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					  IMPORTANT DETAILS OF PRACTICAL PLUMBING.
                                         HARRY Y. CARSON,
                                          New York City.
 Read before the Engineering Section of the American Public Health Association, Jacksonville, Fla., Decem-
                                                ber 3, 1914.
AS a branch of building con-                           living has been safeguarded against
          struction and of modern sani-                the inroads of disease which in past
          tation, plumbing is demand-                  -years put whole cities or whole na-
ing more attention each year. This                     tions temporarily out of commission.
is strongly emphasized when we realize                 Plumbing is accountable for a large
that out of approximately two billion                  share of these better living conditions.
dollars' worth of building materials of                But in spite of all this, house drainage
all descriptions sold annually in the                  work is just being given serious consi-
United States, nearly 69 millions are                  deration by capable engineers.
spent each year for plumbing, as com-                     The plumbing work of large modern
pared with 62 millions for structural                  buildings comprises in reality the
steel, 90 millions for bricks, about 100               water supply and the sewage disposal
millions for paint.                                    systems for communities that equal or
                                                       even exceed many small cities. Many
     GROWTH      ANDIMPORTANCE OF                      of our large buildings pump their
               PLUM1JING.                              supply of water from private or public
   It is worthy of note that many large                sources and the sewage is sometimes
modern structures accommodate 10,000                   treated in sterilizing tanks before
to 20,000 people and often in congested                dumping it into the public sewers., All
districts twice this number-may use a                  this calls for a high class of sanitary
single building daily. Many of our                     engineering skill which, unfortunately,
present-day hotels house the popula-                   is at present lacking.
tion of a fair sized town and even the
residences of many wealthy folk with                  PLUMBING LAWS INCOMPLETEIN SCOPE.
their army of attendants and servants                    Our plumbing laws are, to a very
attain the magnitude of villages.                     large extent, based upon unscientific,
   In addition to this massing of the                 and erroneous, principles. They are
people into urban districts, there is a               full of errors and look as if they have
growing demand for personal clean-                    emerged from some dark alley of
liness and we now install many plumb-                 thought. Beyond a doubt, our city
ing fixtures where one, or even the old               and state public health rules must come
privy vault of a few decades ago, was                 to be framed with equally painstaking
considered a luxury. Immeasurable                     care for the sewerage systems of such
benefits have been derived from the                   large buildings which accommodate
lavish uses of water and plumbing                     many thousands of people, as for the
fixtures. Much of the hard drudgery                   sewerage system of towns or cities of
imposed upon house-wives has been                     equally populous districts.
eliminated by the kitchen sink and the                   There are many who condemn pres-
laundry tub and our whole system of                   ent-day plumbing practice but few
                                                     18
                   Important Details of Practical Plumbing                         1019
who are willing to work out remedies.         or   "dangerous," and whether one
Very seldom the same care is exercised        method of venting should be used in
in the specifications of plumbing work        buildings to the exclusion of all other
as for instance is common with the            methods. At the same time many of
steel beams and columns of our build-         the major short-comings of plumbing,
ings. Yet the failure of the plumbing         such as the.enormous waste of the
is   quite   as serious an economical ques-   municipal water supply through de-
tion as the failure of the structural         fective fixtures and the defects in the
framework.                                    house sewers (which let ground water
   Often the burden of responsibilities       into the sanitary sewers) are not even
is thrown upon the city authorities by        considered when the plumbing laws of
the all-inclusive clause: "The plumb-         our cities and towns are being framed
ing work shall be installed in strict         or revised. To improve matters mate-
accordance with the rules and regula-         rially, we must influence some of those
tions of the city health authorities."        major public expenses and bring about
Thus the engineer relieves his mind of        the greatest economy to the owners of
these complicating problems, and is           property and to the public without
glad to be rid of them.                       permitting or allowing anyone to
   In view of such a condition we,            create conditions that may cause public
therefore, must look to our public            nuisances.
health boards for meeting the situation.        Space does not permit of our going
There is undoubtedly a large amount of        into a full discussion of all these details
public and private capital that is use-       because such would lead us deeply into
lessly expended every year on account         economics and the general effect of
of the un-engineering method (if we           plumbing sanitation upon the public
may use this term) of installing plumb-       health, but it is the purpose of this
ing. I have in mind'such costly items         paper to merely mention a few of these
as the main house traps, which in spite       important items.
of the fact that capable men have
shown them to be a nuisance, still exist      TILE HOUSE SEWERS SOURCE OF
in our regulations, presumably on             GROUND WATER IN SANITARY SEWERS.
account of old ideas regarding the com-          In practice it seldom happens that a
position of sewer air. These details          house sewer is constructed as carefully
should, at least, warrant the attention       as the main sanitary sewers in the
of the sanitarians with whom broad            streets. The branches leading into the
police powers have been granted to            houses from Y fittings in the trunk
safeguard our welfare.                        lines have a total length, when taken
   We must come to study the problems         collectively, far greater than the main
with a view toward a better and a more        lines. These branch lines to the house
clearly defined legislation.                  should be, but unfortunately are not, the
   In the past much energy has been           most carefully constructed parts of the
expended in discussing minor details of       whole sewerage system. These main
plumbing work, such as whether this           house sewers, which are continuations
or that make of fixture trap- is proper       of the house drainage system, are put
1020            The American Journal of Public Health
in by the plumber or owner at "any                   MATERIALS BESt SUITED.
