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percolating cesspools are the fashion. Running water near a house is not objectionable, indeed many persons consider it rather beneficial than otherwise; but before taking the house, care should be exercised in ascertaining that the water is free from sewage contamination, especially if it be a small stream, or liable to dry up in summer. Stagnant ponds should always be avoided, especially if the house is on nearly the same level.
With regard to artificial sanitary conditions, as distinguished from natural situation, soil, etc., the first question to be asked of the landlord should be as to a good water supply to the house other than from wells on the premises. There being no such supply, nor means of laying one on, would certainly be against the house, inasmuch as where there are no water works, there is generally no system of sewerage, and it may safely be said that in any unsewered town there is hardly a well the water of which is fit to drink; to say nothing of the labor of pumping water into cisterns, etc. From this follows, naturally,
the question as to the sewerage of the town or village. If there is no system of sewers, I would say, “live anywhere else if you possibly can,” for the absence of sewerage indicates the existence of some form of cesspool, an evil so great that nothing but absolute necessity should cause any person to take a house to which a cesspool is attached.
some form of cesspool,” for I am quite aware that there are schemes which profoss to do away with water-closets, and cesspools, and partially with sewers, but upon examination, they will all be found wanting in some material point. . Among these plans are the “dry earth” and
pail” systems, both, in my opinion, but forms of cesspools. If the town or village is sewered, the first point is to make sure that the house drains are properly connected with the sewers. It is no uncommon thing for the drain to be carried from the
se to the outside of the sewer, and to stop then, being thus rather worse than useless. The bricklayer would probably call this "leaving another job."
' After seeing that the connection is properly made,
i. e., that the pipe really passes into the sower, the next thing to be done is to find out of what the house drain is made, or how it is laid. These points I have alluded to before, and shall therefore pass them over here. Next, make
sure that the house drains are properly ventilated. The landlord or builder will probably tell you that they are "trapped” and that no foul gas can pass the trap. This is a great delusion, and should not be listened to for a moment. The trap is a very useful and necessary thing, but it must not be expected to do more than it can, and in order to make this clear, I will explain what the common siphon trap is, viz., a bent pipe generally of the form shown in section in the sketch.
The common trap has not the ventilating pipe B.
These pipes always retain a certain quantity of water (indicated by shading in the figure) when in use, in the dip or bend. It will be observed that the upper part of the pipe dips into the water which completely fills the bend, and the water is sometimes said to “ seal" the trap, and it is assumed that it will entirely prevent any gases from passing into the house. A little consideration will show, however, that if the gas is
generated in such quantities as to cause any considerable pressure in the sewers, it will readily pass through the water into the house. That this has actually happened, the following incident recorded by Dr. Carpenter will show. The ventilating pipe spoken of was in fact doing duty as a waterpipe from the cistern! “On the night of October 17th I was aroused by a loud noise proceeding from the closet; it continued at intervals throughout the next day. Unable at first to account for it, I eventually found that it was caused by the ventilating pipe doing duty as water-pipe to the overflowing cistern (during a very heavy rainfall). There was no room for
exit of foul air from the sewer, which, therefore, was forced through the trap of the water-closet, with, at times, the force of steam through the safety-valve of a steamengine. The nuisance continued for nearly three days before the weather would allow the plumber to rectify a mistake which had been committed in the previous summer, the mistake of making the ventilating-pipe do duty for a water-pipe.” Dr. Carpenter then says that owing to there being no particular smell, this escape was tolerated, but in two or three days the occupants of the house were attacked by typhoid fever, and that in many other parts of the town enteric disease appeared at the same time.
The traps should be ventilated, and the ventilating pipe should not open into the house. I know no better means of ventilating the traps than that I have before described, and as shown in the figure above. In this A is the trap and B the ventilating pipe, the arrows indicate the direction of the flow of sewage from the house to the sewers. It will be obvious that if any accumulation of gas takes place