To Improve Moline Waterworks
If, as is fully expected, there should be a favorable vote on the subject of the city of Moline, Ill., bonding itself in the sum of $164,000 for the betterment of its waterworks system, that improvement will follow as a matter of course. Engineer Dabney H. Maury’s report shows how necessary such an improvement is. It calls attention to the faulty construction of parts of the waterworks building and its inflammable material, exposing it to the danger of destruction by fire. It shows the out-of-date and worn machinery, and its liability to break down at any time, leaving the city without water for fire protection or other uses. Not only are these conditions dangerous, the engineer says, “but they are also expensive, because it costs more to pump with a poor equipment than with a good one. and, besides, it cannot now meet the demands that are at times made upon it. Consequently, we are short of water at such times and in constant danger of being entirely without in case of some likely accident.” Mr. Maury’s report adds: “The building which houses the engines and boilers has brick walls, but is in every other way as inflammable as possible. The roof is low and flat, with wooden joists and sheathing; and the floors, window frames, doors and trimmings are all ot wood. Were a fire once to gather headway in this building it would be almost impossible to save any part of the structure or of its contents, and the city would be left without a pumping plant.” As to the boilers: “There are also two 75-horsepower tubular boilers, about 20 years old, which are insured for 90 pounds steam pressure, and are tolerated by the insurance company only because their early abandonment and replacement is promised.”
The brick chimney is old, 4 feet square inside by about 90 feet high, and is “inadequate.” The pumps are severely criticized. “Ever since the installation of the existing filter plant the city has been dependent upon one pump to lift all of the raw water from the suction chamber to the settling basins, and for eight years this pump has been in practically continuous operation. The engine which drives it has long been overloaded and requires a thorough overhauling.” As to the main steam pumps: “These are three in number, the newest about nine years old, is a 6,000,000 gallon Holly-Gaskill engine. The next best is a 5,000,000 gallon Deane, about 20 years old; and the third is another Deane of only 1,500,000 gallon capacity and nearly 30 years old. There are also a number of small auxiliaries, some of which have outlived their usefulness.”
The pressures, also, are adverted to as follows: “Because of the fact that the plant could not keep up with the excessive waste, it has become the practise to divide the distribution system into high and low service by closing certain gates and then throttling the pressure to the low service. In this way the city has been enabled to supply water to the districts on the bluffs, but the expedient is a wasteful one, because all the water has to be pumped against the greater pressure, without any compensating advantage in pressure on the low service water. It is also dangerous, in that the closing of the valves cripples the distribution system and greatly reduces its capacity. That it should be necessary to resort to such practise is evidence of the fact that it is high time for material improvements in the plant.”
“The storage capacity for filtered water, which is only 750,000 gallons, is much too small,” continues the report. “Additional capacity in settling basins is also badly needed, especially when the river is muddy. A large storage tank should be installed on the bluff at such elevation as will give adequate pressures for all purposes in alt parts of the city. The distribution system should be reinforced by large mains leading to this tank, and all dead-ends, in so far as may be economically practicable, should be connected up.
The number of hydrants, in Mr. Maury’s opinion, is “much too small for the mileage of mains. It is much cheaper to install hydrants than it is to buy hose, and the hydrants will last at least ten times as long. Furthermore, with plenty of hydrants the tremendous friction through long lines of hose will be avoided, and much more efficient service can be rendered at fires. At least 159 additional hydrants should be installed. There are not enough valves on the distribution system and at least 60 more should be added.”
These improvements, Mr. Maury insists, are all absolutely necessary, and should not be looked upon as “temporary makeshifts.” On the contrary. “they are planned to live out their natural lives in their respective locations.”
The City Council has agreed to expend the sum of $164,000 on these improvements. Meterage of the water is endorsed onlv as a “necessary evil,” and meters should be installed “only to prevent actual waste and to measure large and uncertain consumers”—the “large and extravagant users.”