contamination research and research 

needs," in: Proc. 1961 Symposium, Ground Water Contamination. 
Tech. Rept. W 6l-5- Cincinnati: R. A. Taft Sanit. Eng. Center. 

* McGauhey, P. II., co-author. "Review of literature of I960 on waste 

water and water pollution control," J. Water Pollution Control 
Federation, 3Jj_:^59-62 (5), May 1961. 

McGauhey, P. H. "Sanitary engineering comes of age," Sanit. Eng. Div., 
J. Am. Soc. Civil Engrs., 8? : 1-10 (SA 3), May 1961. 

McGauhey, P. H-, and S. A. Klein. "The removal of ABS from sewage," 
Public Works, 9_2: 101-04 (5), May 1961. 

*McGauhey, P. H. "Closure: Sanitary engineering comes of age," Proc. 

Paper 2806, San. Eng. Div., J. Am. Soc. Civil Engrs., 88:115-16 
(SA 2, Pt. 1), March 1962. 

Winneberger, J.H., L. Francis, S.A. Klein, and P.H. McGauhey. Biological 
Aspects of Failure of Septic -Tank Percolation Systems. Final Report. 
Berkeley: Sanit. Engr. Research Lab., Univ. of Calif. August 1960 


Wirmeborcer, J.H., W.I. Saad, and P.H. McGauhey. Method >.. < 

of Scptic-Tnnk Percolation Fields. 1 st Annual Report. Berkeley: Sanit. 
Engr. Research Lab., Univ. of California, December 1961 

Winneberger, J.Jt., A.B. Menar, .and P.H. McGauhey. Methods of Preventing Failure 
of Septic Tank Percolation Fields. 2nd Annual Report^ Berkeley: Sanit. 
Engr. Research Lab., Univ. of California, December 1962 

McGauhey, P.H. and J.H. Winneberger. Causes and Prevention of Failure of Septic- 
Tank Percolation Systems. Final Report. Berkeley: Sanit. Engr. Res". Lab. 
Rept. No . 6J-5, Univ. of Calif. April 1963. FHA Publication No. 533 
April, 196^ Also HUD Report, October 1967. 

Klein, S.A., D. Jenkins, and P.H. McGauhey. Travel of Synthetic Detergents With 
Percolating Water. 2nd Ann. Rept. Berkeley: Sanit. Engr. Research Lab., 
Univ. of Calif., December 1962 

Winneberger, J.H., A.B. Menar, and P.H. McGauhey. A Study of Methods of Preventing 
Failure of Septic-Tank Percolation Fields . 3rd Annual Rept. SERL No. 63-9 
B erkeley; Sanit. Engr. Research Lab., Univ. of California December 1963. 

Erlich, H. and P.H. McGauhey. Economic Evaluation of Water. Fart II. 

Jurisdictional Considerations in Water Resources Management ~ Contrib. 
No. k?, Water Resources Center. Berkeley: Sanit. EngrT Research Lob., 
Univ. of California, June 196^ 

Klein, S.A. and P.H. McGauhey. Travel of Synthetic Detergents With Percolating 
Water. Third Annual Rept. SERL Rept. No. 64-2. Berkeley: Sanit. EngrT 
Research Lab., Univ. of Calif., February 1964 

Stephenson, M.E., J.F. Thomas, and P.H. McGauhey. Application of Foam Fractiona- 

tion to Sewage Treatment. I. Foam Separation of Dilute Aqueous Solutions, 
SERL Rept. No. 61* -7. Berkeley: Sanit. Engr. Res. Lab., Univ. of Calif. 
September 1964 

Jenkins, D., and P.H. McGauhey. Application of Foam Fractionation to Sevage 
Treatment . II. Foam Fractionation of Sewage and Sevage Effluents. 
SERL Rept. No. 64-10. Berkeley: Sanit. Engr. Res, Lan., Univ. of 
Calif., December 1964. 

