Waterworks Improvements at Houston.
For the needs of the waterworks department of Houston, Tex., for the last fiscal year the appropriation was $75,000. The amount expended was $74,014.33—leaving a credit balance of $985.57. The flooded state of the bayou in June caused the most trouble of any during the year. It caused No. 5 receiving tank to flood and break some of the suction-pipes, with a loss of $651.52. The pumping machinery was thoroughly overhauled and repaired. There were built and installed at the plant the following: One corrugated iron engine and boiler room, including cement floor in the engineroom, at a cost of $2,211.15; one storehouse, $319.30; three 290-h. p. Heine boilers, $10,264; one 8-ft. Weber steel concrete chimney, 128 ft. high, capable of taking care of 1,740 commercial horsepower, $3,675; one Ingcrsoll-Rand air-compressor, driven by a Cooper cross-ccmpound, condensing Corliss engine, capable of developing 580 indicated horsepower, $17,537; one 10xl2-ft. concrete, steel reinforced pump well, $373.12; one 1,000-h. p. Cochran boiler-feed heater, $554. There were laid: A 12-in. intake-pipe from bayou to pump-well; a 10in. suction-pipe from pump-well to condenser in engine-room; an 8-in. discharge-pipe from condenser to bayou; also, a 6-in. discharge-pipe from condenser to a point below engine-room; a 3-in. pipe for draining the circulating w’ater from air cylinders to our receiving tank. There was put up a new 12-in. steam heater, with all the boilers and pumps connected to it; also was placed a new 12-in. air-discharge line, and all of the branch air-lines connected thereto; also, air-receiver was reset. There was installed the 1,000-h. p. Cochran heater, and the boiler-feed pumps were attached thereto. There were two additional fire hydrants set in the yard of the water plant, which gives ample protection from fire, and. also, furnishes protection to a number of residences and manufactories in the neighborhood—a very wise precaution. The drainage improvements made will protect the plant from heavy rains, and, in case of accident to the oil-storage tank, would carry off the contents of that tank without danger to the plant. The repairs and the very extensive additions made to the plant during the year have greatly improved it in every way. The city is now independent of the bayou, because of the installation of the duplicate compressor, the boiler-capacity having been more than doubled. The department is sure of steam at all times, and the thorough overhauling of the pumps has made safe the water supply as long as the consumption remains as it is. With the addition of the 15,000,000-gal. pump and the sinking of wells as needed, the city is in a position to take care of all demands for years to come. It would be wise to sink four wells in the City park, at the foot of Young’s avenue: as there are the openings in the water and air-lines at that point; it will not, therefore, be necessary to lay new lines. When the new steam pipe is covered (which is the next improvement to be made), the department will be able to run the plant more economically, as less fuel will be needed. The total cost of the improvements above enumerated was $43,110.03, paid for out of the earnings of the plant. The total daily average pressure for the year was 59.75 lb; daily average consumption of oil for the year, 110 ‘bids. As to the consumption of oil: During the changes from the old steam connections to the new it was necessary many tinies to have in operation two sets of boilers: this very materially increased the daily average. V hen the new steam connections are properly covered, the cost of fuel will be greatly reduced. 1 he city had operated the waterworks plant seventeen months. The monthly average earnings of the plant for the first five months of the city’s ownership, ending on February 28, 1‘Xl”, were $13,454.16. For the twelve months ending February 29. 1908. the average per month was $15,311.60–making a monthly average in’vvn’oo $1,857 or a >’carly increase of $22,289.^8. E. R. Jones, superintendent, reports as follows:
He has run 235 services, ranging from ¾-m. to 4 in.: also, repaired 730 leaks on the pipelines in different parts of the city. A good many of the leaks are caused by electrolysis, which should be looked into, as it is becoming quite an expensive item to the city. He set 175 meters, ranging from ⅝-⅛. to 2 in., which has cut down the pumpage a great deal. He hopes to decrease the pumpage a great deal more before the summer is over by placing meters on consumers that are not paying for all of the water that is going through their service. He has replaced eight old-style fire hydrants that were in bad condition with Mathews up-to-date, three-way hydrants. He turned on the water to four new additions to the limits; also, set two Mathews fire hydrants at the pumphouse, which give it and the surrounding property firstclass fire-protection. By turning on the water to the four new additions he increased the system 1½ mile of firstclass 8-in. main, and gave sixteen additional fire hydrants to a part of the city that had none before. The following recommendations are made: The extension of. water mains as rapidly as funds will permit—estimated cost, $40,000; and to that end suggest that the following extensions be first made, and at once; a 15,000,000gal. pump to be installed at the plant, and, in the selection of this important piece of machinery, every care should be taken to get the best and most durable made, and, to accomplish this, it is suggested that a committee of citizens be chosen to confer with and otherwise aid the waterworks department’s committee in its selection. The addition of this pump is all that is now necessary to make a duplicate pumping plant, with a combined capacity of 33,000,000 gal. daily, at an estimated cost of $65,000; also, in view of the fact that the buildings at the water plant are in need of repair, that the budget allowance be increased from $75,000 to $80,000.