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The land between the two rivers is at two points very low
so that at times of high water the New River flows over into
the Greenbrier. Should typhoid fever occur in any of the
families using the privies above referred to there would be
grave danger of an outbreak of typhoid fever in Hinton and
Avis. The present condition, therefore, while as yet not result-
ing in any serious disaster to the public health, is a constant
menace and a potential cause of a typhoid epidemic. The water
of some wells is still in use and this water should be analyzed
to determine its quality. A sewerage system should be com-
pleted as early as possible, and all property owners should be
compelled to make sewer connections, thus doing away with the
outside vault system. I would recommend as a most urgent im-
provement that the intake of the water be removed up the
Greenbrier river at least 3,000 feet, and much better if moved
a mile.
Respectfully submitted,

J. E. ROBINS, M. D."

After receiving this communication the following letter was writ

ten:

“Wheeling, W. Va., Sept. 17, 1913.
Mr. H. Ewert,
General Manager,
Hinton Water, Light and Supply Company,

Hinton, W. Va.
My Dear Sir:-

Some time ago a complaint was received from the citizens of
Hinton and Avis as to the character of the water supplied by
your company. I had the water analyzed, and it was found to be
quite impure, and a constant menace to the health of the com-
munity. Dr. J. E. Robins, of Charleston, long a member of the
State Board of Health, at my request visited your city and
reported to me that the intake of your water is located below
a large number of cesspools, the drainage from which must in-
evitably contaminate your water. Should typhoid fever occur in
the families using these cesspools your town would almost cer-
tainly be visited by an outbreak of the disease. The remedy sug-
gested is, that the intake of the water be removed up the Green-
brier river at least one-half mile. Dr. Robins thinks that this
would be an effective remedy and would save your people from
a possible if not probable epidemic. Typhoid fever is prevailing
now quite extensively in the state, and I am sure that the in-
formation here given to you will be sufficient to insure the change
suggested.

Confidently believing that there will be no further occasion for me to write to you on this very important subject, I am,

Sincerely yours,

S. L. JEPSON. Secretary State Board of Health.”

The secretary has no record of any answer having been received to the above communication. As the authority of the State Board of Health to compel the correction or defects in water supply systems is extremely doubtful, we were very glad to receive the following communication from the Public Service Commission, which body does

Dr. S. L. Jepson,
Secretary State Board of Health,

Wheeling, W. Va.
My Dear Dr. Jepson:-

We understand that the inhabitants of some cities and towns in this state are being supplied with unhealthy and bad quality of water and that your board is making an investigation of these conditions with a view of effecting a remedy. We desire to call the attention of your board to a part of section 10 chapter 9 of the Acts of the Legislature of 1913, which provides:

“The Commission may ascertain the quantity, healthfulness and quality of the water or quality and quantity of gas or electricity supplies by such persons, firms or corporations, and examine the methods employed, and shall have power to order such improvements as will best promote the public interest and preserve the public health.”

It is the desire of the Public Service Commission to be of service to your board in any way we can to assist you in compelling any public service corporation or municipality to supply the inhabitants with pure water or to order such improvements as will best promote the public interest and preserve the public health.

We trust that where any of these bad water conditions exist
or come to your attention you will not fail to call our attention to
it, so that a speedy remedy may be had..
Trusting that we may be of service in this matter, we are,

Very truly yours,
The Public Service Commission,

By W. C. Kilmer, Commissioner. : Having an official intimation that the trouble at Hinton had been referred to the Public Service Commission, and believing that the State Board of Health could not enforce the necessary changes at Hinton in order to insure a pure water supply, the connection of the State Board of Health with this matter terminated on receipt of the above letter. In answer to a recent inquiry of the secretary as to the final disposition of the matter, a letter was received from the Public Service Commission under date of November 19, 1914, from which we extract the following: “Notice was served on the Hinton Water, Light and Supply Company that the matter would be taken up by the Public Service Commission for an investigation with a view of entering such orders in the matter as might appear to be proper after evidence was taken and the complaint fully investigated.

Considerable evidence was taken before the Commission on this complaint, during the taking of which Dr. J. E. Robins, a member of your board, appeared before the Commission and gave his testimony, and also rendered very valuable services to the Commission in helping to solve the problem as to what was best under the circumstances.

An order was entered by the Commission on the 3rd day of December, 1913, directing the Hinton Water, Light and Supply Company to cease and desist from supplying the water where it had its intake pipe located at that time; and further ordered that this company move its intake pipe up the Greenbrier river a distance of 3,000 feet from

and the Commission further directed that the work should be started by the Hinton Water, Light and Supply Company at once and completed by said company as rapidly as weather conditions would permit. This has been done and the company is now taking the water from the Greenbrier river at a point approximately 3,000 feet above the place where it formerly had its intake pipe located. This new location is above the nuisance pointed out to the Commission by Dr. Robins, and was, we believe, the location suggested by Dr. Robins in his testimony offered before the Commission.”

On September 15th, 1913, the council of the town of Rowlesburg made complaint to the secretary as follows: “We have our intake well on a stream in the corporation called 'Salt Lick.' The B. & 0. Railroad Company has two sewers emptying their contents of filth from four shops and other houses into this stream. There are five cases of typhoid fever in houses that, from the nature of the drainage of the property, will allow all filth to find its way to one of these sewers. We must have these conditions changed. Can you assist us in having this done? Several months have elapsed since we requested the B. & O. Railroad Company to apply a remedy."

The secretary answered this communication, saying that while “not yet quite sure as to the extent of the board's authority in such matters, but will carefully look up the law on the subject and address a letter to the B. & O. Railroad Company on the matter complained of.

