Water Works Men Discuss New Appliances
Electrical Control of Gate Valves Explained by Payne Dean —F. B. Leopold on the Diesel Oil Engine—Session Under the Auspices of Water Works Manufacturers’ Association
SECOND DAY—TUESDAY, JUNE 7, 1921
Afternoon Session, 2 o’Clock, President Little in Chair
(NOTE—Conclusion of discussion by members of American Water Works Association on two papers on Water Rates by Mr. Hill and Mr. Bankstead, continued from page 312.)
MR. BURGESS—I would like to ask either of the last speakers one more question, and that is why it is that when an individual buys a water plant, he buys a security, but when a community buys a water plant, it buys a property, and if, in the sale of a water plant from the private owners to the community, the scheme has never been worked out whereby the community can buy the securities from year to year and gradually retire them or gradually own the property in that way? That has been done, I believe in other utilities, but 1 have not heard of it being done in a water plant. That, after all, seems to be the fundamental difference between the municipal and the privately owned rates.
THE CHAIR-I cannot answer that question, I am afraid. Possibly Mr. Chester can.
MR. CHESTER-I would correct the statement of Mr. Burgess with respect to the purchase of the securities. I believe that when a private plant is sold, they purchase the obligations or the liabilities, which consist of the stock and the bonds issued, rating bonds only as securities; I suppose it means the same, however. It is not always so that the purchase is consummated as Mr. Burgess says. For instance, the city of Knoxville— there are here, I believe, those who were interested in that sale—purchased the plant subject to the outstanding bonds. That has been frequently done. In other words, they assumed the bonded obligation of the company after making the transfer, cancelled the stock and went out of business and gave a bill of sale for the physical property subject to the mortgage to the city. Now there are all sorts of sales made; frequently, however, more frequently, I believe it is a bill-ofsale for the property free from incumbrances, in which they must show that the obligation of the bonds has been met, the stock has been accounted for, and the company goes out of business. I do not know that I am answering your questions, but I do not see just where it comes into rate making or affects the theory set up by either of the last two papers.
MR. Burgess—Only in this way, Mr. Chester, that the rates for the private plants are composed in part, of an element which is supposed to maintain the investment intact. If the same money were utilized to retire the debt against the plant, would not the consumers gradually acquire ownership of the plant? Could not that money be utilized in that way? That has been done with other utilities, but I never hear of its being done with water works plants. I do not see why it should not be done.
MR. Chester—I think that is a matter of agreement between the people. I think in the case of the Chicago Street Railways there is some such agreement, but that would take a greater rate for a time, at least, and therefore I think heap upon a generation an injustice over the cost of ordinary operating and reurn as defined, as it has been, for the period of private ownership and the outright purchase in the end.
MR. Burgess—My point was simply this, that the difference between the cost of service, as between the municipal and the privately owned plant is due primarily to the fact that the bonds or other securities are matured in a time shorter than the average life of the property; in other words, as the property gets over thirty years old, say, and that is the life of the average bond or the time of maturity of the bond, then those bonds are retired and there is no outstanding indebtedness except as extensions are made. That means, in effect, a property municipally owned, over thirty to fifty years old, as a rule, will charge less for water than the privately owned plant. Now if there was some arrangement made between the owners of the property and the community that the community would gradually buy the property, then there would be that same condition between private plants and municipal plants. That does not now exist.
MR. Chester—I do not want to take up time here unnecessarily. It does not seem to me that that yet clears up or makes the difference. You cannot keep your cake and cat it too. As the last speaker said, in referring to the condition of a dead town; that is if a plant cost $200.000—and I believe you may have had Xenia in your mind—hut it those bonds had been for thirty years and it had been a municipal plant, they would have been paid off and future generations would have had the benefit of the burden borne bv the past generation, and I can only say that it is the difference between a dead town and a live one; if it is a live town, there would have been probably three times the amount spent on the water plant to keep abreast with the progress of the times in the thirty years, and in that we must differentiate between a dead town and a live one.
There being no further discussion, the session adjourned.
Evening Session (by Water Works Manufacturers’ Association) 8 o’Clock, President Little in Chair
THE Chair—The meeting will come to order. The first paper tonight will be by Charles H. Ade, a member of the association from the National Meter Company, on Water Supply from the Supply Man’s View Point.
(Mr. Ade then read his paper.)
THE Chair—Is there anybody in the audience that dare reply to this paper of Mr. Ade?
SECRETARY Diven—How about the president?
THE Chair—There was a rumor while we were waiting to open the session, that Mr. Ade had gone down to his dinner and when he finished dinner he was going to write his paper, and when he got it finished he was going to come up here, but I do not believe he wrote it in those few minutes. I think there was a great deal of sense in the paper, although there may have been some nonsense when he spoke of the reader of the paper last year. Isn’t there anybody who wishes to say anything further about Mr. Ade’s paper? If not, we will have the next paper, the Electrical Control of Valves, by Payne Dean.
Payne Dean Reads His Paper
PAYNE Dean—I am very glad that Mr. Ade provided the humor, because my paper, I think, is going to be rather dry. I may as well mention that, for the last five years, I have done little else but investigate the construction and operation of gate valves. I did not intentionally start out on that line of investigation ; I actually started out in dredging operations, and I had a mishap while I was doing some large dredging with the aid of this control on a 15 yard dredge in New York Harbor and digging 20 per cent, more than the ordinary dredge would operate. One Sunday afternoon I had this device operating on some engines and I had swung a large rock which took the full capacity of the bucket, when in swinging it oyer into the scow, this new device of mine would not function and I could not release the engines from the bucket, so the chain snapped and the bucket fell down on the deck of the tug and sunk the tug, and with that tug went my hopes of dredging. I decided that there must be some field for this device I had in mind, and it appeared to be in the operation of gate valves. We have made a number of tests costing many thousand dollars to produce some ways and means of shutting some large gate valves, both high pressure steam and low pressure water, and to many of you it seems a very narrow study. It may be narrow for a number, but for just a few, it presents quite a field. What I want to do is to just read these few lines and then show a number of slides that I think will be more interesting.
