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Family Notices

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#to?tr&er. =s=—^ ■—■» POLLUTION OF THE RIVElt USK. The foUowing reports have been issued by the Committee of its members apoointed by the River Usk Association, in January last, to inquire into the pollution affecting the waters of the Usk. JIRST BBTOBT. First Meeting, April 2&/t, 1866, present^ F. C. II. Williams, and John Lloyd, Esqrs., and Major Gwynne. We first inspected the Groyney, an important tributary of the Usk, near Crickhowell, and found five mills on the first Wile and a half above its confluence; they consist of three paper mills, one flour mill, and one tucking mill; we will take the uppermost first. No. 1. This is a paper mill, the property of the Vm. Archdeacon Davies, and leased to Mr. Jones; the wheel is turned by water diverted from the brook on l s g by a stone weir 9 leet high, of which (i feet is ar,' and quite impassable by fish. The tenant Joneis) informed us that. only millboard paper was made tuere, and no dye, chloride of lime, »>r any poisonous or noxious matter was ased in its manufacture; the only saw coming from the mill was a very thin stream of ttnek filthy matter; this the tenant told us was the sotandon from the pasteboard, and that the fish eat greedily On it when it entered the milt-bed, i. < No. 2.i Grist mill turned by water diverted on the left by a sloping plank-weir: is the property of Arcadeaeon Davies, and let tu Mr. Powell; this weir is very difficult of ascent by fish, and requires attention. "'io. 3 is a paper mill, same owner as the previous mills- and is worked by water in common with No. 2 mill; it ha* now been idle tor the last month. 4 i* a tucking or Annuel mill, turned hy the same water an(} 3^ continuing in its downward course. '*nn 's manufactured, and it was told us on reli- able authority, that the w„ter came from this mill very much stained by dye*, 304 jp a very filthy state. We noticed the water issuing from iJ to be much stained by eotne dye—-we wish to have further .evidence on this point. o is a paper mill close on the Usk, fry the iron bridge; the same owrer; lessee, Mr. William i'arry, jun., of Llangtwyney. This is a most important paper JDiU, and a large business is done in it. J The water from the above mills continues on here, though divided in the village of Llangrwyney into three streams, which afterwards unite, and turns the water wheel. Mr. Parry showed us over the premises, and civilly explained everything to us; that day they were making brown paper, and were using the following sub- stances: chloride of lime, Cornish yellow ochre—the former is a very caustic agent, but Mr. Parry assured us that only a very small quantity was used—the yellow ochre, he said, was quite harmless as also were the china clay, and a blue dye, which they used in large quantities. The water from the wheel, and also that from the drainage of the works, flow mixed together in one large body into the Usk, and there appear much discoloured, and must be more or less injurious to the fisheries below. The following remedy was proposed by us, and Mr. Parry said he had long thought of doing it for his own sake and advantage:- That is, to keep the large body of water that flows from the wheel, and the small body of water that drains from the premises during the manufacture of the paper, entirely separate. Let the former run as at present, but let the drain conveying the latter be continued under the road, and carried into the field below, where a filtering pond could be formed at a very slight expense. Mr. Parry said it would well pay him to do this in saving a valuable manure, and being a fisher- man himself, deprecated the idea of his being supposed to do anything to injure the fisheries. We think he should be at once pressed to carry out this plan. We next inspected the Clydach brook. This stream joins the Usk nearly opposite Llangrwyney; it is now, and has ever been a most unproductive tributary, and has done much seriously to injure the Usk, by the debris and filth it has long brought down with it in floods; it can never be made a productive tributary, it may, and should be, how. ever, prevented from doing positive harm. We first discovered a long underground culvert, leading into it, having traces ot lime and cinders on its bed; this g we found to commence at the Brecon canal, now the pro- perty of the Monmouthshire Railway and Canal Com- pany, and is used for scouring out the sides and bottom of the lime and coal wharf at Llanelly yard; great trade has been, and is now done there, and it has been the custom to scour out the refuse coal and lime as often as the deposit becomes sufficient to impede the boats, by means of this culvert, into the river Clydach and thence into the Usk. This appears to be done as o'ten as con- venient to the Canal Company, and regardless of the state of water in the river; should tiis scouring be done, as is often the case, when the rive: is very low, its effect must be most injurious to the river, and as the refuse is composed of lime, coal ashes, and 8mill coal, must be at all times very detrimental. We thinkthat a letter should be written to the