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Full text of "[City documents, 1847-1867]"

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City Document. — No. 11. 



REPORT 



JOINT SPECIAL COMMITTEE 



SEWERAGE. 




ROXETTRY : 
L. B. & 0. E. WESTON, PRINTERS, GUILD ROW. 

1 8 5 S . 



CITY OF ROXBURY. 



In Common Council, Jan. 25, 1858. 

Ordered, That so much of the address of his Honor the Mayor as 
relates to Sewerage, be referred to a Joint Special Committee. 

Committee on the part of the Council — Messrs. Ryerson, Batciielder 
and Mayall. 

In Common Council, Feb. 1, 1858. 
Passed and sent up for concurrence. 

FRANKLIN WILLIAMS, Clerk. 

In Board of Aldermen, Feb. 1, 1858. 
Concurred, and the Mayor and Aid. Lewis joined. 

JOSEPH W. TUCKER, City Clerk. 



In Board of Aldermen, Feb. 8, 1858. 
Ordered, That the Joint Special Committee on Sewerage be and 
they hereby are authorized to employ an Engineer, to cause levels taken 
and plans made in furtherance of the duties enjoined on them. 
Sent down for concurrence. 

JOSEPH W. TUCKER, City Clerk. 

In Common Council, Feb. 8, 1858. 
Concurred. 

FRANKLIN WILLIAMS, Clerk. 



In Board of Aldermen, Oct. 25, 1858. 
The Report of the Joint Si>ecial Committee on Sewerage was read, 
laid on the table, and six hundred copies ordered to be printed for the 
use of the City Council. 

JOSEPH W. TUCKER, City Clerk. 



(lib of %nhxityi. 



In Board of Aldermen, October 25, 1858. 
The Special Joint Committee to whom was referred the 
Orders, dated January 25, and Feb. 8, relating to the 
subject of Sewerage, and authorizing the Committee to 
employ an Engineer to take levels, and make plans, in 
furtherance of the duties enjoined upon them, have at- 
tended to their duty, and respectfully ask leave to 

REPORT: 

Your Committee, aware of the importance to the City 
of Roxbury, of the establishment of a proper and well ar- 
ranged general system of sewerage, the want of which is 
felt daily by all our citizens, believed that their first duty 
would be to cause levels to be taken of the most impor- 
tant streets by an Engineer, and their relative heights 
above tide water determined with mathematical accuracy : 
also the distances measured from certain points to the 
most expedient outlets: and these facts and figures noted 
and marked on plans, which would give on inspection, the 
information which might be required for the prosecution 
of the work. Accordingly, Mr. T. B. Moses has been en- 
gaged from time to time in ascertaining, by measurement, 
the various heights and distances, and executing the plans 
for the same, — which accompany this Report. There ap- 
pear to be three important natural channels for drainage 



and sewerage from the City of Roxbury — viz : Muddy 
Brook, Smelt Brook, and Stony Brook. 

Muddy Brook forms the western boundary of the City, 
and when that part of the City, including a portion of 
Washington Street, Heath Street, Francis Street, and the 
villages in the neighborhood of Longwood depot, increase 
in population, the value of this brook as an outlet for 
drainage and sewerage will be inestimable. 

Stony Brook now drains a large tract of the City, form- 
ing the valley between the Highlands on the East, and 
Parker's Hill on the West. After it crosses the highway 
at the junction of Washington and Tremont Streets, it 
passes through a part of the City, which is densely popu- 
lated — and along its margin are situated manufacturing es- 
tablishments of various kinds. This brook crosses the 
" Stony Brook Lands " in a large stone culvert built by the 
City, and empties into what may be called an arm, or la- 
goon, of the full basin, westerly of Tremont Street. The 
expense of constructing a stone culvert, arched with stone, 
of sufficient size to carry off all the water at all times, 
with the right of the City, from the abuttors, to use it, or 
allow it to be used as a Common Sewer — and extending 
from Washington Street to the Culvert on the Stony Brook 
Lands, already built, would not be large, compared with 
the many advantages the City would derive from such an 
undertaking. A considerable portion of this expense 
should be borne by the abuttors and the manufacturing es- 
tablishments along its borders, which are now dependent 
on this brook as the only means for carrying off their im- 
purities. 

Into the Culvert, through which Stony Brook crosses 
Tremont Street, a Common Sewer three feet by two in di- 
ameter, may be carried along Tremont Street from Heath 
Place on the one side, and from Milford Place on th,e other 
— and thus furnish an efficient channel for sewerage, not 



5 

only for that considerable portion of Tremont Street, but 
for streets and avenues leading into it. North of Milford 
Place, it will doubtless be found expedient to carry a sim- 
ilar Sewer along the street to enter the canal at the Bos- 
ton boundary line. 

