A utility serving a territory the size of the one served by the East Bay Water Company finds as a necessity a large amount of equipment, both for regular maintenance as well as for new construction.
All orders and instructions pertaining to construction and maintenance are passed through official channels to the corporation yard office, 22d and Adeline Streets, Oakland. The only exception to this routine is that instructions and work orders pertaining to the City of Richmond are passed direct to the foreman in charge of that district where a yard with a small stock of material is maintained for the convenience of the Richmond crews. The city foreman has charge of and is also responsible for tools, material and motor equipment used in this district under the supervision of the Superintendent.
Construction and Maintenance Department
At the present time this department maintains the following:
Field meter repairs: 5 roadsters.
Maintenance and construction of mains and services: 15 trucks.
Street paving and concrete equipment consists of: 8 trucks, 5 rollers, 4 Spears-Wells oil spraying machines.
Service department: 6 roadsters, 1 Ingersoll Rand portable air compressor used both for breaking concrete and asphaltum pavements and for operating air tools for caulking and riveting pipe, 2 centrifugal pumps mounted on automobile chassis, 2 P. & H. tamping machines used both for tamping back trenches and breaking concrete pavement, 2 Fordson tractors, 7 portable tool and fitting wagons.
The personnel of the department consists of: superintendent, assistant superintendent, 26 foremen, 239 helpers and caulkers, laborers, etc.
The service department consists of a foreman and five men, who are quartered at the corporation yard. The work assigned to this department consists of “turn-offs,” “turn-ons,” meter inspections, tests, and closing and delinquent hills.
Meter Repair Department
The meter repair department cares for all repairs on meters that are possible without removing same from the ground. Meters that are badly damaged internally or have ceased to register are removed and replaced with another and are taken to the shop for a general overhauling. All minor repairs such as: The new dials, glasses, repacking, leaky cases or spindles, are made while the meter is in service. All cleaning of large meters is made without removing them, for as a usual thing a large meter supplies a factory or a large concern where interruption to the service is of vital importance.
Concrete meter boxes and covers of various sizes made to accommodate the different sizes and types of meters have been generally used by this company for the past five years, about 20,000 now being used in the system. They are not only much more economical from a durability standpoint than wooden boxes, but are also much more sightly. Two types of concrete boxes are used—one manufactured by the Art Concrete Works of Pasadena, and the other by the N. Forni Manufacturing Company of Santa Rosa. Both concerns now installing factories in Oakland.
Size of Mains
Mains for both general transmission and distribution vary in size from 2-inch to 37 1/2 inches in diameter, the 2-inch and 3-inch mains being generally of wrought iron; 4-inch to 12-inch, cast iron with bell and spigot joints and either 12 or 16-foot lengths; 12-inch and larger being sheet iron and usually about 30 feet in length. Recently, however, 2-inch cast iron pipe ‘has been used with gratifying results, being less susceptible to any chemical action of the soil than wrought iron pipe and also due to the fact that being of bell and spigot type, it is possible to use cement joints, eliminating any electrolytic action. This pipe comes in 5-foot lengths, making installation quite easy and economical. The 2-inch cast iron pipe is a recent innovation of the McWane Foundries, who are also manufacturing 4-inch and 6-inch cast iron pipe in 5-foot lengths, which have a decided advantage over the longer lengths under some conditions, particularly when installing pipe in some of the streets which resemble the letter “S.”
Maintenance and Repair of Water Works
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Mains are installed at various depths, the smaller ones from 18 inches to 2 1/2 feet and the larger ones from 3 to 6 feet.
Cement As Joint Filler
Cement is now being used almost exclusively as a joint filler both on sheet iron and cast iron pipe. Cement not only furnishes a substantial joint, but is absolutely free from sweating or leaks regardless of pressure, heavy hauling over street, rolling trenches over pipe or sub-grades for new pavement. It is not only superior in these respects, but as a preventative against electrolysis it has been proven a decided success, not only here, but by other companies throughout the country.
Practically every foot of main installed by this company is insulated every one hundred feet with some type of insulated joint. Cement joints are used exclusively for cast iron and sheet iron mains and special flanged unions are used with the various sizes of wrought iron pipe. These flanges are bolted together with a fiber gasket between the faces and a special fiber tube over the body of the bolt and a fiber washer under the bolt head as well as under the nut.
Services are also insulated wherever possible, both at the main and on the house side of the meter. Joints are made at the meter with a piece of fiber tubing inch and about length; this merely replacing our regulation iron bushing used ordinarily from the regular curb cock to the 1/2-inch meter coupling. A like method is used between the lead and iron union at the main and the service pipe.
