Brooklyn Water Works.

Brooklyn Water Works.

Department of city works, Brooklyn, for the year 1892, dated February 1, 1893. John P. Adams, commissioner; Robert Van Buren, chief engineer.

Average daily consumption of water for the year 1892 was 67,550,000 gallons. The greatest daily average for any one month was in July, when it reached 72,250,000 gallons. The average consumption for the year was nearly 10,000,000 gallons daily more than for the year 1891. Such an unprecedented annual increase is due to the greater head given by the new forty-eight inch distributing main and the larger waste of water by the consumers. In January, 1893, the daily consumption reached as high as 83,000,000 gallons in one day, and the average for the month, with an empty reservoir and with many localities getting much less than the usual head, reached over 73,000,000 gallons. The water tower at Mt. Prospect will soon be in use, and this will further increase the consumption. A severe drought was experienced during last season ; the supply was kept up by the additional supply from the extension east of Rockville Centre. The new works are not fully completed, but we got our 30,000,000 gallons daily for some time. This yield is very gratifying, as my estimate for the works was based on a daily supply of only 20,000,000 gallons. The extension is now practically completed, but it only is equal to present needs, because we figured for its completion so many years before it was authorized. . . .

In May, 1882, I reported the exact condition of the pumping plant at Ridgewood engine house, and urged (hat new engines be built at once. Again we were disappointed and delayed until January, 1893. The consumption went on increasing far above our estimates ; an extraordinary cold winter came upon us, with the consequent wholesale waste of water through open faucets, until the daily consumption was actually greater than the total capacity of the whole pumping plant, including all of the old engines. . . .

On December 14, 1892, the main shaft of engine 3 broke, and the engine was disabled for over three weeks. The distributing reservoirs were only half full when the accident occurred, and we were left with but only 65,000,000 gallons of daily pumping capacity, to meet a consumption varying between seventy-five and eighty million gallons daily. There really was no reserve to protect us, and we, of course, lost every day under the consumption until the reservoirs were empty. The reckless waste of water already alluded to showed no diminution, in spite of constant appeals made to prevent it, and showing its dangers; so that, in order to avoid greater evils, we had to shut off the supply, limiting it to the capacity of the pumps. Even then, owing to this waste and to defective plumbing, from seventy-five to eighty millions of gallons were drawn off daily, of which at least one-fourth represented waste. Sixty millions of gallons daily would suffice to give our citizens a luxuriant supply.

From Van Buren, Bergen. Report to the chief engineer.

Brooklyn, in its pumping capacity for supplying water, and in its water distribution, is not keeping up with its growth. The forty-eight inch main, which was completed less than a year ago. should have been laid several years earlier, and already is another main required.

By Chief Engineer Van Buren : Some time ago I submitted a report urging certain extensions to our water-works. I stated then that the final position of the proposed new conduit could not be determined until a more careful examination of the proposed new pumping station at Spring Creek was made. The surveys arc now completed and the general plans are ready. I, therefore, report now upon the entire extension as follows : New conduits, storage ponds, coal sheds, engineers’, firemen’s and keepers’ houses, electric light plant, well stations, contingencies, a sum total of $2,545,000. As already reported, new engine house, pump mill at Spring Creek, new pumping engines, 40,000,000 daily capacity at Spring Creek ; one fortyeight inch force main from Milburn, one forty-eight inch main from Spring Creek connecting with Ridgewood and Prospect Hill reservoirs, gates for mains, conduits and connections ; land and right of way for new wells and conduit line, engines and foundations, engineering and contingencies, a grand total of $4,235,000. * * * By the completion of this proposed

extension we would add 40,000,000 gallons daily to the capacity of the pumping plant, and an additional water supply of about 15,000,000 gallons daily.

Prompt action upon all the work herein named is imperative, for it is not possible to suitably provide for Brooklyn’s growth unless our water-works anticipate that growth. There should be an end to emergencies in the question of our water supply.

Total number of taps driven, 96.261 ; total number of fire hydrants, 4766 ; 463 miles of water mains ; water meters in service, 2262.

Brooklyn Water-Works.


Brooklyn Water-Works.

City Works Commissioner Adams has issued this report made to him by Chief Engineer Van Buren on the 13th inst., the day before the accident to the pumping engine at the Ridgewood station, Twenty-sixth ward.

BROOKLYN, December 13, 1892.

JOHN P. ADAMS, Commissioner of City Works:

SIR—I have the honor to submit the following report in relation to the pumping capacity and the water supply of Brooklyn’s present water-works:

On May it, 1892 I submitted a report urging the necessity for increasing the pumping capacity. The new pumping engines asked (or in that report were needed to meet an emergency which becomes more and more pressing every day. I feel that I should fail in my duty were I not earnestly to call attention once more to the danger of postponing action in this vital matter any longer. We are to-day running unwarrantable risk. The daily consumption of water is nearly equal to the full capacity of cur pumping plant at Ridgewood engine house and any serious accident to the large engines there would mean nothing less than a water famine. This department has done its full duty in maintaining the old engines (Nos. I and 2) and in pointing out the general condition of things ; if after that a serious accident should cripple us, neglect could not justly be charged against this branch of our city government. No private corporation would take the risks we are taking today, and no city officials should remain indifferent to the facts presented hy this bureau. I submit a few figures showing the consumption and pumping :

The greatest daily consumption for these months reached from 75 000 000 to 81,000,000 gallons.

