Pumping System for Manhattan Fire Protection
Asserting that a saving of many millions of dollars every year would be effected, the Merchants’ Association has begun agitation for the installation of a high pressure water system in Manhattan to replace the present gravity system. In a report submitted to the association, which will form the basis of an extensive report to the Board of Estimate and Apportionment, the present system of supply, south of Fifty-ninth street particularly, is declared inadequate. It is also declared by the association’s investigators that the change would reduce by 40 per cent, the cost of automatic sprinklers for use in protection against fire and would cut insurance charges on premises protected by sprinkler approximately 75 per cent. To complete the work of investigation begun by the association’s committee in fire prevention and insurance a hydraulic engineer will be employed. His report, together with reports by representatives of the Department of Water Supply, Gas and Electricity, the New York Board of Fire Underwriters, manufacturers and installers of automatic and other sprinkler apparatus, will be submitted to the Board of Estimate. “At the present time.” the association’s committee report states, “Manhattan south of Fifty-ninth street is supplied by gravity from Central Park reservoir, under a maximum head of about 120 feet. This head is insufficient at times to supply water to the top floors of four storv buildings, and in great numbers of buildings it is therefore necessary to provide roof tanks and to supply them by private pumps. A very large burden of expense is therefore placed upon individual property owners. The cost of these tanks and ojf the structural changes in buildings required for their support averages more than 40 per cent. of the cost of automatic sprinkler systems. The present cost of such systems is therefore in many cases prohibitive and their general adoption is seriously impeded. Outside water curtains before windows are conceded to be highly desirable and economical means for preventing the spread of fire. They are not available without an ample supply of water under an adequate head. The idea of the water department is to pump the Croton supply against a 200 foot head, which will deliver water in the lower part of Manhattan at about 85 pounds pressure on the top floor of a 10-story building. Private pumping will be eliminated in all buildings of 10 stories and less, thereby relieving private owners or occupants of the present law aggregate cost. The cost of automatic sprinklers will be reduced at least 40 per cent., thereby promoting their general use, with a resultant reduction of perhaps 75 per cent, in insurance charges on protected premises. The use of water curtains will likewise cause insurance reductions, while the general uie ot automatic sprinklers will reduce the conflagration hazard and correspondingly affect insurance charges.”
Because of a $2,000 deficit in the earnings of the Westport, Conn., Water Company, the rates will remain the same. Fairly in the summer a rumor was started that the rates were to be reduced to the rate now in effect in Norwalk, but was so unfounded that no recognition was taken by the local taxpayers.