New Jersey Water Works Items.
The long-drawn-out Chancery proceedings to compel the Jersey City Supply company to install proper precautions against pollution in the Rockaway river valley in Morris county, the source of the Boonton supply, has practically come to an end, unless the company puts forward any witnesses in rebuttal. The safeguards demanded are at Boonton, Dover and other places along the watershed of the Rockaway river watershed, from which Jersey City gets its supply. One of the last witnesses examined was George C. Whipple, a wellknown sanitary expert, who testified that the Rockaway watershed is seriously contaminated by sewage mainly of “human origin.” The most serious menace is at Dover. He considered the chlorine treatment of the water at Boonton not to be sufficient, and that more adequate safeguards are needed. With his views on the treatment at the Boonton plant, Dr. Ernest Lederle, of New York, another wellknown analyst and expert, full coincided; in fact, he did not think much of bleaching powder (chloride of lime) as a water-purifier, although it is a destroyer of bacteria and has an oxidising effect. Intercepting sewers, he said, would reduce the number of bacteria at the Boonton waterworks and work better than the chemical treatment now in operation in lieu of intercepting sewers. He had recommended the chemical treatment of water supplies. but always in connection with the filtration of the water , and did not believe in chemicals as the sole cure for polluted water. The Rockaway river, as chemically treated by the Jersey City Water Supply company, he said, is not at all times potable and absolutely safe. E. M. Knox, of Engineer Nicholas Hill’s staff, testified that along the Longwood valley, which forms a part of the Rockaway rivershed, much of the pollution at the Boonton reservoir, it was claimed by the Jersey City Water Supply company is due to cultivated fields and farms, in which manure is spread, the manure being washed into the rivulets and streams in times of freshets. He had found very few cultivated farms in that valley. Jersey City claims that there is very little danger from this kind of pollution; but that the real danger is from the lack of sewerage system. The city’s point is that not the Longwood valley, but the populated districts at Boonton, Dover and Hibernia need attention. For their pollution the only remedy is a sewerage system, which will cost $1,150,000 for right of way and actual construction—a sum which the company claims is too large. The questions the master in Chancery will have to decide are (1) as to the sufficiency of the Boonton water-treatment plant; (2) the cost of installing the intercepting sewers at Boonton, Dover and Rockaway, so as to prevent the pollution from entering the water. Jersey City, it may be noted, has not yet bought the waterworks, but is still buying water by the 1,000,000 gal.
The Newark Star, commenting editorially on the proposed diversion of the State’s water to Staten Island—borough of Richmond, New York—says that, “if a private water company under our State laws can lay water mains with a capacity of at least 30,000,000 gal. daily, dig a few wells for a supply of 7,000,000 or 8,000,000 gal. a day and run mixed river and well water through these mains and out of the State in proportion to the amount of well water, the proportion to be privately ascertained and regulated by the company itself, the State law isn’t worth a groat. The Bacheller law distinctly says that potable waters in New Jersey shall not be diverted out of the State. The c’ iiri of Errors and Appeals has excepted well water, because it belongs to the owner of tile land on which the well is dug. There is still doubt about a judicial decision that draws a distinction so fine. But the exception itself serves to emphasise the prohibition of the diversion of river water, whether mixed or unmixed. The statute applies to all pot able water, and its purpose is to preserve this water for the use of the people of the State.”
Letters on the subject have been sent to each member of the Slate water supply commission from Staten Island, setting forth various reasons why its residents do not want water from the Hudson County Water company and asking that the request of the water company for permission to divert Jersey water to Staten I.slant! be laid over, so as to give a delegation ol residents a chance to protest. It adds that there is more water there now than the residents know what to do with, and that data collected by an engineer of the War Department show that there is absolutely no need for Jersey water in the borough, and that the supply there is capable of development to an almost unlimited amount.
At Belvidere, Ill., William Mearcan has been re-elected superintendent of waterworks.