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TOWNS AND BUILDINGS:
SANATORY REGULATIONS CONDUCIVE TO THE HEALTH
OF AN INCREASING POPULATION.
BY G. DRYSDALE DEMPSEY, C.E.,
Author of "The Practical Railway Engineer," and of the "Rudimentary Treatise
on the Drainage of Districts and Lauds."
REVISED AND GREATLY EXTENDED! WITH NOTICES OF THE METROPOLITAN
DRAINAGE, THAMES EMBANKMEKT, AND WATER SUl'PLY SCHEMES-
VIRTUE BROTHERS & CO., 1, AMEN CORNER,
Two volumes of the Rudimentary Series " The Art of Drain-
ing Districts and Lands," and the work now submitted to the
reader relate to the subject of drainage generally, with water
supply as an auxiliary or necessary contingent : the removal
of surplus waters and refuse on the one hand, and the supply
of pure water on the other. The one volume applies to
Districts and Lands ; the other to Towns and Buildings.
It becomes necessary to remark in this (the Third} Edition
of the present work, that when the late Mr. Dempsey pre-
pared the First and Second Editions, the whole subject of
the Drainage of the Metropolis was in confusion. The most
eminent engineers were in conflict as to the best mode of
attaining the desired end. The plan eventually adopted, and
now (1865) in progress, differs from that which Mr. Dempsey
and many other engineers recommended. This, of course, is
not conclusive as to the relative merits of the different schemes.
Who were right and who were wrong, in these speculations,
we shall not know for many years to come ; until the Inter-
cepting Main Drainage plan shal have had a fair trial by
long-continued working. On this account it seems desirable
to leave Mr. Dempsey 's calculations and deductions in their
original form ; because they embody, or rather illustrate, one
particular principle of Drainage, which may probably apply
to many other large towns, irrespective of its adoption or rejec-
tion in the metropolis. By greatly enlarging the APPENDIX,
space has been found for a succinct account of all that has
been done in relation to the Main Drainage Scheme since the
publication of the Second Edition of this volume, in 1854.
Plain facts arc stated, without any prediction concerning the
degree of SUGCCSS that may attend the operations now in
progress. In a later portion of the APPENDIX, relating to
the Utilisation of Sewage, it will be seen that this important
question remains nearly in the same unsettled state as when
Mr. Dempsey prepared the Second Edition. Much has been
said, and much written ; but the world has yet to learn
whether the sewage of the great metropolis is to be rendered
available as an agricultural fertiliser. We may here refer, for
fuller information on this important subject, to another volume
of this Series '(Vol. 146), Mr. Robert Scott Bums' Rudimentary
Treatise for Students of Agriculture, called, " Outlines of
Modern Farming ;" the fifth volume of those Outlines relates
to Utilisation of Town Sewage, Irrigation, and the Reclama-
tion of Waste Lands. The Embankment of the Thames being
now recognised as an important feature in the Main Drainage
Scheme, we have deemed it useful to devote one portion of
the APPENDIX to this subject.
Another volume of the Rudimentary Series* treats gene-
rally of Yfater "Works, and the Supply of Water to Towns.
It has been considered only necessary here, therefore, to
notice briefly in the APPENDIX one or two advances which
have been made between 1854 and 1865, in improving the
systems sketched in the text by Mr. Dempsey, especially in
regard to London and Glasgow.
* "A Treatise on Waterworks for the Supply of Cities and Towns ; with a
Description of the principal Geological Formations of England, as influencing
the Supply of Water; details of Engines and Pumping Machines for Raising
Water; and description of Works which have been executed for Procuring
Water from Wells, Springs, Rivers, and Drainage Areai." I3y Samuel
Hughes, F.a.S., Civil Engineer. Vol. 8-***
DRAINAGE OF TOWNS AND STREETS.