If any legal objection to the above arrangements should 
be made and sustained, which your Committee think hard- 
ly possible, on the part of the owners of the low lands and 
marshes, westerly of Tremont Street, there will still re- 
main the mode of sewerage, pointed out by a Committee 
of the City Government in 1852, viz: to construct a large 
Sewer commencing at Culvert Street, and extending along 
Orange Street into Cabot Street, thence across the marsh- 
es easterly to Washington Street, and into the South Bay, 
into which a part, or perhaps the whole of Stony Brook 
may be turned. This undertaking, however, would be at- 
tended with serious disadvantages. The inclination of the 
Sewer would be only 1 1-4 inches in a hundred feet: if 
constructed beneath a street, across the " marshes," it 
would in all likelihood require to be built on piles, and 
the work would be prosecuted at a very great expense, 
the distance being about 5550 feet. 

Smelt Brook, takes it rise in May's Pond, near the junc- 
tion of Quincy and Warren Streets ; traverses and drains 
the low lands, belonging to the Eoxbury Land Company ; 
crosses Walnut Street near Dale Street, and runs through 
the valley between the Catholic Church and Shawmut Av- 
enue, entering said Avenue from Circuit Street. A culvert 
constructed by the City conveys the water of this stream 
from Circuit Street along Shawmut Avenue to Washington 
Street, where it enters the " Sumner lot" — thence crossing 
Vernon Street, and traversing and irrigating several gar- 
dens, it enters the premises of Hon. Linus B. Comins, and 
running through the extent of marshes between Mr. Co. 
mins's estate and the Boston line, enters the Creek, which 



6 

is the boundary between Boston and Roxbury, and is con- 
nected with the full basin of the Mill Dam Corporation. 

If an arrangement can be made with the owners of land 
through which this brook passes, by which it can be used 
as a Common Sewer, as well as a means of drainage of 
surface water, it will serve as an important outlet for the 
sewerage of a populous district, embracing all the streets 
bordering on the valley through which it passes, and that 
portion of Washington Street extending from Eliot Square 
to the Boston boundary line. Or if the consent of the 
abuttors can be obtained, and the brook be partially, or at 
certain times only, diverted from its present course, and 
carried clown Washington street, thence through Hunnc- 
man Street, or Eustis Street, to the Canal in the South 
Bay, it will serve as a scourer to an important outlet for 
drainage, and will be of much value. If neither of these 
plans should prove practicable, it will be seen that Dudley 
Street and the streets which lead into it, can be drained 
by a trunk sewer extending from Eliot Square to Guild 
Row, thence through Washington Street, and Eustis, or 
Hunneman Streets. Or if circumstances should render it 
more expedient, it may be carried through the whole of 
Dudley Street, and connected with a large Sewer, which it 
may be advisable to construct immediately, for draining 
that portion of the City in the neighborhood of, and inclu- 
ding, Mount Pleasant. 

The City is now proprietor of a parcel of Land on the 
Point, bordering on the Canal, and also of the City Dock, 
which is well located as an outlet for a Common Sewer ; 
and a large Sewer can be easily constructed through a 
gravelly and sandy soil, with a solid foundation, leading 
from the corner of Eustis and Dudley Streets through 
Davis Street to the City Dock;' and into this Sewer a 
brook, which now enters the Williams and Sumner estate 



at the corner of Dearborn and Eustis Streets, can proba- 
bly be turned, if expedient, which may prove of much ad- 
vantage as a scourer. This Sewer, with connecting 
branches, can drain all Mount Pleasant, a large portion of 
Eustis Street, a part of Warren Street, Zeigler Street, 
Mall Street, and, as already stated, the whole of Dudley 
Street, if considered desirable. 

The plans accompanying this Report give the heights of 
many of the principal streets, (through which it is desira- 
ble that Sewers should be located,) above the level of the 
surface of the City Dock, which is 2.38 feet above mean low 
water mark. They will be found valuable for reference 
whenever the question of Sewerage is brought before the 
City Government. 

It will be seen by these plans, that the height 

of Eliot Square, above the City Dock, . . 71.97 ft. 