The greatest daily pumping during these months varied from 73,000,000 to 80.000,000 gallons. Study the above figures and remember that the present punjping capacity is only 80,000,000 gallons daily and vou will, 1 think, fully understand our anxiety. In th s total is included the capacity (30,000 000 gallons daily) of engines Nos. 1 and 2, two engines that have been working almost constantly for over twenty years, and to day they are really unfit to depend upon at ail. Since writing my former report urging the increase of the pumping capacity I have concluded that it would be better judgment to put in three new engines in the new engine house, and the present estimated cost will be slightly increased over the former one by this change. 1 submit a few records from other cities that depend upon pumping for the water supply. It is interesting to compare Brooklyn’s condition with theirs : Chicago, popula lion 1,100,000. Daily consump ion. 154,000.000 gallons; pumping capacity, 260,000,000 gallons ; additional pumping capacity under contract 24.000 000 gallons.

Cincinnati, population 296,000. Daily consumption, 40,000.000 gallons; pumping capacity, 83,000,000 gallons; under contract, 5,000,000 more.

Philadelphia population 1.000,000. Present pumping capacity, 185,000,000 gallons; under contract, 75,000,000 gallons. The consumption is not known to me.

Buffalo, population 250.000. Pumping capacity, 1,000.000 gallons.

Pittsburgh, population 238,000. Daily consumption, 35,000,000; pumping capacity, 50,000,000 gallons.

Minneapolis, population 264,000. Daily consumption, 20,000,000 gallons; pumping capacity, 70,000,000 gallons.

Memphis, population 64,000. Daily consumption, 15,000,000; pumping capacity, 30.000,000 gallons.

Brooklyn, population, 850,000. Daily consumption, 72,000,000 gallons, pumping capacity, 80,000,000, including two very old engines.

The general practice throughout the country for cities depending upon pumping for their water supply is to have about 50 per cent more pumping capacity than the average consumption of water. An examination of the few figures submitted about other cities may give our people a realizing sense of our position for the past ten years.


The sudden increase in the consumption of water is due to the new forty-eight-inch distributing main. By referring to the figures in pumping and consumption, you will see that we are running up to an average daily consumption above 70,000,000 gallons, and in the month of August the daily average was over 73,500.000 gallons; the greatest consumption reaching in one day 81,000,coo gallons. The supply from the extension east of Rockville Centre was estimated in my report urging the work at 20,000,000 gallons daily, with the new storage reserve, and this added to our old water shed, brought the total daily supply to about 75,000,000. But it must be remembered that the sources of supply from the old water shed are being reduced by the water taken by the many growing towns along the line, and by the clearing away of woodland, etc. During the past season we experienced a very severe drought. The daily supply on the old water shed fell to about 50,000,000 gallons, and the extension was pushed at times to over 25,000,000 gallons. This latter result was very gratifying, and but for the speedy completion of this great work we would have suffered from a very serious water famine. The hurried erection of a temporary pumping plant at the new station at Milburn gave us water just in time to save the city from great embarrassment. For ten years past I have been obliged to record these anxious times in our water supply, and I feel it very important to proceed at once with greater extensions both in the water supply and the pumping plant. The storage reservoir at Millburn will be completed in a few months, but the consumption has increased so rapidly that 1 feel it necessary to increase the pumping plant at the pumping station in order to avail ourselves of the heavy rains and fill the reservoir by rapidly pumping the supply. I urge two more pumping engines for this station, a new set of boilers and coal sheds, etc. I find that we can make a very important storage by deepening and cleaning the ponds on East Meadow Brook. We own four ponds above the supply pond now made there, and all are much higher in elevation than the present supply pond, and well located for storage. The storage can be made to reach at least 200,000.000 gallons. Such a reserve would greatly increase the supply from the extension, and should be secured as soon as possible. It would be well to establish one or two well stations on the properties purchased for that purpose between Rockville Centre and Massapequa. We can secure 10,000,000, gallons additional supply in that way.

The maximum capacity of our present conduit may be made to reach 75,000,000 gallons, the capacity of the new fortyeight-inch pipe is 25,000,000 gallons, giving therefore a total maximum capacity of 100,000,000 gallons in twenty-four hours. The capacity of the conduit at the extension is 62,000,000 gallons. If the latter is to be used to its full capacity at least 40,000,000 gallons more must be provided in the lower section.. The iron-pipe conduit just completed was, as you know, forced ahead under a pressing emergency which made it imperative to increase the conduit capacity and allowed no time for further delays in the work of the extension needed and postponed for the last ten years. This pipe conduit has done its work well, as without it it would have been impossible to provide the city with the requisite water supply during the past season. Our increasing growth and the present indications of still greater and more rapid growth strongly point out the wisdom of preparing in time for the future needs which will so soon be felt. We should not wait until the emergency is upon us. Surveys have been completed for a new pipe-line north of the old conduit, this pipe to be about five feet in diameter and to extend from Rockville Centre to the pumping station at Ridgewood or to Spring creek, as may be determined hereafter. An additional supply of at least 40,000,000 gallons daily would thus be secured. As it would take from two to three years to complete this pipe conduit (thirteen miles in length), preparations to begin work on the same should not be delayed. The cost would be about $1,500,000

Following is the estimated cost of the other work reported upon:

I have not included in the above figures any amount for the high-service engines at Mount Prospect Hill engine house, because I assume that the balance saved from the construction account of the forty-eight-inch distributing main will be transferred over for this purpose, The stand-pipe is now about completed, but we have no pumping engines to fill it. The engine house must be enlarged, new engines erected, pipe connections made, etc. I hope this transfer will be made at once. I earnestly urge that some immediate action be taken in this important matter. Respectfully,

ROBERT VAN BUREN, Chief Engineer.


Since writing the above report the shaft of engine No. 3 has broken and ihe engine is now disabled for at least four weeks. If the break had occurred when the engine was running at speed the accident would have been much more serious. We are to-day with only 65,000.000 gallons of pumping capacity, as the loss of engine No. 3 means 15.000,000 of gallons daily.