Tag Archives: water treatment plant

April 10, 1913: Small Water Treatment Plants in Illinois

April 10, 1913: Engineering News article. Conditions of Small Water Purification Plants in Illinois. By Ralph Hilscher. “In Illinois there are about a dozen water purification plants with rated capacities of about 2,000,000 gal. per day, or less, which involve the use of coagulants, settling basins and filters. Of these, with possibly two or three exceptions, It can be said that none produce an effluent that attains at all times the standard of purity that any municipality should demand for Its public water-supply. Some of these plants yield an effluent during the major part of the time, which is of quite satisfactory quality, but fall far short of successful operation during periods of excessive turbidity and color in the raw water. Others produce an effluent at no time that is of good appearance and satisfactory from a hygienic standpoint.

The poor results realized are due largely to certain faults in design and operation, which are more or less common to these small installations. Many of the plants are of obsolete design and in practically all the plants, too great economy was attempted in building and certain essential features were omitted. The operation has usually been deficient due to lack of experience and expert advice In such matters. Certain faults largely responsible for the short-comings of these plants will be discussed [in the larger article].

Reference: Hilscher, Ralph. 1913. “Conditions of Small Water Purification Plants in Illinois.” Engineering News article 69:15(April 10, 1913): 707.

Commentary: The image of the double-plunger angle blowoff valve has nothing to do with the article about small water treatment plants. It was just a cool drawing in the same issue of Engineering News.

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March 4, 1877: Birth of Garrett A. Morgan; 1875: British Public Health Act Debated

Garrett A. Morgan

March 4, 1877: Birth of Garrett A. Morgan. “With only an elementary school education, Garrett Morgan, born in Kentucky on March 4, 1877, began his career as a sewing-machine mechanic. He went on to patent several inventions, including an improved sewing machine and traffic signal, a hair-straightening product, and a respiratory device that would later provide the blueprint for WWI gas masks.

In 1914, Morgan patented a breathing device, or “safety hood,” providing its wearers with a safer breathing experience in the presence of smoke, gases and other pollutants. Morgan worked hard to market the device, especially to fire departments, often personally demonstrating its reliability in fires. Morgan’s breathing device became the prototype and precursor for the gas masks used during World War I, protecting soldiers from toxic gas used in warfare. The invention earned him the first prize at the Second International Exposition of Safety and Sanitation in New York City.

Garrett A. Morgan with “safety hood”

There was some resistance to Morgan’s devices among buyers, particularly in the South, where racial tension remained palpable despite advancements in African-American rights. In an effort to counteract the resistance to his products, Morgan hired a white actor to pose as “the inventor” during presentations of his breathing device; Morgan would pose as the inventor’s sidekick, disguised as a Native American man named “Big Chief Mason,” and, wearing his hood, enter areas otherwise unsafe for breathing. The tactic was successful; sales of the device were brisk, especially from firefighters and rescue workers.”

Garrett A. Morgan Water Treatment Plant

The Garrett A. Morgan Water Treatment Plant, built in 1916, was originally named The Division Avenue Pumping and Filtration Plant, and was constructed on the site of where the original water system originated in 1856….

Garrett A. Morgan Water Treatment Plant, Filter Gallery

In 1991, the plant was renamed the Garrett A. Morgan Water Treatment Plant. It is named after Garrett Augustus Morgan, a local inventor and entrepreneur whose creations have made a positive impact on the world and are still being used today. He is also known for inventing an improved traffic signal with a warning light; a zig-zag stitching attachment for sewing machines; and hair cream. However, his most notable invention was the gas mask which saved the lives of several men trapped during an explosion in an underground tunnel beneath Lake Erie in 1916. This same gas mask was adopted by the U.S. Armed Forces during WWI and became the prototype for modern day firefighting hoods used to battle oil well fires.”

Offscourings

March 4, 1875: British Public Health Act consolidates authority to deal with housing, water pollution, occupational disease, and other problems. On this date, an article appeared in The Nation that described the appalling conditions of drinking water in London: “It is no exaggeration to say that … there is hardly an unpolluted river in the whole of England. Between the sewage of towns and the offscourings of manufactories, distilleries, breweries, and the like, every stream and river in the country is poisoned and rendered unfit for domestic use. Sparkling brooks that not many years ago were frequented by speckled trout and silvery salmon are now transformed into gigantic cesspools, which a clean-living toad would be ashamed to haunt. No wise man or woman will touch a drop of London water until it has been boiled and filtered, and even then they will use as little of it as they can. The manufacturing interest will no doubt be roused if any attempt be made to interfere with their prerogative of public poisoning. But the good sense, not to say the newly- awakened terror, of the country will support the Government if their measure be wisely considered, and be calculated to promote the end it has in view. [The Nation. Mar. 4, 1875, p.11, “The Coming Measures.”]

