Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/646

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tigation had shown that the feeding-springs from which the water supply was drawn were contaminated by soakage from hog-pens and other animal refuse which had been allowed to percolate the soil unchecked.

The careless drinking of water so poisoned was the cause of an outbreak of typhoid fever during the past season at Seabright, a village adjacent to Long Branch, and supplied with water from the same source. Red Bank and Atlantic City were simultaneously afflicted with zymotic and malarial fevers through a similar cause; while Newport, heretofore considered a healthy sea-side resort, had a case of Asiatic cholera, and diarrhœa was almost epidemic. These conditions resulted from imperfect sewer-traps, by which almost every well and cellar in Newport was contaminated, unclean streets, filthy with the dirt of numerous horses, and sewers in a state the worst that could possibly be imagined.

From such causes as these an unusual amount of sickness prevailed during the past season along the whole line of the Atlantic sea-coast.

In these sporadic cases Nature sounded that key-note of warning with which she always precedes an epidemic. If unheeded, another season may witness the usual calamitous results that have invariably occurred before man has been taught that saddest and most difficult of hygienic lessons—how to protect life from filth-diseases.

This problem has been solved in great measure for the hamlet by almost all large cities. Wherever men have congregated in great numbers, plagues have occurred until they have learned to be careful of the disposition of their sewage. Memphis, which is one of the latest instances, after being terribly scourged by yellow fever in 1878, and again in 1879, took the precaution to immediately institute sanitary reforms, which have been followed by the best practical results. The leading features in these improvements were: the cleansing of the city of all objectionable accumulations, the abolition of all privy-vaults, cess-pools, and improperly constructed underground and surface drains, and the substitution of a complete system of sewers and subsoil drainage-pipes. The water-supply was improved, and the streets properly paved.

What has been accomplished by these measures for the proper sanitation of Memphis and other business centers is what remains to be done for the health and comfort of sea-side towns and villages along the Atlantic coast.


By Captain J. W. SHACKFORD.

DURING the season of 1882 the ice and fog in the track of steamers running between Europe and North America appear to have attracted much more attention than heretofore, not only in consequence of the unusual quantities of field-ice and bergs reported, but also be-