Remedy to Stop Pollution of New York Harbor

Remedy to Stop Pollution of New York Harbor

Acting in the capacity of a mediatorial agent, the executive branch of the United States Government has demonstrated its powers in the longdrawn-out dispute between New York and New Jersey anent the alleged pollution of the waters of New York harbor by the discharge of the sewage of the cities of the Passaic Valley. The difficulties have all been surmounted, the remedy discovered, and the problem will soon be solved to the satisfaction of both commonwealths. The national government, which has entire control over navigable waters, found a way to step into the breach on the basis of owning property which might be affected by the deposit of unexpurgated sewage in neighboring waters and the possible effect on navigation. The Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission have undertaken over their signatures to deliver the sewage of the valley, with its expected population of 1,649,440, to the harbor, free from perceptible solid matter or odor, and to discharge it in such a way that there will be no discoloration of the water or pollution in any form. If this is not done, the United States Government may interfere and require that steps be taken that shall accomplish this end. For eight years the people of Paterson, the Passaic, the Oranges, Montclair, Newark and the neighboring municipalities, thirty in number, have been studying how they could remedy this nuisance. The plan proposed is to construct at a cost of approximately $12,250,000 a concrete trunk sewer twenty-six and a half miles long paralleling the Passaic river and emptying within the New Jersey borders in New York harbor, east of Robbins Reef. Starting with a diameter of four feet near the Great Falls in Paterson, this sewer will follow the river down through Acquacknonk, Passaic, Nutlcy and Newark, growing in dimensions to a maximum diameter at the eastern outskirts of Newark of thirteen feet six inches.

It will pass under the city of Newark through a tunnel from twenty-five to thirty feet below the street level, and will be carried beneath Newark Bay, Bergen Hill, Bayonne and the waters of the bay to the reef, a distance approximately five miles, by means of a 12-foot tunnel bored in manner similar to that pursued in the construction of the Hudson tunnels. Shields will be used. This tunnel will pass fifty feet below the level of Newark Bay, a depth which will allow for thirty feet of dredging in the deepening of the bay for commerce.

The interesting points of the sewer are the devices designed for the clarifying of the sewage and for its distribution over the bottom of the harbor. Clarification is to be obtained by means of a series of screens and a sedimentation tank on the west side of Newark Bay. The plant will occupy probably thirty acres of land, and will consist of a series of five grit chambers fitted with coarse and fine screens, a sedimentation basin of 7,500,000 gallons capacity, divided into tanks, and a pumping station. It is expected that all of the material of a solid nature to be found in the sewage will be removed here before the liquid portion is forced by the pumps through the last five miles of the journey to the shaft house on Robbins Reef.

As the sewage discharges from the sewer it will pass through a channel having openings into the grit chambers. Before reaching these basins it will flow through coarse screens, which will remove all debris. The channels will then broaden out into basins deeper than the channels. The heavier grit will fall to the bottom, and the lighter material will pass on toward the tine screens at the other end of the chambers. These will be in the form of endless belts made up of bars spaced four-tenths of an inch apart. As the bars move upward from the sewage they will carry the lighter material up and out into the air, and before they return on the other side they will be cleaned by teeth operated by mechanical means. This debris will probably be removed in barges to the open sea, as there are few garden spots in the neighborhood where it can be used to advantage.

After passing through the fine screens the sewage will flow on to the big sedimentation tanks. These tanks will be approximately 225 feet long and 15 feet deep, and will have a normal capacity of 1,250,000 gallons each. There will be six. According to the agreement signed by the commissioners, the tank capacity shall always be sufficient to provide a detention period of not less than one hour at the maximum flow of the sewage. It will travel so slowly through these tanks that it is expected that the particles which have passed through the finer screens will be deposited on the bottom and the grease will rise to the top, where it may he collected by scum boards. It is now pumped up and deposited in a well which will lead down to the tunnel passing beneath Newark Bay and New York harbor. In the pumping station will be placed five 60,000,000gallon centrifugal pumps driven by five triple expansion engines.


