THE POLICY OF WATER FILTRATION*

THE POLICY OF WATER FILTRATION*

The purification of water by filtration has long ceased to be a novelty in this country. _____ generation ago there were almost no filters in the United States. Now we are looking forward to an early day when the filtration of water is to be well-nigh universal. We have passed through the stage of experiment; we have found out the unique conditions that demanded the application of new principles, and we are now entering an age of construction; the scientific principles are being practically applied and the benefits of the art are becoming more and more manifest.

The impelling ideas that have hastened the installation of filters in so many places are interesting to consider. One of the most forceful, perhaps, has been the occurrence of typhoid fever epidemics. When a community has been stricken with this dread disease and when it has been traced to the public water supply, with its branches leading into every house, public opinion is apt to emphasize its demands for pure water in a way that brings results. The influence of such an occurrence is felt not only in its own locality, but throughout the country at large. Perhaps no other single influence has saved so many lives from typhoid fever as typhoid fever epidemics themselves. A hundred deaths from the same cause occurring at once in a single community attract more attention than a thousand deaths in the same community scattered over a period of time, and if the protective meatires adopted as a result of the epidemic serve to lower the general death rate even to a small extent, the ultimate saving of lives may far exceed the few lives lost during the period of excitement. Epidemics have been influential in another way. They have shown that surface water supplies apparently but little polluted are liable to sudden infection. Some of the most appalling outbreaks of typhoid fever have occurred as the result of sudden and unexpected infection of a water supply hitherto regarded as safe. The old theory that pure water is better than purified water, often expressed by Dr. Brown in the phrase “Innocence is better than repentance,” has received many a hard jolt in recent years. The damage that can be done by a single case of typhoid fever on a sparsely settled watershed testifies to the soundness of the position taken by Germany in compelling all surface waters to be filtered and prescribing certain standards of efficiency. A more potent force at the present time, however, is the public opinion that is rolling up in tremendous volumes and constantly accelerating in favor of better sanitation and greater cleanliness all along the line. Nothing is more conspicuous in magazine literature at the present time than the prominence given to public hygiene, and from cleanliness demanded for the sake of safety to cleanliness demanded for its own sake is but a stepping-stone. And so it is that filters are being built to get water that is clean, free from dirt, free from color, free from bad-smelling algea, free from iron, as well as free from bacteria. Again, filters are being installed because they pay. It is cheaper to filter water than to pay the doctor and the druggist. It is cheaper to soften a very hard water than to waste soap and let boilers go to pieces. It is less expensive to remove the dirt and vegetable stain from the public water supply and make the water fit for the dining table than to buy spring water and run the risk of infection by having it delivered in containers that pass front house to house Perhaps no better illustration could be found of the fact that a filter is a good business investment than the numerous filters that have been recently installed by the private water companies of the country,—by the “soulless corporations.” supposed to be guided by principles of finance, not those of paternal benevolence. These companies are learning that it pays to sell good water, just as it pays to sell good flour or good coal, and that people are willing to pay a fair price for a good article. The time has come also when the quality of water furnished by a waterworks system is recognized as an important element in the value of a waterworks property. When the Kennebec Water District of Waterville, Maine, condemned the works of the Maine Water Company in that city the award of the commissioners was less than it would have been had not an epidemic of typhoid fever just previous to the hearings testified unmistakably to the unfit source from which the water was taken, and the same was true of the condemnation of the waterworks at Augusta, Maine. When the Staten Island Water Supply Companies were purchased by the city of New York the fact that some of the water was brackish and contained iron in troublesome quantities was an element in the computation of value, and in other waterworks litigation the handicap to the water supply on account of its hardness has been an element in determining the value of the property. Purity, therefore, is a most valuable asset in a water supply. Most of the contracts between cities and private water companies call for the delivery of pure and wholesome water. In the past these terms have been interpreted somewhat loosely. In the future they are likely to be more strictly interpreted and failure to live up to this clause of the contract may involve serious consequences. Whether the courts in the future will hold water companies financially or criminally responsible for deaths due to the use of infected water remains to be seen. It is one of the possibilities, however, that should not be lost sight of. Even should it not come to this the good will of a waterworks business is reckoned as one of the intangible elements of value, and it will be found that this cannot afford to be lost through failure to furnish good water to the consumers. Granted the moral and legal obligation to furnish pure water, the question follows, is filtration the cheapest way to get it? Generally speaking, it is. There may be cases where ground waters can be more economically developed and ground waters may have certain advantages over surface waters, even though filtered,—one of which is a more equable temperature that makes it more suitable for drinking during the hot weather when it is most in demand. But even ground waters sometimes require filtration to remove iron, and ground waters may be hard and brackish. There may be instances where it is better to abandon a grossly polluted supply or one that is difficult or expensive to purify, and seek another source: but in many cases, possibly in most cases, it is cheaper to filter an existing source and utilize the existing equipment than to seek a new supply of water elsewhere. It is interesting to see how many expedients have been suggested for avoiding filtration. It has been attempted to prevent water from acquiring color by draining swamp areas, but calculations have shown that the cost of this treatment of a watershed may exceed the cost of reducing the color an equal amount by filtration. It has been attempted to prevent growths of algae by stripping the soil of reservoir sites, but the elaborate studies made by Messrs. Hazen and Fuller have shown that for the new Catskill supply for the city of New York filtration would be a cheaper and better remedy. It has been attempted to get rid of bad odors due to algae by blowing air into water or by the use of aerating fountains, but while aeration is an excellent auxiliary process it is not usually successful when used alone Sedimentation has been used to get rid of suspended matter and sometimes chemical coagulation has been used in connection with it, but here again the process is incomplete and not wholly satisfactory. The ozonation of water has been tried again and again, but besides being but a partial process its expense at present makes its use prohibitive. Disinfection with chloride of lime is now commanding general interest. Its power to destroy sporeless bacteria is unquestioned and it has the great advantage of being cheap, but while it poisons the germs in water it does not clean. All of these processes, disinfection, coagulation, sedimentation, aeration, are essentially processes auxiliary to filtration.