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Water Supply and Sewage Disposal


Water was obtained by a central well being sunk in June 1842.  In the early 1860s there were problems accessing sufficient water from the well, so the pumps in the existing well were lengthened.

A new reservoir was made on the highest part of the grounds.  It was to contain 200,000 gallons of water - a week’s supply.  It was also an asset in the event of a fire as the pressure was sufficient to send water over any part of the buildings.  It was situated in the angle made by the meeting of the Farm road with Deepway Lane.

A new well was built on newly purchased land at Pierce's Hill in 1896 and this was completed in 1899 and now produced 100,000 gallons of water in 24 hours.  With this success came the permission of the Commissioners to build the remaining buildings and wards which were put on hold until an adequate water supply was provided.

1893 saw a review of the Hospital by the Commissioners, whereby the water supply came under review and a water engineer was consulted.  The result of which was that the capacity of the pumps was increased and the well was deepened to 600 feet.

With the new well in 1896, a new reservoir was built on higher ground and with new pumping machinery, engine house and new roadway, the cost was nearly £8,000.  The reservoir was built to hold 300,000 gallons of water and with the existing one it meant there was now a reserve of 500,000 gallons of water with a pressure sufficient to protect all buildings and wards in case of fire. 

In 1950, further work was carried out to improve the water supply. 



In 1880, 35 years after the Hospital was built, there was a great deal of trouble with the sewage disposal system.  Apart from internal drainage, the system consisted of cess pits, tanks and sewers.  The cess pits were built close to the buildings and caused a great deal of annoyance.

After an outbreak of Typhoid fever it was decided to bring in a Sanitary Consultant who made a comprehensive survey and reported the whole drainage system as defective and recommended a new system and internal dainage.  The estimated cost was £5,000.  The work was carried out in 1883.

Unfortunately, in 1899, two actions were taken against the Committee for pollution of wells in the village by the Hospital sewage.  The sewage was spread over the fields on either side of the Hospital.  One plaintiff abandoned his claim but the other continued with his and the Committee defended but lost their claim. It was decided after this to ask that the Hospital sewage from the male side be taken into the sewer of St Thomas District Council.  This was agreed and the connecting drain was quickly made.  Due to the success of the claim of the villager, another was brought but this was settled out of court.  The property of the second claim was then purchased by the Hospital for £500. 

In 1908, Exminster Village decided to build a new sewage disposal plant on the marshes, a fair distance from the Hospital.  But, because some of the Hospital sewers were connected to their drains they asked the Committee to contribute towards the cost of this building work.  After negotiations, it was decided that the Committee would give £1,200.