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I have, therefore, to ask you to be kind enough to leave your back-yard doors open before retiring for the night, and thus allow our men free access to the ashpit.
Inspector of Nuisances.
Disposal of Night-soil and Ashes.—Dry ashes, when not mixed with night-soil, may be disposed of in many ways, such as filling up low-lying marshy pasture land, such as is not intended for building purposes, making embankments for certain purposes, or grinding up into mortar with a given proportion of lime; or, better still, to be submitted to what is known as “ Fryer's Process."
The following statement will be well worth careful study on the part of the inspector :
The system here described is now at work in Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham, Stafford, and Warrington.
ON THE DISPOSAL OF THE REFUSE OF Towns.
AN ADDRESS TO THE CORPORATION OF DERBY,
BY ALFRED FRYER.
Printed at the request of the Mayor,
W. Higginbottom, Esq.
The disposal of the refuse of towns in a manner that will not imperil the health of the inhabitants, that shall not be revolting to the sense of decency, and that at the same time shall not impose upon the ratepayers a heavier burden than is needful, is a problem of great importance, and one which has engaged the atteution of many eminent men.
It is not, however, to be expected that any one method will be of universal application. Towns conveniently situate for discharging their water-borne refuse into the sea, or into the lower reaches of a tidal river, are not likely to concern themselves with irrigation farms or precipitating tanks, whilst imagination can scarcely conceive anything more revolting than a similar discharge from towns situate near the source of rivers, so that the sewage must become mingled with the water used by the population inhabiting the lower part of the course.
It may be convenient in considering this question, so far as it affects most inland towns, to subdivide the refuse into three classes :
1st. Refuse that cannot be removed by water transport.
2nd. Refuse that must be removed by water transport.
3rd. Refuse that may be removed by water transport
The group of substances which cannot be removed by water are obviously insoluble solids, and these may be classed into mineral and vegetable.
The former consists mainly of the cinders and ashes from house fires, and, together with these, broken earthenware and glass, oyster and other shells, and small portions of iron and tin.
Where the old-fashioned ashpits or middens exist, these substances are frequently either soaked or accompanied by water, and are offensive by the admixture of fæcal matter.
Though these substances contain a portion of combustible material, they are blended with so much incombustible, they are so choked with dust, and so saturated with water, that instead of being capable of ready ignition they would quench any ordinary fire upon which they might be thrown.
This material is very difficult of disposal. It possesses no value as manure; when piled in heaps it often becomes offensive; and, as the dust-bin is usually the receptacle of solid refuse, it contains the dust and rubbish swept from the rooms, not only of ordinary residences, but it may contain also the sweepings from sick rooms of small-pox and scarlet fever patients, and not unfrequently portions of clothing which spread the germs of disease in the air. These are conveyed still more certainly to the homes of the poor creatures who often search the refuse to glean the perilous treasures. No wonder that zymotic disease starts out without any apparent cause in the lower parts of towns, where it can be conveyed to them as effectually as the plague was carried from London in some woollen clothing to your own martyr village of Eyam, 211 years ago.
The method of placing such solid refuse upon tips has nothing to recommend it. The heap is both unsightly and dangerous. The evil is cumulative. Each generation has not alone to find space to dispose of its own refuse, but it must also tolerate the accumulations of those which preceded it. Continue the process long enough, and every town must stand within, if not upon, a belt of refuse; must tolerate the refuse before its doors, as the tenants of an Irish cabin do, or must imitate our pre-historic ancestors with their kitchen-middens.
The Health Committee of Manchester, with the aid of their medical officer, Dr. Leigh, and of their energetic superintendent, Mr. Whiley, have for some time demonstrated that ashes and clinkers when ground with hydrate of lime make a most excellent and tenacious mortar.
They were, however, unable to deal with the refuse to which I have adverted. They could not burn it en masse,
and if any of the material tainted with focal matter were used the mortar became offensive.
To deal with this difficulty the patent Destructor was devised. The object aimed at was to obtain a furnace so arranged that when once ignited the radiant heat generated should not be permitted to escape, but should be reflected upon the burning material, so as to intensify the combustion and raise the temperature as much as possible. This having been effected, the heated products of combustion should be passed over a further supply of material, which would thus become deprived of its water and be raised in temperature, ready for active combustion when its turn came to reach the furnace proper. Such then is the Destructor. The material treated is frequently indistinguishable from wet mud. Cart-loads of bricks, saturated with water or urine, bottles, glass, &c., are shot in these furnaces; they are made red hot; all water is evaporated, all organic matter is decomposed, all combustible matter is consumed, and the mineral matter alone is left, “purified as by fire.” No smell is produced by the burning. Two-thirds of the mass disappear, and the residue—ash and clinker, fused glass and earthenware, offering sharp angular fractures-furnishes, when ground with lime, a mortar for which there is abun. dant demand. There is no fear of being under-sold, for as one of the raw materials cost less than nothing, mortar-makers not possessing similar advantages may be working to a loss, while the makers of vitrified mortar will be reaping a profit.
The Destructor requires but little attention. It is almost self-feeding. The material slips down the sloping bottom of the furnace, and the clinkers are easily withdrawn at the furnace mouth.
The Destructor furnaces are a series of cells. The cost of each cell for ironwork is about £80, to which the cost of brickwork must be added. The royalty payable is less than the cost of placing the refuse in a cart, or wheeling it across the road. The heat gene. rated by the Destructor furnishes power for grinding the mortar, and for other purposes, to be described later,
Each cell deals with 140 cwts. per day.
By this mode of treatment, the refuse is absolutely got rid of, without injury or annoyance to contemporaries or to posterity. No danger is to be apprehended from the spread of the disease. No accumulations remain, and that which was an incumbrance becomes a marketable commodity. It remains to be added, that at Manchester the difference between cost and sale price leaves to the corporation a fair profit on the trade of mortar making.