Medical Officer of Health reports, 1891 - Linlithgowshire

Page Transcription
HH62/2/LINLIT/1 TO THE HONOURABLE THE BOARD OF SUPERVISION. MY LORDS AND GENTLEMEN, I HAVE the honour of submitting for your consideration a Report on the County of Linlithgow for the year ending 1891. Area and Population. The County, with an area of 120 square miles, has a population of 52,789, and has increased by 9279 in the last 10 years. Of the total popula- tion, 20,329 reside in the various Burghs, which, with the exception of the small Burgh of Whit- burn, have each a medical officer of health. Whitburn has applied to the combined Counties of Mid-Lothian, West Lothian, and Peebles, to have my services. Two Districts - the Linlithgow and the Bathgate. The County is divided into two Districts - the Linlithgow, which comprises the Parishes of Lin- lithgow, Abercorn, Borrowstounness, Carriden, Dalmeny, Ecclesmachan, and part of Kirkliston; and the Bathgate District, composed of the Parishes of Bathgate, Torpichen, Livingston, Uphall, and Whitburn. The population of Linlithgow District is 23,774, but excluding Burghs 13,046. The population of Bathgate Dis- trict is 29,015, but excluding Burghs 19,414.
HH62/2/LINLIT/3 [Page] 2 Services of former Medical Officers of Health dispensed with. All the former local Medical Officers of Health acting for the parts of the County outside the Burghs have been dismissed and compensated. The County's industry is mainly Mining, and thus there are a number of villages and hamlets made up of colliers' 'rows.' Scarcity of Water. In consequence of the increasing industry in shale and coal, a very serious condition as regards water supply has been brought about; for a large part of the County has been so drained by under- ground workings that during last summer, which was an exceptionally dry one, many were in great straits for enough water with which to cook their food. In fact, a condition of matters exists at present which calls for immediate remedy. In some villages the inhabitants have had to use the water pumped from the mines where men were at work. A more dangerous source of supply could scarcely be had. In other places ditch water, often badly fouled, has been the only source for many families. I am glad to say the District Committees have not been slow to foresee the water famine which has been rapidly approaching. They have in a praiseworthy manner exerted themselves to their utmost to as speedily as possible provide for this most pressing want, but I am sorry to mention that nothwithstanding their great efforts the speed of their project has been and is now being hampered. However, there is still hope that their exertions shall meet with the success they deserve. [Page] 3 General Sanitary condition, Drainage and Scavenging; and the Difficulty of making Sanitary Progress owing to Defects in the Public Health Scotland Act. The general Sanitary condition and the Drain- age and Scavenging of many places are far from what they should, be, and the shortcomings in the Public Health Act render their rapid improvement impossible. I shall only instance two separate cases of glaring nuisances, to show how difficult it is for progress to be made in the right direction: - In the hamlet of Bridge House Rows, a property belonging to a Glasgow coal master, the people prefer to drink from the ditches to going a long distance for a somewhat purer supply. The water of these ditches at the times of my visits was fouled in the most disgusting way it could be - by human excreta. The drains were untrapped. The privies, of which there was only one for each 33 inhabitants, were filthy, broken - down, brick structures connected with open ashpits. The Sanitary Inspector for long urged the proprietor to improve matters, but the dilly-dallying of the latter forced Mr. Frew to seek my certificate, which was granted. The case came before the Sheriff-Substitute, who had several courses open to him, and chose that one which allows him to appoint a third party to report, and on whose report he shall decern. In this case the third party, it might be thought, would be an expert in Sanitary work. But no, he was an architect in the town of Linlithgow. Nearly two months after the date of my certificate, the Sheriff gave judgment on the report of the Architect - the opinion of the Sanitary Officials being thus set aside.
