SEWAGE POLLUTION OF STREAMS.
IN Hindostan the natives drink the water from storage tanks in which they take baths every day of their lives—a practice from which Americans would recoil in horror if it were proposed they should adopt it. Yet it is not one whit more disgusting or more unwholesome than that in which so many millions of our people daily indulge—namely, that of drinking water that is defiled and rendered deadly to the consumer by the discharge into the source whence it is taken of every sort of filth in the way of sewage and surface pollutions. This subject, after having been allowed to pass comparatively unnoticed for generations, has now become a source of worriment to many towns and cities. In this State the citizens of Binghamton object to being any longer poisoned by the polluted waters of the Susquehanna, and while they naturally object to having to pay for the establishments of a filtration plant on that account, are themselves guilty of precisely the same offence in befouling the river and rendering it a source of disease aud death to those below them by discharging their sewage into its stream. In New Jersey the waters of the Passaic have been rendered unfit for use by the river having been made a receptacle for the liquid nastiness from Paterson and other cities, of whose sewage it is the recipient. The result is that the lower towns in that State are at loggerheads with the upper, and in the legislature the question is being fiercely agitated, while the time of the courts has been needlessly taken up by suits and countersuits brought by the opposing sets of litigants. In Connecticut a state of things, if possible, even worse prevails, and the conditions of the rivers, according to a United States bulletin, could not be viler. In Rhode Island an official investigation is being made as to the pollution of the Blackstone and the Pawtucket —each of them the source of water supply for a very thickly populated district, and each being the receptacle, not only of sewage in large quantities, but also of the poisonous drainage of numerous factories. Prom Missouri and Illinois come similar complaints, and in the United States Supreme court a fiercely contested war is being waged as to whether the Mississippi at St. Louis is defiled by the sewage of Chicago, which flows into that river at Grafton by means of the drainage canal and the Illinois river. Minneapolis, also, will soon rebel as the cities along the upper Missouri increase in number and population, and their sewage and other causes of pollution multiply. The same may be said of all towns whose source of supply is a river or stream, and the universality of the evil points only to two methods of obviating it. One, of course, is the passage and enforcement of most rigid laws against the emptying of sewage or other filth into the streams—which would involve the utilizing and disposal of the sewage by means of sewage farms. That, however, is a method not always available on account of the expense attendant upon it, and prohibitory local conditions. Another, and the most feasible method is the erection of filter plants, the capabilities of which for purifying the water supply before it is delivered into the distributing mains have been sufficiently and satisfactorily exploited and proved These are the only methods that will avail for supplying clean and wholesome water to consumers, since experience has shown that the theory as to running water purifying itself holds good only so long as the amount of impurity is small, not when it is discharged into the stream in huge volumes.