Connecticut. State Board of Health.

Annual report of the State Board of Health for the fiscal year ending November 30 .. online

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Mystic, Conn., April 24, 1891.
Prof, lAndaley, Secretary Connecticut State Board of Health :

Deab Sib : — The work of dredging Mystic river has been commenced.
A wharf owner is negotiating with the contractors to have a large
quantity of the black mud from the bottom of the river dumped upon
his wharf and premises in the center of this village, to be used, as he
says, to build out and extend his land to the southward. In the estima-
tion of your Board would the exposure of a considerable surface of said
mud to the influence of the sun and evaporation be dangerous to pub-




lie health. If so, please inform me at once, as the work of making such
a deposit in said place will probably commence soon, if at all.

Yours truly,

L. M. Guernsey,
Health Officer, First District, Mystic Board of Health.

New Haven, Ck)NN., April 25tb, 1891.
To L, M, Ouemseyy Health Officer of Mystic Board of Health :

Dear Sir :— Your favor of the 24th, is received. In answer to your
question would say that I do not know of any evidence that it would
prove detrimental to the public health. The mud deposits at the bottom
of rivers is not of uniform composition. It contains in most instances
more or less organic matter, but this on exposure to the sun and air
would soon be oxidized and if there was any offense from it, it would
be but temporary.

The probability is that the risk to health would be no greater than fill-
ing up the same space with soil chained from other sources.
Very respectfully,

C. A. LiNDSLEY, Secretary.

About the first of May, the Secretaiy received from Dr. L. S.
Paddock, a member of the Board of Health of Norwich, a request
to visit that place to advise with certain philanthropic parties
who are about to establish a public hospital for the city, in regard
to the disposal of the sewage from the institution.

In response to this request the Secretary subsequently visited
Norwich, and after making a careful inspection of the proposed
site of the hospital and its surroundings submitted the following
report :

To the Board of Health of Nonvich :

On the request of Dr. L. S. Paddock, one of the members of your
Board, I visited your city on the 20th day of May.

In company with the Doctor and Mr. J. S. Lathrop, I was shown the
site of the proposed new hospital. It is a situation well chosen in the
center of a plateau of several acres in extent, so well elevated as to have
a commanding view of the surrounding vicinity and unobstructed ven-

The numerous well-grown shade trees upoii the grounds will not only
add to the attractions of the place, but contribute largely to the com-
fort of the patients, and enhance the salubrity of the location.

My opinion was requested, as representing the State Board of Health,
in regard to the disposal of sewage from the Hospital, and especially, if
from a sanitary point of view, there would be any objection to dis-
charging it into Yantic river, which passes the place on the westerly



secretary's report. 173

In consideriiig the questioo, the prime points are, the amount of sew-
age, the amount of running water, the rapidity of the current, the ulti-
mate disposition of the se.wage after it enters the river, and finally the
subsequent usee of the river water with reference to such pollution.

The quantity of sewage in one sense is represented by the amount of
water used from a public supply. The water received being a close
measurement of the sewage to be disposed of.

But careful estimates have been made of the amount of undiluted
sewage produced per capita in a mixed community. In the Report of
the Rivers Pollution Commission to the English Parliament made in 1870,
it is stated, that taking a population as a whole, living together, each indi-
vidual contributes to the general mass of sewage in the form of excreta
from the person a little more than 1,000 pounds per year, that is in feces
and urine, and it estimates that other sources of refuse as factories,
markets, stables, kitchens, laundries, baths and the excreta of domestic
animals would be fully equal to the human sewage. Each person then
^would represent 2,000 lbs., or one ton of sewage per year.

Therefore it follows, that if the Hospital gives shelter to 100 inmates,
they will produce every year J 00 tons of undiluted sewage, one half of
which will be human feces and urine.

This, with the water necessary to carry it to the river, would be suf-
ficient to very sensibly pollute a large stream and render it wholly un-
safe for any domestic uses whatever. It would no longer be wholesome
as a place for watering cattle, or a cleanly place for bathing, nor would
its waters be suitable for laundry uses, and most decidedly unfit as a
source of ice supply.

