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sand or a light, clayey loam, admitting of good percolation or soakage and cultivation, it is possible to have such a cesspool.
It should be made of even surface, should not go down deeper than the usual water level, and should be large enough never to be filled within a foot of the top. It should be well covered, so as to protect it from solar heat, yet by a stone cover should admit of inspection, and should be cleansed in early spring of all its contents. Three or four pipes of tile, coming out from about eight inches below the surface and opening on the surface, will ventilate it better than only one. Some, during the summer, would hang a wire netting of powdered charcoal just under the cover, but this is not generally necessary. Where there is need of a curb or lining, bricks loosely laid are best, and the cover should be an arch or stone. Occasionally such cesspools are well kept, and with no reason to suspect evil consequences therefrom. It is only because of nearness to water-supply or house, of neglects and of close vicinage, as in cities, that they are to be condemned. It is because the necessary accumulation of these in cities vacates the conditions of dry, well-aired soil, admitting of percolation and proper disposal, that they are ill adapted for city use. It is because they are so often made in a silly way, and so often neglected in the country, that they too often become disease-breeding nuisances.
It should be a rule not to make them very deep. Ground within four or five feet of the surface deals with refuse far better than earth deeper down. The air more readily reaches it, the growing vegetation appropriates it, and so it comes more within the reach of the conservative processes of nature. If tile-pipes a few inches from the surface run out in every direction, so much the better. The only exception to preference for superficial cesspools is where, by going deeper, you penetrate a clay bed, and strike a gravel or sand bed which is more porous and so removes it, unless, at the same time, you strike the water level.
While cautioning against the use of such cesspools, we desire that when used they shall be of the best kind and properly kept and cleansed.
Because of the possibility of a filth soakage which might contaminate the ground, or the water, or the air, where cesspools must be lised, it is more usual to advocate those built after the manner of a cistern, thoroughly and smoothly cemented on the bottom and sides, and so provided as tight receptacles, to be emptied when full. The rules given as to the connecting pipes and ventilation, are the same in
regard to these as to the uncemented cesspools. But as no demand is to be made on the soil or ground, the locality, depth, etc., may be to suit the owner.
These tight cesspools always need to be watched, so that they shall not be allowed to overflow. It is better also, if possible, that they be not emptied by small and continuous pumping which agitates the mass, but by some form of odorless excavating apparatus, which quickly removes contents and admits of more thorough cleansing and disinfection. Some of the foulest arrangements to be met are closed cesspools, often made of planks driven down, which, from day to day, are being emptied by common pumps of their decomposed and putrescent liquids. Where cesepools are used, they should be made sufficiently large only to require emptying in the early spring and fall. Such cesspools should have at least two stand pipes for ventilation, of unequal heights, and of not less than four inches diameter.
Non-ventilated cesspools have given name to two forms of disease in Paris: the one a form of asphyxia, caused by sulphuretted hydrogen; and the other an inflammation of the eyes, caused by the ammonia in the foul air.
