WATER SYSTEM AT NASHVILLE, TENN.
A healthy condition, both physically and from a financial point of view, is promised Nashville for many years yet to come, so far as pure, wholesome water is concerned, and the present methods of maintenance of the already large and splendidly equipped waterworks plant. To secure the purity of the supply of water furnished, Nashville’s system and method of handling are admittedly superior, and from the standpoint of the plant’s ability to continue to furnish the supply, it promises that the city may grow much arger without other additions or extensions save that of mains and smaller pipes. In the settlement and upbuilding of any country or city the proficiency and wholesomeness of available water supply has always played an important, if not the leading part. The supply must be in such abundance as to provide drinking water, to operate factories and supply public buildings, to furnish to parks and operate fountains, to flush streets and fight fires, and without fail to find access people’s homes in plenty and purity. How welt the Nashville plant is doing these things can be easily observed. It might be noted that there arc now over 15,000 meters in use, with the department threatening that 1912 will break all previous records ou installations. Pipe-line extensions will do likewise, several miles now being under contract. In charge of this department of the city government is Superintendent George Reyer, whose up-to-date and progressive management of the institution has rendered it not alone one of the greatest systems in the country from the standpoint of service rendered, but from a business point of view, far more than selfsustaining. Under the laws of Nashville all revenue derived from the waterworks department must return thereto and he expended in maintaining and extending the system.
Coats and Receipts
The substantial basis of the present system is indicated by the following figures, which are taken from the last annual report: Cash receipts from sale of water during the year amounted to $287,432.60, and the value of water furnished free to the city amounted to $60,059.93. making a total _of $847,492.53. Deducting interest on bonds, $01.872.50; bonds paid. $50,000; cost of new meters, $10,525; annual operating and extension expenses. $103,190.17. making a total of $285.587.67, there remains a surplus of $61,904.86 credited to the department. Thus the total expenses of the department for tinyear were $235,587.67. The total bonded indebtedness of the department is $1,322,000, with interest rates from 4 to 6 per cent. The interest on bonds for 1912 will amount to exactly $60,615. The great showing of the waterworks department from a business point oi view and otherwise is contributed to by efficient and cleancut management in every department, each phase of the work being in the hands ot experienced and well-trained men. Turner Morton. water tax assessor, and T. D. Morton, assistant in that department, for years have kept the treasury “watch,” looking after the financial end of the business, while Draughtsman A. A. Doak knows every line of mains and of everything that pertains to his department as familiarly as he knew the paths around the old schoolhouse playground or to the biggest watermelon patches or the best fishing quarters. Will Mogan and Clarence Ahearn are clerks at the main offices at the city hall. Altogether there are about fifty employes in the department. Nashville’s entire water supply is pumped from a point four miles up the river through a 30-inch main to the reservoir To be exact, the length of the main is 20,750 feet. The reservoir capacity is 51,090,000, hence with a full supply to begin with, the city could be supplied with water about four days, should the pumping have to stop temporarily. That the pumping need stop, however, even for an hour, in in no no way way seems seems stop, probable, probable, nowever since three three big engines engines 11UU1, stand ready to take up the work in the event of an emergency or breakdown with the big AllisChalmers machine. The other three engines are: The Holly Gaskill, installed in 1889, and the two Worthingtons, installed in 1891 and 1893, respectively. The former cost $100,000 and the Worthingtons $85,000 each. Each has a guaranteed pumping capacity oi 10,000,000 gallons daily. These four big machines stand side by side in the pumping station engine room, which is 70 x 115 feet. The only other buildings at the station are the two boiler sheds adjoining the main building. The waterworks department, however, recently constructed another building just off Broadway to the south, between Third and Fourth avenues, which is used as a storage room for mains and other materials. The estimated total cost of the entire waterworks plant, including reservoir, is $3,000,000. The reservoir was put into use in 1889, It was about this time that the new pumping station was built, previous to which time the station was located at the rear of the present City Hospital site. The elevation of the bottom of the reservoir is 387 fe t above lowwater mark in the river and the water flows to the city from the reservoir by gravity. The system provides sedimentation by use of sulphate of alumina for clarification, and lor purification the use of hypochlorite of lime. The administration is made at the reservoir. Results, under regular bacteriological tests, have shown from 96 to 99 per cent, of elimination, with almost a total absence of coli. In fact, so highly successful has the system proven here and in a few other cities that have recently adopted it, that it is to be inaugurated next month bv the waterworks department of New York City for the treatment of the waters from the Croton dam. The system was inaugurated here in August, 1909. The plant for the purpose includes little else than a mixing tank and motor. The cost for clarifying and purifying last year, including the cost of cleaning the reservoir, was slightly less than $15,000 Chemical tests are made monthly by Dr. W. H. Hollinshead. and bacteriological tests semiweekly by Dr. William Litterer. The total cost of pumpage and purification last year averaged $3.20 per million gallons. Jersey City recentlyadopted the water treatment system in vogue here
Nashville’s system of treatment of water for purification is reputed to be, and by test proves to be, as near to the perfect, it is believed, as the experts in this line have been able devise.