—valuable and important in their place, but limited in value to particular conditions and usually insufficient in themselves to produce a clean, sweet and safe water. There is another thought that appeals to many and is indeed endorsed by some of our sanitarians, namely, that it is better to prevent the pollution of streams and lakes by sewage and trade wastes than to allow the streams and lakes to become foul and then spend money to purify them. The answer to this is that for ideal conditions both ought to be done. To allow our naturally pure streams to become as foul and unsanitary as many of them are is disgraceful. Nevertheless, sanitary improvements, like all other improvements, cost money and it is wisest to spend our money where it will go farthest. Now the filtration of water is very much cheaper than the purification of sewage and from the sanitary standpoint is more efficient. It is, therefore, logical, scientific and hygenically proper to devote our attention first to the filtration of our water supplies, leaving the question of sewage disposal to be treated locally and principally from the standpoint of nuisance. The essential thing is to have somewhere a reliable safeguarding mechanism constantly in operation between all possible sources of pollution and the water consumers. In the case of watersheds sparsely settled it is obviously more economical to have this protecting mechanism concentrated in one place, that is, at the water filter, than to attempt to establish numerous sewage disposal plants at every house or group of houses. The sanitary control of watersheds is an excellent thing, as experience with this method in Massachusetts and other states has shown, and where the watershed is subject to such constant scrutiny as is the Croton supply of New York City the dangers of infection are largely eliminated. But water analyses point out dangers, they do not prevent them; and accidental infection may occur on the best kept watersheds. There is reason to believe that even in New York, where the typhoid fever death rate is relatively low, the influence of the water supply on the health of the city is by no means negligible. There may be cases, however, where filtration alone is not sufficient. A stream may become so polluted that filtration is no longer able to purify the water without preliminary treatment. Even before this point is reached the pollution of a stream may increase the cost or difficulty of filtration. For example, the sulphite wastes of the pulp mills that pollute some of our nothern streams impart a taste to the water that is difficult to remove, and may cause an increase in the organic matter and a reduction in alkalinity that necessitates the use of larger doses of chemicals for coagulation. Again, the waste from gas works may give to water a tarry odor that is not readily removed by filtration. The great problem of stream pollution and the adjustment of the conflicting interests of riparian owners are matters that need not be discussed here. The point to be emphasized is, simply, that so far as economy and sanitary benefit are concerned more can be accomplished by installing filter plants than by patrolling watersheds or building sewage disposal works, or stripping reservoirs or draining swamps. All of these are of some use, but as compared with filtration they should be relegated to a secondary place. Nor do I believe that purification by sedimentation alone, or by aeration alone, or by disinfection alone, will prove acceptable in the long run to water consumers. This policy of universal filtration of surface waters is approved by the best sanitary engineers and the reason for its emphasis at the present time is that it is likely to be lost sight of by the public in the midst of the flood of literature relating to the details of sewage treatment and the highly commendable attempt to maintain the purity of our lakes and streams by preventing the discharge of raw sewage into them. Filtration, as a problem solved, is losing its news value: but sewage purification, as a problem unsolved, rightly demands the attention of the scientific journals and the investigators. The conservative sanitarians of the country believe that it would be wiser for our public health authorities to secure and enforce laws demanding the purification of water as the first step, letting the laws requiring the purification of sewage stand in abeyance except in situations where it is obviously necessary to enforce them to prevent local nuisances or to avoid conditions of excessive pollution dangerous to the public health. By adopting this policy the greatest good will result from the expenditure of least money, and in the present unsatisfactory financial condition of so many of our cities, with their bonded indebtedness at or very near the legal limit, the practical importance of this is very great. Furthermore, with the methods of sewage disposal in their present unsettled and unsatisfactory condition, in spite of recent advances in the art, it is believed to be a sounder and safer policy for our state governments to demand first those reforms that will be certain of results rather than to require the installation of expensive works the results of which are problematical. The speaker does not wish to be understood as opposing the general policy of sewage purification. On the contrary he is heartily in favor of it and believes that there are many places in this country where it ought now to be undertaken, and he further believes that the time will some day come when the purification of sewage will be generally practiced, but he also believes that in many situations it is scientific and proper to take advantage of the natural agencies of purification in water just as it is scientific and proper to use the natural agencies of purification in the ground, so long as these agencies can be used either on land or water without causing offence. To come nearer home, no one should know better than the members of this association that the laws of the State of New York relating to the quality of public water supplies are hopelessly ineffective. The State Department of Health is given some measure of control over the public sewer systems, but very little control over the water supplies. Even the sanitary regulations adopted for certain watersheds from which water supplies are taken are cumbersome, circuitous, and practically a dead letter, except as they are enforced by moral suasion. When to this is added the absurdly inadequate appropriations furnished the department for its work it is not difficult to understand why the State of New York is losing prestige in sanitary affairs. The situation is one that cannot exist for long. A revision of the statutes relative to the protection of the citizens of the State against the danger of impure water is inevitable. When such a revision is made it should provide not only for the prevention of excessive stream pollution but for the adequate protection and purification of water supplies in some such manner, perhaps, as the law recently passed in Ohio, though naturally with modifications adjusted to the legal and physical conditions of a different state. In drafting a law of this character there are naturally various conflicting interests demanding consideration. The most important of these, perhaps, may be classified as follows:

* Paper read at a meeting of the New York Association of Private Water Companies, December 11, 1909.

First—The manufacturing establishments located along the streams, presumably carrying on a profitable business and polluting the water with matter some of which is worthless and some of which might be recovered or taken care of at little or no expense and occasionally with profit.

Second—Municipalities considered as owners of non-revenue-producing sewerage systems.

Third—Municipalities, or private water companies considered as owners of revenue-producing waterworks systems.

Fourth—The people of the municipalities considered as water consumers—constituting a large proportion of the population of the state.

Fifth—The riparian owners and others inconveniences by the minor nuisances of stream pollution—constituting a comparatively small proportion of the population of the state.

It is thus seen that water filtration places the burden upon the revenue-producing interests and is of benefit to the greatest proportion of the population. A law of this character, if it has any vital force, must necessarily bear somewhat heavily for a time on certain water supplies of the state and possibly upon the supplies of some of the private water companies. The speaker believes, however, that the members of this association are too broad-minded and too keenly alive to the business advantage that arises from public confidence and pride in the good quality of a water supply than to oppose a measure drafted along the lines mentioned. He hopes that this association may co-operate with the numerous civic bodies interested in municipal improvement in the interest of a new sanitary law for the State of New York and an ample appropriation for its enforcement.

The Water Supply of McKeesport.

