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of the village of Castleton for presentation to the village board and that a copy be sent to the Health Officer, to the Sanitary Supervisor for the district, and to the complainant, and that the village authorities be urged to take steps at once to carry out the recommendations of this report.
Chief Engineer ALBANY, N. Y., May 8, 1917
Copies of this report were transmitted to the village authorities and to the Tocal Board of Health, urging that the recommendations of the report be carried out.
CLAVERACK (town) HERMANN M. BIGGS, M.D., State Commissioner of Health :
I beg to submit the following report upon an inspection in regard to the disposal of sewage from the residence of Mrs. M. S. Sheldon in the unincorporated village of Mellenville, town of Claverack, Columbia county, with special reference to the pollution of a spring used for water supply. The inspection was made in January 6, 1917, by Mr. C. A. Howland, assistant engineer, in company with Dr. G. W. Vedder, Health Officer of the town of Claverack.
This matter was brought to the attention of this Department through correspondence and through a report of the Health Officer, in which it was stated that the local Board of Health ordered Mr. Sheldon not to use the cesspool constructed to receive the sewage from her house. The engineer was informed that permission to discharge sink wastes into the cesspool was afterward given. In a later communication from the Health Officer it was requested that an investigation be made by a representative of this Department.
The recently constructed house of Mrs. M. S. Sheldon is situated upon a hillside which slopes steeply to a flat area bordering North Creek. A large cesspool was dug in the gravelly slope west of the house to dispose of the sewage from the building, in which 5 people will live. The cesspool which is about 10 feet by 10 feet in plan and 8 feet deep, extends into a stratum of gravel.
About 40 feet below the cesspool is located a spring in a depression near the point where a roadway leading to a baseball park branches from the main highway. The spring, which consists of a triangular wooden box covered by a loose wooden cover, is situated on property owned by Mr. Bidwell, who does not use it for potable purposes. A culvert under the main highway near the spring carries the runoff from a ravine near the banks of which are located a number of privies. The engineer was informed that the spring is flooded by surface wash at certain times of the year and that at other times the yield of the spring is very low indicating that the flow is dependent on a comparatively small catchment area. It was also stated that live stock are pastured near the spring and drink from it.
The engineer talked with Mr. Van der Poel who lives across the road below the spring and was informed that disagreeable odors became noticeable in the waters from his well, and for that reason it is not used, but water is obtained either from the spring above described or from a well on premises across the road. A privy, having a dug vault, is located about 45 feet from the well on ground practically level with the well and a chicken yard and barn near which is a large manure pile are located in the rear of the Van der Poel house.
The engineer also talked with Mrs. Coleman who lives west of the spring on the same side of the road. Water for her house is obtained from a well located a few feet east of the house and although no objectionable qualities have been discovered in this water, Mrs. Coleman feared that the pollution of the spring by sewage from the cesspool on the Sheldon premises would result in pollution of her well. The well is a dug well, 14 feet deep and the curbing is cracked so that surface water would wash into it. A privy, having a shallow vault, is situated near the well but at a slightly lower elevation.
In view of the results of this inspection it appears that the spring situated below the cesspool constructed to receive the sewage from the residence of Mrs. M. S. Sheldon in the village of Mellenville is subject to pollution from surface wash both from roads and pasture land and also from the ravine above it. It also appears very probable that seepage from the cesspool would reach the spring. The wells on the premises of Mr. Van der Poel and Mrs. Coleman are also subject to pollution from a number of sources. The use of both the spring and wells is, therefore, dangerous under present conditions.
Only a general removal of the sources of pollution and a general abandonment of the polluted water supplies will remove the danger of a serious epidemic of disease being caused by the use of infected water. The village should, therefore, install a public supply of safe and wholesome water and a system of sewerage and sewage disposal.
Until such time as a public water supply and sewerage and sewage disposal system are installed every precaution should be taken to safeguard the sources of water supply which are used. To render its water safe the spring should be properly protected against surface wash by the construction of an impervious curbing of concrete or other material to be provided with a tight cover which may be locked to prevent accidental or wilful pollution by persons passing along the road. The use of the spring for watering live stock should be prohibited. Even with such protection it is probable that the pollution of the ground water above the spring by privies near the ravine and other sources will make the water unsafe for potable purposes. In fact the adequate protection of the spring presents many difficulties and in any case it is doubtful if an adequate supply will be obtained since the engineer was informed that the flow of water is small at certain times of the year. The spring is too low to be piped into the house where it is used and, therefore, it will be necessary to carry the water or pump it.
As pointed out above the wells on the Van der Poel and Coleman premises are subject to dangerous pollution. It would appear that the sources of this pollution could be removed and the water be made safe for potable purposes.
A supply which is much more conveniently located and which is adequate would thereby be obtained. There is apparently little probability that the Coleman well will be polluted by a cesspool on the Sheldon premises especially in view of the fact that there is a watercourse between the cesspool and the well.
