PUBLIC AND PRIVATE WATER SYSTEMS SHOULD NOT CONNECT, SAY OFFICIALS
This Question and Several Others Discussed at the Annual Convention of the North Carolina Section at New Bern—Large Attendance
THE annual convention of the North Carolina Section of the American Water Works Association which, as described in a previous issue of FIRE AND WATER ENGINEERING, took place on November 13 to 15 at New Bern, N. C., was signalized by lively discussions on many important water works topics. One of these was on the question of Cross Connections Between Public and Private Water Supplies led by a paper read by McKean Maffitt, of Wilmington, N. C. Accompanying his paper Mr. Maffitt introduced a resolution to the effect that “There shall be no physical connection between the public water supply system and any private water supply system wherein it is possible to get contaminated water into the public water supply.” Mr. McConnell in discusing this paper said that one cross connection can undo all that the best purification plant had done; that it is illogical to exercize extreme vigilance in plant and let industrial or fire supply pollute the system. Mr. Norcom said that cross connection was an insidious thing, unknown by consumers; if they knew they would rebel against it. Mr. Maffitt said that the New Hanover board of health recently prohibited cross connections. Mr. Diven said that a resolution similar to Mr. Maffitt’s had been passed by the National Convention; that the matter could be handled by a board of health, by statute or force. It requires force. He said that careless tapping of polluted supply in a New England mill where there were two independent supplies caused epidemic. Mr. Miller said that the state board of health must have the power of public opinion, therefore the resolution is of great assistance. Mr. Miller then gave a paper on the Objective, Policy and Procedure of the State Board of Health in Relation to Water Supply.
The same subject was again brought up on Thursday morning of the convention. W. J. Alexander offered an amendment to the motion of the previous day, “that state board of health notify all parties having cross connections that the same be removed or disconnected from the city water supply within a reasonable length of time.” Mr. Maffitt said that state board of health does not say “must.” There is need of more force behind local water works officials whose hands are tied. Mr. Hall suggested that the resolution would be backing for the State Board of Health and he seconded the amendment. The motion was unanimously carried. H. E. Miller said that it is necessary tor the State Board of Health to be backed by public sentiment; if the matter goes to court this resolution will be the strongest evidence in favor. Mr. Boyles favored the appointment of a committee to work out a plan for furnishing water to fire supply to avoid cross connections and made a motion to appoint this committee.
Another important paper was by J. W. Kellogg, of the state board of health of North Carolina, on Algae and Their Relation to Water Supplies. He spoke of the debt that is owing to the discoverer of copper sulphate as an algicide and said that one must drink 300,000 pounds of water so treated to imbibe a pound of copper sulphate. He cited a case where three tons of fish had been killed by the use of the chemical and said that he found it better to dose three times with 100 pounds rather than once with 300 pounds. The trouble lasts generally about ten days. A normal run of 48 hours for a filter bed was reduced to eight hours by the formation of gas and the clogging of the beds by the algae.
A paper on the Trouble at Proximity with Brownish Gelatinous Substance Which Reduced Filter Runs to Three-Fourths Hour was read by A. U. True. Mr. True said that he found that to wash the filter one minute seemed to be as efficacious as a longer wash. Gelatinous matter with slight agitation settled to the bottom. It seemed to him that aeration would solve the problem and it was planned by his department to install an aerator. Mr. Sweeney, of Wilmington, N. C., stated that he had had trouble with air bound filters. The intake was surrounded with logs and every time the logs were moved gelatinous material would enter the suction lines and form on filter beds, clogging them. The material looked like mother of vinegar, and it was necessary to skim it off. He said that the underdrainage system is cleaned every three years. The masses of mucilaginous matter came from accumulations on logs at the sawmill.
Among the addresses given at the convention was one by John M. Diven, secretary of the national association on The Benefits to Be Derived from Membership in the American Water Works Association. This was followed by a stirring talk by Mr. Bain urging North Carolina to win the membership cup and give it back to the national association in the spirit in which it was donated. Mr. Maffitt and Mr. Craig also spoke on the benefits of membership.
Another suggestion was from Mr. Ludlow who urged the rotating of the national convention each year from east to west. He said fie desired the record for the section of the largest one-year increase in membership.
W. E. Hall, district engineer, United States Geological Survey, discussed the importance of stream flow records on small as well as large streams, and the importance of getting long records for future water supply studies. He said that it is just as important to get stream flow records for sewerage. Accurate sewage flow records by this method should be had to determine the treatment plant required. Gilbert C. White asked about costs of gaging stations. The following data were given by Messrs. Hall and Covert: cost of installation of automatic gaging stations averages about $400 to $500; cost of instrument $140; cost of maintenance and installation about $200 per year; cost of sender and recorder for long distance recording station $375 approximately. In his discussion Mr. Covert advocated good permanent installations.
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North Carolina Section Convention
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Mr. Maffitt gave Charlotte’s experience with investing $276,000 in pipe line in 1904, and the stream going dry in 1911. D. McWilliams said that the minimum discharge must be known; with different conditions in the state there is no definite run-off per acre. Mr. Hall said that in Asheville there had been an inadequate supply of water because of no gaging and no meters on the line. Mr. Williams had advocated both. The city was almost out of water because of no impounding. This could not be foreseen because of inadequate records. They were short of water in 1922. Mr. Maffitt, in discussing the matter, said that when stage at Fayetteville is 2 ft. 4 inches yet salt water got to Wilmington; this could be foreseen tf there were adequate gaging stations. Mr. Brockwell’s discussion was to the effect that the subject is so large that it extends beyond municipalities, and is a problem of such scope as to demand statewide attention. He recommended that the section go on record to memorialize the general assembly to provide funds to make thorough and complete stream flow studies. Mr. Brockwell made a motion that committees be appointed to urge the general assembly to provide sufficient funds to make a thorough survey of the state. This motion was seconded by Gilbert C. White. Mr. Brockwell suggested that no amount of money is too much to provide this data. He wanted North Carolina to take an active part in this work. Mr. McWilliams discussed the advantage of including gaging stations as part of other improvements at water plants. Mr. Brockwcll’s motion was unanimously carried.
A discussion included in the question box on Thursday afternoon hinged on The Use and Abuse of Fire Hydrants. The following were some of the ideas brought out in this discussion. Mr. Craig—In paving the streets the contractors used the hydrants and twisted off nut and stem. They did not report damage. They offered to put in service and meter and finally put in meter. Mr. Bain—Lost seven hydrants in auto collisions last year. Mr. Thyne—Contractors abuse of hydrants in Gastonia. Mr. Maffitt—Lost a number of head nuts. Eliminated trouble by fitting connections to drilled hydrant cap with curb sock and service line. The hydrant was opened in the morning and closed at night. They regulated the water by cutting off the curb cock. Mr. Rhyne—Provided hydrant wrenches and drilled caps, but they were lost. Mr. Craig—Salisbury prohibits the use of hydrants. The difficulty is due to politics in most towns. Mr. Maffitt—More trouble with town people than with contractors. Mr. Alexander—Put gate valves on hydrants. Observed gate valve connection on. Mr. Norcom suggested use of raw water for sprinkling and flushing. Mr. Maffitt and Mr. Diven said this would he too far to go and too expensive.
There were several other excellent papers read and much discussion on them and the convention was voted one of the best the section had ever held, there being 130 registered and 26 new paid memberships.