Water Supply of Memphis.
According to the local water commission. Memphis, Tenn., is about the only city which installs and maintains service connections for domestic purposes. The water used by Memphis comes from a stratum of sand which reaches from Central Illinois on the north to Central Missouri on the south which outcrops on the west at the base of the Ozarks in Missouri and Arkansas. The average depth at Memphis is 500 ieet. and the drilling is not difficult. The total number of wells bored to the stratum for the Memphis city supply is 152, but rarely more than fifty of these have been in service at any one time. As wells have choked with use, others have been bored and a sufficient supply lias been maintained at alt times. During the last year no new wells were bored, as the system of inspection and overhauling kept those in use up to standard capacity. Individual wells have afforded more more than 1.000,000 gallons of water per day. The average number of gallons pumped per day in 1909 was 14,018,783. In 1910 this was cut, by inspection, and the extension of the metering system, to 13,534,208, and the coal consumption from 18,948 to 17,799. At the extremes of temperature the consumption of water has reached 20,000,00n gal Ions and more per day. When the city took over the water plant in 1903, about 1,000 services were metered. At the close of 1910, 8,703 of the 19,030 services were metered, 1,428 meters having been installed in 1909, and 1,054 in 1910. At this time practically one-half of the services are metered. The installation of meters for domestic consumers has been voluntary, for the ordinances do not empower the commissioners to force the use of meters at home, except under certain conditions. It has such power in respect to business services, and all such are metered.
When the city took over the plant in June. 1903, the minimum metered rate was $2 for 5,000 gallons; at this time it is 00 cents for 2,500 gallons, two reductions having been made. The flat rates have not been reduced. Householders are taking to meters, because they produce smaller bills. While, as already stated, the commissioners can not force citizens to accept meters in residences, it has authority to require the use of a meter in any residence taking a flat rate in excess of $30 a year, and if the quantity of water used at metered rates figures in excess of $30, the higher charge must be paid. Thus while flat rates yet remain, there is a limit to them. The wastefulness of the flat rate system is shown by a year’s statistics of the Memphis water department. From these have been deducted the following: Seven per cent, of water pumped went for public purposes, without charge; 40 per cent, of all rate connections were metered. The metered consumers used 24 per cent, of all water they supplied cent, of all the water revenue; 60 per cent, of all rate connections were unmetered. These unmetered consumers used or wasted 69 per cent, of all the water pumped, lmt they supplied only 36.8 per cent of the revenue. The total quantity of water used by all metered consumers was little more than one-third the quantity used or wasted by unmetered consumers, but for this the total payments of the former were nearly twice as large as the total payments of the latter. The city got an average of 18 cents per 1,000 gallons from metered consumers; a little less than 4 cents per 1000 gallons from unmetered consumers. “Metering is the only fair system,” said Chairman Willis. “It is the only fair system to consumers and to the waterworks. It is not right that some people should get more than they pay for. Moreover, without the use of meters, those in charge of the waterworks never know what to depend on. During cold spells, for example, flat rate consumers turn their faucets open and let the water run, and we arc pumping against thousands of openings in a vain endeavor to maintain pressure. With meters, that trouble disappears. About half of our connections arc now metered. When meters have been installed on the other half we can again cut the rates in two and the water business will be reduced to a definite system.” hire protection service pipes for sprinkling are not metered in Memphis, as the insurance companies object, hut the city exacts a flat rate of $50 for each such connection and maintains rigid inspection to prevent misuse of water through the same. In regard to future use of river water for supply, Chairman Willis says : “Why any city should use river water or surface water when it can get artesian well water. 1 can not understand. In each and every city which is fortunate enough to have artesian water available, is abandoning surface supplies. River or surface water cannot he used without filtering. We have in Memphis, not only an abundant supply of water, but wc have wholesome water, which our people enjoy and thrive upon. The only trouble has been that we have been obliged to sink the wells in groups, putting them in competition. That has been obviated by the segregated well system, and we can operate wells now at all points in the city where they may he needed. Memphis, therefore, is assured of a splendid water supply for all time. Artesian water supplies do not exhaust; they simply give down where the effort is made to draw too much at any one point. Jttdiciaus scattering of wells is necessary to secure satisfactory results.”
That many cases of stomach and intestinal trouble have been caused by the pumping of race water through the Canton, O., mains at various times during the past few months and that /another three weeks will find the city in a typhoid fever epidemic, if not other cases, following the drinking of the combination of lake and race water, now being pumped through the mains, are the statements made by a committee of Canton physicians. Boiling of all water for domestic use has been recommended.