HH62/2/LINLIT/5 [Page] 4 Another very much more serious case pressing for immediate attention was the condition of the Colliery rows of the Kinneil Coal and Coke Com- pany, near Bo'ness. Here, at the time of my visit, typhoid fever was raging. In four houses within a radius of 30 yards, I found the disease, and on inquiry at the local medical men ascertained that other five cases within a stone-throw of these then ill had only just recovered. Now this den of disease was composed of houses containing some 1200 inhabitants, - 150 of these live in a row of houses without any kind of convenience at all. The ashes and refuse are thrown out in front of the doors, and the privies of the other rows are so filthy, so few and far away, that the condition of the place may be well imagined. The Sanitary Inspector proceeded against the Company. The case was heard on the same day as the Bridge House Rows case, and, notwithstanding the dangerous state of matters, the same procedure was here followed as in the other case. The testimony of the Sanitary Officials was practically put aside, and a third party, the same Architect, was asked to report, and the case still awaits this report for settlement, urgent though it may be. The fault of course lies with our Public Health Act, which can allow of the remedying of a most dangerous nuisance of this sort being shelved perhaps indefinitely. The only Special Drainage District in the County is Broxburn, in the BATHGATE DISTRICT, [Page] 5 but Grangepans Drainage District, in the LIN- LITHGOW DISTRICT, has just been formed, and a drainage scheme for there will shortly be under consideration. The Scavenging of Villages is a subject which calls for remedial legislation. A Deputation of our Medical Health Society waited upon the Lord Advocate recently, with the object of explaining the difficulties District Committees have in con- nection with this, and asked him to explain to the Secretary for Scotland (who was unfortunately unable to meet the Deputation) the urgency of giving Local Authorities powers to form Scavenging Districts, as they have power to form Drainage and Water Districts. Special Investigations. Apart from frequent general inquiries as to the Sanitary State of the County, I made special investigations of - I. - THE WATER SUPPLY IN THE COUNTY. II. - POLLUTION OF THE RIVER ALMOND. Water Supply of Linlithgow District. I. - (1) WATER SUPPLY IN LINLITHGOW DIS- TRICT. - I have already indicated how badly off the County is for good water. In this District, excluding, of course, the Royal Burgh of Linlith- gow and Police Burgh of Bo'ness, there are the Special Water Districts of Kirkliston and Dalmeny formed in 1888, and embracing part of the estate of Clifton Hall, in Mid-Lothian, the Village and a portion of the Parish of Kirkliston, the Village
HH62/2/LINLIT/7 [Page] 6 and part of the Parish of Dalmeny, and the Royal Burgh of Queensferry. The water is from the Morton Burn, Parish of Kirknewton, Mid-Lothian. The village of Grangepans is supplied from the Special Water District of the Burgh of Bo'ness at 6d. per 1000 gallons. The villages of the Linlithgow Oil Company, with a population of 1500, have their supply pumped from a quarry. This supply is quite inadequate, and an impounding reservoir, sufficient for a month's supply, is much needed at once, for, if anything goes wrong with the pumping gear, the villages shall be totally unprovided for. A portion of the Parish of Carriden is at present supplied from the Bo'ness works, the gathering ground of which is in the neighbourhood of Carribber. Amalgamation and Extension of Kirkliston and Dalmeny Water Districts. The villages of Winchburgh, Westerton, and Niddry, each with a population of about 500, are greatly in need of water. To two of these places the owners of the houses - Young's Paraffin Oil Company - contemplated laying a pipe from the Kirkliston and Dalmeny works. This might have been accomplished, but that consideration was given to the fact that other districts would in the near future be in want, and this led to a scheme being proposed by the District Committee to amalgamate Kirkliston and Dalmeny, hitherto paying different rates, and to extend the Water District so as to include the whole of the Parish of Dalmeny and the whole of that part of the [Page] 7 Parish of Kirkliston situate in Linlithgowshire, and in which lie Niddry and Westerton. On the Committee passing a resolution for exten- sion, it was forthwith advertised; but appeals to the Sheriff were intimated by the North British Railway Company, the Forth Bridge Railway Com- pany, and by Mr. Hog, of Newliston. The Sheriff- Substitute, on hearing evidence, has sustained the appeals. The Committee has still the power to appeal to the Sheriff-Principal; but if his decision is against them, they will, no doubt, consider some other way of carrying out a pressing need. The village of Philpstoun (population 500) has been badly off for water; but a supply is being now brought in by the Oil Company there. The village of Linlithgow Bridge (population 1000) is supplied from pump wells, very liable to pollution. Neither Bo'ness nor Linlithgow are prepared to serve them, and so a Committee has been empowered to report upon the best method for their relief. Water Supply of Bathgate District. (2) WATER SUPPLY IN BATHGATE DISTRICT. - There are already in existence the East Whitburn Special Water District, getting its water from the Police Burgh of Whitburn; the Uphall Water District and the Broxburn Water District, both supplied from the West Binny reservoir, which on the two occasions I visited it last summer was almost dry, and the filters unmanageable, the town of Broxburn being compelled to use water pumped from a mine where men were at work
