Brooklyn’s Water Famine.
NEVER before since the establishment of its water-works system, has the city of Brooklyn been exposed to such imminent danger from fire as upon Monday last, from the breaking of the conduit and the consequent stoppage of the supply of water. A brief account of the disastrous affair is given elsewhere, but by many of our readers, unfamiliar with the details of the Brooklyn works, a more particular description will be needed in order to enable them to comprehend the situation and the nature of the accident.
The western terminal of the brick conduit which leads the water to the pump wells is about six miles from the Brooklyn city hall. At this point is located the old pumping plant, comprising three fifteen-million gallon capacity engines and three five-million gallon capacity engines of more recent construction, aggregating sixty million gallons capacity when all are in order.
The brick conduit is about able to supply a flow equal to the present pumping power without risk of breakage. The new extension embraces as a part of the plan two 48-inch cast-iron pipes laid alongside of the old brick conduit for a distance of fourteen miles. In a deep cut formed by the design of original construction of the old conduit, and about 2000 feet southeast of the new pump station, which is located on the south side of Atlantic avenue and opposite the old pumping station, the disaster happened on Saturday last which cost the lives of four men and by shutting off lor two days the water supply to the city caused an amount of damage which cannot be estimated, particularly among the individual interests depending on a water supply, while also adding to the risk of increased damage in the event of fire.
The cause of the disaster is conceded to be the result of insufficient bracing in the cut where the two 48-inch pipes were being laid, and to overloading the “ bench ” formed on top of the arch of the brick conduit for depositing the sand taken from the trench. The conduit never was designed to carry such a load. The bracing gave way and the heavy bank of earth slipped into the trench, carrying away about fifty feet of the side” of the arch that was subject to the immense moving pressure of the earth as it slid into the trench. The earth, of course, filled the conduit and effectively choked the flow of water to the pump wells. It is a wonder that greater damage was not done. We are informed that the foundation and “ haunches ’’ of the conduit are intact. This accident is a serious one and demands a rigid investigation.