This Day in Norwood History-February 5, 1904-Dr. Norton Discusses Need For Sewerage and a New Water Supply.

There is no doubt that the town is much better prepared to act on the subject of sewerage than it was a few years ago. One finds the public attitude toward the matter considerably changed. Politics and other things seem to have interfered with the town’s taking definite action on tho sewerage proposition two or three years ago. Besides the whole thing was new to the average voter and probably the fact that a sewerage system would prove in the long run decidedly less expensive than the present cesspool system was not very strongly brought out.

Dr. E. C. Norton, who was one of the most prominent figures in the former fight for sewerage in this town was interviewed this week by an Advertiser man in regard to his present views on thoe sewerage matter.

Dr. Norton expressed his surprise at some of the statements made by Dr. H. Leon Steele in his remarks on sewerage at the meeting of the Norwood Business Association last Tuesday evening.

Dr. Stceele had stated that the conditions were different hero from those in Franklin. Dr. Norton said that this might be in a measure true. He was not very familiar with Franklin and its geography. What he did take exception to was Dr. Steele’s statement that Norwood could not adopt the filter bed system and expect to drain its sewage by the force of gravity.

And that was what he did say and what he did understand of the matter was it?” said the reporter.

“Yes, sir, I talked with him after the meeting was over. He seemed to think that we could only introduce sewerage in connection with an expensive pumping system. What surprised me was that he did not appear to at all understand the report made by the towns’ former sewerage committee of which I was a member. It was distinctly stated in that report that tho sewerage from the more thickly settled portions of the town could be conveyed to the filter beds by gravity without any pumping at all.”

And it was claimed that for such reasons, the town was advantageously situated for the introduction of sewerage wasn’t it?” said the reporter.

“Yes, that was of the principal points I wish to make, as did the other members of the committee. We tried make it strong, and I think we made it clear. It was a surprise to me that Dr. Steele did not understand it, and it led me to doubt whether he had ever read our report. If he had read it and understood it, it would seem that he had forgotten it.” “I studied this matter very thoroughly,” said Dr. Norton,” “before the question of sewerage overcame before the town for discussion. I got hold of a book written by one of the country’s greatest exports on the subject of sewerage. I read the book from A to Z and from cover to cover. When the fight for sewerage came up in town Ï thought myself ready to take up further study of the question in an intelligent manner. We found, as I have said, that the larger portions of the thickly settled districts of the town were well adapted to the introduction of sewerage. The parts of town where the first sower districts would be installed are located on the South side of a hill where sewage can be transported by the force of gravity. It would be some years before sewer districts would be created in parts of town where pumping will be needed. One of these districts is around Neponsofc street and Buttermilk plain where it may be many years before sewerage is introduced, possibly not in your lifetime or mine. The other district is tho flat country between Dean street and George Morse’s hill and it may be some years before sewerage is introduced there.”

“Another important matter,” said Dr. Norton, “is the question of the town’s water supply. We have been warned by the State Board of Health that there is some danger of Flax pond giving out. It is especially likely to give out if we have at any time two dry seasons in succession. A water famine is not a pleasant thing to contemplate. The State Board of Health lias shown us where we can go to secure another water supply and I believe that stops can be taken toward gradually getting possession of this water supply without serious expense to the town. It has boon1 shown where we can get artesian wells. Tiiis is in or near Purgatory. swamp. The soil is all right and the water from the driven wells is bound to be good. By constructing a pumping station in the neighborhood, and putting in water mains from the vicinity of Peter Fisher’s plant to Prospect street. In taking water from underground a reservoir will have to be used and the present reservoir can be utilized.

” Another point. While we do use Flax pond and we may still have to use it for a number of years, the town should purchase about 150 feet of shoreland around the pond in order that the pond may be protected by a proper fence from animals and human trespassers. As it is now, cows are apt to get into the pond and deposit excrement and fecal matter. In spite of posted signs and precautions by the proper authorities, we know that people are likely to go and do go once in a while to Flax pond to bathe and fish. A stout wire fence should be built sufficiently lush to protect the pond from all kinds of trespassing from animals or from people.”

Dr. Norton said he did not think the water from Flax pond was unhealthy, nor that it laid been unhealthy over in previous years when it had given out a bad odor. Water might be full of organic matter and germs and decidedly injurious while tasting well and smelling well. What had caused the water to have a peculiar odor and sometimes a peculiar taste a few years ago was the presence of a certain form of animalculum, creatures partly animal and partly vegetable, which propagated themselves by division, or fission as biologists called it. These creatures excreted a kind of essential oil which gave the water a sort of fishy smell and taste. He thought that the water had been free from this trouble for several years past. The soapy appearance of the water had nothing to do with the presence of this oil, but was simply caused by the water being charged with air in pumping. He did not think, if the pond were properly protected from trespassers by a fence, that there was anything unhealthy or dangerous in the use of the water. The town simply needed a water supply because the old present supply stood in some danger of giviug out.

“I have several times called the attention of members of the water board to these matters,” said Dr. Norton, “but they have not seemed to pay much attention to my suggestions. What the town ought to do as soon as possible is to buy tho laud over hore in tho Purgatory neighborhood and get to work driving those wells. The work could be done gradually and the wells sealed up after being opened.

I believe a sufficient number of acres should be bought and that on this land wells could gradually be driven which would in any case of emergency give the town a water supply for a number of years.

“Do you wish these statements to appear as coming from you, doctor?” said the reporter.

“Yes, certainly,’’ said the doctor, “I consider these matters are of the greatest importance to the town. I am perfectly willing to open the discussion of them and am ready to debate the points I have stated with any one.”

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