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Facilities for the collection, treatment, storage, and distribution of water. Ancient systems included wells, storage reservoirs, canals and aqueducts, and water-distribution systems. Highly advanced systems appeared c. 2500 BC and reached their peak in the Roman aqueduct system. In the Middle Ages, water supplies were largely neglected and epidemics caused by waterborne organisms were common. In the 17th–18th century, distribution systems utilizing cast-iron pipes, aqueducts, and pumps began to be installed. The link between polluted water and disease came to be understood in the 19th century, and treatment methods such as slow sand filtration and disinfection with chlorine were introduced. Modern reservoirs are formed usually by constructing dams near the collection point of mountain-water runoff or across rivers. After the water reaches collection points, it is treated to improve its quality; it is then pumped either directly into a city or town's distribution system or to an elevated storage location, such as a water tank. See alsoplumbing.
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