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large forests on the banks of the Amazon are perpetually covered with mist. Other things being equal, a bare, open country is drier and hotter than a wellwooded one.
I will divide the soils, for sanitary purposes, into two kinds—pervious and impervious; those that allow water to pass freely through them, and those that do not. Pervious soils are such as gravel, sand, and the less compact and softer limestone, which allow water to pass through their interstices, and chalk, in which the water, for the most part, travels through the fissures; and the typical impervious ones, such as the various clays, mostly named from the localities where they are best known, as the London clay, Oxford clay, Kimmeridge, clay. Most of the metamorphic rocks and the hard limestones are non-porous, but have a multitude of crevices, through which the water finds its way. In the former case, the water which falls on the surface passes readily through the soil, until it comes to some impervious stratum below, over which surface it passes, until it either finds outlet at the surface of the ground where the impervious stratum crops out, or until it reaches the nearest watercourse, so that above the impervious layer, which has arrested its progress through the rocks, there is a stratum of water of a depth which will vary with a variety of circumstances—a stratum which can be reached from the surface of the ground by digging wells down to it. This water we call the “subsoil” water, or the ground water (grundwasser). In some instances, the impervious stratum just spoken of is placed in such a manner as to prevent the escape of the subsoil water at all, in which case the soil is said to be water-logged. The water which falls on the impervious soils, on the other hand, does not sink into the ground, but remains on the surface, or runs off if there be a suitable incline, and so such soils are necessarily damp. The diseases that are prevalent upon the pervious soils are enteric (typhoid) fever and cholera; during epidemics of that disease-diseases, in fact
by means of drinking water; and the readiness with which the subsoil water just mentioned can be contaminated by the percolation into it of foul matters from the refuse of habitations, combined with the fact that people who live on such soils, as a rule, drink water from wells dug in them, no doubt accounts for the prevalence of those diseases.
On impervious, damp soils, on the other hand, consumption, the great plague of our climate, which kills more than half as many people as all the communicable fevers put together, is prevalent, and so are lung diseases of various kinds—rheumatism, and, under special circumstances, ague. It has been clearly shown that dampness of the soil under the houses is one of the great factors in the production of consumption. Dr. George Buchanan (see 9th report of the Medical Officer of the Privy Council) demonstrated that in every instance
where the level of the subsoil water in a town has been lowered, that is to say, where the distances between the basements of the houses and the level of the water in the soil had been made greater, the death rate from consumption had decreased—in one instance to the extent of not less than 50 per cent., so that there can be no question that it is extremely important for everyone who can to live upon a dry soil. Where, then, the soil is not pervious to a considerable depth below the basements of the houses, so that the level of the ground-water comes within a few feet of them, or where the soil, being itself pervious, is naturally water-logged, or in the so-called impervious soils, which are, of course, all pervious to some extent, it is necessary to provide mains whereby the level of the water shall be kept below a certain minimum depth from the foundations of the houses. This is done by drainage, and by a drain I mean a pipe or channel that is intended to remove the water from the soil. It must, therefore, be a pipe into
which the water can get—that is to say, it must be pervious to water. The object of drains, then, is twofold, to carry off the surface water, and to prevent the subsoil water rising above a certain height, for as soon as it rises to the level of the drains it finds its way into them, and is carried away to the outfall at a lower point.
Drains may, therefore, be made of stones placed together without cement, as was the case with the Cloaca Maxima, the great drain which was constructed by the second king of Rome to dry the ground around the Forum; or of brickwork, with or without mortar; or, as is very commonly the case, of pervious agricultural tiles. The surface gutters must also be mentioned in connection with the drains, and they are, of course, especially necessary on impervious soils. The ultimate destination of the drains is into the watercourses, streams, rivers,
So much for natural soils; but, especially in the neighborhood of most of our