Herman Baity, Worldwide Champion of Clean Water

Herman BaityOn March 12, 1952, North Carolina native Herman Baity became chief engineer and director of sanitary engineering for the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland.

Born in rural Davie County in 1895, Baity attended the University of North Carolina, where he was particularly interested in hydraulic and sanitary engineering. He received a Rockefeller Foundation grant to study at Harvard, where, in 1928, he received the nation’s first doctorate in sanitary engineering.

Baity returned to Chapel Hill where he worked at the forefront of sanitary engineering worldwide, In the 1930s, he served as an engineer with the State Board of Health and as state director of the Public Works Administration, which was part of the larger New Deal package of programs. Baity’s interests broadened beyond North Carolina in the late 1930s and 1940s as he served as a consultant on national and international projects.

Working with the newly-formed WHO from 1952 until 1962, Baity traveled throughout the world promoting sanitary water treatment and management. His diligent and impassioned work improved water quality at home and abroad.

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