HH62/2/LINLIT/9 [Page] 8 The reservoir supply is one liable to pollution, and the sooner these large communities are pro- vided with another and purer water in greater amount the better. The other Special Water District is Bridgend, which has its supply from the Bathgate Commissioners, and is wholly at their mercy. The villagers at Uphall Station have to depend upon a field drain, and if it dries they must use a filthy stream passing by their doors. The villages of Cappers and Bathville may be said to be without any supply. The former during last summer was using water pumped from the workings where men were employed. The Deans houses depend on a shallow well much exposed to pollution, and the water of which is decidely impure. The houses of Starlaw have at present no supply. The villagers of Woodend (population 300), near Armadale, have to fetch water from a shallow well in an old coal-pit at Barbauchlaw Mill, distant some hundreds of yards. Easterhouse, near Armadale, gets its supply from the same well, which is a long distance from it. Blackburn has a very indifferent supply - shallow wells, liable to pollution. I furnished a report to the District Committee of the inadequacy of the present supply in many places, and of the total want in others; and I [Page] 9 also visited the gathering ground of the Forest Burn, in Lanarkshire, where the Airdrie and Coat- bridge Water Company proposed increasing their supply. The gathering ground I consider would suit admirably for Linlithgowshire. The Bill promoted by the Airdrie and Coat- bridge Company passed the Committee of the House of Commons; but was successfully resisted in Committee in the House of Lords by the County of Linlithgow. Proposed Water Scheme for Bathgate District. It is this source that is now proposed for the supply of the whole of the BATHGATE DISTRICT. The District Committee having received a report from Messrs. Leslie & Reid, Engineers, on the practicability of the scheme, recently passed a resolution recommending to the County Council that the 'Public Health (Scotland) Act, 1891' be adopted, and that application be made in terms of the said Act to the County Council, to determine that the areas embraced in the Special Water Districts at Uphall and Broxburn - at Bridgend and at East Whitburn - shall cease to exist as Special Water Supply Districts. After difficulties in connection with procedure were aranged, the County Council finally approved of the scheme, and application was made to the Secretary for Scotland for a Provisional Order to enable the carrying of it out. It is estimated that the population in the BATHGATE DISTRICT requiring water, - excluding the Burgh of Bathgate, but including Armadale
HH62/2/LINLIT/11 [Page] 10 Burgh, which is in great want, - is over 16,000. Thirty gallons per person would be, roughly, 500,000 gallons as the minimum daily supply. As it is necessary to keep in mind that we have an increasing population, the Committee have felt justified in recommending a scheme for double this amount, or 1,000,000 gallons daily. The total cost of such a scheme, including initial cost of reservoirs and pipes, cost of land, Parliamentary expenses, and absorption of existing Special Water Supply Districts, is £48,300, which it is proposed shall be borrowed by way of annuity repayable, say, in thirty years. This means an annual payment of about £3000 a year. The Committee have applications from public works to furnish 400,000 gallons daily per diem for trade purposes, and for which they expect 4d. per 1000 gallons. This would realize a revenue of £2000 a year, leaving £1000 to be rated for. A Public Rate of 1/2d., and a Domestic Rate of 6d. is calculated to meet this; or a Domestic Rate of 8d., and no Public Rate at all. II. POLUTION OF THE RIVER ALMOND. The Pollutions of the River Almond, and how they may be prevented. In the month of June, the County Clerk intimated that arrangements were arrived at with Mid-Lothian and Lanark, to obtain from the respective District Committees full and ex- haustive reports by their Medical Officers and Sanitary Inspectors on the particular sources of [Page] 11 pollution of the River Almond in each District of each County, and of the remedies they would suggest in each case. In September I was able to issue my Report, which was as follows:- (The annexed Plan is reduced from the Original in the Report.) "At the request of the Counties of Edinburgh and Linlithgow, I have this summer examined the Sources of Pollution of the River Almond, with the view of suggesting means of remedy. The river flows through three Counties. In my investigation in part of the County of Lanark I was accompanied by Colonel Menzies of Viewfield; Dr. McLintock, Medical Officer; and by Mr. Dobson, Sanitary Inspector. In West Lothian and Mid-Lothian I was assisted by a report by Mr. Frew, Sanitary Inspector for the County of Linlithgow, and by information furnished by the constabulary, through the kindness of Colonel Borthwick. In Midlothian, Mr. Lindsay, Sanitary Inspector, visited along with me most of the places involved in the inquiry. I have, at the outset, to state that there may be a number of minor pollutions which have escaped my notice, and perhaps a few of some importance, but I have investigated all those I could hear of which materially contributed to the impurities in the river. I may here add that I experienced a little difficulty at some works, from having to search out sources of pollution which I believed existed, but were denied by those in charge. It is thus possible that the total pollutions from several works are understated.
