The American Water Works Convention Opens
Forty-Fourth Gathering Begins with Sectional Conferences—Dinner to Retiring Secretary Diven in Evening—Looks Like Big Convention
SEVERAL important sectional conferences marked the opening of the forty-fourth annual convention of the American Water Works Association which took place at the Hotel Astor, New York City, on Monday, May 19. Considering that it was the day preceding the actual beginning of the convention, the attendance at these meetings was remarkably large. There were seven meetings in all, as follows:
No. 1 “Procedures for Improving Facilities for Superintendents to Discuss General Operating Topics for Inclusion in Proposed Manual of Water Works Practice,” chairman, Harry F. Huy; No. 2. “Procedures for Effecting Closer Relations Between Water Works and Fire Protection Men,” chairman, Frank C. Jordan; No. 3, “Program for Co-operative Work of American Water Works Association with the American Public Health Association in Preparation for Joint Publication of New Edition of Standard Methods of Water Analysis,” chairman, Jack J. Hinman, Jr.; No. 4, “Procedures for Securing Immediate Operating Data for Use of Committee No. 3, Practicable Loadings for Purification Processes,” chairman, E. E. Wall; No. 5, “Advances in Colloid Chemistry in Relation to Water Purification,” chairman, Robert S. Weston; No. 6, “Program for Trying Out New Suggestions for Essential Data for Water Records and Reports,” chairman, John N. Chester; No. 7, “Work by Proposed Committee on Purification of Boiler Water,” chairman, S. T. Powell.
Meeting on Fire Protection
One of the most important of the meetings was that held in the Laurel Room of the hotel on the subject of fire protection. It was opened by its chairman, Frank C. Jordan, secretary of the Indianapolis, Ind., Water Company and vicepresident and next president of the association. There was an attendance of some forty members and the discussion turned on what the association could do in connection with the matter of fire prevention and reducing the country’s fire losses. Much of the discussion necessarily hinged on the question of proper co-operation between the water works superintendent and the fire chief. Mr. Jordan suggested that a joint committee be formed of three members from the American Water Works Association, three from the International Association of Fire Engineers and three from the National Fire Protection Association to co-operate in plans to assist the fire chief and his department to promote the best relations between the fire department and the water works, looking toward fire protection. Franklin H. Wentworth. secretary of the National Fire Protection Association, suggested that the fire chief should be the man to decide upon the location of hydrants, the proper size of opening and other matters distinctly of a fire-fighting and fire-prevention nature. At the same time water works superintendent should be the one to decide upon the size of mains and all other matters connected with the distribution system. During the early part of the conference, George W. Fuller, president of the association, came in and he suggested the feasibility and desirability of forming a fire protection section of the association. He explained that under the proposed new constitution this would be possible and he outlined the proceedings necessary to the formation of such a division.
The chair then called upon Frank A. Barbour, of Boston, who told of the action of the committee on fire protection of the Standardization Council. Mr. Barbour in his reply suggested that the title of the proposed new section combine the design of water works distribution systems which should include reservoirs and all other portions which contribute to the safety from fire with the other portions of the title. There were several others who discussed the subject, among whom were George W. Booth, of the National Board of Fire Underwriters; W. S. Cramer, chief engineer of the Lexington, Ky., Water Company; Clarence Goldsmith, of the National Board of Fire Underwriters, Chicago, Ill.; Robert H. Lockwood, Editor of FIRE AND WATER ENGINEERING, New York City, and several others.
Resolution for Formation of Division
The chair then requested Mr. Barbour to draw up a request to the executive committee in the form of a resolution asking permission to form the fire protection division, this being the proper procedure for the meeting to take. This Mr. Barbour did, and the following resolution was adopted unanimously: May 19, 1924
To the Executive Committee of the American Water Works Association:
The undersigned members of the American Water Works Association respectfully request that your committee authorize the formation of a Fire Protection Division—the primary object of this Division to be the discussion of those phases of design, construction and operation of water systems, which have to do with the furnishing of adequate fire protection.
