SILVER ANNIVERSARY OF MADISON WATERWORKS

SILVER ANNIVERSARY OF MADISON WATERWORKS

Supt. John B. Heim, Madison, Wis.

On October II the city waterworks system at Madison, Wis., was twenty-five years old. Its first cost was about $95,000, and up-to-date $497,756.05 have been spent upon it. When the plant was first installed, eleven miles and onehalf of mains were laid; today there are fortynine miles, and one-half in operation. During the first year of the existence of the system there were only 279 consumers. On September 30, 1907, there were exactly 4.100. The cost of operation up to September 30 was $277,687.47; of repairs, $26,528.16. The total amount of water rents collected up to September 30 was $489,388.65—a sum which shows that the amount for water rents has not only paid the operating expenses, but, also, the cost of repairs, besides reducing the cost of construction to $185,173.02. The number of hydrants set is 301. In 1881 was first begun the agitation for installing a municipal waterworks system. It was strongly opposed. John B. Heim, then the youngest member of the council, and now superintendent of waterworks, finally carried the matter to a successful issue, and was one of the three councilmen appointed on the construction committee, the membership of which was increased in 1882 to nine. A special act of the legislature authorised a bond issue. Chester B. Davis was appointed superintendent, and contracts for the work were awarded as follows: Pipe, the Cincinnati Newport company; valves, the Ludlow Valve company; hydrants, R. D. Wood & company; pipe-laying, M. Philbin; pump machinery and building of plant, G. A Libby & Son; drilling of artesian well, John F. Gray. The plant was completed on October 11, 1882, and J. B. Heim, resigning from the council, was made superintendent, with Peter Gauer as engineer— a position, which, like Superintendent Heim, he has held ever since. On April 15th. 1884, the water committee of the city council ceased to have the management of the water department, and three commissioners, James Conklin. R M. Rashford and Henry Christoffers, who had nothing to do with the administration of city affairs —were appointed. In 1885-6 the mayor and one alderman were appointed ex-officio members of the water commission. The commission at present consists of the following: J. C. Schubert, mayor; John T. Gay, alderman; E B. Steensland, A. F. Mengcs, John D. Hayes. In the beginning the schedule rate of water rates was adopted. For six years or less, a minimum of $6 per annum; toiletrooms, $2.50; bathrooms, $3. In 1888 the meter system was adopted, and the annual minimum rate was fixed at $5, the water rates being from five to twenty cents per too cu. ft. In 18)4-5 the minimum rate was reduced to $4.50. It was still further reduced to $4 in 1902-03. The meter rates are from five to thirteen cents per too cu. ft. Last year there were 3,961 water-takers, and 1,823 of these paid only the minimum rate of $4. The standard of the Madison waterworks system ranks very high as one of the completest in the United States. That it is so is due to the energy, and intelligence of Superintendent Heim, who is acknowledged on all sides as a water expert of considerably more than local fame. He is a distinguished member of the American Waterworks association, and the papers he reads before that organisation are copied into all the leading engineering periodicals in the country, while his annual reports are in constant demand.

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