Oxy-Acetylene Welded Joints
Oxy-acetylcne welded joints have been tried out recently on three large extensions of riveted steel pipe; 12-inch line from Tentescal Lake to Dingee Reservoir; 16-inch line from Summit Reservoir to Rose Street, Berkeley; 20-inch line from Central Reservoir to Thirty-ninth Avenue Reservoir. These mains are now in operation carrying pressure to over 200 lbs. per square inch, and have exceeded all expectations, demonstrating without a doubt that they are not only more substantial than lead bands or rivets, but much more economical.
Lead Service Connections Up To Two-Inch
Services up to and including 2-inch are connected to the main with a lead service connection. ‘Ibis not only gives the service more flexibility, but also has a tendency to prevent noise in the interior of dwellings of the older type, where the piping is found to be more or less faulty. All service taps up to and including 6-inch are made with the pressure on the main, cast iron and wrought iron mains being drilled and tapped out and the main cock installed against the pressure. The same applies to all sheet iron mains except that either a solder tap is made or a saddle clamp is placed around the pipe. Mueller and Sharp tapping machines are generally used for these connections.
In recent years the practice of repairing services has been entirely eliminated. When a service begins to leak it has been found advisable to renew the entire service.
While probably 95 per cent of the services in use are of the regulation 3/4-inch size, various other sizes up to and including 6-inch are in use, no set rule, however, governing sizes, but rather the judgment of the Engineering Department as to what size will be practical, depending principally on size of main and the location to be served.
Every Type of Gate Valve
Probably every type of gate valve ever manufactured is represented in this system. Occasionally gates have been found in the system that even defy classification. Left handed gates have been generally used for the past ten years, but many of the older gates of all sizes and types are right handed. All gates are installed at street intersections, care being taken to get the gate exactly opposite the property lines of the intersecting street. Practically all gates are straight operating, not over a dozen in the entire system having by-passes. All upright operating gates as well as curb cocks are covered with a cast iron cover and all geared gates are covered by a reinforced concrete manhole, 4 feet wide, 6 feet long and the necessary height. All gates are manually operated.
Practically all gates in the downtown sections are inspected and operated yearly. Other gates, especially large gates on transmission lines, are used more or less frequently for either connections of some sort or repairs, consequently their general condition is usually very good. No regular gate men are kept by this company. All shut-downs of mains or districts of any size are supervised by the superintendent and assistant superintendent.
Usually shut-downs of any consequence for new installations are made during the night. Large areas are never shut off during the day except in case of emergencies. Smaller districts may be without water for short periods during the day, but onlyafter the consumers have been notified.
Many Kinds of Hydrants in Use
Many kinds of hydrants are in use in the system, both the wet and dry break type. While the regular 2-way6-inch standard predominates, different sizes of steamer connections are in use by the cities of Oakland, Berkeley and Piedmont. Practicallyall hydrants are installed at street intersections and have individual gate valves.
Fire Alarm Arrangements
Fire departments are always notified when hydrants are out of commission either for general repairs or when emergencies arise necessitating the closing down of any of the system. All fire alarms are reported to the general office through a regulation signal system, and fires of any consequence or any general alarms are responded to by a member of this department or an official of the company.
No emergency night crews are kept on duty. All night calls are reported directly to the superintendent, who usually gets in touch with the foreman living in the locality of the trouble. Telephones are installed for most of the foremen and many of them keep their trucks and equipment at their places of residence, consequently emergency crews can be organized with very little delay at any time of the night.
Street Paving and Excavations
Street paving and repairs of all excavations made for new construction and general maintenance are also cared for by this department. Three complete oiling outfits are kept constantly busy with oiling and rolling, and two additional crews care for concrete work for both sidewalk and street base concrete. The asphaltum pavement is contracted to some local paving company.
Minor extensions, leak excavations and service trenches are repaired as soon as possible after the actual work is completed. Large trenches for transmission main installation are usually held open until it is possible to test out the main for any small leaks that may occur through faulty caulking or defects in the seams or rivets.
Power Excavating Machines
Occasionally on large trenches, power excavation machines are found to be very serviceable, but in general this company depends on other means of trenching. The use of tractors and plows for the actual breaking up of semi-permanent pavement, and also for general trench work in almost any kind of soil has proven a decided success not onlyfrom an efficient as well as a financial standpoint.
Power machines are hired when conditions favorable to their use are encountered, but for ordinarytrenching they are extremely difficult to use due to the fact that most of our citystreets are a network of water mains, gas mains, conduits, both telephone and electric, and sewers, both storm and domestic.
The city commission of Olney, Ill., have taken definite steps toward providing the town with an adequate and pure water supply, and are looking forward to the establishment of a purifying basin in the north part of Olney Park and the deepening of the basin of Fox River.