The city of McKeesport, Pa., is supplied with water from two pumping stations, the main station being equipped with two Blake pumping engines and one of Wilson-Snyder make and the high service station with Worthington engines. The superintendent’s report for 1908 shows that during the year, the total amount of water pumped was 1,979,005,635 gallons, an average of 5,421,933 gallons per day. The total expenses at the main pumping station during the year were $23,301, at the high service station $5,637, the total expenditure for maintenance and operation, per 1,000,000 gallons pumped, was $23.94. Superintendent T. H. Verner, in his report to the Board of Water and Lighting Commissioners, describes machinery, boilers and buildings at both pumping stations in good condition. The distribution system includes a little over 60 miles of mains, controlled by 753 street valves and serving 412 fire hydrants, in use December 31, 1908. The superintendent reports the cast-iron mains as in fairly good condition, except five or six miles, which are too small and should be replaced with new and larger pipe in the very near future, the street valves and fire hydrants are in good condition. The wrought-iron main, of which there are about three and one-half miles, he reports in bad condition, and should be replaced with new and larger pipe as soon as possible. On December 31, 1908, the city had in use 1,628 meters, in a total number of 6,090 services, an increase of 93 meters, as compared with 1907. The meters included 769 “Crown,” 558 Empire, 118 Pittsburg, and Keystone and 96 Hersey, the remainder divided among other makes. The average daily percapita consumption, estimating the city’s population at 50,000, was 135 1/2 gallons for 1908, compared with 121 gallons for 1907. For water, receipts amounted to $64,730, of which $26,824 was for metered services. The department was also credited by the city with $40 per annum for each fire hydrant, or representing a total of $16,480, and received credit for the water furnished to the different city departments, bringing its total receipts up to $88,800. In the maintenance account, the heaviest item was for filtration, $26,710, the construction account totaled $29,334, and for new meters and repairs, $1,312 was expended, the cost of maintenance being $6,019 in excess of cash received, but this was more than provided for by unexpended balances, etc., so that the department opened the year 1909 with a balance of $25,219 to its credit. The water pressure maintained at the different points throughout the city is ample for fire and domestic purposes, ranging from 118 pounds to the square inch at the lowest elevation, to 42 pounds at the highest point above the city datum.

Jacksonville Water Statistics.

Water for the city of Jacksonville, Fla., is supplied from flowing artesian wells by direct pumping and to water tower. The plant, built in 1879-80, is owned by the city and valued at $513,113. The pumping station is equipped with one l 1/2-million compound Worthington, two 5-million gallon triple expansion Worthing and one 8-million gallon Fred W. Prescott Steam Pump Company triple expansion engine. One of the 5-million gallon Worthington engines has been practically rebuilt, and is now in good condition. During the year, the pumps delivered 1,195,838,939 gallons of water, an average of 3,267,519 gallons per day, on a daily coal consumption of 6.7 tons, the total cost of pumping, based on pumping engine expenses, being $19,368. The distribution is effected through 61 miles of cast-iron mains, sizes 4 to 20 inch, 2,367 feet having been added to the system during the past year. According to Superintendent R. N. Ellis, there are 5,897 services suplied, the average daily consumption being 554 to each service, or on an estimated population of 50,000, the per-capita daily consumption is 65.34 gallons. There are 620 hydrants set, of which three were added during the year. The number of meters in use is 4,026. Of the total services, 68.27 per cent, are metered, 511 meters having been installed during the year. The fact that the wells, which, for twenty-four hours on December 31, 1903, showed a total flow of 5,673,288 gallons, had fallen off to 4,957,526 gallons during 24 hours on December 31, 1908, a decrease of 715,762 gallons, indicates, according to Superintendent Ellis, that it may be necessary to put down a new well next year. The reservoir, during the year, was emptied, cleaned and put in thorough repair, as was also the water-tower tank and the aerating basins are also reported in good order. The gross earnings of the plant for the year ending December 31, 1908, amounted to $108, 258.78. Deducting the operating expenses, $45,022,70, leaves the net earnings of $63,236. Of the total receipts, $87,010.93 was received from customers and $19,355 for hydrant service, the fire department of Jacksonville having paid this amount to the water department, for the maintenance and supply of fire hydrants. Under excellent management, the waterworks of the city of Jacksonville is a profitable branch of the city government, having, in addition to paying its own operating expenses and expend ing $26,827 for extensions and improvements, transferred $31,000, in profits to other depart ments.

Report on Richmond Waterworks.

