- Pure water is as necessary to health as pure air. Rain-water, filtered to remove any foreign matters caught from the roof or in the smoky atmosphere, is the purest attainable. It is a debatable question whether the mineral matters held in solution in hard water are injurious to health, but vegetable or animal matters are agreed by all chemists to be injurious, and, in many cases, rank poisons, breeding fatal fevers, and other violent diseases. Water that is at all doubtful, should be boiled before drinking, as the vegetable and animal matters are thus destroyed, and the mineral deposited on the bottom of the kettle. Wells, even in the country, are very doubtful sources from which to procure a supply of pure water. In cities the sources of well-supply are almost invariably poisoned by the numerous cesspools, vaults and drains that filter through the earth until they reach the underground streams of water, poisoning them as surely as they would a surface stream or pond. When it is remembered that all water in wells must come first from the surface, and that it dissolves all sorts of filth as it passes into the earth, carrying a good deal with it, particularly if the soil is sandy and porous, it will be readily understood that wells are apt to furnish impure water. People who throw dirty water or other slops near a well, poison the water as surely as if they scattered arsenic. Wells should be covered to exclude all leaves and vegetable matter. The ground should slope away from the well so as to carry away surface water, and it should be located as far as possible from barns and out-buildings where filth accumulates. There are various good filters in the market, but one may be easily and cheaply made as follows: Take a large flower pot, and insert a sponge in the hole in the bottom, fill the pot with alternate layers of sand, charcoal, and small pebbles. The flower pot thus filled up may then be placed on a jar or other convenient vessel, into which the water can be received as it filters through. Never use hot water drawn from a lead pipe, but take the cold and heat it on the stove.