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at its nearest point the ditch is 300 feet from the barns and piggery and the intervening ground was free and clear of any offensive material. All of the barns and all the buildings and yards connected with them are drained to a concrete tank from which the liquid is pumped and used on the fields. The ditch is clear throughout this section, walled with field stone in places, but generally having sloping banks covered with sod. The width of the bottom of the ditch is about 18 inches.
From Wilks street the ditch continues in a southerly direction across open fields for a distance of 900 feet to Kent street. Here the conditions are practically the same as on the asylum grounds north of Wilks street. There was at the time of the inspection no flow, but pools of clear water occurred at intervals.
At Kent street the conditions change, and from that street to Old road, a distance of 300 feet, the ditch passes through poorly kept back yards and is used for the disposal of wash water, garbage and other wastes. The pools of water here were cloudy and black, due to the decaying organic matter in them, but there was no noticeable odor.
From Old road to George street, a distance of 800 feet, the ditch was entirely dry and badly overgrown with weeds and brush. The yards of several houses extend to the ditch on the west and on the east there are open fields. Considerable rubbish was found along the banks but no liquid waste of any kind was observed. Through this section the banks are protected by dry rubble walls for nearly the entire distance.
From George street to Main street the ditch is walled with stone and covered with wooden planking. Most of this planking was at the time of the inspection in very bad condition and at some points portions of it had fallen into the ditch. Rubbish, garbage and liquid wastes from the houses had evidently been dumped along each side of and into the stream. Several poorly kept chicken yards extend to the edge of the ditch. The water in this section was flowing sluggishly, was badly polluted and at places full of mosquito larvae. A very distinct odor of stale sewage was noticeable in the ditch but could not be detected on the bank. It should be noted, however, in this connection, that the day was clear and cold so that odors would not be as readily noticed as under different atmospheric conditions. The ditch is approximately 3 feet wide and 3 feet deep throughout this section.
Below Main street the stream turns southeast and crosses open fields for a distance of 1,000 feet to Teller avenue. The sides of the ditch are sloping and covered with sod. No objectionable condition was found in this section except in the rear of a single house at the upper end, where the bottom of the ditch was partially obstructed by rubbish. There was some flow in this section and the water was slightly turbid.
From Teller avenue the stream continues in an easterly direction, flowing over a natural bed with a good grade a distance of 1,200 feet to Fishkill creek. The greater part of this distance is through woods, but at the lower end the stream passes under several buildings. No conditions were observed here that could be called insanitary or unsatisfactory. The banks were clean and the water only slightly turbid.
The ditch receives some storm water from the streets that it crosses, but only that coming from a short distance on each side. Storm water sewers take care of most of the street drainage. No outlet discharging sanitary sewage was found at any point along the ditch.
The insanitary condition of the ditch through the center of the city appears to be due almost entirely to the fact that the people living along the stream deposit rubbish, garbage and liquid wastes in the ditch and on the ground nearby. If this objectionable practice could be stopped the cleaning of the ditch and the adjacent properties would to a great extent abate the nuisance. It would seem desirable, however, to permanently improve the condition by constructing a conduit of concrete or other suitable material along the course of the present ditch with a smooth evenly graded invert that would not permit the water to collect in pools. The conduit could be either open or closed. The latter form, although more expensive, would have the advantage of preventing people from throwing refuse into the stream. In either case the conduit should be of ample size to carry the run-off from the area tributary to it, and all sanitary or domestic sewage should be excluded. The upper and lower sections of the stream do not appear to be in urgent need of grading or regulation at the present time.
I would therefore recommend that the board of health of the city of Beacon take such action as may be necessary to improve the sanitary condition of the properties adjacent to the ditch and to prevent people from throwing garbage and rubbish and liquid wastes into the stream; and that the city consider the matter of building a conduit along the course of the present ditch of ample size to carry the water that will come to it and to be used exclusively for storm water, no sanitary sewage being admitted at any point.
I would further recommend that copies of this report be sent to the city authorities and to the petitioners and that the city authorities be requested to take action along the lines suggested herein.
THEODORE HORTON, ALBANY, N. Y., September 28, 1917
Copies of this report were transmitted to the Board of Health of the city and to the city authorities, urging that the recommendations of the report be carried out.
HERMANN M. BIGGS, M.D., State Commissioner of Health:
I beg to submit the following report on an investigation of an alleged nuisance caused by the operation of the chemical works of the States Metals Company at Binghamton, made at your direction and as the result of a complaint by Mr. C. H. Hayes of Binghamton on behalf of himself and some 100 residents living in the vicinity of the works.
The inspection was made by Mr. C. A. Holmquist on December 18 and 19, 1916, in company with Mr. John R. Doan, manager of the chemical works, and two of his assistants. A conference in reference to these works was also held in the mayor's office with the mayor, the commissioner of public safety and the assistant corporation counsel of Binghamton. The health officer of the city and many of the complainants and residents in the vicinity of the chemical works were also interviewed.
