Report of Chief Engineer William Ludlow
from the 1883 Annual Report of the Philadelphia Water Department

As I work in the Philadelphia Water Department Archives to catalogue this wonderful collection, I am always on the lookout for prescient and intelligent reports discussing topics that interest me. The first part of this report that caught my eye was the discussion of water waste, and at first I thought I would include just that part on Philly H20. But other sections proved to be equally interesting, in particular the several mentions of sewage pollution of the rivers, so I decided to include the entire text of Ludlow's report here. As you can see by visiting the table of contents for the material NOT included in Ludlow's report, 1883 was a very busy year for PWD.

Related reports on the city's water supply, from the same time period, can found on Philly H20 at
the following links:

The Present Water Supply, 1884, by Chief Engineer William Ludlow
Sanitary Survey of the Schuylkill Valley, 1884, by Dana C. Barber
Surveys for a Future Water Supply of the City of Philadelphia, 1884, by Rudolph Hering;
Report on a New Water Supply for Philadelphia, 1886, Rudolph Hering

The History of Philadelphia's Watersheds and Sewers

Compiled by Adam Levine
Historical Consultant
Philadelphia Water Department
HomeCreek to sewerDown underarchivesmapsAdam LevineLinks

Partial Table of Contents.

Click page numbers to go to each section.
Click here to view table of contents of report sections not reproduced on this page.
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to view original title page of this report.

Councils' Committee on Water for 1883-84Re-inspection of the city
Personnel of the DepartmentTable showing capacity, number of days' supply, etc., of each reservoir, facing
REPORT OF THE CHIEF ENGINEER (directly below)Surveys for extension of reservoir capacity
Letter of transmittalThe revenues of the Department
Preliminary remarksDefects of the Present Water Supply
Statement of means available, and expendituresThe Distribution System
Actual operationsTable showing amount of small pipe in the old city, facing
Repairs to plantDrawing showing incrustation in pipe, facing
Tests of coalThe quality of the Present Supply
The telephone serviceThe waste of water
Contracts for new plantSurveys for future supply
New Engine and Boiler House at Spring Garden StationGeneral remarks
New Pumping Engines (table)Water furnished Public and Charitable Institutions
Steel Boilers at Frankford and Spring Garden StationsThe cost of water
Statement of contracts for new workMethods of appointment and selection of employees
Operations of the shopPreparations of reports and estimates
Reorganization of the DepartmentAcknowledgements


March 1, 1884.

To the Select and Common Councils
of the City of Philadelphia.

GENTLEMEN:—I have the honor to present herewith the Annual Report of the operations of the Water Department for the year 1883.

Owing to the nature of my engagements in Washington at the time when Councils did me the honor of placing me in charge of this Department, I was unable to report at Philadelphia until the 12th of March, 1888, and the operations of the first three months,—although necessarily included in this Report,—should, therefore, be considered as having been conducted under the direction of my predecessor, Dr. William H. McFadden.

During the remainder of the year the work of the Department was continued with unremitting activity until the close, and in some important respects,—particularly in connection with the re-inspection of the City, upon which the revenues of the current year depend,—the work was so considerable as not to have been completed until about the end of January of this year, and time has not permitted the earlier preparation of this Report.

Very respectfully,
Chief Engineer.

[PAGE 2]


In March, 1883, the condition of the Water Supply to the City of Philadelphia was such as to give cause for grave apprehension. The growing pollution of the Schuylkill River, from which the greater part of the supply is derived, in conjunction with the rapid diminution of its minimum flow (from five hundred million gallons in 1816 to less than half this amount in 1874), were circumstances of such serious import as to have attracted marked attention more than twenty years ago. Not merely were the efforts of the successive Chief Engineers of the Department, and others both interested and competent, directed to urging remedial measures and a search for other sources, but in 1875, — public attention having been powerfully attracted to all matters relating to the well-being of the City by the approaching celebration of the Centennial,—a Commission of eminent engineers was summoned to consider the entire subject of the present and future supply, with special reference to immediate needs. The Report of this Commission, which contains information and recommendations of the greatest value, based upon conscientious and protracted investigation by men of ability, has been before the community for nearly nine years, during which the discussion of the subject, both in journals and in scientific reports and papers, has been actively maintained; and yet, with the exception of some additions to the pumping machinery and the construction of the Wentz Farm Basin, little has been done to carry out the suggestions then made. The Commission represented the value of storage and subsiding basins, but the East Park Reservoir still lies an empty waste. They pointedly referred to the danger of drinking polluted water, and published analyses to show the steadily increasing deterioration of the Schuylkill; but the intercepting sewer from Manayunk to Fairmount is yet to be constructed, and even the sewage flowing past the Spring Garden Station still enters the stream, apparent to every sense. The contents of Gunner's Run,—an open sewer [PAGE 3] in Kensington, charged with the foulest matters,—were industriously pumped into the Lehigh Basin, and thence distributed to a large and helpless population. Changes were recommended in the Fairmount machinery which would increase the capacity from thirty-five to fifty million gallons daily, but the pumpage now is about the same as then. The Pipe Bridge across the Wissahickon, through which the Roxbury engines force the water for the supply of Germantown and Mount Airy, still has but one sound member;—the other spans the valley, rent and useless. These are all points earnestly adverted to by the Commission, whose labors and recommendations, supplementing those of others, have, by some strange lethargy, been rendered futile. While favoring, upon the basis of the information before them, one of the several projects which had been proposed for the future supply, the Commission urged the necessity of full and accurate surveys, and the collection of reliable data, from which the subject could be intelligently considered and thoroughly studied; but nothing whatever in this entirely rational direction was accomplished.

In 1882, by the imminent prospect of a water famine, public attention was again aroused to the constantly increasing evils to which the community actually and prospectively was subject, and another Board of Experts, composed of gentlemen well known for their scientific attainments and personal acquaintance with the subject, charged with the duty of ascertaining what should be done for the present and future supply of the City. In October, 1882, the Board presented a preliminary report. They state that their examination revealed a condition of affairs which would not justify delay in taking action—that the greater part of the machinery in operation was driven to its utmost capacity, that at two of the most important Stations there were no spare engines, and two others were dependent upon a single engine each, that during the year 1883, an area containing two-thirds of the population would fail in Summer to receive an adequate supply, and that in 1884 there would be a general shortage throughout the City. [PAGE 4] The Board stated that four new engines, aggregating a pumping capacity of forty-seven and one-half million gallons daily, were imperatively needed to avert this probable catastrophe during the Summer of 1883, and that two of them, if immediately contracted for, might be got into operation by June, 1883, and the others in August. The cost of these engines with the necessary houses, boilers, mains, and appliances, was estimated at about $425,000. The Board further urged the speedy completion of the East Park Reservoir, the construction of a new Basin on the high ground near Thirtieth and Cambria streets, and the enlargement of that at Mount Airy; and recommended that of the total amount (between two and three million dollars) required for the reservoirs, about $650,000 should be made available for expenditure during 1883, with increasing appropriations for the two years following; further, that complete surveys for a future supply should be immediately begun, and, considering the lapse of years before any practical results could be secured in that direction, they urged the vital importance of immediate measures to protect the intakes of the several stations from the large and constantly increasing amount of offensive sewage that enters them.

Notwithstanding these startling warnings, and the impressive statement of facts upon which they were based, and notwithstanding, too, that in the month of January following, the Schuylkill itself—as though determined to arouse attention— assumed a most noisome and intolerable condition of offensiveness, the recommendations of the Board awakened no response until early in April, 1883, when the final report was submitted. In this report, the Board (with which—having meanwhile assumed charge of the Department—I had the honor to be associated, both in its deliberations and in the preparation of the report,) renewed generally its previously expressed recommendations, and appended a table showing that with an actual steam pumping capacity of seventy-four millions daily and an estimated delivery of five millions from the [PAGE 5] Fairmount Turbines during low river, the Department would probably be able to furnish but seventy-nine millions to meet a possible maximum demand of one hundred millions—and in case of the failure of the largest engine, the deficiency might reach a third of the greatest demand.

Having before it a statement of the sums which, to the amount of $525,000, had, by the action of Councils, been made available for new works in addition to that required for the ordinary operations and maintenance of the Department for the year 1883, the Board considered what would be the most advantageous disposition of this sum. Their conclusions were; in brief, that two fifteen-million gallon engines, with houses, boilers, mains, etc., should be constructed at the Spring Garden Station, at an estimated cost of $263,500; that at the Roxborough Station, a seven-and-one-half-million gallon engine, with mains, boilers, etc., should be built, at an estimated cost of $62,000, and at the Frankford Station, a ten-million gallon engine, which would cost about $50,000. A distributing main needed for Germantown would cost $70,000, and the surveys for future supply would require for this year $20,000, leaving a balance of $59,500—$39,500 of which should be expended for indispensable repairs to Buildings, Grounds, and Reservoirs, and the remainder—$20,000—be held as a Contingent Fund for the general or special needs of the Department.

The allotment to Buildings, Grounds, and Reservoirs, was necessary by reason of the fact that these were known to be in bad, and in some cases, dangerous condition, and the regular Annual Appropriation Ordinance had authorized the expenditure of but $18,500 to cover items, specifically designated, whose total amounted to over $54,000, The annual Contingent Fund was regarded as indispensable to provide for unforeseen emergencies and variations of cost.

Having thus allotted the sum available, according to its best judgment, the Board renewed its recommendations that the additional facilities for the storage of water be provided [PAGE 6] as soon as possible, and discussed the question of future supply. This resolved itself into two aspects; one, the necessity for accurate and complete surveys, which had been entirely lacking in the past, and the other, the desirability,—in view of the long period that must elapse before new works could .be constructed, —of ascertaining as thoroughly as possible to what extent the increasing pollution of the Schuylkill could be controlled by engineering works and legislative enactments, and the river be in some measure restored to its pristine condition of comparative purity and wholesomeness.

