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ing small intercepting chamber, the latter is far preferable. But in doing so I probably overlook the fact that the same people who raise such an objection would probably never see to it that their large cesspool is cleaned, paying no attention to it as long as the sewage runs off, no matter where to.
5. It is sometimes objected that the tiles will choke and must be taken up and relaid. I cannot deny the possibility of such an occurrence, although this may only become necessary about every three years on the average. They will choke sooner if they lack the cleansing effect of a flush delivered at intervals from the sewage tank. Even supposing for a moment that the tiles would have to be cleaned and relaid every year, how little amount of labor, trouble and expense is involved in doing so, owing to their being laid in permanent gutters and close to the surface. Compare this with the trouble and annoyance of having to empty and clean a disgusting overflowing cesspool !
6. The system is objected to because the ground where the tiles are buried cannot be plowed, nor can heavy wagons drive over it without risk of breaking or displacing the pipes. This objection cannot be denied, but it is a slight one, if one at all.
7. Many people object to the cost of the automatic siphon. However expensive this may be, it cannot be considered a valid and sound objection against the system. As a matter of fact, the annular siphon, at least in the case of isolated suburban and country houses, does not cost very much. But, where this expense is objected to, the mistake should not be made of providing only one large overflow pipe from the liquid sewage tank, from which a constant small stream dribbles toward the irrigation field. This is a very imperfect and faulty arrangement. Only a short length of the tiles would receive an almost constant trickling flow of sewage, saturating the ground around it to the surface and keeping it in unwholesome condition. Moreover, the tiles would rapidly choke up with such an arrangement. Aëration, intermittent action, oxidation, powerful flushing, the uniform and entire filling of the tiles, all these conditions essential to the success of the system, would be absent.
As indicated heretofore, a stop-valve in the outlet pipe, worked by hand, may take the place of an automatic siphon. The only other admissible arrangement, and one which I have adopted with perfect success, for smaller country houses, where the owners objected to the cost of an automatic fush-tank, is a sewage tank, provided with a large number of overflow pipes, all placed exactly at the same level in the tank-not a very easy thing to do, by the way and all discharging simultaneously equal or nearly equal portions of the sewage into the various lines of absorption drains, thus securing a better distribution of the sewage. In this arrangement the tiles are likely to choke sooner than in the system with intermittent flush-tank, since they lack the cleansing effect of a sudden rush of water from the tank.
NOTE. - Since writing the above the author has constructed such a straining chamber as is described in the preceding pages in connection with a 30,000 gallon flush-tank for newage disposal at the State Homeopathic Asylum for the Insane, at Middletown, Orange county, New York.
8. Another objection is the cost of the system. The first expense is, of course, more than that for a cesspool of moderate dimensions, but the frequently recurring expense of cleaning and emptying the latter, soon renders the sub-surface irrigation system cheaper than the ordinary cesspool. For a small country house its whole expense should not exceed $250, and for a larger country residence the system ought not to cost more than $500, which prices include the royalty on some of the better class of patented automatic flush-tanks.
9. It is sometimes stated that the sub-surface irrigation system is impracticable in the case of level ground, or where the lawn rises at the rear of the house, or where the main soil-pipe leaves the house at a depth below the cellar floor. To this I answer that some concessions must, under such circumstances, be made. For instance, in places where the available fall from the house to the irrigation field is slight, no plumbing fixtures should be placed in the basement, and the soil-pipe should leave the house as near the surface as practicable. In some cases it may even become necessary to build the flush-tank in embankment, hiding it in a sort of artificial terrace at the side of the house. By making the tank of a shallow depth it is usually possible to effect a suitable arrangement. In extreme cases it may become necessary to lift the sewage, after straining, and this may be accomplished by a variety of mechanical devices. Where a small air compressor may be operated in the cellar of the house, Shone's sewage ejector appears to offer a simple solution of the problem. Where steam is available, a pulsometer pump could be used for lifting the sewage. If gas is laid on to the house, or a gasoline gas machine is in operation, a gas engine or hot-air engine may prove economical. Finally, the motive force of the wind may be used for such purposes by erecting a windmill with suitable pumping apparatus. Whatever the special difficulties may be in each case they can usually be overcome at a slight sacrifice. Certainly they should not be considered objections to the system as such.
10. The objection that the sub-surface irrigation system poisons wells, may be removed by simply locating the field away from wells, or where it must necessarily be close to a house, by abolishing wells, and depending on rainwater collected in tight, underground cisterns, as a source of water supply.
11. Some think that it is impossible to purify sewage by turning it into agricultural drains located at a depth below the roots of the plants. It is hardly worth while to consider this objection, as many years of successful working of the system seem to amply contradict it.
