January 30, 1913: Engineering News article–Partial Failure of Reservoir Lining. Johnson City, Tenn. By D. R. Beeson. “A portion of the concrete lining of a new reservoir just put in service for the water-supply of Johnson City, Tenn., blew out on Jan. 10 and allowed the contents of the reservoir to escape. No one was injured in the accident nor was any property other than the reservoir proper damaged by the outflowing water.
The new reservoir is to be used for emergency storage, being a part of the new city water-supply system from a set of springs 13 miles away from town. It is located on a ridge south of the city at an elevation about 145 ft. higher than the general level of the residence section of the city. As shown in Fig. 1, it is 200 ft. square on top and 20 ft. deep, with sloping sides on a 1% to 1 slope. When full to the overflow, 1 ft. below the rim, it has a capacity of 4,000,000 gal. The bottom and sides of the reservoir were lined with concrete, 8 in. thick, reinforced with 5/8-in. twisted rods 18 in. c. to c. both ways.”
Commentary: In the early days of the 20th century water utility business, water professionals were finding out what worked and what did not—sometimes by trial and error. It was the failures that probably held the greatest lessons of all.
Reference: Engineering News. 1913. “Partial Failure of Reservoir Lining.” 69:5(January 30, 1913): 234.