The Erie (Pa.) water works, it is stated in a report by the Committee on Fire Prevention of the National Board of Fire Underwriters, are owned by the city and arc operated by a Board of Water Commissioners of three members. The present members are Frank D.Schultz, Bailey B. Nagle and Edward D. Carter. The secretary is George C. Gensheimer and the superintendent is Edward W. Humphreys, who was appointed in 1912. Previous to this he was in charge of pumping stations and maintenance of water works for thirteen years. Superintendent and the commissioners as a board are members of the American Water Works Association. E. J. Norton attends to some engineering features and Chester & Fleming, of Pittsburgh, are retained as consulting engineers. The water supply is taken from Lake Erie, passed through a settling basin on Presque Isle to a well at the pumping station, raised by low lift pumps to sedimentation basins, filtered and pumped to the distribution system with a standpipe as equalizer on the high service, which overflows into a reservoir serving as an equalizer on the low service. The intake crib in use is located in Lake Erie about 5,100 feet from the north shore of Presque Isle. A submerged, rock-filled, timber crib is located in the bay about 8,300 feet from the pumping station. A bulkhead was placed over the intake and it has not been in use since the lake crib was put into service. From the lake crib a 60-inch intake pipe extends 17,641 feet to the pumping station. The settling basin, on Presque Isle, was built in 1911. The basin is in excavation lined with concrete; area about seven acres; depth 14 feet; capacity 24,186,180 gallons; elevation of bottom, —15. The suction well is located under basement floor of pump house; constructed in sold rock cut and lined with brick. Dimensions 36 feet by 10 feet and 16 and 21.6 feet deep: elevation of extreme bottom about —20. Sedimentation basins are located 260 feet north of the pumping station and adjoining the filter plant on the east; built part in excavation; divided by a 16-inch concrete wall with 42-inch conduit at bottom into two basins of concrete with concrete roof, covered with earth and seeded, supported by concrete pilasters; area of each about two acres and depth 26 feet; combined capacity, 3,200,000 gallons; elevation of overflow, 18. A motor-driven centrifugal pump, with discharge into bay and taking suction from sump in center of each basin, is used to pump out sediment. The 42-inch inlet pipe is at elevation —5.5 and 36-inch outlet pipes are at elevation —3. The filter plant consists of 12 rapid sand filters, each having an area of 712.5 square feet, designed for a combined daily capacity of 24,000,000 gallons and can be operated with 50 per cent. overload. Equipment includes master and individual rate controls. Filters are located in a brick building having tile roof on boards on steel trusses, 227 feet long and 50 to 84 feet wide; a portion is used as offices for commissioners and superintendent. laboratory and chemical storage. Elevation of bottom of 48-inch inlet pipe to filters 7, of outlet pipes to clear water basin 6.3. The sedimentation basins, but not the filters, may be by-passed. A clear-water basin is located under the filters; capacity 856,000 gallons.

Pumping Station.

The pumping station is located at the foot of Chestnut street on the shore of Presque Isle Bay, about two-thirds of a mile from the principal mercantile district. The original station was built in 1868, an addition built in 1880 and another in 1893; the first addition was remodeled in 1899, present boiler house built in 1897, and main pump room rebuilt in 1913. G. R. Miller, chief engineer in charge, has been connected with the works about 44 years. Operation of plant is in three shifts with at least 6 men on duty. Elevation of low-lift pumps 6. of high-lift pumps 4.5 to 20. The low-lift pumps have a list of about 12 feet and discharge against a head of 18 feet; the Bethlehem pump has a suction head of about 2 feet and the other pumps have a lift of from 6 to 11 feet and discharge against a head of about 130 pounds for the high service and about 98 pounds for the low service. One of the lowlift pumps is used on alternate days. Each of the high-lift pumps, except the 12,000,000-gallon unit, may pump to either service. Under ordinary conditions only the 20,000,000-gallon unit is used, pumping to the high service, a 6-inch by-pass between high and low service mains being open and a 30-inch gate valve between the above mains about ¼ open. The pumps not in regular use are said to be operated for 15 minutes each week. Two of the larger boilers are usually used for monthperiods. Additions to the steam lines to be made in the near future will make the niping in duplicate to all except the Bethlehem pump.

From the pumping station, where they are cross-connected, two force mains extend into the distribution system, a 24-inch to the high service and a 30-inch to the low service. The 24-inch main, laid in 1898, extends to the standpipe, where it connects to the 30-inch low service main, with gate normally closed; it is connected with the cross mains at and south of 19th street. The 30-inch main, laid in 1891, extends to the reservoir and is crossconnected at four places by 20-inch open connections to a parallel 20-inch main, laid in 1873, which is connected to the distribution system at the intersecting streets.