HH62/2/LINLIT/13 [Page] 12 The River Almond has its origin in the Parish of Shotts, Mid Ward of Lanarkshire. Formed by the junction of two small streams, at a point about a quarter of a mile east of Batten, the river has but a very short course in that county - not more than two miles, or three miles if Hassockrig Burn is included. Its length through Linlithgowshire and Mid-Lothian down to the sea, following the windings of the stream, is, roughly, twenty-eight miles. Eight of these lie wholly within Linlithgowshire, and twenty form the boundary between the two counties. The total length of the river from the junction of its two sources is thus about thirty miles. From the junction of its two sources to its exit point at the sea, as the crow flies, is twenty-three miles. The general direction of the flow of the river is north-easterly. The water along its whole course has an ochry colour. Fish cannot live in it. Horses, cattle, and sheep drink sparingly of it, if at all, and for industrial purposes it is almost useless on account of its destructive effects upon boilers. The How Burn, a tributary, rises in Lanarkshire, but does not flow into the Almond until it reaches Linlithgowshire. The polluting tributaries in Lanarkshire are Has- sockrig, one of its sources, and a burn from Benhar: those in Linlithgowshire are, on the north, How Burn, Loch Shotts Burn, Caw Burn, Beuch Burn, Broxburn, and Ecclesmachan or Niddry Burn; and on the south, the Breich Water, which receives from the north, Meadowfoot Burn, Fauldhouse Burn, and Crofthead Burn: while those in Edinburghshire are the Breich Water receiving Muldron Burn, the Longhill or [Page] 13 West Calder Burn, Harwood Burn, Linnhouse Water, East Calder Burn, and Gogar Burn. Any other pollutions enter the Almond directly. The actual situation of the source of each pollution is indicated in the accompanying Plan (drawn 1 inch to the mile) by discs, marked in arithmetical pro- gression from west to east, as the river is followed downwards. On referring to the numbers in this Report while perusing the Plan, the nature of at least the principal pollutions is seen. These numbers, with the main deleterious contribu- tions, are as follows:- No. 1. Wester Hassockrig Colliery - Dross washing. - Two small tanks are used with the object of favouring precipitation, but these are practically useless. No. 2. Messrs. R. Addie & Sons' No. 2. Ironstone Pit. - Irony water from Pit and 'blaes' heaps. No. 3. Benhar Company's Pit - situated near to Addie's No. 3 Pit. - Irony water pumped from this pit is allowed to settle in a tank before being discharged. This arrange- ment has, however, not materially lessened the pollution of the river. No. 4. Messrs. R. Addie & Sons' Ironstone Pit, No. 3. - From this pit, now simply used as a pumping station, 528,000 gallons of irony water are thrown out daily (the figures have been furnished me by the owners). There is, besides, soakage of irony water from the old bings.
HH62/2/LINLIT/15 [Page] 14 No. 5. Benhar "Rows" sewage. No. 6. Eastfield 'blaes' soakage. - This goes to the How Burn. No. 7. Harthill No. 1 Pit - 'Blaes' soakage. No. 8. Harthill sewage, flowing to How Burn. No. 9. Westrig Colliery - Dross washing. - Here, as at Wester Hassockrig, tanks prove quite inadequate, and the wash passes into the How Burn. No. 10. Dixon's No. 13 Ironstone Pit. - No water is at present being pumped to the surface. There is a small soakage from bings. No. 11. Dixon's 'blaes' heaps. - These contribute irony water flowing into Fauldhouse Burn. No. 12. Southrig Colliery - Dross washing. - Here the wash is allowed to flow out over a small bit of moor before discharging into How Burn. This has practically no effect in reducing the pollution. No. 13. West Lothian Oil Company's Works. - The arrangements here for purifying the effluent are of the most primitive kind, and quite inadequate. Water from the separators flows into Fauldhouse Burn. No. 14. Muldron Iron Mines (disused). - Irony water is discharged in considerable amount from the old workings. No. 15. Crofthead Ironstone Pits, Nos. 1 and 5. - These throw out 360,000 gallons of irony water in twenty-four hours. (The figures are furnished me by Mr. Thornton, the owner.) The water, when pumped, has a [Page] 15 muddy, yellow look, and unlike that from Addie's No. 3 Pit, which comes from the mine perfectly clear in colour. It flows into Crofthead Burn. There is also here some bing soakage. No. 16. Fauldhouse sewage. No. 17. Crofthead sewage. No. 18. Whitburn sewage. No. 19. Blackburn sewage. No. 20. Addiewell 'Rows' sewage. No. 21. Addiewell Works, and some outside surface drainage and bing soakage. - Effluent from separators is restricted as to degree of impurity. No. 22. Breich Oil Works. - Tarry matters and bing soakage find their way to the river. No. 23. The Deans Oil Works (Crude). - Tarry matters, etc., are conveyed to the river by the Loch Shotts Burn. No. 24. West Calder sewage. No. 25. Gavieside sewage. No. 26. Hermand Oil Works. - Surplus effluent not used in cooling shale escapes to Harwood Burn. There is likewise bing soakage. No. 27. Hermand 'Rows' sewage. No. 28. Livingstone Village sewage. No. 29. Bell's Quarry sewage. No. 30. Inveralmond Cottages sewage. - Very small. No. 31. Uphall Village sewage. No. 32. Uphall Works 'Rows' sewage - falling into Beuch Burn.
