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officer of health, and they are also afforded an opportunity of making a complaint (under Section 299, P.H. 1875), that a sanitary authority is not doing its duty.
The County Councils have also the power to enforce the provisions of the Rivers Pollution Prevention Act.
Before entering upon the details of the Sanitary Law, I think it well to insist upon the importance of the student carefully studying certain definitions of terms in the Sanitary Acts, the more especially, because most of these terms as defined have meanings which are not the same as the ordinary literary or common meaning.
Owner.-The word owner,' under the Public (a) Under the Health Acts, means the person, for the time being, receiving the rack-rent of the lands or premises in connection with which the word is used, whether on his own account, or as agent or trustee for any other person, or who would so receive the same if such premises were let at a rack-rent.
Hence, in serving a notice to abate a nuisance, it is only necessary to ascertain who receives the rent; if that person be only a rent collector (i.e. an agent), yet he is liable. The rent must be the rack-rent, that is, not less than two-thirds of the full net annual value of the property. Hence, the owner of the fee-simple letting land or premises at a nominal rent, such as a peppercorn, does not come within this
definition of owner. (Evelyn v. Wychcord, E.B. and E. 126; 27 L.J., M.C. 21; 22 J.P. 658.)
The trustees of schools and chapels have been held to be owners.
On the other hand, a receiver, under the Court of Chancery, does not come within the definition. (Corporation of Bacup v. Smith, 29 Ch. Div. 395, 63 L.T. 195.)
Part II. Housing
A different interpretation is given to the word (2) Under 'owner' in Part II. of the Housing of the Work- of the Working ing-Classes Act.
Under that Act the word means any person or corporation who, under the provisions of the Lands Clauses Acts, would be entitled to sell and convey lands, and includes all lessees or mortgagees of any premises' required to be dealt with under Part II. of the Housing of the Working-Classes Act, except 'persons holding, or entitled to the rents and profits of such premises, for a term of years, of which twenty-one years do not remain unexpired.'
All the essential meaning of the above may be expressed in a single sentence, i.e. the owner must have at least a twenty-one years' interest. So, under Part II. of the quoted Act, the Sanitary Authority may, if they choose, ignore all owners, except the leaseholder or leaseholders, possessing at least a twenty-one years' interest, and, of course, except the freeholder.
'House' is not defined, but merely the term Definition of extended; for house' includes schools, also factories,
Definition of 'building.'
Definition of 'Drain.'
and other buildings in which persons are employed. It is also evident by implication, that, for a structure to be a 'house,' persons need not reside therein. A church, it is submitted, may be under the Act a house, notwithstanding the decision, in the case of Angell v. the Vestry of Paddington, which decided that a church was not a house, in the sense that it renders the owner liable for paving expenses under the Metropolitan Management Act, 1862.
The word building' is obviously of much wider significance. Thus, it has been held that a wooden structure on wheels, which had been converted into a butcher's shop, was a new building.' (Richardson v. Brown, 49 J.P. 661.) Other leading cases also show that a structure need have no foundations, but simply rest on the ground, and yet it is to be considered a building.' 'Building,' under the Infectious Diseases Notification Act, 1889, applies to ships, vessels, boats, tents, vans, sheds, and other similar structures used for human habitation.
Drain' means any drain of, and used for the drainage of one building only, or premises within the same curtilage, and made merely for the purposes of communicating therefrom with a cesspool,1 or other like receptacle for drainage, or with a
1 Cesspools. According to the model byelaws for new buildings, a cesspool shall be 50 feet from a dwelling, and 60 to 80 feet distant from a well, spring, or stream. It must have no communication with a sewer. The walls and floors must be constructed of good brickwork in cement, rendered inside with cement, and with a backing of at least 9 inches of well-puddled clay around and beneath the brickwork. The top of the cesspool should be arched over, and the cesspool ventilated.
sewer into which the drainage of two or more buildings or premises occupied by different persons
'Sewers' include sewers and drains of every Definition of description, except drains to which the word 'drain,' interpreted as aforesaid, applies, and except drains vested in, or under the control of, any authority having the management of roads, and not being a local authority under this (i.e. P.H. Act, 1875) Act.
This definition it may be well to further explain. Let us suppose a row of cottages (see diagram), A, B, C, D; the cottages drain at the back in such a manner that all the drainage flows into a 9-inch common pipe. This common pipe, in D's premises, contains not alone D's drainage, but all above D, that is to say, the drainage of A, B, and C; in C's premises there will be the drainage of A, B, and C; in B's premises, the drainage of A and B.
It is obvious that, according to the definition, the only portions of this scheme of drainage that can be
Sewer not necessarily an
called 'drains' are, the drain in A, before the common 9-inch pipe receives B, and the short connecting pieces in B, C, and D; therefore, pretty well the whole of the 9-inch pipe is a sewer, and as such is vested in the Sanitary Authority. Should the pipe become out of order, or get stopped up, a notice to repair, or to unstop, cannot be legally served upon the owner or owners of the cottages, for it is the duty of the Sanitary Authority to maintain and repair all sewers. This view is supported by several leading decisions; take, for example, the case of Pinnock v. Waterworth, 51 J.P. 248; T.L.R. 563. In this case several houses drained into a common channel some 300 feet in length, which conveyed the sewage into a cesspit; the cesspit overflowed and became a nuisance. It was held that the common channel receiving the sewage was a sewer vested in the local authority, which the local authority was bound to cleanse and maintain, and the owners could not be called upon to abate the nuisance. (See also Acton Local Board v. Batten, 28 Ch. D. 283; 54 L.J., Ch. 251; 52 L.T. (n.s.), 17; 49 J. P. 357.)
We usually associate the term 'sewer' with an underground underground channel of some kind or other, but circumstances may arise in which an open channel, or a much polluted watercourse, may answer to the definition. Thus, it was held by Denman J. that where the sewage of certain houses drained into a sewer, and, after passing through the sewer for several years, fell into an open water-course, and