The Methuen Water Supply
The need for Methuen, Mass., to take immediate action in regard to the water supply and storage capacity, which will be sufficient to afford adequate protection in case of accident or emergency, has been pointed out to the residents of Methuen by John Franklin, civil engineer, of Lawrence, Mass., who has made a study of the Methuen water supply. Mr. Franklin states that when the present system was installed the town was about otiethird its present size. The average daily consumption at that time was estimated at about 240,000 gallons. For 1915 the average daily consumption was 1,398,000 gallons, and the maximum consumption for seven consecutive days in the same year was 6,010,000 gallons, or an average of 858,570 a day. This maximum consumption was not due to any serious fire in the town, and is a normal consumption of water. The time is not far distant when reasonable safety will require that some extensions be made in certain parts of the service. The source of supply is from driven wells, of which there are at the present time 155, and four large cement wells. The water is collected from these and pumped to a reservoir on Foster’s hill. This holds 1,013,000 gallons. It is but little more than a 24-hour supply at the maximum normal consumption at present. Entering into the matter further, Mr. Franklin has stated that two of the prime questions would seem to be the amount of water at the source of supply and a storage capacity large enough to afford an adequate protection in case of accident. With relation to the matter of supply he says that the amount of water obtained from the present wells is not sufficient, in the dryer portions of the year, to keep the large pump at the pumping station at more than half its capacity, thus necessitating long hours of pumping. As a source of additional water supply that is worthy of careful consideration he calls attention to Harris’ pond in the west part of the town, the pond frequently known as Welsh’s pond, and he says that the water of the pond is of good quality and has, in his belief, been pronounced by the state board of health to be suitable for domestic purposes. It appears from soundings, that the water in the pond can be lowered six or seven feet below its normal level without uncovering but a small fraction of the bottom of the pond. The amount of water in this upper six or seven feet would be about 90,000,000 gallons. At a small cost, he says, a dam could be built across the outlet of the pond; thereby an additional storage capacity of about 90,000,000 gallons would be made. The water of the pond can be brought by gravity to the present pump house, a distance of a little over 9,000 feet. The cost of this work, exclusive of land damages, he figures to be about $18,000. One advantage of this supply would be that it would afford a large available supply in case of sudden need. He further states that another storage reservoir, having about the same capacity as the present one,, could be built on Fosters hill. This would give the town a safe reserve supply and would add materially to the effectiveness of the system to meet all emergencies. The cost of such a reservoir is figured at $16,000, exclusive of land damages. It would be about 25 per cent, less if an open reservoir is built.