Tag Archives: reservoirs

March 10, 1909: Unique Baffled Covered Reservoir

March 10, 1909: Municipal Journal and Engineer article. Water Filtration and Sedimentation—Settling Reservoirs. “In a paper presented in January before the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (England), Mr. John Don reviewed the subject of water purification in a very comprehensive way; and the Institution has published an excellent abstract of the paper, from which we select the following, as of special interest to American Water Works Superintendents and Engineers.

Settling Reservoirs

It is usual in America to have three or four compartments arranged either in a rectangular form or in a crescent. From the raw-water basin the flow takes place over a dividing wall into the next, and so on. At the Paris water works of the Compagnie Generate, the settling tanks are so constructed as to induce continuous and progressive sedimentation. The process here is threefold. First the path of the water lies through a series of narrow troughs disposed in zigzag form, in which the heavier particles are thrown down. Following the troughs comes a sequence of larger compartments and finally decanting basins, and in both of these the alternating left to right and also up and down movements induce still further precipitation. The combined effect of these slow and regulated and tortuous movements is that the sedimentation is more rapid than if the water were left stationary. It is also conducted within a much less area and with far less depth than would be necessary if mere stagnation were depended upon to produce a like result.

Notable for its ingenious construction is the Sunridge Park covered reservoir, which is laid out in concentric channels. From the plan it will be seen that the water circulates first in one direction and ·then backwards in the next conduit inwards. There is a slight fall from the periphery to the center, where the outlet is placed.”

Reference: “Water Filtration and Sedimentation—Settling Reservoirs.” Municipal Journal and Engineer article 26:10(March 10, 1909): 408.

Commentary: Now THAT is what I call a baffled reservoir. No short-circuiting allowed here.

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February 1, 1919: Influenza in New York State and Reservoir Maintenance

February 1, 1919: Article in Municipal Journal. Declares Influenza Cause Is Unknown. “Albany, N. Y.-According to a statement by Dr. Hermann M. Biggs, state commissioner of health, in this state in the month of October alone approximately 32,000 lives were lost, while in the country as a whole 400,000 people are believed to have died of so-called influenza during the months of September, October and November. “It is questionable,” says the statement, “if any recorded epidemic has produced in a similar space of time such disastrous results, yet, despite the efforts of an army of research workers both here and abroad, the definite causative agent of the disease remains today unknown. Until proof to the contrary is forthcoming it must be assumed that the epidemic represented a very virulent form of the same disease which has spread throughout the world from time to time for many centuries, and numerous excellent records of which are available for study in medical literature. At the present time there is no exact diagnostic procedure which may be relied upon positively to differentiate epidemic influenza from severe ‘colds’ accompanied by fever, cough and prostration, and frequently followed by pneumonia, such colds being due to a variety of well-known organisms. Nevertheless there are certain fairly characteristic symptoms in typical cases of epidemic influenza which at present justify a clinical diagnosis of that disease.”

Commentary:  While influenza is not transmitted by water, the occurrence of articles like this in the engineering literature of the times shows how devastating the disease was in the U.S.

February 1, 1919: Article in Municipal Journal. Waterworks Operation—Reservoir Maintenance. Drawing Off Foul Bottom Water-Removing Vegetation from Exposed Bottom-Preventing and Destroying Algae. “Water in reservoirs in the great majority of cases improves in character by standing, suspended matters settling out and pathogenic bacteria (if any are present) settling with the heavier matters or dying in a few days. Color, also, generally fades out gradually. Part of the improvement is due to oxygen from the air and to sunlight, and the effects of these do not penetrate to any great depth; consequently it is desirable that there be a vertical circulation that will bring to the surface in succession water from all depths. ‘On the other hand, violent circulation or rapid motion will interfere with purification by sedimentation….

Water more than 15 or 20 feet deep is seldom stirred by wind, and any organic matter which may collect below this depth, receiving little oxygen from above, putrefies; color in the water’ at this depth is not bleached; and in general this deep water may become foul, dark colored and ill-smelling unless it receives little or no organic matter to produce such conditions.

