chapter  VIII
7 Pages

Main Drainage

The Royal Commission was impressed by the technical evidence, which went to show that nearly fifty separate disposal works had been established in as many localities in circum­ stances where “ greater efficiency and economy could have been

secured in the first instance by combination between local authorities whose sewage would naturally have been taken by a single system.” 1 Their attention had also been drawn to the fruitless attempts of the Metropolitan Water Board to clear away the sewage farms above the intake on the River Lee, for which purpose the Water Board had offered to make a financial contribution towards the cost of a joint scheme; but a Bill embodying these proposals had to be abandoned owing to the opposition of the local authorities concerned, who regarded the preservation of their sewage farms as more important than "he purification of the water supply.2 In the result, the Royal Commission unanimously recommended in its majority and two minority reports substantial changes in the drainage service and an enlargement in its area of operation. The majority suggested a small statutory committee to advise the Minister of Health in respect of an area about twenty-four miles radius from Charing Cross on main drainage and certain other questions. The first minority report proposed a central authority to administer a number of major services, including drainage and sewage, within an area at least ten miles distant from Charing Cross (about 314 square miles). The second minority report proposed that the Metropolitan Police District, which varies from between twelve to fifteen miles from Charing Cross and comprises 692 square miles of territory, should be taken as the drainage area. All these recommendations were applications in one form or another of the idea that the drainage régime ought to be under the control of one directing hand, no matter what technical methods of sewage disposal might be adopted.8