MISCELLANEOUS WATER WORKS ITEMS
The construction company which has been engaged for several years in boring the bed of the Hudson rived off Storm King Mountain to determine the character of the river bed where it is proposed to carry the Catskill aqueduct under the river, has abandoned the contract. The great depth at which it was necessary to make the drillings, it is said, discouraged the contractors. The last drill abandoned in the middle of the river had gone down 768 feet and had not found rock solid enough to insure stability to the proposed aqueduct. The borings shows that it would be necessary to take the shaft down to a depth of 1,100 feet at this point.
Waterworks, costing over $20,000,000, for the supply of Vienna, were recently opened by the Emperor Francis Joseph at the municipal town hall. The sources of the new supply are 100 miles away in the valley of the Styrian Salza, a number of delicious Alpine springs, at a height of some 6,000 feet above sea level. The water which has been ascertained to be of the highest quality and absolute purity, is conveyed through aqueduct bridges and underground pipes. In one place it was necessary to tunnel through the mountains for 3 miles. It requires 48 hours for the water to reach Vienna. The opening ceremony was a very impressive one, some maids of honor handing the emperor a cup of the fresh water. Vienna can now boast of the best water supply in the world.
Benjamin Silliman Church, one of the designers of the Croton aqueduct of the New York City water supply, died on December 10. He was born at Bclvidere, N. Y., on April 17, 1833, of distinguished New England ancestry. In 1856 he graduated from Dartmouth College and after a course in civil engineering became a topographer on the Croton aqueduct, and later resident engineer, which position he held for many years. In 1880 he invented an apparatus for detecting water waste in private houses, during the night, by art attachment to the street connections, Mr. Church became chief engineer for the aqueduct commissioners in 1883 and held this position until 1888, when he resigned. He continued its consulting engineer for the commission until 1889. He was for many years a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and a contributor to the Transactions of the Society.
For the second time within a week the waterworks pumping station at Youngstown, Ohio, has been crippled by a breakdown, and the pumping capacity of the plant had to be cut down until the break was repaired. The second accident was the cracking of the bedplate of the second pump. Another plate has been ordered and the pump will be operated at reduced capacity until the plate arrives and is placed in position. The large pump will be operated at an overload capacity until the break is repaired, and no shutdown is feared. Director Duesing says: “The break happened in the afternoon when the pump was running slowly, and was detected before any serious results followed. A duplicate of the broken casting was made at the William Tod plant and by working overtime the plant was repaired the evening of the accident. Had this first break occurred in the morning, when the pumps were working to their limit, the machinery would likely have been wrecked in a manner that would have taken a month or two to repair.”
The new pumping station which is being built at Detroit, Mich., will cost $500,000. The front portion of the building, in which will be housed six new pumping engines, is the section now under way. It will be 300 feet long and extend back 90 feet. The completion of the boiler room and other portions in the rear will give the plant a total depth of 480 feet. The engine room will be about the height of a 6-story building, the roof being about 100 feet above the floor of the 22-foot pit in which the engines will be set. The interior will be one room, circled by a balcony at the level of the new main entrance. Exterior of the building will be of gray Norman brick, trimmed with Ohio sandstone. The interior will be finished in Roman brick, with stone trimmings.
The floor will be slate and the roof of concrete, covered with green tile. The structure is to be absolutely fireproof, windows and doors being set in metal and no wood whatever used in construction. Steel work is being supplied by the Wisconsin Bridge & Iron Company, Milwaukee. About 900 tons will be required and it is expected it will be in place within two months. Three new pumping engines will be installed in the plant, leaving space for three more. These engines, costing $110,000 each, will add about 90,000,000 gallons to the daily pumping capacity of the Detroit waterworks.