I do not know that the waters of the Yantic are used at all for any
such purposes from your city to its final mingling with Long Island
Sound, except that a large ice house stood upon its western bank. If it
be the fact that the water of this river has no other use than that of a
mill propeller, it only remains to consider the other objections, if any,
to such defilement.

I had no means of measuring the amount of fiowage at the time of
my inspection, and could only observe, that at the probable point of
discharge, the current was rapid and full, ensuring, if it was always in
that condition, the speedy transmission of the sewage while still fresh
to the body of water held back by the dam below.

During certain hours of the day the fiow here is arrested, and the
sewage would find a more or less permanent place in several ways. A
portion of it would be carried by gravity to the bottom, as in a settling
tank, another portion would fioat and of this some would be wafted to
the banks and adhere to whatever it might come in contact with, and
still another and perhaps greater portion would be carried on in the
flowing current. The arrest of the stream by the dam at a point so
near where the sewage is received, is a serious objection to this mode
of disposal.

Were it not so, the great bulk of the sewage would be carried bodily
over the falls and still onward to be yet more diluted by the larger
waters below.




The conditions are unfavorable in another way ; the inequalities of
the river bottom and the frequent fluctuations in the amount of water,
causing considerable surfaces to be alternately exposed and covered,
thus favoring, I think, greater deposits of sewage from the receding
waters to producing unwholesome emanations from its decomposi-

This is a point entitled to more consideration, from the fact that in
this instance the sewage is derived from a hospital and will often be
the bearer of disease-producing germs.

Notwithstanding all these objections, it is my belief that if the water
of the river was uniformly as full as when I saw it, the limited amount
of sewage entering it would be so much diluted that for several years
this mode of disposal may be employed without danger to the public
health. And on the other hand, I have little doubt that while it would
not immediately be productive of bad results, it will be eventually, if
persisted in.

Having thus answered the more direct enquiry upon which
my opinion was asked, I venture to offer a suggestion as to an-
other mode of sewage disposal, which, from what I saw of the
situation of the proposed hospital, I believe would be entirely

I have reference to the purification of the sewage by land irri-
gation and the subsequent discharge of the purified effluent (if
there is any) into the river.

The favorable character of the soil about the Hospital, its ele-
vated situation allowing the most complete drainage, and the
abundant area of surface present facilities for this mode of dis-
posal not often found.

If the special form known as the "sub-surface irrigation" is
adopted, it would economize the fertilizing properties of the
sewage and so in some degree return the cost of its adoption.

Before committing yourselves to this plan, however, I would
most emphatically urge you to consult some competent Sanitary
Engineer who has had experience in this kind of work. Such
men as Gray of Providence, Waring of Newport, Hering of New
York, Bassett of Newark, or McKenzie of our own State,
would any of them be competent to give you sound and trust-
wo^rthy advice, and to superintend the work if it is under-

Whatever you do, if you attempt this mode of disposal, trust
it to no one who has not had a practical acquaintance with this
special engineering work. The details necessary to its success
are only to be obtained by personal experience.



secretary's report. 175

Of course this mode of disposal provides only for the sewage.
All roof water and other storm water should be provided for

In support of the above recommendation, I may be permitted
to quote the following from the work of W. Santo Crimp on
" Sewage Disposal Works," who is one of the most recent and
best authorities on the subject. He says : "In summarizing the
conclusions and recommendations of the various Commissions
and Committees who have investigated the subject of sewage dis-
posal on different occasions, in this and in other countries, during
the past thirty years, it will be observed that perfect unanimity
obtains in regard to the purification of sewage by means of

All of which is respectfully submitted,


Secretary of State Board of Health,

The following relates to the sewage disposal of Meriden :

Mbriden, Conn., Aug. 8, 1891.
I>r,C, A, Lindsley, Esq.:

Dear Sir : — A special committee appointed by the Mayor has been
investigating the question of a sewage system for our city and is
about to report. They will recommend the irrigation plan and have
selected a site which seems to be suitable. We should like the
opinion of the State Board of Health and would name Friday the 14th
as the day (afternoon if possible).

