Page images

caused by the stone dust blowing into nearby houses and numerous complaints were made to the Warren Brothers Company. As a result of one of these complaints, it is alleged that the company gave a Mrs. Fessman a sum of money to cover the expense of painting her house. In the fall of 1913 the plant was removed to its present location, which is about 1,000 feet northeast of its former location. The nearest residences at present are about 1,500 feet south and west of the plant on East River street, there being no residences north or east of the plant for a considerable distance.

The apparatus used in the operation of the plant consists of mechanical stone conveyors, heating tanks for stone, screening and mixing apparatus, and heating tanks for tar. The method of operation of the plant is briefly as follows: Crushed stone or sand is shorelled into the mechanical endless conveyors which carry and dump it into 2 large heating tanks. The stone or sand falls from the heating tanks into another set of endless conveyors which carry it up 20 or 30 feet to the screening shed. The stone is screened, then mixed with sand and hot tar.

A dust collector was installed at the plant during the summer of 1917 as a result of continued complaints being received by the company. This collector consists of a pipe on top of the heating tanks through which the dust from the tanks is drawn by suction and blown into a tank where the dust is sprayed with steam and water. The dust is deposited on the ground under the tank and the steam escapes at the top.

There were two places in the plant at which considerable quantities of dust were evidently being produced and disseminated. One place was at the point where the stone and sand leave the heating tanks and fall into the conveyors. A second place and the one which seemed to produce the largest quantity of dust was in the screening shed. On the day of the inspection a strong west wind was blowing the dust, as it issued from this shed, for some 2,500 feet or more from the plant and away from the houses. If the wind had been blowing in the opposite direction the dust could have reached and caused considerable nuisance to probably 50 or more houses in this vicinity of Ilion.

The inspector visited several houses in the district affected by the stone dust and interviewed the residents. In each case the substance of the complaint was practically the same, namely, that when the plant is in operation and the wind blows toward their houses, large quantities of stone dust cover their porches, windows, furniture and clothing, and destroy their plants and shrubbery. They claim that the dust is so offensive that they cannot sit on their porches during the summer and they cannot have the windows in their houses open.

As a result of this inspection it is evident that the operations of the Warren Brothers Bitulithic plant at Ilion under its present methods and conditions, causes stone dust to escape from the plant in such quantities as to cause conditions of nuisance affecting a considerable number of persons.

I, therefore, recommend that a cony of this report be sent to the Warren Brothers Bitulithic Company and that they be advised to take immediate steps to prevent the escape of stone dust from their plant at Ilion in any noticeable quantities.

I also recommend that a copy of this report be sent to the local Board of Health.

Respectfully submitted,

Chief Engincer ALBANY, N. Y., November 21, 1917

Copies of this report were sent to the local board of health and to the Warren Brothers Co. on Nov. 26, 1917, urging that they carry out the recommendations of this report.

Subsequently the Department was informed that the Company would proceed to rectify the conditions of nuisance.

[ocr errors]


HERMANN M. Biggs, V.D., State Commissioner of Health:

I beg to submit the following report on our investigation of the operation of the rendering plant of Roach' Brothers at Kingston, made at your direction and as the result of a complaint from a property owner of the city.

The investigation was made by Mr. C. A. Holmquist, assistant engineer in this Department, in company with Mrs. H. V. Michael, Chairman of the Sanitary Committee of the Health Commission of the city; and Mr. Fred Dressell, plumbing and sanitary inspector of the city on November 27, 1917. Mayor Palmer Canfield, Jr.; Dr. A. S. Vrooman, health officer of Kingston, and a number of persons living in the vicinity of the plant were interviewed.

The rendering plant of Roach Brothers of which Mr. William A. Roach is president, is located in the northern section of Kingston at 38 Ann street between Meadow and Union streets, one block east of Broadway, a thickly settled section of the city. It has been located at the present site since 1887. Roach Brothers render meat market and slaughter wastes but no dead animals at this rendering plant. Hides are also bought, salted and stored by them at this plant. The plant is equipped with a new rendering kettle of the direct steam type, 3 feet in diameter and about 10 feet high installed about October 1, 1917; one old abandoned rendering kettle also of the direct steam type; a steam boiler and a hand operated hydraulic press. It was learned that the old kettle had leaked badly allowing steam and odors to escape into the atmosphere giving rise to very objectionable conditions and that it was, therefore, abandoned and a new kettle installed.

Process of operation

There appeared to be no objectionable odors created in the handling and storing of the green hides. The hides are brought in from slaughter houses and are salted and stored until a sufficient quantity accumulates to make a shipment. In connection with the rendering process it was learned that meat market and slaughter house wastes are collected every day and stored in barrels and other receptacles until rendered. The wastes stored in the plant at the time of the inspection appeared to be fairly fresh and did not give off any objectionable odors that could be detected outside of the plant. It was claimed that the wastes amounting to about 1,200 pounds per day are rendered every other day so that none of the wastes are more than 2 days old any time before they are cared for. The process of operation is briefly as follows:

The wastes are elevated to the second floor of the plant and emptied into the rendering kettle through a manhole which is then hermetically sealed. Steam under a pressure of ahout 50 pounds is then turned on for a period of from 5 to 6 hours or until the material is thoroughly cooked. The vapors and gases generated in the process of rendering is conveyed through pipes to

vacuum pump condenser which discharges into the city sewer system. Although the pump leaked considerably no objectionable odors were detected from this source at the time of the inspection.

