Water Supply of Seneca Falls

Water Supply of Seneca Falls

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Filters of the Auburn Water Works in Course of Construction, Partially Filled with Water to Prevent Bottom Freezing and Heaving

Seneca Falls is the largest city in Seneca County. It lies forty-two miles west of Syracuse, and is about 125 miles east of Buffalo. The water works are owned by the Seneca Water Company, a private corporation organized under the laws of the State of Maine. The works were built by Mr. Norman, of Rhode Island, in 1886, he having constructed many of the water works in New England and New York about that period. The water is taken from Cayuga Lake, about three miles cast of the city. It is pumped through pressure filters and then through a 14-inch cast iron main, and delivered in the city at an average pressure of about 50 pounds per square inch. T he pumpage is direct, and the excess goes to a standpipe. The standpipe is 30 feet in diameter, and 100 feet in height, capacity about one-half million gallons. There are two duplex compound upright flywheel pumps, and a two-stage steam turbine driven centrifugal is being installed at the present time.

The Distribution System

There are about 22 miles of cas iron distribution pipe, ranging from 4 to 14 inches in diameter. There are 139 fire hydrants, all but one or two of them having two outlets for fire hose and one for steamer suction. Valves number 154, and there are nearly 2,(XX) service pipes, of which about 1.600 are active. The intake to the pumping station is of 16-inch cast iron Universal pipe, 2,292 feet in length. It extends to about the center of the Lake and takes water from a depth of about 14 feet. Only about 70 meters are used.

The two pumps which are now pumping the necessary water, are the same which were installed when the works were built in 1886. They are of about one and one-half million gallons capacity per 24 hours. It is seldom that pumps as small as that have been built of that type. Not many pumps of less than ten million gallons capacity are built of the vertical fly wheel type. These pumps were built at Newburyport, Mass., to the order of Mr. Norman, and I have been informed that only two others were ever built. Both are of the duplex type. (>ne is cross compound, and the other is steeple compound. They have been running and delivering water for 33 years, and are still doing it. Of late years the repairs have been costly. The new centrifugal pump which is being installed is of one million gallons capacity, and we expect that that will pump the entire supply in ordinary times.

The present cast iron intake pipe is the third since the works were built, the other two having been of spiral steel riveted. The mains first installed were cement lined, and gave a great deal of trouble until the works were rebuilt with cast iron in 1908-9 and 10. At the present time there is not a foot of the old cementlined mains in existence. Services are of best galvanized iron, and the Buffalo type of service boxes are used.

Filters of Pressure Type

The filters are of the pressure type, four in number, and their capacity is about double the consumption. Sulphate of alumina is used as a coagulant. The waters of Cayuga Lake are usually safe to drink. B. Coli is indicated only a portion of the time. There are times when the water is turbid from clay washed into it by rains, and there are times when the water has unpleasant tastes from vegetation. Our filters almost always remove these tastes, and we are usually able to take out the turbidity. We have a little laboratory, and make tests. We make the fermentation test for intestinal types of bacteria, and we make count of the total number of bacteria. We have, never had any “gas formers” in our filtered water, and the total count has been low, at times being only four or five per cent.

A Peculiar Condition of Decay

We found it necessary to overhaul our filters this past w inter. Sand appeared at one point. We had complaints from one service, but never any from others. Examination of the sand finally convinced us that it was filter sand. One filter unit was cut out and emptied of water, and the manhole cover taken off. We thought the surface of the sand bed was uneven, and perhaps indicated that some of the collection nozzles were out. All the sand and gravel was taken out, and it was found that many of the brass collection nozzles were out, and the others could be picked out with the fingers. The gridiron of collection pipes was of extra heavy wrought iron pipe, and the collection nozzles were of brass. The wrought iron was corroded and dissolved away where the brass collection nozzles were screwed into it, but it yas perfectly sound elsewhere. It was so badly gone that it was impossible to cut new threads and put the nozzles in with bushings, and so all new wrought iron pipes were installed. Brass pipe was so high, and practically impossible to get at that time, that we did not consider it. The only explanation I can offer is that iron and brass in contact under water have caused a weak electric action.

Opposition Wisely Overcome

This company suffered for many years from the bitterest opposition to it from the people of the city. A wise and just policy which has been pursued for the past few years, has, however, caused that bitter opposition to disappear. As proof of that statement we are now receiving from the city for public use of water about five times the amount we received ten years ago.

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