Sources of Water Supply ... 1
Principles of Draining .... 2
Value of Sewage as Manure . . 4
Classification of Towns with refe-
rence to their positions ... 4
Artificial Power to be employed
for the supply of Water, or dis-
charge of Sewage .... 8
London, situation of .... 9
Defects of London Drainage . . 12
Varieties of Surface Levels and
Application of Sewage Manure . 17
Distribution of Liquid Sewage . 19
Proper use of Sewers .... 23
Experiments on the value of
Sewage as Manure .... 25
Metropolitan Sewage Manure
Magnitu de* of London Sewors . 37
of Fleet Sewer . . 38
Metropolitan Commission of
Phillips's Tunnel Scheme . . 47
Geological objections to ditto . 49
Evidence of Mr. Stephenson on
the Drainage of London . . 50
Mr. Forster's Plan for the Drain-
age of London 51
Commissioners' Accounts ... 53
Report of the Surveyor on the
Drainage of the Metropolis . 55
Extracts from the Report of the
Consulting Engineers ... 65*
Supply of Water 72
Influence of the geological cha-
racter of the country on the
supply and quality of Water . 78
Constant Service System, its ad-
vantages -. 95
Drainage of Streets 100
Removal of Street Refuse . , , 104
Functions of Sewers .... 107
Dimensions and Forms of Sewers 109
Capacity of Sewers 114
Fall of Sewers 119
Construction of Sewers . . . 125
Drain Pipes 1:25
Egg-shaped Sewers 129
Connections of Minor with the
Main Sewers 130
Access to Sewers 132
Cleansing of Sewers 133
of Streets 135
Conveyance of Water .... 136
Water Pipes l' J .8
Pumping Apparatus .... 141
DRAINAGE OF BUILDINGS.
Classification of Buildings . . 144
Supply of Water to Dwelling-
to Manufactories 146
to Public Build-
Cost of raising Water ....
Constant Service System . . .
Quality of Eain Water ....
Extinction of Fires
Experiments with Jets ....
Graduation of Pipes ....
Circumstances governing the
capacity of Drains . . . .
Conditions of Draining . . . 158
Depth of Drains 161
Sewers Commissioners' Rules . . 163
Fall of Drains 164
Burnett's Water Closets
Construction of Drains . . .
Size of Drain-pipes
Connection of Drains with Sewers
Means of access to, and cleansing
Cesspools, evils of
Water Closet Apparatus . . .
Combined Arrangements for
Apparatus for emptying Cesspools 1 76
Hosmer's Cistern .
General Summary 180
No. 1. Fowler's Steam Draining
No. 2. Stephenson's Report on
Plan for draining London north
of the Thames 190
No. 3. Main Drainage of Lon-
don, proceedings from 1854 to
No. 4. Embankment of the
No. 5. Extracts from the Report
of Mr. Wicksteed on the utili-
sation of Sewage 214
No. 6. Projects for utilising Sew-
age (1854 to 1865) .... 225
No. 7. Water supply of London,
and effects of the Act of 1852
on the same 232
No. 8. Waterworks from Loch
Katrine to Glasgow
DRAINAGE OF TOWNS AND STREETS.
Classification of Towns according to Position and Extent. Varieties of
Surface, Levels and Inclinations. Application of Sewage Manure. Me-
tropolitan Sewage Manure Company. Methods of treating Sewage.
Magnitude of London Sewers. The Fleet Sewer. Metropolitan Com-
mission of Sewers. The Tunnel Scheme. Great London Drainage Bill.
Messrs. Stephenson and Cubitt's Evidence. General Board of Health.
194. ACCORDING with our definitions (Part I. p. 1), we
propose to treat of the supply of water to towns and build-
ings as a branch of the general subject of Drainage, since
the purposes of the art cannot be effected without an ade-
quate and regulated supply of water by a combination of
natural and artificial agencies, the extended control over
which constitutes the purpose of water-supply for all high-
way, manufacturing, and domestic uses.
195. The means of obtaining water for towns, and of
conducting the drainage matters from them vary, mainly,
according to their position with reference to the sources of
water ; and, in a subordinate degree, according to their
superficial extent. The sources being those already enu-
merated in our First Part, viz. rivers, rains, and springs, the
command of one or more of these will be presented as the
most economical means of deriving the necessary supply
for each town under consideration. Towns situated on the
banks of tidal rivers, or in near proximity to them, may bo
2 POSITION FOB RECEPTACLES OF SEWAGE.
usually sufficiently supplied from these sources, unless some
parts of the district extend upward to such elevation above
the river-level that the raising of this supply requires ex-
pensive artificial power; in which case springs at higher
levels may be advisably resorted to, or the drainage waters
from superior lands may be so conducted as to assist the
supply. Towns which are far distant from rivers are com-
monly entirely dependent upon springs or drainage waters
for their artificial supply.
196. The refuse matters to be discharged from towns and
buildings, consisting of the disintegrated materials of
street paving and roads ; of superfluous rain water ; of ex-
crementitious matters, solid and liquid ; of the waste pro-
ducts of combustion ; of the refuse of animal and vegetable
substances ; besides the various waste matters used in ma-
nufactures, require arrangements of different kinds to be
provided with regard to the purposes to which these mat-
ters may be usefully applied. For such discharges of these
matters as are to take place through subterranean channels,
one principle is, however, common to all, viz. that the re-
ceptacle to which they are conducted must be situated at a
level somewhat lower than that from which they are for-
warded. The arrangements for this purpose will, therefore,
be varied according to the nature of the site of the town.
