BAD WATER CONDITIONS AT ROEBLING.
A little more than a year ago the sons of John Robeling, at a cost of $4,000,000, built the model town of Roebling, N. J., not far from Trenton, in order to accommodate the workers in their big wire manufacturing plant, which they had transferred from Trenton to a site on the east bank of the Delaware river some ten miles below the State capital. It has a population of some 2,000. It has three hotels, a club, an hospital, with 100 beds, libraries, churches, public batns, a park, several stores, and there are further provided tor the wire-workers houses and the necessaries of life at reduced rates. The town is kept perfectly clean; it has a modern system of sewerage, discharging into the river below the town, the elevation ot the streets being such that there is always an easy How. The water supply is from the Delaware river, and there is a. modern Ultra tion system installed. At the point where the water is taken from the river is a large sand-filtration bed, and, to make assurance doubly sure, a filtering apparatus has been installed at the base of a big standpipe in the centre of the town, into which the river water is pumped after it has passed through the first filter, being thus filtered twice before it is delivered to the consumers. Yet, with all these precautions, the town of Roebling and Kinkora, an adjoining hamlet, have been, and still are visited with such a formidable and fatal siege of typhoid fever that an emergencyhospital has had to be opened and the overplus transferred to Trenton for treatment. Several deaths have resulted from the epidemic, and the death-roll is apparently not yet complete. 1 he local doctors are at a loss to account for the cause of the disease; but they generally blame the water as the original source, and add that they fear the sickness may manifest itself at other points along the Delaware river where its water is used for drinking. In all probability, the disease w-as started in the summer, and, as it has assumed most commonly the shape of walking typhoid, the people of the town, wdio are nearly all Hungarians and very ignorant, thinking it was only some ordinary sickness, have gone regularly to their work and about the town, altogether unconscious of what ailed them. In this way, of course, the disease has been spread. It is not improbable that the work carried on last summer by the State just above Trenton—that of removing a large sandbar in the river—had much to do with starting the epidemic. The sandbar was certainly over 200 years old. It had been increasing in size for over two centuries and had formed quite a barrier to navigation. It had, likewise, served as a bed in which had accumulated no end of tilth and bacteria. The State government set vo work removing it, and in the course of the operations dynamite was freely used. Much of the loosened filth was taken up by the water that entered the storage reservoirs and tanks at Roebling and other towns below Trenton. As it was put by an old citizen of Trenton: “The old sandbar has been accumulating germs since the days when the Indians used to paddle their canoes over it. and. when the dynamite charges were cxplocied in its depths, there is no doubt that typhf id germs were let loose by the million. The next question is how to purify the river again.”
The sandbar probably caught and held many pathogenic germs, as all accumulations of sand will do—as is done in sand filtration. But, after the lapse of a century or two, that mass of sand from never having undergone any purificatory process became (as a sand-filter bed would become) surcharged with filth. It was turned into a plague spot and Robeling has been the sufferer. At last accounts there was some improvement in the Roebling situation.