This brief statement of the results of the more important investigations into the affairs of the Department, seems requisite to a proper understanding of its condition in the spring of 1883, and a suitable introduction to the account of the operations of the year.


The means at the disposal of the Department for expenditure during the year, are set forth in detail in the appended report of the Chief Clerk. They were, in brief:—

[PAGE 8]


The work to be done with the means available, arranged itself under several heads, somewhat in the order of their relative importance.

  • 1st. Repairs to existing plant.
  • 2nd. Preparations for, and making of, contracts for new plant.
  • 3rd. Reorganization of the personnel and methods of the Department.
  • 4th. Re-inspection of the City, to ascertain and collect its proper revenues, and to restrict waste and peculation.
  • 5th. Investigation into the condition of the Distribution System generally.
  • 6th. Organization and Direction of parties for Surveys for Future Supply.

These were all undertakings of considerable magnitude, and while some naturally took precedence, under the pressure of circumstances, it was necessary, if anything of value was to be accomplished during the year, to begin them all without loss of time.


The imminent danger of a failure to meet the imperative requirements of the City during the rapidly approaching Summer, demanded that the pumping plant should be put in as efficient condition as circumstances would permit, with the least possible delay, and to this end the examination, repair, and adjustment of the defective machinery and appliances were at once begun.

The Report of the General Superintendent, in part details the work at the several stations, but it is impossible, in an account covering the operations of a year, to summarize with more than an approximation to completeness, the very great labor involved in this.

[PAGE 9] From the singular condition of decrepitude into which the Department had fallen—owing to causes which it is not requisite now to discuss—the necessary repairs, as they were undertaken at each station, at the more obvious points, extended until they became general. The Engines and Boilers were nearly all in a more or less defective, and in many cases, dangerous, condition. The intakes had not been cleaned for many years, and the suction wells were full of debris that frequently obstructed the pumps.
The Buildings were generally in a very dilapidated state, a condition of affairs which, from every point of view, is disadvantageous. In the first place, it destroys the appearance of the station and seriously impairs its efficiency. To neglect needed repairs as they develop is, in the end, to incur much greater expenditure, to say nothing of the risk of serious accident.

But perhaps most important of all is the depressing effect upon the morale of the employés. Discipline, order, and efficiency cannot be imposed upon men working in the midst of dirt and disorder, and, as every manufacturer knows, the greater the attention to systematic good order and cleanliness, and the more complete the arrangements for the comfort and convenience of the men, the better work will they do. From the money point of view alone, it is a good investment. Furthermore, there is a certain responsibility attaching to the management of the public works of a city, which requires that it should be in no respect inferior, and, if possible, exhibit a better system and efficiency than that of private establishments, both because the people who defray the cost of the service are entitled to an economical use of the public funds, which are heavily drawn upon for many other purposes, and because the city works are open to examination, and subject to public approval or condemnation.

Of the repairs at the several stations, I shall, in this report, refer only to the more important.

[PAGE 10] The FAIRMOUNT TURBINES have less than half their proper efficiency, wasting large quantities of water, and wearing themselves out more rapidly from the existence of their own defects than from their legitimate work. The roof above them had for years been leaking rain and silt, and the engine rooms looked as though they had been submerged by a freshet. The head gates were in many cases past operating, and could not be moved. This Station was, however, less important in Summer than others, since the low water would stop the wheels in any event, so that no attempt was made at the formidable work of overhauling the Turbines. In other respects, the condition of affairs was improved by replacing the Asphalt with a Granolithic roof, covering the brick pavement with Neufchatel, rebuilding the gates, thoroughly cleaning the station, and minor repairs. The old Engine, No. 2, which for years had been useless, was taken out and sold.

At SPRING GARDEN is concentrated the largest plant, both in number and capacity, and the station is additionally important as supplying a large population direct from the pumps, without the intervention of a reservoir. A failure of the engines meant a total deprivation of water for a large district, including the Twenty-eighth, Twenty-ninth, and portions of the adjacent Wards, having a population of over one hundred thousand—with all the inconveniences, loss and danger that this condition of things would imply. Two of the oldest Engines, Nos. 4 and 5, over-head and side-lever Cornish, are very extravagant in the consumption of fuel, and are not, for our purposes, worth the cost of retaining in service. No. 6, Simpson Compound, was in fair condition; so, also, was No. 8 Worthington, which exhibited its good staying qualities during the Summer, with only an occasional halt.

[PAGE 11] The largest Engine, No. 7,—Cramp & Sons',—had never been put in good condition in its seven years' service, and, although designed as a twenty-million gallon engine and readily capable of that work when properly handled, had never pumped over seventeen and a half millions, and was rated in the Department at fifteen millions. Time did not admit of thoroughly repairing it, and the situation had to be accepted. It ran, with occasional halts, until late in the Summer, when the cracks in the housings,—which, from defects in adjustment, had existed for years,—began to look dangerous, and a fortnight's time was taken to stay and brace them. New housings were made and put in late in the year, and the Engine can now pump twenty-two millions against two hundred feet elevation without difficulty.

The roofs over the boiler room were raised for light and ventilation. Closets and bath-rooms for the men, and a small storehouse were constructed. The only convenience heretofore, was a small building on the hill, at some little distance from the station. It was therefore but little resorted to, and in consequence, the grounds adjacent to the buildings were in a very objectionable condition. In addition to this, the open sewer flowing past the building, emitted the most nauseous odors, which, at times, occasioned sickness among the employés. This is now covered in with a temporary wooden trunk, open at the bottom.

At BELMONT the plant consists of three Worthingtons, none of which was in good condition. Both Nos. 1 and 2 had cracked cylinders, which were repaired, and a new one for No. 2 was made ready for an emergency. The submerged main leading from the Belmont Basin past the Belmont Station and under the river to near the Spring Garden Station, for the supply of the high levels of the Twenty-eighth and Twenty-ninth Wards, had broken at the deepest part of the river, at some indeterminable period in the past, and a large volume of water escaped when admitted. It was [PAGE 12] as thoroughly repaired as practicable at the time, and the broken joints encased in a heavy jacket of iron, bound with straps and secured with steel bolts. This held through the Summer, and on several occasions,—when from one cause or another the Spring Garden Engines were stopped,—maintained the supply to the eastern high levels which otherwise would have entirely lost it. The repaired section broke again December 4th, and the main is at present out of service, but will be thoroughly and permanently repaired this Spring.

The arrangement of the mains at the Belmont Station needs amendment. At present No. 1 pumps direct to the basin through a main of its own. Nos. 2 and 3, when they pump to the basin, are compelled to do so through the upper part of what further down becomes the submerged main leading to the east bank of the river. If, therefore, any draft is made to the eastward, the two engines pump up against the backward movement of the water, occasioning great confusion and excessive local pressure, with corresponding loss of efficiency. It was this defect, in conjunction with the heavy blows simultaneously given the submerged main by the action of the Cramp Engine at Spring Garden pumping into the other end of it, that developed the nearly explosive pressure which broke the steel bolts and split open the iron jacket at the break.

This point was at the deepest part of the river, where the static pressure alone, due to head of water, was considerably in excess of ninety pounds, and where two lengths of pipe made an angle with each other up-stream, both horizontally and vertically, straining open the joint, which was unsupported. The evidence is to the effect that the leak had existed for a considerable time.
The Engine House roof was opened at the top for much-needed light and ventilation, and a bath and dressing room for the men constructed in the rear.

The Station had no means of lighting other than hand lamps, which, aside from the danger from their use, smoked the walls and machinery. After advertisement, a sixty-light Edison Electric [PAGE 13] plant was put in at a total cost of $2,650, exclusive of the foundation for the engine and dynamos, and steam connection from the boilers.

This light has given great satisfaction, although an undue number of the lamps burned out by reason of the current having been set too high. The full account of this installation is given in the General Superintendent's report.

The work of the other stations, which were all in need of repair, was the occasion of less solicitude by reason of the smaller requirements more nearly approximating their capacity to meet them.

At the ROXBOROUGH STATION,—supplying Manayunk, the Falls of the Schuylkill, Germantown and Mt. Airy,—the No. 1 Cornish was in fair condition, although an extravagant and ponderous machine to operate. The No. 2 Worthington had for a long time been in need of a thorough overhauling. Repairs were made, and the engine was operated during the Summer.

At the FRANKFORD STATION,—which, in connection with the Wentz Farm Basin, supplies Frankford and the adjacent population in the Twenty-third and Twenty-fifth Wards,—the No. 2 Worthington, a small two-million gallon engine which had seen hard service at other points, was overhauled, ready for an emergency. No. 1 Cramp 10-million gallon engine was all through the season in a dangerous condition, owing to its having been operated without proper adjustment, and at great disadvantages. Working only in the day-time to the Wentz Farm Basin, it was made to meet the necessities of the case by unremitting watchfulness, and occasionally an all night's work at repairs,— and was also kept going when the repairs to the basin necessitated constant pumping.

[PAGE 14] At the KENSINGTON STATION,—which pumps to the Lehigh Avenue Basin (formerly called "Fairhill,"—a name which should be retained,)—it was necessary to practically rebuild the air pumps of No. 3 Worthington, which, after thorough repair, did good work throughout the year. Nos. 1 and 2 are engines of antiquated type, and in such condition as not to be worth repairing or retention. They were run during the Summer as necessity compelled. The water pumped at this station, notwithstanding the urgent representations of its evil quality, was still taken from the end of the wharf, where it was contaminated both by the general sewage of the river, and, on the ebb tide, by the contents of Gunner's Run, otherwise called the Aramingo Canal. The only improvement to be made at first was to cease pumping during ebb tide, and take the water only on the flood. Later, a wooden trunk four feet square was laid to mid-channel of the Delaware, and the water taken thence was much improved in quality and appearance. As elsewhere shown, however, the Kensington Station must be abandoned as a source of water supply, and no repairs were therefore made beyond those necessary to a temporary use of the station.

