Greenfield Seeks Water and Fire Protection
In the latest report of the water commissioners of Greenfield, Mass., they have set forth at some length their experience in keeping their town supplied with water during the drought which was prevalent there last summer and well into the winter. During about three months of the period resource had to be had to the pumping station and with this the commissioners had a very unsatisfactory experience and in their report they state that the pumping plant has been demonstrated of insufficient capacity and inefficient in point of economy. In the opinion of the commissioners if the greatest shortage of water had come at the time of maximum consumption a water famine would have been unavoidable. “With a properly designed steam plant, or by the use of well designed electric pump, the operating cost should be lowered on account of increasing efficiency,” say the commissioners.
Another phase of the Greenfield problem was a supply of water to be pumped. The Green river being suggested application was made to the State board of health for an examination of the waters of the same. The opinion of the State board, following the authorized investigation, is of interest having some measure of general application. The letter is as follows;
To the Board of Water Commissioners of the Town of Greenfield:
In response to your request of November It), 1908, for an examination of Green river to ascertain whether the use of that stream as a source of water supply for Greenfield can be continued with safety, the board has caused the locality to be examined by its engineer and has examined the information furnished by maps of tin region and records of analysis and other observations in previous years.
Green river drains a very sparsely settled area containing 51.6 sq. miles, the greater part of which t;t?.l sq. miles) is within the limits of the State of Vermont. There are two small villages within the drainage area, both situ ated in the valley of the stream and a number of widely scattered farm houses, most of which are located at long distances from the waterworks intake.
I’he water, as shown by analysis, is nearly colorless, and while somewhat hard is in other respects ot good quality for water supply purposes 1 lie stream evidently receives but little pollution, but on account of its rapid fall and other circumstances infective matters finding their way into the river even in the remoter parts of the watershed might be carried to the waterworks intake within a comparatively short time, and in the opinion of the board the source is an unsafe one from which to u.kt water directly for water supply purposes.
It is very important that the town secure with as little delay as practicable a source which will furnish an adequate quantity of good water for its requirements at all times, but the board is unable to advise you definitely at present as to the most appropriate of the sources which appear to be available for an additional supply of water for the town of Greenfield. The examinations of the region about the Green river and its tributaries in the neighborhood of the waterworks intake and below show that the conditions are verv favorable so far as can be judged from sur face indications for obtaining water in large quantity from the ground by means of wells. A good ground water supply would probably be less expensive and much more satisfactory in all respects than a supply from any surface source, and the board recommends that tests be made at the most favorable places in this region to determine the character of the soil and quality of the ground water.
It is very important in the opinion of the board, that the investigations be made with as little delay as possible, since it is desirable that an adequate supply of good water be made available before another dry season. The investigations should be made under the direction of an engineer of experience in the selection of ground water supplies, and the board will assist bv making the necessary analyses of water and will give you further advice when the results of preliminary investigations are available.
By order of the board,
WM. C. HANSON, Acting Secretary.
Boston, December 8, 1908.
Following the suggestion of the State board of health the Greenfield water authorities went persistently to work to locate wells. A number of these were driven, some of which flowed at the rate of 30 gal. per minute. In one locality the water was found to be free from the extreme hardness which characterized the waters from the first wells driven. By pumping it is thought a fairly, adequate supplemental supply may be had. in case of developments of this as a supply, the following additions would be necessary. The purchase of land on which to locate about fifty or sixty driven wells—wells to connect with a large suction pipe which would be caried to a pumping station. The construction of a pumping station building, with installation of pumping machinery, and the building of a force main from pumping station to a suitable reservoir site.
1 n connection with the work of procuring additional water supply, it is thought that consideration should be given the problem of furnishing better fire service, that is, increased capacity in size of mains, sufficient to furnish a large volume of water for fire service, without the loss of pressure which now will result. The present mains will not furnish the quantity of water that a large fire will demand. The location of a reservoir on Rocky mountain has been considered in this connection, and it is thought to be practicable to place a reservoir on the mountain, at such an elevation that it may be used in connection with the Glen reservoirs by gravity supply from them, and also be used as a distribution reservoir in connection with the supply from driven wells. From this reservoir a large main would be required to the business section of the town.
“The experience of last season.” says the commissioners, “has proved the necessity of an additional supply, not only for the season of abnormal rainfall, but the increase in consumption will soon make us short in the season of rainfall. The question of additional water supply should be very thoroughly investigated, and steps should lie taken without delay to preclude shortage of water.”