Very recently, on March 31st of this year, the Kölnische Zeitung made it known that, according to chemical analysis, almost all of the well water in Barmen is polluted, partly because of the spoiled water of the Wupper River, and probably also because of the deposition of chemical materials and waste whose harmful substances, moistened by rain, are more or less absorbed by the ground and transferred to the well water. Unfortunately, a sudden remedy of this enormous nuisance cannot easily be accomplished in Wuppertal on account of long-standing privileges, and besides, the water of the Wupper is only used for industrial purposes, for washing, etc. Here on the Ruhr, though, we still have no industry that is detrimental to our drinking water and fish farming, as it were; therefore, we hope that the administrations of the waterworks lying downstream from Horst, as well as the relevant authorities, will submit their protest against the facility in the appropriate places.
Thus, at a time when agriculture is receiving the particular attention it rightly deserves – and even has the prospect of state protection – and when the Reich Health Office is active in so many directions, one may only hope that the royal government will not grant, out of consideration for some special interests, a license in such a heavily populated area to an industry that is harmful to both vegetation and human health. In order to do everything within the power of private persons, however, the inhabitants of the threatened area must unite in a joint protest aimed at preventing the imminent danger.
Protests against the construction of the factory are to be directed by June 10 to Senior Clerk Schuhmacher in Hattingen.
Source: Hauptstaatsarchiv [Central State Archive] Düsseldorf 35949 [The pamphlet is not dated; its arrangement in the file suggests that it was written circa 1874.]
Original German text reprinted in Franz-Josef Brüggemeier and Thomas Romelspacher, Blauer Himmel über der Ruhr. Geschichte der Umwelt im Ruhrgebiet 1840-1990 [Blue Skies over the Ruhr. The History of the Environment in the Ruhr Valley, 1840-1990]. Essen: Klartext, 1992, pp. 130-33.
Translation: Erwin Fink