PUNGENT FACTS ABOUT THE WATER METER
Following is an abstract from the rules and regulations of the board of water commissioners of New London, Conn., regarding meters, which was adopted on Feb. 9, 1912: “All premises occupied in whole or in part as stables, automobile barns or stations restaurants, saloons, barber shops, hotels, laundries, manufactories, photograph galleries, bakeries or markets and all premises where water is used for public baths, soda fountains, jets, steam or water power or elevators, and such other premises as from time to time the board may direct, shall be supplied through meters. When a meter is set under the provisions of the above rule, or by order of ;he beard of water and sewer commissioners, or by request of the owner, the entire supply to the premises must be metered. All the water supplied to a premises or adjoining premises owned by the same owner and used for the same business shall be charged and billed at the combined rate of all the meters, when more than one meter is used. The city will set one meter of a suitable size on a service pipe, which meter shall be so set as to measure all the water passing through the said service pipe and the city will maintain the same, but the owner of the building is to be responsible for all damage to the meter from frost, heat or steam. In all cases where two or more houses, belonging to different persons, are supplied through one service pipe, that service pipe shall be metered and the water charged against the owner of the house for which the original connection was made. Any rule not in conformity with the above is hereby repealed. When a consumer shall prefer to pay the established rent of such a meter as shall be approved by the department rather than to pay the rates named in the schedule, a meter will be put in and the established rent and meter rates charged. Meters installed for the benefit of the consumer may be purchased of the department at cost, payable in advance, and must be installed and maintained by the owners. The board of water and sewer commissioners reserve the right to put in a meter at the expense of the city in any case and charge for metered water instead of being governed by schedule rates. Meters shall be set in places approved by the superintendent, and all changes shall be made under his supervision. If a meter fails to register, the consumer will be charg’ed at the average daily consumption as shown by the meter when in order. All water registered by meter will be charged for.
“The rate for metered water for the first 20,000 cubic feet used in six months is $1.20 per thousand cubic feet or 16 cents per thousand gallons; for the next 40,000 cubic feet, 75 cents per thousand cubic feet or 10 cents per thousand gallons; for all over the above quantity, 45 cents per thousand cubic feet or 6 1/2 cents per thousand gallons. In no case will the annual charge be less than $1.50 in addition to the rent of the meter. The rent charged for the meters furnished and set by the department is ten (10) per cent, of their cost.”
Freezing is injurious to water meters, and thawing them by the application of heat is also liable to damage them. They should, therefore, be adequately protected from frost by the owner of the premises. Hot water will also seriously injure the working parts of a meter, and the property owner should see to it that the meter is protected by a check valve, relief valve or otherwise from any liability of back-flow from hot water or steam boilers.
The following are common causes of waste of water:
Defective ball-cocks or valves in water closets and boiler tanks.
Leaky faucets and stop-cocks.
Careless use of hose.
Allowing water to run in the winter to prevent freezing and in the summer for cooling.
Experiments made by the New London Water Department show that the amount of water that may be wasted and the cost of the same under existing meter rates may be as follows:
A hole one-thirty-second of an inch in diameter is about the size of an ordinary pin, yet it will waste a quantity of water amounting to over seven barrels full in a day, and, at meter rates, costing over $1 per month. A leak one-sixteenth of an inch in diameter may easily escape ordinary observation in a water closet, where the majority of leaks occur, and if allowed to continue might waste water valued at $50 per year. If a hissing or roaring noise is continually heard in the water pipes, it is evidence of a leak, and by listening with the ear pressed closely against the pipe or faucet a very small leak may be discovered by the sound. An ordinary house meter is tested by weighing 10 feet of water, as indicated by the register, passing through the meter in a stream five-eighths inch or one-half inch in diameter; 5 feet in one-quarter inch stream, and 1 foot in a one-eighth-inch stream. A meter that registers within 5 per cent, of the proper weight of those quantities of water is considered sufficiently accurate; the variations, however, usually show a much lower percentage of error. Meters register as low as a one-thirty-secondinch stream. Inaccurate registration is easily corrected by changing the driving gear of the register train. It is impossible for a water meter to operate unless the water passes through it; the flow of the water causes the piston to move and the meter to .register. „ It is rarely that a meter runs too fast and registers more water than is used; it may become obstructed so that it runs too slowly, but this is in favor of the consumer, as more water passes through the meter than is registered.
