Annual Report of the Water Department of Haverhill
The city of Haverhill, Mass., according to the census of 1916, has a population of 50,534. The water works are municipally owned, and were acquired by the city in 1891. The source of supply is five natural and one artificial lakes, and the system is both gravity and pumping.
The twenty-sixth annual report of the Board of Water Commissioners of Haverhill, Mass., the officers of which are Commissioners Isaac Poor, Chas. E. Durant, M. D., Augustine M. Allen, Frank S. Hamlin, Chas. Howard Poor; Augustine M. Allen, Chairman; Albert L. Sawyer, Secretary and Registrar; Herbert C. Crowell, superintendent, shows that the bonded indebtedness of the department on account of the Haverhill district is now $600,000. The sinking fund commissioners of the city have in their possession $322,112.58. Upon application of this amount in payment of the bonded indebtedness, the net debt would be $277,887.42. During the year $5,000 was paid on account of the bonds issued by the Bradford District, leaving a balace of $21,000 outstanding. Extraordinarily high prices have prevailed during the year for all supplies used in construction, and it has been difficult to obtain pipe at any price, therefore only the most necessary work has been undertaken, a policy which has been and is now recommended by state and national authorities. The Board reports that they have conferred with the water board of North Andover relating to an emergency connection between the two systems, and later some action may be taken. The only other work completed during the year has been short extensions to supply new houses and certain necessary renewals. The total pipe laid was 10,743 feet, as against 20,324 feet in 1910. The added cost of labor and supplies has greatly increased the expenses of the department, and in deference to public sentiment at the outbreak of the war it has been obliged to place guards about the pumping stations and reservoirs, at an expense of $10,000. As a further means of protection, iron fences were placed around the two reservoirs. In several cities it has been necessary to increase the water rates to meet these added expenses, but the board hopes that it will not be necessary to make any changes in the local water rates. In pursuance of the established policy of the board, advantage was taken of an opportunity to purchase a small tract of land on the shore of Crystal Lake during the year. Necessary repairs have been made at the various pumping stations, which are all in good condition at the present time. The work of cleaning out the brush on the shores of the lakes has been continued, making a great improvement in the looks of the watershed; and at the outlet of Lake Saltonstall a retaining wall has been built. Efficient inspection over the watershed has been maintained, but although the rules governing the ponds are now well known to the public, it was necessary to prosecute seven offenders during the year. In regard to skating, the board wishes to repeat that it is willing to co-operate in all possible ways in the establishment of suitable skating places outside the sources of water supply. For the first time in a long period there have been a number of changes in the permanent force of the department. Charles E. Emerson, engineer at the Bradford pumping station, died April 30. Dudley R. Palmer was promoted to chief engineer and Howard Pillsbury was appointed assistant. July 13 bred A. Hall, who had been inspector for over ten years, died. September 1 Rufus II. Sargent resigned as engineer at Kenoza station. Nelson S. Foote was appointed to succeed him, and Henry L. Huntington was apointed assistant engineer.
The board speaks as follows on the subject of meters: “We have In previous reports referred to the excessive use of water in Haverhill, and stated that the only remedy was the adoption of the meter system, as we believe that this action is for the best interests of the city and in line with the policy of water departments in all parts of the country. Therefore, the board voted at the beginning of the year that after January 1, 1917, meters should be installed on all new services. As a certain number of old services will be metered each year we shall now advance automatically to the time when every service will be metered. Under the terms of the contract with the town of Grovcland, 7,332,070 gallons of water were pumped during the year. The amount pumped in 1916 was 4,856,270 gallons.
In the report of Registrar Albert L. Sawyer it is shown that there was an increase in the receipts for water over the previous year of $3,235.11. Two hundred and twenty-three new houses were inspected and bills sent for the same. There were 154 new services laid during the year and 25 old services renewed. Three hundred and eighty-six meters were set during the year, the total number of meters now in use being 2,967. Of the 2,166 meters set in houses, 395 used more than the amount allowed by the maximum rate, the excess bills amounting to $2,500.48, ranging from 65 cents to $74.55. Twenty-one of these excess bills were for over $20 and these were nearly all due to preventable waste. Leaving these out of account, the averneo bill was less than $5, so that those having excess bills still paid less than they would have done without meters. Eight hundred and eighty-seven complaints were received at the office in regard to breaks or trouble with the water service, and were investigated and remedied. During the year the water was shut off from three services for non-payment. At the present date there is one service shut off for non-payment; 153 services not in use, and 70 new services not turned on. For the first time in the history of the department every water bill sent out during the year has been paid. There remains unpaid $8 for rent and $1,684.43 for labor bills. The inspector of the watershed reports 556 inspections. The usual permits were issued for the cutting of ice, and the inspector, with additional assistance, kept close oversight and reports hearty co-operation on the part of those taking ice. During the year seven prosecutions were made for violation of the rules of the State Department of Health. During the skating season officers were on duty at the different ponds, but it was unnecessary to make any prosecutions. Under the direction of the inspector the shores of the lakes have been kept clean and the improved apearance has been commended by many citizens and it is intended to keep the shores in the present satisfactory condition.