The other point of interest, the outlet for distribution, has novel features. At the terminus of the tunnel on the easterly side of Robbins Reef, the channel for the sewage will be divided into four tubes, each six feet in diameter. These will be spaced about one hundred feet apart and will be laid in parallel trenches. They will run out toward the main ship channel to a point about fifty feet below the surface, the terminals decreasing in size to two feet. Spaced along the top of these pipes at intervals of ten feet will be a series of tecs having a diameter of one foot. On each of these tecs, of which there will be 150 all told, there will be two outlets arranged to discharge horizontally across the tidal current. The area covered by this dispersion system will be approximately three and one-half acres.


The agreement of the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commissioners is “that in the operation of said sewer system at all times the following results shall be secured, either through compliance with the requirements of the immediately preceding paragraphs (which are agreements to provide the system above described) or through requisite lawful additional arrangements, viz..:

“1. There will be absence in New York Bay of visible suspended particles coming from the Passaic Valley sewage.

“2. There will be absence of deposits objectionable to the Secretary of War of the United States in the New York Bay coming from the Passaic Valley sewage.

“5. There will be absence in the New York Bay and its vicinity of odors due to the putrefaction of organic matters contained in the Passaic Valley sewage thus discharged.

“4. There will be a practical absence on the surface of New York Bay of any grease or color due to the discharge of the Passaic Valley sewage at the dispersion area or elsewhere.

“5. There will be no injury to the public health which will be occasioned by the discharge from the said sewer into the Bay of New York in the manner proposed and no public or private nuisance will be created thereby.

“6. The absence of injurious effect from said sewage discharge upon the property of the United States situated in the harbor of New York.

“7. The absence of reduction in the dissolved oxygen contents of the waters of New York Bay, resulting from the discharge of Passaic Valley sewage, to such an extent as to interfere with major fish life.”

It is further understood that a representative of the government shall have the right to inspect and see that the agreement is being carried out. If it is not, the commissioners expect to satisfy the requirements by adding to the number of discharge pipes, thereby increasing the capacity of the basins. The United States Government having entered into the contract as a property holder, and therefore a party which may be injured directly, has the power to obtain a compliance with the requirements in an uincquivocal manner. It is believed that the solution of this problem constitutes an advance in the methods of disposing of sewage in tidal waters.

It will require at least four years to complete the big sewer. It will have a capacity of 360,-000,000 gallons a day, the average daily flow of sewage at the beginning being 120,000,000 gallons. The experience of several large European cities, as well as that of Chicago, Washington and other great municipalities of this country, in the disposal of sewage by dilution, served as a basis of the studies for the adoption of the above plan. It is thought that Uncle Sam will decide to interfere in the building of the Bronx sewer, and require that the sewage be disposed of according to the plan adopted by New Jersey.

Plate No. I shows the proposed apparatus and sedimentation tank for the Passaic trunk sewer. By means of this plan it is proposed to remove from the sewage of the municipalities of the Passaic Valley all of the perceptible solid matter before it is allowed to enter the harbor. The sewage will enter the screening basins marked “A” first. Here it passes through coarse screens, which remove large material, such as bodies of dogs and cats. As it moves through the basins toward the finer screens at the other end the earth, grit and heavy particles fall to the bottom. Ule finer screens remove a large percentage of the remaining debris. Then the sewage flows into the sedimentation tanks marked “B.” Their capacity is 7,500,000 gallons. Through these the movement will be so slow that it will require from an hour to an hour and a half for it to reach the exit in the far right hand corner. Across these tanks tire scum boards, which collect the grease that rises to the surface while the sewage is making its slow passage through the tanks. From this point the sewage, a practically clear liquid, is pumped through five miles of tunnel under Newark Bay to the neighborhood of Robbins Reef, New York harbor.