Eckhoff, D.W., D. Jenkins, and P.H. McGauhey. Evaluation of Improved-Type 

Detergents . SERL Rept. No. 64-12. Berkeley: Sanit. Engr. Res. Lab., 
Univ. of Calif. December 1964 

Jenkins, D. amd P.H. McGauhey. Broad Characterization of the Improvement of 

Sevage Effluents by Foam Fractionation. SERL Rept. No. 65-5. Berkeley : 
Sanit. Engr. Res. Lab., Univ. of Calif., March 1965 

McGauhey, P.H. "The Role of Water Reclamation in Water Resources Management." 

U.S.P.H.S. Conf. for Latin American Engineers, Cincinnati, Ohio. June 1962 

McGauhey, P.H. "Basic Concepts in Water Pollution Control." Proc., Calif Olive 
Growers Technical Conference, Monterey, Calif., June 1962. 

*McGauhey, P. H. "A review of literature of 1961 f 

J. Water Pollution Control Federation, 2*36- 

*McGauhey, P. H. "Reclaiming Hyperion effluent,." discussion of Proc. 
Paper 2985, Sanit. Eng. Div., J. Am. Soc . Civil Engrs_^ 


Lper ~y^j j ) UCLII -L u -u^e, - j . 

[: 177-79 (SA 5, Pt. l), May 1962. 


McGmihcy, P.H. "The perisitence of ABS in waste water". Berkeley: Sanit. Engr. 
Hes. Lab., Univ. of Calif. August 1963 

McGmihey, P.H. and J.l). Winneberger. "Studies of the failure of septic tank 
percolation systems." WPCF Conference, Seattle, Wn. October 196^ 

McGauhey, P.H. "Detergents as a factor in water quality." Symposium of Univ. of 
Calif, and WPCF, Disneyland Hotel, Anaheim, Calif. October 1963. 

P.H. McGauhey. "Processing, converting, and utilizing solid wastes." Compost 
Science, Summer 1964. 

MgGauhey, P.H. "Current problems in the control of water pollution." UCLA 

Extension Institute of Public Health Law. December l4, 1963 

McGauhey, P.H. "Review of Literature, 1963, Sludge Digestion." Jour. WPCF, 36 (6) 
June 1964 

Klein, S. A., and P. H. McGauhey. "Detergent removal by surface 

stripping," J. Water Poll. Control Federation. 3J>: 100-15 (l), 
January 1963 

Klein, S. A., D. I. Jenkins, and P. H. McGauhey. "The fate of ABS in 

soils and plants," J. Water Poll. Control Federation, 35=636-54 
(5), May 1963- 

*MoGauhey, P. H. "Processing, converting, and utilizing solid wastes," 
Compost Scl., :8-3.4 (2), Summer 196') . 

M<H;.. lU hc.y, P.H. o lUraillMry t on the detergent o 

Hart, S. A., and P. H McGauhey. "The management of wastes in the fopd 
producing and food processing industries," Food Techno] . , 
18:30-36 (4), 1964. 

*McGauhey, P H. e_t al. "A review of the literature of 1963 on wastewater 
and water pollution control, " J. Water Poll. Control Federation, 
3.6:699-711 (6), June 1964. 

McGauhey, P. H., and J. H. Winneberger. "Studies of the failure of 
septic -tank percolation systems," J. Water Poll. Control 
Federation, 3_6:593-6o6 (5), May 1964. 

McGauhey, P. H- "Resolving power of antipollution laws," Public Health 
Repts . , 72=707-8 (8), August 1964. 

* McGauhey, P. H. "Statement before subcommittee on governement operations," 
House of Representatives, 98th Cong., June 1963- Water Poll. 
Control and Abatement (Part IB- -Nat 1. Survey), U.S. Government 
Printing Office, pp. 1119-26. 1Q64. 

*McGauhey, P. H. "Fate of synthetic detergents in ground waters," 
Proc . ^rd Ann. Sanit. and Water Resources Eng . Conf .., 
Vanderbilt Univ., Dept- of C . E., Nashville, Tenn., pp. I >6, 
.May 1964. 