Dabney H. Maury, C.E., of Peoria, Ill., who recently was engaged by the city of Richmond, Ind., to make a report on the plant of the Richmond Water Works Company, has submitted his report to the board of works. It covers a large number of folios, and an itemized account of every feature of the plant. Maps and photographs of various pipe lines and construction accompany the report. It shows that the plant is in excellent condition. The present annual yield being 8.34 per cent, on $596,832, the physical value of the works at the present time. The net earnings increase at the rate of $1,600 a year. Thus at the end of 20 years the total earnings would aggregate $1,324,000. As the plant, including all improvements, is valued at $857,188.33, it would thus pay for itself in less than 20 years. The net value of the physical plant, with the changes, but without taking into consideration the going con cern value, is $736,362.64. The net cost with all changes, including the going concern value, is $857,188,33. The net earnings on this latter amount would yield 5.81 per cent, annually. The earnings without the changes, but including the going concern value would be 6.94 per cent. The going concern value is $110,825.69. What is meant by the “going concern value” of a plant is explained as follows: In brief, it is the cost of reproducing the business of a going plant. The difference is estimated year by year between the net earnings of a going plant, and those of an exactly similar starting plant, from the date of the beginning of construction of the latter up to the time when its business shall have become equal to that of the going plant. Each of these differences is then discounted back to the date of the beginning of the construction of the starting plant, and the sum of the present worths so found is the value of the going plant.

The construction of the starting plant is assumed to begin on July 1, 1909. Such a plant would be completed in two years; but the net earnings would not be equal to those of the going plant, that now in operation, until June 30, 1913. This assumption is merely for the sake of comparison. In his report Mr. Maury recommends changes in the local plant to the extent of $139,470. The most important ones are as follows: First—An increase in the water supply. Second—Various minor changes in the machinery at the pumping station. Third—A new 20-inch main. Fourth—Changes in the pipe lines in the vicinity of the pumping station. Fifth—One additional compound pumping engine of 5,000,000 gallons daily capacity. Sixth—A 16-inch pipe line from Twenty-third and Main streets to South Seventh and B streets; and a number of other pipe lines to relieve dead ends. Seventh—One hundred and ten additional fire hyrants on the existing mains. The average net earnings of the company for the past six years was $49,800 and $35,000 bonded indebtedness has been paid off. It has paid $76,875 in cash dividends and $125,000 in stock dividends. The assets of the company at the present time are $653,299.35, and the total liabilities $592,840.40. During the past six years the company has made $201,474.52. The net book value of the investment up to June 30, 1909, is $650,695.18. In 1914, at the present rate of increase, the gross revenue of the company will be $88,000; the gross revenue at present being about $75,000. The operating expenses, which are now about $26,000, will amount to $31,000 in 1914. According to the report, the present net earnings of the plant are $51,400; and the depreciation is $68,693.02. In fact, the plant is in better condition at the present time than the plants in many cities of the same size, or even larger.

The Rialto Block Kansas City Gone.

On Thursday morning, December the 23rd, at 3:30 o’clock, a historic building of Kansas City, Mo., the home of professional men, was destroyed. The “Rialto” an office building, principally occupied by about 100 doctors and dentists, was built in 1887. It was an ordinary structure with no special fire protective equipment, but a liberal amount of interior woodwork. It was considered a fire trap by the local fire experts and its wiping out is looked upon as a good thing for the city. The fire started in the basement of the building and, owing to the inflammable nature of its contents, the men found it impossible to stay the spread of the flames. There were nine physicians asleep on different floors, when the negro janitor, Jeramiah W. Johnson, discovered the fire, He ran through the building and notified all the people of the danger and succeeded in getting them to the street bfore he collapsed from fatigue and the effects of the smoke. The apparatus was promptly on the scene and several well directed streams were beginning to have a good effect when a great explosion occurred, which was nearly the cause of some firemen working in the vicinity losing their lives. A gas main broke and flames from it shot up through the building to the top floors. Assistant Chief Alex Henderson, who was in charge, and a squad of men were on the first floor of the building. The force of the explosion threw them into a corner of the room, but they escaped serious injury. The explosion shook the entire building and as the flames were spreading to all parts of the structure, it was expected another explosion might occur at any time. Captain Pelletier, with several men, were working in the basement of the Ninth street entrance, and immediately after they reached the street a third explosion occurred and had any of the firemen remained in the building they would have been buried beneath the falling floors and walls. The building now was doomed and, although 20 fire companies were employed, their efforts seemed to have little effect on the furnace that raged in the centre of the building. A local paper says: “Because the building was not equipped with an automatic gas shut-off as required by an ordinance passed a week ago, workmen were compelled to chisel through the asphalt pavement of the street to reach the main before the flow could be stopped.” The fire broke out at 3:30 December 24, and it was 10 p. m. the next day before the gas could be shut off. Chief Egner lays the blame for losing the building to the explosion. His men were making good headway, in fact had stopped the fire on the first floor of the south side of the building when the first shock came and compelled the men to retreat to the street. The building was valued at $125,000, although it cost $200,000 to build, and the loss on the contents will probably bring the amount up to a much higher figure. The illustrations given were made from special photographs furnished this journal. They show the first stage of the fire, the ruins, a view of the gas explosion and the men engaged in digging for the broken gas main 30 hours after the accident occurred.