Plate No. 2 shows the sewage flowing through a grit and screen chamber. The heavy grit falls into the pit between the coarse and fine screens. The latter is an endless belt of bars placed horizontally approximately four-tenths of an inch apart. They carry the finer solid matter up out of the sewage and it is removed from the bars before they descend into the clarified sewage on the other side. This debris will probably be carreid out to sea and dumped.

Albany Fire Department Report.

The report of the bureau of fire of Albany, N. Y., made by Chief Kngineer M. E. Higgins, covering the year ending November 1, 1909, is embodied by the department of public safety of that city in a recent report covering that period. The report shows the uniformed fire force to consist of 136 firemen, engineers, etc., 13 foremen and 6 assistant foremen, 2 permanent and 1 assistant chiefs, headed by a chief in whom supreme command is rested, the present incumbent being Chief Kngineer M. K. Higgins. This force is organized into 10 engine and 3 hook and ladder companies, the hose wagons of the engine companies being of the combination hose wagon and chemical engine type. Of the engines, 2 are second-size American, 7 second-size Amoskeag


and I a second size Clapp & Jones steamer, the latter in reserve: two of the combination hose wagons are of Holloway make, and eight are of Babcock A hatnpion build. Three of the ladder trucks are of tin aerial pattern, one being in reserve, and one is a steel frame city service truck. The department has 62 horses in service and 5 in reserve. 1 lie real estate owned by the department includes to engine houses, 3 truck houses, the repair shop, hose and supply depots, having a total value of $183,700. The apparatus is valued at $89,968. The total value of the department proprety, including hose, repair shop and supply depots and equipments and the lire alarm telegraph apparatus, is set down as $469,-953 The fire alarm telegraph, which has its headquarters with the department in the city building, with James J. Gillespie as superintendent. icompletely equipped with all the necessary instruments, including new and old central office apparatus, gongs, indicators, tower strikers, tire alarm boxes, line, poles, etc. During the year the department responded to 780 alarms, the fires attended resulting in a total loss of $165,966 55. The fact that fifteen large fires are responsible for $114,176.34 of the total loss, leaving the loss on the remaining 765 fires at $51,790.21. shows the promptness with which the department responded and the efficiency of it’ work The chief engineer also, in his report, dwells on the value of chemical apparatus as an important auxiliary to the department equipment, 274 chemical tanks and 165 portable extinguishers having been used in extinguishing many fires without recourse to engine or hydrant streams, with a corresponding reduction in the resultant damage. The table of the causes of fires places the largest number. 154, under the heading “Unknown”; 69 were ascribed to careless handling of matches, and 52, a surprisingly large number for a city like Albany, are set down as of incendiary origin.

Newark Exempts Guests of D. E. Benedict.

Last week past Chief D. K. Benedict, of the Newark. N. J., fire department and vice-president of the Newark Exempt hire Association, entertained its members at the handsome new home of the association on Springfield avenue. An oltltime Neptune Hose chowder, with wine, was provided in recognition of the golden wedding anniversay of the host. Besides a full attendance of Newark members there was a large number of exempts from Elizabeth City, North Plainfield and other places present, including James J. Manning, president of the State Exempt Association. A most enjoyable evening was spent and the health and happiness, for many years to come, of the vice-president and his wife were drunk with much enthusiasm. To climax the pleasant occasion Mr. Benedict was presented by the local exempts with half a dozen gold spoons, in remembrance of the golden anniversary.

Many Lives Saved at Fire in Manhattan.

ft did not take a fire that broke out one morning last week, in the hall on the third floor of a five-story tenement on East Seventeenth street, New York, very long to find its way to the top floor, where the four apartments were speedily in flames. The occupants made their way to windows and fire scapes and the firemen, on their arrival, had all they could do to get the terrorstricken people down, for which purpose they used ladders and life nets, forty-two lives being saved with the aid of the nets. In this manner they managed to rescue all but one, a woman, occupying one of the top floor apartments. She appeared at the window, screaming for help, but when the firemen got her down, passing her from one to another by way of an extension ladder, it was found that she had inhaled flame and smoke and was dead. In another upper tenement several children were found under a bed, burned and half conscious. The damage by fire was mostly to the upper part, but the lower part of the building and contents suffered considerably from fire in the rear and the entire structure was drenched with the water poured on to it. The loss is estimated at $11,000.

