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Freeport, Texas, Distillation Plant

The 11,619 residents of Freeport, Texas, began drinking sea water on May 8, 1961, but did not know it until being told by city officials two weeks later.

On February 23, 1961, President John F. Kennedy delivered a special message to Congress in which he outlined an aggressive federal program for addressing the nation's growing drinking water crisis. One of his solutions was the development of desalination plants, and Freeport was the recipient of the first of five government-plannned pilot plants. The plant utilized ordinary distillation in its million-gallon-a-day operation, the cost of which was estimated at $1 to $1.25 per 1,000 gallons.

Freeport residents get a tour of the city's new distillation plant.

President John F. Kennedy

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This page was last updated on April 16, 2017.