Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/27

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SEWER-GAS.

water-closets, baths, and wash-basins. He further remarked: "I suppose most of you would object to having a vault filled with dead bodies a few yards from your house, and connected with it by a pipe. Yet this is practically what we do. Water is no protection from the poisonous germs which generate and live in this foul air. This matter demands our most careful attention, for we are in a very critical and unhealthy condition."

Colonel George B. Waring, Jr., sanitary engineer, addressing the public through the daily press, gives the following advice: "Let us take no step backward in the essential improvement of the adjuncts of our daily life. Let us only lop off luxurious superfluities, and see that what is really needed is good. . . . There is no doubt that the luxury of a wide distribution of plumbing appliances throughout the whole house has led to a great increase of risk and to a wide distribution of dangerous defects. The use of stationary wash-basins in bedrooms not immediately adjoining soil-pipes is to be deprecated; and everything should be reduced to the simplest elements that will give the necessary sanitary control of the waste matters of the house."

Not long after Mr. Wingate had protested to the Academy against "the foolish fear which prevails regarding the risks to health from so called modern improvements," declaring that there was no need of taking a step backward, a circular was received from the Heath House, Schooley's Mountain, New Jersey, containing a certificate from "Charles F. Wingate, consulting sanitary engineer," a portion of which reads as follows: "I found the plumbing fixtures all placed in an extension, so as to be completely isolated from the rest of the hotel, and with a free circulation of air around them. There are no basins in bedrooms. . . . In short, sanitary considerations seem to have been studied at every point, and this, I am sure, will have due weight with future guests."

It seems fair to assume that an arrangement which Mr. Wingate can conscientiously recommend as contributing to the health and safety of the guests of the Heath House he can conscientiously recommend also to the occupants of any other house, and especially to the occupants of city houses, where the danger from sewer-gas is tenfold greater than at the Heath House.

If I have interpreted their language correctly, one of these distinguished sanitary engineers is substantially in accord with Dr. Parker and myself, and the other is absolutely in accord; and these are the only sanitary engineers, so far as I am informed, who have publicly, and over their own signatures, taken exception to our views.

It seems, however, that the people themselves, without asking the opinions of sanitary engineers, or of any one else, have concluded, in many instances, to "lop off the luxuries," and to practically adopt the measures which I have suggested—these concessions on the part of civilization being subsequently indorsed and approved by both sanita-