X SHOWS HOLE MADE IN SIDEWALK BY GAS EXPLOSION. FLAMES STILL COMING OUT AT 4 P. M.

Fire Protection in Philadelphia.

The city of Philadelphia is expending about $1,500,000 in furnishing better fire protection to an important part of the business section of the city. It will be known as the northeast high pressure system and covers practically the entire mill district. Work on this important addition to the city’s firefighting facilities is rapidly approaching compltion and is about two-thirds done, the plans embracing a much larger territory than was originally contemplated. It will be connected at three points also with the central high pressure fire main system, at Thirteenth and Callowhill streets, Broad and Race streets and Race and Front streets. A still further source of power has been provided also by a connection for the city’s fireboats at East Susquehanna and Delaware avenues. When connected up the combined plants will be capable of delivering at any point within the high pressure districts upward of 20,000 gallons of water a minute up to a maximum pressure of 300 lbs. to the square inch. Still further extensions are planned which will bring the cost of the northeast system up to about $2,000,000. Work on an extension to the central system also will be started next month for the protection of the garage blocks between Twelfth and Broad streets and Race and Callowhill streets, with high pressure fireplugs on the west side of Broad street, for the protection of property between Broad and Fifteenth streets and Race and Callowhill streets. The cast iron mains, of the universal joint type, for the new system, are tested as laid to a pressure of 400 pounds to the square inch, a margin of safety of at least 100 pounds over any pressure they will be subjected to in service. The special power plant for this system is located at Seventh street and Lehigh avenue. It consists of eight 300 horse power vertical, three-cylinder, fourcycle type, gas operated pumping engines capable of delivering, at a maximum pressure of 300 pounds per square inch at any point in the system, 10,000 gallons of water a minute. The plant will derive its water supply from the reconstructed Fairhill reservoir, immediately adjoining the pumping station. This reservoir has a total capacity of 4,962,000 gallons, or sufficient to run the plant continuously for eight hours at a maximum delivery of 10,000 gallons a minute under a presssure of 300 pounds per square inch, without drawing on the city’s water supply. When the central high pressure system was placed in operation, a reduction of 25 cents per $100 on insurance rates in the section it protected was made and business men within the field covered by the new northeast system, are anticipating a similar reduction on its completion.

Fighting Fire Under Difficulties.

The fire department of Saginaw, Mich., was called on the evening of December 15, to respond to an alarm of fire in the Farmers’ Handy Wagon Company’s plant, located outside of the city limits on the east. The fire, which was discovered by the watchman, started from an unknown cause, at the south-western end of the building, and had made good headway by the time the firemen arrived. The alarm, which was sent in by telephone, followed by a box call, brought five hose companies and a ladder truck, but the water supply available, according to the information furnished by the chief of the fire department was entirely inadequate, there being but a single hydrant with two 2 1/2-inch connections on the premises and another at a distance of about 400 feet. With a pressure of about 50 pounds, furnished by the 8-inch main, the firemen managed to get five hydrant streams, from 1-inch nozzles, on the fire, laying 3,900 feet of rubber and cotton, rubber-lined hose, none of which burst, during the fire. In spite of low water pressure and insufficient hydrants, the firemen managed to confine the fire to the building in which it originated, which was destroyed, with a loss of about $37,500. The loss on contents, consisting of wagons in the course of manufacture, wagon material, paints, oils and other combustible stuff, was about $112,000.

Mysterious Fire in Grand Rapids.