The MT. AIRY STATION is designed to supplement the supply to Mt. Airy and the vicinity, by drawing from the main through which the water is pumped from the Roxborough Station to the Mt. Airy Basin, and forcing it into the supply mains at an increased pressure. The station is built on a level below that of the water in the basin, which is the cause of certain disadvantages, more particularly referred to in the Report of the General Superintendent. The two engines which constitute the equipment, have a capacity of one-million gallons each, and having been tested in actual service, are found to require certain alterations to improve their operation. In case of a failure of the Chestnut Hill Supply, arrangements have been made so that the Mt. Airy Engines can be put on this duty, as well as their legitimate work.

[PAGE 15] The CHESTNUT HILL STATION was purchased by the City in 1873, from the old Water Company, and the pumping and distributing plant will require considerable modification to adapt them fully to the increasing requirements of the district supplied. The RESERVOIRS are, without exception, in need of considerable repairs and improvements. In works of this character, constituting a prominent public feature, it is not enough that they should be maintained in the most efficient condition;— some attention is properly due to their appearance. Not only has their cleanliness been neglected and the apparatus pertaining to their use been allowed to deteriorate,—but the greater number are unsightly and forbidding in appearance, and in consequence affect injuriously the value of properties in their vicinity.

The reports of the Superintendent and of Mr. Ogden, Assistant Engineer, show their present condition, and the lapse of years since they were cleaned. An analysis of the subsided muds shows that the material is of the most deleterious character, and in a highly concentrated form. It is proposed during the year to empty and clean them, making necessary repairs, and taking measures to protect the outer slopes and otherwise improve their condition.

The Wentz Farm Basin,—the banks of which had slipped in September 1882, and which, ever since its construction, had leaked to a greater or less degree,—was drawn down, the banks rebuilt and sodded, the brick floor repaired and a portion of it adjacent to the inner slope covered with a coating of cement extended up the bank some 12 feet. The stop house, which was in a bad condition and leaked freely, was also repaired. The main difficulty with this basin is in the character of the material of which the banks are built, and the absence of sufficient suitable clay puddle to make the floor and walls watertight.
It may, in the end, require considerable expenditure to remedy these defects of original construction.

[PAGE 16] During the year 1884, the general repairs to plant must be continued. There is an almost total absence of proper feed and blow-off arrangements. Grate-bars for burning pea coal have been ordered, and will be used this year. Feed heaters and improved safety valves will be provided. Many of the boilers will probably be condemned by the close of the season, and must be replaced.
As soon as the new engines now constructing are in service, those which have been under steam for a long period at great disadvantage, will be thoroughly overhauled and repaired,—in especial the No. 1 at Frankford, and No. 2 at Roxborough. With the steam engines in good condition, no apprehension need be felt for the summer, and the Fairmount turbines can be taken down one by one, and necessary repairs and improvements made.

Much remains to be done, but the greater part of what, is necessary can be completed by the close of the year, with the funds now available.

It is proper to say, that to the unwearying energy and intelligence of the General Superintendent, Mr. de Kinder, is largely due that rapid improvement in the practical working of the service at the stations, which enabled the Department, with crippled machinery, to meet the heaviest demands ever made upon it, and to carry the City through the Summer without serious loss or inconvenience to the citizens.


The Water Department is a purchaser of coal to the amount of twenty-five or thirty thousand tons annually. The coal bills for 1882 were for 28,395 tons, costing $124,525, and for 1883, 27,486 tons, costing $117,874. During the past year it was possible to effect a considerable economy, and at the same time increase the average steam pumpage during the Summer months, by improved discipline and better firing; but circumstances did not admit of such [PAGE 17] general modifications as were required to secure the large saving to be made by buying a less expensive coal than the Egg,—which has been in use for several years, and for which the 1883 Contracts had been made. In anticipation of the new Contracts for 1884, experiments were made at Belmont to ascertain what would be the probable result of reducing the size, and perhaps of changing the character of the coal burned. The results of this are stated in a table accompanying tile Superintendent's Report. The tests were made under the immediate supervision of Mr. Lloyd Bankson, Assistant Engineer, and carefully conducted. The last column of the table shows the relative economy, taking into consideration both steam-making capacity, and the price of the coals tested. The Contracts for 1884 were therefore made for Pea coal, and the necessary changes effected in the grate bars of all the boilers in use in the Department. These alterations will be completed in March, and for the remainder of the year, Pea coal only will be used, with a probable saving of $25,000 or $30,000. It may be possible to take still further steps in this direction, and the investigation of the subject will be continued until all the conditions have been fully ascertained, and the best results secured.


As was anticipated, this has proved itself to be an indispensable adjunct to the practical working of the Department. Formerly, the watchmen at the Basins had no other means of notifying the Pumping Stations of the condition of affairs than to leave their posts and do so in person, and the Stations were in partial communication, only, with the Main Office, by means of a Telegraph System of obsolete type, which was more often out of order than in working condition. A Central Station (connected, also, with the general system of the City) was established at the Main Office, and an operator [PAGE 18] is in attendance, day and night. By means of five separate circuits, every Basin is connected with the Station to which it is auxiliary, and every station with the central one. In addition, the Purveyors' Offices are all in communication with the Main Office, so that at any time of the day or night, reports can be made, and instructions promptly issued. The Basins and Stations make regular hourly reports, so that the engines can be started or stopped, as occasion requires or circumstances indicate, and in case of accident, remedial measures can be directed and begun without loss of time.

In this connection it should be observed, that an important advantage could be frequently secured in case of large fires. For example,—in the high district covering the Twenty-eighth and Twenty-ninth, and portions of adjacent Wards, which constitutes the large area dependent upon direct pumpage from the Spring Garden Station, between ten and four o'clock at night, the consumption of water is much less than during the day. It follows, therefore, that the engines are run at a lower speed. If now, a large fire should occur, and the Department were notified promptly by telephone, the pumping engines could be run up again, in a comparatively short time,—say 20 minutes or a half hour,—and largely increase the delivery of water to the Fire Engines. In many cases, the effect of this increased pressure might result in a large saving of property. In case of fire in other portions of the City as well, benefit might result from a notification to the Department. The Purveyors' Offices could be called up, and the prompt opening or closing of a few stops would in many cases increase or concentrate the delivery to the endangered locality. With the City so inadequately protected from fire as it is, and the Fire Department so dependent for its efficient working upon the Water Department, no means, however slight, should be neglected, of increasing the chances of saving life and property. This suggestion has heretofore been, made, officially, to the Fire Commissioners, but not acted upon.

[PAGE 19]


The appended Schedule is a condensed statement of the Contracts made for new Engines, Boilers, and Buildings, giving the names of the Contractors, dimensions of Plant, and cost. In general, the recommendations formulated by the Board of. Experts in April were followed, although certain variations therefrom were made, as upon the whole seemed judicious. The specifications were carefully prepared, and the contracts made—after due advertisement—with the lowest responsible bidder whose proposals were in conformity with the requirements. The general design of the new engine and boiler house at the Spring Garden Station was prepared in the Department, and the working drawings—covering details and architectural features—were made in the office of Mr. Jos. M. Wilson. It was desirable that Mr. Wilson's skill and cultivated judgment should be consulted in this, as the building stands close to the Park Drive, and will always be a prominent feature. It is believed that, while the means available for the purpose did not admit of an elaborate or expensive construction, the building will be such as to, fairly harmonize with both its purpose and surroundings. The site for the building was excavated out of the rocky hill adjacent, and its construction, as well as the draining and cleaning of the forebay, awaited the completion of the excavation work. The contract fixed the date of this at September 1st, and as by the 11th the contractors had made comparatively little progress, the work was taken from them, and completed by the Department at their expense. The two Worthington Engines for this station will be capable of pumping 15 million gallons each, in 24 hours, to the proposed Cambria Basin, at an elevation of 165 feet above City Datum; and the pumping mains will be so arranged as to deliver to the East Park, Cambria, or Spring [PAGE 20] Garden Reservoirs, or to pump directly into the distributing mains of the high levels of the Twenty-eighth Ward.

The ten Steel Boilers for the service of the engines are of the marine tubular type, internally fired, with Fox's corrugated furnace flues. It was intended to make use of two of the Frankford boilers, but as these are needed at the Roxborough Station two others must be purchased. All the buildings at the Spring Garden Station will be furnished with an Electric Light plant, which has been tried at the Belmont .Station and found to have great advantages— economical and otherwise—over lighting by gas. A new Coal Bin will shortly be constructed, as well as a Storehouse to serve as a general depot of supplies for the Department. In completing the equipment of the station, a second conduit from the river to the forebay is nearing completion. The difficulties in construction were seriously increased by the existence of a heavy timber trunk which had formerly done duty as a conduit, and been abandoned. To save time, and the expense of constructing a new brick conduit on uncertain foundations, two lines of iron pipe 48 inches in diameter were substituted.

The open sewer which flows past the station, emitting the foulest odors, will shortly be covered in with a temporary wooden structure, to conceal in some measure, its offensiveness; but the prolonged retention of so obvious and flagrant a pollution of the Fairmount pool, seems simply inexcusable, and until the City shall cease to be one of the principal offenders against its own laws, as well as those of nature and common sense, it will be useless as well as unjust, to attempt the enforcement of them upon others.

