PHILADELPHIA AND ITS WATER LOAN.
IN order that there may be no delay in, at all events, beginning the much needed work of improving the water supply of Philadelphia, Mayor Ashbridge has submitted five measures to councils. He urges the immediate creation of the $12,000,000 loan “for the construction and installation of works for, and the improvement of the water supply” of the city. He recommends the passage of an ordinance appropriating $3,200,000 out of the loan of $3,700,000 authorized under the ordinance of June 17, 1808, to he borrowed
for the extension, improvement, and filtration of the water supply; provided at least $1,000,000 thereof shall be expended to increase and improve the water Supply of that portion of the city of Philadelphia, lying west of the Schuylkill river.
The sum of $500,000 is already available, and it now rests with councils to authorize the expenditure of the balance on beginning without delay the extension, improvement, and filtration of the water supply at the Belmont and Roxborough water systems, in accordance with the recommendations of the water experts The work of laying the necessary mains from the Belmontand Roxborough systems and Wentz Farm reservoir (the mayor adds) will also be proceeded with. The condition of the Belmont water system justifies immediate improvement not only in the matter of machinery and filtration but in the enlargement and extension of the water mains, insuring to the people of West Philadelphia higher pressure and a more wholesome and copious supply. It is also deemed wise to put the recommendations into effect at Roxborough as early as possible, and to provide a more plentiful dist ribution in the district supplied from the Wentz Farm reservoir, or what may be more comprehensively termed the Torresdale or Frankford system.
Mayor Ashbridge further recommends the passage of an ordinance authorizing the legal and formal appropriation of the $3,200,000 alluded to above to the uses referred to, as well as
to placing in first-class order all of the machinery at all the pumping stations, so far as the money available in excess of the $12,000,000 will apply.
A third ordinance is recommended to create a loan or loans of $12,000,000
to put the present works into first class condition; to take ground and construct filter plants for the Belmont, Roxborough, Queen Lane, Hast Park, and Torresdale (Frankford) districts, and to provide additional mains for the distribution system in every section of the city. The advantage of placing the present works in first-class order, and of enabling them to give the best possible service at their full capacity, is self-evident. Thisis one of the first steps to be taken after councils have acted favorably upon the ordinance. The installation of the filter plants bus been so strongly recommended by the water experts that there seems to be no ground for further delay after councils shall have acted favorably upon the loan ordinance. With the machinery at all the stations in perfect order and the filtration systems operating successfully, it follows naturally that the old, incrusted, and insufficient water mains shall be removed, and that new and ample mains, suitable for the most general and comprehensive distribution of pure water, shall be provided.
A fourth ordinance recommended is to authorize the work necessary for the construction and installation of works looking towards the above improvements and the building of a filtration plant, and to provide for the carrying of such authorization into effect. Should this ordinance be acted upon favorably, the mayor says it is his purpose to direct the co-operation of the survey with the water bureau of the department of public works, and to bring to bear the services of the chief engineer of the bureau of surveys and of his entire force, if need be, upon all engineering work to be done in connection with the construction of the proposed plants, the laying of distribution mains for the whole city, and repairs to the present works, as recommended by the three water experts. The fifth ordinance will provide for the proper entry of the $12,000,000 borrowed on the books of the comptroler and the department, “so that contracts may be entered into and warrants drawn as required. Mayor Ashbridge is justified in sending this message to councils, and, in the light of the popular vote for the measures he has referred to, may well hold that t he report of the water experts appointed by him on the authority of councils has been substantially and overwhelmingly indorsed. He feels the greatest confidence in their report, inasmuch as those commissioners were
selected because of their ability, and because of their special knowledge in the intricate and scientific problem of obtaining for a great city like Philadelphia a pure and wholesome water supply, and one which would meet the requirements of generations to come. At last there seems some hope of Philadelphia being put in the way of obtaining a plentiful supply of pure ami wholesome water. It remains to be seen whether or not politics will be allowed to interfere with the working out of the mayor’s plans.