DEEP WELL WATER SUPPLY
By , , Tipton, Ind.
Water, a universally diffused liquid, was classed among the elements until the close of the last century, when Lavoisier, profiting by the experiments of Cavendish, proved it to be a compound of hydrogen and oxygen in the proportion of two volumes of the former gas to one volume of the latter. Pure water is a colorless, tasteless, inodorous liquid, a powerful refractor of light, a bad conductor of heat and electricity. Although water is colorless in small quantities, it is, blue, like the atmosphere when viewed in mass. In a chemical point of view, water exhibits in itself neither acid nor basic properties; but it combines with lxth acids and bases forming hydrates; it also combines with neutral salts. Water also enters as a liquid into a peculiar kind of combination with the greater number of all known substances. Of all liquids water is the most powerful and general solvent, and on this important property its use depends. I it consequence of the great solvent power of water, it is never found pure hi Nature. Kven in rainwater, which is the purest, there tire always traces of carbonic acid, ammonia and sea-salt. Where the rainwater has filtered through rocks and soils charged with salts derived from the earth, such as sea-salt, gypsum, and chalk ; when the proportion of these is small, the water is called soft, when larger, it is called hard water. The former dissolves soap better and is, therefore, preferred for washing; the latter is oftener more pleasant to drink. Some springs contain a considerable quantity of foreign ingredients, which impart to the water particular properties; and we find the same to he the case with water taken from deep wells usually iron, lime, magnesia, sulphur, stilts, etc., and often to the extent that it is very noticeable, and colors the water to such a degree that in appearance it is not desirable water to drink or use for domestic purposes, especially for washing clothes, lint this condition does not exist or even appear in the water when first delivered from the wells; but, after it is pumped into the mains and stirred up by the high pressure and rapid circulation, the iron and magnesia come into evidence, and then is when the superintendent of waterworks gets his pedigree extended for neglecting his duty and allowing such dirty stuff to lie pumped into the mains. On two occasions such as above mentioned. I have procured samples of water from hydrants where the complaints were constantly coming from the consumers in regard to the bad condition of the water. I submitted them to the health officer, who, in turn, sent them to the State secretary of the health department, and the result of the analysis in each instance was the statement that the water was of a good, sanitary quality. 1 caused a friend to procure for me a sample of water from a neighboring water department that employs the filter system; the lime and iron process were the chemicals they used, if I remember correctly, and their claim is that the water so filtered and furnished their customers is ninety-eight per cent. pure. 1 took the filtered water and a sample of water from one of my deep-gravel wells, and sent them to a chemist for analysis, requesting that a test of each sample should be made separate and distinct, for the reason that, as the label would show, one was front a deep gravel well and the other from a shallow well. I further requested that 1 desired to be informed as to the necessity for filtering the water from either of these wells. The result was. that the sample from my deep well was “O. K for all sanitary purposes, and did not require filtering; while the sample from the filtered water showed a large percent of turbid matter and other minerals, and was accompanied with the suggestion that filtration would aid in making the water from this well more sanitary than if used as it came from the well. (This sample was filtered river water.) The supply for the plant that I have had charge of during the past nine years, is taken entirely from deep wells, varying in depth from 6o ft. to .440 ft. We have two strata of gravel-water—the first from 60 to 68 ft.: the second between too and no ft. The water is of an excellent quality, the predominating constituents held in solution being iron and magnesia. The rock or limestone-wells produce an excellent quality of limestone water, and remarkably soft. clear and sparkling when delivered from the wells. Our wells are operated by the air-lift system; the action of the compressed air commingling with the water in the delivery through the discharge pipe, serves to some extent as a filter, crystalising the iron and other minerals to the .extent that they settle to the bottom of the reservoir very quickly. Experience and observation have proved to my satisfaction, that very many waterworks men have made expensive and costly mistakes by drilling their wells too close to each other and making their wells too small. Gravelwells should be 10-in. or 12-in. and never less than 8-in. Such wells do not sympathise with one another to the same extent as rock-wells. These last, when operated with modern air-lifts, affect neighboring wells as far as a mile, especially so, if the water strata are in what we term open or loose shale. Where the rock is very hard and close, the sympathy or effect of one well on the other is not noticeable. As a rule, a good rockwell should be found at from 200 to 250 ft.: and. when good water and plenty of it can be found at that depth, gravel-wells should not be used, unless of a superior quality and quantity—this can be determined by the gravel. If the gravel is round and smooth, without sharp corners, it is evidence that the gravel travels or moves in an underground current, and is termed vein-water. It can he depended on, for it is a current of water moving in a certain direction all the time. If the gravel shows signs of iron or rust, it is evidence that the water does not travel, but is of even depth all over and is called sheet-water—no circulation, hut yet very good water. Gravelwells should be made large enough not to require any artificial screens. Pump the sand out until it forms a natural screen with coarse gravel, the well being large enough to permit the flow of water or current to rise slow, anil trouble with sand is thus avoided; whereas, if the well is small sav 4-in., the current coming up is so swift that sand will be continually annoying you, especially if suction pumps are employed for the service. ‘ The only way to obtain perfectly pure water is to distill it; but matter simply held in suspension may be got rid of to a great extent, either hv mechanical or chemical filtration. Water, like air. is absolutely necessary to life, and healthy human life requires that it should lie free from contamination; hence, an ample and pure water supply is considered as one of the first laws of sanitation.
•Paper read at the convention of the Central Waterworks association. Wheeling, W. Va., September, 190″.