The pails may be supplied with a deodorant, such as sulphate 강남오피 of iron, as at Birmingham, Leeds, etc.; they may be packed with absorbent material, as in the Goux system (Halifax); the ashes and house-refuse may be deposited in the same pail (Edinburgh, Nottingham); or coal ashes may be scattered over the excreta (Manchester, Salford); but all these systems are rapidly being superseded.

Although the pail or tub system is an improvement on the midden system, it is necessarily a cause of considerable nuisance,195 and its replacement by water-closets should be recommended in towns. In detached country houses it may be retained without nuisance, if the pail or tub is emptied daily, and its contents at once placed in the garden beneath a shallow layer of earth. The pails in large towns are usually collected in specially-constructed closed wagons. In some towns the pail contents have been burnt in a “Destructor” (page 200) after having been mixed with ashes. In other towns attempts have been made to utilise the excreta, either by selling in their crude condition or after drying and deodorising them by heat. None of these methods repays the cost of collection. Mixing ashes with the excreta diminishes any possible value they may possess as a manure.

The Dry-earth System is an important modification of the pail system. In it dry earth or some other material is added to the excreta, thus converting them immediately into an inodorous mass. Probably the best contrivances for thus deodorising the excreta, as soon as they fall into the receptacle, are Moule’s or Moser’s Earth-Closets.

It is found that 1½ lbs. of dry earth completely deodorise the closet each time it is used. Loamy earth is the most valuable material; a mixture of peat and earth or ashes is very good; sand, gravel, and chalk are practically useless. It is necessary that the earth should be very dry, and that it should be finely sifted. If the earth is damp, decomposition of the excreta speedily occurs. The act of sitting and rising works a hopper which scatters a supply of earth.

Charcoal and sawdust have also been used in connection with Moule’s or Moser’s closet, and with good results. Charcoal has been obtained cheaply for the purpose from street sweepings, and from seaweed, as in Stanford’s closet, in which ½ lb. of charcoal from seaweed is used each time. Mr. Stanford found that while dry clay absorbs only 4 to 5 per cent. of water, dry charcoal prepared from seaweed absorbs 14·7 per cent. The best material, however, is dry earth, but it must be thoroughly dry. The microbes in the earth disintegrate the excreta, converting them into mineral compounds, such as nitrates. Even the paper used disappears. Hence the same earth may be used over again after being stored dry for six weeks. Whether the excreta of an infectious patient are freed from infection by this process is doubtful; if not, the infection might be scattered by means of dust.

The dry earth system is more expensive in use than the pail system, and although applicable to villages and isolated houses, is quite unsuited to large towns, owing to the practical difficulties connected with the procuring and storing of dry earth. The dry earth closet requires frequent attention, in addition to not being so convenient as the pail closet; and there is much less manurial value in the contents of earth closets than in those of pail closets.

The advantages of the earth-closet as compared with the water-closet have been thus summarised by the late Sir Geo. Buchanan.196 “It is cheaper in the original cost, it is not injured by frost, it is not damaged by improper substances driven down it, and it very greatly diminishes the quantity of water required by each household.” These advantages only accrue when the system is perfectly worked, and do not counterbalance the immense advantage and greater safety of the water-carriage system in towns.

The Privy or Midden System, involving the use of a fixed receptacle, is still prevalent in many towns as well as in innumerable villages. In its worst form, the receptacle consists of a pit with sides of porous materials, allowing percolation of filth in every direction; and in this pit the excreta of whole households are allowed to collect for months. It has been improved by providing a cover to keep out the rain, and thus retard decomposition; still more by providing a drain for the excess of liquid; and by making the sides and bottom of the pit impervious to moisture. The addition of dry ashes to the excreta tends still further to prevent any smell; and the greatest improvement of all consists in raising the receptacle above the ground level, and providing for easy cleaning from the back. The raising of the receptacle involves a diminution in its size, and so prevents the retention of putrefying matters near a house for a long time.

The model Bye-laws of the Local Government Board recommend a capacity for the privy not exceeding 8 cubic-feet, the provision of means for the frequent application of ashes, dust, or dry refuse; they forbid any connection between the privy and the drain; insist on its being at least 6 feet from a dwelling-house (too low a limit); and require a flagged or asphalted floor at least 3 inches above the level of the surrounding ground.

The Nottingham tub-closet forms a link between the pail and midden system. It is really a small movable middenstead, used for receiving excreta, vegetables and ashes.

Even when carefully supervised, middens are almost certain to be productive of evil. They possess two great disadvantages as compared with pails or dry closets. (1) The time between collections of excreta by the scavengers is much longer; and (2) the receptacle for the refuse is part of the structure of the building, and cannot easily be renewed when it has become saturated with excreta.