Another object of this Division will be the development of greater co-operation with fire departments underwriters’ associations, the National Fire Protection Association, and other agencies which have as their purpose the reduction of the fire loss of the country.
Whether the name of Fire Protection Division is sufficiently comprehensive in its scope may be a matter worthy of your consideration. It is suggested that Fire Protection and Water Distribution Division may be an improvement.
This resolution was signed by all the members present at the conference.
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Division of Plant Operation Formed
The conference on general operating topics for superintendents was also largely attended and the discussion was very general. A thought prominent in the minds of the superintendents present seemed to be that at a sectional conference composed principally of the heads of water works there would be a more spontaneous discussion than at a general meeting of the convention in which all of the membership of the association was present. In other words, that the superintendents would speak more freely if by themselves. During the discussion, President Fuller suggested the formation of a division of the association to be known as the national division of plant management operation. He urged that this step be taken in order to place the superintendents’ meetings on a concrete basis. William W. Brush, deputy chief engineer of the New York water department, spoke at length advocating this step and explaining the objects of the meeting. He was followed by J. M. Goodell, hydraulic engineer, Montclair, N. J., who also spoke in favor of the formation of the division, remarking that one of the great difficulties that he had experienced was in getting replies from superintendents to letters and that the only one he ever knew that could get such replies was “Jack” Diven. There were several other speakers. The result of the meeting was the adoption of a resolution asking the executive committee to allow the formation of the division as outlined. Later in the day the executive committee met and passed the resolutions providing for the adoption of both of these national divisions. The other sectional meetings were well attended and were signalized by lively and interesting discussions.
Testimonial Dinner to Mr. Diven in Evening
At 6:30 P. M. the members and guests of the association met in the ballroom of the hotel on the eighth floor and sat down to a dinner given as a testimonial in honor of John M. Diven, who retired as secretary after twenty-two years’ service. The toastmaster on this occasion was Beekman C. Little, superintendent of the Water Bureau of Rochester, N. Y., and a former president of the association. At the conclusion of the banquet Mr. Little rapped for order and in a particularly happy and witty speech announced the object of the gathering. He then called upon George W. Fuller, president of the association, who strongly eulogized Mr. Diven and spoke of the splendid work which he had done during the time of his long service as secretary of the association. He stressed the fact that not only in work done but also in financial assistance when the association was at its lowest ebb, had Mr. Diven served it during his career as an officer. Mr. Fuller also referred to the work which Mrs. Diven had done as assistant to the secretary and of the great help she had been to Mr. Diven in his labors for the association.
Mr. Fuller was followed by D. F. O’Brien of the A. P. Smith Manufacturing Company, who spoke from the standpoint of the Manufacturers’ Association and who also paid a strong tribute to the work which Mr. Diven had done for all.
The third speaker was Dabney H. Maury, consulting engineer of Chicago, who made a witty address and also spoke feelingly of Mr. Diven’s long connection with the association.
He was followed by Col. Merritt H. Smith, chief engineer of the Department of Water Supply, Gas and Electricity. New York City. The chair introduced Mr. Smith as host of the convention by reason of his position. Mr. Smith said, while not as familiar as those who had been members longer in the association, he still wanted to add his word of tribute to Mr. Diven and also wished to extend to the convention the welcome of “little old New York.”
The final speaker to be called upon was James H. Caldwell. consulting engineer and president of the Ludlow Valve Manufacturing Company, who stepped to Mr. Diven’s side and presented him with a handsome purse containing seven one thousand dollar bills as a loving tribute from the association to him for his long service.
Mr. Diven made an eloquent reply, when he had recovered his composure, but with the disclaimer that he didn’t deserve any such gift. The banquet ended by all rising and joining in the singing of Auld Lang Syne. The evening was taken up with a reception and with dancing until the early hours.
Large Attendance at Early Registration
The early records of registration up to Monday night gave promise of a very large convention, the number of active members being approximately 350 and associate 125.
(Note:—A running report of the proceeds of the remaining days of the convention will follow in next week’s issue.—Ed.)