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THE SEWAGE PROBLEM SOLVED.

The question of eewage-and its disposal has agitated the minds of a good many people, and has especially proved a source of perplexity to City and Town Councils, and to parish authorities in generaL Ever and anon a cry has been raised about tho shameful waste of fertilising- elements that has been going on, decade after decade, and prognostications have been uttered to the effect that such waste tnnsb eventually tell upou the countries guilty of it. As illustrative of the losses that are continually taking place, one city—that of Glasgow— may be taken as an example. Mr. Crookes, a chemical expert, has estimated that the sewage of Glasgow and suburbs would produce 59,000 tons of dry (15 per cent moisture) manure per annum at a cost of £25,000, and, the value being 22s od, it follows, if the estimate be accurate, that the River Clyde can bo restored to purity with profit to the city and beoe2t> to the agriculturist. If the population of Glasgow and suburbs (750,000)" 50,000 tons, the quantity producenble by the United Kingdom will be 2,500,000 tons, the money value of which will bo at least as many pounds sterling, irrespective of tho gain to the farmer and the consumers of farm produce. For the solution of the sewage problem schemes innumerable have been suggested. It has been said that tho importance of the question may be fairly gauged by the number of patents of which sewage has been the subject. During tho past forty years nearly 500 patents, of one sort or other, have been token out in the old country, and not a few of these hare been of tlie most varied and contradictory character. Precipitation, filtration, aeration, and irrigation have each in their turn been suggested, us have oxidizers and deoxidisers, concentration and dilution, ferinenw and preventives of fermentation. It is almost amusing to r>-vul «ome of the schemes which have been proposed, and " aired" as a matter of course in the public press, or printed in pamphlets. I have bofore me eotno scores of abstracts of specifications for the treatment of sewage, and thoy certainly prove the oft-repeated julag-e, thfttdoctonidiffer—eewagedoctora lincun. It would occupy too much space to give even tho most meagre outline of the various pians suggested by gentlemen who are srup-pot-ed to be adepts in the sewage business. It is, however, very evident that many of them have displayed not only gross ignorance but a vast amount of prejudice, and even jealousy, if not something worse. For what does the latest writer on the sewage question declare '.' He says : "Unfortunately there is no subject, outside the range of party politics, on which so much envy, hatred, malice, and all uncharitable ne<'s prevail, as on the treatment of sewage." But why there should be such a condition of things among those who profess to be men of science is a problem almost as difficult to solve as the sewage question itself.

Leaving, however, what has been suggested or accomplished in the past, the latest, news is to the effect that at Kingston the sewage question has been solved in a practical manner, with safety to the public and advantage to the soil ; eminently sati*factory intelligence one would think, and worthy of a few notes aa to how the thing is accomplished, and what process has. been adopted at Kingston. Becauao, if the method of treating sevvagt) is a success at Kingston, why should not, that method be generally adopted, and so save the im ruenso sums—millions I believe —which are lost to nations who consign sewago to the ocean.

It appears that the corporation of Kingston, lik«? a gixxi many other corporations, had been embarrassed for a number of years by tlie question of the disposal of sewage. But at length, after the most careful con sideration, they had come to the conclusion that the Native Guano Company's process of resolving sewage into an easily applicable and inoffensive manure, leaving a harmless effluent to escape into the river, was the best means of solving the difficulty, and they had come to an arrangement with them accordingly. On the occasion of the opening of this company's works, the Mayor remarked that there were several ways of disposing of town sewngo: (1) By transferring it to tlioir neighbours ; ('-') by dinposing of it on their own land ; (.'?) by running it into the river. To the firpt course there was the objection that their neighbours usually hnd sewage, of their own to deal with, and would by no means undertake tho responsibility of mon?. To the eecoud, that where town land was scarce and quite close, ns it were, to the market place, sewage, for obvious reasons, oould only bo applied with great cuution. To the third, that the river conservators refused ita admission until it had been reduced to an inoffensive suite.

Tho method adopted by the Native ("Juano Company is the one known a.s the A B C process. This method of converr,ing raw sewage into an odourless fertiliser is ingenious and highly interesting. In the first place, after passing through a grating, it flows into a pump well beneath the main building, and the deodorising mixture is there applied. Centrifugal pumps lift and discharge it into a meter chamber, M'hence it flows into open channels in the grounds, precipitating agents being applied on the way. These channels conduct it to the settling tanks, which are eight in number. They aro 85ft long by f>Oft wide, and about Bft deep, ami have a holding capacity of 1,'J00.000 gallons. The tanks are arranged in pairs, with a dividing wall, which does not, however, extend to the further extremity, but leaves an opening several foot long. Flowing from the channels above referred to into the first kink, tho sewage passes through it, settling as it goes, and passes round tho end of the wall into the second tank, where further settling takes place, and tho surface water flows out through a flouting apparatus and escapes into a channel lower down, whence it passes through a covered channel to tho river. This diluent is quite clear and odourless. The deposit left after the surface liquid has escaped is pumped from the tanks into what is known as the sludge well, where further applications are made to it, and from tbero it is transferred to an upper floor of tho main building, and forced by «ir pressure into filter presses, which press the remaining moisburo from it. Tiemoved from the presses, it is thrown into a heap to dry, and then passed through a cylinder into a disintegrator, where it is powdered and parses out ready for uso. When placed in sacks ready for being despatched for use on farms and gardens the native guano resembles coarse soot, hence is in a form that renders it easily and conveniently applicable to the soil. Many good gardeners H|>eak highly of it, and it i.« essentially a safe fertiliser for farm and garden crops generally, also for lawns and flower gardens. It may be mentioned that the process by which the company evolve native guano from town scwago is quito inoffensive. On a day when a large company of experts hud inspected this process, from its preliminary to the final stages, no inconvenience was oxSjrienced, although tho day was very hot. or M-e fcho works at. all a nuisance to the neighbourhood in which thoy aro established. ifore, then, at Kingston is a practical demonstration that the sewogo question can be solved, and solved, too, in a way that should be satisfactory to all concerned. Especially should farmers rojoico that in native guano t.hoy get a cheap and efficacious fertiliser, suitable for nearly nil crops. Aqricola.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/NZH18890919.2.57

Bibliographic details

THE SEWAGE PROBLEM SOLVED., New Zealand Herald, Volume XXVI, Issue 9475, 19 September 1889

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THE SEWAGE PROBLEM SOLVED. New Zealand Herald, Volume XXVI, Issue 9475, 19 September 1889

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