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partly to other causes the shad had been driven down the river until now many streams are entirely empty of shad even though at one time they had been extremely productive.
This problem of pollution is a vital problem to the fisheries and can only be solved by the aid of the Federal Government. In my opinion it can be solved only in the way that is proposed by the Vinson bill. To undertake too drastic legislation will raise very serious questions of the constitutionality of the legislation. I made a rather exhaustive study of that question when a bill was before this committee many years ago. I became satisfied that so far as oil was concerned, the Federal Government could only reach it either as a danger to instrumentalities of navigation such as piers or ships, or through the control by the Federal Government of the offending agencies, to wit, the ships that might be depositing their oil.
I do not know that the suggestion will add anything, but I desire to call the attention of the committee to a case which I will show in revising my notes that went up from Hampton Roads over to the Supreme Court of the United States involving this question of pollution. It was a suit instituted by a large oyster planter named Darling, and the suit was brought against Hampton or Newport News. The suit involved damages sustained by oyster beds through the deposit of sewage in the waters of Hampton Roads. I do not recall whether the suit sought to recover damages, or proceeded by way of injunction. The case finally went to the Supreme Court of the United States and the decision rendered there, as I recall, was to the effect that no recovery could be had or injunction issued because the time-honored method of deposit had been into rivers and harbors. The
suit shows the difficulty of proceeding by injunction. There was no Federal law or State law permitting injunction but the injunction was sought or damages were claimed because of irreparable injury to the oyster beds. The suit went to the Supreme Court of Virginia first and then as I recall was taken by appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States. A bill authorizing suit in the Federal courts would meet with the contention that there was no constitutional authority over the offending agency depositing material in a waterway that was wholly within the limits of the State. I simply mention that case because it is important as showing the difficulty of proceeding by legal processes.
So gentlemen, with all the earnestness that I can command, in order that we may start on the solution of this problem which is vitally affecting our people, affecting the recreation on the beaches in my section as well as the fisheries and the health of the people, I do most earnestly urge your favorable action on the Vinson bill.
Mr. SEGER. Your district does not embrace Richmond?
Mr. SEGER. You do know what, if anything, the city of Richmond does to take care of sewage?
Mr. BLAND. No; Dr. Riggins can testify as to that. Mine is entirely a tidewater district.
Mr. Smith. How successful have you been in correcting pollution? Can you give us any ideas on the process of treatment?
Mr. BLAND. We have not been successful in arresting pollution. It largely comes with us from cities and municipalities. There must be some aid to help in solving the problem. Some reference was made yesterday to the necessity for an extensive study. That was answered by one of the witnesses. In the Hampton Roads area an exhaustive study has been made. The gentlemen have that information as to many localities. There is an exhaustive study being made-a chemical study-as to pollution on the York River. It is claimed that the pollution comes from the pulp mill. For a period of time the effect extended down the river at the rate of about a mile a year. Then there was shoaling at the head of the river. The War Department removed those shoals, and required the pulp mill to deposit their sludge ashore. The first year after the sludge was deposited on shore, I am told by oystermen of the river that there was a strike of oysters up the river for about a mile or a mile and a half. Then the ravine in which the sludge was being deposited became full, and the liquid waste seeped back into the river. Then the oysters again became affected at the rate of a mile a year. The situation became so serious that I took it up with the President, and he made a special allocation for a study to determine the source.
Mr. CULKIN. Who made the study?
Mr. BLAND. The study is being made by the Bureau of Fisheries. The chemist of the Bureau of Fisheries, Mr. Higgins, who is here, is very familiar with it. The Bureau has a chemical laboratory at Yorktown, near the mouth of the river, and it is studying the problem chemically.
Mr. COLDEN. Does the treatment of sewage affect this condition of the oyster beds or is it due wholly to raw sewage? Mr. Bland. Our sewage is raw sewage.
It is not treated. There have been some engineering difficulties and more particularly financial difficulties.
Mr. COLMER. I was interested in the discussion of the pulp plant in the disposal of its sewage. What practical methods were found, if any, to relieve the situation?
Mr. BLAND. We have not found any. That is the reason we are making studies now to find a remedy. I feel in sympathy with that situation. Relief by injunction will not suffice for an injunction might destroy the town at the head of the river and a large area around that is dependent upon the pulp mill. That mill is giving employment in the town and in the nearby counties. What is needed is to reach some solution that will enable them to continue and at the same time will protect our waters.
