The New York Times from New York, New York on May 13, 1899 · Page 16
Get access to this page with a Free Trial

The New York Times from New York, New York · Page 16

New York, New York
Issue Date:
Saturday, May 13, 1899
Page 16
Start Free Trial

MAT IS, 1809. COG TllK NEW YORK -TIMES SATURDAY REVIEW. aid htm In discovering whether work" ln'progress under ""his observation la being done systematically and in an 'Intelligent and economical 'manner. If the inquirer's mind taf Tent on some great project for the supply of "Water in large quantities for domestic lis in cities, for Irrigation of arid lands, or for creating electric power for transmission, and he wants to know something about high dams, he nw&t atrdj "The Design and Construction of Masonry Dams," by E. Wegmann, Jr (New York; John Wiley & Son, f5.) before he yean form any idea of the labor and care Involved In ,the 'design and construction of an enormous barrier to the flow of a river, which must be safe against all contingencies. ' To the engineer whd has mastered the principles elucidated by Wegmann, the manual of the design of "High Masonry -Dams,'!., byE... Sherman . Gould, (New York, D. Van Noetrand Company, 60 cents.) will be found to be a handy and useful book of reference. The author possesses the happy faculty of clear and concise condensation. :. To get some idea Sb to the best method of transforming an ordinarily hideous and unsightly appendage -- to water-work- into- something . moi e pleaalngtaJbe. eye, the volume of " Water Tower, and Pumping Sta-. Uon Designs," (New York, Engineering Record press, $2.) may well be consulted, and in. connection with that subject, calling to mind the adage of the veteran engineer, Mr. William J. McAlplne, that "we learn more from our failures than from our successes," the reading of " Stand Pipe Accidenta and Failures, (New . York,:, Engineering News . Publishing Company, $1,) should not be omitted. The author of this book. Prof. . William D. Pence, has not confined himself to a state-. r ment of defects, but also tells what should be done to avoid failure in such structures. Scattered through the forty volumes of the transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers, thvtwenty-one volumes of the Journal of the Association of Engineering Socle ties, the thirteen volumes of the Journal of the New England Water Works Association, the seventeen vol-; nines of the American Water Works Association,. and the volumes of The Engineering Magazines, (New York,) there is a great mass of interesting and instruct ire matter' relative to the principles and practice of 1 water supply, design,' and construction, much of ita being of merely temporary interest and comprising some what crude discussions of technical details. There is a great deal of permanent value, however, and any article on any subject can be found" by consultmglhe t excellent "Index of Current Engineering Literature," published from 1884 to 1895 by the Association of En .glneerlng Societies (Ch'icago) and since continued by The Engineering Magazine (New York.) Without this .Index no one can even attempt to keep abreast of the . current progress of engineering science In all branches. :aa we-H as hydraulic and sanitary work. Equally es-, sential is a regular perusal of the two weekly journals, .The Engineering Record and Engineering News. v; The magnitude of the water worka industry, so to peak," In the United - States - cannot - be appreciated without a study of "The Manual of American Water ' Works, (New York, Engineering News Publishing Com pany, $3.) Twenty-one years ago, when the compila tion of this hook was begun tn the columns,, of Engl : -neering News there were only 500 water works in the United States. Now there are about 5,000. In the latest edition of this manual (1807) there are given in con deneed form all the obtainable data regarding 4,400 of these worka About 03 per cent, of these water works are owned by the municipalities to which water is supplied, and 47 per cent, are owned by individuals or - private corposations. The tendency at the present .time is toward the municipal ownership of water plants." ; Of the fifty largest cities in the country, only nine are , . now dependent on private companies for their supply. In . nineteen of these cities the works were built by private corporations and afterward purchased by the mu-trtpnHHc- Tn two lanre cities. Newark and Jersey systematic gauging of the flow of a stream, day by I aay, in connection with the records of tne rainiau, in this part of the country at least, was begun by the present writer in April, 18G7, on the West Branca of the Croton River, and the results to 1872 were pub lished in the transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Vol. III., 1874. ' In 1S75, a very thorough and careful series of gaug- ing of the' Sudbury River in Massachusetts, which was taken for the supply of Boston, was begun under the direction of Mr. Joseph P. Davis, the chief engineer jof the new water supply. At the same time observations on the evaporation from water surfaces were instituted, also by Mr. Davis in Boston. These two sets of. observations were the most scientifically accurate of any of the kind ever undertaken The stream gaug- Ings, which, have been continuously carried on ever since, were described by their conductor, Mr. Alphonse Fteley, now the chief engineer of the New York Aqueduct Commission, in the transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers In Vol. 3L, July, 1S81, and the results of fifteen years' obesrvatlons with the deduc- llona-lherefromwereembodle&lnpa mond Fitzgerald, now. the President of the American Society of Civil Engineers, In the transactions of the society. Vol. XXVII., September, 1892. The evapora tion experiments as conducted by , Mr. Fitzgerald, to gether with his deductions therefrom, were set forth in the transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers, VoL XV., September, 1880. These excellent papers describing with an accuracy of detail