WATER PROTECTION FOR NEW YORK STATE.

WATER PROTECTION FOR NEW YORK STATE.

During the past year 1,318 deaths from typhoid fever occurred in the State of New York, each one of which may fairly be set down to the neglect on the part of the proper authorities to furnish pure water. It may likewise be justly asserted that nearly every death, possibly every one, “could have been prevented (says the report of the State board of health tor the past year), if the recognised requirements for the protection of water supplies had been in operation in every instance. “Under the law now in force (continues the report) rules for the protection of water supplies may be formulated by the State department of health upon application by the municipality using the water, by the company supplying it, or by an individual. It is the custom of the department to make such rules sufficiently comprehensive to prevent all contamination of a dangerous or doubtful character. When such rules are approved by the State commissioner of health, and published for six weeks in a newspaper in the county or counties in which the watershed is located, they have all the force of law, and prosecutions may be made against offenders, and penalties imposed.”

As a very general pollution of the water courses and bodies of water throughout the State was believed to exist, the department undertook an inspection of a large number of widely separated points in the State during the past year, and secured evidence of the very general neglect to protect the purity of these various supplies. Immediate and general legislation which shall at least prevent an increase of these contaminations seems to be a public necessity, to meet which a bill for the prevention of the pollution of fresh waters of the State by limiting or absolutely preventing the discharge of untreated sewage and other refuse or waste matters, has been prepared and introduced in the legislature. It will, of course, be opposed, probably bitterly opposed by those communities whose sewage at present finds an easy and inexpensive discharge into the fresh waters of the State, since treatment of sewage involves an expenditure of money, from which gain in the improvement of the sanitary conditions must inevitably result. But the actual gain in this respect not appearing in hard cash, many of the constituencies up the State fail to see in what it consists, and will, therefore, instruct their assemblymen and senators to vote against the bill. Meanwhile, however, the public is being educated up to the, necessity for protecting the sources of water supply, as is shown by the numerous applications made to the State bureau of pathology and bacteriology for analyses of the water furnished to certain towns and cities, samples of which are furnished by the local health authorities. The applications for these examinations are becoming more and more numerous as their value becomes appreciated by the towns and villages having a water supply. It is only reasonable to sitpposc that, if every water supply throughout the State were regularly examined, and the results published, the security thereby given those whose sources of supply arc satisfactory, and the warning of danger in cases where greater protection and purification are called for would he a great advance in preventive medicine over existing conditions.

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