Stream Pollution in Germany.
With a knowledge of the recklessness with which city sewage and mill refuse are discharged into the rivers in this country, destroying their usefulness as a source of potable water, the following account of the manner in which the German rivers arc officially guarded against pollution will prove interesting. The straw and wood-pulp factories located on the banks and using their waters for power and manufacturing processes, are prohibited from polluting the streams according to a report recently transmitted to the Department of Commerce and Industry at Washington, by United States Vice-Consul W. Washington Brunswick, of Chemnitz, Saxony. It says:
“The pulp manufacturers are required to use every precaution possible so that not even a particle of the waste can reach the stream. The water which is to be emptied into the river must leave the factory in an absolutely clean condition, free from any remnants from the manufacturing process. This is accomplished by sending it through one or more settling ponds, and, if necessary, the waste must be passed through filters. The streams are regularly patrolled by inspectors, and any justified claims against the quality of the waters, due to pollution from the factories, is at once investigated and must be met with immediately, regardless of the cost. There arc no regulations setting forth the exact method which a manufacturer must employ to prevent the pollution of the streams; each manufacturer can use his own ideas upon the subject as long as his method fulfills the requirements. Settling ponds are invariably used, and the results are always satisfactory. An employe of the Inspection of Factories, who makes tours from time to time to inspect the disposition of the waste material of the factories, is under the immediate jurisdiction of the county authorities and has charge of the licenses to the factories and of the inspec tion. The law is enforced to the letter, and any violation, whether unintentional or not, compels the manufacturer to pay all costs in connection with removing (he pollution from the streams. A manufacturer whose w’orks arc located on one of the small streams in Saxony polluted the water, and the inspectors compelled the owner to hear all the expenses for cleaning the stream and freeing it of impurities due to his negligence. The cost of freeing the stream from nollution used un the earnings of the factory for several years.” While such a vigorous system of supervision and the equally strict enforcement of the law, may not he practicable in the United States, where the cry of “paternalism in government” is so readily raised, the report is at least an indication of what could be accomplished. The adoption of some such system would result in a large proportion of American cities having an unlimited supply of pure water convenient, instead of hav ing to go long distances to procure it.