The interlacing and cross-connections of the numerous pumping mains back of the Spring Garden Station, which have been made from time to time to meet temporary requirements without reference to any general or intelligible system, [PAGE 21] has reached such a condition of complication as to be fairly dangerous. Not only is the working capacity of the several engines reduced by the insufficient dimensions and absence of directness in the pumping mains, but the adjustment and alteration of the numerous stops and valves is in itself a work of much labor and .uncertainty, giving cause for constant apprehension of accident. It is quite necessary before the heavy Summer duty of this station shall begin,—when the demand for water is largely increased and the Fairmount Turbines fail to deliver their proper amount by reason of low water in the river,—to effect a thorough re-adjustment of the mains. This is likewise required in order to connect the two new engines with the supply system ; and also because of the new Boulevard to be constructed from Girard avenue, past the station, and over the Reading Railroad, necessitating the alteration of the position of the mains to avoid burying them.

The Roxborough Worthington is now under steam at the station, in the position originally designed for it when the station was built. It will be able to deliver 7-1/2 millions of gallons daily, to the Roxborough Basin. The Frankford engine is of a type hitherto unused in the Department, although other of the Corliss pumping engines have been used with success in the New England States and elsewhere. It will be of the same capacity as the present Frankford engine, viz., ten million gallons daily to the Wentz Farm Basin, which has an elevation of 167 feet above C. D., and is distant about four miles from the station.
The boilers hitherto in use were constructed for a working pressure of 60 pounds only. It is recognized that a considerable economy of fuel can be attained by the use of higher pressures, and both the present and the new Frankford engine are of types that admit of the application of these. It was determined, therefore, to construct four new steel boilers of the same type as the new ones for Spring Garden, but calculated [PAGE 22] to work with a steam pressure of 100 pounds instead of 60. The Corliss engine is arranged for this, and the necessary modifications of the Cramp engine now in service offer little or no difficulty. A comparison of the useful effect of the higher pressures will be carefully made. The four boilers hitherto in use at Frankford will all be transferred to Roxborough as soon as the new ones are delivered. A new coal bin is immediately required at Frankford, and will be constructed this spring.

Following are descriptions of the new Spring Garden engine house, and the new engines and boilers.


The new building stands on the north side of the forebay, with a total frontage of 166 feet southward, and 58 feet on the river end, and is built of Hummelstown brownstone, brick, and terra cotta, with a light, double corrugated galvanized iron roof, supported by wrought iron trusses. The engine house, 58 feet square, adjoins the River Drive, with south and west fronts of similar construction. It has a batired plinth of brownstone, 5 feet in height, and is surmounted by an ornamental lantern 18 feet square. The boiler house, 48 by 110 feet, is separated from the engine house by storerooms and offices, and has a louvre with swinging windows overhead. The arrangements for light and ventilation throughout are good. The stack stands in the rear of the boiler house. It is 16 feet square at the base and 100 feet in height, with wrought iron cap and railing at the top.

[PAGE 24]


  • Ten at Spring Garden; four at Frankford. Constructed by Edge Moor Iron Company, Wilmington, Del.
  • Marine return tubular, internally fired, cylindrical; 11 ft. 6 in. diam.; 10 ft. 10 in. long.
  • One cylindrical steam drum (3 ft. 6 in. x 12 ft. 6 in.) for each pair of boilers.
  • Two furnaces to each boiler—Fox's corrugated steel—3 ft. 7 in. greatest diameter, 8 ft. long, with 188 lap-welded,
    wrought iron tubes(3 in. x 8 ft.) for each boiler.


[PAGE 25]


The work of the Department Shop, on Cherry street, near Ninth, is given in the Report of the Superintendent. The establishment is a valuable adjunct to the Department, both in respect of convenience and economy, but its usefulness is restricted by the lack of space, of light, and of proper tools. The combining of the Second Purveyor's Office and Yard with the Shop, is the cause of great inconvenience to both.

When the Kensington Station shall have been abandoned as a Pumping Station, as it will be this year, it might—with great advantage—be converted into an enlarged Shop. The local facilities for land and water carriage, its central position with reference to the corresponding class of industries, its nearness to other establishments with which the Department has frequent business, combine to indicate the desirability of converting the Kensington Station into a Shop. The buildings, steam-power, and floor space required are there, and the only expense attending the alteration would be that needed to make the transfer, and to properly equip the new shop with appliances and tools.


In a business so extensive as that of the Water Department, involving the collection and expenditure of large sums of money, as well as engineering work of considerable magnitude and interest, it is essential that the methods of administration should be as simplified and thorough as possible. With a system clearly defining and enforcing responsibility, individual defects are readily discovered and corrected, and the work of the Department can be increased or diminished as occasion requires, without embarrassment or confusion. To this end, however, authority must flow from above downward [PAGE 26] through the successive grades of employés, its limits for each being clearly fixed and adhered to; accurate records must be kept of all transactions, and accountability be rigidly enforced at every stage. From this point of view, the organization and methods of the Department were found defective in several important respects, the more obvious being the lack of necessary records in the main office, and of proper accountability in ordering and disposing of supplies.

It soon became evident, also, that there were both an excess of employés of the lower grades, and an insufficiency of those with higher functions through whom the various branches of the Department business must be supervised and conducted. At the pumping stations, the absence of order and the looseness of discipline were marked. The engineers, assuming that they were so disposed, could not enforce their orders, and the subordinates, who were in most cases entirely too numerous, attended to the work in their own way, and were present or absent very much at their convenience. The results were manifest in much disorder and waste; while bad firing and cleaning ruined the boilers, wasted the coal, and furnished insufficient steam to the engines, whose efficiency was still further reduced by needed repairs not having been attended to, and by the use of improper lubricants.

The pumpage accounts are based upon the recorded revolutions of the engines in connection with the volume of water corresponding to each stroke. It was ascertained that when the engines were not performing their duty, the relief valves were at times opened, reducing the load on the engines, and thereby making a show of pumpage without delivering the full amount to the basins. At one of the statioFONT SIZE="4"ns, at least, the counters registering the number of strokes were sometimes worked ahead by hand.

At the Spring Garden station, tramps slept on the boilers in consideration of throwing coal into the furnaces, and the Kensington station was a common loafing place for the neighborhood, where fishermen dried and mended their nets, and boys ran riot.[PAGE 27]

In stating these typical facts, it is intended to convey the idea only, that the laxity of supervision and discipline enabled the defective-work of the stations to be in part concealed by derelict employé's, and responsibility for shortcomings averted. The root of the evil must undoubtedly be looked for in the fact that other considerations than those of the effective working of the Department, crippled authority and made the enforcement of discipline impracticable. The correction of these evils was effected by giving full authority and support to the Engineer in Charge, and holding him strictly responsible for the carrying out of his instructions. If then found unable to accomplish this, he was removed.

The enforcement of discipline at first developed opposition. At Spring Garden, where the largest number of men is employed, the discharge of several superfluous and inefficient men,—among them some who supposed themselves possessed of "influence,"—caused a mutiny. The men drew the fires and nearly all abandoned the Station. The Fourth of July was selected for this demonstration, for the reason that new men could not be secured on that day. Fortunately, the basins were full, and by the next morning new employés were at work. Finding themselves superseded, the better men made excuse that they had been misled, and pleaded for re-employment. There was no further trouble in this direction. The number of employé's on the salaried roll whose services were unnecessary was found to be thirty, and the corresponding net reduction of the salary list of the stations and grounds amounted to over $18,000.

On the other hand, Councils authorized the employment of two Assistant Engineers of lower grade; an Engineer in Charge; two Draughtsmen; two Clerks; several Storekeepers and six additional inspectors. In the Registrar's Office the additional assistance was especially required, as the records of water appliances upon which the collections are based, were known to be defective. A general inspection of the city had not been made in many years, [PAGE 28] and then but loosely, by leaving printed schedules of appliances to be filled up by householders. Even assuming that this had been honestly done, the Inspectors had not subsequently given that attention to their duties which was indispensable to have the records keep pace with building operations and other changes. A re-inspection of the whole city was therefore necessary, and to effect this within the year, so that correct bills could be made out for 1884, would require the unremitting industry of a considerable force. The valuable results of this work are elsewhere reported.

To secure economy and responsibility in the purchase and use of supplies, all requisitions were submitted directly to the Chief Engineer—by the Purveyors, through the Assistant Engineer in charge of the Distribution System, and by the Engineers at the several Stations through the General Superintendent,—and nothing was ordered without the personal approval of the Chief Engineer. A system of requisitions and receipts fixed responsibility at every point, and made it possible to trace a purchase from requisition to delivery, and final expenditure.

The weighing scales at some of the stations had been out of order for years, and the receipts for coal upon which payments were made, were practically based upon the bills. The consumption of coal per day was necessarily estimated only. This was remedied by repairing the scales, and requiring every pound of coal and ashes to be actually weighed into and out of the station, and recorded.

Small store-rooms were constructed at each of the more important stations, and a store-keeper employed whose business it was, in addition to acting as Clerk and Telephone Operator, to receipt for and issue, under the direction of the Engineer in Charge, all the small stores at the station. Daily reports, covering the work at each station and in each Purveyor's District, were directed. The watchmen at the Basins report by telephone every half hour, day and night, [PAGE 29] to the Pumping Stations, and the Stations every hour to the Main Office, at Thirteenth and Spring Garden streets.

