Press enter after choosing selection


Sewerage image
Parent Issue
Public Domain
OCR Text

Light begins to appear in the sewerage discussion. The position taken by the Argus, which is and always has been a true iriend of sewerage, bas provoked much discussion, and the selfconstituted champions of sewerage, who took the position that no criticisms should be made of the plans proposed, are changing their point of view and are rapidly verging towards the position taken by the Argus. Fortunately, or unfortunately, they, however, continue to misrepresent the position of the Argus, which lias compelled them to think twice and which bids fair to aid in tlie evolution of a system of sewerage which stands a much better chance of being carried at the polls. The Argus is able to stand these misrepresentations if it aids in bringiug about a better understanding on the question. But that the public may rightly eomprehend our exact position, we desire to say a word in reply to our critics. One adopts the nonsensical tittle sewerless outlets, and charges the Argus with being in favor of bonding the city. This is untrue. If he had turned to our editorial of August 21, in which we claimed that sewerage was not dead, as the Times, the Courier and the Register at that time claimed it was, because the council had seen fit to lay the report of the sewerage committee on the table, he would have found these words: "Ann Arbor will have sewerage,and that at no distant day. But when it comes, itwill come as the best system. She will not load up with a system which requires a large expense to make good. To her credit be it said, she does not rush headlong into debt, as does a sister city, wlio, if it were not for the high taxes engendered by that habit, would, with her progressive business men and manufacturiug industries, be running a neck and neck race with us in poeulation and wealth." If our critic had been a consistent reader of the Argus, he would know that the Argus could not advocate going into debt by the city without bemg inconsistent. The position of the Argus covers no private schemes. As we said July 17, "Sewers should be under the direct and absolute control of the city, and a private company has no such interest in preserving the good health of the city as the city itself," This indicates that we would never favor the scheme which we know has been talked of by some of our critics of organizing a vate company to sewer the city, to be paid by a rental by the city. If our critics stand on this platform with us, well and good. A great deal of fun has been made based on the ridiculous assumption that the Argus favored sewerage with no outlet. And the changes have been rung on the subject with such tiresome reiteration that some well-meaning people, who are accostomed to having their thinking done for them, have come to believe it true. It is too bad to spoil some really witty things which have been said concerning it, but the mere statement of the assumption proves its supreme ridiculousness. The Argus has alwas said and repeats now that for a short season each year, the hot, dry season, the Huron river will not carry oiï crude sewage, but it will remain a festering mass where deposited. But this does not mean and nevé has meant that some point on the Huron river is not the proper outlet for sewerage. In our second editorial written on this subject this year," July 31, we quoted from a work by Staley and Pierson on the separate systemof sewerage, and from the commission sent by the city of Providence to Europe, passages whioh pointed out how crude sewage could be treated so that it could pass off through the water courses without damage to the public liealth. This fact entirely destroys the ridiculous assumption of our interested critics. When the question was first agitated this year, and some of the advocates of teewerage favored rnshing the city neadlong into sewerage building, the Argus raised the objection as to the outlet for cnulc sewage, because until that is settled, no proposed sewerage system can get votes enough in this city to be carried into effect. The common council propeiiy saw fit to investígate this question to some extent as has previously appeared in our columns, and secured a valuable letter from Mr. L. E. Cooley, of Chicago, one of the best sanitary engineers in the country. As we have before pointed out, Mr. Cooley's letter gives ampie reason to lead us to believe that the Huron, for a short season each year, will not carry olï the crude sewage. He was furnished the power at Swift'smill duriug the dry season, and from this he figures tliat the minimum flow of water in the Iluron would care for a population of about 16,000. When the fact, which Engineer Cooley would notbe expected to know, but which neveithejess every one must admit to be true, is considered that Swif t's mili does not run all the time during the dry season, that it shuts down on Sunday and stores the water iu its dam for use duriñg the coming week, it should at once be seen that the probabilities are that the Iluron will not at all times carry off the crude sewage. When complaints are now made concerning the slaughter houses and even occasionally concerning the little university sewer, what would be the complaints if the entire sewage of the city should be emptied into the Iluron, if the water should fail to carry it off V To show the different spirit in which suggestions on the sewerage question are now being taken, it is only necessary to cali attention to the way in which Mr. Sheehau's suggestion is beiug received. Although several committees have said that the proposed main sewer will cost $20,000 and Prof. Greene has estimated that it will not cost to exceed S20,(i00, Mr. Sheehan suggested that bids be asked to see what it would actually cost beiore it is voted upon. ïhis suggestion is received in good spirit. If the advocates oí sewerage wish to carry a sewerage proposition they must treat them in this way and not denounce those who make them as eiiemies of sewerage. The main sewer should be cariïed to a point, where, if necessary,arrangements might be made to precipítate the solid matter in the sewage af ter which the effluent should pass into the river. This point should be such that tanks could be constructed with the Jeast expense and the effluent could be run off into the river channel. If possible, the expense of pumping should be avoided. We admit that on this point we are in need of the opinions of engineers. The council should instruct its committee to find out at how low a cost works for precipitation could be erected, ií after the sewage of the city is emptied into the river they should be foufid necessary for the summer months. This being done, and the people then having knowledge of what they might be called upon to expend, we believe in putting in the sewerage system and trying the river. If it will not carry off the crude sewerage, the precipitation works could then be erected. If it will carry it off, wellandgood. We imagine tliat the proper tanks if the outlet is properly located will be less than some have imagined. At the risk of repeating but in order to be perfectly plain, we would not in the flrst place set about arranging precipitation works, but we would know what it would cost if the proved necessary, as we suspect they will for three months of the year, and we would arrange the outlet so as to make that cost as small as possible. This we thipk only ordinary business prudence. This might all be done so that a vote upon the question of sewerage could be taken in February, when it would be perfectly legal.