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to injured wage-earners in lieu of the old employers' liability system. Through the work of the National Civic Federation and co-operating bodies, this complete reversal of policy has been brought about in four years, fourteen States having already passed workmen's compensation laws. The legislation, both Federal and State, which is now being secured, makes the industry bear the burden, while before the wageearner took all the chances, did all the suffering and, if, after longdrawn-out litigation, he finally got anything in the way of damages, he had to give up fifty per cent. of it to the “ambulance chaser.” I am happy to state that a movement is now on foot to make a painstaking inquiry into the progress made during the past fifty years in the directions indicated, with a view not only to discovering the good, but also to ascertaining what social and economic ills remain to be eradicated, and to propose, as far as possible, practical remedies therefor. It is believed that a movement which will recognize the good and sincerely seek to remedy the wrong would be more effective in accomplishing reform than one designed only to tear down and destroy. It were well, and with this suggestion I conclude, if at all future gatherings of this great organization some such counting of the milestones passed were to be made a feature. There is good reason for this. There are among our ninety millions of people many who, strange as it may seem, interpret such occasions as this as diagnostic of a body-social sick nigh unto death as the result of neglect. They do not know—and the fault is not wholly theirs—that the patient, far from being in extremis, is in better condition than ever before, that what to them is a death chamber consultation is merely an evidence of periodical stock taking in terms of social health and welfare. (Applause.)
President WHITE–This is certainly a truthful resumé. It is well for us all sometimes to stop and “count our blessings.” (Applause.)
We will now listen to Dr. Burton J. Ashley, of Morgan Park, Illinois. His subject is “Disposition of Sewage,” a very interesting aspect of Conservation.
Dr. ASHLEY-The universal aim of every one is to succeed. Success in anything depends, it is aptly said, on one’s ability, reliability, endurance, and action—four personal requisites, the absence of any one of which means failure. Ability and reliability are personal qualities, while endurance and action, two of these four requisites, are physical endowments dependable on one’s health. Accepting these statements as correct, then half of our successes is dependable on personal health and onehalf on personal quality.
If man's successes are equally as dependable on health as on his mental or acquired qualities or abilities, then we must draw but one conclusion, viz., that as much attention should be given to the maintenance of a healthy body as to the use and maintenance of our mental and moral capabilities. Healthfulness depends in part on cleanliness, the state or quality of being clean. Health is natural. Disease is unnatural and is the result of some known or unknown transgression of natural laws. Dirt and disease have always been good friends. Disease is always most flourishing when it has dirt and filth for company; and to be dirty or filthy is to transgress nature's efforts at keeping the body well. Water and food are essential to life. Consume them and the liquid waste produce is sewage filth. To man the foulest and most repulsive dirt or filth is that of his own daily making, and well that it is, for it contains the most poisonous substances that exist and civilized humanity everywhere is increasingly directing its efforts to accomplish its destruction in the most sanitary and economical way possible. Modern methods employed by cities or lesser municipalities to disposal of their liquid filth is that of establishing systems of underground drains called sewers, into which such liquid filth is discharged. The first well designed sewerage system to be adopted in the United States was built in Chicago about the year 1855. The modern water-closet was not evolved until early in the last century, and in consequence of which evolution water carriage as a means of conveying sewage away logically followed its introduction. Former designs of sewerage provided for drains that would accommodate both the storm waters as well as the sewage. This method is commonly known as the “Combined System,” but when the employment of this character of sewage disposal created nuisances, the demand arose for the abatement of said nuisances, and it was then that civilization faced sewage purification in some form as a remedy. Storm waters are only dirty waters and not, strictly speaking, polluted waters, for merely dirty water will not create an offensive nuisance and requires no purification, while polluted water does. So the “separate system” of sewers was then evolved, namely, where one system conveys the storm waters and a separate system the sanitary sewage, for, inasmuch as only sanitary sewage needs purifying, therefore works of smaller capacity are needed than would be required were the large and unsteady volume of storm waters to be also subjected to the purifying process. Many experiments have been made and varying forms of sewage purifying plants have been built during the last half century, and out of the many failures there have been evolved a few processes of purification which have proven fairly successful, but from an economic standpoint as well as from a physical one much yet has to be gained. The broad irrigation of land with raw or crude sewage has been tried out and its limitations discovered. Although physically successful when properly administered, this form of disposal has been found to be expensive. Existing costly land values are usually exceedingly against the adoption of this form of disposal. The Broad Irrigation Plant of Berlin, Germany, with her 43,000 acres of land, is a notable example of the continuance of this form of disposal, but while this scheme has through its years of usefulness sometimes shown profits and sometimes deficits, the profits have never been large enough to pay the interest and sinking fund charges on the capital expended on the purchase of farms. The method of purification now in general use is what is broadly called the biological method, wherein nature's own mysterious forces, viz., putrefaction and nitrification, are encouraged usually by first impounding the sewage and then nitrifying the impounded liquid in a filter bed, so called. This form of sewage purification is found to require a minimum amount of manipulation or labor as compared with some of the other forms. The plea for sewage disposal is that it enhances life by preventing disease. The United States Censervation Commission reported that eighty-five per cent. of typhoid and malaria are preventable. The sewage disposal problem is by no means an easy one, for every case being a law unto itself is sure to present a greater or less number of physical