CHICAGO’S POLLUTED WATER.
Chicago’s polluted water is causing a fresh outbreak of typhoid fever, eleven deaths a day being recorded. Yet the intake pipe of the city is no longer only two, but four miles from the shore. And though this is “rarely badly contamineted,” yet there are other intakes. At Lake View, for instance, the water is taken altogether too near the shore and within three miles on each side of the intake no less than twelve sewers empty into the lake. The Hyde Park intake, supplying a district in which, as in the Lake View territory, the majority of the typhoid cases are found,draws from a source polluted not by the discharges of the sewers and the river, but by the dumping of large quantities of very foul matter in the neighborhood of the crib. The Chicago “Times-Herald” tells the story as follows:
“ Some time ago, when the dredging contractors were looking for a place in which to dump the mud and slime shoveled from the bed of the river, the government engineer, Major Marshall, advised them that they might make use of a half mile tract midway between the breakwater and the four-mile crib. The current of the lake at this point is southward, with a slight eastward tendency. The consequence is that all the villanies of the river bottom, the unspeakable ooze and filth of the great uncovered sewer, are carried to the Hyde Park crib. The city bacteriologist has made cultures from water taken from the lake near the crib and from private faucets on the day following a dumping. In an astonishing number of cases the bouillon used m the cultures was clouded, showing the presence of sewage, while the abundance of the colon bacilli left no room for doubt that the dredges are to blame for the spread of the disease in a part of the city that in ordi. nary circumstances should be most healthy.”
This stuff, it appears, is dumped into the lake according to the directions of a member of the engineer corps of the Federal army, in defiance of the fact that the city govern, ment of Chicago has sought to avoid the pollution of the sources of the water supply by prolonging the main conduit and reversing the current of the river. The pumping of the foul dredgings of the river still goes on, although another place has been chosen for the deposits.
‘The remedy has now been applied. The contractors have been ordered to dump three miles to the east of the four-mile crib. This(the “New York Times” points out) cannot be a ‘ remedy.’ The crib was made at a point four miles from the shore in order that it might be far enough out to avoid sewage from the sewers and the river; now this sewage, in concentrated form, is dumped at points in the lake beyond it—only three miles, if orders are obeyed, and probably, in actual practice, at points not far away. It is surprising (addsthe “Times”) that this very injurious pollution should have been permitted by a city whose experience has been so severe and costly, and which has undertaken to spend $10,000,000 or $15,000,000 upon a drainage channel designed to divert sewage from the lake. If sewers are still to discharge foul matter along the shore and the accumulated sediment of the river sewer is to be dumped near the water intakes, the purpose of the projectors of the drainage canal will not be accomplished and, the typhoid death rate of the city will continue to give Chicago an unenviable prominence in the tables of municipal vital statistics.”