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1927 The Department of Scientific and Industrial Research set up the Water Pollution Research Board, mainly as a result of representations by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, which were becoming increasingly concerned with the problems of river pollution and its adverse effect on the supply of pure water for a growing population and industry.
Initially, the board did not have its own laboratiories and sponsored research in the Universities.
1938 the board recommended the creation of a central station adequately equipped to investigate the problems of water pollution. Plans for a new laboratory at Garston alongside the Building Research Station were approved in 1939 but abandoned on the outbreak of war. Instead temporary premises were found at a house in Watford and huts at the Building Research Station; other sections worked at Birmingham from 1938 and Coventry from 1947.
1954 These various elements were replaced by a new central Water Pollution Research Laboratory at Stevenage.
1961 A Scottish branch was opened at East Kilbride.
1965 the laboratory passed to the Ministry of Technology, and the research board was replaced by a Water Pollution Research Laboratory Steering Committee.
1970 it was transferred to the Department of Trade and Industry,
1971 Transferred to the Department of the Environment.
1974 it became one of the constituent parts of the new Water Research Centre at Stevenage, grant-aided by the department. The laboratory conducts research into the treatment of sewage and trade effluents, the causes and prevention of pollution in rivers, and the purification of natural waters for the nation's water supplies.