Hancock, Mich., is somewhat divided in opinion on the subject of installing meters. It has grown to be a very serious issue in that city. Iron Ore, an influential paper of Ishpeming. Mich., in giving the experience of that city in the matter of waste of water, urges on Hancock to put on one side, as at last the people of Ishpeming did, and stop their waste of water by the installation of meters and to lose no time about having every service of every kind metered. The editor in a strong editorial points out that those who oppose such a policy “do so on the presentation that the people should not be restricted in the liberal use of this fluid; that any attempt t° give them so many gallons for so many cents is a direct blow at their personal liberty; that it is a contention of the weak against the strong, a further illustration of the heel of capital being ground into the jugular vein of labor. It is truly a woeful case that the opponents of the proposed measure—the meter—is making before the Hancock community.” At Ishpeming, he says, people went on wasting water, some even preached against meters front the pulpits till the board of works, fearing an utter failure in the supply, ordered several hundred meters and “placed them on the supply lines and in the homes of the people.” They had alreadv installed a 20-inch Venturi meter on the main coming from the main outlet, and after a few months it was clearly shown that the supply from the lake was just half what it had been before meterage was adopted. Soon everyone clamored for a meter, and no one*_y would now go back to the old wasteful and unfair water conditions. The editor winds up his article as follows: “The meters arc the thing. They make no distinction between the rich and the poor, the grave or the gay, the big or the little. You pay for what you get and you will save money over the old plan in addition to protecting your water supply should it be now inefficient or threatened.”
The water works commissioners of Detroit point out that large quantities of water are being wasted through carelessness in having leaking fixtures. Further, the water is allowed to run beyond all reasonable time in the spring and summer months for cooling and sprinkling, and in the winter months to prevent freezing. As it costs in Detroit about $80,000 for intakes, pipes, pumps and other equipment to gain one million gallons daily capacity of the plant, it can be seen readily that, leaving aside all consideration of the cost of operation and maintenance, all waste beyond what may be considered legitimate, is an extravagance of no inconsiderable magnitude. Realizing this, the board is gradually extending the use of meters to include all commercial and manufacturing property and those residences where waste is allowed to continue. During the year 1,059 meters were added to the service, making a total of 10.807 installed to June 50, or a percentage of 11 per cent, of services metered and a percentage of receipts from metered water of 42.2 per cent.
The mayor and council of Hagerstown, Md., have filed an amended bill of complaint against the Washington County Water Company. The town denies the right of the water company to install meters and to make the old flat rate a minimum rate for meter measurement; denies the right to shut off water from consumers who refuse to pay on basis of meter measurement; denies the right to supply water to corporations or individuals outside the city limits of Hagerstown and the furnishing of water to locomotives passing through Hagerstown. The bill alleges that the water company has no right to charge a large consumer a less rate under meter measurement than a small consumer is charged. The city alleges that the water company has never complied with the terms of its contract under which meter measurement is permitted, in that the company has not connected up the available supply of water from the Raven Rock and Warner Gulch streams and proved that these sources are inadequate to the demands of the city.
The city commissioners of Beatrice, Neb., have decided that the water meters must be installed without further delay. Commissioner Field reported that about 250 meters have been put in, w hereas the city has 1.200 consumers and 950 meters are on hand. The meters are put in at actual cost, $7.50 for the meter and a charge for installation. The amount paid in for the 250 which are already installed is only $800, and the city will at once begin collecting the balance due and turn it over to the manufacturer. The no-meter system has caused a great waste of water. During the extreme cold weather the amount of water pumped rati as high as 2,000,000 gallons in a day. This is far byond actual needs, and imposes a heavy burden of expense upon the city.
While the annual report of the operation of the water department at Spokane, Wash., for 1912 shows that there was a falling off of 4.8 per cent, in water earnings, a reduction of 11.4 per cent, is noted in the cost of operation, maintenance and repairs. In the cost of operation alone the reduction was 23 per cent. The report shows that there were over 334,000,000 gallons less water, or 2.9 per cent., pumped. The number of meters in service doubled during the year, and the average cost of installing meters decreased from $16.83 to $10.53 each.
Except in the case of saloons and hotels, no more meters will be installed in Aron, O., until the new water works system is completed. Then there will be filtered w-ater. without any sand or other foreign matter to clog the meters and make them register inaccurately. It will cost $100,000 to meter every service in the city (as will be done), but the task will not be accomplished for two years yet.
Belmar, N. J., if Mayor Poole can have his way, will have every service in the borough metered. On that point he will insist. “It is not fair,” he says, in his annual report, “that one man should be careful of waste for the reason that he has a meter, and his neighbor have no restraint and permit waste water because no meter is installed.”
The town of Longmeadow, Mass., voted in March, 1911. to have water meters installed in the houses by June. 1913. and the water commissioners have begun putting them in. Citizens hope that the meters will prevent the waste of water to such a degree that the supply of Longmeadow water will be ample.