Report of the Borough Commission.

The commission on additional water supply for New York city has reported to Mayor Low. It has investigated the available sources, estimated the probable cost, made the requisite surveys, and drawn the necessary plans. It has also examined into the waste of water, and recommended that the investigations on that subject made in Manhattan and the Bronx should be continued, as the vast amount of valuable information secured by Chief Engineer Nicholas S. Hill, jr., of the department of water supply will thereby be added to, whereby the chief source of waste—the leakage from fixtures and defective plumbing in buildings—may be put an end to.

It represents about fifteen per cent, of the 285,000,000 gallons daily consumed in the two boroughs. As the quality of the Croton water must be up to the highest standard, the commissioners strongly recommend it should be distributed as soon as possible after having been treated in a filtration plant. The reports on ground water of Long Island, the chemical, biological, and sanitary work, tidal observations along the Hudson, have all entered into the general report, as well as complete examinations of water sheds within practicable reach of the city north of the Croton watershed and on both sides of the Hudson river, as well as of that river itself as a source of supply. The only streams examined were those which lie altogether within the State of New York, so as to avoid all possibilities of litigation on the part of other States. As to the Hudson river source: That has virtually been eliminated, at least from immediate consideration, as further investigations have shown that a gravity supply can be obtained from the watersheds of the Fishkill and Wappinger creeks and the Jansen Kill successively north of the Croton watershed, and from streams like the Esopus and Rondout, flowing from the Cats kill mountain regions into the Hudson river from the west. The merits of an all-gravity system were sufficient to decide the commission to adopt it for its recommended plans, in spite of the fact that pumping the Hudson river water and filtering it would be about as economical in first cost. The already great demands of a high-service supply are increasing far more rapidly than demands for an increased low-service supply, which is not available for high-service without extensive pumping machinery, while it is the contrary with a high-service supply. The commission, therefore, decided to bring the new supply to a distributing reservoir near the northern limits of the city at an elevation of 205 feet above tide-water, sufficient to supply the highest parts of the city. The upper watersheds already mentioned are all available for such a high-service delivery, as are the Esopus. Rondout, Catskill and Schoharie creeks, of the Catskill mountain region. Furthermore. It was decided that the amount of additional supply to be made available for consumption not later than 1925 should amount to 500,000,000 gallons per day. The commission recommends taking a first instalment of 60,000,000 gallons from the Fishkill watershed, but developing concurrently the supply from Esopus creek. These two sources would give nearly 520,000,000 gallons per day. Another 100,000,000 gallons per day may be secured from Rondout creek without great additional expense, making a total supply of nearly 420,000,000. gallons. The final 80,000,000 gallons or more may lie obtained from Wappinger’s creek by means of a large reservoir at Hibernia, within the drainage area of that creek, thus completing the amount of 500,000,000 gallons per day. If it should be desired, a further large supply can be obtained from the upper watershed of the Jansen Kill, on the easterly side of the Hudson, and from the upper waters of Schoharie creek, diverted’ into the watershed of the Esopus creek, and from Catskill creek. The waters of the three creeks on the easterly side of the river are much harder than the Croton water, but the waters of Rondout and Esopus creeks are remarkably soft and desirable for city suppy. The commission would deliver the soft waters of the Catskill mountain streams, so as to reduce the hardness of the combination with the waters on the easterly side of the Hudson—thus securing a supply equally soft as the Croton water. If the Hudson river should ever be utilised as a source, the water must be pumped from near Hyde Park up to reservoirs and filters on the high land east of the river. It will also be necessary to buiid large storage reservoirs in the Adirondacks. from which flood waters of the Adirondack streams may be i t leased during the summer flow of the Hudson, so as to prevent any salt water from reaching the point where the pumps would take the river water. The filtration of the Hudson river will render it entirely satisfactory for all purposes. As to the Long Island waters: These, as is well known, saturate both the shallow and the deep lying sands of the district, and form a great storage volume for such of the rainfall as finds its way into the subsurface sands. This must be secured, so as to satisfy the very pressing wants of the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens. The former has already begun to filter its present surface supplies, which are more or less polluted by the increasing population of the southern portion of Nassau county. The commission points out that ground water constitutes one of the best possible sources of municipal supply, and at the present time no municipality can be considered satisfactorily supplied with water, unless that supply is either filtered artificially, or naturally, as in the case of ground water. The excellence of this ground water is exceptional, as is, also, the availability of this great Long Island underground storage for the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens. Observations were, therefore, made over about 1,000 square miles in Queens borough, Nassau county, and part of Suffolk county, upon the elevation of this ground water in nearly 1,500 wells—nearly all the usual countrywells, and the remainder small driven wells. These saturated sands constituting this great underground storage volume, reach nearly or quite to the surface at some points, but in the higher portions of the island they may be more than too feet below the surface. These investigations