THE DANGERS OF CAMP WIKOFF.
WHO was it that selected the grounds on which to locate the camps for the United States troops, regular and volunteer, before and after the war? A suspicious smell of jobbery hangs round some of the transactions in this respect—not the least of this suspicion attaching to Camp Wikoff, at Montauk Point, in the choice of which both the Long Island Railroad Company and the Standard Oil Company are said to have exercised no inconsiderable influence. Whether in every other repect Montauk Point is the “ideal spot” for a camp that those interested in the matter claim it to be is foreign to the purpose of this article. In one repect it is not the place on which a body of troops should have been encamped. As we have before shown, it is incapable of supplying potable water in sufficient quantities and of preserving from pollution that which the ground does supply. The reason is obvious. The whole formation of the peninsula of Montauk is glacial, and the subsoil ne nth the turf that covers’ its many hills and valleys is of clay, and, of course, impervious to water. The watershed of that portion of Montauk,where CampWikoff is situated is towards Fort Pond and lake Wyada nne. There are no living springs that come to the surface to form brooks and streams. Hence, the only water supply is obtained from wells. Camp Wikoff should get its supply of drinking water only from deep-driven wells that go down to the water-bearing gravel beds which so abundantlyunderlie Long Island. To obtain this supply, these wells will have to go as deep as sixtyfcct,and in many places, seventyfive to 100 feet. The sewage and drainage from the many camps and hospitals goes and follows the same way as the waters that fall upon Montauk. The clay subsoil holds them both in the same basin as it were—hence a contaminated water supply. Fort Pond and lake Wyatidanne have thus become polluted; the germs of typhoid have been scattered; and an epidemic has broken out. The water supply has been also poisoned,and, owing to the geological formation of the region, it will be hardly possible to restore it to its former purity. The ground should have been properly drained and sewered in the beginning—the sewers being extended to the ocean, not to the lakes. In this way the sewage would have been kept from the water supply. Such an improvement would have taken both time and money; but it should have been effected at whatever cost of either, before a single soldier, well or ill, was landed on Montauk Point. The present system of drainage at Camp Wikoff we have no hesitation in branding not only as absolutely useless, but as absolutely dangerous to the lives of all encamped there. It is full time the camp was abandoned.