Bd. of Purification of Waters v. Town of E. Providence, No. 458.

CourtRhode Island Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtBARROWS, J.
Citation133 A. 812
Decision Date25 June 1926
Docket NumberNo. 458.
PartiesBOARD OF PURIFICATION OF WATERS v. TOWN OF EAST PROVIDENCE.
133 A. 812

BOARD OF PURIFICATION OF WATERS
v.
TOWN OF EAST PROVIDENCE.

No. 458.

Supreme Court of Rhode Island.

June 25, 1926


133 A. 813

Appeal from Order of Board of Purification of Waters.

Proceeding by the Board of Purification of Waters to require the Town of East Providence to adopt a system to prevent the pollution of a river. From an order requiring respondent to adopt a system within the time limit, it appeals. Appeal dismissed, petition on appeal denied, and order sustained.

Charles P. Sisson, of Providence, Atty. Gen., for the Board.

A. Truman Patterson, Town Solicitor, of Providence, for the Town.

BARROWS, J. This is an appeal from an order of the board of purification of waters made on April 14, 1926, after due notice and hearing.

Action was commenced by the board of its own motion, under General Laws 1923, c. 125, § 13. The order directs respondent "to adopt, use, and operate some practicable and reasonably available system or means to prevent" pollution of the Seekonk river by the emptying therein of raw sewage. It further requires that "such system or means to prevent such pollution shall be adopted, and the operation thereof shall be commenced by said town of East Providence on or before the 1st day of July in the year 1927." Another' paragraph of the order requires the submission to the board, on or before the 1st day of September, 1926, of "a plan or statement describing the system or means which said town of East Providence proposes to adopt." The order followed certain written findings of fact, among which was the undisputed one that the town of East Providence daily deposited in the Seekonk river, near Washington bridge, and at the foot of Mauran avenue, 270,000 gallons of raw sewage.

Deposits of large quantities? of sewage were made up stream in the Blackstone river by the cities of Pawtucket and Central Falls. These deposits somewhat polluted the Seekonk, and the city of Providence poured some sewage directly into said river.

The evidence is undisputed that such deposits as a whole polluted the stream, and that the deposit from East Providence alone, apart from the, others, would constitute a pollution of the waters. Either joint or separate pollution may be stopped by the board under chapter 125.

Chapter 125 was enacted in 1920, creating the board and defining its duties. The act was an exercise of the state's police power. As early as 1921 the board called the authorities of East Providence and the above-named cities into conference in an attempt to stop pollution of public waters by the dumping of city and town sewage. From then on, until the present proceeding, the record shows on the part of East Providence an admission of the desirability and ultimate necessity of treating its sewage to purify the effluent into the Seekonk river, the appointment of a committee to examine into methods of so doing, the report of such committee to the financial town meeting and its discharge, the securing from the Legislature

133 A. 814

of authority to borrow money on a bond issue and to condemn land and year after year failure by the financial town meeting to appropriate money to carry out the proposals of the town solicitor, town counsel, budget committee, or sewage disposal committee. The board has repeatedly called into conference the town officials of East Providence, who could only say that the financial town meeting had not acted and that other cities and towns were similarly polluting public waters. Under such circumstances the board, seeing no prospect of immediate voluntary action by the town, considered it necessary to take the present proceeding and insist upon definite action.

At the hearings before the board no attempt was made to dispute the testimony of the experts who had examined conditions for the board and reported unsanitary pollution of the river. On this appeal appellant attempts to raise two general types of questions: A, those relating to the constitutionality of chapter 125 in creating and giving powers to the board; B, those relating to the alleged unreasonableness of the order, even if chapter 125 be constitutional.

The town's brief concedes that its constitutional points practically have been passed upon adversely in the opinions In. Re Metropolitan Park Loan, 34 R. I. 191, 83 A. 3, and Horton v. Old Colony Bill Posting Co., 36 R. I. 507, 90 A. 822, Ann. Cas. 1916A, 911. The town raises questions of constitutionality merely as a basis for possible further appeal in the event that the constitutionality of the law is upheld by this...

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18 practice notes
  • Milardo v. Coastal Resources Management Council of Rhode Island, No. 79-245-M
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Rhode Island
    • 1 Septiembre 1981
    ...This is a "property right" that this court refused to recognize in Board of Purification of Waters v. Town of East Providence, 47 R.I. 431, 133 A. 812 (1926); see Harrington v. Board of Aldermen, supra. See generally Sax, Takings, Private Property and Public Rights, 81 Yale L.J. 149, 159 (1......
  • Bendick v. Cambio, No. 87-299-M
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Rhode Island
    • 10 Mayo 1989
    ...320, 62 A. 118 (1905). Many years ago this court recognized in Board of Purification of Waters v. Town of East Providence, 47 R.I. 431, 133 A. 812 (1926), that an administrative agency could order a party respondent, including a municipality, to cease and desist from polluting the waters of......
  • Friends of Sakonnet v. Dutra, Civ. A. No. 88-704P
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Rhode Island
    • 18 Mayo 1990
    ...nuisance per se. See 58 Am.Jur.2d Nuisances § 18 (1989); see also Board of Purification of Waters v. Town of East Providence, 47 R.I. 431, 133 A. 812 C. Defendants' Motion To Amend Answer Defendants seek to amend their Answer to add the affirmative defense of failure to join indispensable p......
  • United States v. City of Providence, Civ. A. No. 77-0374.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Rhode Island
    • 2 Mayo 1980
    ...of Waters v. Town of Bristol, 51 R.I. 243, 153 A. 879 (1931); Board of Purification of Waters v. Town of East Providence, 47 R.I. 431, 133 A. 812 (1926). The policy and purpose of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act is consistent with what has 492 F. Supp. 607 been the law of this State......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
16 cases
  • Milardo v. Coastal Resources Management Council of Rhode Island, No. 79-245-M
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Rhode Island
    • 1 Septiembre 1981
    ...This is a "property right" that this court refused to recognize in Board of Purification of Waters v. Town of East Providence, 47 R.I. 431, 133 A. 812 (1926); see Harrington v. Board of Aldermen, supra. See generally Sax, Takings, Private Property and Public Rights, 81 Yale L.J. 149, 159 (1......
  • Bendick v. Cambio, No. 87-299-M
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Rhode Island
    • 10 Mayo 1989
    ...320, 62 A. 118 (1905). Many years ago this court recognized in Board of Purification of Waters v. Town of East Providence, 47 R.I. 431, 133 A. 812 (1926), that an administrative agency could order a party respondent, including a municipality, to cease and desist from polluting the waters of......
  • Friends of Sakonnet v. Dutra, Civ. A. No. 88-704P
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Rhode Island
    • 18 Mayo 1990
    ...nuisance per se. See 58 Am.Jur.2d Nuisances § 18 (1989); see also Board of Purification of Waters v. Town of East Providence, 47 R.I. 431, 133 A. 812 C. Defendants' Motion To Amend Answer Defendants seek to amend their Answer to add the affirmative defense of failure to join indispensable p......
  • United States v. City of Providence, Civ. A. No. 77-0374.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Rhode Island
    • 2 Mayo 1980
    ...of Waters v. Town of Bristol, 51 R.I. 243, 153 A. 879 (1931); Board of Purification of Waters v. Town of East Providence, 47 R.I. 431, 133 A. 812 (1926). The policy and purpose of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act is consistent with what has 492 F. Supp. 607 been the law of this State......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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