The reservoir was built in 1873-4 and located on West 26th street, between Chestnut and Cherry streets, about two miles south of the pumping station and about one mile from the center of the principal mercantile district. Built above the ground surface with puddled and rolled embankments. The bottom and sides are lined with one course of brick, grouted and covered with a layer of cement. The reservoir is rectangular in form, 546 by 392 feet; top is at elevation 237; it is divided into two basins by a wall with top at elevation 229. Capacity 32,953,000 gallons. A gate house, built in the embankment, contains gates on the 20and 30-inch mains and on a cross connection between these mains. A standpipe is located about 300 feet west of the reservoir. Built in 1912, of riveted steel on a concrete foundation; 25 feet in diameter and 120 feet high, the top 40 feet having been recently added: capacity, 440,000 gallons; elevation of 20-inch overflow to reservoir 338. The maximum consumption occurs either in the winter, when fixtures are left open to prevent freezing, or in the summer when large quantities of water are used for lawn sprinkling. The maximum daily pumpage for 1914 was on August 7 and was 26,078,500 gallons, or about 50 per cent, in excess of the average for the year. The total daily consumption of 25 of the largest plants, as measured by meters, was 2,876,000 gallons.


Distribution is in two services, separated by closed gates and check-valves, supplied by direct pumpage, with an equalizing reservoir on the low service and a standpipe on the high service. The low service includes practically all of the territory north of 19th street, including the principal mercantile district, most of the manufacturing establishments, the high value residential district and Wesleyville and Lawrence Park, which are east of the city limits. The 30-inch force main extends through the system from the pumping station to the reservoir supplying through 4 connections a parallel 20-inch main which is connected to the cross mains at all intersecting streets. From this 20-inch, a few blocks south from the lake front, a 20-inch main extends east and west, nearly to the city limits, terminating in 12-inch secondary feeders, one continuing easterly beyond the city limits and forming a loop through Lawrence Park and Wesleyville. The secondary feeders are 12-inch pipes dividing the city into large rectangles, one extending along the edge of the principal mercantile district. Minor distributors are 4and 6-inch, mainly well grid-ironed, and with few dead ends. The high service includes that portion of the city south of 19th street, consisting of low to moderate value residences, minor mercantiles and an occasional factory. The 24-inch force main from the pumping station crosses the western part of the district, supplying two 12-inch mains extending west to the city limits and east nearly to the city limits; 12-inch secondary feeders cross-connect the above, and two 12inch mains in about the middle of the eastern and western half of the service extend south to the city limits. Minor distributors are mainly 6-inch with some 4-inch, with some dead ends at service limits. The length in miles of pipe within the city limits is 135,05, and in the whole system 150.37. There are 2,047 gate valves in the whole system.


On May 1, 1915, there were 931 public and 156 private hydrants in service on the distribution system. All are of the post type with frost jackets and open to the right. Most of the hydrants are of the Mathews make, but some are Corey’s; 151 have one 4and two 2 1/2-inch outlets, the remainder, one 4-inch outlet with 2 1/2-inch reducing cap.

Recent and Contemplated Improvements.

Since the inspection of the city in 1908 by engineers of the National Board, improvements have been made which have added greatly to the strength and reliability of the system. The pumping station has been remodeled and the main pump room has been replaced by a fireproof section, with a new 20,000,000-gallon high-lift pump and two 20,000,000-gallon lowlift pumps and four 308 h.p. boilers; two of the old pumps have recently been overhauled. A coal and ash conveyor has been installed. A 24,000,000-gallon settling basin has been built on Presque Isle and sedimentation basins and filter plant near the station. A standpipe has been provided as an equalizer on the high service and has recently been increased in height sufficiently to give about 17 pounds higher pressure; no material change in pressures has been made on the low service. In this period the total length of mains in the distribution system has been increased 26.6 miles and about 7 miles of 4-inch pipe has been replaced. Of the mains contemplated in 1908, practically all have been laid, but some of smaller diameter than was suggested. The total number of hydrants has increased from 790 to 931. The contemplated reservoir has not been built, but plans for its construction are now being considered.


The recommendations made include: That the necessary apparatus be installed to measure the flow in the discharge mains, and that an accurate record of slip in the pumps be kept. That a storage reservoir of at least 150,000.000 gallons’ capacity be built as contemplated south of the city, the present force mains to be extended to it by a pipe at least 36 inches in diameter; and that the low service be supplied from the new reservoir through regulating valves on the connections between the 30-inch force main and the parallel 20-inch line, these regulating valves to be set to maintain 100 pounds’ pressure in the principal mercantile district. The present low service reservoir to be held in reserve. That if the proposed reservoir is not constructed, an additional high-lift and an additional low-lift pump, each of at least 20,000.000-gallon canacity, be provided at the pumping station. That a well-defined plan be adopted whereby all services will be metered within five years and inspections and surveys made to detect leaks and waste.

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