HH62/2/LINLIT/16 [Page] 16 No. 33. Uphall Works. - Surface drainage and bing soakage escape into Beuch Burn. No. 34. Pumpherston North 'Rows' sewage. - This, by mistake, has been laid down in the Plan. Irrigation of this sewage is satisfactorily effected. No. 35. Pumpherston South 'Rows' sewage. - This goes directly to the Almond. No. 36. The Holmes Oil Works. - Tarry matters and soakage from bings flow into Beuch Burn. No. 37. Bonemill Drainage. No. 38. Pumpherston Oil Works and Bings. - Pollutions flow in two directions: (a) directly to the Almond; (b) into Caw Burn. The latter burn, some distance from the works, to all appearance is pure, but on analysis it yields about 450 grains of solids per galllon. Before receiving pollution, the amount of solids is under 30 grains. There is here, as in the other works, bing soakage. No. 39. Midcalder sewage. - Amount considerable. No. 40. Oakbank Oil Works and Bings. - Over 200,000 gallons of water (figures sup- plied me by the Company), strongly tainted with all the usual pollutions of such works, are filtered through an old bing, and pass into the Linnhouse Burn daily. No. 41. Oakbank 'Rows' sewage. No. 42. Broxburn Town Sewage. - This is an important pollution. [Map inserted]
HH62/2/LINLIT/17 [Page] 17 No. 43. Hopetoun or Niddry Oil Works and Bings. - Dirty water pumped on to bings. Surface drainage and bings soakage partly flow into a disused pit, and partly go into Ecclesmachan Burn. No. 44. Broxburn Oil Works and Bings. - Outside surface drainage and bing soakage are here apparently the only noxious in- gredients escaping. No. 45. East Calder sewage. No. 46. Hopetoun 'Rows' or Niddry sewage. No. 47. Camps Limestone Quarries. - From these quarries a great quantity of water is pumped. It contains a large amount of mineral matters in suspension when work- ing operations are being carried on, but comes out perfectly clear on Sundays, when no men are at work below. No. 48. Kirkliston Village sewage. From the above, it will be noticed that Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 12 are situated in Lanarkshire; Nos. 10, 11, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 22, 23, 28, 31, 32, 33, 36, 37, 42, 43, 44, 46, and 48 in West Lothian; and Nos. 14, 20, 21, 24, 25, 26, 27, 29, 30, 34, 35, 38, 39, 40, 41, 45, and 47 in Mid-Lothian. Further, it will be seen that all the pollutions come under one of five classes, namely:- 1. Sewage. 2. The washing of coal dross. 3. Limestone mining. 4. The manufacture of paraffin oil. 5. Ironstone mining. These I shall now discuss in their order.
HH62/2/LINLIT/19 [Page] 18 SEWAGE POLLUTION. From the nature of the composition of sewage, it rapidly oxidises on entering a stream, the water of which, on running some distance, is rendered com- paratively pure, excepting for potable purposes, when there is always danger from the spores of disease germs. When, however, large quantities enter from villages, some form of sewage irrigation is called for. This can be effected in most cases of sewage drainage at present flowing into the river or its tributaries. POLLUTION FROM THE WASHING OF COAL DROSS. The minute division of suspended particles, and their lightness, render cleansing of 'gum' wash only possible by one means. A practical demonstration of how this may be effected can be seen at Woodend Colliery, near Armadale, where there is a very large wash pumped into tanks dug in the refuse bings, and regularly scraped out to prevent clogging. (I may mention that the bings are largely made up of coke refuse.) By this simple means the filtrate oozes out at the bottom of the bings perfectly clear. Filtration then, after some fashion, is the remedy for this pollution. POLLUTION FROM LIMESTONE MINING. This source of pollution may be very easily pre- vented by the construction of a settling pond. The suspended matter is heavy, and settles rapidly. POLLUTION FROM PARAFFIN OIL WORKS. The solid matters at such works which are liable to pollute streams are mainly - (1) Tarry matters, the cleansings of plant - pipes, etc. [Page] 19 (2) Vitriol tar, the cleansings of the oils treated with sulphuric acid. (3) Soda tar, the cleansings of the oils treated with caustic soda. The vitriol tar is washed with hot water to secure the vitriol for further use, and the tar along with the soda tar is in most works burned, and in some works, as that of Broxburn, utilised as fuel by being blown into the furnaces along with steam. This satisfac- torily disposes of the bulk of such matter, although small quantities in some works often escape and find their way into streams. The water at a Paraffin Oil Work, in which crude oil, sulphate of ammonia, naptha, burning and lubri- cating oils, paraffin and paraffin candles are manufac- tured, may be stated to be as follows:- (1) Clean water used in the boilers for gener- ating steam. (2) Water resulting from condensation of steam employed: (a) In the various distillations of the oils, and afterwards separated by Separators; and (b) In the cleansing of naptha from melted paraffin in the process of refining the latter. This water is a comparatively small quantity. (3) Water manufactured in the process of de- structive distillation of the shale, amount- ing to about 30 to 40 gallons per ton of shale used - which water, plus water (other 30 to 40 gallons per ton of shale) resulting from condensation of the steam blown into the shale in the retorts and
