Threatened with Shortage, Superintendent Utilizes Makeshift Appliances to Get Results Experiment Proves Success Will Enlarge System

ABOUT June first it became apparent that Lima, Ohio was in danger of facing a water shortage as we only had about 90 days supply in storage.

City Manager I. C. Brower, being a believer in preparedness, ordered the water department to look around for an additional supply. About 25 years ago the water department leased two acres of ground about two miles from the city and drilled four wells which were operated by air lift with indifferent success and they were finally abandoned and pronounced a failure. Upon receiving orders from Mr. Brower to try and supplement our dwindling supply of water I decided to try out the abandoned wells once more.

I secured a No. 5 centrifugal pump which was installed at one of the wells and operated by a Fordson Tractor. We made a ten day test on one well which produced a little more than a million gallons per day. Then we hooked up two wells to the same pump and ran another ten day test. At the end of the twenty days the wells showing no signs of failure we secured a larger pump and hooked up four wells which we are still pumping at the rate of two and one-half to three million gallons per day. We are operating the larger pump with a Fordson tractor but we were compelled to increase the size of the pulley on the pump because the tractor could not pull the load, with the result the pump is only turning 430 R P M when it should run 900 R P M.

No definite plans have yet been worked out for an expansion of the system of wells as everything is stil in the experimental stage. My report to Manager Brower on these experiments was as folows:

“In accordance with instructions from you 1 am submitting a report on the outcome of the experiments being conducted on the four water wells located on the Huber Farm cast of the city and the effect they have in augmenting our present supply of water and the probable effect it will have in eliminating the necessity of going to the expense within the next ten or fifteen years of adding to our storage capacity by building more reservoirs. In view of the increasing value of land and the constantly mounting cost of everything that enters into the construction of reservoirs and the machinery to operate them the cost of the next worth while reservoir will be close to a million dollars.

“The unusually dry spring and long continued hot summer of this year has brought home to every one familiar with the existing conditions that the time is at hand to begin to think of and to plan for an additional supply of water in times of extreme emergency.

“We are operating four wells on the Huber Farm with a cheap makeshift, surface outfit and producing at the very lowest estimate two and one half million gallons every twenty-four hours and due to the wells and the fact that we were able to take from Ottawa River more than 200,000,000 gallons in the last ten days, Lima is in no danger of suffering from a shortage of water. I recommend that in order to give more satisfactory service the pressure in the mains be raised to 50 lbs. I would also recommend that our engineering department prepare an estimate of the cost of sinking a concrete shaft deep enough to take a motor driven centrifugal pump down to the main body of underground water as our tests have proven that the supply is practically inexhaustible. 1 recommend this method in preference to an air lift Itccausc of the greater economy in operation.

“Although there is no immediate need of doing this I believe it is wise to think about it and devise plans that can be carried out on short notice should an emergency arise. By this method 1 am convinced that an adequate supply of water can be obtained at a cost not exceeding one twentieth the cost of building a reservoir that would supply the city’s requirements for any length of time. I have information that Ft. Wayne, Ind., a city of 110,(XX) inhabitants is supplied entirely from wells. Every two or three years as the city increases in population a few more wells arc hooked up.

“Should we build a reservoir, that expense w’ould come all at one time while the development of wells would be gradual in accordance with the demand for more water. The tests so far conducted have been successful beyond our expectations. After operating two wells since the twelfth of June and four wells for nearly a week, when we shut down the wells are all flowing in a few hours.”

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