conditions that may not be found in any other case. Sewages differ in their composition as people differ. Some sewages are easily controlled and gotten rid of, while other sewages are stubborn to almost refusing to be subdued. The sanitary engineer in arriving at determination is obliged to previously dig deep and acquaint himself with existing conditions before he can safely conclude upon designs or measures or means that will bring successful results. The sanitary engineer's practice is therefore much like that of a physician who considers symptoms before offering a diagnosis or prescribing a remedy. Contrivances that have worked successfully in England have often proven to be failures in the United States. The character and composition of sewage abroad differs widely from the composition of our greatly diluted sewage here. Latitude, quantity of contained manufacturing wastes, character of water supply and numerous other components all combine to make the art of sewage disposal a problem. For instance, when the water supply is what is commonly termed “hard” undue collection of scum or mat is almost sure to form in biological tanks, and this is only one of the innumerable vexatious enigmas that confront the engineer or biologist. Pioneer practitioners have frequently undertaken the solution of sewage disposal questions when not qualified for such duty, largely in answer to the urgent request of an impecunious public with the usual disappointing results. But the value and possibilities of health Conservation have now been brought to that degree of successful accomplishment where the demand for specialists in the advancement of this
modern art has become enhanced, and the advisability of employing specialists when the nature of the work is of such vital importance as is sewage disposal needs no argument. Mr. Winslow has told us that a badly constructed or badly operated system is worse than none at all, for it creates a sense of false security and it also breeds a sense of distrust. The first city to go about the establishment of sewage disposal in a thoroughly exhaustive way was Columbus, Ohio. Its example was shortly followed by the cities of Baltimore and Philadelphia. Very elaborate and exhaustive experiments are now being made by the city of Chicago at an experimental plant costing $60,000, which experiments have already covered a period of over two years, so that when a report shall be forthcoming the character of disposal best suited to that city will be a known factor and such steps as will be taken will be along lines of certainty. The whole civilized world is or should be deeply indebted to the farreaching experiments that have been conducted since the year 1887 at Lawrence, Mass., by the Massachusetts State Board of Health. The annual reports of the findings have become classic both at home and abroad. Nor would we forget to mention particularly the fifth report of the English Royal Commission on Sewage Disposal, which, after making exhaustive observation covering a period of four years of the operation of twenty-seven sewage disposal plants in actual daily operation, gave information, the value of which to the sanitary expert and indirectly to the civilized world at large, may not be determined. At this stage of sanitary advancement our common people should not be further excused for the density of their ignorance regarding the value of preventive medicine as exemplified in clean premises and person and the adopting of respectable sanitary conveniences. Want of knowledge along lines of modern sanitary advancement is to a very large extent due to the inertness of legislatures in enacting laws to meet the modern sanitary needs. The passing and enforcing of such laws would surely force our ignorance on this subject out of us and place us on a higher hygienic plane, such as has been established by the excellent enactments in a few of our States. Standing out pre-eminently in this respect are the laws relating to the public health in Massachusetts, with New York following as a close second. One of the most important laws which is the foundation of others in Massachusetts is a provision for the acquirement of land by cities and towns for the purification of sewage. All through the Massachusetts code are to be found an abundance of preventive measures, as well as curative—abatement of nuisances, of offensive trades; establishing water supply and sewage disposal. Then follows a long list of subjects such as lying-in hospitals, dangerous diseases, spitting, drinking
cups, protection of infants, vaccination, quarantine, public school inspection, diseases of domestic animals, hydrophobia, cemeteries, cremating of dead bodies, burials, bakeries, supervision of plumbing, pollution of streams, food and drugs, milk, registry of births, marriages and deaths— not one of which but has its peculiar relation to the producing of sewage, and indirectly with sewage disposal.
As a contrast with the Massachusetts code let me refer to the sanitary laws, or want of them, in the State of Illinois. According to a copy of the public health laws issued for the information of local health authorities and others of this State, there occurs, for instance, but two sections covering the establishing of sewers. Rules and regulations are in evidence for isolating, quarantining, disinfecting and coping with various infectious diseases after they come into existence, but not a statutory provision is to be found establishing sewage disposal, nor for preventing the pollution of streams and lakes. The State Board of Health in this State is wellnigh powerless in taking initiative steps, particularly with regard to sewage disposal and stream pollution. It is high time State legislatures betook themselves to looking more into the all important art of sanitation and its far-reaching results and at once enact laws that will meet the advanced requirements of our daily living, and give such attention to the conservation of health and to the physical welfare of our homes as it in some cases has given to the welfare of the barn, the pigsty and their occupants. Had I the time I could refer to some very astonishing facts that might cause the blush of negligence to come to the faces of our Hoosier legislators.
Ohio has recently enacted a code of plumbing and drainage laws, containing provisions supposed to cover scientific sewage disposal. This code provides for and encourages contrivances that have been most soundly condemned by leading sanitarians both in this country and abroad for a century past.
It was Eugene Field who said:
“It seems to me I'd like to go
What this tender poet wrote several years ago is increasingly being enacted today by the exodus of the prosperous captains of industry, of commerce and of the professions from their narrow city confines in unneighborly city neighborhoods to well appointed habitations in the outlying suburbs, or in his comfortable summer home up in the mountains or alongside the beautiful waters of some inland lake. These prosperous friends, though removing to the country, are unwilling to yield up any