12. The system has received condemnation because “sub-irriga- ! tion is a process faulty in principle, as it feeds vegetation by the upward rising of moisture, accompanied by evaporation, with all the chilling influences which are so injurious to vegetation as well as to human beings.” I can only answer that, so far as my personal observation goes, practically no harm has ever been done to vegetation; on the contrary, it stimulates the growth of grass, of shrubbery and of fruit trees, which statement, I am confident, is borne out by the experience of other sanitary engineers.
13. Where the irrigation field is under drained, it frequently happens that at first the sewage leaks away too quickly and without being purified, at the points where the distribution tiles cross the lines of agricultural tiles. This can be remedied after a while, when the earth in the deep trenches for the land tiles settles down and solidifies.
This, I believe, comprises all the criticisms raised against the subsurface irrigation system. While I do not wish to be understood as claiming this method of sewage disposal as a panacea for all the evils incident to country house drainage, I hold that the system is an excellent one wherever suitable land, of suitable character and of sufficient area, properly located, may be obtained. For a further detailed discussion of the whole subject I may be permitted to refer to a small volume, soon to be issued, entitled “ The Disposal of Household Wastes.”
OF THE STATE BOARD OF HEALTH.
SECTION 1. The governor with the advice and consent of the senate shall appoint six persons, two from the county of Providence and one from each of the other counties, who shall constitute the state board of health, one of whom shall be appointed in each year for the term of six years from the first day of July. Any appointment to fill a vacancy shall be for the remainder of the term. Of the persons so appointed, at least three shall be well educated physicians and members of some medical society incorporated by the state. The governor may remove any member for cause, at any time, upon the written request of twothirds of the board.
SEC. 2. The board shall take cognizance of the interests of life and health among the citizens of the state; they shall make investigation into the causes of disease, and especially of epidemics and endemics among the people, the sources of mortality, and the effects of localities, employments, conditions and circumstances on the public health, and shall do all in their power to ascertain the causes and the best means for the prevention of diseases of every kind in the state. They shall publish and circulate, from time to time, such information as they may deem to be important and useful for diffusion among the people of the state, and shall investigate and give advice in relation to such subjects relating to the public health, as may be referred to them by the general assembly or by the governor when the general assembly is not in session.
Sec. 3. The state board of health shall also investigate the subject of diseases among cattle or other animals.
SEC. 4. The board shall meet in the city of Providence once in three months, and as much oftener as they may deem necessary. No member of the board, except the secretary, shall receive any compensation for his services; but the actual personal expenses of any member, while engaged in the duties of the board, shall be paid by the state.
SEC. 5. The board shall elect a well qualified physician as their secretary, who shall be ex-officio a member of the board, the commissioner of public health and state registrar, but he shall not be permitted to vote on any question in which he is personally interested or be entitled to any additional compensation for mileage or expenses.
Sec. 6. The secretary of the board shall make inquiry from time to time, of the clerks of town and local boards of health and practising physicians in relation to the prevalence of any disease, or knowledge of any known or generally believed source of disease or causes of general ill-health, and also in relation to the proceedings of the said boards of health, in respect of acts for the promotion and protection of the public health, and also in relation to diseases among domestic animals in their several towns; and the said clerks of town and local boards of health and said practising physicians shall give information, in reply to said inquiries, of such facts and circumstances as shall have come to their knowledge.
"SEC. 7. The secretary shall perform and superintend the work prescribed for said board by law and such other duties as the board may require; he shall prepare and publish in every calendar month a general summary of all the deaths and causes of the same which had occurred in the state during the preceding month, the same to be made up from returns of deaths which shall be sent to him on or before the tenth day of the month following the date of such deaths, by the several town and city clerks and the city registrar of Providence city: he shall also prepare and publish for general distribution a monthly circular giving information and advice in regard to the preservation of health, suitable for each particular season, and giving also such information as he shall deem of advantage to the public, as to the prevalence and character of infectious diseases of domestic animals, and for such service he shall receive the sum of seventeen hundred dollars annually, or such proportion thereof as the said board may determine. He shall hold his office during the pleasure of the board and may be removed at any regular meeting by a majority vote of the members of said board.',
SEC. 8. The governor shall provide a suitable office for the board in the city of Providence, and the actual expenses of the board and of the members thereof, when certified by the chairman and approved by the governor, shall be paid from the state treasury.
Sec. 9. The board shall make a report in print to the general assembly, an. nually, of its proceedings during the year ending on the thirty-first day of December next preceding, with such suggestions in relation to tbe sanitary laws and interests of the state as they shall deem important.