no-, where else to be found the relations of rainfall, run-off of streams, and evaporation on a watershed of some 75 square miles area in Massachusetts 'are very properly accepted as conclusive in the vicinity of Boston. The rules deduced from them are doubtless applicable to districts having the same climatic condi tions, but caution must be observed in attempting to apply them to regions of different character aa regards topography, temperature, and rainfall. It took a good , while for other parts' of the country to follow the good example of Boston in this direction. Even the State of Massachusetts has made no investigations into the run-off of its other streams, reposing on its Sudbury River records, in spite of the' fact that fragmentary observations of other streams show the inapplicability of the Sudbury standard to them. New X! 4$.n? ' jPM? J5xwP!LP.eInaP8 measurement of the Croton River flow, which is said to be made, but the results of which are not Imparted to the public.' Connecticut has' done nothing. In New Jersey, however, a good deal has been accomplished. Within the scope of that wonderfully conceived and magnificently carried out .work of the, lata Prof. George it Cook, the Geological Survey of the State of New Jersey, there was Included a thorough examination of the waters of the State with a view to determining their economic value from all points of view. This included of course a measurement of their volume. At the time" of Trot-Cook's lamented death," In 1889,-. the work of the survey had reached the point at which this subject, which had been already fragmentarlly discussed, could be taken up with advantage. Prof. John C. Smock, the successor of Prof. Cook In charge of the survey, placed the matter In the hands of Mr. C. C. Vermeule, C. E., who prepared the Report on Water Supply, Being Vol. III. of the Final Report of the State Geologist, (TTentpn 1S94.) In . this, valuable , document the results of a large number of continuous stream gaugings in Pennsylvania as well aa New Jersey are given, with a full discussion of the laws governing the relation existing between rainfall, evaporation, and run-off under the various climatic and topographical conditions existing In the State of New Jersey and neighboring territory. Ail accessible data relating to stream flow, from Massachusetts to Maryland, are analysed and discussed in a careful manner. Sn far aa ran ha oarerta'nprf, tharo Wp tW n which must necessarily cause a water to be dangerous to take Into the human system, and which a chemical analysis can detect, but the statement of the eminent engineer, Mr. Jamea P. Klrkwood, in 1SG5, In his report to the St Louis Water Commission on " The Filtration of River Water," (New York, D. Van Noetrand Company, 18G9.) that water which will satisfy a chemist will not always be a safe water for public use," is as true to-day as It was then. Great advances have been made since then, it is true, In chemical analysis, but In the most recent treatise on the subject, " Water Supply, Considered Principally from a Sanitary'IStand--point," by William P. Mason, (New York, John Wiley &. Sons, $5,) the author, who is the Professor of Chemistry at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, says that " a water analysis Is really not an analysis at all, prop-eraly so-called, but a series of experiments undertaken"""" with a view to assist the judgment in determining the potability of the supply." , Nevertheless an analysis by chemical methods, as explained In detail In the handy little compendium by the same author, " Examination of Water," by William PJJason. (New-York JohnWUey.&Sons 11.25.) Js - one of the essential preliminaries to acquiring a knowl edge of the- wholesomeness of any sample of water. Prof. Maacm very forcibly points out the necessity of the analyst being thoroughly informed regarding the -history and surroundings of any water on which he is called to pass Judgment. Prof. Mason's larger book, above mentioned, contains more general information regarding the present knowledge and opinions as to the sources of the unwholesomeness of waters than any other single publication, and It is Imparted In a man- ner intelligible to the general reader. T' " V . The theory of disease which is now held is that it is caused by the action of minute organisms, so small as to be undistlngulshable by the human eye except with the aid of a powerful microscope. Such organisms are found in all fluids. Some have the characteristics of animals and some are apparently vegetables, and some seem to be between the two. . , Those which have been identified distinctly as disease producing are " minute vegetable organisms, devoid of chlorophyl," (which means colorless,) as described by Mr. John W. Hill, C. E., In bis comprehensive book entitled " The Purification of Public Water Supplies," by John W. Hill. C. E., (New York, D. Van Kostrand-fmpany.) up to date, the author presents In a very -thorough manner the fact and causes of pollution of sources of water supply, the effect of this pollution on the typhoid fever rates of cities, and some examples of the reduction of typhoid rates 4y the purification of water supplies, and other matter bearing on the' subject, . The organism on which the attention of those Interested in water purification is most concentrated at the present time is the bacillus typhosis, which is found in the human body in a case of typhoid fever, Is present in large quantities in the dejections from typhoid patients, and It water Into which it has recently passed Is drank -by a human being, the usual result Is an attack of typhoid fever. If it passes into pure water. It lives and can bo recognized for some time. If It passes into water In which there are great numbers of other bacteria, it disappears very soon, but Its effects can be traced by the disease caused by the use of that water. In general, it appears that the existence of a very large .number of microscopic organisms of any character ,ln water, renders that water