The Sewerage Disposal Question at Baltimore.
Dr. George H. Rohe, health commissioner of Baltimore, recently addressed the Taxpayers Association upon the subject “What Shall We do With the Sewerage?” After placing the cost of removing house sewage at $150,000 annually in Baltimore, Dr. Rohe praised the report of Engineer Chas. H. Latrobe, based upon the sewage plan of Memphis, Tenn, that was recommended by Col. Geo. E. Waring, Jr. He then said: “ Two systems of the removal of sewage by water carriage are in use, the ‘combined’ and the ‘separate’ systems. In the ‘combined ’ all house drainage as well as storm water are carried off in the same conduits. In the other the storm water is provided for by surface or underground drains not connected with the sewers proper. In the separate system the pipes arc of such small caliber that a constant flow of their contents is maintained, preventing deposition of suspended matters and diminishing the formation of sewer gas. In the combined system the sewers must be large enough to receive the maximum rainfall of the district. The ordinary flow in a sewer of large caliber is usually so sluggish as to promote obstructions. Many of the large storm-water sewers in this city are examples of this. Mr. Latrobe, in summing up his views, says : ‘ Whenever the topography of a city is sufficiently undulating to give good grades, and when the lines are short to the nearest water course, so as to avoid the necessity of a complete second system for storm water, and, what is of vital importance, wherever the water supply is constant, I believe the separate system to be pre-eminently the proper one.’
“ The oldest, simplest and ordinarily the cheapest way to dispose of sewage is by direct discharge into some large body of flowing water or strong tidal current. This is not always safe. Boston was forced to carry its sewage to an outlet entirely beyond its harbor. Evaporation by artificial heat has been tried, and the use of centrifugal force has been suggested, but both processes are too expensive. A third method is to use sewage in the irrigation of land. The conditions requisite are as follows : Land must have a regular and gentle grade, so that sewage may be evenly distributed. It must be sufficiently pbrous, so that the sewage may soak into the soil and be followed by the air necessary for the effective action of destroying agencies. The growth of the system of sewage irrigation is well shown at Pans, where a beginning was made in 1872 with 125 acres, which was gradually increased to 1655 acres in 1887.
“ Berlin has 17,000 acres available. The total amount expended for the entire system of sewering the city, pumping works and purchase of irrigation fields up to 1888 was about $16,500,000, and the maintenance cost is $150,000 a year, From this is deducted $20,000 from truck farmers who leased portions of the irrigation fields. In Pullman, 111., sewage is removed by the separate system and utilized in the irrigation of the sewage farm of the company. Mr. Latrobe has shown that running eastward from this city in the direct line of the sewage outfall main proposed by him 10,000 acres of land can be reached by lateral branches from the main. Should it appear undesirable *0 dispose of sewage by broad surface irrigation, it can be readily purified by intermittent downward filtration on properly prepared soil. This would require only 250 acres for a city of 500,000 inhabitants. A board of three commissioners should have full power to build the sewers. There should be one practical business man, one lawyer and one physician on such a commission. They should employ an engineer competent to do such work. I venture to predict that if a system of sewerage upon the lines laid down in this address were adopted in this city, the death rate would fall five per cent per 1000, and the reproach that in the matter of sewerage Baltimore is far behind every large city but one in this country would be wiped out.”
NEW ORLEANS’ PAID FIRE S rvice.—The report for 1890 of Chief Engineer Thomas O’Neil of the paid fire department of the Sixth District of New Orleans, has been issued. The apparatus consists of three steam fire engines, three one-horse hose carriages, two two-horse double tank chemical engines, one two-horse truck, two four-gallon portable extinguishers and one supply wagon. The manual force is chief engineer; captains of steam engines, 3; captain of truck, 1; captain and drivers of chemical engines, 2; hose carriage drivers, 3 ; engineers of steam engines, 3 ; pipemen, 12 ; drivers of steam engines and truck, 4 ; truckmen, 6 ;. pipemen and tankmen of chemical engines, 4. Total, 39 men. The department responded to twenty-one bell, one telephone and ten still alarms—total, thirty-two. All of the above were for actual fires. The losses by fire in the sixth district as per reports on file at the police and fire alarm stations of the sixth district were in 1887. ; 1888, $35,450; 1889, $30,505 ; as compare*l with 18, $20,382.50. In concluding his report Chief O’Neil say*: ” 1 would recommend the sale of one of the buildings occupied by the steam engine company on Magazine street, as at present No. 1 and No. 3 arc located at a distance of only four squares from each other. I he funds realized could be applied to building two suitable frame houses, one for cither of the above engines in the front and lower portion of the district, and the other for Chemical Engine No. 5, where at present located, as the engine house of the latter company is in a bad condition, ami unfit for the purpose used, this would distribute the location of the engines to a better advantage. The water supply for the extinguishment of fires consists of twenty-six fire hydrants, and one fire well and thirty-six dug wells. During a long sjrell of dry weathjr, the latter in many instances become dry, or contain an insufficient quantity of water. In some parts of the upper section of the district there are no fire wells, or other sources from which to obtain water. I would respectfully recommend that steps be taken to increase the water supply, which is by far two inadequate, taking into consideration the rapid growth of the district.