From the Yellow Brick Road to Hollywood’s sewers

Dear Editor:
I am writing a children’s book about the chemical properties of water and water purification. I am using an example of the water drained out of the pond by the yellow brick road on the set of “The Wizard of Oz.” Where would that water have gone after it was drained out of the studio? Would it all have been recycled into the city’s drinking water? If so, could you briefly explain the purification process? If not, then where did it go? Thank you.

Jill Tarnoff
Villanova, Pa.

WC&P responds: With regard to water drained from the set of “The Wizard of Oz,” our guess is that it was probably sewered. Most water that drains from a surface, such as a parking lot or storm drains, does not go into the sewage treatment facility, but drains into the most convenient water catchment facility—a reservoir, lake, river, etc.
Since the movie was filmed at MGM studios in Hollywood in the late 1930s, it’s likely the water was flushed into the city sewer system or onto adjacent drainage areas on the studio property. Regardless, it would not have been recycled to the city’s drinking water supply without some sort of treatment.
For more on the movie, see: http://


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