It was learned that the operation of the chemical works has been the source of numerous complaints to the health department of Binghamton for the past two years and that as the result of such complaints a number of hearings in the matter have been held before the commissioner of public safety of the city. The first hearing was held in 1915, and in 1916 three hearings were held, namely, on January 18, January 25 and February 8, respectively. At these last hearings 28 witnesses for the complainants and 18 witnesses for the defendants testified under oath. Both parties were represented by counsel, who later prepared and presented briefs in the matter. The testimony taken at these hearings covers 197 typewritten pages. The following decision was rendered by the commissioner of public safety on May 12, 1916:
In the matter of the Complaint against the Chenango Chemical Company fo.
an alleged nuisance Having carefully considered the evidence taken in the above entitled matter and having heard and considered the arguments submitted by counsel for the respective parties I find as follows:
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1. Certain gases and odors have escaped from the plant of the said Chenango Chemical Company during the past year or more, which have caused more or less annoyance and inconvenience to people living in the neighborhood of said plant, and at times the machinery of said plant has caused noises and vibrations annoying to said neighbors.
2. The evidence is conflicting as to the extent and duration of said annoying occurrences, but there is no convincing evidence in the case that the health of any person has suffered or that life has been endangered by either gases or odors which have escaped from the said chemical plant.
3. The said Chenango Chemical Company, upon its attention being called to the said facts and pursuant to notice given to it by the bureau of health of the city of Binghamton, has taken and is now taking such precaution to prevent the recurrence of any of said causes of complaint that thereby they have ceased either in whole or in a large part.
4. The evidence in the case does not show grounds sufficient to warrant interference with said plant by the bureau of health of the city of Binghamton as being “ dangerous to human life and health."
5. Under the evidence in the case there is reasonable doubt as to whether the use of this plant by said company in its location is unreasonable under all the circumstances and as to whether a nuisance of any kind in fact now exists.
6. If such use is unreasonable or if any nuisance actually exists the complainants lave an adequate remedy at law. Under the circumstances therefore I am of the opinion that the bureau of health of the city of Binghamton should not interfere in the matter, and in support of this position I cite the following cases:
Copeutt v. Board of Health, 140 N. Y.
Yates v. Milwaukee, 77 U. S. 497.
F. W. SPAULDING,
Deputy Commissioner of Public Safety May 12, 1916
The chemical works of the States Metals Company, of which Mr. George R. Parker, 50 Church street, New York city, is president, and Mr. J. R. Doan of Binghamton is manager, is located on Frederick street in the northern part of the city and occupies the greater portion of the square bounded by Frederick, Heman, State and Chenango streets. It is situated practically in the center of the developed residential and business section of that portion of the city. The buildings occupied by the works have been used for industrial purposes for many years previous to their use in the manufacture of the chemicals.
According to the statements made by Mr. Doan, manager of the chemical works, the plant was operated by the Chenango Chemical Company from May, 1914, to December 18, 1915, under the management of Nir. Doan, during which time cobalt oxide, cobalt sulphate, cobalt acetate, cobalt carbonate, single and double salts of nickel, sulphate of manganese and sulphate of antimony or antimony sulphurette were manufactured. From December, 1915, to date the plant has been operated by the States Metals Company also under the management of Mr. Doan. Only sulphate of antimony used for vulcanizing rubber has been manufactured by this company since March or April, 1916.
The process of the manufacture of antimony sulphurette, generally and very briefly stated, consists of dissolving antimony ore with other chemicals in water while being agitated mechanically and lieated with steam; precipitating the solution thus formed and washing, drying and pulverizing the resulting precipitate.
The principal gas evolved, which is a by-product in the operation and one which is not condensed or recovered in the process of manufacture, is hydrogen sulphide. This gas is generated in the precipitation vats and is also liberated from the waste water which is pumped from the filters and allowed to run over the floor to the sewer. Asthough the odor of hydrogen sulphide was given off in the precipitation room in moderate quantities, it could not be detected outside of the buildings at the time of the inspection.
This gas, it may be stated, has a very objectionable odor resembling that familiarly associated with decomposing eggs. In concentrated amounts there can be no doubt as to the suffocating or poisonous nature of this gas and there is little doubt that in the continuous presence of considerable amounts of hydrogen sulphide the health of persons will be indirectly if not directly affected.
