Efficient Water Supply of Portland.
The water supply of a city, like that of fuel, oil or foodstuffs, is a subject we give little thought to if the supply is sufficient and of good quality. One must go away from Portland to appreciate the quality of water furnished its citizens by the celebrated Bull Run system. The quantity, to be sure, has not in the last 12 months, due to the tremendous growth of the city and the rapid building of homes in sections formerly supplied from private concerns, been adequate or in any way satisfactory to the remote districts, but we believe the coming summer will correct these wrongs and give our citizens a supply of water, the purity, as well as the liberal supply of which cannot be approached by any other city in the United States. While statistics are dry reading, and it is not the purpose of this article to make of it a reference hook for data concerning our own system, a few figures will, no doubt, be of interest to all of us. Portland is to-day using (or was during the warmest weather last summer) some 25,000,000 gallons a day, or the maximum capacity of our present system, and it was quite a problem tor our superintendent for some two weeks last July to regulate the distribution so as not seriously to deplete the storage reserve in reservoirs Nos. 1 and 2 on Mount Tabor and Nos. 3 and 4 in the City Park, and thus endanger the city in an emergency, such as fire, damage to pipe line, etc., The capacity of our present reservoirs is 66,000,-000 gallons, or about three days’ supply in the summer months, and the capacity of the two new reservoirs, Nos. 5 and 6, now building on Mount Tabor, is 125,000,000 gallons, or practically double that of our original four reservoirs; and the daily carrying capacity of the new pipe line to Bull Run is 46,000,000 gallons. This will be brought in by a single steel pipe some 24 miles in length, taking the supply from the same headgate as the old pipe line and paralleling it practically the entire distance to Mount Tabor. This pipe in itself is interesting in that it is the largest and longest of its type ever used. It is of the new lock-bar type, rolled into shape in 30-foot lengths, without the use of a single rivet, but held together longitudinally by a patented bar, which clamps and holds together the two edges, making the joint stronger than any other part of the section of pipe and offering practically no resistance to the flow of water. It is estimated that this type of pipe will carry for a given head and diameter from three to seven per cent, more water than the old-fashioned steel riveted pipe. Our new pipe line is 52 inches in diameter at the upper end, reducing to 44 inches one-third of the way in. The new reservoirs Nos. 5 and 6 at Mount Tabor are well designed to store and supply water to every section of the City of Portland, the upper reservoir, No. 5, practically completed, has a capacity of 50,000,000 gallons, and is placed on a level with No. 1 on Mount Tabor, while the lower reservoir, still under construction, will carry 75,000,000 gallons, and is at the level of No. 2 reservoir, Mount Tabor. The fall from upper to lower reservoirs is used to lift water to extreme high elevations, such as Council Crest. The extension of the distributing system to keep abreast with the rapid growth of the newly developing sections of the city at great distances from the large mains has been a problem the water board and its engineer and superintendent have striven hard to keep pace with and this brings to our attention the old law under which they were compelled to operate last year. Theoretically its provisions were just and equitable and it appeared right that benefited property should bear the burden of the water main supplying it, but in practice it was anything but satisfactory, and the delays, due to the routine of advertising, etc., with often no bids being received, and often one or two bids coming in which far exceeded the engineer’s estimates, necessitating the throwing out of bids, caused no end of delay, not only to the completion of the distributing system, but to all other work, such as sewers and hard-surface street improvements. The law recently enacted makes our water system practically self-supporting and without increasing the water rates. It enables new tracts with few houses to be supplied, by the property laying its own system at its own expense, but under the supervision of the water board’s engineer, and when a district is sufficiently built up to return a minimum of six per cent, of the cost of the main it may be taken over and paid for by the city. It also permits the department to go ahead at once with the laying of much-needed distributing mains and otherwise keep abreast with the growth of the city. The present law as amended has been in successful operation for years in Portland, or since the Bull Run system was first installed add put in operation on January 2, 1895, and there is no apprehension as to its successful workings from nowon, and with our new pipe line trebling our present supply early this coming summer, we venture to predict that all sections of the city will be amply supplied with the finest water supplied to any city in this country. The rates as at present charged create a substantial revenue to the city and arc considerably lower than the average city of the United States, hut these rates should not be made lower than at present, for it would materially hamper the efficiency of the department.