Plan to Prevent Stream Pollution in N. Y. State

Plan to Prevent Stream Pollution in N. Y. State

If the plans of State Conservation Commissioner George D. Pratt, of New York State, are carried out, the streams and rivers of the state will eventually be relieved of all pollution, as far as it is humanly possible to accomplish this. In this connection a letter, written to Edward Hatch, Jr., Chairman of The Merchants’ Association’s Committee on Pollution and Sewerage, by the Secretary of the Commission, Mr. Warwick S. Carpenter, will be of interest. Excerpts follow:

“In accordance with the discussion I had with you the other day, when I was directed by Commissioner Pratt to take up with you the matter of further co-operation between the Conservation Commission and The Merchants’ Association in the work of eliminating stream pollution, 1 beg to give you herein a general outline of the Commission’s proposed work for the immediate future.

Stream Pollution Analyzed

“You are, of course, familiar with the work that was done by Professor Ward last summer. The motive underiving the engagement of Professor Ward was to have the entire pollution situation in the State of New York studied and analyzed by an expert, in order that a definite program might be mapped out. As a result of Professor Ward’s work, we have such a program and his report, covering over one hundred pages of typewriting, has just recently been received, and will shortly be printed. The program in its broad outlines is as follows:

“1. It is necessary to obtain certain changes in the law, though we have ascertained as the result of Professor Ward’s study that these are rather minor, and that with the proper sort of assistance from competent biologists and chemists, a great deal can be accomplished under the law as it stands today.

Possible Sources of Pollution

“2. It was decided that as a foundation upon which to proceed with this work on the State-wide scale, it was necessary to locate substantially all of the industries that are at least potential polluters of water courses. In order to do this, a list of all of the industries in the State employing more than 10 people was obtained from the Industrial Commission, and those that are capable of causing pollution were taken from the list and card-indexed. The Commission then recptired all game protectors to report every industrial establishment in that State that is causing pollution, and the game protectors’ reports were consolidated with the list from the Industrial Commission. We have also had prepared a large watershed map of the State, and on this map all of these industries are now being located with different colored pins, so that we may have a visual representation of the conditions on each watershed. With the card index and map completed, we have what may be called primary control of the situation.

“3. The next step is to have every case of pollution visited and examined as fully” as necessary’ in each case for the purpose of ascertaining whether the industry is actually polluting or is not. Some of the industries already have suitable disposal works, or for other reasons are not affecting the streams. Those that are innocuous will be removed from both the map and card index.

Program of Cooperation

“4. The next step is the actual elimination of the existing pollution. It is believed that this can be accomplished in a great many’ cases by simply lay’ing the facts before the offenders. In other cases prosecution will be necessary’. The commission contemplates cooperation with the industries to the fullest possible extent, in order to show them how they’ may dispose of their wastes or utilize them as by-products. Work under this fourth head may possibly be undertaken by river svstems, in order that the entire system may clear gradually, or it may possibly be more productive of results to get at the work industry by industry. The commission appreciates that this work will take a considerable time, and a large amount of investigation in certain instances. Commissioner I’ratt is confident, however, that genuine results can be obtained by education and co-operation, and by a firm procedure under the law wherever this last resort becomes necessary.

Importance of the Work

“You. of course, understand fully how tremendously important this work is from every standpoint, financial, sanitary and aesthetic. On the financial side alone, it will be well worth while, since many of our streams are becoming practically non-producers of the fish life that was once so abundant in them.

Need Appropriation of $10,000

“You will note on page 165 of the Annual Report that an appropriation of $10,000 is requested for this w’ork on stream pollution. Commissioner Pratt hopes that this outline of the way in which he is attacking this problem will meet with your approval, and that of The Merchants’ Association, and that he may have your cooperation throughout the various stages of the work, and particularlv your endorsement of the request now before the Legislature for an appropriation to finance the work (hiring the coming year. When he took this matter up with the Budget Committee of the Legislature, Commissioner Pratt was advised that if an appropriation of $10,000 would be satisfactory to Governor Smith, it could in all probability be included in the appropriation. 1 hope, as you suggested the other day, that you may be able to secure the Governor’s approval for this item. Inasmuch as the Appropriation Bill will be completely made up on Wednesday of this week, the time to do this is very limited.

“I inclose also Tlan for Work upon Stream Pollution During the Fall and Winter of 1918-1919,’ which was drawn up last September, and under which the Commission is now working. You will doubtless be interested in reading this.”

Moscow, Idaho, is to have the sewer system extended almost a mile, if funds for the work can be raised. A special meeting of the council, authorized Mayor Truitt and City Attorney G. G. Pickett to go to Spokane and Seattle to consult bond buyers as to the best terms that can be secured on bonds. It is estimated that the work will cost from $60,000 to $85,000. The work was planned last year and $75,000 was appropriated. Bids were asked, but bidders felt that it could not be done for the amount appropriated. Suits against the city by property owners near the present end of the sewer are spurring city authorities to get the work done as soon as possible. If funds can be raised the work will begin in March and will be rushed to completion.

Residents of the southwest portion of the city of Springfield, III., are to have a much-needed public improvement in the near future. The city council has approved the specifications for the Washington park sewer and the work will go forward as soon as the contract is let. The new sewer, which will be of vitrified pipe, is 24 inches in diameter at the lower end and 18 at the upper. The total length will be 3,500 feet and the coat $8,500, the cost being divided between the city and the park board. The sewer will skirt the lake in Washington park’ thus diverting all selvage from the lake. It will drain a large and very important residence district.

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