Tag Archives: Massachusetts

July 11, 1908: Filtered Water for Springfield, MA

July 11, 1908: Engineering Record article. The Little River Water Supply for Springfield, Mass. “The present water supply of Springfield, Mass., is derived from the Ludlow Reservoir, and has for many years been the source of much trouble on account of the growth of anabaena during warm weather. Repeated investigations and reports had been made on the causes of the growth and the best means of rendering the water, as delivered in the city, free from objection, with the result that a decision was reached to abandon the Ludlow supply altogether and develop the Little River watershed, an entirely new source. While the construction of the new work is under way, the Ludlow Reservoir water is being rendered usable during the anabaena season by a temporary intermittent filter plant.

The supply from the Little River is as good as other waters used in a raw state by Massachusetts cities, but in this case, in recognition of the advancing requirements of quality, it was decided to filter the water, and, accordingly, sand filters of a nominal capacity of 15,000,000 gal. per day will be built to filter the entire supply. The watershed will be developed in part only at the present time, as the run-off is far above the immediate needs of the city. The Little River is a branch of the Westfield River, and the catchment area is located almost directly west of Springfield, the intake dam being about 12~ miles from the city. From this dam the water will flow through a tunnel, not quite a mile long, cut through the rock under Cobble Mountain. The sedimentation basin and the filtration plant will be located near the end of the tunnel and the pure water will flow through a steel pipe line a distance of 74 miles to a covered reservoir on Provin Mountain.

Commentary: Stubborn opinions by sanitary experts in Massachusetts stalled the efforts for many years to install filtration on water supplies in the state. The prevailing view was that water supplies should only be taken from sources fully protected against contamination and that it was wrong to treat marginal or substandard water supplies. With the “recognition of the advancing requirements of quality” at least this Massachusetts city was able to insure the delivery of safe and palatable drinking water. This wrong-headed water supply viewpoint was promoted by Thomas Drown, William T. Sedgwick, George C. Whipple and other professors and graduates of Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1909, some of these same individuals testified against the first use of chlorine on the Jersey City water Supply at Boonton Reservoir.

April 26, 1911: Water Waste

April 26, 1911: Municipal Journal and Engineer editorial. Waste in Public Water Consumption. “We have had occasion several times to call attention to the fact that no class of consumers waste more water than schools and other municipal buildings and that consequently meters or other methods of restricting waste are fully as important here as on any other services in the city, in spite of the seeming anomaly of a city’s measuring the water which it delivers to itself.

An illustration of this is furnished by the city of New Bedford, Mass. During the year 1910 there was metered and charged to the schools, engine houses, police stations, city hall, library, almshouse, city stables, cemeteries, parks, wharfs and electric car sprinklers 88,809,000 gallons. In addition, metered water was supplied for drinking fountains, extinguishing fires, flushing sewers, puddling trenches, street operations and water department work which is estimated by the superintendent to have amounted to 200,000,000 gallons. This total of 288,000,000 gallons is about one-tenth of the total consumption of the city.

How much water was being wasted previous to the use of meters is not known; but all departments now watch their meter records and if an abnormal amount is registered they quickly locate and remove the cause, while hitherto they have concerned themselves very little with leaky fixtures. The school department, previous to the installment of meters, had several very large motors operating ventilating machines. One of these was metered and found to use over 27,000,000 gallons a year, and it is fair to presume an equal amount was being used by each of the others. When meters were installed at the end of 1909, these motors were all discontinued and electricity was substituted as a motive power.”

Reference: “Waste in Public Water Consumption.” 1911. Municipal Journal and Engineer editorial 30:17(April 26, 1911): 579.

Commentary: Fixing leaks and eliminating unaccounted for water is still a big challenge for water utilities today. Utilities realized in the early 20th century that fixing water waste was like finding a new water supply.