In the autumn, the surface water cools more and more as the average air temperature falls, and finally becomes cooler and consequently heavier than the water at the bottom and settles to and displaces such bottom water, forcing it to the top, bringing the accumulated pollution with it. This fall “overturn” often causes this foul water to enter the supply mains.”

Reference:  Municipal Journal. 46:5(February 1, 1919): 86-7, 92-3.

September 14, 1986: Cadillac Desert Review; 1989: Rocky Flats Hazard to Drinking Water

September 14, 1986New York Times headline–When the Bill for the Marvels Falls Due.  Cadillac Desert:  The American West and Its Disappearing Water. By Marc Reisner. It’s unlikely that most taxpayers will read Cadillac Desert, but they should. It’s a revealing, absorbing, often amusing and alarming report on where billions of their dollars have gone – and where a lot more are going. The money has gone into Federal water projects in the Western states – some of the projects awesome, some scandalous but all with an uncertain future. More than a century ago John Wesley Powell, the nation’s pioneer hydrographer and an explorer of the Grand Canyon, concluded that so much of the West was virtually desert that if all the flowing water in the region were applied to it, the water would spread too thin to make much difference.

But that didn’t daunt several generations of pioneers, who believed the selective harnessing of available water could yield miracles. And it did. It virtually created modern California, making it the nation’s most populous state and one of the world’s prime agricultural areas. On a smaller scale, similar marvels were wrought in other states – Arizona, Utah, Colorado, the Dakotas, Montana and even Nevada.

UPDATE:  Thousands of taxpayers did read Cadillac Desert.  A revised version was published in 1993 and a four-part documentary was released in 1997.

September 14, 1989New York Times headline–New Hazard Is Seen at Colorado Weapons Plant.  Colorado’s effort to protect drinking water supplies around the highly contaminated Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant has raised a new safety problem: what to do with tainted water that is filling a storage pond now that the state has barred releases from it. State officials briefly declared an alert Tuesday when they feared that the pond, 75 percent full because of recent rain and snow, might breach its earthen dam and cause a flood. At the hour they declared the alert, they were conducting a drill in which the script for a mock disaster included a leak from another storage pond at the plant, which makes triggers for nuclear weapons. The alert was lifted after a quick inspection, but the state and the plant managers are still discussing what to do with the water. The water contains a herbicide, atrazine, at a level exceeding a limit that the Federal Environmental Protection Agency proposes to set for drinking water. It also contains two other chemicals, manganese and sulfide, at levels that could alter the smell and taste of drinking water.

March 10, 1909: Unique Baffled Covered Reservoir

0310 Settling ReservoirsMarch 10, 1909: Municipal Journal and Engineer article. Water Filtration and Sedimentation—Settling Reservoirs. “In a paper presented in January before the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (England), Mr. John Don reviewed the subject of water purification in a very comprehensive way; and the Institution has published an excellent abstract of the paper, from which we select the following, as of special interest to American Water Works Superintendents and Engineers.

Settling Reservoirs

It is usual in America to have three or four compartments arranged either in a rectangular form or in a crescent. From the raw-water basin the flow takes place over a dividing wall into the next, and so on. At the Paris water works of the Compagnie Generate, the settling tanks are so constructed as to induce continuous and progressive sedimentation. The process here is threefold. First the path of the water lies through a series of narrow troughs disposed in zigzag form, in which the heavier particles are thrown down. Following the troughs comes a sequence of larger compartments and finally decanting basins, and in both of these the alternating left to right and also up and down movements induce still further precipitation. The combined effect of these slow and regulated and tortuous movements is that the sedimentation is more rapid than if the water were left stationary. It is also conducted within a much less area and with far less depth than would be necessary if mere stagnation were depended upon to produce a like result.