Will you please advise me by return mail if you can favor us.
have spo ken to Dr. Wilson, who can be present. I also have to notify
an engineer in Boston, whom we want to be here.
Your attention will oblige, Yours,

Homer A. Curtiss,
Chairman Special Sewer Committee.

The State Board, in response to the request, visited Meriden at
the time specified and subsequently made to the committee the
following report :

New Haven, Conn.
To the Committee on Sewers of Meriden :

The State Board of Health held a special meeting at Meriden on Fri-
day, August 14th, in response to a request to advise with the Commit-
tee on Sewers in regard to certain plans proposed for the disposal of
the sewage of the city.




After examining the drawings and hearing the explanations of the
Civil Engineer, Mr. McKenzie, the Board was shown over the proposed
line of the trunk sewer to a broad, flat field some three miles distant
from the Meriden depot, which field it was proposed to utilize for the
purification of the sewage by broad irrigation.

Excavations had been made in the ground in several places to deter-
mine the character of the soil, with reference to its fitness for such a

The Board was assured by the Engineer that there were no difficulties
to overcome in carrying the sewage to this place by gravity.

The amount of land available and favorably situated is abundant to
meet the requirements of the city for generations to come. The quality
of the soil is such as, in the opinion of the Board, is best adapted to ac-
complish the object in view.

A few inches of the surface is a light loam, with substrata of gravel
and fine sand for many feet in depth. While the surface of this plain
is lower than the city, it is still elevated some 20 feet above the stream
which flows beside it or through it. And the ground is believed to be
so porous and so well drained by this stream as to render unnecessary
any expense for artificial sub-drainage.

The location is unexceptionable in every respect, being so distant from
the city and so remote from any human habitations, that it will not, if
cared for as it should be, result in a nuisance to anyone.

The State Board of Health gives its full approval of the method of
disposal proposed by the plans of the Engineer, and of the plan of dis-

Per order of the Board,

C. A. LiNDSLEY, Secretary,

As being the largest undertaking to dispose of sewage in Con -
necticut, by the method known as " broad irrigation," the follow-
ing reports on the subject by sanitary engineers and othera are
thought worthy of publication.

committee's report.

Meriden, Conn., Sept. 9, 1891.
To the Honorable Court of Common Council :

The committee appointed to investigate the matter of sewerage beg
leave to report that recognizing the fact that the time has come when
Meriden must face the important question, we have given the matter our
careful attention. We have been in correspondence with prominent en-
gineers and have visited and inspected systems at Worcester and South
Framingham, Mass., Cranston, R. I., Orange and Long Branch, N. J.,
and Pullman, HI. We have employed T. H. McKenzie and S. C. Heald of
Boston, who was Chief Engineer of South Framingham works, to pre-
pare a map, estimates of costs, etc. We herewith present their report,
also a communication from the State Board of Health and one from Mr.
Carrol Ph. Bassett, one of the most prominent and successful engineers
on sewerage in the country.



secretary's report. 177

The oonclusioos we have reached favor a separate system of sewer-
age, nmning the storm and surface waters into the streams, and purify-
ing the sewage on land. We find the best authorities in this and other
countries recommend such treatment where suitable land can be ob-

Circumstances in our city appear peculiarly favorable for such a sys-
tem, and we unanimously recommend it.

Should the Council approve this report we request that a city meet-
ing be called at an early date to take action upon the question.

All of which is respectfully submitted,


J. H. Chapin.
Auo. Maschmeyer.
Jambs T. Kane.
Benj. C. Kennard.


Meriden, Conn., Aug. 20, 1891.
To the Honorable, the Mayor and Committee on Sewage Disposal of the
City of Meriden :

Gentlemen :— In response to the invitation contained in the letter
from the chairman of your Committee and dated Feb. 20, 1891, 1 began
investigations for the purpose of determining what methods of sewage
disposal were feasible for the city of Meriden, and which of the various
methods would be most economical and efficient.

The three best known and most commonly practiced methods of dis-
posal are by irrigation, filtration and chemical precipitation. Irriga-
tion and filtration are considered the most economical and satisfactory
methods of disposal where sufficient areas of suitable land can be
reached by gravity. The large expense incurred in the original con-
struction and the continual expanse of operation caused by the neces-
sity of duplicating labor and machinery renders the chemical precipita-
tion process objectionable, except as a last resort.