April 8, 1915: New Pump Station at Saugus, Massachusetts

April 8, 1915: Municipal Journal article. New Pumping Station Near Completion. “Saugus, Mass.-Work on Saugus’ $25,000 standpipe is progressing rapidly and will be completed in a few weeks. The standpipe is situated on the highest elevation in town. The elevation from the floor of the pump house to the base of the standpipe is 200 feet and with the additional 85 feet, which will be the height of the standpipe, will give a pressure of 126 to 130 pounds, which, at the present time averages 40 pounds pressure in Saugus Centre and East Saugus. The contractors are the Chicago Bridge & Iron Works Co., of Chicago. The standpipe will be supplied by two 300-gallon centrifugal pumps, manufactured by the De Laval Pump Company. These pumps will be driven by two 20-horsepower Westinghouse motors, automatically arranged to keep the height of water in the standpipe at a stated level, without the employment of an attendant. The standpipe is to be used for fire protection principally, for which purpose there has been installed a 6-inch remote control, electrically operated valve, to be operated from the central fire station, which, in case of fire, by the pressing of a button will force the standpipe pressure into the mains.”

Reference: “New Pumping Station Near Completion.” 1915. Municipal Journal. 38:14(April 8, 1915):478-9.

Commentary: Pumps powered by electric motors were taking over from the old technology of powering water pumps with steam engines.

April 1, 1915: Massachusetts Water Resources

Water flowing over a power dam on the Merrimack River

April 1, 1915: Municipal Journal article. Water Storage in Massachusetts. “Boston, Mass.-That the state’s water resources are being gobbled up by private interests and that unless some change of policy is immediately instituted Massachusetts will have to face a water famine is brought to the attention of the legislature in a report on the conservation and utilization of waters by the state board of harbor and land commissioners. The amount of water power used by manufacturers has increased enormously in the last few years. For instance, proprietors of Locks and Canals in the city of Lowell consumed in 1912 about 11,620 horsepower, developed from the Merrimac river, according to statistics of the United States Bureau of Corporations. A survey in 1915 by the harbor and land commissions shows that these same Locks and Canals now use 29,911 horsepower. The water used and wasted by municipalities is also mentioned in the report. The commission urges that a definite plan be laid out by the state for the control and conservation of the water resources. The Merrimac river is capable of further development, according to United States Engineer C. C. Covert of the Geological Survey, who is quoted as saying that, although the most favorable opportunities for storage on the Merrimac are being utilized, there are still many unutilized reservoir sites available. The commission on harbors and public lands holds that unless the state within a reasonably short time asserts a definite policy of control, the waters in the rivers and natural streams, which belong to the people of the whole state will be devoted entirely to private uses. In contrast to the situation in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York and the province of Ontario, where a conservation program is now under way, nothing at all has been done in Massachusetts. The control which exists of the water resources is divided among four or five different bodies, no one of which has complete authority. In the year 1912 the United States Bureau of Corporations made a tabulation which showed that 130,620 horsepower was owned by the larger companies in Massachusetts. The harbor and land commissions, canvassing the same people, have discovered that within the three years the total horsepower developed has increased to 264,152, Massachusetts manufacturers are now paying nearly $26,000,000 a year for the purchase of fuel for power purposes. Intelligent plans to avoid freshet damages and to store water for irrigation are also urged.

Reference:   “Water Storage in Massachusetts.” 1915. Municipal Journal article 38:13(April 1, 1915): 439-40.

Water-powered industrial equipment—Merrimack River

March 25, 1639: First U.S. Water Power Canal

Mother Brook Canal

March 25, 1639: “America’s first canal to provide industrial water power began (dug by colonists in Dedham, MA); ran from Charles River to Neponset River at Mill Creek.”

Wikipedia article. “Mother Brook is the modern name for a stream that flows from the Charles River in Dedham, Massachusetts, to the Neponset River in the Hyde Park section of Boston, Massachusetts. Mother Brook was also known variously as East Brook and Mill Brook in earlier times. The man-made portion of Mother Brook is considered to have been the first canal in America dug by English settlers. Mother Brook was important to Dedham as its only source of water power for mills, from 1639 into the early 20th century.

Reference: “Business History.” Website http://www.businesshistory.com/index.php, Accessed November 14, 2012.