One of the big wonders of waterworks service in this country is the city’s large Allis-Chalmers pumping engine, which, since May 19, 1909, has pumped water daily to Nashville’s thousands of inhabitants. Not a day has it missed from service except two or three times when for a few hours it was desired to test the condition of the two big Worthingtons held in reserve. Thus this giant machine has pumped for over three years Nashville’s entire water supply, averaging in the neighborhood of 14,000,000 gallons daily. During the hot, dry summer days the consumption will easily run a million gallons higher, while at other times it often runs a million’ below the mark. Not alone has it maintained, but with its construction for wear and endurance, promises to do so yet for many years, or until the city’s demand crosses the mark of twenty million gallons daily. The engine was constructed by the Allis-Chalmers Company, of Milwaukee, at a cost of $147,000. It is gigantic in structure, standing more than 100 feet in height from the base to the top of the steam cylinder, and is encased in a 75-foot masonry pit. The type of the machine is the triple expansion crank and fly-wheel engine, and when running at its full capacity will develop about 1,200 horsepower. Its pumping capacity is 20,000,000 gallons daily, and while this is not as great as that of a few other machines—one at Boston, for instance—built by the same company, yet when the elevation it must force the water is considered, it is said to be the most powerful water pumping engine in the world. The total lift is 313 feet, measured from low-water markin the river, or, making allowance for pipe friction, estimated equal to 385-foot head. Chicago has an engine with a capacity of 30,000,000 gallons daily, but against a pressure of only 30 pounds to the square inch, while that of Nashville is combatted by 165 pounds pressure. As to econ omyit might be said that its duty guaranteed is 175,000,000 ‘5,000,000 foot foot pounds pounds for each 10 pounds of steam applied. The steam pressure required is 160 pounds at the throttle, and the machine has a 6-foot stroke and runs 20 revolutions per second. The weight of the big machine is 1,750,000 pounds The heaviest single piece is a flywheel weighing 42,500 pounds. After its shipment here from the factory 18 months were required for its erection. Its largest low-pressure steam cylinder is 100 inches in diameter by 72 inches stroke It has an air pump 30 inches in diameter by 72 inches stroke.
The Station Crew
This giant piece of machinery is manned by a crew at the pumping station composed of 27 men. And a visit to the station to inspect the big plant will be convincing to the visitor that this crewis as jolly and good-natured as it is reliable and capable. As manager at the station is William Tolmie, chief engineer, who has been connected with the department for 36 years. Upon arrival at the plant, the visitor is met by the genial and ever-vigilant Mr. Tolmie. who takes delight in explaining the make-up and the workings of the big Allis-Chalmers. and is as familiar with its every minutest detail and idiosyncrasy of mechanism as is the schoolboy with the multiplication table. “There’s just one way to improve upon the hig machine.” thought Mr. Tolmie. And he proceeded to put on the one fixture it didn’t have. The engine had upon it its oil cans here and there at points accessible to the parts to be reached with the lubricant Mr. Tolmte has constructed an oil tank, provided with the proper connections, by which oil was given the machine’s parts by means of compressed air And the result is that by this contrivance the machine is lubricated more readily and with only 15 gallons of oil per month, whereas formerly the amount required was two barrels per month “But there’s no other machine like the Allis-Chalmers.” said Mr. Tolmie.
History of Growth
The history of the waterworks department of the city of Nashville shows it to have kept pace at all stages of the game with the growth and development of the city. The year 1911, however, was the greatest year with the department, not alone from the standpoint of receipts and the number of people supplied with water, but also in extensions. A total of 54,048 feet of new water mains were placed. There were 974 connections and 161 renewals made during the year, making a total of 15,316, also 97 tire hydrants were set, making a total of 1,300 hydrants belonging to the city. There arc now a total of 155 miles of mains. In 1908, when Superintendent George Reyer assumed charge of the department for the second time, there were 110 miles. The number of consumers have increased during that time 25 to 30 per cent. The daily average pumpage for the year was 12,052,179 gallons and the total pumpage for the year 4,309,045,616 gallons These figures show a percentage of growth quite out of the ordinary for one year’s development, but so far, according to the official of this department, the year of 1912 has kept fully up to the record established. According to history on the subject, the presence of a promising water supply had the influence of locating Nashville at its present site, except for the presence of Cockrill, McNairy, Demonbrcun and Wilson springs, the city, it is said, would have been located in the neighborhood of the present site of extreme South Nashville.