*McGauhey, P. H. "Industry's role in the problem of water quality," 
Proc. 15th Okla. Ind. Waste Conf., pp. 71-76, November 196*1. 


fc?-^ - r -*." Toe. 

Management. August 1^ " Rechar e* Development, and 

, P. H. "Folklore in water quality parameter.';," Paper, presented 
tit Am. Hoc. Civil Engrs . Water Resources Kng. Cc-ni.'.,, 
Alabama, C<->rif'. Preprint No. 17^, March 1965" 

*McCauhcy, P. H. "Economic evaluation/' Proceedings Seminar on Management 

River Basins, sponsored by The Univ. of Texas Center for 
Research in Water Resources. Univ. of Texas, Austin, Texas. 
5 April 1965. 

-i-McGauhey, P. II. "Folklore in water quality standards," Civ. Eng A , 
2:70-71 (6), June 1965. 

Klein, S. A., and P H. McGauhey. "Degradation of biologically soft 
detergents by wastewater treatment processes," J. Water Poll. 
Control Federation, 7:857-66 (6), June 1965. 

*McGauhey P. H., and G. A. Klein. "Degradable pollutants - a study of 
the new detergents," J. Water Pollution Control Fednra+.^n, 
Vol. .,, No. 'j, Munich Abstracts - Section I, pp. 339-51,0 
March .1966. 

McGauhoy, P. H. and S. A. Klein. "De^radable pollutants - a study of 
the new detorcento," in Advances in Water Pollution Research. 
Volume 1, Proceedings of tlic 3rd International Conference, 
Munich, Germany, September 1966. 

McCauhcy, P.1I. "Multipurpose water resource development 1 .' Univ. Calif. 

Engineering Extension Series on Professional Engineering Techniques. 
February 1966. 

McGauhey, P.H. and C.G. Golueke. "Background and perspective of Solid Waste 

Management." 59th Annual Meeting of the APCA, San Francisco, Calif. 
June '20-2^1, 1966 

RcGauhey, P.H. and S.A. Klein. Effects of LAS on the Quality of Waste Water 
Effluents, SERL Report No. 66-5. Berkeley: Sonlt. Engr. Research 
Lab., Univ. of Calif. September 1966 

I'.JI. McGa'jliey and C.G. Golueke. "Future alternatives to incineration and their 

air pollution potential." National Conference on Air Pollution, Wn. D.C. 
December 1L'-1^, 1966 

Woods, P. C, P. H. McGauhey, and G. T. Orlob. Management of l{ydrolo.i;Jc 
Systems for Wnter Quality Control . Water Rocoiirccs Center 
Contribution No. 121. Berkeley: Sanlt. En. nfioearch' Inb., 
Univ. of Calif., June 1967- 

*Golueke, C. G., and P. H. McGauhey. Comprehensive Studies of Solid 

Wastes Management - First Annual Report. SERL Rept. No. 6*7-7 . 
Berkeley: S^nit. Eng. Research I/ib., Univ. of Calif., 

McGauhey, P. H., .and R. B. Krone. Solid Mantle as a Wastovater Treatment. 
> Flna l Report. SERL Kept. No. 67-11. IterkeJey: ri-miti"" 

En(T. Rr>Kr>flT-r>>i TaV. 

McGauhcy, P. H. "Earth's Tolerance for Wastes," reprinted from Thc_ 
Texas Quarterly, Summer 1968. 

Stead, F.M. and P.H. McGauhcy. "Air; Water, Land, and People." Journal VPCF 
. . kO (2): 233-^0, February 1968 

McGauhey, P. H. "On the nature of public health: A preview of 

literature," Am. J. Public Health, 7_(ll) :1967-72, November 1967- 

McGauhey P. H. and J. H. Winneberger. "A Study of Methods of 
Preventing Failure of Septic -Tank Percolation Systems," 
U. 5. Department of Housing and Urban Development, FT/TS-25 
Washington, D. C., March 1968. 