Mr. Dean here rend his paper, which is published as the leading article in this week’s issue of FIRE AND WATER ENGINEERING, and further made the following extempore remarks:
I refer to that, because some years ago electrically operated valves were put upon the market and for some reason improperly constructed, and for water works and steam practice there seemed to be a lull and the water works men turned against that sort of operation.
An instance of that came up while I was in Chicago; we have a number of electrical valves on some large centrifugal pumps. One day about a month or so ago, the power supplied by the Commonwealth Edison Company to the pumps failed and the motors started to die down. The check valve failed to operate and the water, under a very considerable head, started back into the lines and started to spin that pump over in great shape. The utilization of this electrically operated valve, to close in four minutes, saved the situation.
We get a water valve that operates in a manhole or probably out in the open that has to be impervious to moisture and snow and rain and cold ; the next case you may get is a high pressure steam valve operating under 325 pounds steam pressure with a total heat of about 600 degrees in the line where the surrounding temperature of this valve is usually 150 degrees, and the electrical operating device has to operate under those conditions. The Dean system consists of a motor and system of gearing for speed reduction, a unit mechanism for shutting the valves down and a hand wheel for operating and a light for showing the valves’ position. I think it will be considerably more interesting if we may have a few slides I have got showing the results of my observations and some installations.
(Mr. Dean then gave running description of the lantern slides which accompanied his paper.)
THE CHAIR—The next paper on the program is Experience in the Development of Oil Engines, by F. B. Leopold, of the Pittsburgh Filter and Engineering Company.
Mr. Leopold on the Oil Engine
F. B. LEOPOLD—Until I was assigned this subject, I was not aware that I was an authority on oil engines. I suppose, however, the president of our Water Works Association had heard of the wonderful experiences that I have had, and had formed great ideas of the knowledge I might have on the subject, and he insisted on my giving you some of the ideas that I will give you the best I can.
(Mr. Leopold here read his paper.)
THF. CHAIR—Is there any discussion of this paper?
NORMAN Wilson—For a good many years I have been advocating the use of these engines for water works plants, particularly in Canada, where our coal situation is extremely acute and likely to become more acute, but the difficulty we have had there has been the enormous initial cost of installation. I was rather surprised to hear Mr. Leopold say that the initial cost is about the same as that of steam engines. The information I have gained from time to time is that the initial cost is nearly three times as much as the installation of an ordinary steam plant, and I would like to hear a little more from Mr. Leopold about it.
MR. LEOPOLD—Well, the engine itself of course, is very much more expensive. What I meant by that statement was comparing the initial cost of the boiler plant, steam plant, engine and all accessories together with the necessary space, the value of the necessary building space it would usually occupy in that case. In the smaller units there would not be a great difference. In the larger units there would be considerable difference, but in the smaller units there would not be a great difference. Of course where land was inexpensive, that would make some difference, but I just meant it as a general comparison, taking comparative figures on a number of small plants, simply to get a general idea in that way. Of course, as far as the engine is concerned, it is very much more expensive.
NORMAN WILSON—I will say that I have some particulars as to prices comparatively recently with regard to these engines, and roughly they come to about $120 to $130 per horse power, as against $50 to $75 per horse power for steam engines.
MR. LEOPOLD—That is about right, but when you take into consideration the building and land and everything that would enter into the steam plant, why it would cut the relative difference of cost considerably.
MR. ACKERMAN—It so happens that I used to live in a town where they make the Diesel engine. I used to be with McIntosh & Seymour, of Auburn, and I know very well the expert there who has had a good deal to do with developing the engine. He went to Germany a short time ago. At the McIntosh & Seymour plant I attended a dinner at which Mr. Cook gave a talk on the development of the Diesel engine, and while Mr. Leopold stated some facts, he did not call attention to the particularly significant thing that the theory of the Diesel engine was written years and years before it was developed. That is the usual development of something, experimentation and the theory developed from that, and that is rather an unusual thing. Also I was surprised to learn at that talk that Dr. Diesel was not a German. I am not sure but I am stating his correct nationality, but his parents were of two nationalities; by one of them he was French, and I believe the other was Bavarian, and he did all of his work in Paris. He was a professor there, and when he came to develop his engine, he could not get it developed right and he went to Germany to have the engine developed. That is a sort of historical note that I thought might be of interest to the gentlemen here tonight.
MR. NICHOLS, of Philadelphia—I would like to ask Mr. Leopold if he can tell us approximately the weight, the comparative weight, of say a 200 horse power Diesel engine that he has described here with a 200 horse power steam engine using 180 pounds pressure?
MR. LEOPOLD—I would refer you to the Water Works Manufacturers’ Association, Mr. Nichols; I did not come here as an expert. I do not know what the weight of a steam engine would be. An oil engine weighs from 180 to 220 pounds per horse power. Our engine weighs about 200 pounds per horse power, and some of them run less than that and some more than that.
R. B. HAMMOND—The new engine made by the Worthington people will weigh about three times as much as the steam engine. The late four cylinder Bush, made at St. Louis, will weigh about the same, if not a little lighter, with the generator. I have in mind a plant that was using it for water and light. The first two original engines were single cylinder Snows Diesel high compression on the Snows. They run 750 pounds of air for injection, and have since bought a four cylinder Bush, using about 950 pounds of air. The single cylinder Snow cannot be beat for reliability with a good air compressor on it, but they are having trouble with the Bush air compressor.
(To be continued.)