MAYOR WARWICK ON PHILADELPHIA’S WATER.
In his message to the newly elected councils of Philadelphia. Mayor Warwick reports that since relining the Queen Lane reservoir is “virtually water tight.” but the Belmont pumping station is in a critical condition, and liable to break down at any time, thus depriving West Philadelphia of water. It is partly for the repair of this station and the removal of a grave danger that the loan for the improvement of the water supply has been urged. That supply could be brought from a pure source in large aqueducts; but the expense of such a course would be virtually prohibitory. He adds;
Fortunately, we have at this time a plentiful supply of water, which no doubt will meet the requirements for many years to come, p’ovided we do not diaw upon it too extravagantly. The only question to be settled is as to its quality. Inasmuch as we cannot bring our supply from a distance, it is a duty incumbent upon us to make puie and healthful by a System of filtration that which we have at hand; and I cannot too strongly nor earnestly appeal to your honorable bodies to immediately authorize the cieation of a loan, so that an appropriation mav be made providing for the construction and maintenance of filtration plants. As soor as the loan is authorized,the city will be ready through her officials having charge of the matter to submit, as I have already slated in a special message sent to councils last Frbruary, a comprehensive plan looking towards the accomplishment of this object. All that we need now to make our water wholesome is the constiuciion of filtration plants Subsiding reservoirs go far towards the improvement of the water supply, and we have accomplished much in that direction; bu, we must go a step farther We should unite our efforts to meet this great question intelligently and give relief at the earliest possible moment. Any unnecessary delay is a crime against humanity. The net profits of the water bureau for the year, as I have already stated, amounted to $1,306,204.31. The sum which the people have authorized to be used for the improvement of the water supply is $3 700 -000 In my judgment this money should be used as lar as it will go in the construction of sand filtration beds. We have passed beyond the time of exjrerimentation. There might be some question as to w hether or not certain mechanical processes should be used; but we have no time now to test them. Theie is one process known to nature which will filter water front any source, and that is natural sand filtration. Wherever practicable t^ese natutal sand filtration beds should be constructed, in close proximity to our reservoirs; but in the case of those reservoirs where by reason of the character of the locality or because of the expense incident to the purchase of land this system is not feasible, then the best mechanical process known, to meet the immediate r« quircments.should be adopted. If this plan be accepted $3 700.coo will go far towards the solution of this much vexed question. * * * The furnishing of water is to my mind clearly a municipal function. It is not in any sense of the word a manufacturing industry. It is simply the distribution of that upon w hich life and health dej>end, and. with authoritt given by the people themselves to councils to expend a large sum of money for this purpose, there is no excuse to put this matter off for further consideration. A loan shi uld be authorrzed and an appropriation should be made; plans should be submitted and contracts immediately awarded for the doing of the work requited. The very moment two or three districts are supplied with wholesome water the question will be settled.
Mr. Peter Milne, who was lately appointed assistant engineer in the department of this city’s water supply to serve in the borough of Brooklyn, has resigned.