SCRANTON, PA., now enjoys the benefit of the reconstruction of the gravity supply of the Providence Gas and Water Company of that city. Twenty-nine years ago, when the company built a small reservoir, its principal intention was to supply the coal works of the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company and the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad Company; but the wells in the vicinity of the town gradually gave out, and applications were made to the company by property-holders for service for domestic use. Only a few years elapsed when the consumption was so great as to require an enlargement of the source of supply. A storage reservoir was, therefore, built seven miles above the town, and water conveyed to the original reservoir by the natural creek, whence it was piped.


This creek for the distance of about a mile ran alongside of the turnpike. Consequently, whenever it rained, the wash of the road ran into, and polluted the water. A divide had been made in the distributing reservoir, partitioning off the creek, and a gate constructed so as to shut out the pollution until the showers were over and the stream was clear again.

In the spring of 1893 it became apparent that some other arrangement must be made, if the supply were to he kept pure, since the number of water takers had become so great that the creek supply could not longer be shut out of the distributing reservoir, even for a few hours. The work was taken in hand by the company’s superintendent, Major J. H. Kish, and carried out under his supervision, according to a plan devised by himself. At the same time, a high-service main was arranged, as will be described farther on.

In order that the reader may understand, it will be necessary to state that the main leading from the distributing reservoir was so inches in diameter, and was laid for a distance of about aoo feet below, where it was reduced to 16 inches. Prior to starting this work a 24 inch main was laid from the city up to where the 20-inch was reduced to 16 inch, and connections were made. The 24-inch main was continued, and a temporary intake made from the creek into the 24-inch main by building a wooden flume. The water was then drawn out of the reservoir and from the original 20-inch pipe a 24-inch pipe was laid through the first and second reservoirs and then enlarged to 30 inches, and continued 2,000 feet to the high service reservoir. At the divide between the first and second reservoirs, a branch and gate were put in and the main paralleled to about the centre of the second reservoir. Here a standpipe, t8 feel high, was erected, surmounted by a galvanized umbrella, making a neat fountain. All the water used in the system comes through the 30-inch main from the high-service reservoir. The water flowing through the fountain is taken with the lowservice main, after passing from the second, to the first reservoir. There the pressure on the high – service main is maintained and the low-service gets the surplus water. At the high-service reservoir has been built a filter-house 70 feet long, 12 feet wide, and 12 feet deep. The water comes in through two wooden gates and passes through galvanized screens of 14-inch mesh. Next to these screens are 200 horizontal iron bars 12 feet long by 2 1-2 inches wide and 1-2inch thick. These are suspended by iron hooks from 2-inch pipe laid across from one side to the other—there are six rows, 50 bars in each. The bars can be readily lifted out and the accumulation quickly scraped off. After passing the bars, the water encounters a large crate of animal charcoal, after which it passes through a series of double screens made of cloth tacked on light frames. These screens are removed from one to four times a day and washed off with a hose. A track and traveling pulley arranged above enable a man to handle the screens and charcoal crate easily. All that portion of the filter-house below the suspended iron is on a raised perforated iron bottom. Beneath this is a sediment-chamber, with a pipe and gate-attachment to carry off any deposit that may accumulate in the chamber or on the perforated iron.


The water enters the high-service reservoir through a 24inch terra cc tta pipe, beginning about 4,cco feet above, where the creeks from the storage reservoir join. Along the line are five agitating pools, each 10 feet long and 3 feet wide, built of stone and lined with cement. The pipe enters the pool near the shown in the cut,and the water turns a wheel which churns it into foam before it passes out and acts as a fan to force the air through the terra cotta pipe above the water. Over each pool has been built a small house, with a stack or vent-pipe. Since the completion of these improvements the supply of water has been excellent in quality.

The following extract is taken from the board of health report after their annual visit to the plant in June, 1896.

“ It is the general impression that the water supply of the Providence Gas & Water Company is unsurpassed by any in the State as to purity; . . [It] is as perfect as it is possible to possess. Everything has been done to keep the streams from contamination from street-wash. Advanced and scientific means of filtration and aeration are now in practical use. The company has bought hundreds of acres of land adjoining its streams and separated the waters, so that there is no mixing of the impure with the pure. They have piped the waters above the points where drainage might have entered the stream and have carried it through aerating churning chambers and fountains to an aerating reservoir. They have bought and condemned stables and slaughter houses that might be suspected of draining into theirstream, and now it is nigh impossible for anytirng but pure water to flow into the head waters of the company’s supply. The company supplies 7,000,000 gallons of water daily to the city, and it has a stock supply of 843,000,000 of gallons that may be drawn upon any moment. The water was analysed by chemical process and found to be very pure.”

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