The use of pails or dry-earth closets is a great improvement on the old middens, but even these compare very unfavourably with water-closets in two respects. (1) The excreta require to be retained about the house for a longer or shorter period, whereas with an efficient water-carriage system, they are at once projected into the sewer. (2) In removing the excreta, the weight of the receptacle has to be added to that of the excreta, while in the water-carriage system, the water serves as the means of transport.

In villages and isolated houses, where no drains are provided for waste water, and the dry system of closets is adopted, the disposal of waste water requires special provision. Very commonly the slops are thrown out of the door, and soak into the ground about the house. They should be carried by means of a waste-pipe into a water-tight cesspool, remote from the house,197 whence they can be pumped into a field, or carried away by special conduits.

Relative Merits of Dry and Wet Methods. No absolute answer can be given in exclusive favour of either plan. Each is the best under different circumstances; the dry method being chiefly suitable for small villages, and for temporary collections of people, as in camps; and the wet method for towns. The question of value of manure does not enter into the problem, as it seldom repays for carriage.

The objections to the water-carriage system are really due to its not being carried out in an efficient manner. When sewers are properly laid; when they, as well as house-drains, are freely ventilated; when house-drains are efficiently trapped and ventilated near their junction with the sewer; when the drains are efficiently flushed, and the outflow from the sewer is unimpeded, the objections disappear.

These objections are that—(1) the sewers, as underground channels, transfer effluvia and the germs of disease from one place to another; (2) pipes become disjointed owing to being badly laid, and the ground is contaminated; (3) the water supply is in danger of receiving impurities from the sewers. These objections do not hold good in practice. The contamination of water-mains or of wells from sewers implies gross carelessness in the method of laying of sewers or pipes.

The only objections which are of any force, are (4) that water-closets require a large amount 강남오피 of water, and the sewage obtained is greatly diluted, and consequently diminished in value; while (5) the disposal of such an amount of water, in the case of a large inland town, is a problem of the utmost difficulty. Modern engineering enterprise by bringing water from a greater distance, and by aiding the discharge of sewage when necessary by pumping, has overcome these difficulties.

There are many objections to the dry methods of removing excreta. (1) Whatever dry method be adopted, the excreta are retained for some time in or about the house, instead of being immediately removed.

(2) Although the initial outlay in closets and sewers is less than with the water-carriage system, there is the constantly recurring expense of removing the excreta, as well as of cleansing the pails, etc.

(3) In the dry-earth closets, the provision of dry earth or other material involves some expense.

(4) Whatever dry method be adopted, sewers are always required to carry off the foul water, as well as liquid trade products, and a certain proportion at least of the urine. It is impossible to supply sufficient dry earth to absorb all the urine and slops of the population.

Thus, as the Indian Army Sanitary Commission said, speaking of barracks, “to have two systems of cleansing stations—a foul-water system, and a dry-earth system—would simply be paying double where one payment would answer; or, if all the excreta,198 solid and liquid, are to be carried away, this must be done at a cost ten times greater than that which would be necessary, if all the excreta were removed by drains.”

With some of the dry methods, as where middens or cesspits are drained into the sewers, the sewer-water is more offensive than in towns supplied with water-closets. When a midden or cesspool is drained, the principle of conservation, which distinguishes the dry system from the wet, is practically abandoned; and not only so, but the solid matters still remain to be disposed of, by a tedious process.

(5) The dry systems, involving the retention of excreta about the house, poison the atmosphere. In all towns where the refuse matters are not removed immediately, there is a high mortality, especially among children.

On the other hand, the introduction of the water-carriage system into large towns, with the abolition of midden-heaps and cesspools, has been followed in nearly every case by a diminution in the death-rate, and especially a considerable diminution in that from such diseases as enteric fever. It has furthermore increased the comfort of life, and removed those serious nuisances which are inevitably associated with privies and pail closets, and to a less extent, when care is not exercised, with earth closets.

In an ordinary household the disposal of ashes from fires, of broken pots and cans, of waste-paper, and of vegetable and animal debris form a serious difficulty. The difficulty is one that can be minimised by the careful housekeeper. Old newspapers, etc., may be sold, though their value is very small; other waste-paper should be burnt. All vegetable and animal debris should be burnt. This may be effected without nuisance if coal-fires are in use, by placing potato-peelings, cabbage leaves and similar substances under the fire until thoroughly dried, and then burning them. The careful housewife will not waste bones, but utilise them for soup. After being boiled they are much less liable to putrefy in the dust-bin; but should even now be burnt in the fire. If this plan be pursued, the contents of the dust-bin will be simply ashes, broken pots and cans, and a few cinders—here again a sifter is desirable—and no nuisance can arise. It is only organic refuse that smells. If only gas or paraffin stoves are in use, as during the summer months, any possible nuisance in connection with the dust-bin is minimised by allowing all refuse to dry before it is placed in the dust-bin, or by wrapping all putrefiable substance inside several layers of newspaper.