After the steam is turned off the kettle is allowed to stand closed until the following morning when the liquid in the kettle is drawn off and discharged into the scwer. The oil or tallow is then drawn off and placed in barrels ready for shipment. The solid contents of the kettle called tankage is removed through a rectangular manhole located near the bottom of the kettle. The tankage is then pressed in a hand operated hydraulic press to remove as much of the residual oil and moisture as possible. This tankage after having the oil and moisture removed from it is stored in a storage and drying room on the second floor of the plant until a sufficient quantity to fill a box car has accumulated. Lime is applied to the tankage in the storage and drying room presumably for the purpose of preventing or retarding putrefaction and the escape of objectionable odors.

[ocr errors]


It was found at the time of the inspection that objectionable odors were given off from a number of sources among which the following were the more noticeable: the storage and drying room; the raw material; the cans and barrels in which the raw material is stored prior to rendering; the floors of the press room and the tankage press. The doors of the storage and drying room were open at the time of the inspection thereby allowing the odors from this room to escape into the atmosphere. Keeping the doors closed would confine the odors and prevent them from escaping in any considerable volume and would, in all probability, reduce the odors from this source considerably.

The odors from the floors and from the barrels and containers in which the raw wastes are stored could be eliminated largely, if not wholly, by keeping the floors cleaned and by thoroughly cleaning the containers as soon as they are emptied. The odors from the tankage press could be reduced to a large extent by allowing the kettle to cool as long as practicable before dumping and also by confining the tankage as much as possible.

Steps should also be taken to repair the pump which is operated in connection with the condenser and which was found to be leaking badly at the time of the inspection. If this pump should break down and thereby interfere with the operation of the condenser a serious nuisance would, in all probability, be created due to the escape of uncondensed odors and vapors from the rendering kettle during the process of cooking.

The local authorities stated that no complaints against the operation of this plant have been received since the new kettle was installed about 2 months ago and it was learned from the persons living in the vicinity that the conditions have been greatly improved since last summer. It would seem, therefore, that the old leaky kettle was the chief source of the objectionable odors complained of.

Conclusions and recommendations

In conclusion I would state that it was found from the recent investigation that although the nuisance complained of had been largely abated by the installation of the new rendering kettle, objectionable odors still escape from portions of the plant which under certain meteorological conditions might create a nuisance in the thickly settled section of the city in which the plant is located. It is important, therefore, that the plant should be operated with care and efficiency and that the floors and equipment should be maintained in as cleanly and sanitary condition as possible. In view of the above the following recommendations are made:

1. That the tankage in the kettles be allowed to cool as long as practicable before the kettle is dumped.

2. That the doors of the storage and drying room be kept closed.

3. That the raw material be rendered as soon as possible after it is received at the plant and before it has an opportunity to decompose.

4. That the barrels and receptacles in which the raw material is received be thoroughly cleaned as soon as emptied.

5. That the floors be thoroughly cleaned daily and maintained in as cleanly and sanitary condition as possible.

6. That the pump operated in connection with the condenser be repaired.

7. That the old kettle be not used unless it is properly and thoroughly repaired. I would also recommend that copies of this report be sent to the local board of health, to the complainant and to Roach Brothers, and that the local board of health be requested to require that the above recommendations be carried out.

Respectfully submitted,

THEODORE HORTON, ALBANY, N. Y., December 14, 1917

Chief Engineer

Copies of this report were transmitted to the local board of health, the complainant, and Roach Bros.


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

I beg to submit the following report on an investigation of the alleged nuisance caused by the discharge into the atmosphere of fumes and gases from the chemical works of the Commonwealth Chemical Corporation at Newark, Oneida county, made at your direction and as the result of complaints from the village.

The inspection was made by Mr. C. A. Holmquist on July 16, 1917, in company with Dr. A. A. Young, health officer of the village and Mr. K. V. Stockelbach, manager of the chemical works. A number of residents of the village were also interviewed at the time of the inspection.

The chemical works of the Commonwealth Chemical Corporation of which Mr. F. E. Stockelbach of Hoboken, N. J., is president and Mr. K. V. Stockelbach is manager, is situated in the southern part of the village of Newark between Hoffman street and the Northern Central railroad. The village is nearly fully developed for residential purposes on the northerly and westerly sides of the works and the New York State Custodial Asylum is located on high ground east of the plant. The property of this institution is only some 200 feet from the plant and a number of the buildings of the institution are situated on a hill a few hundred feet east of the chemical works.

The Commonwealth Chemical Corporation is engaged in the manufacture of benzoic acid and benzaldehyde by the synthetic process from toluol at their Newark works which were put in operation in November, 1916. In addition to toluol, liquid chlorine, hydrochloric acid, sulphuric acid, lime and bicarbonate of soda are used in the process. Although chemical vapors and gases are given off at a number of stages in the process of operation the more objectionable gases are those given off from three operations, namely, (1) at the beginning of the process during the chlorination of the toluol which occupies a period of about 22 hours out of 24 hours each day; (2) when the hydrochloric acid is added and (3) during the boiling and dissolving of the product in the soda ash solution.

