At the weekly meeting of the Farmers Club of this city, Robert L. Ells, Esq., of Pel-ham, Ulster Co., called attention to a subject of importance—the great loss, in this city, of the nitrogen contained in the excreta of over 600 000 population. The amount from each i would be sufficient for 800 lbs. of wheat I —more than is necessary for an acre of land, with the aid of that which it would obtain from the atmosphere in combination with ammonia, phosphates and sulphates. Our city might afford nitrogen enough every year, to raise, at least, 180 million pounds of wheat. Add a small quantity of ashes and bone dust, and we could do away with the bulky excrements of cattle, which are not worth what it costs to transport them any great distar.ee. The writer said he had paid $1,50 per load for such manure, and transported it six miles to his farm. He put forty loads on an acre, which cost him $80. By removing the liquid from the ordure, and using the nitrogen only, sixteen pounds, worth fifty cents, would be of equal benefit, and $80 worth of this latter would enrich 160 acres. The solid and liquid manuring substances produced in the factories of various kinds in this city, with the sewage wafer of the city, is equal to ore tun for each inhabitant, or 600,000 tons per annum. Nearly all ot this finds its way to the East or North River, and is selected by fish for their food. London contains two millions of people, and loses two million tons of excrement yearly, it being emptied into the Thames River, which supplies two thirds of the city with water. In addition to the 600,-000 tons of street dirt, ashes, &c, which might be carted to depots at a cost of $260,-000 per annum, thus saving 1,200,000 tons of valuable fertilizing matter, worth at least $600,000. He suggested the erection of reservoirs, with buildings over them, at the termination of the sewers, for the purpose of collecting the rising gases, and crystalizing them by chemical process for agricultural purposes. Steam engines could be used to elevate the folid matter into boats tor removal to neighboring farms. The construction of sewers, which would be the principal expense in this arrangement, has already been done to a great extent. The same plan could be adopted in the various cities and villages up the Hudson. A decree of the French Government permits the importation of soap manufacturtd ot palm oil, olive, tallow, or resin, at 8 francs duty per 100 kilogrammes,withlull drawback for exportation. The Chicago Democrat says that disclosures of the recent State survey ot Illinois make it certain that the coal fields of that State are equal in extent to those of Pennsylvania, if not greater..
This article was originally published with the title "Sewage Manure" in Scientific American 8, 27, 211 (March 1853)