READING AND ITS RESERVOIRS.
ON March 28, 1865, the city council of Reading, Pa., bought the plant of the Reading Water company for $400,000, and the total net cost of the system up to April 8, 1890, was $1,776,086.03; last year’s expenditure up to April 2, brought the total net cost up to $1,888,659.76. The Installation of the present system Involved no little difficulty, owing to the physical formation of the city, which is built on a slope, thereby causing a difference of something like 490 feet in elevation along the laid out streets. This made necessary the laying of three separate systems of pipe so as to afford each district a serviceable pressure. The high-service district comprises the area lyiug between an elevation of 390 feet and the foot of the hills to the east and south, with the distribution pipes so arranged as to convey the water from one service to pipes of the next lowest service. The district lying between an elevation of 275 feet and 390 feet (embracing the greater part of the city) comprehends the intermediate-service, while in the low-service is found the greater part of the area lying below un elevation of 275 feet. The source of supply is mountain streams and springs, led to the city by gravity, in addition to which water is pumped from the Maidencreek, a large tributary of the Schuylkill river.
The total storage capacity for the different services is as follow’s: High-service, 3,700,000 gallons; intermediate, 186,210,000; low-service, 47,150,000—grand total, 187,060,000 gallons. The storage capacity of each of the reservoirs in use is as follows: Antietam lake, 101,000,000 gallons; Bernhart, 40,000,000; city (Penn street), 2,000,000; Hampden, 85,000,000; Egelman, 2,000,000; Buttonwood street, 1,200,000. Antietam lake is situated three miles east of the city limits, and is used for the’intermediute-service. The masonry face of the dam, which has earth filling in the rear, is built on a solid rock foundation with a slight curve up-stream, and the dam is built across a narrow valley. The chief improvement recently made at this supply consisted of the rebuilding of the Hinnershitz dam and the settling basin on the east stream at the upper end of the lake, called Settling basin No. 4. Each is illustrated in this impression. The cost of maintaining this Bupply, including that of pipe-scraping for tubercles, was $2,153.44. The Antietam pipe line is of 1,763 feet twenty-four-inch, 12,737, twentv-inch, and 493 feet, sixteen-inch cast iron water pipe.
The Hampden storage distribution reservoir lies at the foot of Mount Penn. Its depth when full, is 28.2 feet. It is lined with clay puddle on the inner slope, protected by stone rip-rapping. The top-width of the embankment is tweuty-five feet, with exterior slope of one and three-quarter-inch, and interior slope of two to one. Elevation 445 feet.
The Bernhart dam, which supplies the low-service district, has a depth of twenty feet at the outlet pipe; elevation 885.3 feet.
The Penn street reservoir has an elevation of 345 feet, with a depth of water of fourteen feet.
At the Maidencreek inlet and pumping station the water is pumped through a thirty and twenty-four-inch main to the Hampden reservoir against a total pressure of 132 pounds.
The Egelman dam is the highest dam of the water supply, and is the storage reservoir for the high-service. Its elevation is 672.3 feet; depth of water above outlet pipe, 5.8 feet. The water is led to the city through a twelve-inch and ten-inch main through the distribution of the high-service district to the distribution reservoir at the head of Buttonwood street. The high-service reservoir has an elevation of 630 feet and a capacity of 1,200,000 gallons. It is built upon the side of Mount Penn and is concrete-lined.
The average daily consumption of water during the past fiscal year was 7,180,800—an average daily per capita consumption of 92.0 gallons, or 6.2 gallons more than in the previous year. The total amount of water supplied to the distributing reservoirs from the several sources of supply was 2,620,248,000 gallons. It has cost the department for maintenance, including interest charges, $69,814.28 to supply that amount—an average cost of 2 66-100 cents for every 1,000 gallons. Twenty thousand six hundred and ninety-two feet of main pipe have been added. Forty-three new fire hydrants have been set, making a total of 698 in all, and fifty old ones replaced with the improved patterns. One hundred and sixty-eight new gates of various sizes have been placed on the mains, and ninety-two on fire hydrant attachments, making a total of 499. The report shows that the metered service is showing up well, both in revenue and prevention of waste. Nearly all manufacturing establishments using city water are now metered, as well as stores, office buildings, stables, bakeries, etc. There is a total of 636 meters in use—an increase of thirty-six over last year. The fairness in the sale of water by meter measurement is becoming more apparent each year, and consumers are gradually becoming more favorably disposed to the system. As a preventative for waste it is working admirably, and if councils would only allow the metering of the domestic service, 1,000,000 gallons a day on the consumption heretofore referred to might be saved. On looking over the statement in Supt. Nuebling’s report giving the result of tests made of the per cent. of errors in meters set or reset during the year, it is seen that they acted virtually perfectly, so small was the proportion of error. The makes in use and the number of each class are as follows: Crown, 352; Hersey, eightyfive ; Trident, sixty-nine; Thomson (Thomson) thirtyfour, Thomson “Bee,” sixteen—total), fifty; Nash, thirty-eight; Lambert, eleven; Union, four; Gem, Pittsburgh, and Columbia, one each.
The present organization of the department is as follows: Commissioners—F. P. Heller (president); Matthan Harbster; George H. Felix ; I. S. Fry; superintendent and engineer, Emil L. Nuebling; secretary, John H. Thamm; chief clerk, James Haugen.