It was learned from the manager of the chemical works that some 1,000 pounds of hydrochloric acid in the form of gaseous vapors and some 20 pounds of free uncombined chlorine gas are given off per day during the chlorination of the toluol. These gases it was claimed were discharged directly into the atmosphere during the first two or three months of the operation of the chemical works. Since that time a number of devices comprising absorption and scrubbing towers have been installed but all of them with the possible exception of the one put in operation two or three days before the time of the inspection, have proved unsuccessful due largely to the difficulty of disposing of the solutions of hydrochloric acid and chlorine resulting from the operation of the absorption or scrubbing towers. Owing to the large quantity of hydrochloric acid in the wastes from the absorption tower the village authorities have properly refused the company permission to discharge these wastes into the sewer system tributary to the village sewage disposal plant and the cesspools installed by the company for the disposal of these wastes have proved unsuccessful and have overflowed due to the low and impervious nature of the soil at and near the works.

The last scrubbing and absorption tower which was constructed and put in operation a few days before the time of the inspection appeared to operate satisfactorily and to absorb practically all, if not all, of the hydrochloric acid vapors and chlorine gas given off by the process. This scrubber consists of 2 vertical pipes 16 feet high constructed of 4-inch vitrified tile pipes with cemented joints. The pipes are filled with coke. The tops of these 2 pipes are connected with another central vertical 4-inch vitrified pipe, 8 feet long, also filled with coke. The gases given off from the chlorination process are admitted near the bottom of the 2 16-feet pipes and water is admitted near the tops of these pipes and allowed to trickle over the coke and absorb the gas as it passes upward through the coke. A solution of caustic soda is admitted at the top of the 8-feet pipe for the purpose of absorbing any of the gases more particularly the chlorine gas not taken up or absorbed by the water in the 16-feet pipes. Chlorine is only moderately soluble in water, whereas water absorbs about one-third its volume of hydrochloric acid. The absorption of the gases appeared to be complete inasmuch as no gases could be detected at the top of the absorption tower at the time of the inspection. The water coming from the tower is discharged into a line of subsurface irrigation tile about 75 feet long. This system had only been in operation for a few days so that it was impracticable to determine if it will continue to care for the wastes from the scrubber. The soil in which the subsurface tiling is laid consists of sand which should satisfactorily absorb a considerable quantity of the wastes. A limited area appeared to be available near the works for the laying of additional lines of tile, if necessary, to take care of these wastes,

The addition of hydrochloric acid to the product in the process of the manufacture of benzoic acid takes place in a vat outside of the building and results in the evolution of voluminous vapors of benzoic acid which continues for about 15 minutes during the day. These vapors are of a very stifling nature but could not be noticed at a distance of more than 100 feet from the vat. Owing to the atmospheric condition it was impracticable to determine how far these vapors would carry but it did not seem probable that they could be noticed more than 200 or 300 feet from the plant.

Voluminous vapors having a peculiar sweetish and astringent odor of almond are given off for a period of about 2 hours each day when the product is boiled and dissolved in a soda-ash solution. These odors caused a smarting of the eyes at a distance of about 100 feet from the plant. Although the odors themselves could not be detected at a distance of more than 100 feet from the plant at the time of the inspection the Health Officer stated that he had noticed them at his residence about one-half mile from the works,

No attempt has been made by the company to absorb or condense the vapors just referred to. It would appear, however, and the manager of the works admitted, that it would be possible although somewhat expensive, to absorb or condense these vapors by the installation of a still. He stated, however, that it would be impracticable if not impossible, to condense or absorb the vapors and benzoic acid gases given off when the hydrochloric acid gas is added in the process of manufacture of benzoic acid.

In conclusion I would state that it appeared from the investigation and from the information obtained from persons interviewed at the time of the inspection that although a serious nuisance has been created due to the gases given off in the process of manufacture of benzoic acid at this plant, the most serious nature of the nuisance has been remedied to a large extent by the installation of a scrubbing tower for the absorption of the hydrochloric acid and chlorine gases which comprise the most voluminous, objectionable and dangerous of the gases generated.

The successful operation of the absorption tower for the absorption of these gases appears in this case to depend largely upon the successful disposal of the wastes from the tower. If it is found, therefore, that these wastes cannot be disposed of by means of cesspools or subsurface irrigation at or near the chemical works some other means for the absorption or the elimination of gases of hydrochloric acid and uncombined chlorine should be devised or consideration should be given to moving the chemical works to some site farther removed from the New York State Asylum and the developed section of the village inasmuch as the continuous discharge into the atmosphere of such large volumes of these dangerous gases as are generated at the chemical works would not only endanger the health and safety of a large number of residents of the village but also of the 900 wards of the State at the Custodial Asylum located only a few hundred feet east of the works in the direction of the prevailing winds.

« PreviousContinue »