The biggest health hazard in
Many towns on the
A 1901 report by the state board of health noted the town’s sewers, which served a small part of the city, as follows: “All the sewage goes direct to the river, there being eleven outlets along the river front. From one to seven feet of clay cover the gravel strata and many cesspools drain into it.”
The problem was the sewage wasn’t treated, and obviously that applied to the cesspools as well. The same reported said that, “Night soil is collected by licensed men and is dumped into the river opposite the town.”
Despite the city’s efforts, the situation actually got worse In1908, six wells were sunk in the bed of the
However, the system didn’t work. When the river was low, water had to be pumped directly from the river into the water mains. And at some point, water from the river broke through the sand bed and fed directly into the wells. The result is easy to imagine.
A report by the state board of health for 1909 noted, “There are times when this water is of good quality, but at other times it is entirely unsatisfactory. Twenty-one private supplies have been examined, five of which were of good quality, one was doubtful and fifteen were bad.”
A 1911 report repeated the finding:: “The tap water of the