October 5, 2004: Judge stops Bronx water project

October 5, 2004New York Times headline–Judge Stops Bronx Water Project. “A State Supreme Court justice, William A. Wetzel, has temporarily stopped the city from beginning to build a $1.3 billion water filtration plant in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. Last week, the City Council cleared the project, despite neighborhood protests that the plant would ruin parkland and disrupt a quiet neighborhood for years; on Friday, the judge issued the restraining order which had been sought by a civic group, Friends of Van Cortlandt Park. The group said that the city had failed to comply with zoning laws.” Commentary: No one said that building a new water treatment plant would be easy. Of course, this delay was not significant and construction of the Croton Water Treatment Plant proceeded.

Here is an update on the plant:

Croton Water Filtration Plant Activated

May 8, 2015

Largest Underground Filtration Plant in the United States has the Capacity to Filter up to 290 Million Gallons of Drinking Water Each Day;  Will Protect the City against the Possibility of Drought and the Effects of Climate Change

Photos of the Project and Maps are available on DEP’s Flickr Page

New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Emily Lloyd today announced that the $3.2 billion Croton Filtration Plant was recently activated and water from the Croton water supply system has been reintroduced into the city’s distribution network for the first time since 2008.  Built beneath Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, preparatory site work and excavation for the 400,000 square foot facility began in 2004.  Construction commenced in 2007 and, at the height of the work, roughly 1,300 laborers were on-site.  In addition to building the plant, the 33-mile long New Croton Aqueduct was rehabilitated and three new water tunnels were constructed to bring water to the plant, and then from the plant back to the distribution system.  With the capacity to filter up to 290 million gallons of water a day, the state of the art facility can provide roughly 30 percent of the city’s current daily water needs.”

April 10, 1913: Small Water Treatment Plants in Illinois

April 10, 1913: Engineering News article. Conditions of Small Water Purification Plants in Illinois. By Ralph Hilscher. “In Illinois there are about a dozen water purification plants with rated capacities of about 2,000,000 gal. per day, or less, which involve the use of coagulants, settling basins and filters. Of these, with possibly two or three exceptions, It can be said that none produce an effluent that attains at all times the standard of purity that any municipality should demand for Its public water-supply. Some of these plants yield an effluent during the major part of the time, which is of quite satisfactory quality, but fall far short of successful operation during periods of excessive turbidity and color in the raw water. Others produce an effluent at no time that is of good appearance and satisfactory from a hygienic standpoint.

The poor results realized are due largely to certain faults in design and operation, which are more or less common to these small installations. Many of the plants are of obsolete design and in practically all the plants, too great economy was attempted in building and certain essential features were omitted. The operation has usually been deficient due to lack of experience and expert advice In such matters. Certain faults largely responsible for the short-comings of these plants will be discussed [in the larger article].

Reference: Hilscher, Ralph. 1913. “Conditions of Small Water Purification Plants in Illinois.” Engineering News article 69:15(April 10, 1913): 707.

Commentary: The image of the double-plunger angle blowoff valve has nothing to do with the article about small water treatment plants. It was just a cool drawing in the same issue of Engineering News.

October 5, 2004: Judge stops Bronx water project

1005 Bronx Water Treatment PlantOctober 5, 2004New York Times headline–Judge Stops Bronx Water Project. “A State Supreme Court justice, William A. Wetzel, has temporarily stopped the city from beginning to build a $1.3 billion water filtration plant in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. Last week, the City Council cleared the project, despite neighborhood protests that the plant would ruin parkland and disrupt a quiet neighborhood for years; on Friday, the judge issued the restraining order which had been sought by a civic group, Friends of Van Cortlandt Park. The group said that the city had failed to comply with zoning laws.” Commentary: No one said that building a new water treatment plant would be easy. Of course, this delay was not significant and construction of the Croton Water Treatment Plant proceeded.