disclosed such a large voume of underground water that the commission recommends extensions of the supplies for the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens in the direction of developing means for securing as much as possible of it. At the same time the 500,000,000-gallon supply from the north is to be made available for the same boroughs, when desired, by suitable pipe lines extending across the East River from the new high-service distributing reservoir north of the city. The works that should be constructed first are as follows: A section of the Hill View reservoir, of 600,000,000 gallons capacity; the main aqueduct of 500,000,000 gallons daily capacity, from that reservoir to Stormville reservoir; a section of the Stormville filters, of 50,000,000 gallons daily capacity; the twin aqueduct, one channel of 400,000,000 gallons, the other of 250,000,000 gallons daily capacity, from the Stormsville reservoir to the Billings reservoir and these two reservoirs. This construction will afford an additional supply of 60,000,000 gallons per day. Concurrently with the preceding construction, the aqueduct of 400,000,000 gallons daily capacity should he built from the Billings reservoir to the Ashokan reservoir, and at the same time the latter reservoir should also be under construction. The first part of this work, extending from Hill View reservoir to Billings reservoir, may be built, under efficient management, within five years. The second part of the construction, extending from Billings reservoir to the Ashokan reservoir, may be completed within the same period, if the labor market affords sufficient force and the money is provided. As to the cost: The following is a summary, including actual contract and all other expenditures, except those for damages to water rights. For the Reservoirs.—Hill View covered reservoir, first section, of 600,000,000 gallons capacity, $9,059,000; Stormville filter plant, first installation of 50,000,000 gallons daily capacity, $3,581,000; Stormville reservoir, 10,000,000,000 gallons capacity, $2,503,000; Billings reservoir, 6,800,000,000 gallons capacity, $1,806,000; Ashokan reservoir, 65,500,000,000 gallons capacity, $11,734,000— total, $28,683,000. For the High-level Aqueducts.— Front Hill View to Stormville filters, $18,755,000; from Stormville to Billings, twin aqueduct, $3,584,000; from Billings to Ashokan, including Hudson river crossing. $9,076,000, $31,415,000—total cost of construction, $60,098,000. These works will afford an additional supply of 320,000,000 gallons daily, and the complete construction of reservoirs, filters and aqueducts for the full additional supply of 500,000,000 gallons per day may be required by 1925. The costs of the remaining construction in excess of that already provided for will be as follows; For reserView to 2,030,000,000 gallons in 1925, $4,110,000; Stormville filters, completed to 500,000,000 gallons daily capacity in 1925, $11,065,000; Hibernia reservoir, 30,500,000,000 gallons capacity, $9,308,000; Silvemails reservoir, 17,200,000,000 gallons capacity, $5,530,000—total, $30,013,000. For Aqueducts.—Additional cost for completed aqueduct between Hill View and Stormville, $1,510,000; additional cost for completed aqueduct between Billings and Ashokan, $4,369,000; aqueduct from Billings reservoir to Hibernia reservoir, 300,000,000 gallons daily capacity, $1,573,000; aqueduct from Hibernia to Silvernails, 220,000,000 to 330,000,000 gallons daily capacity, $1,276,000—total, $8,728,000—total cost of additional construction, $38,741,000—including all expenditures for land, clearing reservoir sites, and other similar costs, except water damages along the streams from which the additional supply is taken. The total cost of the entire works required to deliver the additional high-service supply of 500,000,000 gallons per day will be the sum of the two preceding totals—making the expense of the entire work, $98,839,000. If. instead of developing the Jansen Kill, it should be considered preferable to take the soft waters of Rondout creek, the preceding estimates of cost would be modified to the extent of substituting the expenditures necessary to secure the Rondout water for those required to secure the Jansen Kill water. The commission believes that this procedure will be found to be preferable; but the impossibility of completing Rondout surveys does not permit accurate estimates to be made for securing the Rondout water. The commission points out that all ,the boroughs of New York city need an increased supply of water, as the present supply is already drawn up to an extent that might lead to a dangerous shortage in a year of drought. The report, it will he seen, deals with the Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. For Richmond, the commission has approved of a ten-year contract with a private company for the immediate introduction of fil tered water from the adjoining State of New Jersey. Regarding the extension of the proposed system to the west side of the Hudson river to the Rondout and Esopus watersheds, through Ulster and Greene counties, two projects are presented, each, however, requiring a pipe siphon under the Hudson river, one requiring the pipe at Esopus Island, below Kingston, the other, requiring it some miles above the mouth of Rondout creek. The entire aqueduct system would bring the water into New York city partly through rock cuts, partly through tunneling, partly through the pipe siphon, and partly by an open canal. Mayor Low, in a letter accompanying the report, highly commends the report of Commissioners Professor W. H. Burr, John R. Freeman, and Rudolph Henry. He urges the immediate beginning of the work as “second in importance to nothing” with which the incoming administration will have to deal. He recognises the financial difficulty of the problem, and urges a constitutional amendment enlarging the debt limit of the city, for the purpose of executing the project on the sole basis of municipal ownership, and shows by figures that “the profit, on present earnings from water revenues, would more than pay for the new enlargement up to the extent of 320,000,000 gallons.” The mayor says that he is, therefore, led to the conclusion not only that there is need for the enlarged supply, but also that the new system will be more than self-supporting.



