Page images

of oil were escaping from this leak and had probably been escaping for from 4 to 6 weeks before it was discovered. It appears that this oil found its way into the sewer which runs through the plant and discharges into the Hudson river. This leak was remedied by replacing the defective section of the oil force main by a new pipe and by repairing the sewer. Inspection chambers have also been constructed along the line of the force main at various points for the purpose of facilitating the discovery of similar leaks in the future.

An inspection of the sewer outlet of the plant of the Rail Joint Co. showed that except for an occasional globule of oil which presumably seeped from the saturated ground near the leak of the force main only a comparatively small quantity of light oil escaped from the sewer at this plant. The river bank near and below the outlet sewer was however covered with oil and oil was found in pools along the bank of the stream in certain places. It was stated by the superintendent of the plant that the soil on the bank of the river which is saturated with oil is to be removed and replaced either with cinders or new soil in order to prevent oil from reaching the river at times of high water and a number of loads of cinders had already been deposited near the outlet at the time of the inspection.

A number of other plants along the Hudson river in Troy including the plant of the Burden Iron Co. at Troy, and the gas works at Troy, Cohoes and Albany were visited but it was found that only a negligible quantity of oil reached the river from the sewers of these various plants and in all probability the oil thus discharged into the river is soon volatilized. It could not be traced for any considerable distance below each outlet.

In conclusion I would state that it was found from the investigation that considerable quantities of fuel oil had escaped into the river from a leak in the oil force main at the plant of the Rail Joint Co. about the time of the receipt of the complaint by this Department but that this leak had been stopped and the condition largely remedied. Steps should, however, be taken by the Rail Joint Co. to remove the pools of oil along the bank of the river near the outlet of their sewer together with the soil along the bank near the outlet sewer which is saturated with oil, in order to prevent the oil from being carried down the stream at times of high water.

I would, therefore, recommend that copies of this report be sent to the Commissioner of Public Works of the city of Albany and to the Rail Joint Co. and that the latter be advised to take immediate steps to remove the oil and the soil saturated with oil on the bank of the Hudson river in the vicinity and below the outlet sewer of the plant of this company at Troy.

Respectfully submitted,

Chief Engineer ALBANY, N. Y., June 11, 1917

Copies of this report were sent to the authorities noted above.

In addition to the foregoing, inspections were made and reports transmitted to local authorities or advice was given through correspondence in cases of stream pollution at the following places: Johnstown, Little Moose Lake, Millerton, Waterloo, Upper Hudson River.






Many requests are received at this Department each year from local health authorities as well as from citizens asking for the assistance of the Department in the suppression of local nuisances. Insanitary methods of garbage and refuse disposal; improper operation and maintenance of rendering and fertilizer plants ; insanitary conditions arising from lack of sewerage facilities such as overflowing cesspools and privy vaults; emission of smoke and fumes from industrial establishments; inefficient treatment and discharge of creamery wastes; are among the many forms of nuisance which though not associated with stream pollution, cause complaints and frequently require investigations and reports by the Engineering Division and notices or orders from the Department.

The reports of the investigations made by this Department in the more important cases of nuisances which have come before it during 1917 are given below and a list is appended of all other



HERMANN M. BIGGS, M.D., State Commissioner of Health:

I beg to submit the following report on an investigation of an alleged nuisance due to the insanitary condition of the natural watercourse at Beacon, Dutchess county, commonly known as the "Asylum Ditch.” A petition, signed by 19 residents of the city of Beacon complaining of the condition of this ditch, was received by this Department on September 4, 1917, and the inspection on which this report is based was made by Mr. Henry Ryon, inspecting engineer in this Department, on September 10, 1917.

The watercourse in question has its origin on the grounds of the Matteawan State Hospital about 14 mile north of the main buildings and from there extends southward, passing between the main buildings and the barn, a distance of 114 miles, to Wilks street in the city of Beacon. A branch ditch about 34 mile long starts at a point 2,000 feet west of the main buildings of the hospital and passing to the west of the barn joins the main ditch just before it reaches Wilks street. The land through which this upper part of the ditch passes is used partially as meadow and partially for the production

The ditch receives the surface drainage from this land and the discharge from the underdrains from some of the fields. It also receives the overflow from the suction well at the hospital waterworks pumping station. At the time of the inspection this part of the ditch was practically dry. Pools of clear water were found at intervals along the bottom but there was no flow. There was nowhere in this section any evidence that the ditch was receiving any water or wastes that could cause an offensive or insanitary condition. No pipes except those noted above discharge into the ditch and

of crops.

« PreviousContinue »