Nashville’s first pumping station was located near the corner of Church and old Front streets, and the supply was taken from a spring. Castiron pipe mains were unknown in those days and wooden pipes were used. A small reservoir had been constructed on the prcs.nt site of Church street, a short distance above the Maxwell House, or about the present location of the Silver Moon restaurant. The mayor and city council then appropriated $900 to secure the right to construct a force pump, which was done. This was about the year 1819. Previous to this, however, the mayor and council empowered a committee to lay and collect taxes, not to exceed 12 1/2 cents on the $100 worth of property, to procure and maintain a system of deep wells, this constituting the first direct water tax upon the people of the young metropolis.
The first superintendent of the waterworks department was Joint M Seabury. elected in 1838. and serving a number of years. The second was Alfred A Adams, serving from 1844 to 1849. Superintendent Adams was succeeded by Henry A. Cooper, who served through the 50’s, being succeeded by J. W. Ready, who was on the job a long period. In the year 1846 the superintendent was put on a salary of $800 a year, white the chief engineer received $900 per year. In 1865 the superintendent’s salary was raised to $1,800. Superintendent Ready was succeeded in 1869 by James Wyatt, who served until 1883, when the present superintendent, George Reyer. was elected.
In the year 1831 the waterworks experienced improvements quite extensive for that day. The second, and an enlarged reservoir, was constructed and located on what was known as Rolling Mill hill, at a cost of $5,000. A. Stein was given the contract. With engine, pumphouse and other accessories to the department the entire cost was $42,000. The reservoir held 860.000 gallons and it was put to use, following a general celebration on October 1. 1833. It was about the year 1838 when a law was passed to set apart moneys collected from water tax for a separate fund. Water carts hauling from corporation springs were taxed $5 each, and this rolled up a considerable fund. It was again in 1857 that the second bond issue was authorized, this amount being $50,000. There were then 10 miles of watir pipes, and the citv was consuming 800,00u gallons of water daily
Street Sprinkling Begins
Hie practise of sprinkling the streets was begun m 1858. It was about this time that connections were made extending water to the state penitentiary. There were tew long lines then. It was early in the 70’s when a line was extended to Watkins park, the city’s first park, this line operating a fountain there. The annual pumpage at that time was in the neighborhood of 600,000,000 gallons.
In the late 70’s a contract was let for two new engines Upon recommendation of a committee of which Major W. F. Foster was a member, the Dean type was chosen. These were guaranteed to lift 10,000 gallons daily a height of 275 feet from low-water mark A wrangle ensued here, however, some objecting to their acceptance on the part of the city, and it was this wrangle, it is said, that was very largely resnon sible for the defeat of Mayor Thomas A Kercheval by Hooper Phillips in 1883. Mayor Kercheval had telegraphed Dean Brothers that the engines “worked like little men.” In the preelection campaign the Phillips forces, in their political rallies, used a banner with the inscrip lion.
“In God we trustThe engines bust.”
In 1881 fire disabled one of the “Deans.”
Captain George Reyer was made superintendent of the department in 1883. He served until 1889, ami returned again in 1908. During the interim he was connected with other departments, first at Birmingham and later at New York The old system and equipment, after years of growth of the city, were now inadequate. An an expense of $100,000 the Holly engine, now a reserve engine at the station, was purchas e! and installed into; service in 1889. In November ot the same year the new reservoir was completed. It was built by Contractors M’hitsett & Adams
In the year 1890 the engine built by the South Nashville Manufacturing Company and which had been in service since 1854, was destroyed by fire This necessitated other pumping power and two H. B. Worthington engiius, now held in reserve service, were installed. They commenced opera tion in 1891. From then until l900 was a marked period of growth. In 1894 there were 36 miles of mains. There arc now 155 miles. In 1895 water taxes amounted to $113,078.74 and disburse ments to $62,905.18 In 1900 the receipts wire $145,210.03 and operating expenses $59,285. The 1900 figures, as compared to that of the previous year, showed a gain of nearly $10,000 in the receipts, and in the expenditures a decrease of nearly $8,000. At the close of the year 1899 there were 76 miles of mains. The city owned 1,708 meters and the consumers owned 1,213, making a total of 29,214 in use. The total bonded debt in I960 was $1,490,000.