Philip Wylie‘s 1949 article on water pollution in Miami probably made as big an environmental difference as any other piece of Florida journalism. “Polluted Paradise” showed a national audience how much of Miami’s sewage was completely untreated and piped straight to Biscayne Bay. Local and state officials admitted that vast amounts of raw sewage were discharged to the Bay while also claiming that Wylie had committed “an injustice to the State of Florida.”
By 1967, the State Board of Health was noting wastewater improvements and thinking differently about Wylie:
A survey conducted by the State Board of Health in 1949 bore out Wylie’s charges. Conditions were such that unless steps were taken there would be further threats to public health which would have an adverse effect upon the economic, aesthetic, recreational and commercial interests of the metropolitan area.
Two decades is about the usual lag time for wide recognition of water problems.