If this be low in relation to the surrounding country, and
level, the refuse may be indifferently collected within or
without the town, with, however, the advantage in the latter
plan of avoiding such exposure of the decomposed matters
as tends to pollute the atmosphere, and at the same time
saving distance in the transfer of such portions of those
matters as are destined for agricultural uses. If the site of
the town be a valley with lower ground in the midst of it
than is found anywhere without its limits, the readiest point
of collection will be the lowest level in the town itself at
which the drainage can be united, and artificial power will
be required to distribute such matters as are intended for
agricultural purposes around the higher ground outside.
JK1VEES NOT TO BE MADE SEWERS. 8
From towns which occupy elevated sites, having lower lands
around them, the refuse matters and drainage waters should
be conducted away at once ; or, if found necessary to collect
them, a point or points should be selected for this purpose
altogether beyond the limits of the town itself.
197. In the several cases here supposed, the question of
disposing of the refuse matters should be treated without
any reference whatever to the presence of a river through
or contiguous to the town, except upon the single consi-
deration that such river, being in all probability situated at
the lowest level of the site, may afford facilities, after the
refuse has been collected in reservoirs near its banks, for its
conveyance in suitable barges or vessels towards the higher
lands for which some portion of this refuse is ultimately
destined. Former practice in the art of town-draining has
indeed regarded the one question of river or no river, as the
grand determinal one for the disposal of drainage and
refuse matters. How to get rid of the animal ordure
created within the walls of a town, was formerly deemed to
be satisfactorily answered provided a river flowed beneath,
and offered a tide to wash away in boundless wastefulness
those matters which, properly applied, will endow barren
lands with the richest fertility.
198. Although reluctant to dwell upon the trite subject
of the importance of draining, we claim attention to this
great leading principle in the drainage of towns and build-
ings, viz. that the ultimate economy of the art comprehends
two distinct purposes, whereof the second the disposal
and utility of the refuse matters is little less in importance
than the first the discharge of these matters from the
dwellings and highways of men. And the accomplishment
of this second purpose involves the beneficial appropriation
of refuse matters so as to make them actually productive,
and avoid interference with those healthy uses of inland
waters for which they are properly adipted. In illustration
of this principle we will endeavour to estimate the value
for agricultural purposes of the excrementitious matters
4 ANALYSES OF MANUEES.
flowing from a town, from which estimate the pernicious
effects of discharging those matters into the courses whence
the supply of water is derived for the several uses of the
population may be readily inferred.
199. The value of manures as promoters of vegetation
is known to result from their possession of the essential
element, nitrogen, in the form of ammonia, with the sub-
ordinate properties of alkalies, phosphates, and sulphates.
Now, the experiments of Boussingault and Liebig have
furnished us with the means of estimating the quantity of
nitrogen contained in the excrements of a man during one
year, at 16*41 Ibs., upon probable data, and also that this
quantity is sufficient for the supply of 800 Ibs. of wheat,
rye, or oats, or of 900 Ibs, of barley. " This is much more
than it is necessary to add to an acre of land, in order to
obtain, with the assistance of the nitrogen absorbed from
the atmosphere, the richest crops every year. By adopting
a system of .rotation of crops, every town and farm might
thus supply itself with the manure which, besides con-
taining the most nitrogen, contains also the most phos-
phates. By using, at the same time, bones and the lixi-
viated ashes of wood, animal excrements might be com-
pletely dispensed with on many kinds of soil. When human
excrements are treate,d in a proper manner, so as to remove
this moisture, without permitting the escape of ammonia,
they may be put into such a form as will allow them to be
transported even to great distances."* Making reasonable
allowance for the reduced quantity produced by children,
we shall be safe in assuming the nitrogen thus resulting
from any amount of population to be equal to the supply
required for affording 2 Ibs. of bread per diem for every
one of its members ! Or assuming an average of 600 Ibs.
of wheat to be manured by each individual of the popula-
tion of London ; and taking this at two millions, for a
rough calculation, the manure thus produced is sufficient to
supply the growth of wheat of a total weight of 1200 mil-
QUALITY OF TOWN-SEWAGE. 5
lions of pounds, or 535,714 tons. The total manuring
matters, solid and liquid, produced in a town, allowing for
those which are produced in manufactories arid sewage
water, are probably equal in weight to one ton annually for
each member of the population, or two millions of tons
produced in the metropolis.