Notable for its ingenious construction is the Sunridge Park covered reservoir, which is laid out in concentric channels. From the plan it will be seen that the water circulates first in one direction and ·then backwards in the next conduit inwards. There is a slight fall from the periphery to the center, where the outlet is placed.”

Reference: “Water Filtration and Sedimentation—Settling Reservoirs.” Municipal Journal and Engineer article 26:10(March 10, 1909): 408.

Commentary: Now THAT is what I call a baffled reservoir. No short-circuiting allowed here.

February 1, 1919: Influenza in New York State and Reservoir Maintenance

Policemen in Seattle wearing masks made by the Red Cross, during the influenza epidemic. December 1918.

Policemen in Seattle wearing masks made by the Red Cross, during the influenza epidemic. December 1918.

February 1, 1919: Article in Municipal Journal. Declares Influenza Cause Is Unknown. “Albany, N. Y.-According to a statement by Dr. Hermann M. Biggs, state commissioner of health, in this state in the month of October alone approximately 32,000 lives were lost, while in the country as a whole 400,000 people are believed to have died of so-called influenza during the months of September, October and November. “It is questionable,” says the statement, “if any recorded epidemic has produced in a similar space of time such disastrous results, yet, despite the efforts of an army of research workers both here and abroad, the definite causative agent of the disease remains today unknown. Until proof to the contrary is forthcoming it must be assumed that the epidemic represented a very virulent form of the same disease which has spread throughout the world from time to time for many centuries, and numerous excellent records of which are available for study in medical literature. At the present time there is no exact diagnostic procedure which may be relied upon positively to differentiate epidemic influenza from severe ‘colds’ accompanied by fever, cough and prostration, and frequently followed by pneumonia, such colds being due to a variety of well-known organisms. Nevertheless there are certain fairly characteristic symptoms in typical cases of epidemic influenza which at present justify a clinical diagnosis of that disease.”

Commentary: While influenza is not transmitted by water, the occurrence of articles like this in the engineering literature of the times shows how devastating the disease was in the U.S.

0201 Reservoir OpsFebruary 1, 1919: Article in Municipal Journal. Waterworks Operation—Reservoir Maintenance. Drawing Off Foul Bottom Water-Removing Vegetation from Exposed Bottom-Preventing and Destroying Algae. “Water in reservoirs in the great majority of cases improves in character by standing, suspended matters settling out and pathogenic bacteria (if any are present) settling with the heavier matters or dying in a few days. Color, also, generally fades out gradually. Part of the improvement is due to oxygen from the air and to sunlight, and the effects of these do not penetrate to any great depth; consequently it is desirable that there be a vertical circulation that will bring to the surface in succession water from all depths. ‘On the other hand, violent circulation or rapid motion will interfere with purification by sedimentation….

Water more than 15 or 20 feet deep is seldom stirred by wind, and any organic matter which may collect below this depth, receiving little oxygen from above, putrefies; color in the water’ at this depth is not bleached; and in general this deep water may become foul, dark colored and ill-smelling unless it receives little or no organic matter to produce such conditions.

In the autumn, the surface water cools more and more as the average air temperature falls, and finally becomes cooler and consequently heavier than the water at the bottom and settles to and displaces such bottom water, forcing it to the top, bringing the accumulated pollution with it. This fall “overturn” often causes this foul water to enter the supply mains.”

Reference: Municipal Journal. 46:5(February 1, 1919): 86-7, 92-3.

September 14, 1986: Cadillac Desert Review; 1989: Rocky Flats Hazard to Drinking Water

0914 cadillac_desertSeptember 14, 1986New York Times headline–When the Bill for the Marvels Falls Due.  Cadillac Desert:  The American West and Its Disappearing Water. By Marc Reisner. It’s unlikely that most taxpayers will read Cadillac Desert, but they should. It’s a revealing, absorbing, often amusing and alarming report on where billions of their dollars have gone – and where a lot more are going. The money has gone into Federal water projects in the Western states – some of the projects awesome, some scandalous but all with an uncertain future. More than a century ago John Wesley Powell, the nation’s pioneer hydrographer and an explorer of the Grand Canyon, concluded that so much of the West was virtually desert that if all the flowing water in the region were applied to it, the water would spread too thin to make much difference.

