Annual Reports of Commissioner of Public Works Edward F. Murphy and George H. Finneran, General Foreman of the Water Service.

The annual reports of Commissioner of Public Works Edward F. Murphy, and of George H. Finneran, General Foreman of the Water Service of Boston, Mass., contains much information in regard to the water department and the high pressure system of that city.


During the year 13.3 miles of water pipe, varying in size from 8 to 16 inches, were laid, and 168 fire hydrants installed. In East Boston 3,660 linear feet of 24inch pipe was laid and connected with the 12-inch pipe. Five thousand eight hundred and two meters were installed on old services and 1,287 on new services, making a total now installed of 61,500 meters. Twenty-six hundred linear feet of 30-inch high service pipe were laid and will be connected with the high service early in the coming year.

Number of Gates, Sumps, Regulators and Overflows to Be Cared for in Each District.

There was also expended by the water service, under an appropriation of $5,000 from the reserve fund, $3,542.62 for ice for drinking fountains, by order of city council, approved June 8, 1915.

Cost of Existing Works on January 31, 1917.

West Roxbury high service plant abolished May 24, 1916. The cost ($22,346.56) is therefore dropped from the above table.

Waste Prevention Branch.

This force consists of six inspectors under the direction of a chief inspector, and they have been continuously employed in locating and in stopping waste both inside of unmetered premises and generally throughout the distribution system. The consumption for the year being practically that of 1915 was partly due to the effective work of this branch, which is as follows: Premises examined, 46,908; special investigations, 1,231; waste reports, 8,713; re-examined, 9,442; found repaired, 8,494; not repaired, 948; water shut off for waste, 15.

Income Branch.

This branch consists of a superintendent, deputy superintendent, twenty-three clerks, twenty-seven meter readers for the reading of 65,000 meters, thirteen inspectors for examination of about 30,000 accounts on annual rates, investigating complaints, etc.

Meter Branch.

The meter branch has a force which averages about fifty, comprising a general foreman, a foreman for the ot.tsiae installation, five clerks, twelve plumbers with a corresponding number of assistants, eight meter testers and repairers, etc. During the year the work of installing meters in compliance with chapter 520 of the Acts of 1907 has continued. In addition to installing 1,209 meters on new service pipes, the outside force, comprising sixteen men under the direction of a foreman, has set 5,536 meters on existing service pipes in Wards 11, 13 and 14. and on February 1, 1917, all services in Charlestown, East Boston, South Boston, city proper, Hyde Park, Wards 13 and 14 of Roxbury and Ward 11 of Dorchester were metered. There remains about 27,000 service pipes yet to be metered, which, at the present rate of progress, will be completed in about five

Interior of Station.Union Park Street Pumping Station, Boston.Test of Boston High Pressure System,George H. Finneran, General Foreman of the Boston Water Service.

Distribution Branch.

The organization of this branch is a central yard and six outlying yards in East Boston, Charlestown, Brighton, Dorchester, West Roxbury and Hyde Park. The average force comprises 350 men under the direction of a general foreman and seven foremen in charge of districts. At the central yard is a machine shop, plumbing shop, carpenter shop and blacksmith shop. The work done by this branch consists both of construction, including the manufacture of gates, hydrants, service cocks, etc., and the maintenance of the water system, this calling for a wide variety of important work which must be done quickly and properly under any and all circumstances. To maintain the efficiency of the branch there is an automobile emergency service, said service being divided into three shifts with a gang of men on call during the entire twenty-four hours of each day.


Pipe Lines.

Excessive leakage conditions existing in the piping laid in 1914 and 1915 have been corrected by the contractors and by day labor forces of this service, so that, with the exception of two short sections, all the system is in fairly good condition. When the recorded leakage was reduced to four gallons per minute per lineal foot of joint, excavating was discontinued on that section, as this figure is the specified leakage in Manhattan piping system, where the trenches are backfilled before testing. Pipe laying continued during 1916 included 1,163 lineal feet of 12-inch pipe with 6 valves; 1,280 feet of 16-inch pipe with 2 valves; 253 feet of 8-inch pipe with 16 valves and 16 hydrants, making a total of 2,696 lineal feet installed by Coleman Brothers on a -unit price contract. All sections of lines laid in 1916 were tested with the joints exposed, and, as this was done on narrow and busy streets without serious complaint, it has become an accepted policy intended to be carried out on all future pipe laying. At the end of the season there were 188 hydrants out of a total of 192 ready for service from acceptable pipe lines, all connected up with the fireboat delivery at Central Wharf. Considering that the old fireboat high pressure line, nearly a mile long and with 11 hydrants, installed in 1898, had been used in but one fire, a 16-inch connection with the high service distribution system was installed in Tremont street, near West street, and all hydrants are now available for fire purposes with direct hose streams or fire engines. A test of direct hose streams from the street, and into deck guns, at Haymarket Square, was conducted December 3, in the presence of representatives of the National Board and Boston Board of Fire Underwriters, with very satisfactory results. The state and city boards of health would not permit both the high service connection and that from the fireboat, so the latter was dismantled.

Pumping Station.

A legislative act, approved March 14, 1916, authorized the city to construct a pumping station in the Charles River Basin, on the Boston side, between the Cambridge Bridge and the Charles River dam, and authority was granted on June 8, 1916, by the War Department to construct the station in a location requested by the city, about opposite Fruit street. For the size of station proposed at that time to erect this appeared to be the only available satisfactory location, but it a suitable area were reclaimed in the basin a building attractive enough in appearance to suit the location erected, and an equipment the same as that proposed for the original Charles street station installed, there would have been practically nothing left of the $1,000,000 appropriated by the Legislature to construct the system, and for which the city would have a very large pumping station and only 6½ miles of piping system, with no connection between the two. Action by the Legislature in 1911 was urged by the Chamber of Commerce and the Finance Commission, and the latter body recommendeed on May 12, 1911, that after inspection and careful consideration of the plans prepared by City Engineer Jackson and the less expensive plan suggested by Fire Commissioner Wells, the City Council pass a vote accepting the act, provided it feels assured that the executive department will adopt a plan which will secure an adequate high pressure service for not more than the sum appropriated. The Jackson plan proposed about 13¼ miles of pipe mains with 319 hydrants, and the scheme proposed in connection with the large station comprised about 15 miles of pipe mains and 410 hydrants. After a thorough investigation of the high pressure fire service in other cities, and the relationship of its service here to the city’s genera! fire protection, the department reached a conclusion that a smaller Staton would fulfill any reasonable demand for the very restricted neighborhood it was proposed to protect at the expense of the entire city, and that it should be located to better advantage for power, hydraulic conditions, and future proproposed extension of the piping system, close by the North End Park on Commercial street. The department had tn mind a smaller station than the one now contemplated (12,000 gallons per minute), but by co-operation with the Chamber of Commerce this size was agreed upon by both as suitable to erect at once, and in the location mentioned, and approval obtained from his Honor the Mayor. It is thought that with the money available this station can be built and connected with the existing system with suitable feeders having necessary hydrants, and faith kept with the Legislature, the Mayor and City Council that a complete high pressure fire system be installed for the money now available. To complete the piping system as intended, additional money could reasonably be requested from the next Legislature.

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