NEW WATER SUPPLY AT ASHEVILLE
As far back as 1886 an additional source of water supply was proposed for Asheville, N. C., so that the city might be rendered still more attractive as a place of resort for visitors in search of health, rest, or pleasure. In 1883 a gravity system was built, which was afterwards extended. The source of the first supply was from springs and streams having a drainage area of twenty square miles, the system being gravity and pumping to standpipe. When the extension was made pumping from the Swannanoa river was introduced. In the beginning the water for the gravity supply from each spring or stream was received in a brick chamber and brought to a six-inch earthernware pipe leading to the reservoir— a distance of about two miles and a half, and at every 1,500 feet brick silt chambers, with blow-offs and overflow weirs, were put in. In 1886 the Swannanoa river was adopted as the source of supply. A thirteen-foot high stone dam was built in place of the old wooden dam (whose height was also thirteen feet) on such dimensions that it could at any time be raised twenty feet above tail water. The foundation was carried down to the solid rock, and there were added an iron flume and a wheelcase. A new pump house was also built with turbine wheel, the pump being duplex power with a daily capacity of 720,000 gallons. The reservoir was excavated out of the solid rock and lined with cement. In 1901 it was determined to procure an additional service of supply and to increase the reservoir capacity. The consumption was then 1,250,000 gallons a day, and it was found to be impossible ever to have even as much as 1,000,000 gallons on hand, much less a day’s supply, which rendered a water famine a certainty, in case of any accident to the pipe line or the pumps The site of the city quarry was selected as the proper place for the reservoir, being 2,460 feet above the sea level, and suitable to all requirements, on a level with the standpipe, and sixty feet higher than the existing reservoir. The cost of excavation was met by the value of the material excavated. The reservoir in the clear is 200 feet long, 125 feet wide, and twenty-five feet deep, giving a capacity of 4,787,500 gallons. There was built on the lower side a wall 200 feet long, twenty-five feet high, with an average thickness of eight feet, and contained 1,481 cubic yards of masonry, which at $4.50 per cubic yard, cost $6,664. It was also lined round the two ends and the other side, eighteen inches thick and twentyseven feet high, the floor lining having the same thickness. The whole of the lining aggregated 2,064 cubic yards,costing at $6 per cubic yard $12,384 The cover, supported by iron pillars, with iron girders, wooden framing, and metal covers, cost $3,000— making the total cost $22,050. The reservoir can be enlarged when necessary, so as to have a capacity of 7,181,250 gallons. This existing reservoir is located 150 feet above the courthouse squareIt is irregular in.shape; has a capacity of 450,000 gallons It is connected with the filters and the standpipe by a ten inch pipe The standpipe is erected at a height of 210 feet above the courthouse square; its height is thirty feet; its diameter forty-five feet; its capacity 357,747 Ions. Entering it, at its bottom are a sixteen-inch and a teninch pipe, extending to the waterworks, and a ten-inch pipe connecting with tne reservoir and direct to the filters. This last is not in use, but should be put in order and kept for emergency. The length of the line is three miles and a quarter. The pumping machinery is as follows : Worthington pump propelled by waterpower, capable of making twenty-five strokes a minute, with twenty-five gallons at each stroke, capacity 900,000 gallons; Worthington, also propelled by waterpower, twenty strokes a minute,twenty-two gallons a minute, daliy capacity 633,000 gallons— quite unlikely to last longer than three years; Worthington steam pump, twenty-five strokes a minute, forty-five gallons per stroke, daily capacity 1,440 gallons; Deane steam pump, thirty strokes a minute, forty gallons per stroke, daily capacity 1,728,000 gallons. The steam plant consists of one 100-horsepower Keeler boiler and one eighty-horsepower Worthington boiler. The waterpower, which drives the turbines for the first two Worthington pumps, consists of a well built dam across the Swannanoa river, affording a fall of twelve feet and at lowest water seventy-five horsepower. The water is conducted by iron flumes direct to the turbines and is sufficient to run them about one-half of the time or one continuously. As the condition of the pumping plant, valued at $40,000. shows a life of at most seven years, it must be entirely renewed before that time, and the number of steam pumps must be increased, as the power of the river is already so fully taxed that the number of waterpower pumps cannot be added to. The new source is derived from the north fork of the Swannanoa river at an elevation of 2,730 feet above sea-level, at a distance of thirteen miles. The elevation is sufficient to secure a flow by gravitation, through cast-iron pipes strong enough to resist the pressure. The watershed is 9,000 acres, extending nearly to Mount Mitchell— the highest peak of eastern America, with an elevation of 6,711 feet. On the other sides are mountain ranges and peaks only a little lower than Mount Mitchell, and, owing to the rapid rise of from a minimum of 2,730 to a maximum of 6,711 feet within a few miles, with continual outcroppings of precipitous cliffs and immense boulders, it is almost impossible that the watershed can ever be inhabited and in that way contaminated. At present it is covered with a magnificent forest, which, however, may be destroyed, and with it the watershed, with consequent ruin to the water supply, which is ideal, on account of it being from a pure and unpolluted stream. It will, therefore, be an act of wisdom on the part of the municipal authorities to obtain this land at once. The cost of the cast-iron pipe line to the pumps of the North Fork—a distance of thirteen miles, including rock excavatioon and twenty miles of pipe, was about $12,500 per mile—a total of $163,000. The whole planning and supervision of the work, as well as of building the new pumping station, was done by B. M. Lee, a resident engineer. The pipe was laid through the mountains of western North Carolina. The contractor, M. H. Kelly, is a resident of Asheville and a member of the firm of Kelly & Felthaus. Its operation has shown it to be a complete success, as in the whole length of pipe there were only two small breaks. The city can now boast of a source of water as pure as can be found anywhere, taken from the headwaters of the Swannanoa river, with not a living soul living above it Its purity is testified to by the immense number of mountain trout that make their homes in the river, a part of which, the Crystal falls, at the North fork of the river, is shown in the accompanying illustration. Attention should, however, be drawn to the fact that the difference between the 3,933,000 galloons which the pumps should pump every day and the 1,250,000 actually delivered into standpipe and reservoir equaling eighty-one gallons and one-third to every man, woman and child in Asheville, points to defective pumps, leakage, or wastage. If the last, as is most probable, it should be stopped at once by the universal ttse of meterage, the meters to be supplied free by the city to every consumer, and to re main the property and under the control of the city The whole plant and system are ably and carefully looked after by Superintendent Francis.