IDEAL SEWERAGE SYSTEM.
Referring to the sewerage bill pending before the Pennsylvania legislature, which was discussed in a recent issue of FIRE AND WATER the Philadelphia Record says:
Our present method of disposing of sewage in interior towns is “unsanitary and barbarous. Everywhere, except in cities, there is a cesspool in one corner of the lot, and a well from which the water for the home is drawn in another. The contents of the cesspool percolate through the soil much” farther than is supposed. Often a minute unsuspected stream flows directly from the cesspool to the well. The prevalence of typhoid fever is largely due to contamination of drinking water from this cause. Thus death works in the very means of life.
The ideal sewerage system of the future will provide for the return to the soil of the fertilizing elements which have been drawn from it. That the night soil and other fertilizing substances of our great cities should be washed down to the sea is a grave defect in our modern civiliza. tion. We are impoverishing our country, wasting our heritage, gathering every year the richest elements from the soil and spreading them over the bottom of the seaWe are doing with the soil what we did with the primeval forests that grew upon it, wasting without need or sense or effort of restoration. With the increase of population this problem will force itself more and more upon the attention of the people. If our rate of increase hitherto continue for another century we shall number seven or eight hundred millions in the year 2000. Such a population cannot be supported out of the earth unless they return their waste matter to the fields. It is one of the commendable features of the bill now pending that it contemplates pumping stations at intervals where all the solid matter in the sewage may be collected for use as manure, only the liquids to be discharged into tidewater streams.
The Waring system of sewage, by which it is spread over the surface of a disposal field of but a limited area, has been found to be only a temporary provision. The ground in time becomes saturated, and will absorb no more; another field must be secured, and this is not always possible except at vast expense This bill will permit a pipe line to be run to any point vJhere proper acreage can be secured at reasonable figures.
Strenuous objection has been made to the pending bill because it gives to such companies the right of eminent domain. It is sufficient to say that unless this power shall be conferred the companies cannot be formed and operated successfully. Always some man who is incapable of understanding public necessities, or of subordinating his personal interests to the public good, would refuse the right of way or sewage pipes across his land, and thus halt the whole enterprise. The only equitable and effective plan is to give the companies the right of way, and provide compensation for any damage to the property which is crossed over. Of course, this right should be balanced by giving to all property owners the right to connect with the sewer, on reasonable terms, and this provision also the bill contains.