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HH62/2/ROSS/11

Transcription

[Page] 10

collected in a proper midden, well cemented and kept dry
until it could be carted off and applied to the arable ground.
If possible, where there is no W.C. every house should possess
a privy - in connection with the midden as a rule, so situated
as not to be dangerous to the health of the owner or his
neighbours.

Where new houses are to be built, the site should be dry,
well exposed to the sun and air, and yet, if possible, rather
sheltered from north and west winds. Where there are say
over fifty houses together constituting a hamlet or village, some
organised means of dealing with refuse requires to be arranged
for - in other words, there should be a public scavenger.
Unfortunately in the meantime there is no power given even
to Water and Drainage Districts to employ such a useful man.
The Medical Officers of Health Association lately sent a
deputation to the Lord-Advocate on this subject and it is to
be hoped legislation will be passed enabling such sub-Districts
to carry out so highly necessary a means of protecting the
public health. I consider good scavenging in many escas
would save costly schemes of underground drains and sewers -
schemes not only expensive but entailing large and free
supplies of what is not always easy to be got, water. On one
matter I consider it wisest to be quite explicit. I do not
approve of public privies in villages such as Ullapool. They
only meet the wants of one third of the population, and make
no account of the slops and other refuse from the house. I
consider a small water-tight midden with its privy, if well
situated at a little distance from the house and properly and
periodically cleared out to the fields, not at all objectionable
on the score of public health.

Our third Division is the present condition of the Water
Supply and how to amend it.
That water is a common vehicle for carrying poisonous
matter into the human system all sanitarians allow and
deplore. The connection between Cholera, Typhoid Fever,
and fouled drinking water has been proved over and over
again. Not that it follows that this is the only means of
access into the body of these terrible plagues. We shall

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probably have to show that the last mentioned must be
hunted for in other quarters than wells, if we wish to stamp
it out altogether and in every instance. Yet water, it
almost goes without saying, like air, must be pure for health.
Long acquaintance and much study of this question has con-
vinced me that a great deal of the water drunk in the County
is impure, or at least liable to be contaminated at any moment,
and specially on the breaking up of frost or drought followed
by much fall of rain. Most of the common wells are recep-
tacles for merely surface water, liable to have all sorts of dirt
and decaying substances washed into them, and very often
situated on the brink of a burn, ready to be overflowed by the
first spate. Where spring or loch, or river water, cannot be
procured, there is no difficulty in protecting such wells by a
cover and ring of cement, the latter two feet at least in depth,
so as to secure that extent of filtering medium outside, and
with a pump fixed above for drawing the water and preventing
its being dirtied by pails left carelessly about. Villages and
hamlets should, if possible, and the expense be not too great,
set agoing a Water District, with the sanction of the District
Committees, and provide themselves with water from pipes.
In considering the increase to their rates, they should allow
for the saving of trouble in having water brought into their
houses or near them, instead of having to be carried for some
distance. I am not an advocate for the Districts taking
burdens upon their constituents at large for such purposes.
The work should be done locally; and the superiors whose feus
such amenities improve, ought to help freely - as so many
proprietors have already so generously done. We, as guardians
of the Public Health, will not rest content until every house-
holder has a fair supply of unchallengeable water brought as
near his door as possible - only every one interested must
lend a helping hand in providing what is, next to food and air,
so necessary an element of health.

Our fourth head is the state of the Houses of the Poorer
Class, and especially of those of the labouring portion of the
population. This may be described, after roads and bridges,
as the question of the hour. A comfortable healthy living
house will tempt many a labouring man to stick to the country

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