HH62/2/LINLIT/21 [Page] 20 escaping decomposition, is separated from the crude oil by Separators, which allow the oil to float and pass off above, and the water to be drawn off from below. This water is afterwards exhausted of its ammonia by heat, and the ammonia is recovered by sulphuric acid. (4) Water used for condensing the oil vapours, and which may either be a pure water such as (1), or dirty water of the works cooled in cooling ponds for the purpose. (5) Water used for cooling the paraffin in the candle moulds, in candle making. (6) Water employed in dissolving the caustic soda used in refining, and afterwards separated from the oil. (7) Water used for washing out the vitriol from the vitriol tar, and afterwards separated from the vitriol. (8) Surface drainage water - (a) From rain, leakages in plant, spilling of fluids, etc. (b) From refuse bings. In a work where the water supply is plentiful, perhaps the simplest and cheapest method of dis- posing of the water which has been used in the manufacturing processes, and of that derived from the shale, both of which are highly impregnated with various chemical products and tarry matters, is to let it run into the nearest stream - of course polluting it. This is practically how some of the works solve the question of their liquid, if not solid refuse disposal. At one work I visited, the whole of the water - excepting a quantity pumped on to the spent shale [Page] 21 bing for cooling - is filtered through an old refuse bing, and falls into an adjoining burn. The Manager informed me that there they have a plentiful water supply, and that about 300,000 gallons of water pass into the works daily. About three-fourths of this quantity pass out, carrying with it the various impurities. In some works a portion of the dirty water is passed to a pond, through which the truck loads of how spent shale are drawn to be cooled; or, as at Champfleurie, near Linlithgow (not in the Almond district), an automatic arrangement may be put in operation, whereby a quantity of dirty water falls upon each hot shale truck on its passage to the bing. In both of these ways the water is got rid of by rapid evaporation. The former method is to be seen at Addiewell, although here water from the separators (restricted, however, as to degree of impurity) goes out from the work, and ultimately reaches the Almond. In works of recent construction the whole of the dirty water is used up, and almost nothing escapes into the streams, except occasional surface drainage. As examples of such works, we have Champfleurie and Broxburn. In these works the tarry matters are consumed as fuel, and the dirty water is partly evaporated in slaking hot shale, and partly collected to cooling ponds to be cooled down, and used over and over again for the condensers. In none of the works have I have seen any method of catching bing drainage and outside surface drainage, and satisfac- torily disposing of them. But it is to be noted that works' surface drainage, in works collecting their ordinary surface drainage to a dirty water tank,
HH62/2/LINLIT/23 [Page] 22 mainly goes into streams in any quantity when they are in flood, and the impurities are at once largely diluted. This cannot be said of bing soakage, which might, by the way, be drained to catch pits, and pumped to the dirty water tank. But bing soakage need not pollute to any great extent, if dirty water be not pumped on to the bings, as at some works. The degree of pollution of the water of any stream by a paraffin oil work varies according to the size of the stream, but mainly, of course, to the method in use in disposing of the dirty water and tarry refuse. At one small crude work which I examined, the dirty water pond contents were supposed to be pumped on to the refuse bing, but at the time of my visit the pumping gear was all out of order, and apparently had not been used for some time, and evidence was clear to me that the contents were let off by a pipe leading into a ditch, which showed unequivocal signs of such method having been adopted. Now, can this pollution of the Almond and its tributaries by paraffin oil works be completely pre- vented, or can it, at all events, be minimised at com- paratively little cost to such an extent as to allow of the streams to remain so pure that no offensive smell or taste is perceptible in their waters? I think both questions can be answered in the affirmative, for we at least have examples pointing so far to both being possible. If it were not for the bing drainage and the surface drainage (entering, as a rule, when streams are in flood, and therefore less harmful), such a work as Champfleurie, near Linlithgow (which, by the way, is out of the district of the present inquiry), shows us there is no need to pass dirty water from a work. [Page] 23 Again, we have in Addiewell an example of what can be done by care, watchfulness, and a sufficient number of good separators, in keeping a large effluent from appreciably polluting the streams into which it flows. The effluent from Addiewell Works, by an order of the Court of Session made some fourteen years ago, must be of a certain standard of purity. This standard, which has been kindly forwarded me by Mr. Fyfe, managing director, is as follows:- 'The discharge into the Breich Water and the Longhill Burn shall, on analysis and calculation, to the imperial gallon not exceed the following proportions:- -- Discharge into Breich Water. -- Discharge into Longhill Burn. Matter in solution, -- 25 grains. -- 100 grains. Matter in suspension, -- 10 grains. -- 25 grains, The discharge to be neutral, or, if acid, then the acidity is not to exceed, when reckoned as sul- phuric anhydride, -- 5 grains. -- 5 grains. Paraffin products as determined - (1) From discharge alone, (2) From the residue of 1 with soda, -- Distillate added to fifty (3) From the residue of 2 with -- ounces of ordinary Edinburgh sulphuric acid by distil- -- water shall not render the lation of one ounce by -- latter unpalatable or unfit for measure in each trial, -- primary purposes.' from twenty ounces by measure of original dis- charge, I drank the water of Longhill Burn, into which Addiewell effluent flows, and failed to find any smell with it, or unpalatable taste. What is done in this respect at Addiewell can undoubtedly be done at other works. I am therefore of opinion that, if the 'best practi- cable and reasonably available means' be employed to prevent pollution from paraffin oil works, they shall prove successful.
