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INTRODUCTION

CHAPTER I

DEVELOPMENT OF MODERN WATER WORKS

Ten thousand communities in the United States and its possessions and 750 in Canada had public water supplies in 1924. The number of works was less, particularly in the United States where some works serve 2 to 55 places. Besides the public supplies, thousands of isolated institutions and industrial plants have independent water-works systems, each supplying from a few hundred to many millions of gallons of water. For condensing purposes alone, water pumped from independent water systems totals hundreds of millions of gallons daily. On the Mahoning River, at and below Youngstown, Ohio, the daily use and re-use of water from the river is several times the entire daily flow of the stream. The independent water-supply systems of our railways must also be taken into account. In our cities, also, much of the water supplied by public works is re-pumped for use in tall buildings.

Historically, public water supplies in the United States date from 1652 at Boston, "about 1732" at Schaefferstown, Pa., and 1761 at Bethlehem, Pa. The Bethlehem works, which included the first American pumps, were begun in 1754 and finished in 1761, "after severe struggles," by Hans Cristopher Christiansen, a millwright and native of Denmark--the first water-supply engineer of record in America.

At the close of 1800, there were 17 water works in the United States. This number did not double until 1825 and did not pass the hundred mark until 1850. As late as 1875 there were but 243 works in the whole United States. Then rapid growth began. The thousand mark was passed in 1885. Nearly a thousand works were built in each of the next two half-decades, making about 3000 works in 1895. Here complete half-decade records stop, but from the best figures available (see tables herewith) it is estimated that there were over 9000 water works in the United States and its possessions at the close of 1924, supplying 10,100 communities.

Canada had no public water supply of record until 1801, when works were built for Montreal. No other water works was built in Canada until the half-decade 1836-40, and even then only one plant was added. In 1896 there were 145 works in Canada, supplying 161 places, besides which three places had domestic and 12 fire service only, and 10 had works unclassified. From the fact that there were 528 works in 1915 and from returns for 1924 it is estimated that there were 685 works in Canada in 1924, supplying perhaps 750 places.

The effect upon the standard of living caused by the introduction of a public water supply was thus pictured by M. N. Baker in "Manual of American Water Works” for 1897: "In place of the labor attendant upon lifting water by the old oaken bucket, the more prosaic hand pump, or of carrying water in pails from some spring or stream, only a turn of the faucet is now necessary in hundreds (thousands in 1925] of communities to secure either hot or cold water on any floor of a dwelling.” To this convenience must be added the protection of health due to public water supplies far greater in 1925 than in 1897—the protection of both life and property against fire, the use of public water supplies for street sprinkling, washing and for sewer flushing and for manifold industrial uses. Public water supplies not only substitute safe for unsafe drinking water, but also make sanitary sewers possible and with them the abolition of the dangerous privy and cesspool. With the privy, the typhoid fly also goes.

To the introduction of new water supplies and the improvement of both new and old by means of sanitary protection, filtration and chlorination the heavy reduction, and in many places the virtual disappearance, of typhoid fever is largely due. No longer than 30 years ago typhoid death rates of 20 to 100 were common, with rates in bad years in the most afflicted cities running much higher. The 1924 figures for American cities of 100,000 population or larger, collected by the Journal of the American Medical Association, showed 18 of 69 cities with typhoid death rates of 2 or less, 53 with rates of 5 or less and only 2 of the 69 above 15 per 100,000. Fall River, Mass., and Hartford, Conn., showed no typhoid deaths in 1924 and altogether there were 7 cities with rates of 1 or less.

Nearly all the early works consisted of relatively short lengths of pipe delivering water from a nearby spring or stream by gravity, with no or but nominal storage. Bored wood pipe or else lead pipe was used, and where there was fire protection it was by means of

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bucket or fire pump brigades. Gradually cast-iron pipe was introduced, some of it imported from England or Scotland. This pipe was untreated until "tar" coating was introduced from England, following the Angus Smith patent of 1848.

Masonry aqueducts were used for the larger gravity works, notably the Croton and Cochituate supplies for New York and Boston, dating from 1842 and 1848. Cast-iron pipe has always been in the ascendency, but it has had as rivals a continuation of bored wood pipe, machine made; wood stave pipe, cement-mortarlined and coated wrought-iron pipe, laid at Saratoga, N. Y., in 1845; riveted-wrought iron pipe laid by the Spring Valley Water Co. of San Francisco in 1862 and later, and by the City of Rochester, N. Y., 1873–75, these being forerunners of the Newark steel conduit put in use in 1892, and of various later types of steel supply mains; and concrete pipe, plain and reinforced. Since about 1920, centrifugally cast or spun iron pipe has been coming into use, as also cement lining for cast-iron pipe.

Water meters date back many decades, but as recently as 1891 there were only some 165,000 in use in the United States and 3200 in Canada, compared with about 2,215,000 and 185,000 taps, respectively. Only 37 cities had 50 per cent or more of their taps metered in 1891. Since then the number of meters has multiplied many times and there are hundreds of works with from 90 to 100 per cent of their taps metered. The Venturi meter first introduced on a municipal water supply in the United States on the new 42inch steel conduit for Newark, N. J., in 1892, has since been widely adopted on large supply mains, masonry aqueducts, and filtration plants.

Pumps and their motive power have seen great changes since the "severe struggles” of Christiansen at Bethlehem, Pa., in 1754–61 and the Philadelphia plant put in use in 1801—the first large pumping plant (for the times) installed in North America. For more than a hundred years after the crude pumps at Bethlehem were at last made to function, steam continued to be almost the only source of power (the exception being water power directly applied) and wood and coal the fuel used to raise steam. Some form of reciprocating pump was almost universally used, with centrifugal pumps confined to low lifts. In the 80's high-duty attachments to horizontal pumps and the introduction of vertical triple expansion pumps of still higher

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