MONTREAL WATER WORKS
Montreal, Can., ought to be well supplied with water, as it now has two water systems, the result of singular conditions in the earlier growth of the city. One plant is a municipal one and the other is maintained by a private concern, the Montreal Water and Power Company. The civic service extends to the most considerable portion of the city; the private company serving St. Denis, Delorimier, St. Henry, St. Cunegonde, Mount Royal and Laurier wards; these wards, when separate municipalities made contracts with the private company which were maintained after annexation to the city of Montreal. The area supplied by the civic plant is 10,000 acres, containing a population of 326,819; the area supplied by the Montreal Water and Power Company is of about half that extent and containing a population of 125,000. The present civic service has developed from a very modest beginning. It is recorded that in 1800 springs furnished the supply for drinking water. Then water from these sources was diverted into wooden pipes or conduits and by this means distributed through some streets of the city. This method of water supply is yet used in various villages throughout the province and not so long ago was visible in the suburbs of this city. This was rather a precarious method of supply and the growing needs of the city demanded a more stable one. In 1815 this was secured by the installation of a pumping system, which raised water from the river into tanks containing 240,000 gallons. The service was in the hands of a private company and so remained until 1845 when it was purchased by the city.
The purchase of the private waterworks was followed by immediate progress in the means of supply and a general development of the system. A reservoir capable of containing 3,000,000 gallons was constructed at a location, then outside of the city limits and known as “Cote a Baron.” That reservoir is no longer in use and the site is well within the city limits. The location is now known as St. Louis square, which makes a pretty break in the line of St. Denis street; the old reservoir, now sheathed with concrete facing, makes a nice ornamental basin and offers a charming sight to the eye when the fountains play in the warm summer days. Up to this time the water had been taken from a point opposite the city, but the growth of population and the increase of pollution rendered a change necessary. As early as 1847 it had been proposed to take water at the Lachine rapids, above the city, and to make use of the forces of these rapids to raise the water, but this scheme and others similar were not seriously considered until 1853, when the city council concluded to confer upon T. C. Keefer, civil engineer, the duty of preparing plans for an aqueduct capable of supplying 5,000,000 gallons daily. The study of this project, its examination by consulting engineers, etc., postponed the beginning of its construction to the year 1853 and its completion to 1854. The system then established included an open canal 4 3/4 miles long, having its entrance aboue one mile above the Lachine rapids, at an elevation of 37 feet above the level of the harbor of Montreal. The dimensions of the canal were 40 feet wide at the water surface and 8 feet deep.
At the time of its construction this canal supplied more than sufficient water to develop 300-horsepower and to raise 200 feet above the level of the water in the harbor 5,000,000 gallons of water, being at the rate of 40 gallons per capita for a population of 60,000, double what it was them. At the end of that canal were situated the settling basin and the wheel house, about as they stand today. The hydraulic motive power was utilized by two breast wheels working six pumps to raise the water to a reservoir situated on the slope of Mount Royal along McTavish street, forming the present low level reservoir, which is but an enlargement of the original one. That reservoir had then a capacity of 15,000,000 gallons. Increases in population and consequent demands upon the service necessitated development of the plant and the addition of steam pumping engines.
Then the use of the upper terrace for residential locations extended the city to altitudes too great to be supplied by a system whose summit was the McTavish reservoir. This state of things required the establishment of the present high level system, that is, the construction of the reservoir at midway on the mountain slope and of a pumping station to carry the water from the low level system to the high level distributing service, to a height of 422 feet above the level of water in the harbor. A Worthington steam pump, with a daily capacity of 500,000 gallons, was then sufficient to supply the high level system.
As the changes were being made to the low level machinery, several schemes were prepared to put the aqueduct in condition to supply the wants of the rapidly increasing population without necessitating resort to the expensive use of steam. All of these schemes had in view one of two objects: the increase of water power or the substitution of a gravity supply.
Montreal is not advantageously situated to make use of this latter scheme. Built upon an island, it is bordered on one side by the St. Lawrence river, whose width precludes any idea of a viaduct to convey a water supply. On the other side, it is fringed by a branch of the Ottawa river and adjacent to another island, formed by the same river dividing itself into two branches, net so wide as the St. Lawrence river, but of sufficient width to make the bringing across of a gravity aqueduct very expensive. Mr. George Janin, superintendent of the Montreal waterworks, reports that when the gravity method was being considered, the first plan was to find, north of the city, a water supply drawn from a sufficient altitude, that is, more than 425 feet above the St. Lawrence, adequate to the present and future wants of the city. The ridge of the Laurentian mountains, whose first summit is situated more than 30 miles from Montreal, was the only place where such a supply could be found. Surveys and levels were made, and established the fact that a water supply could be taken from Lake Ouareau, situated at an altitude of 450 feet and a distance of about 60 miles from Montreal, but the estimated cost (nearly 25,000,000) of such an undertaking prevented the further study of it. Consideration of the gravity plan was copse quently superseded by the study of a sufficient hydraulic power system. These and many other causes led to preference being given to the plan of the superintendent then in charge of the system, Louis Lesage. His scheme was simply to carry the entrance of the aqueduct 3,000 feel up the river and to make it 130 feet wide at the water surface, 78 feet wide at bottom and 14 feet deep. These dimensions would have provided sufficient power to supply 30,000,000 gallons. In 1877 the construction of works on this plan was begun, the new entrance of the aqueduct was made, and the aqueduct was dug 130 feet wide and 14 feet deep, for 4,800 feet in length, as it stands today. The cost of the work and the successive changes of the head of the department prevented its continuation and this accounts for the periodic growth of the steam plant, as it stands now, with five pumps of 45,000,000 gallons capacity. In 1878 the low level McTavish reservoir having become insufficient, it was enlarged so as to bring its capacity up to 37,000,000 gallons. In 1889 the population supplied by the high-level system had increased so much that a new pumping engine of 2,500,000 gallons capacity had to be provided for this district. The increase in population was still going on and the need of insuring its supply against any uncertainty led the city council to provide for the installation of a pump operated by electric power. This pump has a capacity of 5,000,000 gallons and is now in use. The old steam plant is retained for emergency work. The Montreal waterworks, under efficient, progressive management and with the aid of modern improvements so successfully undertaken, is now in a position to provide the city of Montreal with a daily average water supply of over 45,000,000 gallons.
National Meter Co.’s Chicago Branch.
Having outgrown its present quarters, occupied since 1895, the Chicago branch of the National Meter Company has removed to 1223-1227 Wabash avenue. Here in a handsome new building ample facilities will be found for the various departments. Manager F. J. Bradley is issuing a general invitation through a leaflet to friends to inspect their new home, calling attention to the fact that the Chicago house is new only in location, being the outgrowth of forty years’ experience in the meter and gas engine fields.