HC Deb 14 July 1884 vol 290 cc912-3

asked the President of the Local Government Board, Whether his attention has been called to the alarming sanitary condition of the River Thames; whether he is aware that, in addition to the sewage of the Metropolis being poured into it in a crude condition at Barking and Crossness, there are over one hundred sewer outfalls sending sewage into the river above London; and, what steps, if any, the Local Government Board propose to take to prevent danger arising to the public health?


The Board are aware of the representations which have been made with regard to the sanitary condition of the Thames. With respect to the sewage of the Metropolis poured in at Barking and Crossness, I may refer to the reply given by the Secretary of State for the Home Department to the hon. Member for Glasgow (Dr. Cameron) on Friday last. We are informed by the Metropolitan Board of Works that the whole of the sewage is now completely deodorized before being discharged into the river, and that this deodorization will be continued during the dry and hot weather, and that special attention is being given to the flushing of the sewers. With respect to the sewer outfalls above London, there is no doubt that in the district of the Lower Thames Main Sewerage Board there are a large number of sewers discharging into the Thames without any purification of the sewage. The House are aware that a scheme of main sewerage and sewage purification was proposed by the Joint Sewerage Board, and that a Provisional Order for the purchase of land required for the scheme was submitted this Session for the confirmation of Parliament. The Bill was referred to a Select Committee. That Committee have not yet made their Report; but it is understood they have determined to accept the grave responsibility of reporting altogether against the Bill. If so, the difficulties which will result will be of a most serious character; but I must await the Report of the Committee before expressing my opinion.


asked whether the right hon. Gentleman had observed that the Engineer of the Metropolitan Board of Works stated that one of the causes of the condition of the river was the diminution of the amount of the land-water owing to the quantity taken by the Water Companies above Teddington Lock; and that, consequently, the sewage was not so diluted as it used to be, and it did not amalgamate with salt water?


said, that as the river was so low this year he was having it measured at various points by Mr. Harrison, one of the Inspectors of the Local Government Board, and in a short time he should be more fully aware than at present of the effect of the abstraction of this land-water.