T. A. Leisen Discusses Filtration for Detroit
Theodore A. Leisen, who recently took up his new duties as engineer of the Water Board at Detroit, Mich., said, in an interview, that while he had not as yet investigated Detroit’s water supply, generally speaking he would say Detroit ought to have a filtration plant to properly protect the health of the community. “The time is coming when every city, excepting a few in California that secure their water supply front mountain streams, will filter their water,” said Mr. Leisen. “I figure that a filtration plant to take care of 200,000,00 gallons of water per day would cost Detroit between $2,000,000 and $3,000,000. Every body of water that is near a center of population is more or less polluted. I have not investigated Detroit’s water supply, hut generally speaking I would say that Detroit ought to have a filtration plant to properly protect the health of the community. In Louisville, where conditions are much different from those in Detroit, we figured that the filtration plant erected there resulted in a 72 per cent, reduction in the number of typhoid cases. The figures used in securing this percentage covered a period of five years before and five years after the erection of the plant. The percentage would be higher if the use of wells in and near the city were prohibited. Hypochlorinc, which is used to purify Detroit’s water supply, is good, but it is not a substitute for filtration. Hypochlorinc, if used in proper quantities, does not affect the water supply other than destroying germ life. It is nonsense to say that hypochlorine is dangerous to health or that it changes the color of the hair. I also advocate a change in the sewer system that would prevent impurities from being dumped into the Detroit river. The Government has taken up this matter, and soon all cities will have to take care of their sewage in a way that will not pollute the great lakes or connective waters. I understand that it will cost Detroit millions of dollars to change its sewer system, but the day is bound to come when it will have to be done. I also favor a Government regulation prohibiting the boats plying the Great Lakes carelessly dumping offal, etc., into the water. It is very necessary, as we all know, that every precaution be taken to protect the city’s water supply.” George H. Fenkell, now Commissioner of Public Works, and who was Mr. Leisen’s predecessor as engineer, strongly advocated a filtration plant. Several months ago the water commissioners carefully investigated the methods of filtration used in several large cities. The commissioners favor a filtration plant, but the board is without funds to erect one. Mr. Fenkell also agrees with Mr. Leisen regarding the necessary change in the system of disposing of the city’s sewage.