The Water-Works of Berlin.

The Water-Works of Berlin.

The works on the upper Spree, which were erected by a private company, but which came into the possession of the city in 1873, used river water, which was cleansed by filtering before entering the pipes. It was, however, intended that the works erected on the Tegel lake should use subterranean water, obtained from deep wells, with which the reservoirs and pipes could be supplied without filtering. But cxeriments made soon after these works were put into operation showed that the hope to obtain from the wells clean water fit for drinking and household purposes had been ill founded. Nevertheless, it was hard to decide that the system based on the Tegel works must be abandoned and a return made to open watercourses and filtration. Accordingly, on January 2b, 1882, the city council decided to build filters at Tegel and to use lake water instead of well water. When, in 1883, the extension of the Tegel works by the erection of seven vaulted fillers was discussed, it was decided to experiment in regard to the quality of a mixture of well and filtered lake water. These experiments were confided to Professor I)r. Finkener, and. upon his finding the result unsatisfactory, the erection of the filters was agreed to. Thus the question as to whether river or well water should be used was decided in favor of the former. and it was shown that future extension of the waterworks must be in the basin of the river Spree, and not of the Havel.

As it seemed possible that here suitable well water of good quality might l>e obtained, it was decided to appoint a commission which, with the assistance of geognostic, chemical and hydrognostic specialists, should make borings and establish experimental stations on the Mtiggel and Long lakes above CCpenick. The city council on November 29, 1883, appropriated the sum of 40,000 marks for the carrying out of these experiments. These experiments were extended at four stations from February, 1884, to tly end of January. 1885. Each station was in uninterrupted operation for three months. The result was that the hope of obtaining good water in an easier manner than by filtration had to be abandoned. The commission reported in this sense, and the city council decided

Abstract of report of W. H. Edwards, Consul-General at Berlin, March, MM.

on March 8, 1886, to make no further attempt to obtain good well wa’er.

For seven years (187S to 1886) the problem of the practicability of obtaining good well water was discussed, and various experiments were made ; but finally it has been admitted as a fact that the country in the vicinity of Berlin is incapable of supplying a city of 1,500,000 inhabitants with water satisfactory in quantity and quality. As, therefore, the rivers Havel and Spree, even if their navigation be doubled, jan spare sufficient water for this purpose, and as the imperial sanitary bureau in 1882 decided that, from a chemical standpoint, sand filtration gives the water of the Spree a satisfactory quality, the use of filtered water for the city of Berlin has been decided upon.

After the city council had rendered the decision of January 26, 1882, above mentioned, in regard to the first half of the Tegel works, which had been put into operation in the year 1877, the building of twelve vaulted filtering basins was at once commenced, and the same were put into operation in November, 1883. The total sand surface of these filters was 21,931 square metres, and the Tegel works were enabled to place at the disposal of the city of Berlin 43,200 cubic metres of water in every twenty-four hours.

That this first half of the Tegel works, in connection with the old works at the Stralau gate, would not long be able to supply the needs of a constantly increasing population was reported to the city officials by the water commission in the year 1879 ; but the then undecided question in regard to the use of well or lake water delayed the completion of these works until the fall of 1S86.

The fear of the water commission was not unfounded, for, in the middle of the summer of 1883, in the upper stories of houses there was such an inadequate supply of water that the magistracy was obliged to discontinue the use of water for public fountains and for the sprinkling of streets, squares and gardens until the beginning of cooler weather. The weather, however, changed, and the use of water did not have to be limited. In the following year, however, on the 24th of July, the magistracy was obliged to issue an order requiring the most economical use of water for public purposes, and this order could not be raised until September 27.

The completed Tegel works were put into operation in March, 1888. They placed at the disposal of the city daily 86,400 cubic metres of water cleansed through sand filters.

