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In order to assemble extensive data for comparative studies of various river systems the surveys made in New Jersey in 1915 were extended during 1916 to include the drainage areas tributary to the Atlantic Ocean in the State of New York and the New England States. Two field parties began work in May, 1916, the first consisting of Passed Asst. Surg. Paul Preble, and Sanitary Engineers J. K. Hoskins and H. R. Crohurst; party No. 2, Passed Asst. Surg. L. R. Thompson and Sanitary Engineers R. E. Tarbett and W. G. Stromquist. In June, 1916, Epidemiologist A. W. Freeman proceeded to Boston, Mass., for the purpose of compiling epidemiological data from the records of the State board of health, and later to Hartford, Conn., for the same purpose.
These surveys were conducted along the same general lines as those followed in the survey of Ohio River communities in 1914. Special attention was given to the usual factors responsible for the prevalence and spread of typhoid fever, including the effect of pollution of streams, and extensive data were collected on the character and extent of pollution of streams by industrial wastes.
Field studies were continued with interruptions until about September, 1917. Because of curtailment of the field parties on account of the epidemic of poliomyelitis in New York City and vicinity, the studies of the drainage areas of Maine and part of New Hampshire were left unfinished. Valuable data were collected for comparative studies of stream pollution effects, and public health organization and administration.
In June, 1917, similar surveys were started in the States south of the Potomac and east of the Mississippi Rivers. Field party No. 1, consisting of Passed Asst. Surg. Paul Preble and Sanitary Engineers J. K. Hoskins and H. H. Wagenhals, began work in Mississippi, and field party No. 2, consisting of Asst. Surg. H. F. Smith, Sanitary Engineer R. E. Tarbett and Scientific Assistant W. H. Price, proceeded to Tennessee. Epidemiologist A. W. Freeman and Sanitary Engineer H. R. Crohurst were to cover the States of Virginia and North Carolina in cooperation with Surg. H. S. Cumming, in charge of the investigation of the pollution of coastal waters.
The surveys in the southeast progressed until about July 1, 1917, at which time nearly the entire personnel were recalled for duty in connection with preliminary surveys of extra cantonment areas and the establishing of civil sanitary districts around military
1 Work in connection with differentiation of fecal and nonfecal B. coli.
COOPERATION WITH BUREAU OF IMMIGRATION.
On request of the Bureau of Immigration, Department of Labor, Sanitary Engineer R. E. Tarbett was detailed on May 7, 1917, to make sanitary surveys of proposed sites for internment camps. Such surveys were made in company with the Assistant Commissioner General of that bureau at the following places: Pisgah Forest Preserve, Lake Toxaway, Waynesville, Hot Springs, and Hendersonville, N. C.; and property in two counties, York and Kershaw, S. C. Reports were furnished to the Bureau of Immigration.
DIGEST OF JUDICIAL DECISIONS RELATING TO STREAM POLLUTION.
In connection with the field studies of stream pollution, a digest of court decisions relating to the subject and an analysis of the trend of these decisions was prepared by Research Attorney Stanley D. Montgomery under the supervision of Prof. E. B. Phelps and is being published as Public Health Bulletin No. 87. The bulletin includes a compilation of legislation relating to stream pollution.
WATER SUPPLY, CALHOUN, GA.
On request of the mayor, Asst. Surg. W. H. Slaughter was detailed on August 3, 1916, to conduct an investigation of the public water supply of Calhoun, Ga. Recommendations were made to prevent further pollution of the water supply, but it was pointed out that the danger from such pollution was not so great as the danger from insanitary privies in sections not supplied by the city water. QUALITY OF DRINKING WATER SUPPLIED CUSTOMHOUSE, BOSTON.
On request of the Department of Commerce, Passed Asst. Surg. Wm. M. Bryan was detailed to investigate the drinking water supplied the customhouse at Boston. The source is the city mains. The supply was found to be entirely satisfactory, but it was recommended that the storage tanks in the customhouse should be cleaned. at more frequent intervals.
WATER SUPPLY OF CHEVY CHASE CLUB, MARYLAND.
On request of the club, recommendations were made by Sanitary Engineer Leslie C. Frank for improving the water supply of the Chevy Chase Club, Maryland.
WATER SUPPLY IN CITIES IN OKLAHOMA.
On request of the local authorities, Sanitary Engineer H. W. Streeter was detailed to review a plan for a water supply extension at Okmulgee, Okla. A report containing conclusions reached was sent to the authorities. On request of the corresponding authorities in Beggs, Dewar, and Henryetta, studies were made in June, 1917, of proposed water supplies in these cities by Sanitary Engineer H. R. Crohurst.
POLLUTION OF COASTAL WATERS.
The investigation of the pollution of coastal waters with special reference to the interstate spread of disease was continued under the direction of Surg. H. S. Cumming.
An intensive study of the coastal waters of Connecticut, especially of the shellfish areas and bathing beaches in New Haven Harbor and outside the harbors of Bridgeport and South Norwalk, was begun during the latter part of May, 1916, and continued until December, 1916. The study was made in cooperation with the State and municipal authorities, and the results furnished to them.
The facilities of laboratories at Yale University were courteously extended and used by the field party until the arrival of the newly acquired laboratory steamer Murray in October.
In the case of the New Haven harbor study attention of the health authorities was directed to the gross pollution of the harbor and the consequent danger of the spread of water-borne diseases through use of the shellfish and bathing beaches. Accordingly the health authorities forbade the taking of shellfish for food from polluted areas and the city made an appropriation for the purpose of experimental studies as to the best method of sewage disposal.
