GOOD REPORT FROM THE WATER DEPARTMENT OF MILWAUKEE
From the report of the water department of Milwaukee, Wis., H. P. Bohmann, superintendent, it is learned that at the close of the year 1917 the revenues show a substantial increase over the preceding year. The revenues for water only were $1,036,000, or an increase of $68,000 over those of 1916. The gross revenues of the department from all sources aggregated $1,100,000. The cost of operation and maintenance was $375,000, being an increase of $71,000 over the preceding year. The increase in cost of operation is partly due to increased fuel consumption by reason of greater pumpage, but primarily due to the inflated prices of materials and supplies entering directly into the cost of operating a water utility. The prices on some of these materials have advanced from 25 to 150 per cent, during the past year. The item of coal alone increased the cost of operation $50,000; the price paid in 1917 being double that paid in 1916. A small increase in salaries and wages constitutes another element of increased cost.
Higher Cost of Equipment.
On June 11, 1917, a contract was awarded to the Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing Company for the furnishing of a 12,000,000-gallon high service pumping engine for the North Point pumping station at a cost of $175,000. A similar pump in every respect was purchased in 1913 at a cost of $74,200. As this pump was an absolute necessity, the purchase of same could not be deferred. The great industrial activity prevailing throughout the country has been shared by the city of Milwaukee by reason of its being a large manufacturing center. It was, therefore, absolutely necessary that the water department keep pace with its activities so as to be in position at all times to serve the increased demands made upon it.
Use of Liquid Chlorine.
The treatment of the water supply with liquid chlorine was used almost continuously during the year with the exception of a few days when it was found necessary to supplant it with hypochlorite of lime, owing to the delay in the shipment of liquid chlorine. While a great many complaints were received during the winter months, when taste and odor were noticeable in the Milwaukee drinking water, under present conditions it is the only measure which the department can apply which will minimize the dangerous condition of the water. The typhoid death rate for 1917 was 6.5 per 100,000 of population, as compared with 14.9 for 1916. The value of the water works up to December 31, 1917, less depreciation, was approximately $9,250,000, and the bonded indebtedness, less sinking fund on hand, $225,000. When it is considered that the plant has been paid for entirely out of earnings of the department, this is an excellent showing.
The total pumpage for the year was 21,550,000,000 gallons, or an increase of 1,450,000,000 gallons over the previous year. All previous pumping records were broken on July 31, when a pumpage of 85,981,080 gallons in twenty-four hours was recorded. About 12 per cent, of the pumpage was furnished to consumers outside the city. During the year the water pipe distribution system within the city was extended by the laying of five miles of water pipe, the setting of thirty-five gate valves, fifty-six hydrants and 2,050 service connections. The total length of water mains laid in the city now amounts to 541 miles, having 3,737 fire hydrants, 4,321 gate valves and 85,458 service connections connected to same. A total of 1,494 new meters were installed, making a total of 64,312 meters in service at the close of the year. Water is furnished outside of the city for the villages of East Milwaukee, West Milwaukee, North Milwaukee, Whitefish Bay, the city of West Allis and county institutions in the town of Wauwatosa.