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Health Board Work

March 9, 1887

Newark Evening News

Health Board Work.
The Report for the Past Year.

Recommendations Made for Various Needed Sanitary Improvements - The Water Considered - The vital Statistics of the City.


The report of the Board of Health for the year ending December 31, 1886, has just been prepared by Dr. David L. Wallace, the secretary of the board. It covers over forty pages of legal cap. The sanitary condition of the city is referred to at length, and suggestions for making improvements in this respect are made. A complete record of vital facts and statistics has been kept in the office of the board. From this record such classifications have been made as were deemed the most important. While the mortality statistics are complete, the records of births and marriages are unsatisfactory from the fact that many physicians and clergymen are neglectful of their duty regarding these returns. It is hoped that an ordinance will be passed regulating the prompt return of births and marriages, and paying a small fee for the same, if necessary.


During the past year 4,574 births have been reported, or an annual rate of 28.59 per thousand of the population. During the same time 1,375 marriages were reported, or an annual rate of 8 59 per thousand of the population. The total number of deaths for the year is 3,602 giving a death rate of 22.51 per thousand of the population. Of the total number of deaths 913 were those of children under on year of age and 1,417 of those under five years. There has been a decrease of 58 in the number of deaths as compared with those of the previous year.


Improvements Recommended.


A number of suggestions are given for the improvement of the sanitary condition of the city. Attention is called to the large number of vaults and cesspools. It is recommended that an ordinance be passed requiring leeching vaults and cesspools to be abolished on premises abutting streets in which sewers are laid. The drainage system of the house, if such a system exists, should be connected with the sewer, and if it is not practicable to construct closets in the houses themselves, then suitably constructed water tight vaults or school sinks should be constructed and connected with the sewer. In case there is no drainage system in the house itself, a properly constructed catch basin should be placed in the yard, and a pipe, suitably trapped, should run from this to the sewer. The vaults and cesspools in localities where there are no sewers should be built water-tight, and be cleaned and disinfected at least once a year.


Sunken lots, where stagnant water accumulates, and where all manner of refuse from manufactories is disposed of, are a source of great annoyance to surrounding inhabitants and are detrimental to health. It is suggested that an ordinance be passed requiring owners of these lots to fill them up. The need of suitable dumping grounds is also noticed. The attention of the board is called to the necessity of passing an ordinance to secure the better sanitary conditions of tenement houses as regards both ventilation and overcrowding.


How to Improve the Water.


In referring to the water supply it is stated that means can be adopted whereby the present supply can be made as pure as water obtained from other sources. During the year 1886 a Board of Pollution was organized, consisting of certain members of the Newark Aqueduct Board and the Board of Public Works of Jersey City, and this board organized a water patrol to guard against the pollution of the Passaic by manufacturers and others. The patrol has done good work and should, it is thought, be continued. But this is considered only a start in the right direction. Manufacturers and communities along the line of the river should be compelled to subject their sewage to such a degree of purification as will return the effluent water to the river with at least fifty per cent of its organic impurities removed, and this with constant vigilance on the part of the river patrol, purification by flow and proper filtration should give a water of excellent quality.

Reference is made to the law regulating the cutting and sale of ice and giving to the boards of health in cities throughout the State power to regulate and control the same. It is suggested that the Newark board take advantage of this law and regulate the sale of ice in the city.


It is stated that a stringent ordinance regulating the construction of slaughter houses and the slaughtering of animals should be passed at once. Attention is called to the fact that the meadows, notwithstanding all the money spent to improve the sewerage of that section of the city. It is urged that authority be vested in the health officer to have these buildings and their surroundings placed in proper condition or closed entirely before warm weather.


The system of house to house inspection to ferret out nuisances and sources of disease has been carried out for the past year and a half with good results. The result of this work to date is as follows: Houses inspected, 11,575; nuisances found, 1,844; nuisances abated, 1,773; cases of defective plumbing and drainage rectified, 958; persons not vaccinated, 5,372; private wells in existence, 1,129.


J. Frank Cramer, the city apothecary, gives his yearly statement as follows: Number of patients treated at clinics, 4,159; number of dispensary prescriptions filled, 4,740; number of district prescriptions filled: 4,838; teeth extracted, 2.456; vaccinations, 478. The total amount spent for drugs was $901.02, making an average cost per prescription of nine and two-fifths cents.