Post Office, 30.65 

Corner of Elm and Dudley Streets, . . 25.16 

Corner of Washington and Eustis Streets, . 21.61 

Corner of Washington and W'ebster Streets, . 18.10 

Corner of Shawmut Avenue and Vernon Street, 25.96 
Bed of Stony Brook at Culvert near Culvert St. 6.27 

Profile plans are given of the route from the Post Office 
through Washington Street to Hunneman Street ; thence 
through Hunneman Street and Davis Street to the City 
Dock. Also from the corner of Eustis and East Streets, 
through East Street, to the City Dock. Also from the 
Post Office, through Dudley Street, to Elm Street; thence 
through Dearborn and Davis Streets to the City Dock. 
A profile plan is also given of Tremont Street, showing 
that an efficient Common Sewer for that street, and the 
streets adjoining, entering into the Culvert which crosses 
the street at Stony Brook, and into the Canal at the bound- 



ary line, will be attended with no difficulty beyond the 
expense. 

Your Committee, after taking into consideration the 
foregoing circumstances and facts, would respectfully re- 
commend that some decided action be taken, and the work 
of Sewerage, according to some established system, com- 
menced as soon as practicable. For obvious reasons, the 
outlets must first be secured, and the work there begun. 
They would recommend, as an early step, that a Common 
Sewer be constructed of an oval form ; horizontal diameter 
3| feet; vertical diameter 4 feet; built of brick laid in 
cement, and reaching from the corner of Elm, Dudley, and 
Eustis streets, through Davis Street to the City Dock — a 
distance of 2,346 feet; with an inclination from a level of 
3 inches to a foot, or greater if required ; and which will, 
probably, cost from 12 to 14,000 dollars, — a just propor- 
tion of which expense should be assessed upon the abut- 
tors, in accordance with the provisions of the Act of 1841, 
p. 196 of Supplement of Revised Statutes. When this work 
is accomplished, an outlet will be established for Sewers 
and Drains, which will be of manifold advantage to differ- 
ent populous sections of the City, as has already been 
stated. 

Your Committee would also recommend, that arrange- 
ments be entered into, as soon as practicable, with the 
abuttors on Stony Brook, by which that portion of it be- 
tween Waitt's Mills and the Culvert built by the City, or a 
part of the same, may be walled up, covered, and used as 
a Common Sewer. This, as has been shown, will prove of 
great advantage to the public ; and in this way an intolera- 
ble nuisance, which has existed for years, and acted as a 
barrier to the improvement of estates in that section of the 
City, will be removed. 

Thus two valuable outlets will be secured; and when 



9 

the work is judiciously commenced, it will, beyond a doubt, 
be steadily prosecuted, until a good and sufficient system 
of Sewerage is established over the City. 

Your Committee would further recommend, that the 
owners of land through which Smelt Brook passes, should 
be consulted in relation to the use of that brook as a 
Common Sewer, as soon as circumstances may render action 
necessary. And if no satisfactory arrangements can be 
made, by which it can be so used, those portions of the 
City which would be benefitted by such arrangements, can 
be drained by the outlets through Stony Brook or Davis 
Street, as has already been suggested. 

Your Committee are not prepared to designate any defi- 
nite plan for the drainage of the low lands in Roxbury. 
situated in the neighborhood of Fellows Street, as that 
subject, in consequence of the action of the Board of Alder- 
men of Roxbury last year, has deeply engaged the atten- 
tion of the City Government of Boston the present year, 
and it is manifest that a joint action and co-operation of 
both Governments, if that can take place, will be more 
efficient than the action of either Government separately. 
A system is suggested by the City Government of Boston, 
to drain those low lands by a Common Sewer leading from 
Eustis to Northampton Street, through Plymouth Street. 
It may be that this mode of drainage will be approved by 
the City Government of Roxbury, after due examination 
and inquiry by the Committee having that matter in charge, 
and that immediate action may be determined on, which 
seems to be required by the exigency of the case. A Sewer 
can be constructed to remove the nuisance in that quarter 
without any alteration in the system of drainage suggested 
in this Report. 

The season is now advanced, and the Municipal year is 
drawing to a close, therefore it may not be advisable to 
2 



10 

take any definite action in relation to the above matters 
at the present time, other than to express a decided opin- 
ion that the work should be commenced and carried for- 
ward without further delay, and your Committee would 
therefore recommend the adoption of the accompanying- 
Resolve. 

JOHN S. SLEEPER, "1 

GEORGE LEWIS, | 

ALBERT BATCHELDER, [ Committee. 

EBEN. RYERSON, 

THOS. J. MAYALL, J 



CITY OF ROXBURY. 

In Board op Aldermen. Oct. 25, 1858. 

Resolved, That the interests of the City require that a 
sum of money, of not less than Ten Thousand Dollars, be 
annually appropriated by the City Council, after the pres- 
ent year, and expended for the construction of Common 
Sewers, until a regular system of Sewerage shall be estab- 
lished and carried into effect, through the principal public 
streets.