liable to suspicion. The 1 only way to remove that suspicion is to reduce the number of organisms In the water, and especially to be sure that no known pathogenic species are recognizable in it The only method by which that result can be obtained In the present state of science is by filtration. The theory and practice of filtration of water so as to insure a reasonable expectation of the water being made free from harmless organisms Is very ' fully explained by Mr. Hill. It is also clearly elucl- City, the works are controlled by the city, but most of the, water is purchased from a company which has 'obtained control of the sources of supply. Altogether aboutviwo. hTjndr from private to public ownership, and In a large num ber of instances such change is under consideration. The question of the proper valuation of water works. whether including the value of the franchises or inde pendent of the same, has therefore become an important one. Records of the decisions on this subject are Chiefly confined to the legal reports of Individual cases. but a very valuable and Interesting discussion of the principles involved Is to'oe lounil'lnsrpa'r'entltleor Valuation of Water Works Property," by Wynkoop Klersted, Rudolph Herlng, .and other prominent civil enginwrs, in the transactions of the' American Society of Civil Engineers, Vol. XXXVIIL, December, 1S97. The enormous increase In the use of water for domestic supply and for producing power during the last tew years, has made It necessary carefully to Invest! gate both the quantity and quality of the water ob tainable In all pnrO of the country. All water is de rived from th rfclnlalU and. this is so variably distributed both as 'regards localities and seasons that to utilize the average amount that falls anywhere in the course of a year, or even of a single month, some means of equalizing the run-off. must be devised. This can only be accomplished by means of storage reservoirs. To determine the important question of the effective yield et a given watershed for a series of years and consequently the capacity given to storage reservoirs to enable the average supply to be utilized, is a diflcult matter, except for a very limited district of country on the Atlantic seaboard between Boston and Philadelphia. So far as can be ascertained, the first any systematic efforts made in any other part of the country to ascertain the relation of run-off to rainfall until within the last three or four years, when the United Staloa.CeolccaI.Suxvey,ha tions on a number of rivers in the Southern and Western States, at many of which daily measurements of flow are made. The results of these are given in the Eighteenth Annual Report of the United States Geological Survey, Part IV., Hydrography. There is a good deal of guess work In this volume, but at the same time a large amount of valuable Information, and as Jths work progjree rults will doubtless be of inestimable velopment of water supply for power or domestic use. It Is not enough that a water supply should be plentiful; the water must also be Wholesome when ft Is delivered to the consumers, and the surplus running to vaste after usa must be so taken care of as not to be a nuisance or render. other waters likely to produce disease. - ! That certain waters are healthy and certain others produce disease has always been known. Why this Is so, and what constitutes the ' exact difference between a wholesome and an unwholesome water, ' has puzzled investigators from the' earliest days. The unassisted sense cannot determine the - difference. Neither color nor taste, neither touch nor odor, can distinguish a. water which will produce disease from one which Is entirely free from any such power. Bad taste, turpldity, and odor make a water unpleasant to drink, but not necessarily unwholesome.- All the refinements of chemical analysis have failed to discover with any certainty - what the constltued elements are which in a water render it productive of disease. There are, of course, certain substances, the presence of dated in The Filtration of Public water Supplies," By Allen Hazen, (New York, John Wiley & Sons, $2.) The author of this work, as chemist to the Massachusetts State Board of Health, and In charge of the expert ments made by that board at Lawrence, was instrumental In formulating the theory and practice of flltrac , tion as now generally accepted. Time appears to be an. essential element in effect Ive filtration by natural methods, and therefore extensive and expensive plants are needed to filter large quantities of water. To reduce the cost, mechanical methods of coagulating the impurities, hastening the flow of waTeKthrougn"afi have been attempted. Neither Mr. Hill nor Mr. Hazen speak favorably of these methods, and the latest investigations of the subject, as published In . A Report on the Purification of the Ohio River Water at Louisville, Ky.," by George W. Fuller, (New York, D. Van Noetrand Company, $10.) appear to' sustain that opinion.' The author, who was the biologist at the Lawrence Experiment Station, says that the practicability of the satisfactory purification of the Ohio River water by the methods practiced during his tests is very questionable if not lnadmissable. . ' . . - A bibliography of biological investigation does not ' come within the scope of this article, but there are two books which those interested in water examination . will find it to their advantage to consult," " The Microscopical Examination of. Potable Water," by George W. Rafter, (New York, Van Nostrand's Science Series, 50 cents.) and, " The Microscopy of Drinking Water," by George C. Whipple, (New York, John Wiley & Sons, $3.50.) A notable feature of the last named Is the presence of nineteen beautifully executed half-tone Illustrations of enlargements of organisms ' found - in

What members have found on this page

Get access to

  • The largest online newspaper archive
  • 20,900+ newspapers from the 1700s–2000s
  • Millions of additional pages added every month

Try it free