The Cleaning of Water Mains
Within a few years an important industry has come into existence that has resulted in great efficiency of water supply through lengthening of the service of water mains. This desirable result is effected by the cleaning of the pipes by mechanical means, thus removing the incrustations and accumulations and reducing the necessity and expense of laying new mains by more than half. Several methods of performing this important work are now in use.
On this page are two illustrations of the recent operation of cleaning the water mains of St. Louis, Mo. The smaller picture shows the condition of the discharge from the main at the beginning of the process of cleaning, and gives a very good idea of the condition that the work was intended to rectify. The second and larger illustration shows the end of the operation, with the machine ejected from the main and the water that is pouring out practically pure. This contract called for the cleaning of approximately fifty miles of mains, ranging in size from six to twenty inches in diameter. The work is thus described by Water Commissioner Edward E. Wall, in his annual report:
“Due to prompt house-to-house inspections, before and after cleaning, consumers were inconvenienced but slightly from choked service connections. The incrustation removed in the cleaning process is composed of lime, silt and mud mixed with an iron deposit which adheres firmly to sides of pipe. In addition to this natural incrustation, rocks, sticks and sundry other articles were removed during the cleaning process. A fair estimate of the amount of deposit removed can be gained from the following: 150,500 lineal feet of various sizes cleaned, shows an aggregate dry volume of 7,187 cubic feet, amounting to 143 wagon loads, or a little over four wagon loads per mile cleaned. The cleaning has been of vast benefit to the department in increased water volume and should be continued until all mains 6 to 20 inches in diameter in service previous to 1906 have been cleaned.”
Following is a tabular statement of the work accomplished in cleaning the mains up to the time the report was issued by the commissioner:
Water Main Cleaning, 1917-1918