Through the courtesy of Acting Chief Charles W. Kruger, of the New Shirk city fire department, the following details of the new engine house on One Hundred and Second street and Columbus avenue, Manhattan, New York, have been furnished. It will be for engine company No. 76, and will be used as a double company. The house will be occupied by twxnty-two engineers and firemen and three officers, and will also form the headquarters of the chief of battalion for that district. The second floor will he used as officers’ quarters and dormitory; on the third floor will be a sitting room and lockers. The house is fifty feet wide, eighty feet deep, and three stories high. In style it is of the French renaissance style, and is up-to-date in all its fittings. Particular atten lion has been paid to all the sanitary details. Architcctually the building, which is erected on city property on the site of part of the old Croton conduit, is a great ornament to the locality. As the nearest engine house is at 113th street and Amsterdam avenue, the neighborhood will gain immensely from the addition to its fire protection.


The United States Geological Survey has recently completed a survey of the Kennebec river from tide water at Augusta to Moosehead lake, Me., which shows the occurrence and location of a number of fine undeveloped waterpowers. In almost every place where there are plants in operation from onehalf to two-thirds of the power still goes to waste. At Augusta a seventeen-foot dam furnishes about 20,000-horscpowcr, of which only 4,000-horsepower is used. Eighteen miles up the river, at Waterville, two dams use only a trifling part of an available head of forty-two feet, and at Fairfield not more than one-tenth of the power of a sixteen-foot dam is employed. The same is true of the twelve-foot dam at Shawmut. At Skowhegan, where there is a fall in the river of twenty feet, only 7,000-horsepower is used. Between Norridgewock and Madison there arc sites that present fine opportunities for power development. For twenty-four miles above Solon there are a great many rapids and shoals, which have a total fall of 160 feet. Three miles aboye the Forks, the last settlement up the river, is the first power, on Moxie stream, with a vertical drop of eighty-five feet. For four miles below Indian pond the river gorge is very narrow, with walls about 200 feet high. In this distance there is a fall of 190 feet, with several excellent sites for power development. The outlets of both Indian pond and Moosehead lake are controled by crib dams that regulate the water for lumbering purposes. Indian pond has an elevation of 933 feet, and Moosehead of 1,029 feet.

The Quincy, Ill., Water company asks for a renewal of its contract for thirty years. If granted, improvements will be made in the plant. The city council, on the contrary, wishes to have arbitrators appointed for its appraisal, so as to municipalise it.

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