§ MR. BRADLAUGH (Northampton)
asked the hon. Member for the Knutsford Division of Cheshire, Whether the Metropolitan Board of Works, on Friday last, accepted a tender (£259,816) for additional outfall sewage works at Crossness; whether he can state the nature and tenor of the Report of the consulting chemist of the Board on the use of chemicals as failing to prevent the foul condition of the river during hot weather and seasons of drought; whether the proposed outfall works are opposed to the recommendations of the Royal Commission presided over by Baron Bramwell; and, whether, pending the 1613 passage of the Local Government Bill now before Parliament, the Metropolitan Board of Works will refrain from entering on such works involving a large expenditure of public money and the utility of which is challenged by very high authority?
§ MR. TATTON EGERTON (Cheshire, Knutsford)
In answer to the hon. Member's Question, I have to state that the Board did on Friday last accept a tender for some large works at the Crossness Sewage Outfall, the works being mainly for the purpose of purifying the sewage by precipitation of the solid matter, and including also an enlargement of the sewage reservoir, which has for some years past been of too limited capacity, thus necessitating the occasional discharge of sewage into the river before the tide has begun to ebb. The Board's consulting chemist has reported that the use of chemicals will not prevent a foul condition of the river in droughts or during hot weather; but in thus speaking he refers to the application of chemicals to crude sewage, as has been the case during the last two or three summers, it not having yet been possible to put into operation the process of separating the solid matter from the whole of the sewage. The proposed works can hardly be said to be opposed to the recommendations of the Royal Commission; inasmuch as the Commission contemplated as one alternative the discharge of the separated liquid at the present outfalls after it had been purified by filtration through land. Therefore, whatever method of purification may be finally adopted, the precipitation works and the enlargement of the reservoir now resolved upon are not opposed to the recommendations of the Royal Commission. The Board does not take the view that the circumstance of a Local Government Bill being now before Parliament relieves the Board from the duty which devolves upon it, and which, moreover, has so frequently been urged upon it by the Government, of preventing the pollution of the River Thames by the discharge of crude sewage.
§ MR. BRADLAUGH
asked, whether the House had not been led to understand that the Board would not undertake any fresh works, except those which were of a specially urgent nature?