Mr. S. C. Heald, C. E., of Boston, Mass., who has traveled extensively
in Europe for the purpose of investigating the matter of sewage dis-
posal, has been associated with me in the problems involved in your

After making the necessary investigations to determine whether suf-
ficient areas of suitable land could be reached by gravity, we decided
to recommend for your adoption the plan as outlined to you in brief on
the evening of April 7th last, which was that the city sewage be dis-
posed of by irrigation and filtration through land, and that the tract of
land known as Fall Plains and lying midway between the villages of
£[anover and Yalesville be purchased and laid out as an irrigation
farm, and that filter beds be prepared as an auxiliary method of dis-
posal for winter use and to be used at such times as the volume of sew-
age might be more than was necessary for irrigating the land under





We found the fall from the surface of water in Harbor Brook at East
Main street bridge to the average surface of the plains to be seventeen
and one-half feet and the distance to the center of the proposed tract
17,500 feet, which would allow of a fall in the main sewer of one foot
in one thousand, and bring the grade of the sewer sufficiently above
the surface of the ground to facilitate the distribution of sewage ; ive
therefore recommend that the sewage be conveyed to the proposed irri-
gation farm by gravity.

We found that the character of the soil and the surface slopes of the
ground were unusually well adapted to the disposal of sewage in the
manner recommended ; the surface of the ground for a few inches in
depth is a black sandy loam underlaid by a coarse sand and graveL
The ground water line lies about sixteen feet below the surface, so that
it is not probable that imder-draining would be necessary.

We find the area of land which is available for irrigation purposes
east of the road to be about 120 acres ; the entire area available on both
sides of the road is about 250 acres.

The main sewer would be brought onto the land at a slight elevation
above the original surface of the ground and an embankment three
and one-half feet in height raised over it for protection against frost ;
this embankment would form one side of the enclosures proposed to be
used for filter beds ; brick walls would be constructed on the line of the
main sewer at intervals of about 800 feet by closing a gate in the main
pipe just beyond the well from which it was proposed to distribute the
sewage, the water would rise in the well and be distributed through
openings in the side into lateral sewage or into open carriers.

For the distribution of the sewage over the land for such tracts as
were to be cultivated, we would recommend the ridge and furrow
system, the ridge to be about eight feet wide and the ditches between
two and one-half feet wide and two feet deep ; the water to be ran
into ditches at each end from open grips or carriers made of split
earthen-ware pipes, the water would be ,run intermittently into the
opien ditches to a depth of four or five inches.

On the ridges any varieties of vegetables could be cultivated. The
ditches should be worked over with a hoe as often as the vegetables
are hoed, or once in ten days; by this method the vegetables do
not come into direct contact with the sewage, and in England where
such farms are extensively cultivated the vegetables raised on sewage
farms are sold in the market at the same price as those raised on other

For irrigating grass land the ground should be leveled off in sections
about 800 feet wide and of any length desired. Open carriers of split
earthen- ware pipe and slightly elevated above the surface of the ground
should be laid along each side of the section and the sewage distributed
from notches in the side and allowed to fiow over the surface.

The slopes of the ground on the track which we have proposed to
utilize are such that the ground could be laid out in very large sections
and the cost of grading would be light.



secretary's report. 179

For an illustration ol the method herein recommended, I refer you to
Sooth Framingfaam, Mass., Cranston, R I., Pullman, IlL, and Marl-
borough, Mass., also Bedford, England, population 27,000, area of land
irrigated and cultivated 158 acres, an annual rental $4,640.00 per year
18 paid for the use of the land. The sewage is pumped to the sewage
tBirm. through an eighteen inch cast iron pipe ; the average daily quan-
tity of sewage is one million gallons.

Beddington, England, population 78,000, 490 acres of land irrigated
and cultivated, sewage flows to the farm by gravitation. The com-
bined system is in use here with no storm overflows. The average
daOy quantity of sewage is in dry weather three and one half million
gallons, in wet weather sixteen to twenty million gallons.