The Superintendent makes a daily report of the work of the preceding day, and other reports, weekly and monthly, are submitted by all assistants in charge of work, covering the entire operations of the Department,—the number of employés of each grade, how employed, etc. With regard to the services of employés of all grades, they were given clearly to understand that the efficiency of the Department would be the first consideration,—that removals and changes would not be made without due cause, that every man should stand upon his own merits, and that his continuance in employment would depend upon the need of his services, his qualifications for the position occupied, and the faithful and satisfactory discharge of his duties.

I am glad to say that at the present time, while many improvements remain to be effected, the Department is in good working condition. The employé's, as a rule, feeling that their future depends upon themselves, discharge their respective duties with interest, emulation, fidelity, and courage, working harmoniously for the benefit of the service and its improved efficiency and usefulness.


This work, which engaged a considerable number of employé's for a period of several months, viz.: from August, 1883, to February, 1884, was a sufficiently important feature of the year's operations to justify special mention. The methods of levying household water charges, vary in different cities. In some the bills are based upon the ratable assessments,—in other words the rental derived from the property is adopted as a measure of water charges. In others, the dimensions of a dwelling are taken as a basis,—its breadth [PAGE 30] upon the street, and the number of stories of which it is composed. In others again the actual amount of water furnished, as measured by meter, is charged for.

In Philadelphia the household water bills have always been made out from a record of the number and character of the appliances in use, in accordance with a schedule of charges, irrespective of the amount of water taken, or of the number of occupants.

These several methods have their respective advantages and disadvantages. That of actual measurement is undoubtedly at once the most equitable, convenient, and direct, but is open to the objection that the bills would be paid by the occupants of the premises, instead of, as now, by the owner, and therefore it might tend to effect an undesirable economy among that class of population which should be encouraged to make the freest use of water in their dwellings. The "ratable assessment" and "dimensions" plans are artificial means of averaging charges which, in individual cases, are manifestly unequal.

The Philadelphia plan, on the whole, seems fairly satisfactory. It is true that the number of appliances in a dwelling is no measure of the amount of water used, but as the multiplied modern plumbing fixtures may be fairly classed as luxuries, their number indicates what the owner of the house is willing to pay for, and whether few or many, no restriction is placed upon the amount of water legitimately used. As at present provided for, the Philadelphia system involves the serious disadvantage of domiciliary visits of inspection by employé's of the Department, which must, of necessity, be a greater or less source of annoyance to the inmates. This could be almost entirely obviated by such legislation as would practically enforce a notification to the Water Department of all alterations in the plumbing. This matter will be hereafter adverted to more fully.

Examination of the Records of the Registrar's Office made it clear that the charges entered upon the books were, to a [PAGE 31] great extent, imperfect. No general inspection of the city, had been made for many years, and the work of the Department Inspectors had not been in all cases carefully or conscientiously performed. As a rough experimental test of this, an accounting was ordered of the actual number of bars and horse troughs in the city, to each of which is made a special charge of $10 per annum. These two were selected for the reason that both possessed a certain character of obviousness that challenged attention, and in fact made it somewhat difficult to overlook them. It appeared, nevertheless, that in one of the districts the Inspector had succeeded in accomplishing this to the number of over 100, and in some of the other districts to a less degree. It was evident that to systematize the work of the Department, and in especial to ascertain in each case what should be the annual water charges in order that the City should receive its proper dues without discrimination in favor of or against individuals, a general re-inspection of the city was necessary.

The undertaking was certainly a formidable one, especially as it had to be completed, or nearly so, within a year, in order that the corrected bills for 1884 could be prepared by February 1st. The detailed statement of the results of this work cannot be presented in this Report. It was completed late in January, and the making out of the bills and receiving moneys for 1884 have left the Registrar without opportunity to thoroughly compile and collate the information. This will be fully stated in the annual report for 1884. The number of properties examined was in excess of 160,000, and in some cases a re-inspection was necessary where errors and omissions had occurred. There were very numerous changes, making the rents in some cases less, but, as might be expected, in the greater number, larger. The total increase of the revenue, due to the [PAGE 32] re-inspection, cannot yet be given. In many Districts the increases were heavy, in others, slight.

On Spruce Street, taking that as an illustration, the average increase due to the additional number of appliances disclosed by the re-inspection, is about 14 per cent. Were this average applicable to the entire city, the increased revenue to the Department would amount to about $225,000. The actual amount collected this year may, however, fall short of this, for the reason that the general average may be less, and further, because many of the manufacturing establishments have taken advantage of the reduction, by ordinance dated Feb. 9, 1884, of the "charge for water registered by meter, from $1.00 to 60 cents per thousand cubic feet, to have meters applied to their supply pipes, and payments made according to the amount actually used. Payments by meter are made at the end of each quarter, and therefore the meter charges for the last quarter of the year will not appear in the receipts previous to Jan. 1, 1885. The equalization of this will, of course, be evident in the year following.

The re-inspection has been as thorough as possible, and actual tests have shown it to be gratifyingly accurate on the whole. Frequent attempts were made to bribe the Inspectors, but these were, it is believed, in very few cases successful. To the Registrar, Mr. Keithler, and his assistants, is due high commendation for energetic and faithful discharge of an arduous, and, in several respects, an unpleasant task. The cost of the re-inspection in excess of the ordinary expenses of the Registrar's Office, was $10,353.03.

[PAGE 33]



The accompanying Table shows the capacity of each Reservoir now in service, the area and population dependent upon each, and the number of days' supply contained therein. It will at once be seen that with the exception of the Wentz Farm and Belmont Basins—which are larger in extent and less drawn upon than the others—the number of days' supply ranges from 1-1/3 days in the Spring Garden and Corinthian Basins to 4 days in the Lehigh avenue, or, as it should be called, the Fairhill Basin. There is, therefore, practically no reserve storage at all for the main portion of the City, and the water pours through these basins without opportunity for subsidence or purging itself of impurities.

For the large district covered by the Twenty-eighth, Twenty-ninth, and portions of the adjacent Wards, including a rapidly increasing population, of probably 130,000, with numerous large manufacturing establishments, there is no reservoir whatever, nor is it possible from any of the existing basins (including the East Park Reservoir, supposing that to have been completed), to distribute water to the higher elevations of the area described. The supply is, therefore, derived directly from the pumps, with all the entailed disadvantages.

The most favorable point at which to construct a reservoir for the high district is in the vicinity of Thirtieth and Cambria streets, upon an elevated ridge which commands the surrounding country, and where a basin of 210,000,000 gallons capacity has been projected, with a surface elevation of 166 feet above City Datum. This height would be ample to supply all the City to the East and South, whether directly or through the intermediate basins—Spring Garden, Corinthian, and Fairmount; and, furthermore, the necessity for the construction of this Reservoir is greater than for the completion of the East Park—notwithstanding its grand capacity of [PAGE 34] 700,000,000—by reason of the inferior elevation (133 feet, C. D.) of the latter, which will not admit of its supplying more than a small marginal area of the high district. An additional argument for the construction of the Cambria Reservoir, if any be needed, is that whether the future supply be derived from a reformed Schuylkill, from the Delaware River or from Perkiomen Creek, the Cambria Reservoir will constitute a convenient and natural terminal and distributing point, whence the other reservoirs may draw their supply. Upon representation of these facts by the Department, Councils passed Ordinances, approved July 7, and November 14, 1883, appropriating the necessary lands, and sought means to make pecuniary provision for beginning the work.

Of the funds appropriated, a large portion, derived from the balance of a Park Loan, was decided to be inapplicable to this purpose, and, therefore, nothing more could be done than to make the careful surveys and examinations necessary to a thorough investigation, of the site, preliminary to the consideration and preparation of the working plans. The Department, upon the basis of the ascertained data, is now prepared to begin work upon this basin whenever the necessary funds shall be provided. The cost in round numbers will amount to about $500,000, exclusive of the cost of the site, for which additional provision must be made. This matter is now in the hands of the City Solicitor, for the conduct of the proper legal proceedings to determine the price per acre which the city should pay.

It should be said that if the labor of the House of Correction be employed upon this work, a large saving in cost would be effected, and it would seem obvious that since the inmates of that institution are maintained by the taxation, direct or indirect, of every citizen of Philadelphia, the most natural and proper use that could be made of their time and labor would be in the construction of great public works, whose cost—which must also be defrayed out of general taxation—would be thereby [PAGE 35] [be] correspondingly diminished. Arrangements to this effect were discussed with the Managers of the House of Correction, and the practical details adjusted, but the lack of funds prevented any action.

Surveys were also made for the extension of the Mt. Airy Basin. This reservoir, to which the water is forced" from the Roxborough Station, supplies the rapidly extending Germantown District. The basin holds at present a supply of about two and one-half days only, and it is highly desirable that the additional available ground to the eastward be secured before it shall have still further advanced in price.
There is no doubt whatever of the necessity for enlarging the basin, and the sooner steps are taken to secure the site and begin the work of excavation, the sooner it will be completed and the less the ultimate cost, which, as now estimated, exclusive of land damages, would be about $225,000.

Another new reservoir site is required for the distribution to Manayunk and the Falls of Schuylkill. At the present time these points are supplied from the Roxborough Basin, having an altitude of 366 feet above City Datum. In consequence of this, not only are the local pressures in the two places named much greater than occasion requires—thereby calling for more costly plumbing than would otherwise be necessary—but the considerable expense is incurred of pumping the Schuylkill water to the great and unnecessary height, only to let it run down again to near the river bank.

Other things being equal, the cost of pumping is in direct proportion to the height to which it is pumped, and were a basin of suitable capacity constructed at some point west of Manayunk, and at an elevation of, say 180 feet, the pressure would be ample and half the cost of pumping would be saved. No surveys have yet been made for such basin, nor has any site been selected. A preliminary investigation of this matter will be made during the ensuing season.