McGauhey, P. H., I. R. Tabershaw, R. c. Cooper, and B. D. Tebbens. 

Man versus his environment," J. Occupational Med., 10:165-173, 
April 1968. 

Engineering Management of Water Quality. McGauhey. McGraw-Hill, 1968 

Carew, J.P. and P.H. McGauhey. Economic Evaluation of Water Quality - A 
Linear Programming Water Quality Control Model. SERL Rept. 
No. 68-2. Berkeley: Sanit. Engr. Research Lab., Univ. of Calif. 
February 1968 

Golueke, C.G. and P.H. McGauhey. Comprehensive Studies of Solid Wastes 

Management - First Annual Report. SERL Rept. No. 67-7, Berkeley; 
Sanit. Engr. Res. Lab., Univ. of Calif. May 1967 

Also Second Annual Report, SERL No. 69-!, January 1969 

(Available in single volume SW 3rg, Bureau of Solid Waste 
Management, July 1970) 

Lofting, E. M., and P. H. McGauhey. jconomlc^ Fvaluotl on pf ''atc-r, Part 

IV, An Input- Outrut and Ilt.ear Program i r.'g A ia iy s IF jf .a i 1 for nia 
Water Reoui repeats. V.'ater Lesources ...enter '.'ontriu. No. i 16 . 
Berkeley: Sanit. Bng. Research Lab., Univ. of Calif'., August 

Bargur, J., and P. H. McGauhey. Economic Evaluation of Water, Part VI; 
A Dynamic Interregional Input -Output Programming Model oi 
California and the Western States Water Economy,. Water Resources 
Center Contrib. No. 128. Berkeley: Sanit. Eng. Research Lab., 
Univ. of Calif., May 1969- 

Mc ; Gauhey, P.H., E.A. Pearson, and G.A. Rohlich. Eutrophication of Surface 
Waters - Lake Tahoe 

Bioassay of Nutrient Sources, 1st Prog. Rept. to FWQA, May 1968 
Laboratory and Pilot Pond Studies, 2nd ditto , May 1969 
Pilot Pond and Field Studies, 3rd ditto , May 1970 

Also: Eutrophication of Surface Waters - Indian Creek Reservoir, 1st 
Prog. Rept. to FWQA, May 1970 

Systems." <J 


Berkeley: Sanit. En- 
November 1969- 


McGauhey, P.H. American Composting Concepts . U.S. Dept. of HEW, Bureau of 
Solid Waste Management. Pub 1 i c a t i on SW- 2 r . 1969 

McC.niliey, P.H. Developing Strategies For Packaging Wastes Management. Proc. 
First National Conference on Packaging Wastes: Davis campus, Univ. 
of California. San Francisco, Sept. 1969 

McGauhey, P.H. The Problem of Environmental Quality. Proc. Forty-Eighth Annual 

Technical Conference of California Olive Association. Monterey, Calif., 
June 16-18, 1969 

McGauhey, P.H. Ni tratcs in Water Supplies - - The Problem. Proc. Twelfth 
Sanitary Engineering Conference, University of Illinois, Dept. of 
Civil Engineering Bulletin 68 (2) . 1969 

McGauhey, P.H. Alternatives in Water Management. Water and Western Destiny. 
Western Interstate Water Conference Proceedings, Colorado State 
University, Fort Collins , Colorado, 1969 

McGauhey, P.H. "Recycling Versus Wasting of Resources". Waste Age, Vol. 1, 
No. 1, April 1970 

"The Role of Incineration in Recycling", ibid Vol. 1, No. 2 
May 1970 

"Private Enterprise in Solid Waste Management", ibid Vol. 1, 
No. 3, June 1970 


"The Alchemy of Salvage", ibid Vol. 1, No. 4, July 1970 

" Public Works Aspects of Solid Waste Management", ibid Vol. 1, 
No. 2, July 1970 

"An Overview of Lanfill Disposal", ibid Vol. 1, No. 6, 
Nov. -Dec. 1970 

"Resource Recycling - An Opportunity and a Challenge", ibid 
Vol. 2, No.l, Jan. -Feb. 1971 