Hozen & Whipple, engineers in charge of the construction of a new waterworks at Springfield, Mass., has been engaged in carrying a line across the Connecticut river. A 42-inch pipe conveys the water to the river, where the line is divided into two lines of 30-inch steel lock-bar pipe, each 7-16-inch thick. These lines of pipe are placed 30 feet apart on centers, this unusual distance being provided so that a leak or accident in one would be less likely to endanger the other. The pipes were riveted and calked tightly on shore in lengths of about 300 feet, being formed to fit accurately the contour of the river bottom, and were then sunk between double row’s of piles until they rested upon cross timbers bolted to the piles. The different lengths were bolted together by extra heavy flanges, between each pair of which was placed a narrow lead gasket. The pipes were then surrounded by concrete throughout their length, the concrete being placed in bags. The under-water length of these lines is about 900 feet, and the pipes extend from either side so as to make a total length of about 1,150 feet. The greatest depth is 22 feet at low water, and the top of the pipe is 3 feet or more below the bed of the river. The pipes were laid by the T. A. Scott Company, of New London, Conn., under an agreement by which the company guaranteed that the amount of leakage would not exceed 150 gallons an hour on each line, and if the leakage exceed 750 gallons an hour the whole work would be subject to rejection. It was also provided that the contractors should receive a bonus of $10 for every gallon by which the leakage was under 150 gallons on each line. One of these lines was tested some time ago and showed a leakage of only 11.8 gallons an hour. The other line was tested November 30 and the leakage was found to amount to 8.7 gallons an hour, more than 7 gallons of which came from wooden insulation joints at the two ends. The bonus on both lines was consequently $2,795. The line was tested at a pressure of 150 pounds, the normal pressure of the Little River system which will pass through it in service. It is said that the contractors, in order to secure this unusual tightness, went to an extra expense for this purpose alone which fully equaled the bonus received.
W. L. Reynolds, vice-president of the Interstate hire, is authority for the statement that Birmingham, Ala., is the best fire risk in the Southern states. “We have the best fire chief in the country. A. V. Bennett is young, courageous, and a man of great executive ability. We like him, here in Birmingham. The fire-fighting facilities here in Birmingham. The firefighting facilities since the city limits were enlarged to take in 48 square miles. Several hundred additional fire plugs have been installed. Pratt City, North Birmingham, and Ensley have been given modern alarm system. Four new fire stations have been built, one at Pratt City, one at East Lake, and two in the central section. The protection for the south side has been doubled since the Birmingham Water Company has erected a stand-pipe on Red Mountain, with a pump in the opposite valley. Arrangements have been made by the city with the Birmingham waterworks to connect the pipes of the municipality’s plant in North Birmingham with the company’s pipes thus assuring good pressure in that section in case of fire. The department now has six motor chemical and hose wagons.”
Fire Chief A. V. Bennett has just received information that shortly after the first of the month Birmingham is to have the distinction of being the only city in the world with a motordriven Steam fire engine. The horse-drawn fire engine Which is being converted into an automobile by the manufacturers is almost complete. It will be propelled by a ninety-horsepower motor, but the pumps will continue to be run by steam. New York will be the second city in the world to own such an engine, that city having followed Birmingham’s example and ordered one of her horse-drawn engines converted. There are many motor chemical and hose wagons, but this will be absolutely the first motor-driven steam fire engine.
Water Works Litigation.
The city of Columbus, Ga., has won a victory in the Supreme Court in its suit against being compelled to buy the plant of the Columbus Waterworks Company. The decree of the lower court was reversed. In 1903 the Mercantile Trust & Deposit Company, of Baltimore, trustee for certain bondholders of the Columbus Waterworks Company, brought suit to enjoin the city of Columbus, Ga., from selling bonds to build its own waterworks. In reply the city brought a suit to ‘ have its contract with the waterworks company annulled. The Federal Circuit Court in Georgia decided that the city should be required, if it sought to end the contract relations, to take the wateworks plant at a fair valuation, to be ascertained by arbitration. The Supreme Court holds that it was a vital part of the contract between the city and the waterworks company that the company should furnish an adequate and continuous supply of water for the city and since it had failed in so doing the lower court erred in decreeing that the city should not build its own waterworks plant at a fair valuation, to be as-
After defeat in the Federal Circuit Court of Georgia, the city of Columbus, Ga., has won a victory in the Supreme Court of the United States in its fight against being compelled to buy the plant of the Columbus Waterworks Company. The decree of the lower court was reversed on the ground of failure on the part of the company to carry out its contract.
An order was handed down by Circuit Judge Harbeson in the case of W. C. Britt against the city of Covington and the waterworks commissioners restraining the city from shutting off the water supply upon Britt’s premises as long as the plaintiff pays the minimum charge of $6 per annum. The suit involved charges upon water that went through Britt’s property to an adjoining house.
