REMARKABLE ARTESIAN WELLS.
ARTESIAN wells in South Dakota and Nebraska flow with a very powerful stream, owing to the local conditions. In fact, such wells are nearly sure to be obtainable, if drilled to a depth of from 500 to 1,000 feet or more. An underlying impermeable stratum composed of the shales and limestones of the carboniferous period is found throughout this region, upon which rests a bed of 800 to 400 feet of very permeable sand of the Dakota cretaceous. These form the finest waterbearing beds of the plains, being cased in above even more effectually than below by from 1,000 to 2,000 feet of watertight cretaceous shale (chiefly Pierre) and badlands clay (oligocenc)—the beds being so tipped that there is a difference of several thousand feet between the eastern edge, where the great fountains occur and the western edge, or the fountainhead. The latter, in the Rocky Mountain uplift, of which the Black Hills is the most eastern spur, thrusts itself up 5,000 to 6,000 feet above the former. These exposed upturned edges catch the falling rains, melting snows, and mountain streams, and on the lower levels, where is this water-bearing cretaceous, it is like tapping a water muin, such a gush of water flows out, with a head of water, where there is no friction, equal to that of a column of water severul thousand feet high. Hence, in spite of frictional losses and the leakage of the water, there is a very high pressure, the result of which is the discharge of enormous volumes of water sufficient to turn mills and machinery. One such well is that, at Niobrara, in Knox county, Nebraska, which pumps the water, runs the dynamos for the town, and drives the machinery of a sixtybarrel flour mill. According to the Scientific American (through whose courtesy the accompanying cuts are reproduced), the water flows through a six-inch steel casing into a “stonecatcher ” (illustrated herewith), which arrests pebbles (some weighing twentytwo and one-half pounds), small boulders, and stones, which are shot out with force enough to damage the casing and machinery. From this the water flows to the mill, where it operates a four-foot Pel ton wheel through a one and one-half-inch nozzle. It works, and will work for years, perfectly, steadily, and silently, and will need no additional outlay. In case of fire, the full force of the well is turned into the city mains, and linemen, with hose, do the rest. The waste water flows into a lakelet, thence for three miles in a not inconsiderable st ream into the Niobrara river.
Hundreds of these artesian wells are daily put to all sorts of uses, some of a novel kind. One of these is the artesian irrigating plant on the Furgusson farm at Beaver Crossing, Seward county. Neb., where nine shallow artesian wells, none of them over 100 feet deep, make it possible to water 115 acres on short notice. The worse the drought, the better for the owner of such a farm. The great Test well at Lincoln, 2,463 feet deep, helps to Bupply water to Salt Lake, while the two wells at the sulpho-saline baths of Lincoln supply water for the great natatorium of that institution. In Omaha, such a series of wells beautifies various parks, by supplying fountains, streams, pools, and lakes, the largest of which, seen on the Miller estate, covers some thirty acres.
At Pierre, S. Dak., three great wells supply the town with water, natural gas, and electricity. The discharge comes to the surface as water, but, “paradoxically enough, goes to the consumer as natural gas and electricity. Taking advantage of the discovery made shortly after the completion of the wells, that, with the lowering of the pressure as the water escapes, natural gas is liberated, the wells were piped into suitable retaining tanks, and a sufficient quantity of natural gas was thus accumulated to supply the town and run the engines of the electric light plants, as well as those of a sixty-horsepower pumping station.”
At Burlington, Ia., Judge Huston, having secured an option on 932.20 shares out of the total of 998 of the capital stock of the Burlington Water company, is prepared to give the city a chance to save $7,000 a year and to have the right to purchase at any time. No salaries are to be paid by the city to the company’s officers; the city is to continue the 5-mill water tax till the plant is purchased ; the net annual surplus to be used in improving and extending the plant; the city to have the right to purchase at any time after five years; a lower rate of interest to be paid on bonds —saving $7,000 a year; and the city to inspect the books of the company at any time.