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U.S. Army Methods of Disposal of Camp Refuse

, : U.S. Army Methods of Disposal of Camp Refuse. Amer. Jl. Public Health. Concord, N.H., 7: 5, 481-484

The destruction of kitchen refuse by burning is the only practical method for a camp of anything but the shortest duration. An incinerator may be built by excavating a quadrangle or oval about 6 feet by 3 feet and preferably about 4 feet deep. This is filled loosely with large stones, broken bricks or other heat-conserving material. The earth from the pit is banked along the sides about a foot high and this sloping bank is lined with stones, the ends being left without banking in order to increase draught. Upon this incinerator a wood fire is kept burning and all the kitchen and camp area refuse is dumped on the hot stones. If poured slowly, most of the liquid will rapidly evaporate, the remainder being absorbed into the ground. A refuse dump is required for the ultimate disposal of the incinerator refuse and if it is kept levelled an average of thirty waggon-loads a day for twenty months can be dumped on an area of one acre. Manure should be daily removed from the picket lines and either disposed of to farmers or burnt, for the use of chemicals is impracticable for large quantities. In a camp containing about 4, 500 animals, furnishing about 100 waggon loads of manure daily, the following method was successful: -On a dump, 1, 000 yards long by 80 yards wide, winrows of manure running widthwise were made by dumping from the tail of the waggon as it was gradually moved across the area. They were about 10.5 feet high and of the width between the waggon wheels. The manure was dumped early in the forenoon and allowed to get surface dry. Then six labourers sprinkled the windward side of the winrows with crude oil, set them alight and kept turning the manure over to ensure combustion. From three to five barrels of oil a day were required, depending on the amount of wind blowing. This method was satisfactory except in wet weather when burning was impossible. Such periods were followed by a plague of flies. Near the manure dump a hole about 15 feet long by 10 wide and 4 deep was dug for cremating dead animals. Half a cord of wood was piled around and over the carcase and a couple of buckets of crude oil was poured over it. About a score of carcases may be burnt before it becomes necessary to remove the ashes. In dealing with human excreta the deep pit latrine has the widest general application to camp conditions. The pit is usually about 8 feet deep, 10.5 to 2 feet wide, and 18-20 feet long for a company latrine, with eight holes. The box must be light enough to be turned back by two men and must be built of seasoned wood to prevent cracks permitting flies, or even light, to enter. The covers must close the holes tightly and a rail must be fitted to prevent them from remaining open when the hole is unoccupied. In front of each hole should be-nailed to the upper angle a piece of tin, 8 by 12 inches, shaped into a gutter and so placed that it will divert the urine back so as to clear the anterior wall of the box. Besides walls the latrine should have a good roof to protect the users and the pit. The roof should project sufficiently beyond the walls to deliver storm water into a ditch at a distance of about a foot from the walls. The daily burning out of the latrine is important. The box is turned back, a layer of hay or straw is thrown into the pit, which is sprinkled with crude oil and set afire. One U.S. gallon of oil and 14 lb. of hay a day is sufficient. After the fire has burnt out the box is restored to its place, its base being banked up with a little earth. The charred layer over the excreta renders them unattractive to flies. This purpose is also attained, and perhaps to an even greater degree by spraying the interior of the pit daily with a suspension of lamp black in coal oil. For this the box need not be moved. Night urine is collected in galvanised iron cans, whitewashed and placed near a lantern in the company street and emptied each morning into the latrine pit, after which they are burnt out and whitewashed afresh.


PMID: 18009667

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