If the city required—as from its rapid growth might soon be expected—an increased supply of water, it was seen that it would have to be sought from another source ; in other words, that new water-works would have to be erected, for the old works at the Stralau gate had long reached the limit of their capacity. Furthermore, the increase of factories above Berlin and the ever-increasing ship and steamer traffic on the upper Spree constantly increased the impurity of the water and the costs of filtration. Moreover, the population of the metropolis stood in danger of receiving water dangerous to health in the event of interruption of business or a defect in the works ; consequently, it was decided to build new works on the Miiggel lake. These works and filtering establishments it was decided to locate on the Miiggel sea, above the town of Friedrichshagen, and to send the purified water thence to the plateau north of Lichtenberg. Permission to take not more than two cubic metres of water per second from Mtiggel lake was granted by the Minister of Public Works on July 28, 1888. It was determined to give these works a daily capacity of delivering 172 800 cubic metres of water to the city of Berlin, though only half of the works were to be erected at once. The estimated cost was 20,000,000 marks. The Mtiggel and Tegel lake works together will be able to supply to Berlin daily 259,200 cubic metres of water, which, at the present rate of use, will be sufficient for a population of 2,500.000.

In addition to the extension of the Tegel works during the period under report, force works were erected on the Tempelhof hill, near the brewery, and ware put into operation in June, 1888. This had been rendered necessary by the growth of that part of the city on the high Kreuzberg. south of Bergmann street and right and left of Belle-Alliance street, whose houses, without such force works as those in Belfort street, could not have a sufficient supply of w ater in their upper stories, except through a very expensive increase of pressure in the water pipe.

Some time earlier the great increase of population in the high northern part of the city had rendered necessary a strengthening of machine force there. This had been foreseen. and the difficulty was removed by the erection of a new (the fourth) steam engine.

Thus, up to the present date, the municipal water-works have been able to supply the quantity of water required by the population of the city ; and the new works, which, it is hoped, will be completed before the close of 1892, will remove all cause for anxiety in this respect fot a long series of years.

F’or the good of the people, however, not only the quantity, but the quality, of the water must be considered. Since the impurities of the pipes by the water from the Tegel deep wells have been remedied, all cause for doubt in regard to the effect on health by the use of water supplied by the water-works has been removed.

The quality is constantly watched by impartial officials, at present by the imperial sanitary department. Dr. Gustav Wolffshtigel, in a report to the same coverning the period from July, 1884, to April, 1885, said :

“ Upon examination of water samples, in no case was Berlin pipe water found to have any injurious effect upon health, either from its chemical ingredients or from the microparasitic particles which it contained.”

Professor Dr. Koch said in his report from June 1, 1885, to April 1, 1S86 :

“ The bacteriologic inspection has been made, as heretofore, very carefully in the imperial sanitary department. The results are shown in the following table. A glance at the table shows that during the period ot examination water from the Stralau, as well as the Tegel works, was entirely of satisfactory character.”

The business results of the municipal water-works in the period from April 1, 1882. to March 31, 1899, show that during this period the population of the city lots supplied with water increased from 981,158 to 1,360,285, or about 38-64 per cent, and that the use of water grew from 22,596,522 cubic metres to 31,620,750 cubic metres, or about 39.98 per cent.

The annual use of water per head of population ranged from 63.57 litres to 71.55 litres, the average for the seven years being 65:38 litres. In comparison with other large towns, this average is very low ; but other circumstances must be borne in mind. First, in Berlin water is sold by measure, so that it is in the interest of the person who pays for the water (the landlord) to discover and check waste. Furthermore, the situation of the city—in the valley of the Spree, with the street level only two or three metres above the water level of the soaked sand diluvium—is such that water for factory and industrial purposes can be easily obtained at small cost on every lot in the lower zone of the pipe system of the municipal water-works. This water can be raised at less cost per cubic metre to the small height necessary for ordinary factory and industrial purposes than would have to be paid to the municipal water-works for a like quantity of water.

There are therefore a considerable number of small waterworks where the water is obtained from wells on private lots. Such water is used for feeding steam boilers and for steam condensation. Of such private water-works within the limits of the pipe system there were at the end of March, 1889, 606, and their number is constantly increasing. These, it is estimated, supply 66,807 cubic metres of water daily. The municipal water-works supplied in the fiscal year ended March 31, 1889, on an average. 86,632 cubic metres daily. So that the average amount used daily was 153,439 cubic metres, of which fifty-seven per cent and forty-three per cent, respectively, were supplied by municipal and by private water-works. ‘Flence the average used per head of population was, in 1888-89, not 64 45 litres, as shown by the statistics of the municipal works, but 113.07 litres.

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