On September 26th a letter was sent to Mr. C. W. Galloway, general manager B. & O. Railroad Company, stating the facts in the above case, and remarking that, “from this state of things you will of course understand that there is grave danger of a local outbreak of typhoid fever in the town. I am quite sure that all I need do is to call these facts to your attention to have your company so change the sewers referred to as to have their contents discharged below the intake of the water supply.”

An answer was promptly received promising that the matter “would be given immediate attention.

On February 6th, 1914, another communication was received from the town of Rowlesburg, stating that the B. & O. Railroad Company had taken no action in the matter complained of.

On receipt of this information an urgent communication was sent to General Manager Galloway, insisting on immediate action in the matter, and closing thus: “I am quite sure that it is not the wish of the B. & O. Railroad Company to endanger the health and lives of the people of Rowlesburg, and I suspect that your orders in the above case have not been complied with. Will you kindly attend to the matter immediately, and inform me as to the result of your action.”

Manager Galloway replied under date of February 13th, 1914, saying: “This matter has not been overlooked, but as the improvement involves an expenditure of $953.00, you will appreciate that it is quite a large one. We are assembling the material and the work will be Notwithstanding this promise no action was taken, and on September 10th, the third complaint was received from Rowlesburg that the conditions were unchanged. A communication was then addressed to the division superintendent at Cumberland, in which it was stated that correspondence with the general manager had failed to secure the desired improvements, nothwithstanding several positive promises,” I am therefore addressing you, with the urgent suggestion that a remedy be at once applied to a condition which, if unrectified, will inevitably in time precipitate an outbreak of typhoid fever.”

An answer was received as follows: “Have just received advice from our general superintendent that deeds covering the necessary property for proposed sewer line are in the hands of the M. & K. Railroad Company for execution, and as soon as they are received we will go ahead with the work.”

(Signed) J. W. Kelley, Jr. Supt.” This is but another illustration of the old saying, that “large bodies move slowly," and the only way in which they can be made to move more rapidly is to grant by legislation, to the State Board of Health or some other body, authority to compel speedy action.

RONCEVERTE WATER SUPPLY.

The seceretary received from His Excellency, Governor Hatfield, the following letter with an inclosure from Mr. C. E. Beman, of Ron: ceverte:

Charleston, W. Va., June 5, 1914. Dear Dr. Jepson:

Please note the inclosed letter. I will be very glad if you will communicate with Mr. Beman and also investigate the conditions of the water supply at Ronceverte, either through your nearest member of the State Board of Health or yourself direct if you find the time.

Very truly yours,

H. D. HATFIELD.

Mr. Beman's letter set forth that “there is one tannery at Marlinton and one at Durbin. Here at Ronceverte, where we get our water supply from the river, the water is so sour it is almost impossible to drink it. The banks are lined with dead fish from here to Durbin.” It is a matter of record that the State Board of Health had this subject under consideration some years ago, and it was made the subject of a hearing on indictment in the circuit court. The result of the trial was, that the tannery company at Marlinton was required to construct settling ponds which it was supposed would remedy the offenses complained of. The secretary has received from the assistant attorney general the oral opinion that the State Board of Health under the law does not have sufficient authority to effect a remedy of the conditions complained of. In view of this fact the secretary wrote a letter to the Governor from which the following quotation is made; “During my last visit in Charleston I had a conoffice, and he gave the opinion that the State Board of Health has not sufficient authority to control the matter. This being the case, a visit by me or any member of the board to Ronceverte seems unnecessary, since no good can be accomplished by it. I find, since becoming secretary of the board, that we need much more authority than is now given to us under the law. I have been summoned to different points on complaint of local nuisances that should be abated by the local county or municipal authorities, and a careful search through the law fails to discover authority whereby we may step in and compel an abatement of such nuisances. There should be such authority.”

The secretary has received communications from Cameron, Beckley, Holliday's Cove, Keyser, Logan, Spencer, Cass and other points in the state. The complaints being essentially the same, namely; the emptying of sewage into small local streams which become almost dry in the summer constituting nuisances. The secretary has .uniformly attempted by correspondence to have such defects remedied, but generally he finds it impossible to do so on account of the limited powers of the board, and because, in some cases, nothing short of an extensive sewerage system involving the locality in a large expenditure would be sufficient to bring about the desired change. Many complaints of a less serious nature reach us, which refer to nuisances of a character that can and should be removed by local, county or municipal authority. This suggestion the secretary has repeatedly made in answer to letters received by him. As an example of nuisances of this kind, may be cited the fact that the secretary made a special visit to Clarksburg in answer to a complaint made of a local nuisance, which consisted of an offensive pond of sewage caused by the projection of several sewers from private houses into a low piece of ground from which there was no drainage. Within ten feet of the end of these drain pipes was a large sewer with which connection might have been made at trifling cost. The mayor of the city was interviewed, the remedy pointed out, and His Honor gave promise that an order would be immediately issued for the abatement of the nuisance. We have information that the desired change has been effected.

HUNTINGTON SEWERAGE.

On April 14th, 1914, the secretary received the following night letter (telegram) from Dr. H. A. Brandebury, member of the State Board of Health:

“Huntington, April 13, 1914. S. L. Jepson, M. D.,

Secretary State Board of Health,
Dear Doctor:-

Mayor Flood Chapman has wired Senator Chilton to send Federal Health Officer to inspect plans for trunk sewer the city proposes to build, which will empty into the Guyan river above our water-works * * * In my opinion this may be of

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