The manager of the works stated that this gas together with other gases or vapors such as SO3 given off from the process of manufacture of other chemicals as sulphate of manganese was formerly passed through baffled scrubbers filled with cobbles where it was sprayed with steam and water before being discharged into the atmosphere but that the scrubbers are no longer in use, sulphate of manganese being no longer manufactured and the process of making antimony sulphurette having been so perfected as the result of experiments, as to reduce to a negligible quantity the generation of hydrogen sulphide. It was stated that as the result of a long series of experiments it has been found possible by properly proportioning the raw material to make antimony sulphurette without creating any objectionable conditions and that this improved method has been in use at the States Metals Co. plant since the last week in October, 1916.
Although these claims appeared to be at least largely substantiated by the investigation it was learned from interviews had with a number of persons living in the vicinity of the works that whereas the choking effect produced by such vapors or gases as would result from the manufacture of sulphate of manganese had not been noticed for a long time, objectionable odors of hydrogen sulphide had been noticed a number of times since November 1, 1916, but not as often as previously. Whereas it would appear, therefore, that there is a doubt that the complete elimination of the hydrogen sulphide has been effected there is every reason to believe from our invstigation that it is largely if not entirely controllable and that during the time of the recent inspection it appeared to be entirely under control and was not escaping outside of the building in noticeable quantities.
Should, however, this company be unable to control the escape of this gas and thus abate a nusiance which has existed and has been complained of steps should be taken by the States Vietals Company to absorb this gas which can in all probability be done at a reasonable expense. It is not likely, however, that this can be done satisfactorily by means of the type of scrubbers formerly used by this company inasmuch as hydrogen sulphide is only moderately soluble in water. In all probability the gas can be satisfactorily cared for in properly constructed absorption towers or scrubbers charged with lime inasmuch as hydrogen sulphide is rapidly absorbed by lime forming calcium hydrosulphide and water according to the following equation: CaH202 2 H2S=CaH2S 2 H20. Hydrogen sulphide is also decomposed by ferric hydronide with the formation of ferrous sulphide and water and the deposition of sulphur. The hydrogen sulphide liberated from the waste water from the antimony sulphurette filters, while not given off in any considerable volume, could also in all probability, be largely eliminated by providing a closed discharge pipe for the pump connected with the filters instead of allowing the waste liquid which is saturated with gas to splash onto and run over the floor into the sewer. If this should give rise to any objectionable conditions in the sewer another method would, of course, have to be worked out for the treatment of the gas escaping from this source.
In conclusion I would state that it appears from the investigation that although in all probability a serious nuisance was created in the past due to the character of the material manufactured and to the methods of operation, the nuisance has been remedied to a large extent owing not only to the fact that the manufacture of all but one of the chemicals formerly made at this plant has been discontinued but also to improvements in the process of manufacture of antimony sulphurette, the only chemical now made at these works. The nuisance has not been entirely abated, however, since it would appear that hydrogen sulphide has been permitted to escape from the works at times since the process of manufacture was improved about November 1, 1916. It is believed, however, that the escape of this gas is controllable and can be prevented from escaping from the works by means of the improvements recently made with the most careful operation or at least by the introduction of scrubbers or absorption towers if these are found to be necessary.
In view of the foregoing conclusions I would recommend, therefore, that copies of this report be sent to the States Metals Company and to the Commissioner of Public Safety and that the States Metals Company be notified to take such immediate steps as may be necessary to permanently prevent the escape of gases and odors from their chemical works at Binghamton. If effective steps are not taken by the States Metals Company to permanently prevent the emanation of gases and odors from their works, I would further recommend that action be taken by you under the Public Health Law to enforce this requirement.
Chief Engineer ALBANY, N. Y., January 8, 1917
In addition to the inspection described in the foregoing report, subsequent inspections were made at various times. Improvements, recommended by this Department, were made in the equipment and operation of the plant and since the installation of this equipment this Department has never been able to find, in repeated investigations, gases, escaping from this plant in such a manner as to create a public nuisance.
HERMANN M. BIGGS, M.D., State Commissioner of Health:
I beg to submit the following report upon an investigation of an alleged nuisance in the village of Ilion, caused by the operation of the Warren Brothers Bitulithic plant. The investigation was made on November 7, 1917, by Mr. A. I. Howd, inspector engineer in this Department, in company with Dr. Frank B. Conterman, health officer of the village of Ilion.
The alleged nuisance was first brought to the attention of this Department on October 13, 1917, when a petition was received signed by some 36 residents of the village of Ilion, who live nearest to the plant, for the removal of the Warren Brothers Bitulithic plant from within the corporation limits of the village of Ilion. It was alleged that when the plant is in operation, large quantities of stone dust are produced by the grinding of stone, or some other process in the operation of the plant, and that the stone dust is blown onto and into the houses nearby in such a manner as to be injurious to property and health.
The Warren Brothers Bitulithic plant was originally located and operated in the Remington Typewriter Company's yards near East River street during the years of 1912 and 1913. It is stated that at that time the nearest residence to the plant was some 200 feet distant. Considerable nuisance was then