THE EAST ORANGE WATER SCARE.
Superintendent Arthur A. Reimer, of the East Orange, N. J., water department, writes as follows to FIRE AND WATER ENGINEERING on the subject of the “water scare” at that place:
“Your issue of October 14, 1905, page 228, contains an article on “Water Scare at East Orange,” which does not exactly state the case. The real facts were as follows: It became necessary to lay a twelve-inch main through a new street, so we uncovered a twelve-inch Y branch connection left for this street when the twenty-four-inch force-main was laid, and found that the location was not correct. As the connection had been made with curves from the Y to the property line and ended with a valve, and the error in location had put the valve on private property, 1 deemed it unwise to make a new connection with a tapping machine, and leave the old connection and valve where they could make trouble between the city and private parties. We, therefore, decided to cut the twelve-inch curves near the Y and swing off with a quarter-bend and a reverse-curve to clear the private property. As this involved shutting off the city for a short time, we did the work at night—that is, we began it at 1 o’clock a. m. on October 4, expecting to have the new connection made before 5 o’clock. The valve at Center street, on South Orange avenue, was used to shut off the city. As the water pressure from Orange is greater than that from the low-pressure service of Newark, I aranged with Orange to provide 11s with water, in case of fire. After the work had been started, an alarm was rung in, and the men stationed at the Orange valve attempted to open it, but found the stem broken, though the valve had been tested only two days before and found to be all right. No time was lost in getting to the Newark connection and turning on the water there; but the fire had been put out with the hand apparatus. The work at the connection was progressing well, and was soon finished. When the men attempted to reopen the main valve at Center street they found it stuck. I immediately ordered the Newark valves to be opened again, in order to supply the city with water; but, as there was no pressure from Newark, I then asked the Newark officials to give us their high pressure, and they very willingly consented. Meanwhile, we were trying to open up our own line. In order to relieve the pressure on the one side of the Center street gate, we tried to open a blow-off in the valley below, at Rahway river. Though the blow-off valve was opened, no water came, and then it was discovered that, a few days before, the county authorities, in rebuilding the bridge at this point, had unwittingly filled and covered the blow-off pipe with concrete. When this obstruction was removed, the water came all right. But, even with the pressure thus removed from the main valve at Center street, the valve refused to open till a force, ordinarily considered sufficient to wreck even so large a valve, was applied, and the valve was forced open. The trouble was that this gate had been operated last winter, and badly damaged, and though a new stem had been put in, the disks and wedges had not been repaired, and no report had been filed by the proper authorities, so that I, who had entered this department only last spring, had no knowledge of the damage done. The above facts will, I believe, show that the twelve-inch connection was not made in the ‘obsolete way;’ and that the present authorities did what could be done, in the face of a seines of accidents such as one is not likely to stumble on in several lifetimes. We have a tapping machine and use it for many connections, but I do not believe in using it in all cases.
“ARTHUR A. REIMER, Superintendent.”
For two years the former volunteer firemen of Atlantic City, • N. J., have been waiting and hoping for the promised decision from the Supreme court as to whether or not the paid fire department is a legally constituted organisation. Meanwhile they have about $130,000 tied up in the city treasury, which is due them. This money was to be paid for real estate and apparatus sold to the city when the paid system went into effect. The firemen are anxious to know where they stand. They want the money due them or their property back. They care not which.