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"No particular sewage scheme is being propounded by the Auckland Suburban Drainage League. We are not claiming any superior knowledge or technical wisdom—we are simply asking for an investigation," said Mr. K. Melvin, speaking at a public meeting in the Lewis Eady Hall last night when objections to the Brown's Island scheme were expressed.

It had been suggested that the league should go into graceful retirement, but they were convinced that it would be disgraceful retirement, said Mr. Melvin. He had been informed on the best authority that if the Brown's Island scheme were stayed the city would not experience any embarrassment because it would take a long time for the scheme to be put into effect. All they were asking was that the Brown's Island scheme be stayed while there was an investigation.

Petition to Parliament The league's petition to Parliament had been signed by upwards of 50,000 people, he continued. Efforts had been made to discount it on the grounds that it included the names of errand boys and those, who, in an unfelicitous phrase, had been called the "riff-raff." Seventy per cent of the signatures had been gathered in city offices, factories and shops, and by a painstaking house-to-house canvas in the suburbs. The petition, said Mr. Melvin, would be submitted' to the House and supported by such technical authority as could be commanded. Rumours About League It had been necessary to call the meeting because in the majority of cases local bodies had not been willing to hear the league. It had been rumoured that the league was supported by fictional persons interested for financial reasons. There was absolutely no truth in that. The league was financed by public subscription. . Speaking on alternatives to the Brown's Island scheme, Mr. D. M. Robinson, vice-president of the league, advocated the utilisation of sewage sludge for restoring fertility to the soil. Vegetable waste at present being burnt in destructors should be made into compost, and this could not be done on a large scale without the use of a ferment obtained from sewage. Mr Robinson recalled a statement made by Mr. H. H. Watkins, to the effect that practically all over the world utilisation schemes had proved a failure. He had mentioned Passadena, in the United States. The league had sent a cablegram to the civic authorities in Passadena and had received a reply stating that fertiliser made from sewage sludge was in keen demand and sold at the equivalent of £11 a ton. This alone justified their plea that there should be further investigations, said Mr. Robinson. They were unable to understand why the question of utilising sewage sludge had been glossed over. It was not quite fair of Mr. Watkins to continue to make reference to sewage farms because the league had never advocated sewage farms. What they wanted was an investigation, with special attention to the possibilities of utilisation of the waste matter.

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Bibliographic details

INVESTIGATION, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 173, 24 July 1945

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INVESTIGATION Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 173, 24 July 1945

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