« EelmineJätka »
Odorless Excavating Company* of Baltimore, which consists of a pump with peculiar valves, with hose, tank and furnace for the consumption of gases. This, as satisfactorily tested, proves itself capable of removing without disturbance, filth or stench, the contents of any vault or cesspool, however inclosed, provided a hose can be carried thereto. So valuable an auxiliary to the work of health officers will not fail of a ready welcome, if placed at a price that will enable our larger towns to possess themselves of it. It has long been recognized, that the price paid for the cleansing of vaults and cesspools was excessive, in view of the fact, that a real profit accrues therefrom in the night-soil itself. It is earnestly recommended to the boards of health of large towns, that a contract be made with some neighboring agriculturist for the removal of all night-soil for an official year at the best terms procurable, the value of the product being reckoned, and thereby a saving to each citizen be effected, the work to be responsibly performed, and the community be thus secured an agency for the performance of work which individuals often find it difficult to have done. In one case, within knowledge, where a board of health possessed itself of the needful apparatus and labor, a considerable profit accrued to the town by the conveyance of the night-soil to the outlying town farm, where it was composted, and ultimately sold to neighboring farmers.
The careful inspection of the drainage of cellars cannot be too earnestly enjoined upon local boards, and the construction and point of discharge of cellar-drains have been proven matters of no inferior concern.
A case is recorded, where a number of the inhabitants of a town, near one of our large northern cities, were seized with active malarial fever, occasioned, as was shown, by the emanations from the outlet of a cellar-drain near their residences, which drain communicated with the storage-cellar of a vegetable dealer. In the construction of sewers, it is believed to be a false economy which, for the sake of saving the expense of new pipe in subsequent possible examinations, makes loose joints, by which the escape of both fluid and gases is per
“ Scientific American," Oct. 25, 1873.
mitted to contaminate water, soil and air. Frequent and rigid inspectors are the sole safeguards of health authority against the injury that must unfailingly result from overflowing cesspools, choked up drains and surface sink-spouts.
It seems hardly credible, but it is nevertheless true, that the city of Lynn is to-day an applicant for the control of the waters of Saugus River for domestic use, into which stream, as before mentioned, the whole excreta of a thousand factory operatives are discharged, as well as the dyestuff, waste and filth of the factories, and much offal, street-wash and refuse of the town.
Accepting, as we safely may, the findings of the Rivers Pollution Commission of England, * in regard to the impossibility of streams purifying themselves when polluted with sewage, it is evident that either the health officers of that city have not been consulted, or will be remiss in duty if they fail to emphatically protest against such water-supply. It is an interesting commentary on the value of non-medical testimony on these matters, that the city solicitor of Lynn declared before a committee of the legislature that he knew that this stream, sluggishly flowingly through six miles of peaty basin, often broadening into little ponds and receiving frequent additions of organic matter, would entirely purify itself in that distance.
A duty of no inconsiderable moment that falls upon public health officers, in part, is that of protecting, as efficiently as possible, lakes, ponds or other sources of water-supply within their precincts from the various pollutions that endanger. In several towns in the State, it chances that the sources of their aqueduct systems lie within populated regions, and are subject to greater or less disturbance from causes beyond local control, but upon health officers of such localities much will depend in preventing the drainage of streets, cellars and barn-yards from passing, unfiltered, into the domestic supply. The wash of arable land, the addition of decaying vegetation, the organic contributions of the natural water-shed, these it is difficult, and in the main impossible, to restrain or control, but wilful and heedless pollutions require the vigilance and action of local authority.
* Fourth Report State Board of Health, p. 97.
By a recent Act of the legislature, one of our large and prosperous towns has been granted the control of the lakes lying within its territory for public use and consumption; yet, into the largest of these, having a mean depth of only twelve feet, there now empty the wash of a long extent of public highways, the sewer-drains of several families, the leakages of nearly as many privies, the ground flow of three graveyards, and the accumulations of two brooks, into one of which the foul offal of a melting and rendering shop is allowed to drain from a side-hill sloping to the brook's edge, where it is weekly deposited. It is to such disregard of public rights that authority should give its most vigorous attention.
