Question Raised by St. Paul Water Works in a Circular — Twelve Objections to Two Services—Wbat Do You Think About It?

THE following water department circular, furnished through the courtesy of C. M. Crowley, water registrar of the city of St. Paul, Minn., raises an important and interesting question as to the desirability of one or more than one street services for duplex and double duplex houses. It will be noted in the circular that there is only one reason given in favor of the installation of two street services while twelve are given against the plan. FIRE AND WATER ENGINEERING will be glad to hear from other water works departments as to their opinions on this important, question. The circular from the St. Paul department is as follows:

WATER DEPARTMENT, St. Paul, Minn., March, 1923. Brief Observations Regarding Proposition to Allow Two Street Services for Duplex and Double Duplex Houses. (Street Services Are Installed by Department at Expense of Property to Lot Line.)


1—Bills can be rendered separately for each flat.


  1. —If not paid by tenant before vacating, property is held.
  2. —Frequently but one street door, resulting in confusion to meter readers, in reading, and to collectors in presenting bill to right party.
  3. —Usually only one set of laundry tubs and one cellar closet used in common by tenants. If connected underground, as is usually the case, it is impossible for the department to apportion the consumption on these fixtures, and confusing to inspector in serving notice of leak in such cellar fixtures, to determine which meter. Usually one hose faucet; what portion of yard is to be sprinkled by each tenant and how divide the charge, all furnishing a sure controversy between landlord, tenants and department, and loss of time to all concerned.
  4. —Strange plumbers liable to cross connect pipes on property with resulting confusion, as they will naturally connect new fixtures to the nearest pipe, regardless of street connections.
  5. —In vacating property, tenant liable to shut off wrong pipe, also danger of removing wrong meter if one flat is vacant and pipes crossed on property
  6. —A three flat would require three meters, and double duplex four meters, with increased confusion.
  7. —The extra cost of installing extra pipe in street and on property with additional meter or meters would probably pay the water bill for fifteen years, with normal consumption, at present rates (6 cents per 100 cu. ft.) with a service charge according to the size of the meter.
  8. —Repairs to street pipes are at the expense of property, also the cost of repairing; often such repairs and liability to such repairs doubled, trebled or quadrupled as the case may be; if separate street service for each tenant. A subject in which the city at large is interested, with an extensive paving program at hand.
  9. —A single service lessens liability to waste outside meter, reduces per capita loss, and consequently conserves the city supply, the goal toward which all well managed departments are aiming.
  10. —In case of cross connections, if inferior material should ever be permitted underground, the loss would be increased. If check valve is faulty, where water is shut off on a vacant lot, the pressure wastes through stop from the service in use, and if not shut off it may run the other meter backwards.
  11. —Increase of overhead expense without increase of revenue.
  12. —Two or more meter service charges instead of one.
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