 old gradient" and sometimes without a           In this connection w-e might dwell
single cemented joint. Invariably the         very briefly upon the question of
 settlement of the soil, which is usually     materials from which the drainage
 loosely packed about the house sewers,       pipes and house sewers should be con-
 causes these lines to sag and open           structed. Well made vitrified sewer
 up still more at the joints. De-             pipe will undoubtedly last longer than
 fective joints allow the ground water        any other kind of pipe but is unsuited
and seepage from the buildings to flow        to withstand temperature stresses from
 into the sewers along with the house-        alternate hot and cold sewage or set-
 hold wastes. The evil effects of ground      tling and shifting of the line due to
 water in the sanitary sewerage system        soil movement, settlements of build-
 and the consequent added cost to the         ings and root growths. However, as
 community are too well known for             properly made extra heavy cast iron
 repetition here. Edward D. Rich has          soil pipe with leaded joints is known
compiled data for a sewage flow chart         to have lasted much longer than the
 showing the typical flow at small sew-       expected life of modern structures, it
 age disposal plants during the several       may be relied upon to maintain a thor-
 months of the year. This chart dem-          oughly water tight sewer line between
 onstrates the importance of keeping          the plumbing fixtures and the sanitary
 ground water out of the system. It           sewer. Other forms of iron pipe, such
 can be noticed that during the wet           as wrought steel, are more suited to
seasons of the year when the ground           withstand conditions where excessive
water level rises considerably above the      tensile stresses are met in practice, but
sewers there is an enormous increase in       have such a short life that provision
the quantity of the sewage handled by         must be made for their frequent re-
the system and this, of course, adds a        placing. Wrought pipe is expensive
large extra cost to the community as a        and rusts out.
whole. One other effect of this leakage
is the possibility of soil pollution in the   CURTAILMENT      OF    PUBLIC 'WATER
immediate vicinity of the sewers, but                          Wi'ASTE.
this is not likely to have any serious           Another point of vital importance is
effect upon the larger problem of sew-        the curtailment of our enormous water
age disposal, although it may affect          waste. It iscommonknowledge among
water supplies. Also the roots of lawn        water supply engineers that an enor-
trees often enter and clog such sewers.       mous amount of public water (some-
A remedy for these difficulties can be        times as much as a fourth of the total
found by insisting that the property          consumption) is wasted through bad
owners extend the main house drain,           types of plumbing fixtures. Metering
which is of iron, to the main tile sewer      individual services does notprevent the
in the- street or alley. It is also essen-    loss, although it makes it possible for
tial to make a thoroughly tight joint         the water corporation to more accu-
with the main sewer and thus elim-            rately adjust the charges against con-
inate most of the trouble from ground         sumers. In this respect the matter of
water in sewage disposal systems.             good and bad types of plumbing
               Important Details of Practical Plumbing                         1021
fixtures in common use at the present       times each hour when in use. Wood
time must be considered. The plumb-         floors and walls plastered with a soft
ing laws must point out to the public       porous finish are a constant source of
which types are bad, but special provi-     foulness; and, where toilet rooms so
sion -must be made to eliminate im-         constructed are put to hard use, they
proper plumbing equipment which may         not only become a nuisance but are
cause an unnecessary waste of water         often a serious danger to those who
down the  sewer. Another source of          must use them. The toilet rooms
water waste in cold climates is that        should have impervious floors and
used in winter to prevent pipes from        walls.   All fixtures and partitions
freezing. In poorly heated houses a         should be smooth of finish, light in
faucet is commonly left'running con-        color and impervious to moisture.
tinuously at full stream to prevent         Every public toilet' room' should be
some uncovered water pipe from freez-       equipped with a hose cock and floor
ing. Much can be done to eliminate          drain so that the entire room and
this source of waste if the water lines     fixtures may be easily and quickly
as well as the drainage lines of new        washed down with a hose.
work are carefully inspected by a
capable plumbing expert. To my best                        SUMMARY.
knowledge no plumbing code in this             In summing up, let me say that
country properly provides for this           modern plumbing work presents com-
phase of plumbing inspection. An-           plicated engineering problems which
other vrery important item is the water     indeed are as important to our future
wasted annually through the defective       welfare as the building of useful and
service connections, poor jointing of       safe structures.
pipe, and the injudicious selection of         The acquirement of plumbing has
piping material. A la'rge part of these     been so rapid that pi-actice in different
useless waterwastes belong to the realm     parts of the country varies a great
of bad plumbing.                            deal. The draining of large buildings
                                            presents big engineering problems
REQUIREMENTS FOR PUBLIC PLUMBING.           which become more and more compli-
   For public and semi-public plumbing      cated as we develop other lines of
such as comfort stations, bath houses,      endeavor. The solution of these prob-
railway and office toilet rooms or public   lems have unfortunately been left
school plumbing, our' laws must ex-         largely to the artifices of rule of thumb
plicitly and clearly define the prac-       methods. We all regret to see such
tices. The toilet rooms designed for        unfortunate conditions prevailing in
public or semi-public use should con-       such an opportune and fruitful field,
tain the most sanitary types of             but the time must come when, for
plumbing fixtures and plumbing ma-          economic reasons alone, our present
terials obtainable. The rooms should        practice of plumbing will expand into an
be so located that sunlight can shine       important branch of engineering. We
directly into them. The volume of           will then probably come to look upon
air in each toilet should be regularly      it as "Plumbing Engineering" which
and completely changed at least four        is really a more descriptive name.
       5

				
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