It is highly probable that the Montpelier, Ind., light and water plant, recently ordered sold by Judge Sturgis, will remain in the hands of the receiver for a couple of years longer. The Kerlins are likely to appeal to the Appellate Court, thus making it impossible to go on with the sale. The plant needs repairs badly, as the citizens are unable to use the water for drinking purposes, the overflow from the river continually filling the basins from which the water is taken.
Work on the Queen Lane filtration plant, which is to supply filtered water to the far northwestern section of Philadelphia, has been stopped, owing to lack of funds, and 350 men were laid off by the Keystone State Construction Company, which has the contract. The money which was to have been applied to the completion of the plant is tied up in the $8,000,000 loan, against which the Taxpayers’ Committee, headed by Logan M. Bullitt, has brought suit in Court of Common Pleas No. 4. Although this suit was argued last April, the court has not yet handed down a decision, and the floating of the loan has been deferred. This means the indefinite postponement of pure water for Tioga. Germantown, Manavunk, Roxborough and other parts of the city, included in the Twenty-first, Twenty-second, Twenty-eighth, Thirty-second, Thirty-eighth and Forty-second wards.
In the action of Miles against the Charleston, S. C., Light and Water Company, the plaintiff had a contract with the water company to furnish water for domestic purposes under reasonable pressure, complained that defendant negligently and wantonly supplied water of a harmful and injurious character and at such a high and abnormal pressure as to corrode plaintiff’s pipes and cause one of them to burst, damaging his residence, office, and furniture to the amount of $2,147, which he sought to recover. The Supreme Court held that, since the precise nature of the charge was apparent, the complaint was not subject to a motion to make more definite and certain under Code Civil Procedure, 1902, allowing such motion when the allegations of the pleading are so indefinite or uncertain that the precise nature of the charge is not apparent.
Business Block Fire at Owensboro.
Fire in the business section of Owensboro, Ky., on November 30, destroyed property valued at about $100,000. The buildings that were consumed included the large Pierson dry goods house. This was a brick structure, three stories high and basement, covering an area of 60×160 feet, and was about eight years old. Adjoining this on either side were other business houses, which also suffered severely. The Pierson building had a metal roof and two solid partition walls with archways. The flames, which started from an unknown cause, were first discovered a little before eight o’clock in the evening, a telephone alarm being received at fire headquarters at 7:57. About forty people are employed in the Pierson store during business hours, and fully as many in all the other stores. Many of these had left the stores and gone to their homes. Among the principal losers are: Pierson’s dry goods store stock, $90,000; with $18,000 insurance. Building occupied by Pierson, owned by A. J. Mitchell, $30,000; insurance, $18,000. F. C. Brown, stock of men’s furnishings and clothing, $32,000; insurance, $16,000. Building owned by Wile Brothers, $7,000; insurance, $3,000. Considerable damage was also done to a new building soon to be occupied by McAtee, Lyddance & Ray, department store, as well as to a number of stores across the street from the fire, including Anderson’s department store, Hardwick’s jewelry store, McAtee, McAtee, Lyddance & Ray, department store, and E. W. Smith, furniture.
A heavy gale of wind was prevailing when the flames broke out, and when the fire department reached the scene half the contents of the Pierson store was on fire. The department does not use steam engines, the direct pumping systm supplying 120 pounds pressure at the hydrants. Six double hydrants, located about 360 feet, apart, afforded six powerful streams through 1-inch nozzles. The streets in the vicinity are 60 feet in width, through which runs a 15-inch water main. The department worked with 2,500 feet of cotton, rubber-lined hose for two hours before the flames were subdued. The only special fire tools used were Eastman and Hart nozzles. Photographs from which the illustrations were taken show the ruins of the building on the west side, which was occupied by F. C. Brown & Co., clothers. It was demolished by the falling walls of the large building and afterward partially burned. This view is a general one of the rains taken a little to the southwest. The building on the east is the new McAtee, Lyddance & Ray store in course of construction. The picture of the block before the fire was taken from the southeast corner of the property.
School Building Burned.
Fire was discovered in the State street schoolhouse at Hackensack, N. J., early in the morning of December 7, and within an hour the building was wrecked. For the first time in years the local fire department had to summon outside aid, the Maywood department responding. The brick school building was the oldest in Hackensack. It accommodated 600 pupils and was valued at between $50,000 and $60,000, well covered by insurance. Snow on the roofs of nearby residences saved them from the burning embers, which were carried fully half a mile. The origin of the fire is not known.