This graph shows how improvements in sewage treatment impacted on public health in Christchurch. Before the installation of a sewer system, the city council abolished cesspits and switched to a nightsoil-collection system, which took human waste away from housing areas. This had an immediate impact on death rates from infectious diseases associated with human waste, such as typhoid. Completion of a sewer system in the city in 1882 hastened the decline of these diseases.
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Source: Geoffrey Rice, 'Public health in Christchurch, 1875–1910: mortality and sanitation.' In A healthy country: essays on the social history of medicine in New Zealand, edited by Linda Bryder. Wellington: Bridget Williams, 1991, p. 96.