Ottumwa to Develop Its Waterworks.
With the one purpose in view, the providing of adequate, wholesome, pure and potable water for Ottumwa, Ia., the commissioners of the public water service are bending their every effort to reach the goal for which they have set out.
Ottumwa, which has 20,000 population, will be provided for in its water supply, for an expenditure of between $75,000 and $100,000 will be spent on improvements this year Nor will the work of improvement stop here. It is the determination of the commissioners to go on with improvements as long as there is money to do so in order to place the water plant on the best possible footing for service and quality. The plant is officered by H. L. Waterman, president; D. F. Morey, vice-president, and H. C. Williams, secretary. James Winans, for some years past superintendent of the old company, is retained in the same position under the municipally owned plant. The city having taken possession of the plant Tuesday, December 6, 1910, steps were immediately taken to reorganize the system, and began the handling of the service in a way that it would conserve the best interests of the city by the providing of a service such as had never before been had by local consumers. The chief thought centered on securing pure water and with this was equally considered obtaining a proper volume of the water that no complaint could be lodged against the plant for failure to provide either sufficient quantity or proper quality. The initial step in this direction was the reconstruction of the filtration systems, and in this the commissioners got in touch with reputable firms and the matter was gone into thoroughly, and the result was a contract with the Continental Jewell and Filtration Company for a modern filtering plant. This plant will produce no less than 4,000,000 gallons of pure and wholesome water during each day. Nor was this a poor piece of business sagacity, for in the negotiations with the company that is to do the construction of the filtering system it was found that the supposed cost of some $60,000 for a system that would furnish 3,000,000 gallons daily was cut in two, and the new plant for filtering the water used will cost $38,000 and produce 4,000,000 gallons daily of pure, potable water. The work of constructing the new filtering plant will begin very soon under the direction of Engineer Wagner, of the Jewell Company, who hails from the Chicago agency of the company. The work, while contracted to be finished by August 1, is expected to be completed by the early part of July and the service given to the public by that time. Jointly with the beginning of the construction of the new filtration plant, the work of laying new mains will begin at once, as a quantity of pipe has been for the past two weeks and is still being delivered about the city on the streets where the mains are to be laid. Carloads of the pipe are being shipped in daily and some idea of the extent of the improvement in this connection may be gleaned when one learns that eight miles of mains are to be laid, for which the pipes are already bought. That this work will be prosecuted with vigor is seen from the statement of the commissioners, who say that about sixty days will sec the finish of the work in the east end. These mains will begin at Jefferson street and run east to Iowa avenue, as well as east on Second street from Ash street to Iowa avenue and along the three streets in the Janney addition and on Iowa avenue between Main and Second streets. Another line will go to the packing house district. supplying the wants of the territory in that neighborhood, while still another serves Blake’s addition. The plan of the commissioners is to begin the east end line first, following with the south side and west end, and completing as much as is possible to do this year. It is expected to expend between $75,000 and $106,000 on the improvements this year, and the work of adding to the facilities will be continued steadily as long as there are finances to meet the requirements. The water company can borrow $90,000 to do this work and be within the legal limit, but this the commisioners say they will not do, but will depend on the revenue of the plant to care for the improvements after the first work has been done. That this can be done the commissioners do not doubt, for they are confident that with the service placed on a plane that will please the users it will be but a question of connecting homes with the mains to accommodate those who already have evinced a desire to take water from the city plant. Then, too, the matter of rates is likely to remain at its present stage, for the commissioners do not expect to make any change in the present price for use of water by the consumers, and with the quality and quantity adequate to meet the wishes of the people, there seems no doubt that the revenues will be sufficient to make all improvements needed from time to time. The commissioners reason the matter on the premise that the city is growing and the need for service in new districts will continually arise, as well as the extension of the water service in districts that are already supplied. New customers will be added continually and the revenues of the plant should be sufficient to meet all requirements, including the necessary improvements at different intervals. The desire is for the people of the city to make use of the improved service and thus lend their aid to making Ottumwa’s water service second to none anywhere. To further cope with the needs of the city in supplying the proper quantity of good water, the intention is to materially add to the efficiency of the plant by an enlarged reservoir or storage. This may not be done for sore time to come, but is one of the projects that is being given a great deal of thought and study by the water commission. It is the plan to build another and larger reservoir on the present site at Court and Albany streets, using considerable more space and building a vastly larger storage capacity on this eminence. The reinforcement of this high service will materially aid in the conserving of the pressure when the increased patronage of the service will demand a greater supply than at present. At present tticre are 1,560,060 gallons pumped daily at the plant, hut with the new filter handling 4,000,000 gallons daily and equipment for pumping 10,000,000 gallons each day if need be, there is no need for apprehension as to Ottumwa’s water supply.