Residential house sewage drainage in 1900 Toronto.

The city of Toronto is working though a large port lands and anti flooding    project in the east waterfront, primary around Cherry St and the length of commissioners St.

While waterfront flooding has been a topic of discussion for over a hundred years in Toronto, in August of 1900 the city and plumbing professionals were in a discussion about residential house drains, and the air breathers that were are on many local lawns.

TORONTO, CANADA, August 9th, 1900

DEAR SIRS,–Your circular letter of August 4th requesting my

opinion on the subject of main traps on house sewer connections

duly received.

In a properly designed sewerage system, main traps are n

necessary, and I am now, after several years residence

Toronto, of the opinion _that in the combined sewerage system

the main traps should be abolished.

The so-called “breathers”-which prominent afeaturt

in the front lawns of Toronto and in many ofhcr places that have

followed Toronto’s example, are in my opinion a menace to the

health-oF-the-citizens. The-only’pr actltfal method of properly

ventilating street sewers is through the house soil pipes, each o

which should have a free opening from the main sewer to a pain

above the roofs of the buildings.

In 1888 I ,advocated the abolition of main traps on house

sewers, and l Siicceeded in inducing the town of Brockville to

adopt my recommendation, although at that timeI believe I was

the orly engineer”‘Tn Canada who advocated so radical

departure from the old metbod. The Brock ville system has now

been in operation for twelve years and has proven entirely

satisfactory. The s’ewer system is well ventilated by means of

the house sewers notwithstanding the fact that the manholes are

completely closed over by ice and snow during the winter

months.

 

The Brockville system was followed at Brant ford, Barrie,

Berlin, Waterloo, Toronto Junction, Renfrew and some other

places in Ontario, and there can no question now as to the

merits of this method of ventilating sewers and house drains.

In the Toronto system neither the house drains nor the main

sewers are ventilated. Manhole gratings cannot ventilate

sewer System, neither will stacks or chimneys built along the line

of sewer.

The so-called sewer gas should not be produced in a properly

constructed and properly ventilated sewerage system, and the

foul smells so offensive in of the°cilies are unknown in

Brpckville, Brantford, and other places where the separate TORONTO, CANADA, 9th, Igloo.

DEAR SIRS,–Your circular letter of August 4th requesting m

opinion on the subject of main traps on house sewer connections

duly received.

In a properly designed sewerage system, main traps are n

necessary, and I am now, after several years residence

Toronto, of the opinion _that in the combined sewerage system

the main traps should be abolished.

The so-called “breathers”-which prominent afeaturt

in the front lawns of Toronto and in many ofhcr places that have

followed Toronto’s example, are in my opinion a menace to the

health-oF-the-citizens. The-only’pr actltfal method of properly

ventilating street sewers is through the house soil pipes, each o

which should have a free opening from the main sewer to a pain

above the roofs of the buildings.

In 1888 I ,advocated the abolition of main traps on house

sewers, and l Siicceeded in inducing the town of Brockville to

adopt my recommendation, although at that timeI believe I was

the orly engineer”‘Tn Canada who advocated so radical

departure from the old metbod. The Brock ville system has now

been in operation for twelve years and has proven entirely

satisfactory. The s’ewer system is well ventilated by means of

the house sewers notwithstanding the fact that the manholes are

completely closed over by ice and snow during the winter

months.

The Brockville system was followed at Brant ford, Barrie,

Berlin, Waterloo, Toronto Junction, Renfrew and some other

places in Ontario, and there can no question now as to the

merits of this method of ventilating sewers and house drains.

In the Toronto system neither the house drains nor the main

sewers are ventilated. Manhole gratings cannot ventilate

sewer System, neither will stacks or chimneys built along the line

of sewer.

The so-called sewer gas should not be produced in a properly

constructed and properly ventilated sewerage system, and the

foul smells so offensive in of the°cilies are unknown in

Brpckville, Brant ford, and other places where the separate System has been adopted and main traps on house drains

omitted.

You will see from the foregoing letter that the omission of the

main traps is nothing new, having been omitted for

twelve years.

Truly yours,

Willis  CHIPMAN.

Toronto Aug , 9, 1900.

In reply to Yours of the 4th inst. regarding the

question of ventilating sewers through the private houses by the

onmiésion of the main trap,”l think a great deal can said in

favor of this scheme, underproper.reslrictions._-I am-of’opinion”

that it would be necessary to have all of the pipe inside the

street line of iron, and laid very carefully under rigid inspection.

Under these conditions a portion of the sewer gas would prob-

ably find its way out through the ventilating pipe at the top of

the houses, but the greater Portion would probably still follow

the lines of least resistance, and pass in or out of the manhole

gratings in the centre of the street. As, however, the private

drains of this city are practically all laid and are very numerous,

it is not practical to make the change at this date, especially as

the sentiments of the people would probably be against having a

direct ventilation of the sewer through their houses, no matter

how well it may be done and no matter how safe it may actually

be.

Yours truly,

C. H. Rush,

City Engineer.

SIRS,–ln response to your request I am glad lo express my •

opinion as to the advisability of omitting the trap from private

drains at connection with street sewers.

On all work.done in accordance with modern usage that trap,

with its hideous “breather,” is not only useless to the house

plumbing, but an evil to the. street sewer, in retaining gases

which would harmlessly escape through the thousands of soil-

pipes if permitted.

You refer to the suggestion as new, but I beg to remind you

that for many years I have been its earnest advocate, and

have practised as I preachiend .each case I have to repeat the

same arguments with plumbers, drain men and owners, but

always prevail, and never use the trap.

In former years I have interviewed the mayor, aldermen and

city engineer, an.d have published my views in the daily press and

your excellent journal.

On the whole, our by-laws are thorough, but on this one point

we are behind other cities whose more recent by.»laws prohibit

the trap, but of course require the iron soil pipe continued

to outside of building.

In the old days of putty joints,no break syphons, and sheet metal

or_no ventpipes,.the.trap was a

needed though only partial safeguard; in some cities better than here because of having a back vent pipe carried to thBeu tr onoofw. that we insist on perfect plumbing;–with-at-back vented trap on every fixture, the old danger is avoided, and every soil pipe should help to ventilate

the sewer.

Then there would be no confined sewer gas, because

the fresh air would enter by the street gratings, and, being

warmed, would freely escape out of the high soil piAptes.

present the confined air becomes poison-laden, rises to the,

higher parts. of the city and escapes.by the only outlets, the”

street gratings, -over which children may be seen playing, and

no which I would trace the outbreak of diphtheria in those locali-

ties a few years ago.

High chimneys have been proposed as a relief at certain

points, but why add expense and ugliness when the thousands of

soilpipes are available gratis ?

At a recent convention of sanitary engineers here an able

paper was read advocating the omission of the trap, but I failed

to note its unanimous endorsation at the time.

Trusting that your efforts may res in complete reform,

I am, respectfully yours,

M. B. Aylesworth.

24 Sullivan St., Toronto, Aug. 14, ,900.

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