THE RAPID PROGRESS OF METERAGE
The meterage system, although not adopted in a general way in some of the larger cities, has made rapid strides during the past few years, until there is scarcely a city or town that has not installed meters to stop waste, at least on all services where large quantities of water are used. Cleveland is the one city that has pushed to completion a general installation in a comparatively short time. Some details of the situation there as furnished to FIRE AND WATER ENGINEERING by Professor Edward W. Bemis, superintendent of waterworks, will prove interesting. He says:
“I would state that I think we now’ have in use more meters than any other city in this country and more than any city in Great Britain. The number in use increased 7,283 the past year and amounted to 63,864 on December 31st. At that time 88.8 per cent, of our 70,629 services in use were metered. The water passing through these meters, which set on most public as well as private connections, arc 65.8 per cent, of our nominal pumpage, no allowance being made for slip. Our best estimates show that water used for other public purposes through unmetered connections, tire hydrants and flush tanks amounted to 2.9 per cent. The unmetered private connections, at the average use of the metered connections of the same size, would have used 4.6 per cent, of the pumpage—making a total percentage accounted for of 73.3. The slip of the pumps would doubtless bring this up to fully 8a per cent., despite the fact that four-fifths of the pumpage is through two triple-expansion pumps that have only been in use four years and are carefullykept in repair. Therefore, thanks to our meter department, excellent pipe system and daily efforts of a small special department devoted to waste detection, through the use of a few Deacon meters, pitometers and the ordinary hose and meter, the aquaphone, etc., the unaccounted for water outside of the pumping station is not over twenty per cent. The pumpage per capita has fallen from 169.4 gal. per inhabitant in 1901, when we had only about 3,000 meters, to 117.5 galin 1907, with about 60.000 meters in use 011 the average. The population used in this estimate is from the reports of the United States Census Department. The actual daily pumpage, which was 61,712.984 gal. in 1899, and 69,648,383 gal. in 1901, was only 58,883.350 gal. in 1907. Cleveland, thanks to its unusual number of large iron and steel mills and other manufacturing enterprises, uses more water per capita for strictly manufacturing purposes than most cities, so that we do not expect to reduce the pumpage below 100 gal. per day per capita, after allowing for slip of the pumps. Of the 63,000 metered services the 52,000 supplying residences of one and more families and buildings containing one or two stores with tenements above, supply an average of only 6,126 ft. per year. Three-fourths of these services pay a minimum of $2.50 for every six months, and the other one-fourth pay $1.25, whether the water, at our uniform rate for everybody of forty cents per t,coo ft., or 5⅛ cents per 1,000 gal., is used or not. Even with this minimum the above 52,000 properties pay only about two-thirds as much under the meter system as formerly, under the flat rate of assessment system. The water department was able to stand this reduction in revenue, which was not, however, an essential feature of the meter system, but helped its popularity materially. The expenses of administration, repairs, interest and depreciation on the meter system have been carefully estimated as much less than the increase that would have occurred without meters. The latter estimate is based on the rate of increase of consumption of water and expense of pumpage, etc., during the ten years preceding the beginning of universal metering in 1902. Meters have now become very popular, and Cleveland can boast of having proven that universal compulsory metering, done at the expense of the water department, can be made popular.”
Other places, similarly situated as Cleveland, must soon follow its example. Buffalo, particularly, with a per-capita consumption of 322 gal. a day I against 115 in Cleveland, and maintaining an expensive pumping plant, cannot longer view the situation with complacency. It is very strange, with so much evidence as to the beneficial effect of meterage in stopping water waste, that the city authorities have not taken the lesson to heart long ago and followed in the footsteps of other progressive places. John B. Heim, superintendent of waterworks, Madison, Wis., who has made a close study of the subject of meterage and established one of the most successful systems in the country, states in his report for 1907:
“During the past year we increased our water meters from 3,865 to 4,069. We now have only 78 takers without meters. As soon as these connect with the sewer system they will be placed under the general meter system. The city furnishes the meter free to the taker; this includes the meter box. The meters are placed in the cellar. At the introduction of the meter system in 1888-9 the meters were placed free by the department. Including the first installation, the total amount expended up to September 30, 1907, was $58,847.76, an average of $14.19 per meter. The total amount of water pumped, figuring by the revolutions of the engine, including the slippage, was 531,987,499 gal. for the year, an average of 1,457,499 gal. per day, an average per taker per day of 351 gal. At a population of 27,047 the per capita is 53 gal. per day. The total amount of water that passed through the meters was 26,420,088 cti. ft., or 197,622,258 gal., averaging 133 gal. or over four barrels of water per taker per day. Calculating, as usual, at six persons per taker, which is a fair average with us, considering the large manufacturers and numerous boardinghouses on account of the State university, brings the per capita per taker by meter measurement to 22 gal. per day. Calculating the usage of water by the 78 takers under the schedule rate, the same as under the meter system, viz.: 133 gal., brings the total amount of water for which the city received pay to 198,608.773 gal. I must again attract attention of our citizens to the wise move that was made when the general meter system was adopted. During the year of 1884-5 previous to the adoption of the meter system, with only one street-sprinkling wagon and only a district sewer system with 699 water takers, the average amount of water pumped per taker per day was 777 gal. The past year, with seven sprinkling wagons, at an estimated use of 108,300,000 gal. for the season; a general sewer system; an automatic sewer lift of an estimated annual usage of 80,000,000 gal.; more or less sewer flushing of an estimated use of 25,000,000 gal.; 10.000,000 gal. for street work; double pumpage and flushing of mains. 