WATER FOR NEW YORK CITY.

WATER FOR NEW YORK CITY.

The new local water commission for the future addition to the water supply of New York city is now located in the Barclay building, Broadway, Manhattan. It was admitted by Corporation Counsel Delany the other day at Trenton, N. J., that the $161,000,000 system cannot be completed for fifteen years, which means that, when completed, it will last for five years thereafter, and in 1925 will have to be extended again. This is borne out by other competent testimony. The committee of the board of Trade and Transportation, which, taking what it considers a conservative basis of daily individual consumption—155 gallons, has concluded that, at the current rate of city growth, the population will in 1925, be about 6,760.000, and that that number of persons will use every day 1,047,000,000 gallons of water. It is pointed out that the Croton, Byram and Bronx basins now in use, taken with the new Croton dam storage, will not yield more than 350,000,000 gallons. Adding 200,000,000 for local sources, which can be developed in Queens, Brooklyn and Richmond, and allowing 500,000,000 for the yield of the Catskill region, the total available supply in 1925 will be only 1,050,000,000 gallons daily—a little more than the amount provided by the Catskill supply. According to the new local board of water supply, it is undesirable to make provision for more than twenty years ahead, because of the inevitable changes in city life in modes of transit, facilities for doing business, improved engineering, and the like. I hercfore, to provide for a future of indeterminate length is absurd. One of the commissioners ventures to prophesy that New York city will never have a larger population than from 10,000,000 to 12,000,000. lie states his belief that the borough of Manhattan has nearly “ceased to grow in population. Business quarters will increase; but residence quarters will more and more be building up in the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and Richmond. All the new growth in the Bronx will be taken care of early in the matter of water—it is on the main line. To get the pipes to Staten Island may take fifteen years.” I11 five years’ time he insists that the supply from the proposed fiftyfour out of the eventual 118 miles or so of the Catskill aqueduct will be in use, and will then come down as far as the Croton pipes and make connections therewith. “Afterwards will be extended the system, down and up. Ashokan reservoir, covering more than 10,000 acres in Esopus county, will be followed by the construction of a reservoir in Rondout county, with an area of 1.080 acres, and that by one in Schoharie county of 700 acres, and that by four in Catskill county, with an added area of about 2,200 acres. From the northernmost Catskill reservoir to the Staten Island reservoir will require a cement underground and under water aqueduct of about 118 miles length.’’ Peter F. Schofield, of the New York city Board of Trade’s water commission— an opponent of the Catskill project, says that for $150,000,000, using steel pipes, “the water of lake Erie could be conducted to New York, and New York would have a sufficient supply forever, instead of for five years after the pipes are laid.” Others oppose the Catskill system, on account of its costliness, the certainty of much delay in its construction, and the infinite opportunities of graft afforded by it—to say nothing of the possibilities of the Dutchess and Suffolk counties’ restrictions being removed by legislation or otherwise, and the additional opportunities afforded by the Housatonic and Ten Mile rivers by arrangement with Connecticut. In the last case, there could be derived every day from Dutchess county, 150,000,000 gallons; from Ten Mile river and East Branch, 20,000,000 gallons; from the Housatonic 400,000.000 gallons—a total of 750,1×10.000 gallons, at a total expense (John R. Freeman, C. E., being quoted as the authority) of only $47,000,000. To this statement the board of water supply answers that steel pipes could not be ttsed. “It would take pipes as great in diameter as an ordinary room is high. The expense would be enormous.” Of the Dutchess county and Housatonic river sources the commission has decided; “The Housatonic is ruled out, because of its location in the State of Connecticut and the delays that negotiations for its diversion, if found practicable, would entail. Ten Mile river, a tributary of the Housatonic, flowing into Connecticut, is also ruled out by the uncertainty of the law governing the diversion of interstate waters. The watersheds adjoining the Croton on the north, are ruled out by the prohibitions of the legislature in 1903-04.” These three projects, then, with the cost of each, are suggested as follows: Mayor McClellan’s Catskill aqueduct, sufficient till 1925, $161,000,000; lake Erie aqueduct, sufficient for all time, $150,000,000; development of nearby watersheds and saving of wastage, sufficient till 1916, $47,000,000. The real point still at issue, however, seems to be whether to provide simply for twenty years or for longer.

INTERIOR VIEW PUMPING STATION, ALBUQUERQUE, N. M.
Previous articleHARTFORD HEROISM.
Next articleA GENTLE HINT.