"Are We Looking in the Same Direction?", Ibid Vol. 2, No. 2, 
March-April 1971 

"The Utility Concept", ibid Vol. 2, No. 3, May-June 1971 

"Dreamland Revisited A Look at Recycling", ibid Vol 2, 
No. 4, July-Aug. 1971 

"Manpower Needs in an Unlikely System", ibid Vol. 2, No. 5, 
Sept. -Oct. 1971 

"Industrial Solid Waste - - What Does it Mean?", ibid Vol. 2, 
No. 6, Nov. Dec. 1971 

1 Middlebrooks, E.J., E.A. Pearson, M. Tunzi, A. Adinarayana P.H McGauhey , 
and G.A. Rohlich. "Eutrophication of Surface Water - Lake Tahoe , Jo 
WPCF, 43, 2, Feb. 1971 


i'cC.auhev, P.I*, "W.-jste Water Reclamation - Urban and Agricultural". 

California Water, David Seckler, Editor. Univ. of Calif. Prctis, 
June 1971* 

Kldd.lcb rooks, K.J,, D.B. Porcella, E.A. Pearson, P.H. McGauhey, and G.A. 

Rohlich. "Biostimulation and Alj;al Growth Kinetics of Wastewater", 
Jour. WPCF, A3, 3, Tart 1, March 1971 

McGauhey, P.H. "Buried in Affluence", Encyclopaedia Brittannica Yearbook 
of Science and the Future, 1972 

Shelef, Gedalia, William J. Oswald, and P.H. McGauhey. "Algal Reactor 

For Life Support Systems". Journal San. Engr. Div., ASCE, 96, SA1, 
February 1970 

McGauhey, P.H., E.J. Middlebrooks, and D.B. Porcella. "Manmade Pollution 
and America's 100,000 Lakes." Public Works, 103, 3, March 1972 

McGauhey, P.H., and E.J. Middlebrooks. "Management of Wastewaters For 

Reclamation and Reuse". Water & Sewage Works, 119, 3, March 1972 

McGauhey, P.H. "Manrnade Contamination Hazards". Chapter in Man And His 

Physical Environment , by Garry D. McKenzie and Russell 0. Utgard; 
Burgess, 1972 

McGauhey, P.H. "Halfway to Reclamation - Some Thoughts on Commercial 
Wastee". Waste Age, Vol. 3, No. 1, Jan. - Feb., 1972 

"Searching For The Universal Answer", ibid, Vol. 3, No. 2, 
March - April 1972. 

McGauhey, P.H. Manmade Contamination Hazards to Ground Water". Chapter 
in Mnn's Impact on Environment , by Thomas R. Detwyler, McGraw- 
Hill, New York, 1971 

McGauhey, P.H. "Clean Water - An Environmental Challenge". Journal, Sanit. 
Engr. Div., ASCE, 98, SA2, April 1972 

McGauhey, P.H. and Gordon L. Dugan, "Eutrophication of Surface Waters- 
Lake Tahoe." Report No. 16010 DSW o5/7l, WECR Series, Environmental 
Protection Agency, May 1971 

McGauhey, P.H., D.B. Porcella, and Gordon L. Dugan. " Eutrophication of 
Surface Waters - Lake Tahoe - Indian Creek Reservoir". Report 
No. 16010 DNY 07/71, Environmental Protection Agency, July 1971. 

McGauhey, P.H. "Does Private Industry Face an Unfamiliar Role?", Waste Age, 
Vol. 3, No. 3, May-June 1972 

"Who'll Buy My Violets?", ibid, Vol. 3, No. 4, July-Aug. , 1972 

"New Headaches For the Public Works Official", ibid, Vol. 3 N0. 4, 
Sept. - Oct., 1972 

Porcella, Donald B. , P.H. McGauhey, and Gordon L. Dugan. "Response To Tertiary 
Affluent in Indian Creek Reservoir," Jour. WPCF, 44, 11, Nov. 