Mr. COLMER. Many of us still believe that industries are necessary evils in spite of what was brought out here yesterday.
Mr. BLAND. I would not call them evils. I believe they are necessary.
Mr. Smith. Is it a fact that the oystermen took the matter into court to bring suit against the pulp company to enjoin the company from operating, but they failed in their efforts in that direction? That would have closed down the main industry, would it not, if those efforts had succeeded?
Mr. Bland. That would be the effect and some people have given consideration to that. They were faced by the study in 1919, which was a Scotch verdict.
Mr. Smith. Maybe it was an Irish verdict. The pulp company won the suit in my part of the country.
Mr. BLAND. The Bureau then could find no causal connection. They reached the conclusion that they could not show a causal connection, but they did not say a causal connection did not exist.
Mr. Colden. In view of your long experience and your ability, in what way may the Federal Government cooperate to solve this problem in Virginia? Can you give me a practical illustration of what the Federal Government can do to save your oyster beds?
Mr. Bland. I think that so far as the sewage is concerned, first, there will be a study in conjunction with the State as to the engineering problems because just now to take care of the sewage in the cities will be a problem. They must try to work that out, and aid them in financing. Those are the principal things. Of course, there is reason with us to consider the Federal Government, because the Federal Government is one of the offending agencies.
STATEMENT OF HON. H. S. BIGELOW, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF OHIO
Mr. Vinson. Congressman Bigelow of the Second District of Ohio will make a statement.
Mr. BIGELOW. I do not speak as an expert on any of the phases of this question, but I will say just a word as to the political aspect, the state of mind of the people of Cincinnati on this subject. If the Congressmen from Cincinnati have any mandate at all from our public, it is to do everything possible to encourage this legislation and our thought is all in the direction of the Vinson bill. I remember reading some years ago a book by Frederick C. Howe, on the British city, describing his
trip through a sewage-disposal plant in Glasgow. They showed him the sewage coming into the plant. They pointed out the different stages of its treatment, and then at the end of the trip, they opened a faucet and offered him a drink of water. He had that sewage in mind. He said he was perfectly convinced that the water was drinkable but that for the moment, he was not a bit thirsty. That is the attitude of our public to our water supply. We are still convinced that the water is safe coming from our reservoirs, although we are having difficulty to keep ahead of the conditions. We are spending some $3,000,000 this year to improve our filtration system, and yet, though we still trust out water, we cannot get that sewage out of our minds. It is in the consciousness of the people of Cincinnati that we are drawing our drinking water from an open sewer. Moreover, as was put in the testimony here last year, we are putting 350 tons of sewage solids every 24 hours into the Ohio River, to be washed down into the water supply of Louisville and our neighbors below. Now, there has come in our public mind a deep disgust at this condition, and we are ashamed of this unneighborly treatment of our neighbors below, and we want to stop it. It is not a question of having legislation with teeth in it or with whips to use on us, to compel us to do something that we do not want to do. What we want is legislation that will belp us do something that we do want to do. I feel that if this Vinson bill is passed and the Federal Government offers its good auspices in making survey and suggestions to us of the proper plan of procedure, and then comes to us with grants in aid and loans, we will be one of the first communities in the United States to take advantage of it.
I feel that the sentiment in the communities up and down the Ohio is much as ours is, and that if there is need of any spur to those communities, the splendid committees that we have organized in Cincinnati from the Chamber of Commerce will be much better able to persuade those communities than to force them to act under a different type of legislation. Then we will be able to go to our neighbors all along this stream and say, the Government offers you this cooperation, offers you grants-in-aid, offers you loans. I feel, Mr. Chairman, and members of the committee, that this is constructive, wise legislation, and the proper way to approach this subject, and as for myself, representing my second district in Cincinnati, Í can say truthfully that the entire public is tremendously interested in this and very hopeful that the legislation will succeed. I thank you.
Mr. SEGER. Has Cincinnati any other source of potable water besides the river?
Mr. BIGELOW. That is the only source.
Mr. SEGER. Do you think the Government could discover a more scientific way of treating sewage and water to make it potable?
