THE KALISPELL WATER WORKS SYSTEM
The most important work undertaken by the Kalispell, Mont., Water Works Department last year was the construction of a complete new pumping station and the installation of necessary equipment. Superintendent W. H. Lawrence in his report for the year 1915 says of the conditions leading to a change of location: The original station being remote from the city, and located on opposite side of river, making is necessary to maintain a bridge for the purpose of conveying the main supply pipe lines “causing hazardous conditions during the high water period and log driving season.” The rapid deterioration of the two main pipe lines to the city, “that would require renewing in a few years,” at a cost exceeding the amount required to build and equip the new station. The capacity of well inadequate to obtain desired efficiency from the pumps. The draining of low lands into the river during the summer months, containing a vegetable matter that is hard to eliminate until the river recedes to its normal elevation. The saving to the property owners of approximately fifteen thousand ($15,000) dollars annually in insurance premiums. The experience of nearly every city in the world that has a public water supply has been, that a time comes when measures must be taken to improve its supply. The first and foremost duty of a waterworks enterprise is to supply its patrons abundantly and constantly with a good clear, clean and wholesome water. How well, or how poorly that duty is performed rests solely with the management of such enterprise, and the local surroundings for a supply. In the modern sense the water works of a city include the source of supply and the equipment required to deliver the water through a distributing system to the point where it is utilized. The preceding reasons together with many other factors demonstrated the necessity of selecting a new location for the city water supply. The report says in part: Believing that the city was entitled to the benefit of its natural environments, the upper Noffsinger Spring was selected as the ideal water supply for future use. Following the selection of this location arrangements were made January 1, 1915, with Mr. W. N. Noffsinger for the purchase of 2 3/4 acres including a right of way leading to the country road. At a special meeting of the City Council February 15, the plans and specifications for buildings, well, pumps, motors and material submitted by the City Engineer, were accepted and a resolution passed instructing the City Clerk to advertise for bids. At the regular meeting of the City Council March 1, bids were opened and referred to the water and light committee, at a special meeting held March 3, the committee to whom bids were referred reported that the following being the lowest bids received should be accepted: Henry R. Worthington, pumps, motors and cast iron pipe. Pacific Tank and Pipe Co., eighteen-inch wood pipe. Kalispell Mercantile Co., cement and steel. Sam Odegard, construction of well and pump station buildings. L. L. Davis, excavating for pipe line to reservoir. The report of committee was accepted, and Mayor Pauline authorized to execute the several contracts. March 23rd Mr. Odegard commenced work, clearing the land and erecting forms preparatory to the construction of the well; considerable trouble developed in excavating. An amicable adjustment between the city and Mr. Odegard was made June 14, releasing Mr. Odegard from further responsibility, and the construction work was continued under the supervision of F. E. Marsh, City Engineer, and completed October 20. The well was located directly over the spring and about 600 feet from the river, reinforced concrete walls, rectangular construction. 20 x 24 feet, with a wing at right angles extending under pump station floor 42 feet in length, 6 feet wide, all 17 feet in depth; from this wing the pumps take water.
Pumping Station Buildings.
Buildings are located south of the well. Dimensions of pumping station are 32 x 24 feet; from this room is an office 12 x 20 feet; both the pump station and office are connected to a boiler room 48 x 20 feet; leading from the boiler room is a fuel room 20 x 30 feet, all 18-foo. ceilings. The entire construction is of reinforced concrete, well lighted and conveniently arranged.
Pipe Line to Reservoir.
The discharge line from pumps to reservoir is 18-inch cast iron and wood pipe. Approximate distance 1,850 feet, with a vertical rise of 142 feet. A General Electric indicating flow meter, with recording device leading to office, have been installed, also a recording pressure gauge, from which hourly readings are taken and a complete daily report of the station is kept and filed at main office.
Pump Station Equipment.
Electric Units: Two Worthington 10-inch double suction Volute pumps, fitted with bronze impellers and bronze covered nickel steel shafts, together with extended base plates and flexible coupling, direct connected to (2) 200 h. p. General Electric Co.’s motors fitted with compensators, non-voltage release, and overload relays. Priming Outfit: Consisting of a one h.-p. G. E. motor, one 3½ x 3 1/2 air compressor, one priming tank of 20 gallons capacity per minute fitted with gauge glass and drain. The pumps have extended nickel steel shafts on outward end for connection by friction clutch to steam turbine.
There are two induction motor panels, capacity 200 h. p., 2200 volts, three phase, 60 cycles; material of panels are dull black marine finished slate, each 24 inches wide by 64 inches high, with bevel edge, panels are mounted on individual angle iron supports. The equipments are 2 primary ammeters, 2 200-amp. type R.-13 automatic oil switches, mounted on back of panels with operating mechanism and trip coils, one Thompson polyphase watt-hour meter type D. S. 5, with two current and two potential transformers, one curve drawing volt meter daily charts. Between the two motor panels there is mounted the incoming line panel with necessary oil switch.
