Newark Daily Advertiser - February 11, 1853

Meadow Lands Reclamation

Our attention is called to this subject, more particularly from the peculiar topography of Newark and Elizabethtown, New Jersey, between which and slightly below the levels of these towns are 10,000 acres of undrained meadows, producing coarse grasses of the most inferior kinds, every acre of which is susceptible of being drained, and held by dike free from influx of tides. The sewerage of Newark and Elizabethtown, if properly applied, would render every square foot of the meadows capable of growing garden products. They are formed of the fertile portions of the highlands, washed down during all time, and by subsequent growths are now a mass of peaty vegetable matter, requiring only to be free from excess of water to undergo the necessary chemical changes to be fertile. While these meadows remain undrained and undiked, the filth of Newark and Elizabethtown, arising from badly constructed sewerage, are floating portions of their surfaces, and rendering these localities materially unhealthy. They are approximated to New York, and their own immediate markets would cause them in a reclaimed state, to bear a value many times greater than would be the expense of reclamation.

Residents in the vicinity of the Newark Meadows, need not fear that the collection of sewerage will give rise to unhealthy effluvia, still, when under drained, they may receive millions of gallons per acre every drop of which may be rendered inodorous by the chemical properties of their peaty soil, the aqueous portions of the sewerage will filter through, leaving resident in the soil all those valuable particles which are calculated to increase vegetation. No better proof can be wanted of this fact, that that a single cubic yard of the soil of these meadows, after being placed above their level so as to run off excess of moisture, and being then exposed to the disintegrating influence of one winter's frost, is capable of disinfecting its own bulk of night soil, and rendering it entirely inodorous. The fact has been clearly proved by the Lodi Pondrette Company, and by many others who have so used it.

Professor Mapes


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