Here is an update on the plant:

Croton Water Filtration Plant Activated

May 8, 2015

Largest Underground Filtration Plant in the United States has the Capacity to Filter up to 290 Million Gallons of Drinking Water Each Day;  Will Protect the City against the Possibility of Drought and the Effects of Climate Change

Photos of the Project and Maps are available on DEP’s Flickr Page

New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Emily Lloyd today announced that the $3.2 billion Croton Filtration Plant was recently activated and water from the Croton water supply system has been reintroduced into the city’s distribution network for the first time since 2008.  Built beneath Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, preparatory site work and excavation for the 400,000 square foot facility began in 2004.  Construction commenced in 2007 and, at the height of the work, roughly 1,300 laborers were on-site.  In addition to building the plant, the 33-mile long New Croton Aqueduct was rehabilitated and three new water tunnels were constructed to bring water to the plant, and then from the plant back to the distribution system.  With the capacity to filter up to 290 million gallons of water a day, the state of the art facility can provide roughly 30 percent of the city’s current daily water needs.”

April 10, 1913: Small Water Treatment Plants in Illinois

0410 Small WTPs in IllinoisApril 10, 1913: Engineering News article. Conditions of Small Water Purification Plants in Illinois. By Ralph Hilscher. “In Illinois there are about a dozen water purification plants with rated capacities of about 2,000,000 gal. per day, or less, which involve the use of coagulants, settling basins and filters. Of these, with possibly two or three exceptions, It can be said that none produce an effluent that attains at all times the standard of purity that any municipality should demand for Its public water-supply. Some of these plants yield an effluent during the major part of the time, which is of quite satisfactory quality, but fall far short of successful operation during periods of excessive turbidity and color in the raw water. Others produce an effluent at no time that is of good appearance and satisfactory from a hygienic standpoint.

The poor results realized are due largely to certain faults in design and operation, which are more or less common to these small installations. Many of the plants are of obsolete design and in practically all the plants, too great economy was attempted in building and certain essential features were omitted. The operation has usually been deficient due to lack of experience and expert advice In such matters. Certain faults largely responsible for the short-comings of these plants will be discussed [in the larger article].

Reference: Hilscher, Ralph. 1913. “Conditions of Small Water Purification Plants in Illinois.” Engineering News article 69:15(April 10, 1913): 707.

Commentary: The image of the double-plunger angle blowoff valve has nothing to do with the article about small water treatment plants. It was just a cool drawing in the same issue of Engineering News.

October 5, 2004: Judge stops Bronx water project

1005 Bronx Water Treatment PlantOctober 5, 2004New York Times headline–Judge Stops Bronx Water Project. “A State Supreme Court justice, William A. Wetzel, has temporarily stopped the city from beginning to build a $1.3 billion water filtration plant in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. Last week, the City Council cleared the project, despite neighborhood protests that the plant would ruin parkland and disrupt a quiet neighborhood for years; on Friday, the judge issued the restraining order which had been sought by a civic group, Friends of Van Cortlandt Park. The group said that the city had failed to comply with zoning laws.” Commentary: No one said that building a new water treatment plant would be easy. Of course, this delay was not significant and construction of the Croton Water Treatment Plant proceeded.

Here is an update on the plant:

Current Croton Water Filtration Plant Progress (updated for October 5, 2015)

By some reports, the plant is online, but I cannot find an announcement or press release from NYC DEP that states that fact. Here is the latest news item I found.

New York Times “As a Plant Nears Completion, Croton Water Flows Again to New York City, May 8, 2015, Water from the Croton watershed — historically the cradle of New York’s supply — began flowing to taps on Thursday for the first time in seven years, officials announced, as one of the largest construction projects in the city’s modern history neared completion.

The $3.2 billion Croton Water Filtration Plant is hidden under a golf driving range at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, inside an excavated area big enough to hold Yankee Stadium. It can treat as much as 290 million gallons of water a day, Emily Lloyd, the commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection, said. That is about one-third of total daily citywide demand.

More typically, the plant will supply about 100 million gallons of water a day to the western edges of Manhattan and low-lying areas of the Bronx, which it can reach by gravity. The rest of the city’s supply comes from the Catskill-Delaware watershed, west of the Hudson River. Because that watershed is far more rural and tightly controlled, its water is not filtered.”