Public Water Supply Systems.
In the Canadian Municipal Journal, A. P. Reid, M. D., health officer of the Province of Ontario. Canada, considers the subject of “Municipal an thorities and water” that appeared in the Canadian Municipal Journal under and headings “Pub lic water supply systems” and the “Well system He points out that, while in Ontario little fault can be found with the public water supply system because of the scattered and very few domiciles on the lakes and streams from which the supply is taken, yet. as time passes, conditions will be come different, and the various cities and towns, if prudent, should arrange so as to “control the immediate watershed of their supplies, which each succeeding year will render more difficult and costlv to obtain, lakes and reservoirs being more easily controled than rivers and streams If this is not done, there is the probability in the near future that filtration must be restored to. This is costly as well as complicated, and hence the recommendation that immediate steps be taken to prevent contamination.” since “lakes and streams arc the sewers of the districts from which their waters are obtained.” In some towns of Ontario, where the supply is derived from source” which pass through populated and cultivated districts, the “water is approaching dangerous contamination, and filtration is in order. This might be partially remedied, and in many cases long deferred, if there were instituted immediate ade quate patrol of all the shores of the supply, an objectionable conditions attended to at once; and this patrol systematically caried out to nr -further enroachment.” The law, if not sufficiently definite, can be amended so as to accomplish these results without injustice to the parties affected, and Dr. Reid recommends immediate action in that direction. The well system (springs included) comprises deep and shallow or surface wells, and on each class the great majority of people in Ontario depend. Shallow wells too often arc mere holes in the ground into which the rainfall and surface-water gravitate. The water is of a “purity commensurate with its source, more or less modified by filtration through the surrounding earth. Even when favorably situated, the ability of the earth to act as a filter is limited, and on reaching its point of saturation it may taint rather than purify. The old well near the house may have been of unqualified purity; but the older it is, the greater the probability of i being contaminated.” Cellar wells arc so convenient that they are in common use; but from an hygienic point of view, such a well is the “most undesirable because likely to become a cesspool and collect the water which filters through all the waste and filth of the domicile. This plan should be adopted only when there is a certainty that the water is supplied from a distant source, a that surface water cannot reach it.” Stable wells are also in very common use, but are more objectionable than cellar wells, “owing to the surroundings, too often accentuated by the vicinity of a priv.y that is rarely cleaned out and keeps the ground in its vicinity continually saturated with the worst kind of filth. Wells between the barn and the house or at the kitchen door are likewise common; the purity or impurity of their water depends upon their surrroundings, construction or source of supply. Deep wells, as a rule, obtain their water from ample underground currents and are good, unless when contaminated with saline impurities. Even these are less deleterious than the organic impurity of the shallow’ well. There is the well at the spring, which is “near perfection,” since most commonly the tapping of an underground current causes the flow of water at the spring. I he well, however, must be protected from the inflow of surface water. The driven well is the safest, because owing to itsconstruction.it is protected from surface drainage. Its one defect is the probability of saline impurity. The shaft or plain deep well is inferior to the driven well of the same depth and supply, owing to the probability of contamination by the seepage of surface-water or the entrance of refuse and organic matter. The deeper it is, the more difficult it is to clean out. “If the well had a waterproof cemented shaft until near the bottom, and the top properly covered, with a curb impermeable to water for 2 or 3 ft. above the ground-surface, so as to prevent the entrance of storm water, it may be good and unobjectionable, even when in proximity to the house or the stable. The water from a power-supply, wind, hydraulic or other form of motor-pumps and gravity supply by pipes will be good or bad according to its source. As to the hydraulic-ram supply: “There are very many situations where a spring, with a discharge of 6 gal. or more a minute, with a fal! of from 4 to 6 ft. or more below the spring is not uncommon. Ip situations of this kind, the hydraulic ram gives practical perfection, as to cost of installation, maintenance and conveniences. I have had one for two years in use, that, with a discharge of 8 or 10 gal. a minute and a fall of 10 ft. gives abundance of water for every purpose, including the barn and watering lawn and garden.” Dr. Reid adds that in his travels through Ontario he has “seldom seen a well not more or less objectionable.” As a retvphoid fever exists where the water supply is from w’ells and is absent where there is a good public supply.” He would suggest that the municipal authorities should have regular systematic inspection of all well or other water supply by their sanitary inspectors, as provided for by the Public Health Act.