Where there are no public sewers, and owners of property are unwilling to have cesspools, two other forms of disposal have been successfully tried, each depending on soil disposal. One process of preparation is as follows:. The small plot of land adjacent to the house is first thoroughly underdrained, so as to secure for it the lowest possible water level and the quick subsidence of all rains from its surface. This is done by close, deep laying of drain tiles in the usual form. These should generally be laid a little time before others now to be described, since thus the ground is allowed to become fully settled. Surface-water is kept off of it as much as possible. Next, another series or system of tiles is laid in a way quite similar, but of less size, nearer to the surface, and for a different purpose. The design of this system of pipes is that they shall be as near the surface as frost and surface-flowing or spading will allow, so that the liquid slops can flow through them and soak into the drained soil, and be appropriated by well-cultivated grains, grasses and croppage upon the surface. It is surprising, if these two ideas are well carried out, how much of the liquid and its organic particles can be thus disposed of. But there is one other condition : This slop must not come dribbling along the pipes just where it will, but must be received into a little tight cistern, called a “flush tank,” so arranged as that it will, when about full,
each day, send out its contents with a gush through these pipes, and thus leave them a part of the time dry or vacant for the circulation of the air. It is easily arranged that this tank shall, at a certain height of the liquid, discharge itself, and also that it may discharge one day into a certain portion of the pipes and another day into another portion. It is found that thus a far greater quantity will be appropriated and nuisance from it prevented. Even the more solid matters, except such very coarse portions as are detained by a cleansing wire, become macerated, and afterward dried out and taken up from the small pipes by the growing plants. In Orange, in Princeton, and many other places, this plan can be found in successful operation. Most of the pipes do not need to be over two inches in calibre, and should not be more than from eight to twelve inches beneath the surface. While the persons putting down and overseeing such a system must understand not only its construction, but the necessary relative conditions as to soil and high culture, and closeness of plant or putting down, it is a feasible and satisfactory plan when well devised and superintended.
The next plan is that of modified surface irrigation. It, like the former, is based upon the idea of “intermittent filtration of soiled liquids” through the ground. By its structure, its air, its croppage, and its alternation of supply, the earth or soil can appropriate much floating or liquid material.
In this method, there should be under-drainage as before, but instead of the second series of pipes, reliance is had upon surface methods. Series of superficial trenches or furrows are made lengthwise, which run up to a long furrow parallel with the rear of the honse and made to receive the liquid outflow. This can, if preferred, be made of galvanized iron, with movable outlets opposite each furrow, so that the contents can sometimes flow out some of these furrows, and sometimes at others. If so it should be cleansed occasionally with some one of the liquid disinfectants named in our circular. As the liquid is not intended to overflow, these furrows can be kept covered with boards if preferred. Here the liquid slop of each day is received into this long gutter, as in the former instance it was into the “flush tank.” But now it is allowed to flow out by surface instead of sub-soil methods. When this is well managed, a small piece of ground with heavy grass, or with Indian corn cultivated as for fodder, or with vegetables, will dispose of very much soiled liquid. It is not found offensive, as is apt to be imagined, and is at least applicable to many country houses. The furrows can be changed from
year to year, and if the ground is thoroughly worked and aided with lime or other inorganic fertilizers, it thus disposes of the refuse. Without indicating preferences, which must often be relative, and must depend on the facilities and on the exactness of administration, we thus plainly indicate the most common and available means for dealing with the soiled liquid sewage of the household.
MODES AND PLACES OF INTERMENT.
BY DAVID WARMAN, M.D., TRENTON.
The disposal of the dead is none the less a sanitary question than the care of the living. Disease and pestilence are recognized evils. Whatever contributes to produce them must, if possible, be removed. We know that pestilential influences arise from various causes, and we provide against them. Much has been written upon the subject of contamination of the air from sewer gases and pollution of the soil and water by cesspools, and kindred topics, but a comparatively limited amount of attention has been given to the interment of the dead. It seems, therefore, imperative that a knowledge of the modes of burial, and the dangers that may arise from the improper disposal of the remains of our beloved dead, should become more extended. The experience of the past shows the importance of the careful consideration of this subject. The welfare of the living must not be lost sight of, while all proper respect is shown to the dead. The question of how and where the dead shall be disposed of, is one that is eminently sanitary. The dead should be so buried that the living may not suffer.
The disposal of the dead has varied at times, simply from fear of desecration of the grave. In the time of the resurrectionists, many bodies were buried in quicklime, and a resident of Dundee was so fearful lest the coffin of his child should be disturbed that he arranged an explosive apparatus, which was buried with the coffin. The methods in modern use are, as every one knows, first, intramural and extramural ; second, cremation. The latter method is the burning of the dead.
This very ancient method of disposing of the dead has in modern times been, to a certain extent, revived. In England a society has been formed to introduce the practice, and in Germany cremation