"The Old Story Again"
October 12, 1886
Newark Evening News
"The Old Story Again"
How the Passaic is Defiled.
The Board of Pollution Listens to a Startling Report and then Names the Inspector's Boat and Decides to Bay Badges for Employees. There were just enough members of the Board of Pollution present yesterday afternoon to constitute a quorum. President Seymour called the meeting to order and Mears, Hogan, Kern and Jordan responded to the roll call. Secretary Greathead read a letter from Professor Austin, accepting the position of chemist to the board. President Seymour suggested that Professor Leeds would like to appear before the board and explain how it happened that the analyses were not made by his assistants.
Commissioner Kern said that the board was under no obligations to Professor Leeds. He had by neglecting to keep his promise placed the board in a bad light before the public, and now that they had another chemist they had no further use for Professor Leeds. A motion to dismiss Mr. Leeds was unanimously carried. Professor Austin was present, and when called upon for a report said that he had analyzed twelve of the thirty samples sent him and would prefer not to make any report until his analysis of all the samples was complete.
River Inspector Leak presented his monthly written report, in which he told how many dead dogs, cats, goats and geese he had found in the river. He reported that he had sent thirty-six samples of water to Professor Austin. The report read as follows:
During the past month Second River has been in bad condition, caused, in my opinion, by the numerous industries along the stream as far north as Montclair. At Bloomfield there are several hat factories which empty their wash in the stream, thereby discoloring the water. At Soho Hendricks Brothers have a rolling copper mill. The water at that point is discolored, though they claim that it is not any fault of theirs, as they have no refuse to run anywhere. The pond above them has a dirty appearance. Milkie's factory discharges a very bad discolored refuse into the river - they claim that the discharge is not in any way detrimental to the water. The pond above them has a very dirty appearance.
Wholesale Pollution Going On.
The proprietors of Moffatt's copper mill further north, say that nothing of a detrimental character comes from their factory. I find the pond above them, called Moffatt's Pond is in a bad condition. The D., L. and W. Railroad Company have a trestle work running through it. Mr. Moffatt says he will flush the pond as soon as the quantity of water will allow.
Wheeler's paper mill still further north is closed. It is reported that they are about to move to some other quarter. The pond above this factory is also in a bad condition. Samuel E. Crump, above Montclair, label manufacturer, claims that nothing of a detrimental character runs from his factory, his process, through invitation, I think it a very good idea.
The factory people claim that very much of the discoloration of said river can be attributed to the scarcity of water on account of the drought. The Third River is in a very good condition. The only factory on the river of any consequence is the Kingsland Paper Mill. They also claim they do not pollute the river. Saddle River is very clear all the way. The chemical works at Lodi are so situated that all their refuse must empty into the stream. They also disclaim polluting the river. The firm of Byren & Bro., whose factory was burned some time ago, are about ready to renew operations with their bleachery.
Mr. Anderson, of Passaic, whom I notified in relation to closets on the bank of the river, has compiled with my instructions and his six closets are now cemented and in good condition. Nothing of a serious nature can be discharged from there. S. M. Burch has also built new vaults and removed his old closets from the river. Mrs. Wesley, Mrs. Henning and Mrs. Hammond have complied with my request and have removed their closets from the stream.
I have notified Mr. Speer of Passaic, several times about his closets on the river. He fails to keep his promise, therefore I would advise some action be taken in his case. Upon investigation I find that the major portion of the dead animals taken from the water are thrown in at the city of Newark and are drifted northward by the incoming tide.
The samples I lent to Professor Austin were terrible to both the eye and nostril, and I am well satisfied that the parties discharging them are violating the law.
Throwing Vitriol at the Inspector
Inspector Leak added a verbal report to his written one. He said that on many occasions he had found difficulty in pursuing his business. He gave one instance in which, while he was taking a sample of water in front of Basch's mills at Passaic, a quantity of vitriol and refuse was spurted upon him and the engineer of the launch. The inspector believed that the act was intentional. He also gave other instances in which he had been insulted while in the discharge of his duty. He said that since he had written his report he found that the Standard Oil Company was allowing oil to flow into Saddle River. The board decided to have badges of office made for the inspector, engineer and chemist commissioner Kern remarked that the inspector's boat was now three months old and should be christened. He said he was willing to be sponsor and suggested that it be called "Patrol." The other members concurred in the suggestion and formally adopted the name suggested. Commissioner Hagan presented a resolution that the employees of the board be subject to the president during the interval between meetings. Before adjournment Commissioner Kern requested that Professor Austin should exercise great care in his analysis of the water, and that if he found that any of the samples contained matter detrimental to the public health, he should report it at once to the board, which, he said, would at once take steps to have the polluters indicted by the Grand Jury.