Lynn Water Commissioner Newsom Replies to Criticisms

Lynn Water Commissioner Newsom Replies to Criticisms

Reeves J. Newsom, the water commissioner of Lynn, Mass., in replying to sharp criticisms of the department recently made by other city officials, has made a public answer which refers to every charge made. Mr. Newsom states that the investment of $45,000 for two new pumps would bring the city 24 per cent financial returns that not only justify the expenditure but show it to be necessary. The money, he says, would come from the increased storage bond account which is not available for the pay of laborers. The condition of the water, about which there has been so much complaint, is due, the commissioner says, to the filthy condition of the Pine Hill distributing reservoir, which he called to the attention of the council last spring, and also to the accumulation of rust and other deposits in the street mains. The late starting of Walden pond station is explained as due to the shortage of coal and labor. The statement that “raw water” was pumped into the mains is denied. The layoff of men was predicted by him in June, he says, and is due to the high cost of labor and materials and the expense of freeze-ups last winter. The purchase of two trucks is said to have released four horses from use. Three already have been disposed of and one is on the market. He agrees that “something is wrong with the water department,” and says: “I have pointed out many things that are wrong and the remedies for them. I have called attention to the fact that our equalizing reservoir and mains are dirty; that we are wasting millions of gallons of water which is not metered, and are not getting paid for enormous amounts more which runs through meters which we are not equipped to properly test and repair; that large quantities of tools and materials are lost because of the lack of proper storeroom facilities; and that thousands of dollars yearly are being wastefully spent on the operation of obsolete and inefficient pumping equipment. Having pointed out these things which are wrong, I am pettishly blamed for their existence. In one breath my suggestions for remedying these things are branded as fads and fancies and in the next the endless cycle is started all over again with the cry: ‘There is something wrong in the water department.’”

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