Danger in Croton Water.
THE chemists of the Board of Health of this city have filed their report upon the condition of the Croton water shed, which examination was made recently, resulting in the discovery of sewage, contaminating and polluting the water of the streams, lakes and reservoirs of the entire system. The report concludes that the condition of affairs is of the most serious character and requires immediate attention, that typhoid and other kindred diseases are likely to result from the present deterioration of the water supply used by the inhabitants of the city, and further that the deterioration is likely to be progressive. No remedy is suggested by the chemists other than that of a general character, namely, “ It is therefore of paramount importance that prompt and efficient measures be taken to remove the source of contamination already existing on the water shed to further prevent pollution from new sources.”
The city authorities are powerless to prevent the pollution of the watershed. It is a grave question if the legislatute can pass an enabling act empowering the city to take the necessary steps requisite to accomplish that object unless they have the right to condemn and purchase all water rights. It is well known that the process of deterioration of the water supply is progressive, in that as the population and industrial interests multiply and increase year by year on the water shed, so does pollution of the streams and water courses increase. Commissioner Gilroy’s suggestion made recently, namely, to purchase a strip of land adjacent to the streams and ponds, 250 feet wide and 180 miles in length, is not a good plan, inasmuch as it fails to exercise any control on the land outside of the proposed line of purchase. The drainage area is the territory to be controlled. It would seem in the nature of things that New York city “ is confronted by a condition and not a theory.” In the judgment of able engineers it is considered cheaper, wiser and better for the city to look about for new sources of water supply, that are remote from the drainage influence of rapidly increasing population districts. It would seem good judgment to consider again proposals that were made some time ago, prior to the projection and construction of the new aqueduct. If correctly informed a water shed can be obtained on the other side of the Hudson river, in a district of territory, found in Rockland, Ulster and Orange counties, more isolate now than 100 years ago. A territory sparsely populated by reason of its rocky nature and abounding in water enough to supply the city for many years to come. New York city is getting tired and weary over the subject of her water supply. Looking at the subject from as favorable a standpoint as can be obtained in the light of knowledge concerning it, and of recent experiences regarding its conditions as to precarious supply and essential potability, we assume the position that the expression of the water consumers of New York city will demand of its delegated authorities the best plan possible to obtain what she is entitled to, good water and plenty of it.