Municipal Plant at Houston.
Since the waterworks plant at Houston was municipalised on October 6, 1906, its successful working has been conspicuous. The city paid the local company $434,700 in cash, and assumed a bonded indebtedness of $467,000 against the company— a total of $901,700. The purchase, of course, put an immediate end to the litigation and disputes that had ruled for years between the company and the city, which had hampered both parties and caused the citizens grave inconvenience in every way. With the transfer of the plant, however, all this was changed, and a comprehensive system of improvements and suggestions was at once mapped out, with the result that during the two years of municipal ownership the value of the property has been more than doubled, while the cost of these improvements and that of maintaining the plant have been paid out of revenue. Further improvements are contemplated, which will more than double the capacity of the plant. Among these will be 2 additional artesian wells and the installation of a 15,000, 000-gal. pump. The pumps also, have been entirely disconnected from the bayou, and, no matter what emergency may arise, only artesian water can now be run through the mains. The waterworks system was first installed in 1878, with a reservoir built above tide-water on Buffalo bayou. The only limit to the capacity of the system was, that it should not be less than 3,000,000 gal. daily. Fifty hydrants were to be set, with pressure sufficient to throw six streams of water too ft. vertically through 50 ft. of 2 1/2-in. hose, with 1 1/8in. nozzle. Twenty-five thousand feet of main was to be laid, and the whole system was to be completed by January 1, 1881. The first artesian well was put down in 1885; the rest following in such quick succession that by the beginning of 1900 fifty-eight wells had been drilled, most of them to a depth of some 1,000 ft,, of these thirteen have been exhausted, and of the forty-five remaining three need no assistance in their flow, the other forty-two requiring air-pressure. The present supply is adequate for existing necessities; but not for the future or if more of the wells should give out. Two years ago the boiler-capacity was 975-horsepower; but three units of 390horsepower have since been added—making the present boiler-capacity 2,145-horscpower. A new reinforced concrete smokestack, 8 ft. in diameter and 127 fthigh has also been built. The aircompression capacity has been increased from 3,300 to 6.000 cu. ft. capacity per minute, an additional air-compressor having been installed. Meters are being installed, which, of course, will lessen the waste.