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also be made as in the past both with reference to obtaining a record of the quality of the water used by the different communities, and to increasing the existing knowledge as to the relative quality of waters obtained or stored in different ways.
It is also desired to know more definitely than at present whether water from a polluted source, which, after filtering through the ground, is found by chemical analysis to have all the organic matter removed from it by filtration, is also pure from a bacterial stand-point. It is further proposed to add data to the map of normal chlorine of Massachusetts, for it is on this normal chlorine that all our classifications of purity of waters rest, and to discover if possible whether a standard of nitrates in ground waters can be established, which would be of great value in classifying these waters.
It is desirable that complete mineral analyses of many of the water supplies of the State should be made, for the light which they may throw on the presence of particular organisms in waters of different composition.
It is proposed to make further examinations of the methods used and results obtained in the purification of sewage by filtration through the ground and by chemical precipitation in all the towns and public institutions having systems of sewage disposal.
As a means of diminishing the pollution of rivers, the purification of manufacturing wastes before they are allowed to enter streams is also a highly important matter for investigation.
The investigations at the Lawrence Experiment Station have continued during the past year, and, as in previous years, they have related largely to the purification of sewage and water by intermittent filtration. In addition to this work, however, a very large amount of chemical and biological work has been done at the convenient laboratory of the Board, which is carried on in connection with this station. This additional work has related to the identification of different species of bacteria found in sewage, and in water supplies polluted by sewage, with a view both to detecting the presence of the pathogenic bacteria, and whether such bacteria, and others which are common in
sewage, will survive when the sewage is highly diluted by being turned into a stream
The other examinations made at this station relate to the pollution of streams, the purification of manufacturing wastes and the examination of water from many sources, a large proportion of them in connection with the study of epidemics of typhoid fever and other diseases. In all, 2,347 samples have been examined both chemically and bacterially, and bacterial examinations only have been made of 580 additional samples of water.
A more extended account of the work done at this place is given in a subsequent portion of this report.
ADVICE TO CITIES AND TOWNS.
Under the provisions of chapter 375 of the Acts of 1888, entitled “An Act to protect the purity of inland waters, and to require consultation with the State Board of Health regarding the establishment of systems of water supply, drainage and sewerage,” the Board is required “ from time to time to consult with and advise the authorities of cities and towns, or with corporations, firms or individuals either already having or intending to introduce systems of water supply, drainage or sewerage, as to the most appropriate source of supply, the best practicable method of assuring the purity thereof or of disposing of their drainage or sewage, having regard to the present and prospective needs and interests of other cities, towns, corporations, firms or individuals which may be affected thereby. It shall also from time to time consult with and advise persons or corporations engaged or intending to engage in any manufacturing or other business, drainage or sewage from which may tend to cause the pollution of any inland water, as to the best practicable method of preventing such pollution by the interception, disposal or purification of such drainage or sewage : provided, that no person shall be compelled to bear the expense of such consultation or advice, or of experiments made for the purposes of this act. All such authorities, corporations, firms and individuals are hereby required to give notice to said Board of their intentions in the premises, and to submit for its advice outlines of their proposed plans or schemes in relation to water supply and disposal of drainage and sewage; and all petitions to the Legislature for authority to introduce a system of water supply, drainage or sewerage, shall be accompanied by a copy of the recommendation and advice of the said Board thereon."
During the year 1891 the Board has given its advice to the following cities, towns, corporations and individuals who have applied for such advice under the provisions of the general act of 1888, or under special acts relating to water supply and sewerage.
Applications were received from the following sources during the year for advice relative to water supply: Quincy ; Haverhill; I. B. Little and others of Merrimac; Lot Phillips and others, relative to a supply for the towns of Hanover and Norwell; Easthampton (three applications) ; Orange ; Waltham ; Geo. W. Parkes and others of Falmouth; D. W. Tenney and others of Methuen ; the Lexington Water Company; Winchester ; the Stockbridge Water Company (two applications); Webster; the Attleborough Fire District, No. 1; Kingston; Fitchburg; the Marblehead Water Company of Swampscott; Wellesley; C. L. Goodhue, relative to a water supply for the village of Willimansett; Taunton; West Boylston; Clinton; Pittsfield; Millbury; Lowell; and Westminster.