proprietors of the emal, begging them to desist from this practice in the future We came next to the Forge at Llanelly, lased by the owners, the Executors of C. H. Leigh, Esq., (ilso the pro. prietors of extensive and valuable fisheries in he Usk), to Messrs. Giles and Co., late Medhurst; here is large pond, which used to be scoured out frequently, am the refuse therefrom come into the Usk, rendering it vey filthy and discoloured, and covering its bed with cinder, mud, and! slag; it did not appear to us, that such scouriq has taken place lately, Hitherto this has been a Charcoal Iron Forp only; the ¡ proprietors are now making extensive preparabns for the manufacture of tin plates, when much vitriolwill neces- sarily be used; and unless timely steps are at tnce taken to prevent its escape into the river, great dmage will ensue. We found also .here several tips of liie rubbish, bricks, cinders, and slag, emptying into the Cidach, and constantly used; these heaps will by the firs floods be washed away, and carried down by the water into the Usk; this was confirmed by the appearance of he bed of the Clydach; nearly every part in the works Hng filled with ashes, cinders, and such like scoria from thdurnaces. We recommend, therefore, that in this case, 1 letter be written to the proprietors of the works, to rpqire them to discontinue the tipping of rubbish into the bd of the Clydach, or so near to the sides as to be in flods' way, and to take immediate steps to provide perfect nd com- plete cesspools for the reception of the refuse vitrl, before they commence making tin-plates; and if such aetter be not attended to, that our solicitor be instructedto move the proper court for an injunction to restrain theiroprie- tors from causing such a serious injury to the ed and channel of the river Usk, and to its most valuable 3heries. SECOND REPORT. Present:—Arthur Bcrrington, Esq., and 1: C. h.nbuvy Williams, Esq. 1. On Satarday, June 2nd, we visited the Clydacbbegin- niDtr at Brynmawr. Immediately below the town, great deal of refuse, &c., comes into the brook from a coa level; also on the side of a tram road are several small lips of ashes and rubbish placed there we suppose by the aiacent cottagers. 2. The next nuisance worthy of notice, is the efuse from a level making an extensive tip into Clydach rook. The level belongs, we believe, to the Uant-y-glo Comany, and is on the side of the tram-way; some other evels opposite do little or no damage There are besides, old tips of slag from the bias fur- naces in several places, but no new ones are beingmade at present. 3. Near Clydach station we noticed a tributary (ream which comes from the extensive limestone quftry and kilns. This from the lime must injure fish. W shall communicate with Mr. Lloyd, who, we believe is tb pro. prietor, about this. 4. On enquiring of a workman, where the Ips at Clydach works were made? he informed,us, into the ivers. We then went into the works (which belong to tb new Clydach fron Company Limited), a.nd observed thre tips made from hand barrows, of ashes and refuse. Preently, Thomas Lewis, manager, arrived; he said he woul will, ingly do anything we could suggest to prevent filthgoing into the brook; but their premises are so limisd at present they have no other place to tip. Mr. Lews said that the greater portion of the refuse, particularljlime,' was taken up the incline to be used as manure ontheir farm. He also said it was probable they would son be possessed of the opposite side of Clydach, when they Tould arch over the brook and thus have ample space for tiping for many years to come. Of course, if this arrangenpnt is carried out, no more filth will be curried into the book. The adjacent works belonging to Mr. Crawshay Bdley, M.P., have been, and are still out of work. 5. The lower works were visited by Messrs. Lloyd and Hanbury Williams. We merely anil attention to tht tin works in course of erection, as, being under a high )ank they have no place for their refuse but the brook. 6, On our return to Abergavenny, we noticed fresh heaps of rubbish placed at the water's edge (the vater being very low), below the bridge, in a field belongirg to the Company's farm, After a fresh comes, all this rubbish, (a great part of it lime), is carried down, and tends to pollute and fill up the bed of the river. We thiik it might easily be put.out of reach at high flood. One ]t us will see Mr. Walford on the subject. 7. We also suggest that a. third tank be made belovthe gas works, as some escape from the gas tar in the ground still finds its way under the bridge, and so to the river. THIRD REPORT. On Wednesday, June 13th, Messrs. Berrington, Lloyd, Roden, and Lyoø, members of the Usk Pollution Com- mittee, inspected the Afon Llwyd, which empties itseit into the Usk, near Caerloon. Formerly this stream was one of the best tributaries to our river: whereas, it is now polluted to such an extent from the various works on its banks, as to endanger the entirety of the Usk as a salmon river, and vour committee apprehend that unless some stringent measures are taken to prevent the rapidly in- creasing flow of deleterious matter into its water, any attempt towards the preservation of sjaljpon in the River