The Disposal of Sewage

John Darby
1870 Scientific American  
cluding the malaria, are combustibLe, and will add fuel to the flame. It may, also, be objected, that the air is damp. This is so. But the water is in the form of vapor, and not liquid, hence the thousand degrees of caloric are not required to convert the water into steam. This vapor, passing over the glowing carbon, would be decomposed, and, by no means, diminish the the intensity of the combustion, but rather increase it. The advantages of this operation are manifest. In the first place, the
more » ... e first place, the offensive matters are burned up, and not allowed, as now, to be diffused through the air. By this process there will be a constant downward tendency of the foul airs to flow into the sewers, wherever generated, whether from the sur face of the streets, or in dwellings, or outhouses. Like the water, they will all flow off into the sewers, and be drawn up into the furnaces. The tendency, now, is to accumulate and rise up as the quantity increases, and flow into the dwellings, instead of flowing from them. The sewers themselves are now centers of the foulest emanations, as any one may con vince himself by experimenting un the air over the water holes at the corners of the streets. It is feared by some,that the immense production of carbonic acid, and other noxious products produced by the manufacto ries of New York, may demand, sooner or later, their removal from the city. These fears, probably, have their origin in the analysis of the air in the great cities of England. They cer tainly have not arisen from the analysis of the air of New York. The cases of English cities and New York are very different. In the first place,the kinds of manufactories of New York are small or null in those materials which most load the atmosphere of some English cities. In the next place, we have a vety different atmosphere. While theirs is moist, and loaded wHh vapors, ours is comparatively dry, and will not sustain them. Although immense volumes of carbonic acid are raised into the air, yet the winds, in a few minutes, will transport tlie"m to distant places. This principle may be applied with much benefit to private dwellings. If the dwelling is furnished with a furnace, the air for combustion could be drawn from the lowest place on the premises,and the supply of air would come from the upper portions of the house, creating a tendency to ventilate the dwelling by pure air drawn from above. The cellars of pri vate buildings might be connected with the sewers, and when the draft was stIOng; the stagnant air drawn out and fresh air supplied. It might be objected, that circumstances might occur,when the air could not be drawn from the sewers from obstructions or from their being full. Then the usual source could be em ployed by removing the jacket, and the dampers in the tube be shut. Where the tubes are employed, and too small for the supply from accumulations of water in them, the furnace could be connectcd with the reservoirs for surface water at the corners of the streets. But the furnaces, generally, are in operation only in the daytime. Still, if the sewers are thoroughly aerated three times in twenty· four hours, no harm could result,certainly none when they are kept pure for twelve hours, and that in the hottest portion of the twenty-four. Hotels might draw their air from the samll source to their ranges and furnaces, and their premises supplied with pure air. The only facts we have observed in examining the literature of sewers, that relates to this matter, are the following: A proposition was made, in London, to connect the sewers with the chimneys of manufactories, above the fires, which the owners objected to, from its diminishing the draft. In Pari8, when the sewers become so foul that the workmen cannot enter them with safety, they have movable chimneys, which they put over the holes in the streets, and, by building a fire in the chimneys, draw out the foul air. This involves our principle, which we have discovered since the above was written. It may be objected that insuperable difficulties would arise in putting the above views in practice. That difficulties would arise, is probable, but, that they are insuperable to the en gineering talent of New York,we do not believe. We imagine the expense of the various efforts now put forth for a partial success, if rightly directed, would achieve a perfect and per manent relief from malarial influences, and would supply the now most miasmatic districts with pure air. .. _ .. WHAT IS ENERGY 1 [Balfour Stewart in Nature.] It has been shown in a former article (See SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, page 360, Vol. XXI!.), that energy, or the power of doing work, is of two kinds; namely, energy due to actual motion, and that due to position. We ended that article by supposing a stone shot vertically upwards had been caught at the summit of its flight and lodged on the top of a house; Wld this gave rise to the question, What has become of thE' energy of the stone? To answer this we must learn to regard energy, not as a quality, but rather as a thing. The chemist has always taught us to regard quantity or mass of matter as unchangeable, so that amid the many be wildering transformations of form and quality which take place in the chemical world, we can always CORsult our bal ance with a certainty that it will not play us false. But now the physical philosopher steps in and tells us that energy is quite as unchangeable as mass, and that the conservation of both is equally complete. There is, however, this difference between the two things-the same particle of matter will al ways retain the same mass, but it will not always retain the same energy As a whole, energy is invariable, but it is always shifting about from particle to particle, and it is hence more difficult
doi:10.1038/scientificamerican07091870-16 fatcat:u2n7s4zqqzfrtdddkbcs6n7yke