100,000,000 gal., with 4,147 water takers, our pumpage was only 370 gal. per taker per day. Should we add the above 300.000.000 gal. now used to the amount pumped in 1884-5. it would mean 1,965 gal. per taker per day; that would amount, with our 4,147 takers, without the meter system, to 8.148.855 gal. per day instead of 1.457,494 gal. per day the past year. The amount of coal needed to pump this water at the same ratio as in 1884-5 would have amounted to 3,085,480 lb., or 4,414 lb. per taker per year, whereas the past year we only used 531 lb. per taker per year. The past year, using the same basis as of the previous years in comparison, the difference in fuel was’1,593 ⅛-: at $5 25 per ton, the saving will amount to $8,363.25. The total saving in fuel since the inauguration of the meter system was $60.469.53: deducting the total cost of the meters of $58,847.76, leaves a balance of over and above the cost of $1,621.77. At the rent day, January 1, 1907—1,850 water takers paid only the minimum of $2.00 for six months, and 1,857 takers paid only the minimum of $2.00 July 1, 1907, averaging 1,853 takers at $4.00 per annum, or $7,414; 78 takers under the schedule rate paid $398; the other 2,116 takers paid the balance, towit : $25,785.80.”
Launceston, Mass., set 176 meters last year— making a ottal of 1,391 set in the city for domestic and other uses.
At Adams, Mass., the prudential committee has been impowered to establish water meters wherever it thinks best, and to charge not less than $10 for each 10,000 gal. of water.
At Taunton, Mass., eighty-five meters were added dining the last year—making 2,388 now in use. In the city tile percentage of services metered is 47; the percentage of receipts from metered water being 68⅝The water pumped that passed througn meters was 40 per cent. The number of motors and elevators now in use in the city is 21 of which 2 were added during the last year. The meters in use are as follows: Mersey, 541; Union rotary, 510; Trident, 386; Thomson, 306; Lambert, 240; King, 198; Crown, 98; Empire, 59; Niagara, 23; other makes, 22.
At Madison, Wis., there are in use the following meters: Crown, 1,999; Nash, 1,066; Trident, 335; Hersey, 234; Thomson, 115; Keystone, 61; Worthington, 1; other makes, 62—total, 3,801. The city continued the work of overhauling the meters during the past winter months, cleaned, refitted and retested 386) meters. The demand on the time of the past season was so great that it was unable to continue the work during the summer months. It hoped, with the assistance of the hydrant inspector, to be in a better position and make better headway during the coming season. The total amount of meters overhauled during the past four years was 1,471. All services not metered will have meters installed as soon as the sewer-connections are made. Four thousand and sixty-nine out of the 4,147 water-takers are metered.
A press dispatch from Brantford, Out., says that the local commissioners have adopted the meter system in the case of certain large consumers in that city, such as factories, and the results thus far arc worthy of some note. One concern that had been getting water at the rate of $11 per half vear on the old basis for the last six months has a bill of $125. The system will be continued and gradually extended to all the larger users.
The discussion on meterage is not yet concluded at Beloit, Wis. The company certainly has rights which ought to be respected; but it must eventually fall into line with other cities that find it best to sell water by measurement.
San Bernardino, Cal., will install some meters as an experiment in the adjusting of rates.
A Chicopee, Mass., paper says that an interesting development appears from the last report of the water board, indicating that the city now pumps less water than it did a year ago. There are several contributing causes for this decrease, and the total change is about 150,000 gal. of water a day. This is an item of importance in a year’s account. In March of last year 49,087,334 gal. of water were pumped during the month—an average of 1,583,462 gal. a day. This year a total of 43,902,443 gal. was pumped during the month— an average of 1,416,204 gal. a day. Thus the average difference tier day in the amount pumped was 167,258 gal. The causes which have led to this marked decrease and resultant saving are, perhaps, threefold. First, the general introduction of meters in the city has tended to make people more careful of their consumotion. A part of it is also due to the fact that Sherman pond was connected with the Abbey system last year. The pond has been out of commission and was last year cleaned out, and is now in use again. The addition of its water to that of the Abbey system, which is a gravity system, makes it unnecessary to pump so much water now. It is also thought that the running of the mills on short time has had a large effect on the water consumption, and, altogether, these three factors will save the city quite a little expense for pumping during the year.
The Delaware Water Improvement company has taken over the entire plant of the New Castle. Pa., Waterworks company, which was established in 1865.