WATER FOR NEW YORK CITY

1

WATER FOR NEW YORK CITY

Once more the subject of tapping the great lakes and of obtaining a water supply from them or from lake George or lake Champlain for the supply of New York city has come to the front, apropos of the Smith bill forbidding Dutchess county, N. Y., to be used as a water furnisher for the metropolis. The alleged grounds for advocating the great and the smaller lakes as the best sources for the supply of New York are many. Among them it is confidently urged that the cost would be less; that the engineering difficulties would not be so great as many think, that the supply would be unfailing; that the water would be so pure in quality as not to require filtering; and that the elevation of the lakes would be so high as to do away with the expense of building and maintaining pumping stations. If all, or even a majority of these factors were present, then it would certainly be good policy to entertain the idea. As to the engineering difficulties: It is argued that, because the trend of the ground from these lakes to the coast is on the down grade, therefore, there would be much less trouble in carrying water down from them, which again, would introduce the element of cheapness. Those who uphold this theory forget the enormous expense which would accompany the buying up of rights of way, bridging valleys, and building conduits, all of which would be necessary wherever the water was brought from, and the greater the distance, of course, the more costly the experiment would be. Putting out of sight the loss of head from friction—no inconsiderable factor when the other difficulties attending the proposed source are considered—there remain those of pumping and purity. Lake George, by itself, even though its elevation above tide water is 322 feet, could not supply water from a head high enough to meet the pressure necessary in the high-level in New York city. The same objection can be brought against lake Champlain. In each case, the water would have to he pumped to a suitable elevation—in the case of lake Champlain certainly of 300 feet or more, and at least the same in that of lake George, the latter being unable, besides, to supply more (if it did not furnish less) than half the amount required. If lake Ontario is selected, it must not be forgotten that its level is not more than 247 feet above tidewater, whereas the elevation at which water should he delivered in New York is 300 feet, so that, if sufficient provision is made for the necessary fail for a gravity flow through an aqueduct, the water of that lake would need to be pumped 300 feet at least, so as to be available. The same objection as to pumping applies to lake Erie, which, even with its 588-foot elevation, would be insufficient to deliver water to this city by gravity. The objection to lake George is thought to be met as follows by Assemblyman John T. Smith, author of the Dutchess County bill: “The upper Hudson and lake George watersheds contain 2,900 square miles. A tunnel three miles long will turn the waters of Schroon lake into lake George, and a canal one mile long will turn the upper Hudson at Riverside into the Schroon river watershed. By building a dam at the lower end of lake George, so as to raise its waters 117 feet, making an elevation 440 feet above tide, an aqueduct 155 miles long can be built to deliver water into the Croton watershed in lower Dutchess at an elevation of 285 feet above tide, or, allowing the same fall as the new Croton aqueduct, at an elevation of 330 feet. The area of lake George reservoir would be about fifty-four square miles.” But the elevation referred to would not suffice for delivering a gravity supply to New York; pumping must necessarily be resorted to. That being so, the following figures presented by Mr. Smith are given simply for what they are worth. Even he allows that they are only an approximate estimate for building a tunnel sufficient for 500,000,000 gallons a day: Condemnation of the whole of lake George watershed, three times the assessed valuation ($1,500,000), $4,500,000; dams at Ticonderoga and head of lake, $(15.500,000; dams on Schroon lake and Hudson river, $200,000; clearing shores of lake, $500,000; tunnel and canals for flood water of rivers, $1,900,000; tunnels and pipes for Croton river, $56,000,000; cost of right of way for pipe lines and tunnel, $1,000,000; for supervision and contingencies, $10,500,000; total. $81,310,000. Granting, however, for the moment, that these are correct, and that the arguments preceding his are founded on truth, there remains another difficulty—that of the quality of the water which must be delivered to New York in a non-diseasc-producing and perfectly wholesome condition, so as to avoid, if possible, the expense of filtration. Passing over the fact, now more or less universally acknowledged, that all water intended for mankind to drink should be filtered, it can be shown that the water from lakes George, Champlain, Ontario and Erie, if brought to New York, would require filtering. Take lake Erie, for instance, and look at Cleveland’s experience, and that of other cities and towns along its shores. The ravages of typhoid, owing to the use of its water for domestic purposes, proves its waters to be polluted. Lake Ontario’s water is equally an object of suspicion, on account of the enormous amount of sewage—always steadily on the increase—which is constantly being discharged into it from the large cities and industries on its banks. Take lake George or lake Champlain: Connected with each are sufficient hotel and other interests to render their waters more than suspected. Especially is this the case at lake George, where, as on lake Schroon, there are extensive hotel, summer residence and cottage interests, besides villages and industrial establishments, some on the banks, others on streams discharging into those lakes. The same may be said of the upper Hudson watershed as a whole. If, therefore, filtration is necessary, it stands to reason that its expense should not be added to by going hundreds of miles away to secure a water no better—possibly worse—than what can be secured close at home. The most important condition of all is, therefore, lacking—that of the purity and wholesomeness of the water. Abundance there may be—enough to supply at least 500,000,000 gallons a day in addition to the present Croton supply. The third requisite—that of availability to supply that amount, without pumping at an elevation of 300 feet above tide level in New York city, even if the insistency of Mr. Smith and ohers that it can be supplied is correct, need not now be brought forward, so long as the water so de’ livered needs filtration. And, as any new water supply for this city should be filtered, so as to place it beyond suspicion, the first and third points urged in favor of the lakes’ supply need not be considered.

R. E.