McGauhey, P.M. "Solid Waste Management Systems", Proc. Solid Waste Recycling 
Conference, Center for Engineering Research, University of Hawaii 
Jan. 27-28, 1972 

McGauhey, P. II. "Managing Solid Wastes in a Three-Dimensional World", Waste Age, 
Vol. 4, No. 1, Jan. -Feb. 1973 

McGauhey, I'.H. "Tipping On A Holy Land", Ibid, Vol. 4, No. 2, March-April, 1973 
McGauhey, P.H. "There Ought To Be A Law", Ibid. " 4, " 3, May- June, 1973 

McGauhey, P.H. "Land Use As A Factor In Coastal Water Quality", Proc. 13th 
Coastal Engineering Conference, Vol III, Chapter 119, (1972 Proc.) 
Am. Soc. Civil Engrs . , (June 1973, release). 

McGauhey, P.H. "Once Trash Always Trash ?" Env. Activities News Bui. 2,2, 
Charles K. Merrill Publishing Co., April 1973. 

McGauhey, P.H. "The Agglomerates Are Coming A Field in Transition", Waste 
Age, Vol. 4, No. 4, July - August, 1973 

McGauhey, P.H. "The Transfer Station Trading Post of Solid Wastes" Ibid. 
Vol. 4, No. 5, September - October 1973 

McGauhey, P.H. "The Future in Retrospect Government and Private Industry" 
Ibid. Vol. 4, No. 6, November-December 1973 

McGauhey, P. 11. "The Incentive to Change - - Grasping Our Opportunity", 
California Engineer, 52, 2, November 1973 

McGauhey, P.H. "Synopsis of Workshop on Modeling of the Eutrophication Process", 
Modeling of the Eutrophication Process, 1973 Workshop Proceedings, 
Utah State Water Research Laboratory, Logan, Utah, November 1973 


INDEX P.H. MoGauhey 

agriculture, 53, 155-156, 157-158, 162-166, 168-169, 174, 176 

181, 185-186 
air pollution, 54 
algal systems, ?8, 81, 112, 123, 172-181, 189 

California Water Plan, 162-164, 168 

Carew, John, l6l 

civil engineering curriculum. See sanitary engineering curriculum 

composting, 77, 81 
consultation, criteria for, 202, 205 See also MoGauhey, as 


Davis, Craig, 159, 189 
detergents, 124 
Dickey, Randal, 55 

Economic Evaluation of Water, 110, 112, 125, 150-170 

Einstein, H.A. , 171 

Environmental Health Sciences, 58-61 

environmental studies, 225-229 

Erlloh, Harry, 157, 158, 189 

Etoheverry, Bernard A., 52 

fish ponds, 175-177 
Prankel, Richard, l6l, 189 

Golueke, Clarence G. , 81, 173 

Gotaas, Harold B. , 21, 45-46, 48-51, 58-59, 62-64, 68, 74, 

77-79, 81-84, 93, 95-96 
Gray, Harold, 42 
groundwater recharge, 81, 124 

Harding, Sidney T., 42, 52 

Hawaii, 212, 221-223, 229 

Hyde, Charles Gllman, 39, 41-42, 45, 57 


Industrial responsibility, 153-15*, 184-185. See also reoyoling. 
industrial waste pollution, 54-56 

Kaufman, W.J., 82, 171 
Krone, Ray B. , 171 

landfill, 133-13** 

land use, 183, 216-218. See also agriculture. 

