LIFTING WATER WITH COMPRESSED AIR.
It is not the intention of this article or paper on the subject of lifting water with compressed air to disclose any new developments in the art, but rather to rehearse the subject in order that it may be more fully discussed or criticised, as the case may be, and that those among us who have had long experience with the air-lift system may acquaint and enlighten us relative to their success in operating their respective plants with air-compressors as the means of pumping or lifting water, as compared with former methods and mechanical appliances. We have been informed that the air-lift system was an experiment to a great extent, and not in general use in pumping water. It should be an experiment with all who contemplate using it by first installing a test compressor, which is easily handled, and can be set up and operated to test the wells without the expense of new buildings or anything of the kind, and if your wells hold up for the test, you can feel assured that they will prove satisfactory with a permanent compressor installed. The water supply for the city of Tipton, Ind., Tipton waterworks (municipal plant), is taken from ten wells, varying in depth front fifty-five to 500 feet; two four-inch, six six-inch, and two eight-inch. Water of an excellent quality was found at fifty-five feet, and raised within seven feet of the surface. An excellent vein of water was also found at from 106 to no feet, which would raise to within seven to eight feet of the surface. The eight-inch well is said to be 500 feet in depth. No one seemed to know anything at all about the water strata; but those wells were all connected with two suction pumps, and working them to their fullest capacity would not furnish to exceed 180,000 gallons in twenty-four hours. The demand for more water was increasing daily with the additional taps that were being made for domestic service, and there was not sufficient water for fire protection, and something had to be done to increase the supply of water to meet the demand that was being made on the plant. In my annual report to the mayor and members of the common council, in January, 1900, I fully, explained the situation, and offered such suggestions as m my humble judgment were applicable to meet the requirements—namely, the air-lift system. It was then suggested by the waterworks committee that more wells be drilled, and that the pumps and suction lines be lowered. Against this I entered protest, demonstrating the fact that the cost of the change would be very heavy, and the prospects favorable for accomplishing very little, if anything in the way of relief. 1 was then authorised to get a supply of water if it were to be had. I had visited neighboring plants that were getting their supply of water by the air-lift system, and l was confident that it was the only means of relief in my case. At once I entered into communication with the Ingersoll-Sergeant Drillcompany, and made the necessary arrangements for testing our wells. The compressor was connected to two wells, one six-inch well and one eight-inch. and started on May 1. 1900. The first test showed the six-inch well to be yielding forty gallons per minute, and the eight-inch well seventy gallons per minute. After working the wells for twenty-four hours and making some minor changes in the air lines, the six-inch well yielded sixty gallons and the eight-inch well ninety gallons per minute, and on [lie fourth day the six-inch well produced seventyfive gallons per minute and the eight-inch well 130 gallons per minute. Other wells were tested, with results proportionately to the first, and at the end of thirty days’ test, the results were so satisfactory that I was instructed to purchase a compressor suitable for our service.
* Paper read at the fifth annual convention of the Central States Waterworks association, Evanaville, Ind, October 1901.
Class (G) duplex compressor, ten by twelve and a quarter by twelve, was purchased, and installed the first week in December, 1900. The service rendered is very gratifying. We have had no trouble in supplying all demands that have been made on the plant, working the air-lift on two wells with what assistance was given by the suction pumps. At any time in the future other wells can be connected up with the air with very little expense, and add very materially to the supply; for the test has already been made and the results are known. The compressor is run at thirty-two revolutions per minute, carrying thirty-three pounds air-working pressure on a lift of forty feet.
The Tipton plant is in the centre of a group of waterworks plants that arc successfully operating the air-lift system—Alexandria and Elwood, on the east; Noblesville and Indianapolis, on the south; Frankfort on the west; Peru and Marion, on the north: and Bluffton, on the northeast. Testimonials at hand front the superintendents at Noblesville and Bluffton speak volumes for the success of the air-lift system and the results achieved. From what information I have been able to acquire concerning the above-named plants, they have no fault to find, but. on the contrary, speak in the highest terms and words of praise for the air-compressor, or the system of lifting water from deep wells with compressed air.