In view of the factors to be considered in this matter, pointed out above, I beg to recommend that the residents of Mellenville be advised to install a public water supply and system of sewerage and sewage disposal at the earliest possible moment. I would recommend further that until such systems are installed every effort be made to protect the sources of water supply which are now used, from contamination and that until these sources are made safe, the water derived from them be boiled before it is used for potable purposes. As the protection of the above-described spring is a matter which would be of doubtful economy and of considerable difficulty, I would recommend that its use for potable purposes be discontinued. I would recommend also that Mrs. M. S. Sheldon be allowed to use the cesspool built to receive the sewage from her house on condition that if it is found that conditions which are obnoxious or dangerous to health are produced it be abandoned. In conclusion I would recommend that copies be transmitted to the local Board of Health, to Mrs. M. S. Sheldon, Mr. W. S. Van der Poel and to Mrs. M. Coleman and they be advised to take steps at once to carry out the recommendations of the report.
Chief Engineer ALBANY, N. Y., January 19, 1917
Copies of this report were transmitted to the local Board of Health and the persons noted above, asking them to take steps to carry out the recommendations of the report.
Memorandum regarding defective sewerage Mr. Cleveland visited Depew on March 22 to inspect sewerage conditions in Olmstead avenue in response to a petition received from residents of Olmstead avenue and Grant avenue regarding the flooding of cellars by sewage,
The locality was inspected in company with the Health Officer, Dr. J. A. Klahs, and conferences were held with the principal complainant, Mr. George H. Patterson of No. 6 Grant avenue, Mr. Cornelius Gibbs, village president, and Mr. George C. Diehl, village engineer.
It was found that the layout of streets had been changed somewhat from that shown by the plans for sewers approved in 1896 and that Olmstead avenue is located about 150 feet north of the N. Y. C. R. R. shop property to give room for a row of lots on the southerly side of Olmstead avenue; also that Grant avenue had been opened, intersecting Olmstead avenue at an angle near the point where the main branch of Scajaqua creek is crossed by Olmstead avenue.
Grant avenue is built up for only a short distance east of its intersection with Olmstead avenue and the four houses on Grant avenue have sewer connections leading to the Olmstead avenue sewer.
The sewers in this district have been built about 5 years and residents of Grant avenue stated that for 4 years no trouble had been experienced from the sewage backing up. In January, 1916, however, sewage backed up in the cellars and at intervals since then, although cleaning by the superintendent of streets has relieved conditions. In January of the present year sewage backed up in Mr. Patterson's cellars to a depth of 112 feet as indicated by the water marks left in the cellar. The sewer was flushed at that time by the superintendent of streets and has backed up only once since, though not seriously.
An inspection was made of the sewer from Grant avenue to the Transit road sewer to which it is tributary and 4 or 5 manhole covers were lifted. It was found that the Olmstead avenue sewer which is laid on a gradient of about 0.5 per cent had a normal depth of flow through the manholes except at the third manhole west of Grant avenue and at the Transit road manhole. At the third manhole west of Grant avenue the outlet pipe was flowing nearly full and at the Transit road manhole the sewage was standing in the manhole to such a depth as to entirely cover the inlet and outlet
The property north of Olmstead avenue between Grant avenue and Transit road has never been developed as a result, together with the fact that the sewer in Olmstead avenue is laid inside the north curb line, the tops of the manhole covers are from 2 to 3 feet below grade at several points. This permits pools of surface water to collect over these manholes with the resulting entrance into the sewer through the perforations in the manhole covers of surface water carrying considerable silt.
It is evident that this condition is what causes the backing up of the sewage during rains er freshets.
The matter was taken up with the village president and he agreed, at Mr. Cleveland's suggestion, to have the village engineer inspect the Olmstead avenue sewer and determine definitely what causes the stoppage and then to have the sewer repaired or such work done as would relieve conditions.
Mr. Cleveland also conferred with Mr. George C. Diehl, the village engineer, to whom it was pointed out that a study should be made of necessary reconstructions to improve the sewerage facilities in this street and to stop the backing up of the sewage, possibly necessitating merely the raising of the manholes above grade to prevent silt from being washed into the sewers.
Mr. Diehl stated that the matter would be attended to at once and Mr.
Cleveland advised him that the village president had also agreed to see that the conditions were remedied.
A letter was later addressed to the village authorities calling their attention to the defective sewerage conditions.
ALBANY, N. Y., March 23, 1917
I beg to submit the following report on an investigation made of the pollution of Cayadutta creek by the discharge of sewage and mill wastes from the city of Johnstown, Fulton county, made on October 26 and 27, 1916, by Mr. M. F. Sanborn, assistant engineer.
Complaints have been made at various times in the past by persons living along the creek below the discharge of sewage and mill wastes from the city of Johnstown and this investigation was made to determine the amount and character of the pollution. During the investigation the situation was gone over with Hon. B. D. Smith, mayor; Mr. F. Moyer, attorney of the city; Mr. W. E. Natanson, city engineer; Mr. D. B. Abrams, supervisor of the town of Johnstown; Dr. F. G. Calder, Health Officer of the city; and Dr. R. J. Palmer, Health Officer of the town.