It is probable, also, that in the near future a storage basin [PAGE 36] will be needed at Chestnut Hill, as well as an enlargement of the visible supply and of the pumping machinery.

The completion of the East Park Reservoir is called for by several considerations of importance. It is designed as the storage reservoir for all that area now supplied from the Spring Garden, Corinthian, Fairmount, and Lehigh Avenue or Fair-hill Basins, which its surface elevation of 133 feet will enable it to feed. The present combined capacity of these basins is about 100 million gallons, and the population supplied is about 700,000. At 70 gallons per day per head, therefore, there is only about two days' supply in store, or at 40 gallons per head, three and one-half days'. The East Park Basin with its capacity of 700 millions, will increase the storage to about 25 days supply, which is not in any sense more than a moderate and safe allowance.

The advantages of possessing this storage capacity are several. In the first place, security against the results of accident is obtained. Secondly, the water will have an opportunity to settle, and measurably clarify itself. Thirdly, it will enable the Department to stop pumping when the river is muddy, and let the successive freshets pass without taking up the dirty water. Fourthly, it will permit of the more constant use of the Fairmount wheels, which now are frequently stopped even when the river is high, because, the basins being full, there is no place to store the water. The East Park Reservoir has cost in round numbers 1-1/4 millions, and as much more will be needed to complete it.

[PAGE 37]


The Registrar is charged, under the direction of the Chief Engineer, with the collection of all the revenues of the Department, with the exception of those claims for frontage which remain unpaid for four months from date of laying the pipe, and which, upon due certification from the Chief Engineer, the City Solicitor institutes legal measures to recover. There has also been, heretofore, a certain amount received in the office of the Chief Engineer, from bills for work done by the Department, such as putting in fire attachments and other special constructions and repairs properly charged to private persons, but I could see no good reason for continuing the practice of receiving money in my office, and therefore had these, as well as all other Department bills, receipted by the Registrar.

The report of the Registrar, herewith, contains a full exhibit of the collections for the year 1883. It will be seen that while there is a decrease in the collections of delinquent rents and penalties, due to their having been more closely brought in for the last two or three years, there is a large increase in the regular collections for the year. The total receipts for 1882 were $1,516,904.64, and the probable receipts for 1883, as previously estimated by the Chief Engineer, were $ 1,425,000. The actual receipts for 1883 were $1,627,069.16, exceeding the estimate by $202,000, and the receipts of 1882 by $110,000, so that the books of the Department, notwithstanding the expenditures for 1883,— 1,047,227.02,—were considerably larger than usual, show an excess of receipts, or a gross profit for the year's business of $579,842.14.

For the year 1884, the general re-inspection of the City which has been made will still further increase the revenues by an amount which cannot be certainly determined until the close of the year. The preliminary examination of the books, as made up upon the basis of the re-inspection, shows an apparent increase over the year 1883 receipts of some $233,000, of which the larger part will certainly be realized, although reductions will no doubt be made upon affidavits as to the non-use of appliances.

It is probable, therefore, that my estimate of last September to the Controller, of a revenue for 1884, of $1,750,000 will prove to be approximately correct. It seems quite certain that it will not fall short of $1,700,000, although it must be observed that a number of large consumers have taken advantage of the reduced rate of water measured by meter, to be transferred from the regular rates to the meter account. It results that, as the meter accounts are payable quarterly, the receipts for the concluding quarter of the year will fall into the first quarter of 1885, and will, therefore, not appear in the reported receipts for 1884, although properly belonging there.

Should the revenue reach the sum of $1,750,000, a comparison of this sum with the total appropriations for the current year ($813,385) will show a surplus for the year 1884, of $936,615.

The following is a general statement of the entire receipts and expenditures of the Department since its organization in 1854 to the close of the year 1883, a period of twenty-nine years. [PAGE 39] The total profits since consolidation are nearly eight and three-quarter millions, and for the past eleven years there has been an average Annual Surplus of over $550,000, equal to 66 per cent, of the expenditures.


Whatever may have been the causes of the extraordinary and prolonged neglect and consequent dangerous decadence (elsewhere adverted to) of a service established for the benefit of the citizens, and holding such intimate relation to the comfort, health and prosperity of the entire community, the above statements from the records of the Department make it sufficiently evident that a lack of funds properly and equitably applicable to its necessary support and enlargement, in proportion to the growth and requirements of the City, was not among them. It is probable that investigation would, without much or any difficulty, discover these, and establish their close connection with certain erroneous principles, misdirected economies, and radical defects of administration.

The business of supplying water to the citizens is no necessary municipal function or obligation. It might with entire [PAGE 40] propriety have been relegated, as in many large cities, to a chartered company, with careful stipulations as to the percentage of profits, and rigid provisions for penalties in case of inadequate or unsatisfactory service. The City, however, has voluntarily chosen to engage in this business on its own account, and by Ordinance has created a monopoly, by forbidding others to compete therein. This assumption of an extraneous function cannot, however, relieve the City from the natural and equitable obligations thereby incurred, but on the contrary imposes additional and weighty responsibilities. As a vital need, whether for daily domestic uses, for manufacturing purposes, for protection against losses by fire, or for the conservation of the public health, there is no requirement which approaches in urgency the demand for an ample supply of wholesome water, and yet, as has been shown, the City has permitted the service to languish until not only is the quality of the water unsuitable and its quantity insufficient, but there was danger that a large portion of the City would be deprived of its supply altogether.

The appropriations for necessary improvements were withheld year after year, while the heavy Annual Surplus collected from citizens was used for other and less important improvements. It would seem clear that until the Water Supply of Philadelphia is such as a City of 1,000,000 souls,—the second in population and the first in manufacturing importance in the United States,—should have, there can be no application of the Water Revenues so just and so judicious as their expenditure for the imperative requirements of a service upon which the well-being, comfort and prosperity, individually and collectively, of the community, is wholly and without alternative, dependent.

[PAGE 41]



With the substantial addition of the new Pumping Plant which is now under construction and which will be available for service during the ensuing season, the Department will be able to pump up a daily average of 90,000,000 gallons, should so much be required, and as the minimum flow of the Schuylkill is not less than 180 or 200 millions, there is no doubt of the ability of the Department to pump a full supply for the City.

Leaving aside, for the present, the question of quality as affected by sewage and other contaminations, the most serious defects of the present system are found in the absence of adequate storage capacity and the lack of proper means to distribute the water to the several portions of the City, and the improvement of these constitute, at the present time, the most urgent need of the Department. In my remarks upon the Extension of Reservoir Capacity, I have called attention to the inadequate provision for storage, by reason of which the water, being in constant movement through the basins, has little or no opportunity to free itself of even the grosser impurities, and is delivered to the consumers in pretty much the same condition as it came from the river. It is only the Wentz Farm Basin supplying Frankford and the vicinity, and the Belmont Basin supplying West Philadelphia, that exhibit any proper proportion between their capacity and the daily draught, and it may be said that while the large area north of Spring Garden street and west of Ninth street has no reservoir at all, the remainder of the City is not much better off.

The works especially needed to amend this condition of affairs, with reference to the main City, are the construction of the new Cambria Basin of 200,000,000 gallons, with a surface elevation of 165 feet above City Datum, and the completion of [PAGE 42] the East Park Reservoir, with its 700,000,000 capacity, and elevation of 133 feet. It will take about three years to complete these two works, at an estimated cost of over $2,000,000, and until then there can be no escape from the disadvantages now endured.

An even more important matter, however, is that of the distributing mains and pipes. Previous to Consolidation, in 1854, the Districts of Spring Garden, Northern Liberties, and Kensington had their own supply systems, and Germantown and Chestnut Hill were served by private companies. The original Station at Fairmount and the Fairmount Basins then supplied, as now, the old City lying between Vine and South streets, and the Districts of Southwark and Moyamensing below. All these systems later came under the management of the consolidated City Government, but the original disadvantages of inadequate distribution facilities, and the absence of unity of system, have never been fully removed. To illustrate this subject without unduly extending the statements in regard to it, it may suffice to take the condition of affairs in the old City proper as typical of all. Within these limits, viz.: from Vine to South streets, and between the two rivers, there are at present in service about 490,000 feet of water pipe, laid at different periods, as shown in the following table.

Viz.: The Ffith, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth Wards, showing their size and the date when laid

It will be seen that most of these pipes are of great age and small dimensions,—150,000 feet or 30 per cent, being less than six inches in diameter, and over 90 per cent, of the total having been in the ground from 30 to 60 odd years. Experience has shown that, under ordinary circumstances, naked iron pipes such as were formerly laid, become, to a considerable extent, obstructed by the accumulation of rust and sediment in the interior, and that in a period of from 10 to 20 years this obstruction will become so serious as to nearly or entirely close the pipes. This, as a matter of fact, is known to be the case with by far the larger proportion of pipes now in service less than six inches in diameter, and the [PAGE 43] accompanying drawing is intended to illustrate the interior condition of the tube, and the extent to which the obstruction proceeds.

SUPPLY PIPE TO 1716, 18, 20, 22, & 24 CATHARINE ST.

The Department has a number of striking examples of this effect, and the drawing was made from a longitudinal section of a two-inch pipe which had been in the ground for about 24 years. The opening available for the passage of water would not admit the tip of the little finger. It is manifest that pipes in this condition are almost useless, and in particular for fire purposes are of no value whatever. The sole remedy is to replace them with larger pipes, which, coated inside and out with a protective covering of asphalt, will last for many years.