Lake Champlain Hotel Burns.

Just about a year ago, when all arrangements for the opening of what promised to be a successful season had been completed, the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company lost by fire its beautiful and finely equipped Fort William Henry hotel on Lake George, N. Y. Now comes the news that the Hotel Champlain, at Bluff Point, on the west shore of Lake Champlain, owned by the same corporation and said to have been one of the finest establishments of the kind in the state, has been similarly destroyed on the eve of its opening for the current year’s season. In both instances the fires, which were of mysterious origin, broke out in the night; in both cases the hotels were all ready for the beginning of the season’s business, even to the purchase of a large quantity of supplies, and in each case the destruction was complete. The fire department was hurried from Plattsbtirg with two companies of Federal troops from Plattsburg barracks to reinforce the hotel fire force, of which did guard duty while the other formed a bucket brigade, but their efforts were powerless and the great building, on which, with its contents, there was an insurance of $233,000, was reduced to a heap of smouldering ruins, the loss being estimated at $300,000. The hotel was an immense building, of wood, five stories in heighth, with an extra story in the gables and a tower front which a remarkable view of the surrounding country was obtainable. It accommodates several hundred guests and a short time ago an annex was built that nearly doubled its capacity. This was destroyed with the main building. Thousands of dollars had been expended in the redecoration and refurnishing of the hotel in preparation for the coming season and the vast range of buildings had just been given a fresh coat of cream white paint.


Denver Firemen Have a Severe Battle.

Fire visited Denver, Colo., on May 30, and destroyed property valued at $40,000. It also nearly cost the lives of several brave men in the file department of that city. The flames broke out about 2:30 p. m. on the fourth floor of a 5-story brick building, 125 x 100 feet, occu -pied principally by the wholesale grocery firm of Sprattan & Anderson, the origin being unknown. It being a holiday there were no persons in the building at the time and it was filled with stifling smoke when Chief T. F. Owens and his men arrived. It was discovered that, as the flames were in the middle of the building on the fourth floor where there were stored a number of carloads of binding cord, it would be necessary to run up ladders and enter through windows with lines of hose. When this was attempted the windows were found blocked with farming implements, which prevented entrance. Then Chief Owens ordered his men to run lines of hose up the inside stairways, which were also found partially blocked with implements and barely passable by the. firemen. Here the men stubbornly fought the fire, until one after another fell a victim to the poisonous fumes which arose from the burning hemp. By the time the flames were gotten under control thirty-one firemen and two assistant chiefs had been carried away to the hospital, overcome by the fumes. When giving orders to the last company to stop work and return to the station, Chief Owens himself succumbed and was carried away from the scene. He was back at his post, however, the next morning. He was successful in keeping the fire from getting out of the fourth story. The damage, which was mostly sustained by the wholesale grocers, was caused by water. The contents of the building were valued at $150,000, and the loss upon them by water at $30,000. The loss on the building did not exceed $1,000. Only three steamers were employed at the fire and 4,000 feet of cotton, rubber-lined hose laid. Seven good streams were thrown, four of which were from hydrants with a pressure of 80 pounds. Denver is congratulating itself upon its narrow escape from a more serious conflagration, and its citizens are not oblivious to the fact that the fortunate outcome is entirely due to the skill and bravery of its firefighting force.

American-La France Apparatus in Waco.

Waco, Tex., has just made very successful tests of its two new American-La France engines. They are third-size Metropolitans, 1910 models, the first to enter the southwest. Each has a rated capacity of 600 gallons per minute, but under forced draught, in case of a big fire can develop between 700 and 750 gallons per minute. Waco has also bought a fourth-size city service truck and first-size hose wagon.

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