Water Notes From New Orleans.
The recommendation that the investigation of the New Orleans water supply be extended to the fire department of the City has been adopted and a committee appointed to conduct the further examination. It will confer with Fire C_____ _____nnor and others in the department as to the method o_____ handling the city s water supply at lues and as to certain reforms which some be_____eve to be imperative. Among other tilings tne abolition of tne weds, may probably lie suggested. -A lengthy report shows that tne waterworks company is doing practically all that is required ot it under the present contract. It shows the serious menace that lies in the indiscriminate opening ot fireplugs, and that the 3-in. and 4-111. mains are of little or 110 use, because they become so easily choked with the sediment lett by the raw river water. A number of other serious discrepancies in the system are also made manifest, ail of which, ot course, will be eliminated by the time that the new municipal system has it in full commission, and the oid waterworks will have ceased to be, so far as relates to service tor tire-extinguishing purposes.— 1 he report briefly rehearses the history of the old waterworks system, as established in 1836. Its equipment is spoken of as follows: “ine power station of tne waterworks company is equiped with two pumps of to,000,000-gal. capacity each and a Knowles pump of 7,000,000-gal. capacity daily, the latter being frequently used to supplement the other two. On Tuesday of every week these engines are given a rest for such repairs as may be incidental to ordinary wear and tear, and the original pump of 40,000,000gal. capacity is operated for that day. There is thus available a total pumping capacity, ii need be, of 47,000,000 gal. daily. The records of the waterworks company show that the largest amount ever pumped into the mains in one day, was slightly over 24,000,000 gal. The present distribution of water mains consists of about 125.24 miles of cast iron pipe, 36-in. to 3-in.—3,600 ft. of the former. There are 1,786 hydrants, besides tire-wells. Besides the hydrant connections, the company has made connections with a certain part of the system of the sewage and water board, whereby are supplied 144 additional hydrants, making a total of 1,930 in all. For this service, the statement showed, the city pays the waterworks company its old franchise rate of $60 per annim for most of these openings. A fewof them contracted for more recently by special agreement, however, are furnished at $45. The waterworks continuously maintains a pressure of from 38 to 40 lb. above gauge at its pumping plant; but the pressure at points remote from the pumping station is frequently reduced far below this amount. The fire hydrants are not of uniform pattern, the valves being dissimilar in both size and shape. The underground or flush-hydrants still exist, with their box covers very often completely hidden with earth and, therefore, hidden from sight, as is the case, also, with fire-wells located in unpaved streets, and firemen lose valuable time in looking for these wells, at whose L ation they can only guess. There are several causes that prevent tne initial pressure exerted at the pumping station from being transmitted with equal torce to distant points on the system. Some of these are: Certain portions ot the system are beyond the limit of the present size of the mains 10 deliver, when an additional supply is required tor a lire. The legitimate consumption and leakage from old mains and service pipes and the usual sources of visible waste, in addition, often reduce the pressure on the outskirts to about 10 lb. The Mississippi mud accumulations, stones and other obstructions diminish the capacity, and partially block the valves and outlets. Hence the 3-in. and 4-in. mains are useless for extinguishing fires. Besides the daily w’aste in tile city of several million of gallons from fireplugs uselessly opened or lett open and running—sometimes forty-two in one day—the fire-wells are often opened wide, regardless of the amount that escapes unused —”an inexcusable procedure. Fire wells so used are a menace, since the excessive waste of water destroys pressure 011 surrounding mains and injures every other means of firefighting which depends upon a good pressure of water.” —The waterworks company maintains by day at the pumping station an initial pressure of about 90-lb. head; by night and on Sundays, 85-lb.—considerably in excess of the contract. But it is seriously diminished by the causes already mentioned.—The water is now being turned into about 300 miles of the mains of the new’ system laid by the sewerage and water board. At present only one pump of 4,000,000 gal. capacity is in commission. This pump is destined ultimately for service in Algiers; but, before it is disconnected, one of the four new 20,000,000-gal. pumps will be connected with the system, so as to maintain a constant pressure. For the present raw water only is being pumped into tile new mains, and a pressure of about 20 lb. is being carried, until the lines have been all freed of air and filled with water and all valves and hydrants arc shown to be in proper condition for full pressure, when pressure will be brought up gradually to about 90 lb. This water, when available, can be used for fire-extinguishing purposes, in addition to that in the mains of the old water company, which will continue its service at least until December 31, 1908. By October 15 it is expected that the entire new system of over 500 miles of mains and over 4,000 hydrants will be completed, and available for extinguishing fires, besides the supply furnished by the old company. But the waste already referred to must be stopped, if adequate fireprotection is to be furnished.