The investigation of the pollution of Jamaica Bay was completed in March, 1917. The study was made under the immediate direction of Asst. Surg. F. A. Carmelia, assisted by Asst. Sanitary Engineer Pincus. Through the courtesy of Dr. Carl Alsberg, Chief of the Bureau of Chemistry, United States Department of Agriculture, the laboratory of the Bureau of Chemistry in New York City was utilized until the arrival of the laboratory steamer toward the end of December.
The investigation included: (a) Intensive studies of the pollution entering the bay; (b) float studies of the dissemination of this pollution by tidal and other currents; (c) intensive bacteriological study of the waters of the bay; (d) chemical study of the seasonal and tidal variations in the quantity of dissolved oxygen and chlorine present; (e) bacteriological study of the sanitary condition of shellfish; (f) epidemiological study of the area bordering Jamaica Bay with special reference to typhoid fever.
The bay, especially the northern half, was found heavily polluted at all times and almost twice as polluted in the summer as in the winter. The sewage treatment plants on the bay were found to be of obsolete design, very ineffectively operated, overloaded from 200 to 500 per cent, and not discharging satisfactory effluents. Much of the sewage is discharged without treatment. These facts are specially important since cases of typhoid fever were found to be present at all times in areas covered by these sewer systems. The shores of the bay are therefore unsafe for bathing, and the raw consumption of oysters
taken from the bay, or the marketing of oysters without preliminary purification is liable to spread disease.
A careful examination of the epidemiological data of the city of New York shows that a significant part of the yearly typhoid cases of that city are laid to infection by oysters. A large proportion of the oysters supplied to the New York market come from Jamaica Bay.
In May an investigation of the coastal waters of Narragansett Bay and vicinity was begun. The scope of the investigation has been necessarily restricted as a result of the war.
The experimental studies at the temporary field laboratory on Fisherman's Island Quarantine Station were continued until December, 1916, when the laboratory was closed. These studies were chiefly directed toward the determination of the disappearance rate in sea water of the typhoid organism and colon bacillus and the viability of these organisms in shellfish as ordinarily cooked. Important studies were also made as to the practicability of the purification of oysters through the use of hypochlorite of lime or chlorine gas when it is not practicable to remove them to nonpolluted areas for purification. The practicability of using the method on a commercial scale was demonstrated in Jamaica Bay and in New Haven harbor.
SANITATION OF SHELLFISH INDUSTRY.
During the year the medical officer in charge of the investigation of coastal waters has been in conference with various State authorities with reference to improvement in the sanitation of the shellfish industry.
Studies of tannery, strawboard, creamery, and canning wastes were continued under the general direction of Prof. E. B. Phelps, Chief of the Division of Chemistry, Hygienic Laboratory.
The plant at Luray, Va., previously devised for the treatment of tannery wastes, was continued in charge of an attendant until March, 1917, to obtain continuous records of operation. At this time arrangements were completed for the construction of a large-scale working plant, several companies having agreed to pay the cost. Detailed construction plans and specifications were prepared under the direction of Sanitary Chemist H. B. Hommon. The plant was placed in operation in June. By an arrangement with the tanning companies the service will continue to have charge of the operating details long enough to demonstrate the utility of the system.
1 A preliminary report in regard to this investigation was published in the Public Health Reports of July 14, 1916 (Report 351), and a more exhaustive report has been prepared for publication.
To study at closer range and in more detail certain special problems connected with the treatment of tannery wastes and to check the results obtained at Luray an experimental plant has been operated at the tannery of Haffner Bros., Cincinnati. It has been determined that the system of treatment found suitable at Luray would apply, with minor modifications, to many other tanneries.
On request of the State and local authorities Sanitary Chemist H. B. Hommon was detailed on May 9, 1917, to make a survey of the disposal of tannery wastes in conjunction with the city sewage at the municipal disposal plant at Harrisonburg, Va. A report with recommendations was made to the authorities.
At the completion of experimental studies of strawboard-waste treatment at Noblesville, Ind., plans for a large unit were undertaken. Owing to legal complications in which the service had no part this work was temporarily suspended in March, 1917. To bring the study of this subject to an end and determine how far the results at Noblesville were applicable to strawboard plants in general an extensive survey of such plants throughout the Middle Western States was undertaken. In particular data were obtained upon the output of the mill, the amount of waste liquor and its chemical composition. This investigation has been concluded and the results prepared for publication.
The plant constructed during the previous fiscal year at Grove City, Pa., in cooperation with the Dairy Division, Bureau of Animal Industry, United States Department of Agriculture, has remained in continuous operation. A successful method of treatment of creamery wastes has been developed and a satisfactory sciution found for one of the most difficult problems of industrial waste disposal.
The plant at Amelia, Ohio, constructed in the early summer of 1916, was operated continuously during the short canning season, August to November, inclusive, 1916. Results of a very satisfactory nature were obtained upon the wastes resulting from tomato canning.
The work of the laboratory at Cincinnati has been confined in the main to the routine examination of industrial wastes and effluents from the various experimental plants. A considerable amount of analytical data has been brought together which will prove of value in the general discussion of stream pollution problems as well as in connection with the specific studies of industrial waste disposal. Sanitary Engineer E. J. Theriault, under Mr. Hommon's direction, is carrying out a special research upon the difficult problem of determining and expressing the biological oxygen demand of these wastes.