To meet the requirements of the board of fire insurance underwriters, and for the protection of the city, it was necessary to provide a reserve pumping equipment. In the arrangement of the steam plant due consideration has been given for the installment of additional boilers and pumping equipment as requirements may demand. For the present the installment of one 225 h. p. “Geary Water Tube Boiler,” cross drum type, for a working pressure of 165 pounds per square inch, together with a feed water heater, boiler feed pump, and all necessary piping and accessories to connect with a “Kerr Economy” turbine to operate at 1800 R. P. M. for direct connection to pump were arranged for.
Installment of Meters.
Relative to meters Superintendent Lawrence, in his report, says as follows: It is a wellknown fact that the water department of every city is justified in adopting measures to prevent the waste of water. In the sale of any commodity, and water is a commodity, there must be in all fairness some basic principle upon which its costs of production and sale can be established so that each individual interested may receive equitable results; it is not fair trading to sell at the same price one family or individual 2,000 gallons of water a month and the next door neighbor 10,000 gallons, yet such conditions exist where schedule rates prevail. The manner of attempting to set a price on a commodity, the amount of which has not been determined, is about, as difficult a problem as a water works superintendent has placed before him for solution; the amount of water used is not known, the right to handle the faucet is leased to the consumer and he handles it as he pleases. The much discussed subject of “ownership of meters,” has been given careful attention; the meter is a machine; if owned by the consumer protection will be given and care exercised against frost, hot water, or other damage it may receive; whereas, if owned by the utility precaution against damage will be neglected, houses may he vacated without notice to the utility, and the meter left subject to the elements. Then again, it the utility should furnish and install the meter, the rates would have to be increased accordingly. In other words, The Cost of Service is Made the Legal Basis for Rate. During the year 1915 there have been 457 meters installed. On December 31 there were 1,276 taps and 605 meters in use.
The pumps, motors, and other equipment at original station are in good condition and at the present time doing good service. The department shall continue pumping from this station until such time as the “Steam Emergency Plant” is installed at new station.
Considering the years of service, the transmission mains and the distributing system is in good condition; all of the original system has been in service over 23 years, and the report says it will be the policy of the department to get all the benefit possible prior to renewing.
The expense of maintenance under this head is a large item. The department has 226 fire hydrants connected to the distributing system. During the summer months they are used for street and park sprinkling, flushing sewers and many other purposes. This custom, the report says, is decidedly wrong and foreign to the use for which a fire hydrant was ever intended. Many of the men seldom know or little care that hy’drants are set primarily for fire protection, and are not designed to be opened by unskilled hands at random. Such use of a hydrant in one day may be more severe on the working parts than 20 years of legitimate use. Until such time as provisions can be made to limit the use of hydrants to fire only, there will always be a feeling of anxiety when a call is made for the fire department, that a hydrant may be found frozen when most needed. The department shall continue to keep up a systematic inspection of all hydrants.
The cost of maintenance for the past year has been small, considering the years ot service and the method of extension from year to year. The purchase of the new motor trucks for the fire department, and the building of the reservoir has been very beneficial in prolonging the life of the water mains, as same have not been subjected to direct pressure.
Owing to the unusual amount of rain during the summer months, it was hard to regulate lawn sprinkling rates. Revenue from this source shows a reduction of approximately 80 per cent, from preceding year. Collections as a whole have been very satisfactory. Total revenue for the year 1915 was $4,780.96 less than for the year 1914. The cost of power for 1915 was $4,039.30 less than the year 1914. Considering the items of revenue and power shows a decrease of $741.66 for the year 1915. No revenue is received from the city for hydrant rentals, in lieu thereof a five mill levy is assessed on the total valuation for fire protection. From this fund the interest on bonds is paid and a sinking fund provided to retire bonds at maturity. The entire cost of the new pumping station and all equipments (with the exception of about $5,000, the balance in the bond fund January 1, 1915) has been paid from surplus earnings.
There are many cases where two or more houses are supplied by one service pipe, having but one curb cock to control the water. This method, the report says, is decidedly wrong. It prevents turning the water off for delinquents, vacancy or for other purposes to one house, without interference with the service of others. Our custom of making book entry simply showing that water has been cut off, places the control of service entirely in the hands of the occupant.
Each house served with water should have its own service pipe, or the regular monthly rates paid for each house, whether vacant or occupied, where meters are installed the minimum monthly charge should be collected for each house, regardless of the quantity of water used. Rules governing the use of water for lawn sprinkling and garden purposes (for those not having meters installed) will in the future be strictly enforced.
The cashier’s statement gives the following figures: Operating revenues, $52,430.56; operating expenses, $36,118.19; net operating revenue, $16,312.37; non-operating revenue, $200.06; gross income, $16,512.43; interest on bonds, $8,750.04; sinking fund requirements, $2,625; net income, $5,137.39.