Fortunately for numerous localities, ample power is conferred upon boards of health for the draining or filling up
of low, malarious lands, stagnant pools, etc. ; but while health, and often comfort and content (the last prerequisites of health) require that a board should exercise its power in this regard, it must be certain that health really requires it, and not prejudice or personal desire. A larger amount of real moral courage is needed on the part of a health officer to refuse the requests of friends for such abatement of troublesome matters, when the judgment fails to indicate actual necessity for action, than is requisite to take in hand the abatement of a real nuisance when influence and wealth must be opposed.
HOUSE OFFAL, ETC. —Another of the ever-present obstacles to health, which increases as civilization goes forward, is the waste and refuse of our homes and factories, the garbage of our kitchens and purveyors' shops.
In addition to the sore discomforts of the stench which arises from every family swill-barrel, dealers' refuse-tub, and fish-market, or the uncleanly condition of our yards where overflowing receptacles stand, or of streets strewn with fishheads and offal from the dealers' carts, the decaying and poisonous substances involved are prolific of various types of disease.
Every local board of health should insist, by regulation and enforcement thereof, upon the possession and use by every family, and such dealers as require, of a water-tight and sufficient receptacle for swill, capable of easy removal and provided with sufficient cover.
Ample provision should be made by the board for the reg. ular and systematic removal of all garbage offered for removal in towns of such size as to require it. All garbage-carts should be water-tight and tightly covered.
All provision shops and fish-markets should be frequently inspected with reference to their disposal of refuse, the character of their stock and their general cleanliness. The cellars of houses and marketmen should be cleared each spring, and as much oftener as necessary, of all decaying vegetables, etc., and the cellars themselves be kept dry and well-drained.
The most stringent regulations and enforcement should exist in every town against the throwing of fish offal, butchers' refuse, swill, dead animals, slops or household rubbish upon the streets or lanes of a town.
No objectionable refuse, vegetable or animal, should be carted upon land without special permission and instruction from the board. The regulation requiring the maintenance of a proper swill
a receptacle should be made universal, operating even upon those who choose to feed the waste of their kitchens to their poultry or swine rather than have it removed by the scavengers of the board. Such feeding must, of course, take place without detriment to considerations of health, or it will become the duty of the board to further restrict or even to abolish. Frequent inspections, and the encouragement of reports by citizens of unwarrantable practices, are requisite for safety in this regard. The dislike, which is a part of a republican form of government, to interfering without necessity in the personal or property rights of the citizen, makes it desirable that the disposal of even the least valuable of his possessions should be left in his own hands, and throughout the administration of sanitary enactments, this is to be prominently borne in mind. The public right however, is dominant, and the same principle which is recognized in the right to confine the insane or destroy a rabid animal obtains in the prevention of harm to the public's chief interest, its health, by the sometimes rigorous provisions of sanitary laws.
It has been said that ample arrangement should be made
for the regular removal from residences, etc., of accumulated garbage. The cities and larger towns have generally recognized this necessity, and provided therefor; but their systems are not always available in, or believed to be the best for, outlying or suburban localities.
To secure even decent results, something more than the haphazard visits of individual scavengers is needed, and the creation of a proper outfit for the performance of the work by the board itself would be expensive, and is unnecessary. In almost every town, there may be found one or more individuals who, for either market or fertilizing uses, keep several swine, for whose food the swill-product of a town has a recognized value. In the section in which this is written, there are not a few farmers who, finding no profit in raising the hog beyond his manurial uses, if a corn diet is fed, are weekly hauling an empty wagon fifteen miles or more to Charlestown poor farm, where that city's collections of swill are stored, and buying a load at a dollar a foot; i. e., for from one to four dollars, carting the heavy mass home, an equal distance, consuming often the time of a man and two horses for a day, and believing "it pays."
While the correctness of the belief is doubted, the value of this plan of utilizing this waste is readily admitted, and if the supply were obtainable nearer home it is easily understood how this method would make money by saving it.” It is all the more certain, moreover, that if, as these farmers claim, "it does pay,” it will pay much better when the distance travelled is five miles instead of fifteen, and the time consumed half a day instead of the whole. It is therefore urged upon boards of health of towns of sufficient size to be disturbed by the accumulation of garbage, that they contract with some one or more of these swine-owners for the regular and cleanly removal of all swill, at a certain price per or per year, or, if no better can be done, for the swill itself, though it has long been wondered why cities and towns, as the city of Chelsea, have been willing to pay to a contracting scavenger, a large sum per year in (addition to the material collected) for its removal, when the market value of the latter was well established and the demand equal to the supply. In one town where it was not believed that a sufficient amount