The fire department of Grand Rapids, Mich., was summoned on the night of Dec. 20 by an alarm turned in from box 7 by a policeman, who had discovered smoke coming from the basement of a building in the central portion of the city’s shopping district, occupied by the Siegel Company, as a cloak store. The building is a three-story structure of brick and wood, built about 40 years ago, without partition walls, sprinklers or any interior protection, and when the firemen arrived, the fire was burning in the basement. The first apparatus to respond was a Metropolitan steamer, two trucks and three hose wagons. It was found that the basement and first floor were filled with rubbish, among which the fire had good hold, consequently the smoke was so dense that it was with difficulty the men could reach it. They succeeded, however, in confining it to the absement, but it took three hours of hard work to accomplish this. Subsequent examination of the premises showed that the fire, which had burned through half of the joists on the first floor, had not started anywhere near the heating apparatus, and as described in a report furnished this journal by Fire Marshal Henry Lemoin, it was decidedly of mysterious origin. Eight hydrants were employed in the fight, enabling the men to get one engine and six plug streams on the fire. The diameters of the nozzles used were 3/4 to 1 1/8-inch, and as a 16-inch main furnished 65 pounds pressure, there was no difficulty from that source. The men laid 2,500 feet of cotton rubber-lined hose, not one length of which showed any weakness during the long time it was in constant use. Marshal Lemoin states that the damage to the building will not exceed $1,500 and to the contents about $10,000. Some slight injury was done to the adjoining stores by smoke and water, but considering the conditions that existed, the work of the department was most satisfactory.

DIGGING HOLE No. 3 FOR GAS MAIN AT 3 P. M. THREE STREAMS STILL OPERATING ON RUINS OF RIALTO BUILDING.

The Water Supply of Buffalo.

With the Niagara River, the tremendous overflow from Lake Erie, pouring past its doors, the city of Buffalo, N. Y., with its population of 410,000, did not have far to go for an unlimited supply of excellent water. A pumping station, conveniently near the river, with an inlet pier, built 106 feet out in the stream and two intake tunnels, one 6 feet in diameter, the other 6×12 feet in cross section, having a combined capacity of 350,000,000 gallons a day, sufficed to meet every requirement in this direction. The pumps, 9 in number, 7 operated by steam and 2 by electric current, furnished by the Falls hydro-electric plant, have a combined capacity of 202,000,000 gallons in 24 hours and the pumping station, a substantial, strictly fireproof brick structure, 640×102 feet, with separate accommodations for the boilers, is the largest establishment of the kind under one roof in the world. The construction of the plant was started by the Buffalo City Waterworks Company, incorporated in 1849, which completed the works and began the service to the city in 1851. In 1868 the city purchased the plant for $705,000 and its management was entrusted to a board of water commissioners. In 1892, the Department of Public Works superseded the commission and the direction of its affairs is still vested in the Bureau of Water of that body, with Deputy Water Commissioner Henry L. Lyon as its practical and operative head. Three of the pumping engines are Worthington and Lake Erie make, two arc Holly-Gaskell, one Lake Erie, one Snow and one Lake Erie and two Snow centrifugal, the latter being electrically operated, the boilers are housed in separate buildings, known as the north and south boiler house and there is a complete electric light plant that supplies light for the pumping station and surroundings and the inlet pier. The tunnels, parallel with each other and about 30 feet apart, are driven through the solid limestone rock and are unlined. They take the water into wells, 4 1/2 to 8 feet in width and 18 feet deep and lined with cement, with which ihe suctions of the pumps connect. The pumps force the water into the Prospect reservoir which covers the block bounded by Best, Jefferson, Dodge and Masten streets. It is 1,472 1/2 feet in length, 597 1/2 feet in width, contains 20.20 acres, and has a capacity of 116,213,827 gallons when filled to a depth of 30 feet. The surface of the water is then 113 feet above the level of the water at the inlet pier and 685.23 feet above mean tide at New York. The water is distributed throughout the city by 528 miles of cast-iron pipe, ranging from 1 1/2 inch to 48 inches in diameter, of which 62,282 feet were laid during the year from July 1, 1907, to July 1, 1908. The mains are controlled by 8,558 valves, from 4 to 48 inches in size and serve 4.965 hydrants for fire purposes. In addition to the above, there is a fireboat and pipe line that extends throughout the congested value district and is supplied by fire tugs, pumping direct from the Buffalo River, with a combined capacity of 18,000 gallons per minute, the main being tested to a pressure of 300 pounds to the square inch. Every 250 feet along this main, a hydrant, with four 3 1/2-inch connections, with separate gates and a call box are placed. The total amount of water pumped during the last year after allowance for slip was 48,451,241,033 gallons, divided about equally between the high service, with a pressure at the pumps of 75 pounds to the square inch, and the reservoir service, with a pressure at the pumps of 50 pounds to the square inch, the average daily pressure in the city being 30 pounds to the square inch. The city has 72,882 service connections, in sizes from 54-inch to 10 inches. There were in use on July 1, 1908, 2,620 meters, of which 207 were added during the preceding year. Of the meters in use, there were 533 of the Hersey make, 361 Crown, 228 Worthington, 207 Buffalo, 203 American. 194 Keystone, 138 Trident, 124 Lambert, 116 Union, the rest being of various other makes. Of the total receipts of the department during the year amounting to $853,252, water rates produced $542,577 and meter rates $207,896. Of the $1,187,673 disbursements, salaries absorbed $204,826, maintenance and repairs $295,138, extension and improvement $70,181. The latter item did not include the work that is being done on the pumping station, which is being remodelled and reconstructed, preparatory to the installation of several new pumping engines, and for which $33,248 is charged in the expenses.

