Sunday, April 22, 2012

The 1919 Sewage Crisis, Part II (55)

This two-part post on the Davis sewage crisis of 1919 focuses on items in the October 17, 1919 issue of the Davis Enterprise. That issue of the paper had four items on this topic, one of which I reproduced in Part I (post #53, last week).

That item was state sanitary engineer C. F Smith’s report on his inspection of the Davis sewage situation, a situation he judged to be seriously bad.

In this post, I reproduce the other three items. The first is Editor Scott’s general introduction, in which he notes the critical role of the Women’s Improvement Club in making sewage a key Davis issue.

The second is a cover letter by Smith’s boss, C. J. Gillespie, director of the state bureau of sanitary engineering. The letter is, to me, surprisingly strong in that he uses the word “backward” to describe Davis citizens and unambiguously threatens to shut down large Davis busineses that produce sewage if the situation is not improved.

Last, Editor/Judge Scott weighs in with an editorial in which he acknowledges the need for a sewage system but bristles that state employees would dare hint that Davis should build a sewage system before it installs a water system.

One outcome of all this is that an election to issue bonds to build a water system was held on November 4, 1919 and passed by a three to one vote.  

An election to bond a sewer system was held in January, 1921 and was approved by a sixteen to one vote. I guess this lop-sided result is testimony to how weary people can get living almost literally afloat in sewage.