Electrolysis in Water Mains
The problem of electrolysis has been a vexing one for the water works superintendent ever since the introduction of electricity as a motive power for street railways. The stray currents in finding their way back to the source of power are bound to take the course of least resistance, and the water pipes generally form this route, where they lie in the general direction of the power house. It only needs the joint of non-conducting material or other cause to make the current again leave the pipe and in so doing cause its destruction.
A careful analysis of the situation and a suggestion as to the best remedy is published in this week’s issue in an article by Waldo S. Coulter. This well known engineer has made a special study of the subject and he speaks with peculiar authority on it. He puts the remedy squarely up to the railway authorities and points out that the only true solution of the problem is the insulated negative return. If this can be accomplished without serious loss to the railway companies they should be made to correct the trouble; if the accomplishing of this task is a crushing financial burden, then some arrangement should be entered into whereby both parties can bear the expense. The determination of this fact would have to be the work of an impartial tribunal.