In addition to the necessity of replacing the ancient and small pipes, is that of laying larger mains,—and the deficiencies in this respect are serious. There are many portions of the City to which, in the Summer, little or no water is delivered, for the reason that the mains are of such inadequate capacity that the water is all drawn from them before reaching the end. My letter of last August to the Controller, explanatory of the estimates,—which is appended to this Report,—as well as the Report by Mr. Ogden, the Assistant Engineer in immediate charge of the Distribution System, throw much light on this subject; and while the entire ground is not covered nor the subject fully treated, enough is shown to illustrate its importance and convey some idea of the expenditures which will be necessary to fully meet imperative requirements.
It is necessary to bear in mind that the Fire Department, however efficiently organized, is helpless without an abundant supply of water flowing freely to the hydrants, and this can only be secured by having in the principal streets, mains of adequate dimensions and suitably connected with the supply pipes and with each other.

I have been enabled, by the kindness of Mr. Lorin Blodget, to collect some data in regard to the value of property at risk from fire in the Old City. The Fifth and Sixth Wards, in [PAGE 44] especial, are heavy manufacturing districts, and contain valuable stores of merchandise. East of Ninth street, and between Vine and South streets, Mr. Blodget calculates that there are not less than $100,000,000 of active merchandise at risk, and by examining the assessment of properties and making due deduction for the value of the ground, I have computed the total value of perishable property exposed to danger of fire within the old City limits as approximately £250,000,000. To protect values of this extent, the means available are absurdly inadequate. There are about 800 fire plugs, of which one-half are of an obsolete pattern, and 100 are attached to old pipes of 4 inches diameter or less, from which the Steam Fire Engines cannot get enough water to do any service.

It is unfortunate that the elevation of the Fairmount Basin —94 feet above City Datum—is quite insufficient to give a proper pressure at the hydrants. This defect, for the present, cannot be amended, but it is intolerable that the supply should be destroyed altogether by the retention in service of appliances which a generation ago were unsatisfactory, and which to-day are practically useless.

It is essential that a Department having such close relation as this to general and individual interests, should assiduously and faithfully keep pace with the growth and improvement of its City, and to accomplish this there must be wise prevision of the needs of the immediate future, in order that when the demand shall be made there may be no hesitation or delay in meeting it. This is a matter of such very great importance, and one in which every inhabitant of the City—whether a property owner or not—is so deeply interested, that I may be pardoned for some urgency in pressing it upon the attention of Councils.

[PAGE 45]


As previously indicated, it may be considered that with the Delaware on one side and the Schuylkill on the other, there need be no question as to the possibility of procuring an ample supply of water, and were the means of distributing it suited to meet the necessities of the city, the serious aspects of the case would be resolved into the single question of quality.

Of the six principal Pumping Stations, two take water from the Delaware River and four from the Schuylkill River.

The peculiarities of the Kensington supply have already been adverted to. The Delaware, along the city front, is the recipient, sooner or later, of the sewage refuse and street washings of a city area occupied by a population probably exceeding 800,000. These waste matters are borne up and down by the tides, and usually pass and repass the city several times before taking their final departure. Under these circumstances, whatever may be the volume of the stream, it is by necessity polluted, and is not suitable for immediate and habitual daily use.

In especial is the vicinity of the Kensington Station marked by an accumulation of the foulest materials. Its central position insures its getting the full benefit of all the city sewage, and, in addition, the Aramingo Canal—an open sewer of large dimensions and choked with filth—discharges in its immediate vicinity. The water taken thence is utterly unfit for human consumption, and the construction last Summer of a wooden trunk to mid-channel, is but a temporary device to mitigate the evil until such time as a connection can be made from the Stations on the Schuylkill to the Lehigh Avenue Basin.

The other Delaware Station—that at Lardner's Point, one mile above Bridesburg, from which the supply of Frankford and the vicinity is derived—has characteristics so much less objectionable, that few complaints are made of the quality of the water. Nevertheless, since the flood tides sweep upwards for five hours twice in 24 hours, with an average velocity of 1-1/2 miles an hour, the general sewage of the city is carried some distance above Lardner's Point, and in particular, that from [PAGE 46] Frankford Creek—which is the sewer for that district—is taken up stream for several miles, to return on the succeeding ebb. As the ebb tide runs but two hours longer than the flood, it is during this interval only that the river may be considered free of the city sewage and contaminated only by that which we derive from the several cities above. The Lardner's Point supply, therefore, must be viewed with suspicion as undoubtedly containing a considerable amount of diluted and partly oxidized sewage, and cannot be considered as an acceptable or satisfactory source for the future.

The condition of the Schuylkill supply is the important one, and a considerable body of facts regarding it is furnished in other portions of this Report, particularly the paper of Dr. Leeds on the chemical investigation, and Mr. Barber's tables on the physical and sanitary features.

The Schuylkill, above Fairmount Dam, is the natural sewer, first and last, for a population of 350,000, largely engaged in manufacturing, and whatever may be the varying judgments of physicists as to the power of a running stream to purge itself of foreign contaminations, it is very certain that the river itself has, from time to time, furnished the most convincing evidence of its inability to digest or dispose of the extraneous and injurious matters discharged into it.

The character of the pollutions is as diversified as the occupations of the people. Sewage, chemicals, wool-washings, dye stuffs, butcher and brewery refuse---there is almost nothing lacking—and the most singular feature of the case is that the worst and most deadly contaminations are those which enter the river within the city limits and under the control of the municipal authorities. The circumstance has this advantage, that matters can be amended whenever the city shall choose to exercise her powers, and the construction of the intercepting sewer on the east bank, from Manayunk to Fairmount, will no doubt be of great utility.

It should not be believed, however, that the sewer,—even [PAGE 47] should it accomplish all that it is designed for,—will be able to do more than a part of the work. There will still be the entire pollution of the stream above the Flat Rock Dam to prevent or neutralize, the waters of the Manayunk Canal to purify, and the Wissahickon and other streams to regulate, and in addition there will remain sources of contamination within the limits of the Fairmount pool itself, that are not the less deadly because they are concealed from view and escape direct observation. The movement of ground water is, in general, slowly towards the river, and it will be years before the sewage-saturated soil underlying a long inhabited area, and filled with cess-pools, can free itself from poisons.

In particular is there a subject from which sentiment and the imagination alike recoil, but to which the Engineer, in the interest of the public health, is forced to allude. Civilized communities have for generations recognized the danger to the living from the presence of the dead, and decreed that no well be dug in the vicinity of their last resting place, nor any water taken thence, lest the potency of lethal matter slay the living. The thought is one which cannot now be pressed, but it is necessary to suggest it, that the gentle souls who lie at rest, and who on earth would have shrunk from the thought of injuring any living being, may by some means be spared becoming a peril to their descendants and successors.

Aside from the Engineering and other means of modifying the contaminations of the Schuylkill, involving years for their accomplishment, it must be said that little can be done to purify it. It is true that filtering the water will remove the visible impurities, and if thoroughly done, will render it a bright and sparkling fluid pleasing to the eye and generally acceptable to the palate, but the impurities thus removed are the least harmful of those contained in the water, and in reality, the river when muddiest from a recent freshet, is probably in its most wholesome condition, since it then contains the largest percentage of fresh water and the least of foreign matters. It is in Summer, [PAGE 48] when the movement of the stream is the gentlest and the waters the most pellucid, that the largest proportion of dangerous contaminations is held in solution, and these the ordinary methods of filtering are powerless to remove. . It is true that the passage of water through a mass of spongy iron has been found to oxidize in part the organic matter, but the cost of inaugurating a plant of this sort, or any filtering appliances such as are used in Europe, on the scale necessary to purify the water supply of Philadelphia, is too formidable to contemplate unless all other means of procuring a better supply shall prove impracticable. When all was done, the organic matters would still remain, and it is these which constitute the real danger. It is known that the germs of cholera, of typhoid fever and other diseases, although their real nature or function can only as yet be guessed at, may be carried by water which to every sense is pure, and that these germs may entirely escape detection by the most subtle analysis, while existing in a condition of the deadliest activity and only awaiting admission to a living organism to develop their latent morbific energy. Against this danger science has no absolute specific, although the boiling of water is supposed to destroy the germs.

By far the most practicable and effective means of improving the present supply would be the completion of the East Park Reservoir, into which the water would be pumped when in its best condition, and drawn out for the supply of the smaller basins after having had from two to four weeks in which to deposit its sediment and rid itself of at least the grosser impurities.
The use of well water within the inhabited area of the City should be absolutely prohibited. Nothing is more deceptive than the cool sparkling water drawn from a well or spring which is the out-flow of a water stratum into which cess-pools or foul deposits discharge; but there are numerous wells, even in the old part of the City which are in daily use. Ignorance is responsible for this in part, and habit, in part. Again a vicious economy will sometimes induce people to continue the use of wells, and thus avoid the cost of introducing water-pipe in the [PAGE 49] street and the payment of water charges. Councils might well make provision for these cases by ordering the filling up of all wells and cutting off all sources of supply which analysis should show to be prejudicial to the public health, and requiring all houses and blocks of houses now built or in process of construction, before being occupied by tenants, to be connected with the City mains, whenever it is practicable to do so.

Much has been said of the possibility of procuring a supply from Artesian Wells or other ground sources, but while it is entirely possible that there may be a water stratum of sufficient purity and volume to answer a part, at "least, of the requirements, there is always danger of pollution from increase of population and an uncertainty with regard to the future, both in quality and quantity, that would make it injudicious to depend solely upon such sources.

The water in the wells sunk into the water bearing rock on the elevation upon which it is proposed to build the Cambria Basin, is shown by analysis to be of exceptional purity, and would no doubt suffice for the time and for a limited supply, but the future extent and requirements of the City are entirely out of proportion to such insufficient and unreliable sources, and as works of the magnitude required need years for their construction, it would not be worth while to waste time and money in the effort to utilize them. It can be proved that the waters of a swiftly flowing stream, thoroughly exposed to sun and air, are superior in purity and wholesomeness to all other sources, whether gathered from the Heavens above or from the Earth beneath, and it will be time enough to undertake the task of sucking from the ground a supply of 100 or 200 million gallons per day, such as Philadelphia will need for the future, when investigation shall have proved the impracticability of drawing from a nobler source which can be traced and protected, from its birth on the mountain top to its final utilization.