In emptying the dust-bin or ash pit, care must be taken that the bottom is thoroughly scraped out. It is well to keep some quicklime (thoroughly dry) for sprinkling on the bottom and sides of the receptacle each time after it is emptied. This greatly helps in keeping it dry and diminishing nuisance during summer.


In many households a separate receptacle is kept for what is known as “hog-wash,” containing waste-food, often in a foul and putrefying condition. In well-ordered households, except in hotels and similar establishments, there is no necessity for a “hog-wash” tub, and its presence argues wastefulness and carelessness. Food which cannot be eaten because it has “gone bad” should be burnt.

Two forms of receptacle are used for house-refuse, an ash-pit or a dust-bin. An ash-pit is a fixed receptacle for the reception of house-refuse. In many towns the same receptacle is used for excreta. Then we have a privy or privy midden, according 강남오피 to size (see page 196). Ash-pits for household refuse alone should be small, so as not to hold more than a week’s refuse. No part should be below the ground level. The floor and walls should be lined with impervious smooth cement, and the ash-pit should have a hinged cover to keep out rain, and a door on one side to facilitate emptying. The ash-pit should be at least six feet distant from any wall of the house. Even the best constructed ash-pit is as much worse than a dust-bin, as a privy is worse than a pail closet. A fixed is always less easily cleansed than a movable receptacle.

A dust-bin is usually made of galvanized iron with a tight-fitting lid. This receptacle can be kept clean, and can be carried without any transference to another tub direct to the cart.

The removal of house refuse constitutes an important part of municipal work. In most towns it is carried out weekly, sometimes less frequently, while in some towns removal twice or three times a week is secured. A daily removal is carried out in a few towns, and this is by far the best plan, as decomposition and the dangers associated with it have then no chance of becoming serious. The house refuse should always be conveyed through the streets in covered carts.

The disposal of house refuse constitutes a problem of increasing difficulty. Unfortunately in the suburbs of many towns it is deposited on low-lying land in disused quarries and brickfields. When land has been thus levelled, it often next appears as “an eligible building site.” A very common practice has been to excavate gravel and sand upon the site of proposed dwellings, and allow the excavation to be filled with dust-bin refuse. Before building on such a soil it is necessary to excavate down to the virgin earth, and to render it impervious by a layer of cement concrete.

A second method is to sift and sort the refuse, separating by means of sieves the finer ash and dust from the coarser parts. This is usually carried out in a large dust-yard adjoining a river or railway-siding. The “breeze,” consisting of cinders and coals, along with the fine ash, are sold to brickmakers; the “hard core,” consisting of clinkers, broken crockery, etc., is used for road making; and the “soft core,” consisting of animal and vegetable refuse, to which is often added stable manure, is sold for manure. Iron, tin, paper, rags, bottles, and corks are separately200 collected and sold. This disgusting process, often carried on by women, is now gradually being disused.

A third method is to cremate the house refuse. This has been done to a large extent by burning the house refuse for making bricks (page 124). This method of slow and imperfect combustion necessarily involves a nuisance. A more elaborate means of securing the same end is by the modern Destructor, which has been gradually brought towards perfection. A destructor is a large furnace, in which, after the fire has been first lit, the combustible matter in the house refuse suffices to keep it alight. Various mechanical devices are in use for emptying the trucks of house refuse on to the fires without handling it, for clearing out of the fire the inorganic refuse, and for ensuring sufficiency of draught. The amount of draught has in the older destructors been dependent upon the height of the chimney. In some more recent destructors the same end has been more efficiently secured by injecting a steam blast into the furnaces. A temperature of about 2,000° F. is reached in certain parts of the destructor, the rapid draught ensuring enormous heat. In view of the possibility of a portion of the smoke not being completely burnt, a second “fume cremator” is often provided, through which the products of combustion in the furnace are passed. The fuel in the “fume cremator” is coke. Besides incomplete combustion of combustible material, which is rare when the fume cremator is provided, the escape of fine dust up the chimney requires to be guarded against. This is partially prevented by ledges near the bottom of the chimney. In a destructor the house refuse is reduced to about one-third of its original bulk, the residue being innocuous clinker, metallic refuse, and dust. This material can be utilised for making roads, and in the manufacture of mortar. The waste heat of the destructor has been partially utilised for various purposes. This method of disposal of house refuse is usually the best available for large towns, and offers the additional advantage that no nuisance is caused by the deposit of offensive material in neighbouring districts.