HH62/2/LINLIT/25 [Page] 24 POLLUTION FROM IRONSTONE MINING. There are two classes of water from ironstone workings:- (1) Water pumped from the mine, which comes up either almost perfectly clear, as at Addie's No. 3 Pit in Lanarkshire, or with a muddy like appearance, as at Crofthead Pit, where it has already, before pumping, been subjected to conditions favouring precipitation of some of its iron which appears in suspension. (2) Refuse bing soakage, which is not very large in quantity, but extremely rich in iron salts, and very acid in reaction. The first class (1), or pumped water, is highly charged with ferrous salts. On exposure to air and motion, iron is precipitated partly as a carbonate and partly as a hydrated oxide, the water assumes an ochry hue, and the irony deposit coats the stones and bottom of the river all along its course. The water of the other class (2), or bing soakage, is clear, and of a rich mahogany tint, and holds its iron almost wholly in solution, and mainly as ferric salts. I made a number of experiments with these waters to find some easy method of purifying them. The pumped water, clear on coming out of the pit, became opaque in an hour. On standing 48 hours, a quantity of its iron was deposited, but it still re- mained somewhat opaque, and distinctly irony. On standing a week, the water became perfectly clear, but iron in solution was in considerable quantity. On standing two weeks, there still remained a large amount of iron in solution. [Page] 25 The bing water underwent no change on standing, as was to be expected. By adding 2 drachms of freshly slaked lime to 1 gallon of the pumped water which had stood for 48 hours, and shaking, a complete precipitation was effected in less than 10 minutes, leaving a clear water, free of even the faintest trace of iron. A larger quantity than 2 drachms was required 24 hours earlier. The addition of 10 drachms to 1 gallon of the bing soakage, and shaking, effected as complete purification and decolourisation in the same time as 2 drachms did with the other. A point of great practical importance is this, that unless lime is added in sufficient quantity to cause marked alkalinity, the precipitate is slow in falling; but if it be added in sufficient quantity, the water in a few minutes is rendered absolutely free of iron. Another point of equal importance is the condition in which the lime is when added. If freshly burned limestone be used, even in a comparatively fine state of division, a quantity equal to three times the weight of the freshly slaked lime is required to give as satis- factory results in the same space of time. The reason of this is that the presence of too much water pre- vents the lime assuming that peculiar condition known as slaked lime, in which the stone falls to an almost impalpable powder, exposing an enormous surface to act quickly in producing alkalinity. Care, therefore, in properly slaking is a desideratum. Agitating at the moment when added is, of course, desirable. In working with large quantities of water, perhaps a good plan might be to add milk of lime, which is simply properly slaked lime well stirred with water; or to have recourse to some method of
HH62/2/LINLIT/27 [Page] 26 churning the slaked lime with the irony water at the moment of its addition. I have specially laid stress on the words freshly slaked, for slaked lime rapidly becomes carbonated from exposure to the air. In suggesting a way of preventing pollution of the Almond from ironstone water, I would then point out that for the pumped water, which, from its quantity, is the only difficult one to cope with, a well-arranged system of settling tanks, with means of thoroughly mixing freshly and properly prepared slaked lime with the water would effectively secure the desired end. Cleansing of such tanks would require careful attention, and the removal of the enormous quantity of sludge, much labour. The bing water can be collected by well planned drains, and similarly treated. Its very small quantity offers no difficulty. I am thus of opinion that by using the means above indicated this pollution of the Almond by irony water, and which ranks about first of all its pollutions, can undoubtedly be wholly prevented, and dealt with in a thoroughly satisfactory manner. There still remains the question:- Is this means of prevention in the meaning of the 'Rivers Pollution Act' a means that can be considered a practicable and reasonably available one? I do not know how ironstone mining pays in this district, but I fear that, were efficient measures to be employed in purifying the pumped water from these ironstone workings, all profits would at once disappear. If this be so, the process proposed cannot be said to be a practicable one as far as the owners of these pits are concerned. But considering the works are so very few - some three pits altogether now being carried on - is it not worth the while of the riparian proprietors below [Page] 27 these pumpings to aid the ironstone masters in getting rid of a pollution which poisons the stream from its fountain-head to its exit at the sea, and spoils the amenity of the whole district through which it flows?" Since the above Report was sent in I have ascertained that mining for ironstone has been given up, and that these pits from which the polluting iron water comes are worked simply for the coal they contain, one being used as a pumping station only. It is thus the one industry - coal mining - that would be slightly interfered with should these pits cease operations. The Joint Committee of the Districts of the Counties interested are now taking advice of Counsel, so as to be fully satisfied of the extent of their powers, and upon receipt of which some definite line of action may be expected to follow. Dwelling-houses : Their condition might be slowly made satisfactory by acquiring Legislative Powers. With regard to the Sanitary condition of Dwelling-houses, I have the same suggestion to make as that given in my reports for the other Counties of Mid-Lothian and Peebles, namely, that to secure healthy houses such legislative powers are necessary as shall enable Local Authorities to prohibit occupation of all houses erected after a certain date until they are certi- fied to the Local Authority as being properly drained, substantially built, and with the requi- site conveniences of an approved kind. This is the only way, though a very slow one, of ultimately having our dwelling-houses as they should be.