THE RIALTO BUILDING FIRE AT 8 A. M.

Shelton Has a Serious Fire.

On December 1, 1909, a fire occurred at the Radcliffe Brothers’ Woolen mills in Shelton, Conn. It is a brick building, situated in the central part of the city on Howe avenue, between the Huntington Piano Company and the Derby Gas Works. The building had brick partition walls, and was equipped with sprinklers. The contents were chiefly hosiery and knit under wear. The fire started at 6:30 p. m. in the ruins caused by a boiler explosion; the alarm was given 15 minutes later, and the fire was under control at in o’clock. When the department arrived the fire was confined mostly to the building used for storing raw material. This was close to the boiler room in which the boiler exploded, doing much damage and crippling the fire alarm system. The firemen kept the flames from spreading; and at 10 a. m. the next day the hose was removed. The greatest loss was caused by the boiler explosion: the loss by fire was not large, being confined mostly to what had already been rendered useless, with the exception of some baled stock. The water pressure was sufficient to furnish good plug streams, but was reduced for a short time by the breaking of the sprinkler main. The apparatus consisted of 2 jumpers and a hook and ladder truck equipped with Seagrave trussed ladders. The water was supplied by gravity. Four 6-inch double hydrants, 300 feet apart, were available, with a water pressure of about 90 pounds. However, only three hydrant streams were thrown. The street in front of the property is 50 feet wide and contains a 12-inch water main. Regular 1 1/4-inch shut-off nozzles were employed. 1,300 feet of hose were used, 900 of which were cotton rubber-lined, and too feet rubber, two lengths of which burst during the fire.

Hot Fire at Greendale, Mass.

That ever-present source of mischief in an electric transformer station, a leaking oil valve, was responsible for a fire that occurred in the transforming station of the Connecticut River Transmission Company, Greendale, near Worcester, Mass., on December 11. The building is located in the northern part of the city and about 12 miles out. The fire was discovered in the rear part of the building by the workmen on duty, who sent in a telephone alarm at 11:12 p. m. In response to this Chief George S. Coleman sent Hose Company No. 10; at 11:40, Chemical Company No. 3 was sent, and in response to the box alarm then sent out. two engines, a second and a fourthsize La France, were despatched to the scene. When the firemen arrived, flames were coming from the second story windows of the brick building, which was 60×40 feet, with brick partition walls and built in 1909. Only one hydrant was available, supplied by a 16inch main on an 8-inch connection, so both engines worked on one line. One stream, from a 1 1/4-inch nozzle was thrown; 2,000 feet of cotton, rubber-lined hose were laid, of which two lengths burst during the fire. There was a good supply of water for engines, furnished by the gravity system. The city is put ting in a new 16-inch main here, but it is not yet completed. The fire burned until all the oil on fire was consumed, no explosion of oil taking place, but as there were three tanks, each containing 1,500 gallons of oil on the upper floor, the men were not sent into the building and Were ordered to take no chances. So intense was the heat, that the expansion of the roof girders caused them to buckle and force the walls out. The loss on building and contents was about $30,000.

COOLING OFF RUINS OF RIALTO BLOCK AND MEN DIGGING FOR GAS MAIN, PLUG WHERE GAS BLEW HOLE THROUGH FLAGGING.

Highland Park Fire Protection.

The Underwriters’ recommendations for Highland Park, a suburb of New Brunswick, N. J., are as follows: “That an engine company having four permanent, and five call men, provided with a 700-gallon capacity combination hose wagon equipped with a 35-gallon chemical tank, and carrying 250 feet of chemical, and 800 feet of 2 1/2-inch hose and equipment as specified in recommendation No. 28b, be located at Second and Raritan avenues.

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