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But this section does not allow a local authority to meddle with the ventilating shafts of sewers belonging to the London County Council, unless previous notice is given (25 and 26 Vict. c. 102, section 27).
No person may connect his drain with a public Connection of sewer without the written consent of the authority with sewers. to whom the sewer belongs (ibid. section 61). It is the rule for the local authority to make themselves such connections, charging the expense on the owner of the drain.
There are also other sections in force with the object of protecting sewers from injury. Thus, no one under penalty is allowed to sweep rubbish, filth, or other matters into sewer gratings or into sewers (18 and 19 Vict. c. 120, section 205). Penalties for damaging or interfering with sewers are also provided by 25 and 26 Vict. c. 102, section 69.
Water Supply of the Metropolis.
Certain water supplies are
Public fountains and
pumps may be maintained by
the sanitary authority.
METROPOLITAN SANITARY LAW
Provisions as to Water and Water Supply
THE water supply of London is practically wholly in the hands of public companies; the number of private wells in proportion to the whole population being very small. A description of the London water supply, the sources of the supply, and the area allotted to each company will be found in the author's Manual of Hygiene. Each of the companies has a special Act or Acts, besides which the supply is governed by certain sections of the Public Health (London) Act, the Waterworks Clauses Acts, 1847; the Metropolis Water Acts of 1852 and 1871.
All existing public cisterns, reservoirs, wells, fountains, pumps, and works used for the gratuitous supply of water to the inhabitants of the district of any sanitary authority, and not vested in any person or authority other than the sanitary authority, vest in, and are under the control of, the local authority. Power is also given to the local authority to provide and maintain public fountains, pumps, and so forth, and wilful damage to any such works involves the payment of the expenses of repair in
addition to any punishment to which the offender may be liable. P.H. (London), section 51.
There are statutory obligations laid upon the companies so as to ensure the delivery of wholesome water, and also provisions against pollution by consumers and others.
(1) Supply of Wholesome Water by the Companies.
by the com
Reservoirs for the storage of water for domestic Provisions as to the purity of purposes are to be covered when such reservoirs are water supplied situated a certain distance from the Metropolis; the panies. water itself is to be brought in covered pipes, unless such water is filtered before distribution. All water supplied for domestic use is to be efficiently filtered by the companies (Metropolis Water Act, 1852, sections 2-4).
New sources of water are not to be taken save after notice to the Local Government Board, due inquiry by that Board, and permission given (ibid. sections 5-8, 35 and 36 Vict. c. 72, sect. 35).
The companies are compelled to keep proper maps, on a scale of six inches to the mile, showing the course of their mains, and these maps are to be open to the inspection of all persons interested in them, who are to be at liberty to take copies or make extracts from the same. This useful provision enables a sanitary officer, should he suspect local pollution from any cause, to ascertain, before having the ground opened, the exact position of the mains and their relation to sewers or drains.
Provisions as to cisterns.
Local storage regulated by bye-law.
The closing of polluted wells.
Every company is obliged to make regulations for the prevention of undue consumption or contamination of the water (Metropolis Water Act, 1852, section 26; ibid. 1871, section 17).
(2) Protection from Pollution by consumers or others.
Cisterns and so forth are to be so constructed as effectually to prevent the flow or return of foul air or other noisome or impure matter into the mains or pipes of the company, or into any pipe communicating or connected therewith, and the company are not bound to supply such defective appliances with water (Metropolis Water Act, 1852, section 23).
The cleanliness of tanks, cisterns, and other receptacles for drinking water is to be regulated by each local authority under bye-laws (Public Health (London) Act, 1852, section 50).
Corruption of water by gas is prohibited in similar terms to those employed in Section 68, P.H., 1875; Public Health (London) Act, section 52.
Polluted wells may be closed under Section 54, P.H. (London) Act, a section in wording practically identical with Section 70, P.H., 1875.
An occupied house without a proper and sufficient water unfit for supply of water is a 'summary' nuisance, and a
dwelling-house without such supply is to be deemed unfit for human habitation; P.H. (London),
1 There is a distinction in this section between an occupied house' and a 'dwelling-house.' A house of business, for instance, may be occupied only by day and not dwelt in; whereas, a dwelling-house may be presumed to be a house in which people live and sleep.
section 48 (1). This is an entirely new provision, and there is nothing precisely like it in the P.H.,
houses must be
Houses newly erected or rebuilt have to be certi- Newly-erected fied that they have a proper supply of water as in certified as to the provinces under the Public Health (Water) Act, 1878, section 6; P.H. (London), section 48 (2) and (3).
give notice to
A company, within twenty-four hours of the Company must cutting off of a supply of water from a house, is bound to give notice to the sanitary authority that the supply has been cut off, under a penalty of £10 or less, and it is the duty of the sanitary authority to proceed against the company for neglect of the provision (P.H. (London), section 40).
The water companies are entitled to cut off the When water water supply of a house under the following circum- cut off by a
may be legally
1. The payment in advance of each quarter day has not been made (10 and 11 Vict. c. 17, sections 70 and 74). This is, however, modified by the Water Companies (Regulation of Powers) Act, 1887, which prohibits the company cutting off the water supply of a house of which the owner, and not the tenant, pays the water-rate. For instance, if a house is let out in tenements, in nine cases out of ten, the owner pays the water-rate, and it would be illegal to deprive the tenants of water for any default of the owner.
2. Neglects, when required by the company, to provide a proper cistern with suitable appliances to
they cut off