Mr. BIGELOW. I think that we should have some kind of sewage disposal plant, but just what type, of course, I am not qualified to say. We would like to have the Government make a survey and advise us as to plans.
Mr. SEGER. Do you have a sewage disposal plant now?
Mr. COLDEN. I just want to make an observation for the record on this treatment of sewage. Dr. Goudy who was the secretary of the California State Board of Health for many years, is now employed by the Bureau of Water in Los Angeles, and he has built an experimental activating sludge plant. One of the greatest difficulties of the activating sludge treatment is that it involves considerable time and expense. Dr. Goudy has evolved a process by which he takes the gases out of the sewage; burns the gas and heats the sludge, which greatly expedites the process. It is an almost perfect treatment of the sludge and, within 24 to 48 hours, the water of that sewage is purer than the general supply of Los Angeles.
The CHAIRMAN. In 1924 when we were holding hearings on the Chicago sanitary district diversion of water from Lake Michigan, Mr. Langdon Pierce, then engineer of the sanitary district of Chicago, placed a very interesting statement in the record dealing with all the different methods of sewage treatment up to that time. Page 1633 of the hearings on Diversion of Water from Lake Michigan.
Mr. Vinson. I want to present this morning Dr. A. T. McCormack, national president of the American Public Health Officers' Association. He is the secretary of the State Board of Health of Kentucky and as most of you gentlemen know, he is the outstanding health officer, in my opinion, of the United States.
STATEMENT OF DR. A. T. McCORMACK, STATE HEALTH COM
MISSIONER, LOUISVILLE, KY.
Dr. McCORMACK. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, I am here in a somewhat multiple capacity, first as president of the American Public Health Association, which includes all of the public health agencies and public health personnel and agencies in the United States, and all of those individuals in this country who are doing commercial publichealth work. They have unanimously endorsed this legislation. I also represent the public health personnel of the States, and am a member of the committee on Federal relations of the Conference of State Health Officers, which is authorized by law. The Conference of State Health Officers has unanimously endorsed this legislation, and that includes the health officers or representatives of health agencies of every State in the Union. The Health Officers Association of the United States, which is the specific organization of the municipality health officers, has endorsed it. The western branch of the American Public Health Association, which includes the Pacific States immediately adjacent to the Rocky Mountain States, in which this publichealth work in regard to water supply has been done that has been done in the United States, has unanimously endorsed it, and the southern branch of the association and the New England branch of the association have also unanimously endorsed the legislation. So that the public health personnel of the country is unanimous in its endorsement of the legislation.
It is a great pleasure to come before your great committee and discuss it, particularly after a foundation has been laid for it. I wish everybody in the United States could have had the familiarity with the proceedings in this great legislative body that I have for it would give so much deeper feelings of patriotism and we would have so much more gratifying evidence of the wisdom of the founders of our legislative body and our great Congress. When you hear a committee considering such legislation as this and going into the basic facts, you realize that in the printed record of these proceedings you will have a great textbook that will be more up to date and more authentic on the question of stream pollution than any other publication that has yet appeared. Of course, segments of it have appeared in great scientific journals in this country and abroad but you will present to Congress and to the American people a textbook that will be of greater value than any existing book that ever has been published on the subject. My experience has been that legislation is ordinarily founded in that manner by Congress.
Mr. CULKIN. Would the publc feel, as we sit here on the committee for long hours and are not on the floor of the House, that we are not engaged on the biggest job?
Dr. McCORMACK. I think it is one of the most important things that we need to get before the people of the United States. I think they need to know how this work is done. If you walk into the gallery of the House and take a superficial view of the apparent disorder of the comparatively small number of men interested in a particulr routine bill, you rather feel like the thing is not being done exactly as we think it ought to be done.
Mr. Culkin. They do not realize the background of legislation.
Dr. McCORMACK. And they do not see in that seeming disorder the remarkable control or the remarkable lines along which legislation is enacted, the study back of it. I have appeared before numerous committees of the House and Senate, but I have never appeared before a committee in which the members did not know more about the legislation than I did because they had been studying every phase of it, not merely the thing I knew or that the engineers knew, but the whole subject in its human relationships which, after all, are far more important than any specific thing any one of us will contribute to it, and it is a vital factor in making legislation.
Mr. CULKIN. I am not complaining of it. We enjoy the work and we continue to do business.