Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Pelham Manor Submitted Sewage Plans to the New York State Board of Health in 1894

In the never-ending quest to document the history of Pelham, today's Historic Pelham Blog will sink to the depths of dealing with the subject of sewage. More specifically, it will deal with the origins of the Village of Pelham Manor's sewage system, plans for which were first submitted to the New York State Board of Health in 1894 -- only three years after the Village incorporated.

The materials provide glowing praise for the little Village. It "calls attention to the commendable enterprise displayed by this small village in the collection and disposal of its sewage which is worthy of imitation by many of the larger towns of our State."

The State Board of Health of New York published its fifteenth annual report in 1895. The report includes a submission by the Village of Pelham Manor of plans for its new sewage system as well as a recommendation by a consulting engineer that the Board give its approval for that system. The text of the materials appears immediately below.



Plans for a system of sewers and for sewage disposal by means of chemical precipitation were received from the sewer commissioners of the village of Pelham Manor in the county of Westchester.

The matter of examination of plans, etc., was referred to Consulting Engineer Bogart and on his recommendation the plans were approved by the board June 29 [1894]. It is proposed to discharge the effluent from the disposal works into Eastchester creek, and the report of the consulting engineer indicates that no bad results are likely to occur therefrom, as the matter discharged will be purified to such an extent as will render it harmless.

The report also calls attention to the commendable enterprise displayed by this small village in the collection and disposal of its sewage which is worthy of imitation by many of the larger towns of our State. Mr. Bogart's report and a comprehensive description of the system of sewers and disposal works are given herewith and maps and plans follow.

Statement in Connection with the Plans Submitted to the State Board of Health, for the Sewerage of the Village of Pelham Manor.

The village of Pelham Manor has an area of almost exactly one square mile (1.0282 sq. m.). It is bounded on the southeast by Long Island sound and on the southwest by Hutchinson's river, which empties into Pelham bay and is a tidal inlet from Long Island sound. The topography of the village is undulating, rising to an elevation of about 100 feet above tide water and sloping both toward the sound and toward Hutchinson's river. It is impossible to carry by gravity the sewage of all parts of the village either to an outlet upon Hutchinson's river or to one upon the sound, and it is understood that the requirements of the State Board of Health would demand that the sewage should be purified by some approved method of treatment before it is discharged into either of those waters; the present plan contemplates the delivery of the sewage by gravity to the Hutchinson river, for all that portion of the village west of the railroad and for Pelhamdale avenue, and also that portion of the ground east of Pelhamdale avenue. The sewage for that portion of the village east of the railroad and for a small area of lowland and east of Pelhamdale avenue is to be conducted to a pumping station close to the railroad and there lifted to a connection with the gravity system. This arrangement will concentrate at one disposal works the sewage from the whole area of the village. The only exception is from a short piece of the shore road along the sound where there are now very few structures, but here provision is made for a small disposal arrangement, should such be required for the delivery of this small effluent into the water of the sound.

The buildings of the village of Pelham Manor are all of a residential character. There are no hotels, no shops and no industrial or manufacturing establishments. The streets laid out are generally macadamized and the plan shows the location of the sewers in all streets now laid out, and provides, in the size of the sewers and their grade, for an extension of the system over every part of the village not already laid out in streets. The system proposed is that designated as the separate system, there having been already, provision made in various parts of the village for drainage, and the slopes and grades being such as to make further arrangements for the drainage easily practicable. With the exception of some very short branches, to provide for only a few houses, the smallest pipe shown is of eight inches diameter, and the grades and sizes of the pipes are so arranged that no undue amount of flow in them will result from a further settlement upon the land not already built over.

Provision is made for automatic flushing tanks at the head of each sewer and for manholes or lampholes at all changes of direction and grade. The plan adopted for the treatment of the sewage at the disposal works is that of precipitation by the introduction of chemicals, and experience has shown that this will give an effluent of a character entirely suitable for discharge into the Hutchinson river, and that the cost of the treatment will be quite small.

In addition to the plan showing the location of all proposed sewers there is also presented to profile of each line of sewer, a plan of the proposed disposal works, and specifications for the proper construction of the whole system.

Plans are also given showing the construction of manholes and lampholes.

F. CARLES MERRY, President,
Sewer Commissioners.


Report on Plans Presented for the Sewerage of Pelham Manor

Hon. C. W. ADAMS, State Engineer:

Dear Sir. -- I have examined the plans for the sewerage of Pelham Manor, have visited the village and inspected the topography, the lines of streets and the location for outlet.

The plans are for a system of sewerage separate from the drainage. The grades are well arranged and the sizes of the various pipes as shown are ample to convey the sewage from all parts of the village to the outlet. This is into Eastchester creek (also called Hutchinson river). Provision is made in the plans for treating the sewage by precipitation of the solids by the addition of lime and iron, and for deodorizing and disinfecting both effluent and sludge.

This will result in an effluent clear and purified and suitable for discharge into this tidal stream.

Pelham Manor is a small village and the presentation of these plans for the effective collection and disposal of its sewage shows an excellent public spirit.

I recommend the approval of the plans.


Consulting Engineer."

Source: Fifteenth Annual Report of the State Board of Health of New York Transmitted to the Legislature March 6, 1895, pp. 81-84 (Albany, NY: James B. Lyon State Printer 1895).

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