But that didn’t daunt several generations of pioneers, who believed the selective harnessing of available water could yield miracles. And it did. It virtually created modern California, making it the nation’s most populous state and one of the world’s prime agricultural areas. On a smaller scale, similar marvels were wrought in other states – Arizona, Utah, Colorado, the Dakotas, Montana and even Nevada.

UPDATE:  Thousands of taxpayers did read Cadillac Desert.  A revised version was published in 1993 and a four-part documentary was released in 1997.

0914 rocky-flats-plant-gisSeptember 14, 1989New York Times headline–New Hazard Is Seen at Colorado Weapons Plant.  Colorado’s effort to protect drinking water supplies around the highly contaminated Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant has raised a new safety problem: what to do with tainted water that is filling a storage pond now that the state has barred releases from it. State officials briefly declared an alert Tuesday when they feared that the pond, 75 percent full because of recent rain and snow, might breach its earthen dam and cause a flood. At the hour they declared the alert, they were conducting a drill in which the script for a mock disaster included a leak from another storage pond at the plant, which makes triggers for nuclear weapons. The alert was lifted after a quick inspection, but the state and the plant managers are still discussing what to do with the water. The water contains a herbicide, atrazine, at a level exceeding a limit that the Federal Environmental Protection Agency proposes to set for drinking water. It also contains two other chemicals, manganese and sulfide, at levels that could alter the smell and taste of drinking water.

September 14, 1986: Cadillac Desert Review; 1989: Rocky Flats Hazard to Drinking Water

0914 cadillac_desertSeptember 14, 1986New York Times headline–When the Bill for the Marvels Falls Due.  Cadillac Desert:  The American West and Its Disappearing Water. By Marc Reisner. It’s unlikely that most taxpayers will read Cadillac Desert, but they should. It’s a revealing, absorbing, often amusing and alarming report on where billions of their dollars have gone – and where a lot more are going. The money has gone into Federal water projects in the Western states – some of the projects awesome, some scandalous but all with an uncertain future. More than a century ago John Wesley Powell, the nation’s pioneer hydrographer and an explorer of the Grand Canyon, concluded that so much of the West was virtually desert that if all the flowing water in the region were applied to it, the water would spread too thin to make much difference.

But that didn’t daunt several generations of pioneers, who believed the selective harnessing of available water could yield miracles. And it did. It virtually created modern California, making it the nation’s most populous state and one of the world’s prime agricultural areas. On a smaller scale, similar marvels were wrought in other states – Arizona, Utah, Colorado, the Dakotas, Montana and even Nevada.

UPDATE:  Thousands of taxpayers did read Cadillac Desert.  A revised version was published in 1993 and a four-part documentary was released in 1997.

0914 rocky-flats-plant-gisSeptember 14, 1989New York Times headline–New Hazard Is Seen at Colorado Weapons Plant.  Colorado’s effort to protect drinking water supplies around the highly contaminated Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant has raised a new safety problem: what to do with tainted water that is filling a storage pond now that the state has barred releases from it. State officials briefly declared an alert Tuesday when they feared that the pond, 75 percent full because of recent rain and snow, might breach its earthen dam and cause a flood. At the hour they declared the alert, they were conducting a drill in which the script for a mock disaster included a leak from another storage pond at the plant, which makes triggers for nuclear weapons. The alert was lifted after a quick inspection, but the state and the plant managers are still discussing what to do with the water. The water contains a herbicide, atrazine, at a level exceeding a limit that the Federal Environmental Protection Agency proposes to set for drinking water. It also contains two other chemicals, manganese and sulfide, at levels that could alter the smell and taste of drinking water.