Maryland Bill to Prevent Water Pollution

Maryland Bill to Prevent Water Pollution

A bill before the Maryland Legislature giving the Mate Board of Health supervision and control over public water supplies, sewerage systems and sewage disposal plants, etc., is being watched with keen interest throughout the State. The bill, known as Senate bill No. 334, was offered at the instance of the State Board of Health. In speaking of it, Robert B. Morse, chief of the department’s bureau ot sanitary engineering, said: “The primary object sought by the bill is to reduce the prevalence of typhoid fever and other water-borne diseases. The secondary object is the provention and abatement of nuisances in the various water courses, to the end that wholesome living conditions may be preserved. In attaining these ends the proper and economical construction and operation of water supply and sewerage systems is involved, and the question resolves itself principally into one of an engineering nature. At present in Maryland there is no law requiring that plans for water supply or sewerage construction he submitted to the State Board of Health for approval. with the one exception of Baltimore county. In all parts of the State water supplies may be constructed without the slightest reference to the State Board of Health. The people have no protection whatever unless later the water can be proved bad, in which case improvements may be required under general powers which the board possesses. How much better it would be, as in other States, to require the approval of all plans and construction relating to the installation or improvement of water and sewerage systems, to the end that these may be economically constructed and efficiently operated, and that the health and welfare of the people may be protected. We should then see a great improvement in such services throughout the state. There would be a marked reduction in the prevalence of typhoid fever and other intestinal diseases, and there would also be few complaints about nuisances. As a natural consequence of the State’s la_____k of supervision over sewerage facilities and water supplies, we find Maryland holding an unenviable position in respect to the prevalence of typhoid fever. Mortality from this disease is from twice to four times as great as in New York and New Jersey, and the New England States. In this State, in 1913, there were 4,225 cases of typhoid fever and 447 deaths from that disease. If the same death rate from typhoid fever had prevailed here as in Massachusetts there would have been 342 lives saved and approximately 3,214 cases would not have occurred. If typhoid fever had been no more prevalent here than in New Jersey last year 314 lives would have been taved anil 2,951 cases would not have occurred. The control of water supplies and stream pollution does not merely result in the reduction of typhoid fever, but, as is well known, the prevalence of various intestinal diseases, and particularly those of children under 5 years of age, is greatly lessened

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