Johnstown is a city of about 10,800 inhabitants. There has been a slow increase in population as shown by the census, there being 10,130 in 1900; 10,447 in 1910 and 10,687 in 1915. It is located adjacent to and southwest of the city of Gloversville and about 11 miles northwest of Amsterdam. The Fonda, Johnstown and Gloversville railroad from Schenectady and Fonda passes through the city. Johnstown is the county seat of Fulton county and
argely a manufacturing city, it having many glove factories and other industries.
The public water supply of the city is obtained from several brooks from 3 to 5 miles northwest of the city. This is a gravity supply and is under the control of the Board of Water Commissioners. About 95 per cent or 10,260 of the inhabitants, are served by this supply. The average daily water consumption is about 2,500,000 gallons which corresponds to a per capita daily consumption of about 230 gallons. The above consumption, however, includes about 532,000 gallons used daily at the various industries and deducting this amount will give a per capita consumption of about 182 gallons.
Cayadutta creek rises north of Gloversville and passes through the cities of Gloversville, population 21,200, and Johnstown, the village of Sammonsville, population 300, and enters the Mohawk river in the western part of the village of Fonda, population 1,120. Johnstown is about 3 miles above Sammonsville and 7 miles above Fonda measured along the course of the stream
Previous to 1911 the sewage of Gloversville as well as the trade wastes from the various factories in the city were discharged into Cayadutta creek but since the construction of the Gloversville sewage disposal plant, consisting of settling tanks, sprinkling filters, secondary settling tanks, sand filters and sludge beds, in 1911, all of the sewage and most of the trade wastes have passed through the disposal plant. The sewage of Johnstown as well as the trade wastes are discharged into the creek. During the last 2 years settling tanks were constructed at many of the factories to remove the heavier suspended solids before the settled wastes were discharged into the creek or sewer system.
On May 2, 1910, June 29, 1910, August 20, 1910, August 23, 1910, and December 2, 1910, plans were approved by this Department for a trunk sewer and various extensions and all permits contained a provision that "On or before June 1, 1911, complete detailed plans satisfactory to this Department for the purification of the entire sanitary sewage of the city shall be submitted; and that the construction of any or all portions of the sewage disposal works shown by said plans shall "thereafter be undertaken when required by the State Commissioner of Health and be completed within the time limit set by said Commissioner." The above requirements were not complieá with and on May 15, 1912, and May 28, 1912, additional permits were issued by this Department to the city of Johnstown which extended the time of submitting the complete detailed plans satisfactory to this Department to March 1, 1913. The plans called for in the above permit have not as yet been submitted to this Department and, therefore, the discharge of sewage from the main interceptor and various sewer extensions is in violation of the Public Health Law.
The sewer system consisted originally of various local combined sewers which discharged into Cayadutta creek at various points. In 1910 and 1911 an intercepting sewer was constructed alongside of Cayadutta creek extending from near the upper side of the city to about 700 feet below Montgomery street.
This sewer receives the sewage from about 90 per cent of the total population while Thynerville trunk sewer which discharges into the creek about 2,800 feet below the discharge of sewage from the main trunk sewer receives the sewage from about 8 per cent of the total population.
The population served by the sewers is, therefore, about 10,580 which is about 98 per cent of the total. The average daily amount of sewage from various sources as estimated by the city engineer was as follows:
The amount will of course vary considerably depending upon the amount of rain and elevation of ground water. The present system is largely on the separate plan, there being about 24.2 miles of sanitary sewers from 8 to 30 inches in diameter and about 114 miles of storm sewers from 12 to 30 inches in size. The sanitary sewers receive the domestic sewage, much of the manufacturing wastes, surface drainage from 12 street catch basins and roof water from 282 roofs.
Cayadutta creek above the main sewer outlet has a watershed of about 36% square miles. During the inspection the flow in the creek at the main sewer outlet was estimated at about 23 cubic feet per second. This corresponds to about .61 cubic feet per second per square mile. The average low flow in the creek was estimated by several persons interviewed to be about 12 of that found during the inspection which would be about 1112 cubic feet per second or .30 cubic feet per second per square mile. The amount of sewage discharged from the city of Johnstown during the inspection would have a dilution factor of about 2.17 cubic feet per 1,000 population contributing sewage while during the average minimum flow in the creek the dilution factor would be only about 1.08 cubic feet per 1,000 population. The minimum dilution factor generally found to be necessary to prevent putrefactive conditions from being set up is about 5 cubic feet per second per 1,000 population contributing sewage. In this case the dilution factor is only a fraction of the minimum necessary and with the strong wastes from the various industries the sanitary conditions of the stream would be much worse. The flow in the creek is somewhat irregular due to storage of water in the various mill ponds for water power purposes. The total fall in the stream from Johnstown to the Mohawk river is about 300 feet in about 8 miles which means that the waters receive considerable aeration and thus the dilution factor can be somewhat less than the ordinary minimum before putrefactive conditions would exist in the stream at points well removed from the city.