Langelier, Wilfred P., 39, 41-42, 49, 82 

League of California Cities, 68 

Lofting, E.M., 159-160, 189 

Ludwig, Harvey P., 77-79. 217 

MoGauhey, Percy H. : 

family, 2-*, 7-8, 11-12, 21, 23, 27-29; marriage to Marguerite 

Gerow, 16, 21, 98-99 
education! elementary, 5-8; high school, 8-10, 199; college, 

10-1*; graduate, 16-19 
as professor: Virginia Polytechnic Institute, 14-20; 

University of California, Berkeley (SEEL), 21, 31, 79, 84; 

University of Southern California, 20 
as consultant, 188, 200-22*, 229 
philosophy oft life and work, 16, 23-2*, 30; administration, 

88-92; teaching, 198-199, 225-226; career goals, 8, 10-14, 

19-21, 8*, 98, 170, 191, 22*, 230 
interest 1m music, 10-11; photography, 17, 2*; writing, 25-27, 

Mukherjee, S., 161 

O'Brien, M.P., 63, 73, 95 
Orlob, G.T., 161 
Oswald, W.J. , 173-17* 
Owens Valley, 158 

Pearson, Erman A. , 77, 79, 125, 171, 188, 190-191, 21* 
Professors, observations about, 37, 50, 52-53, 63, 68-69, 
85, 88-89, 96, 104, 111, 127, 191-201, 226-229 


Baab, Jeannette, 82 
radioactive wastes, 12*5 
reoyoling, 131, 135-1**. 1*6-1*8 


research projects: 

administration of, 72, 76-77, 79, 81-86, 90-92, 97, 104, 127-128 
criteria for, 106-108, 113-117, 119-122, 189-190 
funding for, 63-65, 93-95, 100-119 passim, 120-121, 160-161 
legislative interest in, 68, 94, 168, 186-188 
multi-disciplinary approach to, 122-123, 126-129, 149, 151-152, 

156, 229-230 
uses of, 169-170 

Richmond Field Station, 66, 69-74, 77, 79 

sanitary engineering, at University of California, Berkeley, 

^1-53, 56-65. See also School of Public Health. 
Sanitary Engineering Research Laboratory: 

administration. See research projects: administration of 

financing, 75-77, 79, 80-81, 100 

origins, 64-84 passim, 95-96 

personnel, 77-78, 81-82, 85, 125 

relationships with School of Public Health and College of 
Engineering, 84-87, 90, 95 

research projects, 77-79, 81-82, 114, Chapter IV 
San Luis Drain, 1?6, 180-181, 185-186 
School of Public Health (University of California at Berkeley), 

42, 45, 47-49, 57-62, 64-65, 74-75, 95 
Sellek, R.E. , 171 
septic tanks, 124 
sewage treatment, 33, 174, 182, 184, 186, 202-205. 3ee also 

wastewater treatment. 
Smith, Charles E. , 63 

solid waste management, 66-68, 77, 123, 126-150 passim, 221 
space, research in. See algal systems. 
Stead, Prank, 154, 156 

Tahoe, lake, 169, 174, 214-220 
Taylor, Paul 3., 163 
Tebbens, B.C., 82 
Thomas, J.P. , 82 

University of California at Los Angeles, 77, 80 
University of California, Office of Research Services, 72-73, 
102-106, 116 


wastewater treatment, 5^-55 78, 12^-125, 15^, 171-175. 178-181, 

205-206, 210, 215, 220-223 
water and agriculture. See agriculture 

water, cultural and social attitudes toward, 203-205, 207-213 
Water Pollution Control Board, 55-56 
water quality management, 150, 160-161, 169, 171-172, 177-181, 

World Health Organization, 207-339 

Malca Chall 

Graduated from Reed College in 1942 with a B.A. 
degree, and from the State University of Iowa in 
1943 with an M.A. degree in Political Science. 

Wage Rate Analyst with the Twelfth Regional War 
Labor Board, 1943-1945, specializing in agricul 
ture and services. Research and writing in the 
New York public relations firm of Edward L. 
Bernays, 1946-1947, and research and statistics 
for the Oakland Area Community Chest and Council 
of Social Agencies 1948-1951 

Active in community affairs as a director and 
past president of the League of Women Voters of 
the Hayward Area specializing in state and local 
government; on county-wide committees in the 
field of mental health; on election campaign 
committees for school tax and bond measures, and 
candidates for school board and state legislature. 

Employed in 1967 by the Regional Oral History 
Office interviewing in fields of agriculture and 
Jewish community history.