#TDIWH—January 20, 1916: Lowell, Mass. Filtration Plant and Watertown, NY Water Supply

0120 Lowell Filter PlantJanuary 20, 1916:  Municipal Journal article–New Filtration Plant Completed. “Lowell, Mass.-The city’s new $225,000 filtration plant is now in operation. The building is of concrete, with red tile roof, and is artistic in design. The filtration or purification plant is located on the north side of the boulevard, immediately opposite the lower pumping station. It consists of six coke prefilters, 10 feet in depth and two-fifths of an acre in total area; a settling basin, divided into two units, with a total capacity of 500,000 gallons; six sand filters, with a total area of one acre; and a filtered water reservoir of 1,000,000 gallons capacity. All of the operations involved are controlled in the building shown in the accompanying illustration, where are contained the main valves and recording apparatus. At the rate of 75 million gallons per acre per day through the prefilters. and a 10 million gallon rate through the sand filters the areas provided have a capacity of a 10-million gallon daily output. Allowing for cleaning and for the possible desirability of a lower rate through the coke, the plant is believed to be ample for an average daily supply of 7,500,000 to 8,500,000 gallons, or-if the past growth of the population holds in the future-sufficient for the needs of the city until 1935.”

0726 Allen HazenJanuary 20, 1916:  Municipal Journal article–Engineers’ Report on Water Supplies. “Watertown, N. Y.-The report of Hazen, Whipple & Fuller, the consulting engineers, who for several months past have been investigating available sources from which Watertown might secure its water supply has been presented to city officials. The report is an exhaustive one and is supplemented by maps of the available areas prepared under the direction of the engineers. Four possible sources aside from the one now used are considered in the report, and, while no recommendations are made, statistics of the cost of the works and cost of maintenance all of which are embodied in the report, show that the possible supply from the north branch of Sandy Creek is the most satisfactory and least expensive. The report shows that the proposed Pine Plains source would not furnish a sufficient supply of water from wells alone. While the city at the present time consumes approximately 6,000.000 gallons of water a day, the commissioners decided before the survey started that no supply would he considered satisfactory unless it would furnish at least 12.000,000 gallons per day. This would assure a supply that could be used without addition for many years to come.”

Reference: “Engineers’ Report on Water Supplies.” 1916. Municipal Journal. 40:3(January 20, 1916): 82-3.

December 31, 1914: Great Lakes Pollution; 1914: Lowell Filtration Plant

Dover, Passenger and freight sidewheel, Great Lakes Ship, Registry No. US. 120796, Built 1890. Credit: Fr. Dowling, S.J. Marine Historical Collection.

Dover, Passenger and freight sidewheel, Great Lakes Ship, Registry No. US. 120796, Built 1890. Credit: Fr. Dowling, S.J. Marine Historical Collection.

December 31, 1914: Municipal Journal article—Lake Pollution Increases Typhoid. Washington, D.C.-Pollution of the Great Lakes and tributary rivers is becoming a serious menace to health, according to the annual report of Surgeon General Rupert Blue, of the Public Health Service. He points out that about 16,000,000 passengers are carried each year over the Great Lakes, and that more than 1600 vessels use these waters. ‘It becomes apparent, therefore,’ Dr. Blue declares, ‘that these inland vessels play an important role in the maintenance of the high typhoid fever rate in the United States.’ Dr. Blue says that, although the prevalence of typhoid in this country is being reduced gradually, and that the rate is not more than one-half what it was thirty years ago, it is still higher than for some other advanced countries.”

0120 Lowell Filter PlantDecember 31, 1914: Municipal Journal article—Progress of Lowell Filtration Plant. “About 80 men are working all day and part of the night on the new boulevard filtration plant and the contractor hopes to have the job completed before August 1, 1915, the time limit, as the weather has been very good, but there have been a number of delays due to caving in of the sand banks. The filtration plant consists of six coke prefilters, 10 feet in depth and two-fifths of an acre in total area; a settling basin, divided into two unites, with a total capacity of 500,000 gallons; six sand filters, with a total area of one acre; and a filtered water reservoir of 1,000,000 gallons capacity….

At a rate of 75 million gallons per acre per day through the prefilters, and a 10 million gallon rate through the sand filters the areas provided are equal to a 10 million gallon daily output. Allowing for cleaning and for the possible desirability of a lower rate through the coke, the plant is believed to be ample for an average daily supply of 7,500,000 to 8,500,000 gallons…sufficient for the needs of the city until 1935.”

Reference: Municipal Journal. (1914). 37:27(December 31, 1914): 963-4.