200. That this vast quantity of manure should be made
available for agricultural production is a principle which
cannot be denied, and which is properly limitable only by
the consideration of expense as weighed against the value
of the results. The expense will be made up mainly of
three items, viz. of the collection, of the raising, and of the
distribution of the refuse matters. The collection being an
item common to all methods of disposal, will not be
chargeable entire in any comparative estimate, but as modi-
fied by the peculiarities in the collection of which the plan
is susceptible. The cost of raising is of course wholly
chargeable to a system of artificial dispersion, as distin-
guished from the prevailing modes of self-discharge into
low channels, but the former system will be debited only
with the excess of expense (if any), beyond that incurred
by the present methods of distributing the manuring mat-
ters for use upon the land. The cost of each of these
works, however, may be reduced to a . minimum by skilful
arrangements, and our experience is yet insufficient to ena-
ble us to determine these with that precision which further
practice will secure, or to estimate their total with the ex-
actness necessary for forming a just comparison between
the present and the proposed methods.
201. In a subsequent part of our work we propose to
consider the items of cost in carrying out an efficient sys-
tem of town-drainage ; being satisfied, at this stage of our
subject, in declaring the fundamental principle that the
refuse of a town, including not only excrementitious, but
all other waste matters and sewage, is far too valuable to be
thrown away ; and that the question of its appropriation
should be made dependent only upon rules of a liberal
6 CONSIDERATION OF SITES.
economy, which ought, moreover, to be severely criticised
before admitted to practical consideration.
202. The palpable inference from this principle is, as
already stated, that the contiguity and position of a river,
with reference to a town, have no necessaiy connection with
the arrangement of its drainage beyond the facilities which
may be thus afforded for the passage or subsequent convey-
ance of the sewage matters for their ultimate disposal. For
it is quite certain that no correct general views of town-
drainage can prevail while we continue to regard a river as
the natural and suitable trunk sewer into which all colla-
teral and main courses of brickwork are to discharge their
foetid contents, which, according to the state of the river,
are either immediately spread upon its banks to contami-
nate the air of the town, or duly infused in its waters, to be
afterwards exposed with the same vicious effects.
203. From the principles here laid down, it will be unr
derstood that in the twofold purposes of the drainage of
towns, viz. the supply of water, and the discharge and dis-
posal of the refuse matters, the relative levels of the town,
with the adjacent districts, and of the several portions of
the town with each other, are the main considerations upon
which the peculiar methods to be adopted in each case are
determinable ; but it will also be evident that, generally,
those surfaces which are the most favourable for an econo-
mical water supply are the least so for the ready disposal of
refuse matters, and the converse is equally true ; those sur-
faces which present facilities for dispersing drainage-matters
being commonly the least accessible to water.
204. Thus the flat districts on the margins of rivers and
inland streams of adequate capacity are the most favourable
sites for towns for the supply of water, but for drainage
they are the least so ; since the main channels or sewers
are required to be laid at low levels, and the raising of their
contents for use upon the neighbouring lands, which are
probably much higher, becomes a very expensive process.
On the other hand, a town on a hill-top is the most readily
CLASSIFICATION OF SITES. 7
and cheaply drained ; but its supply with water, whether
from springs, rivers, or surface drainage all at lower levels
is a work of great and constant cost.
Let us consider the several kinds of site which towns
205. First. A plain or flat surface, with surrounding
country of similar character. Water from rivers, springs,
or from the surface of lands in the neighbourhood. Arti-
ficial power will be probably required to raise the water,
however derived. The drainage matters must be conducted
into one or more main sewers, and raised by artificial power
for dispersion upon the land.
206. /Second. A plain or flat surface, with surrounding
country rising from the town. Unless well situated with
regard to a river, the supply of water will probably be the
most economically obtained from springs on the hills, or
from the collection of the waters which accumulate upon
their surface. The drainage matters, if destined for the
higher lands, should be generally conducted by mains
towards the outskirts of the town, and the question of levels
will evidently derive additional importance from the neces-
sity of raising the sewage to levels naturally above that of
the town itself.
207. Third. A plain or flat surface, with surrounding
country falling from the town. The supply of water beyond
that derived from wells and springs will require artificial
power, while the drainage matters may be collected in main
sewers, and, in all probability, dispersed without any appli-
cation of power, by the force of their own gravity.
208. Fourth. An inclined surface on the side of a hill.
Water will be derivable, probably, from several sources. If
a river flow at the base of the site, the lower parts of the
town will be most economically supplied from it, while for
the higher the surface water from lands above or springs
will be the most readily available. The general system of
collecting and distributing the drainage matters will be
chiefly dependent upon the localities where they are in-
8 ARTIFICIAL POWEK.
tended to be ultimately disposed of. If these be on the
lower part of the hill, the method will be very simple, re-