HH62/2/LINLIT/29 [Page] 28 The wells in connection with most dwelling- houses in the County, so far as I have been able to investigate, are frequently badly placed and almost invariably fed by surface drains. Special Complaints. In July a Memorial, signed by 20 landlords and farmers, complaining of the smoke caused by Philpstoun and Champfleurie Works as being a nuisance, was sent to the Linlithgow District Committee, who handed it to me for a report. I was unable to find that a nuisance existed within the meaning of the Public Health Act, and this was intimated to the Memorialists. Bake-houses : Power for Local Authorities to make Bye-Laws much required. I inspected the Bake-houses of the County, and found that in LINLITHGOW DISTRICT (outside the Burghs) there are two bake-houses, and these are in the village of Kirkliston. Neither of them is satisfactory. In BATHGATE DISTRICT (outside the Burghs) there are three Co-operative Society bake-houses and five private. The Society bake-houses are much superior to the private, but they are not what they ought to be. One small bake-house in Broxburn is very dirty and without ventilation, and I intend to try to get it closed as soon as possible. No proceedings have been taken against any of these bake-houses, but I would here remark that in consequence of the inadequate provisions in the Statute it would be most desirable to obtain legislative powers for Local Authorities to make Bye-Laws for bake-houses, as it seems to me that this method would be the simplest and most satis- [Page] 29 factory way of securing the cleanliness and care so essential in conducting the manufacture of so important a food supply as bread. Some of these bake-houses are built in the same block with the dwelling-houses, and consequently should such a disease as scarlet fever occur in the dwelling-house most serious contamination of bread might arise, especially when the disease is so slight as not to necessitate the calling in of a medical attendant, and when of course notification of the disease would almost certainly not be made. Common Lodging-houses. There are no Common Lodging-houses in the LINLITHGOW DISTRICT outside the Burghs, but in BATHGATE DISTRICT there are two on a large scale. One of these is in Uphall, the other in Broxburn. Both are places that should never have been licensed, for they are quite unsuited for the purpose. There is a smaller Lodging-house at Fauldhouse, for 16 lodgers, which I have not yet seen. The Hospitals in the County in which the Local Authorities are interested are in LINLITH- GOW DISTRICT, - Dalmeny Hospital, which is a small cottage, now occupied as a dwelling-house, and Bo'ness Hospital, a badly arranged, insanitary, and altogether objectionable building. Into the latter one patient was sent from the County suffering from typhoid fever. I have strongly advised the Local Authority to lose no time in acquiring adequate and suitable Hospital accommodation. In BATHGATE DISTRICT there are Drumshore-
HH62/2/LINLIT/31 [Page] 30 Hospital Accommodation. land and Broxburn Hospitals. The former is a Combination Hospital, and lies at the extreme end of the County, and is only suitable for that neighbourhood and for the adjoining district of Mid-Lothian which shares it. The latter was a presentation Hospital originally meant for Brox- burn alone. Its management is now under the District Committee. Three patients have been sent into it during the year. These Hospitals are satisfactory, but as they are situated at the extreme end of the District, I have laid before the District Committee a recommendation that a suitable Hospital should be erected in the neighbourhood of Bathgate. If the Burghs of Bathgate, Armadale, and Whitburn join with the County, there could be erected at comparatively small cost to the District sufficient accommodation for infectious diseases. Adoption of Notification of Infectious Diseases Act. I have urged upon the Districts the adoption of the Notification of Infectious Diseases Act. LINLITHGOW DISTRICT has already adopted it, and it came into operation on the 1st of January 1892. BATHGATE DISTRICT is on the eve of adopting it. Infectious Diseases in the County. In consequence of the Notification Act not having been in force during the year, I cannot say exactly what amount of disease of the infectious class has prevailed; however, I am enabled to state through the kindness of the medical practitioners of the County, that the general epidemic of influenza occurred in the [Page] 31 months of October, November, and December, and was accompanied, especially latterly, by lung affections. Whooping-cough was prevalent during the first half of the year in Uphall parish; a few fatal cases of diphtheria occurred in the Uphall parish and neighbourhood of Whitburn; and a few cases of scarlet fever were seen in Broxburn, Kirkliston, Torpichen, and neighbourhood of Bathgate. Typhoid fever prevailed at Woodend and at the Kinneil Company's Rows near Bo'ness. Births and Deaths for the year unascertained. I regret exceedingly that I cannot fill up the tabular form supplied by you to the District Clerks and forwarded me, in consequence of being unable to procure registration returns complete. The District of Bathgate tried a course different to that used by myself in the other Districts of the various Counties to secure these returns, - namely, through the Parochial Boards, - but with the result that I have not received a single extract. I trust by another year some means of securing these necessary facts may be found. I have the honour to be, MY LORDS AND GENTLEMEN, Your obedient Servant, W. J. BROCK, D.Sc., Medical Officer of Health for Mid-Lothian, West Lothian, and Peeblesshire. COUNTY ROOMS, EDINBURGH, January 1892.