The applications relating to sewerage and sewage disposal were from the following sources : Pittsfield ; Fairhaven; Brookfield; North Adams; the Massachusetts School for the Feeble-minded; Amherst; Watertown; Hull; the Nemasket Mills ; West Springfield ; Springfield (two applications); Revere (three applications) ; Westborough ; Wellesley College; the Massachusetts Hospital for Dipsomaniacs and Inebriates ; Nantucket; Easthampton and Southbridge. To these should be added an application from the town of Beverly, which was not received till late in 1890, and a reply was made early in the following year.
Three applications were received which had reference to the pollution of inland streams. The subjects referred to in these communications were the condition of certain meadows on the Neponset River, the widening of Alewife Brook, a tributary of the Mystic River, and the condition of the Blackstone River below Worcester.
Applications from West Boylston, Clinton, Pittsfield, Lowell, Southbridge, Springfield and Revere, received late in the year, are now under consideration by the Board.
The following is the substance of the action of the Board in reply to applications relative to water supply:
Quincy. The mayor of Quincy applied to the Board for its advice (Jan. 5, 1891) relative to a proposed water supply for the city, from territory located mainly in the town of Braintree. The existing water supply of the city being furnished by a water company, a public hearing was given by the Board February 3, at which the city and the water company were represented. The Board, after considering the question, submitted the following reply:
Bostox, March 11, 1891. It is impracticable, with the information which has been presented, to give a final judgment as to the quantity of water which Quincy can obtain from the ground bordering the Blue Hill River in Braintree in the vicinity of the outlet of Great Pond; but it seems improbable that a supply for thirty thousand people can be obtained at this place, unless a considerable proportion of the water filters into the ground during the summer from Great Pond, which has already been taken by the towns of Randolph, Holbrook and Braintree for water-supply purposes. The quality of the water taken from the ground as proposed has not been tested, but there is little doubt that the natural supply from the ground here would be excellent.
The proposed storage reservoir is so large in proportion to its watershed that the water in it would be replaced, on an average, only once in nineteen months ; and it is improbable that it would furnish water of satisfactory quality for the direct supply of the city, if it was not carefully prepared at a considerable expense by removing all vegetable matter from its bottom and sides.
The feasibility of replenishing the ground water supply with the stored water will depend much upon the character of the ground, which has not yet been determined.
If it should be granted that the city of Quincy should introduce an independent supply of water, this Board is of opinion, in view of the above considerations, that further investigations should be made before a final decision is reached relative to the construction of works for supplying water from this source; such investigations, however, cannot be made in season for presentation to the Legislature this year.
We know of no other territory within a reasonable distance from Quincy from which it is at all probable that a supply independent of the present one can be obtained ; and it is also true that this territory is a more appropriate source of supply for Quincy than for any other community.
The rights of Randolph, Holbrook and Braintree to the water of Great Pond should not be infringed upon ; but the city of Quincy would be more likely to obtain a suflicient supply if it could obtain from these towns the right to use to some extent the storage capacity of this pond.
The water furnished from the storage reservoir of the Quincy Water Company, which is now the main source of supply for the city, is derived from a territory having a very small population ; but its quality is not satisfactory, on account of the large amount of organic matter which it often contains, and the bad taste and odor which it has at times ; moreover, it is liable to pollution from the piggeries and barns upon the watershed. It is entirely practicable to remove many of the objectionable characteristics of this water, and to greatly improve its quality. The quantity to be derived from this source is sufficient for the present wants of the city.
HAVERHILL. The mayor of Haverhill applied to the Board (Feb. 4, 1891) for advice relative to the taking of certain ponds within the limits of that city as sources of water supply, to which the Board replied as follows:
Boston, March 3, 1891. The State Board of Health has considered the application of the city of Haverhill for advice in regard to obtaining a supply of water for domestic and other purposes from Kenoza Lake, Round Pond, Plug Pond and Crystal Lake, within the limits of said city.
The water from each of these ponds was analyzed by the Board in 1887 and 1888, and was found to be of satisfactory quality, with the exception of that from Plug Pond (Lake Saltonstall), which is being polluted by the rapidly increasing population upon its drainage area, to such an extent that in the judgment of the Board it should be abandoned as a source of supply.