The Case Against Phillipsburg.
Interesting information concerning the controversy as to the pollution of New Jersey’s water supply was brought out in the giving of testimony before Vicechancellor Walker in the Chancery suit of the State board of health against the city of Phillipsburg on the charge of polluting the waters of the Delaware river. It was established that the methods of examining water used by Bacteriologist Fowler, of the State board of health, are of the most advanced type, fn his testimony he was unequivocal in his opinions that the water of Trenton is so contaminated by the sewage of Phillipsburg as to he unhealth fill for drinking purposes.
Mr. Fowler, testifying as to the amount of sewage emptied into the river by Phillipsburg, said it was 3.134 lb, of solids daily. He further testified that of the 2,000 analyses that have been made of water at the intake of the Trenton waterworks, only three showed an absence of colon bacilli, and it was shown that had the quantity of water taken for experimental purposes been larger there is slight question but that colon bacilli would have been found.
Assistant Attorney-General Gaskill, who, with Peter T. Backes, is conducting the case for the State, then directed the examination so as to show the time taken for the alleged pollution at Pliillipsburg to reach Trenton. It was shown that the current of the river varied from l’A to 8 miles an hour, and that the time taken for the pollution to reach Trenton was between 18 to 24 hours. Mr. Fowler based his testimony on investigations he has been making since October 23. 1907, up to the present time, some of the tests having been made within the past few days.
V hen Mr. Fowler was turned over to Judge Collins, who is associated withe city counsel of Phillipsburg. in the defence of the case, the testimony got so deep that the average layman found difficulty in following it. Seated at Judge Collins elbow was Dr. Leal, the expert of the Jersey City Water company, in charge of the Bocnton and Little Falls water plants.
1 he attempt was made to show that even if colon bacilli were in the water it was not necessarily dangerous to human beings. Further, that the methods of bacteriological examination made by Mr. howler were not always certain of positive results. But when this was done it was brought out even under the cross-examination that the methods of Mr. Fowler were so advanced that only one other expert in the country, Dr. Samuel G. Nixon, of Pennsylvania, had yet aspired to it This part of the proceedings throughout was highly technical.
Ocran P. Hankins, of the Trenton water department, the final witness of the day, testified that there were nearly 20,000 taps by which consumers were supplied with water by the Trenton waterworks. He further said that there was no other source of supply.
At the conclusion of Mr. Hankins’ testimony it was brought out that the hearing was likely to continue so long that it would not he possible to go to Phillipsburg that day, as was first planned. As the court calendar is full, it was not possible for Vicechancellor Walker to give other dates that would be convenient for counsel before fall. Accordingly, the hearing was continued until October 23, 21 and 22. On one of those days it is probable that a heaving will he held in Phillipsburg, that the situation may be looked over by the court.
At the morning session, after strong objections on the part of counsel for Phillipsburg, Mr. Fowler was allowed to testify that the water furnished the city is unfit for drinking purposes, and would be dangerous to health. In about one teaspoon fill of water, Mr. Fowler testified, 75,000 bacteria had been found.