Gowanus Canal Pumping Plant

Gowanus Canal Pumping Plant

When the Gowanus Canal was constructed in Brooklyn a number of years ago, is was heralded as one of the greatest engineering feats of the age. But it was not long before the engineers were confronted with a serious problem which it has taken 39 years to solve; and only then through the aid of electricity. The canal was built from the river through a devious route to a point in the heart of the manufacturing portion of the city and there dead-ended. Its purpose was to furnish an easy and economical method of transferring the products of the shippers to and from the boats in the East River. It was thought that the ebb and flow of the tide would cause enough circulation to prevent any accumulation of impurities which would be disagreeable or unhealthy. A large amount of surface water was drained from the streets and emptied into the canal through the sewers, but due to increase of population and manufacturing industries, which are continually depositing waste matter in the canal, the water became most foul and unsanitary. It was also found that the action of the tide had little or no effect in removing the waste matter. This was especially true at the dead-end of the canal, where the stagnation was excessive. The odor was so foul that it could be detected for blocks around and was so detrimental to the public health in that community that drastic measures were taken to effect more sanitary conditions. Finally the city engineers decided on flushing the water from the dead-end of the canal into the river where it would be carried away by the action of the tide. To accomplish this t was decided to install a screwpropeller pump which would simply pull the water along in the same manner that a propeller pulls a ship against the resistance of the water; in this case, however, the propeller being stationary, the water is forced to move. It was first proposed to employ steam to drive the pump, as had been done on one or two similar installations made in other places, but the engineers soon saw the advantages to be had by employing electric drive, and lost no time in convincing the city authorities of the advantages, and so an induction motor was selected. The result was the removal of the filth and polluted waters from the canal and a clean healthy atmosphere now prevails. Property value in the immediate neighborhood which, under the old regime had sunk to almost nothing, has now increased to its proper value. The motor and control apparatus are located in a circular pit 24 feet in diameter and 29 feet deep, built under the pump house. The motor is rated at 400-horsepower and runs at, 120 r.p.m. with full load enabling the pump to deliver 30.000 cubic feet of water per minute. It is located 50Vi feet from the propeller to which it is connected by a shaft eight inches in diameter. The propeller consists of four blades having a pitch of five feet six inches, and the shaft runs through a water-cooled thrust bearing. 1 he tunnel is 12 feet deep and 50 feet wide at the canal but narrows down to 9 feet at the propeller, thus allowing 1/8 of an inch clearance for the propeller blades. This water is discharged into what is known as Buttermilk Channel through a sewer 6,300 feet long. An interesting point in this connection is the fact that the water moved by the propeller weighs 64 pounds per cubic foot or 2 1/2 pounds per foot more than the weight of pure water, Electric energy is delivered to the plant at 6,0 00 volts and is stepped down by means of three oil-cooled transformers at 550 volts at which potential it is supplied to the motor through a suitable switchboard equipped with the necessary meters and control devices. The motor and control apparatus were furnished by the Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company, East Pittsburgh, Pa

SKETCH OF GOWANUS CANAL SHOWING PLAN OF PUMP HOUSE.EXTERIOR VIEW GOWANUS CANAL PUMPING PLANT.INTERIOR OF PUMP HOUSE, SHOWING CONTROL PANEL AND RAILING AROUND PUMP PIT.
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