Usk will be all but useless. CAEBLEON. —On our way up the stream, the first place visited was Caerleon; here William Waters, an old fisher- man, renting th8 Association Fisheries, informed us that for the first tide in every fresh the wafers coming down the Afon Llwyd were so poisonous that nearly every fish running up the Usk, on meeting this wuter, turned and went back to sea, and that the 4t times was so gr, at as to be almost unbearable, whilst, the fish then taken in this lovality tasted so strongly of tar us to be almost uneatable, He complained chiefly of the refuse from the Pontypool, RI)d Hiil and Batt's works. Mark Williams, of the Croft farm, Caerieon, stated that at times the water was so impregnated with acid that it could not be used by him either for brewing or waajiing; a fnrm labourer and a haulier gave similar evidence with regard to the use of I he water for horses. CAERLEOK FOBG-E 4KP ITS WOBKS.—The next plaet visited was Caerleon Forge and Tin Works, belonging 10 Mr. Moggri<!ge,the owner; he and Mr, William Jones, the manager, flccomranifd us over fl|e works, where great pre? cautions are taken to avoid the pollution; these precautions, we were informed, were inexpensive, and highly remunera- tive, Sivinc therebv one-third of the vitriol, and the whole of the copperas; not a particle of acid is allowed to escape their works, and the owner expressed great regret that the adjacent works above him did not adopt a similar process, as the pollution of the water by acids, &c.,seriousiy injured his works. PoNTfR BRiDem.—At Pontyr bridge we found the water greatly discoloured, ana the inhabitants of the locality complained. PONTYR Woitxg.Mi Francis. the manager, also com- plained of the pollution of the Afon Llwyd, as at times preventing them udng it for their works. Two tanks are erected here for receiving the acid, which is sent daily to the Caerleon works for conversion into copperas, &c. GIBBS'S VITBIOI WOBKS. —Some two or three years back the whole of tke fish in tie Llantarnam brook were destroyed by these vorki; this however, has been reme. died by means of a tank,and tbty are, we believe, no longer injurious. HILL AND BATT'S WOEKS.—The wire made at these works is pickled, a well construced brick tank receives the refuse which is not used for manufacturing purposes, as at Caerleon, Pontyr, ani other wom; but the overflow from the aforesaid tank isallowed, by means of a pipe, to empty I itself into the Llanttrnam broo;, which is injurious, and I ought to be discontinued. Wewould suggest that the j attention of the owners of the vorks should be called to j this, with a request that they wil construct a second tank j to receive the overflo* of the firs the cost would be very inexpensive. i POKTNEWYDD TiS WoBKS. —Pontnewydd Tin Works, j belonging to Messrs. Charles Conway Brothers: Here is a j small ill-constructed lank dug in lhe earth a few feet only | from the Afon LlwyJ. The worfe are being renovated, ■nd the Messrs. Couway inforned us that they were arranging for the conversion of thrir acid into copperas, &c. PONTBHYDTRUH Tijr WOBB. — Pontrhydyrun Tin Works belong to Messrs. Conway and Brew: At these works the acid is not convertec, and the vitriol water empties itself into a badly constructed tank. which, we wera informed, was sddofa or ever emptied, and, from all appearance, overflowed, and found its way under a water- wheel, where a large quantity of tar was suffered to accu- mulate. The entire arrangement here was most unsatis- factory, and requires careful investigation. PONTYPOOL IRON V^OSKS. —Mr. Richards, the manager, accompanied your committee over these works, which, in themselves, are sufficient to pollute a stream many times the size of the Afon Llwyd, and there the great injury to the Usk as a fishery rirer arises. Not the slightest pre- caution being taken to remedy the evil, the entirety of the refuse of the works (thousands of tons per annum) is indiscriminately cast into the stream by trams and other- wise. There were no less than eleven ash-tips, and in parts the bed of the stieam was nearly filled up, waiting a. fresh (heavy rain) to wash them away into the Usk, destroying the waters for miles, for household, farm, and other purposes, as also the bed of the river for spawning,— in addition to which, the vitriol refuse was running uninterruptedly into the stream, sufficient in itself to destroy for miles every living creature. Not the slightest precaution is taken at these works to prevent pollution, and your committee repeat that unless steps are taken to prevent the wholesale ruin which the works are occasioning:, even for miles below the tideway of the Usk, all your endeavours to increase, or even maintain the propagation of salmon will be thrown away. Your Committee therefore earnestly desire to impress upon you the necessity of immediate action, whatever may be the cost, against the owners of the works. With them it is merely a case of providing tipping room for the deposit of their refuse, and of adopting a similar mode of utilizing their acid, &c., as other works before-mentioned have done, a course which we doubt not they will adopt when they find that action is really to be taken against them. _n-