Doncaster, England, population 20,000, area of the farm 264 acres,
about half of this is under cultivation. Sewage is pumped to the farm
at an elevation of fifty-two feet, through a twenty-one inch cast iron
pipe ; the average daily flow of sewage is 800,000 gallons.

There are several sewage systems with disposal by irrigation now in
process of construction in Massachusetts, also a very laige number in
operation in England, France and G^ermany. In places where the sep-
arate syBtem of sewers has been adopted the volume of sewage is found
to be about equal to the water supply, which in European cities is about
forty gallons per day per head ; while in American cities it usually ex-
ceeds 100 gallons per day per head.

For the purpose of determining the size of your main sewer, I have
estimated the sewage at about 100 gallons per day per head for 27,000
people and that the flow during the ten business hours of the day
would be nearly doubled, or at the rate of about four million gallons
per day. I have also allowed for a growth of 100 per cent., or a popula-
tion of 54,000 people and at the rate of eight million gallons per day of
sewage, the capacity of a thirty-six inch sewer when running fuU on
the grade proposed, is about 12,000,000 gallons per day, so that a thirty-
six inch main sewer is probably of ample capacity for many years to

The entire sewage of the city would not be concentrated into one
sewer until the junction was reached at Andrews' mill.

The plans for the sewering of the city which were made in 1876-1878
bj myself under the direction of Mr. E. S. Ghesbrough, would be
utilized in planning the system as proposed. The sizes should be re-
duced and some of the grades along Hanover street and Cook avenue
should be re-adjusted to meet the present grades of the main sewer.

I have estimated on circular sewers for the reason that we would not
have a sufficient depth at some i>oints to cover an oval sewer. A flat
invert and circular top sewer might be substituted to advantage on
Hanover street. Where sewers are of a large size and flow nearly uni-
form, the circular form is preferable.

The following is an estimate of the cost of the proposed main sewers
together with the land for an irrigation farm and the grading of the




6,800 ft. of 80 in. circular sewer, Main street to Andrews'

mm,atS8 50 $22,060 00

3,400 ft. of 24 in. pipe sewer, West Side to Andrews' null, at

$2 50 8,500 00

6,800 ft. of 86 in. circular sewer, Andrews' mill to syphon, at

$4 25 26,775 00

860 ft. of 20 in. cast iron pipe, syphon, at $8 60 2,975 00

1,050 ft. of 86 in. circular sewer, west of river, at $4 25 4,462 50

1,500 ft. 20 in. circular pipe, west of river, at $1 8,000 00

2,000 ft. of 12 in. circular pipe, west of river, at $1 2,000 00

60 wells and manholes at $50 8,000 00

Right of way 8,000 00

Truss over river at Andrews' mill... t 1,500 00

280 acres of land atan average of $40 per acre 9,200 00

Grading 50 acres at $100 5,000 00

Incidentals " 15,000 00

$111,462 50
Engineering, superintendence, inspection and legal expenses

15 per cent 16,719 87

Total estimate $128,181 87

In the above estimate but one line of twenty-inch syphon is provided
for and one line of pipe through the land irrigated ; these would be
duplicated whenever the system was sufficiently developed to de-
mand it.

The cost of sewering the city would average about $7,500.00 per mile,
about two-thirds of this cost would be assessed on the property al)utting
on the streets sewered.

The location of disposal works and method of disposal herein de-
scribed is the same as outlined by Mr. S. C. Heald and myself at the
meeting of your Committee on April 7th last.

Since that time at your request I have made surveys for the purpose
of locating the line of the main sewer from Harbor Brook on E^ast Main
street and from the railroad bridge on West Main street to the proposed
irrigation farm below Hanover.

The location of the main sewer for considerable distance is through
private property, but for most of the distance where the line follows
along parallel with the Hanover road the location is about 200 feet
westerly of the road where a proper depth of cutting is secured and the
line would lie in the rear of buildings. From Ck>ok avenue to Andrews'

Online LibraryConnecticut. State Board of HealthAnnual report of the State Board of Health for the fiscal year ending November 30 .. → online text (page 15 of 46)