Akron’s Water System

Akron’s Water System

The citizens of Akron, Ohio, committed the city to the program of municipal ownership in December, 1911. In April, 1912, the people voted for a bond issue of $1,225,000 for the development of the new water works project. The estimated cost of the improvement in the preliminary report of the engineers was $2,363,000. The engineers estimated the population of Akron at 105,000 in 1920, 125,000 in 1925 and 148,000 in 1930. Accordingly in 1913, another bond issue of $1,250,000 was voted for further extension of the new plant. This was to be used for the purpose of increasing the height of the storage reservoir dam five feet, increasing the size of the reservoir, increasing the capacity of the pumping station and of the purification plant. The total cost of the new project amounted to $4,580,000. This expenditure provided for the collection of water from a drainage area of 214 square miles, storing it in a reservoir of two and one-third billion gallons capacity, purifying 20 million gallons a day and transmitting it through 11 miles of force main to a 20 million gallon distributing reservoir. When this was completed, it was thought that the system would afford an adequate supply of water for the city for many years to come. Owing to the enormous growth in population which could not be foreseen at the time, the consumption at the present time taxes the plant to its capacity and it has become necessary to spend about three additional millions in the enlargement and extension of the water works system. One million dollars was voted by the people last year and $2,000,000 more will be required to take care of the increasing demands of the city for water. During the period from 1912 to 1917, the miles of mains in the distribution system has increased from 104 to 207, an increase of 98 per cent., the number of services have increased from 12,868 to 27,155, an increase of 111 per cent.; the number of fire hydrants have increased from 450 to 1,062, an increase of 136 per cent.; the number of meters have increased from 3,609 to 16,000, an increase of over 300 per cent. At the time the city took over the plant, only about 41 per cent, of the services were metered. The policy has been adopted of metering all services as rapidly as possible and within another year, practically all will be metered. The citizens of Akron receive pure water where formerly the quality was exceedingly unsatisfactory and at one time was condemned by the state board of health. The process of purification removes 98 per cent, of the bacteria from the raw water and 99.3 per cent, of the B. Coli. About 603 tons of sulphate of alumina and five tons of liquid chlorine are used annually in disinfecting the water.

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