NEW YORK’S WATER SUPPLY —A WARNING-

NEW YORK’S WATER SUPPLY —A WARNING-

The Medical News, of New York, adverting to the reported intended recommendation of Mayor Low’s special commission on taking the additional water supply of this city from the Hudson river at or near Poughkeepsie, says that the “successful filtration of Hudson river water is scientifically possible.” It asks: “Is it politically probable? The Hudson (it proceeds) is a foully polluted stream. The wholesale contamination of this body of water begins in the Mohawk valley. Amsterdam, Schenectady, and Cohoes utilise the Mohawk for their water supply and for the disposal of sewage; the typhoid rate of all three cities is relatively high. The typhoid rate in Schenectady is one hundred per one hundred thousand; in Cohoes it is ninety; in Amsterdam, fifty-two. The New York city rate is only seventeen, and that of Yonkers, only sixteen. The typhoid rate in Albany is still very high, though much reduced since the introduction of filtration. It is scarcely necessary to recapitulate the fifty odd towns, the sewage of which is discharged into the Hudson. It is sufficiently enlightening to point out that from 1890 to 1899 the typhoid death rate of the maritime counties of New York State was only one-third as great as that of the Hudson valley. On the Merriniac river, Lowell and Lawrence needed the terrible epidemic of 1890-91 to enforce the lesson of the danger of polluted river water. For each 10,000 lives exposed in that time of peril. New York might endanger its million, and it will, indeed, imperil them, if the proposed Hudson river works should fall into the hands of recklessly selfish, incompetent political partisans. Experience teaches that such a calamity is likely to occur at any time in our political affairs. Under ideal conditions New York would always own its own watershed, and would keep it clear and uninhabited. If this is no longer possible, we must at least insist that the city’s storage and filtration plants he administered by men of advanced knowledge and of the highest integrity, fully impressed with the weight and dignity of the task of standing guard over the lives of a multitude. A polluted water supply is a merciless public enemy; let us avoid it if we can—outgeneral it we must.”

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