If, as the old Latin poet says, it is one of the most perfect arts to mingle the useful with what is sweet and beautiful, Detroit. Mich., has certainly attained to that perfection, so far as its waterworks system is concerned. In its details it is most complete, wherein lies its usefulness; in its converting into a “thing of beauty and a joy forever” its pumping station, with its water tower and surround ing grounds—usually distinguished rather for ugliness than sightliness—it has conferred upon the public a boon, which affords not only pleasure but real benefit. The Waterworks park, with its greenhouse, its belvedere, its Hurlbut library, and Memortal gate—all artistically, even aesthetically treated, forms a most picturesque setting to the elegant architectural effect of the buildings of the plant, including the water tower. There is no doubt that the lavish expenditure upon the park and its environment has been repaid a thousandfold by its educational effects upon the community in the way of wholesome and health-giving recreation. The park grounds are kept in firstclass condition, and the floral display attracts wide attention.
The system is worked upon the most liberal scale. The board of water commissioners has no desire to impose too stringent conditions upon the use of the water for all legitimate purposes; but it objects to waste. The average daily per capita consumption in 1902 was 153 gallons—the total pumpage for the year being 18,333,104.706 gallons, and the total number of families taking water was 64,824—all but 100 within the corporate limits of the city. These are supplied through 541 2435-5280 miles (3,070,652 feet) of pipe, into, and through which the water is pumped from the Detroit river by one 30,000,000gallon. compound-beam pump, two 24,000,000-gallon compound-beam pumps, and one 24,000,000-gallon triple-expansion pump—the total daily capacity being 102,000,000 for a city, with an area of twenty-nine square miles and a population of 326,713 persons In order that the 294,364 consumers of Detroit itself and the over 5,000 consumers in the villages supplied by it outside the corporate limits may avoid the possibility even of a scarcity of water, and that the upper stories of factories and other buildings in the extreme southwestern part of the city may be supplied, and the pressure in the high district may he ample, two new 25,000,000-gallon pumps have been ordered, and a thirty-six-inch pipe, with fortytwo-inch connections at the pumping station is being laid, and in the rear of the station is a system of completed conduits, wells, and basins, so arranged that almost any combination of pumps and conduits can be made. A ten-foot brick intake land tunnel, extending to Belle Isle, along the east side of the river is also being built. Of this tunnel nearly 300 feet have been completed, and 400 must be built in open trench, with heavy sheet piling, on account of pockets of wet sand, which cannot be tunneled without a special plant. This will supply water enough for generations to come.
With all this provision for the future, however, it is not intended that waste of water shall be encouraged. The use of meters is, therefore, being constantly extended. The total number (estimated) of persons served (including the outside villages) was 310,627; the total number of gallons pumped, but not metered, for Detroit only (the outside villages are supplied through meters) was 13,958,881,460. metered, 4,220,959,512—a daily average of 40,807,784 gallons, a per capita average of 163.3. Add to this 419,900 gallons, the metered water supplied to the 5,674 persons in the outside villages and the total pumpage metered and unmetered was 18,533, 104,706 a daily average of 50,227,684 gallons, at the average per capita rate of 161.7 The number of meters in service on June 30, 1902, was 5.738, classified as follows: Thomson, 5,538; Crown. 100; Hersey, fifty-two; Worthington, thirty-eight; Union rotary, eight; Buffalo, one; Venturi, one, with thirty-eight indicators attached to hydraulic elevators.
The waterworks were first put in service in 1882, and the number of gallons pumped in that year was 235,840,271—a daily average of 646,411—a difference of 18,097,264,435 gallons in the total amount pumped, and of 49,553,793in the average daily delivery.
The three forty-two-inch force-mains make a combined area of seventy-two and three-fourths inches in diameter, or a daily capacity of 75,000,000 United States gallons. The forty-two-inch hydraulic prissure-gates manufactured by the Michigan Brass and Iron works of Detroit, have screw-spindle replaced by a single road, with the piston-head secured to its outer end, and the inner end to the disks. To the body of the gates is attached a cylinder, allowing sufficient space between the body of the gate and the inner head of the cylinder for stuffingboxes and glands—the gates lying horizontally. The diameter of the cylinder is of sufficient area to overcome the friction due to the water pressure in the mains upon the disks of the gates, each of which has a by-pass attachment. There is also a blowoff gate, opening on the under disk of the valve or disk chamber, for the displacement of whatever sediment may accumulate there, which might hinder free working. This insures the quick and easy opening and closing of the gates, to operate which the men in charge must enter the gate-walls and see when they are opened or shut. The gates have a one and one-half-inch attachment at each end of the cylinder, leading from both sides of the by-pass, from which the pressure is applied to the cylinder, and to which may be connected any other of the pipeage, if needed, when the pressure in the forcemams is dead. If a greater pressure is required to operate the gates, a small pressure-pump can be applied, which will accomplish the desired end. The result in operating the gates by hydraulic pressure has been very satisfactory.
The average head pumped against by the engines is a little over 116 feet. No. 4—the newest engine of the original four—on being tested in June. 1885. showed the following results; Duty based on 1,000 pounds of dry steam foot-pounds. 142,366,443 ; number of gallons pumped in twenty-four hours, 24,345.721. The requirements of the contract were, that the engine should pump 24,000,000 gallons in twentyfour hours against a head varying from 116 feet to 135 feet, with a piston speed of 215 feet per minute, or twenty-one and one-half revolutions per minute. The duty requirements were, that, on a twenty-fourhour test, the engine should give a duty of 130,000,000 foot-pr unds per 100 pounds of best anthracite coal, and on a thirty-days’ continuous test, with steam at 125 pounds pressure and a head of 120 feet, it should give a duty of 120,000,000 foot-pounds. On being tested, for twenty-four hours, its duty was 134,104,023 foot-pounds; for thirty days, 127,398,822 foot-pounds.
It may be added that the original waterworks system of Detroit was built by Rufus Wells in 1827. The present plant was built by the city in 1881 at a cost of $3,082,708. The estimated value of the system, including real estate, buildings, material, etc., is considerably over $6,600. The system, as already said, is direct pressure, with no reservoir, but a settling basin into which the conduits discharge. There is but the one pumping station, a plan of which accompanies this article. It shows the system of completed conduits, wells, and basin inlets in the rear of the station, also the settling basin, pumps, boilers and force-mains. Of the conduits shown some are new; there have also been built intakes from the settling basin, perfecting the system of connecting strainer wells. For fire purposes the pressure is from twelve to forty pounds.
The water department is managed by a board of five water commissioners as follows: Edward W. Pendleton (president); John Zynda; Darius D. Thorp; Joseph J. Crowley; and John Schroeder. The secretary is Benjamin F. Guiney. general manager. H. S. Starkey, to whose thorough efficiency and intelligent supervision the department owes so much in every way.
It may be added that full descriptions of the Detroit waterworks have appeared in these columns in the numbers for July 27, 1895, p. 238; March 14, 1896, p. 138; and November 29, 1902, p. 216.