Mr. Saville on Hartford Water Supply

Mr. Saville on Hartford Water Supply

Caleb M. Saville, Hartford, Conn.

At a recent meeting of the Hartford, Conn., branch of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Caleb M. Saville, chief engineer and manager of the Hartford Water Department, made the prediction that within twenty years the city would probably be supplying water to the entire Connecticut Valley. Mr. Saville pointed out that Hartford is so situated that it holds the key to the gateway of the valley and is as favorably located as Boston which supplies water to a large number of Massach usetts communities by her metropolitan system, and Hartford could do the same. “Co-operation in this matter,” said Manager Saville, “will be of immense benefit to the whole community, barge distributing bases located on Talcott mountain and filled from distant gathering grounds could supply the entire valley by gravity.” Mr. Saville said, further: “A modern water works is a complicated mechanism and can no longer be run by the ‘rule of thumb’ methods which were adequate when all there was to it was to tap a pond at a high elevation and let the water run down the hill. To operate effectively and efficiently filters must constantly be under supervision of trained water works men. The stores of reservoirs and the driveways about them require both knowledge of landscape architecture and road building. The water works engineer must be informed and thoroughly familiar with methods elsewhere and their value to his work. The large uninhabitated areas from which the water is gathered are amenable to intensive forestry work from which income may be derived to help support the department. Swamps and low ground must be carefully drained and the shores of reservoirs kept as free as possible from vegetation in order that the water may not be highly colored by extractives from these growths. Chemical, microscopical and bacteriological examinations must be made frequently and the results and indications carefully studied in order to anticipate trouble and prevent it. In Hartford, chemical examinations are made once a month; microscopical, once a week, and bacteriological tests daily. In order that Hartford’s water might be safe until the filters are in operation, all the water supplied to the city for the past seven years has been sterilized with chlorine gas. How efficient has been this process is evinced by the fact that during this period there has been no suspicion of water-borne disease in the city, in spite of the heavily traveled highways that traverse the watershed areas and the large numbers of laborers on construction work in the vicinity of the reservoirs. An interesting condition was recently discovered by the daily bacteriological tests and remedied before serious consequences occurred. Although the water is furnished sterile from the reservoirs, indications of pollution suddenly began to appear in the samples from the laboratory tap. An investigation disclosed the trouble to be in a connection with driven-well supply in the congested pnrt of the city. When this was discovered the trouble stopped. This is positive proof of the value of daily examinations. Comparable to a corporation, the stockholders are the citizens and the return to them should come in minimum rates and efficient service. Even the laying of street extensions, the installation of service pipes and selection of meters for the use proposed offer great opportunities for economies and betterment of service unthought of in the not distant past. Then a gang foreman with the best intentions possible sized up the situation and ordered in equipment with neither regard to present cost or future utility. It goes without saying, almost that within twenty years the growth of the city will necessitate another large-sized supply main from the filter plant to the city, probably in the southerly section. It is probable that before long a secondary water supply system will be developed in Hartford to furnish cheap water in quantities for manufacturing and industrial uses, including street cleaning, flushing and other purposes for which the pure water required for domestic consumption is unnecessary. Within twenty years it is probable that Hartford will have installed a high pressure water supply system for fire protection purposes. It is not beyond comprehension that it will be so arranged as to necessitate a minimum of present vehicular units with the supply of water directly controlled by officials at a central station.”

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