[PAGE 50]


The importance of this subject in its relation to the question of Water Supply has, until within comparatively a few years, been almost ignored, especially in cities having a public service.
As the appliances for delivering water failed to meet the rapidly increasing consumption, and even the sources themselves became inadequate to furnish the enormous amount which was apparently required, the attention of the City and Department officials seems to have been directed solely to multiplying pumping machinery, the construction of new aqueducts and reservoirs, and the search for new sources whence an increased volume could be derived.

The advantages, and even necessity—according to modern domestic, sanitary, and industrial needs—of an ample supply is obvious, and those charged with the responsibility of its maintenance were quick enough to realize this, but while noting the fact that the demand had increased in a much greater ratio than the population, and the total amount per capita had attained proportions exceeding the bounds of possible utility, in few cases does it seem to have been thought necessary to investigate the disposition made of the water, or to definitely ascertain what proportion of the total pumpage was really utilized, and what was entirely wasted.

The practical ignoring of the subject may be, in the main, attributed to the fact that with a population habituated to the freest use of water, any attempt to limit or restrict the consumption, would, in all probability, arouse opposition, and perhaps affect unfavorably those holding official positions. Of late years, however, the development of cities and the increasing consumption of water have, by the apparent exhaustion of the available sources, in many cases directed attention to the subject of waste, and commanded consideration of its extent and the means of checking it. In a few cases, also, while no deficiency of supply was threatened, an intelligent [PAGE 51] study of the subject and constant effort towards effective and economical administration had the same effect.

In Philadelphia, notwithstanding the annually increasing danger of a water famine, the matter seems to have been quite overlooked, or, if observed, no attempts were made to apply remedial measures.
In the investigation of this subject it is desirable, first to define what is meant by waste, and then to ascertain, as clearly as may be, what amount, per capita, should be considered an ample supply. Having fixed a standard, any amount less than this might be regarded as a deficiency, and anything more, as waste.

By waste, then, is meant the water which, having been pumped into the reservoirs and distributing mains, escapes thence into the sewers, the ground, or the street, beyond the possibility of utilization, without having performed in its journey any useful function or service whatsoever. In this sense it will be seen that the restriction of waste, so far from being a restriction of supply, is a positive addition thereto, for by so much as the useless expenditure of water is prevented, by so much is the amount available for useful purposes increased.

The cost to the city of pumping and distributing water . which is wasted, is precisely the same as for water which is usefully employed, and it follows that with waste prevented, the expense of the Department is decreased and its service improved. It must be understood, therefore, that the prevention of waste is designed to give a more ample supply for all requirements, and to admit of the use of the water for the proper flushing of sewers,—for which no provision is now made,—and for public drinking fountains and ornamental purposes, the lack of which in Philadelphia impairs both its appearance and the comfort of its inhabitants.

In general, waste may be classified under three heads : First, leakage from the pumping or distributing mains or reservoirs. The amount of this, with good administration, is comparatively small, as precautions are taken to make the [PAGE 53] reservoirs tight, and the mains are carefully laid and are much stronger than is needed to withstand the actual pressures to which they are subjected.

Second, loss from defective service pipes and faulty plumbing appliances. The waste from this cause is very large, as plumbing work in Philadelphia has not been subject to any real supervision, nor is there any effective discrimination between good and bad workmanship, or much attention to making repairs when needed.

Third, loss from careless or willful opening of taps and faucets. It is this cause to which, perhaps, the largest part of the waste is due, and which would not exist if consumers were as careful in the use of water which is paid for at an annual rental, as of gas for which they pay by the cubic foot.

In fixing the standard of an adequate supply, it is necessary to rely upon the experience and statistics of cities where the subject has been carefully investigated, and in especial those in which the local conditions are, as nearly as may be, analogous to our own.

The European cities, in general, are content with a daily supply which we should consider absurdly inadequate — as Vienna and Berlin, with a daily allowance of 15 or 18 gallons, or St. Petersburg with 22 gallons. In Paris, however—where, although the domestic use is limited, large amounts are used in keeping the streets clean—the daily consumption is about 42 gallons per capita. In the principal cities of Great Britain the supply averages from 35 to 40 gallons per head; and in London, which, in its general features, approaches perhaps more nearly than any other to those of Philadelphia, the daily supply is about 31-1/4 British, or 37-1/2 United States gallons.

On the whole the English engineers estimate that 35 United States gallons per head of population is an ample supply for all purposes, domestic, industrial, sanitary, and protective, and this estimate is justified by the experience of American cities in which the matter has been intelligently investigated. Prominent among these is Providence, a city having a large [PAGE 53] population, as well as extensive manufactures, where for several years past the average supply has been from 30 to 35 gallons per head.

In Boston, where the water question has occasioned great anxiety, as the consumption had reached and overpassed the capacity of the plant to meet it,—it has been clearly shown by actual tests, that of the former 95 gallons per head, at least 50 per cent was wasted. Similar estimates are made by the New York engineers, where again the increasing demand is in excess of the capacity of the Croton aqueduct, and the problem of the future is a pressing one.

In general, in all the American cities where the subject has been examined, the estimates of waste are from 25 to 75 per cent, of the total supply. It may be assumed then, with much confidence, that 40 gallons per day per head of population is an ample amount for all purposes, and an estimate of the magnitude of the waste in Philadelphia may be reached by comparing this figure with the average daily pumpage.
The total pumpage for the year 1883 was 25,182,775,641, which gives a daily average of about 69,000,000, equivalent to very nearly 70 gallons per day per head. It may, therefore, be considered that of these 70 gallons, 40 gallons, or 57 per cent, are used, and 30 gallons, or 43 per cent., are wasted, and these proportions cannot be far from accurate.

The loss is a formidable one from any point of view, and especially was it evident last summer, when the pumpage in one day exceeded 100,000,000 gallons, that if by any means the waste could be checked, the amount saved might be sufficient to avert disaster when the sole dependence, the steam-pumps, were in an unreliable, and, in some respects, dangerous condition. An attempt was therefore made both to remedy the evil in part, and to collect data for the ascertainment of its causes and amount, and in this, valuable assistance was rendered by the Bell Waterphone Company, who had, with much success, used their methods and appliances in Cincinnati, and who tendered [PAGE 54] their services gratuitously to the Department, with the expectation of illustrating its practicability and value.

The instrument used resembles an ordinary telephonic receiver, and simply magnifies sounds transmitted to the diaphragm. In service it is attached to a steel rod, which is inserted in the stop-box over the service stop at the curb, and resting upon the cock, transmits to the ear the sound of water passing in the pipe. The examinations were made between the hours of 11 P. M and 4 A. M., when the occupants of dwellings were presumably asleep. If any flow of water was detected, the inspector made a note of the premises in his book, and visited the house during the following morning. The results of the trial with this apparatus are given in the accompanying table. The district examined lay between the two rivers and from Vine street to Washington avenue. It will be seen that of 12,000 stops examined, the sound of running water was heard at 3,631,—over 30 per cent of the total. In 302 of them the day inspection failed to reveal a cause, which was, therefore, either an underground leak or the use of the water appliances by the inmates during the night. The remaining causes were all either the wasteful running or leakage of openings from the pipes, and some approximate computations of the loss of water due to these will be useful, both to illustrate its amount and to support the conclusions already reached.

From the actual tests it was found that a horse-trough, water closet, or hydrant running full head under a pressure of 13 pounds would discharge 5 gallons in one and half minutes, or 4,800 gallons per day; and a washstand, urinal, fountain, or faucet would flow a gallon a minute, or 1,440 gallons per day. With 20 lbs. pressure, which is about the city average, these amounts would become respectively 6,000 and 1,800 gallons.

from May 4 to September 15, 1883.

In the 12,000 inspections there were 428 water closets, 249 hydrants and 32 horse-troughs running,—a total of 709,—which, at 13 lbs. pressure, would discharge over 3,400,000 gallons per day. There were also 153 wash-stands, 148 urinals, 3 fountains, and 9 faucets,—a total of 313,—which would waste [PAGE 56] 448,000 more. Deducting proportionately the 302 cases where it might be that the appliances were in legitimate use at the time of the inspection,—the total waste due to running of the remainder is 2,740,000 gallons per day.

For the sake of being entirely within probabilities, it may be assumed that these appliances, not being fully open, were discharging only about one-half of this,—the amount would then be 1,370,000 gallons. If now a moderate estimate of the average waste due to the 3,583 leaking and defective appliances be added of, say 100 gallons each,—and some of them will waste many times this quantity,—we have a total waste of 1,726,000 gallons per day.

The 12,000 stops examined are considerably less than one-fifteenth of the total number in the City. The aggregate loss, therefore, from this cause alone, is probably in excess of 25,890,000 gallons per day. To this loss is still to be added the large amount wasted in manufactories. In many of these, while the quantity actually used is very great, the waste is equally so from allowing the water to run during the day when not required, and especially at night when work is suspended. In some of these the flow of water is never stopped, and I have known a mill which had shut down at 3 o'clock on Saturday afternoon, to waste a full stream from a four inch pipe until work began again on Monday morning. The quantity escaping from this pipe alone was probably not far from 500,000 gallons in 24 hours.
It may be safely assumed that the loss from this cause is not less than 20 or 25 millions per day, which, added to the domestic waste, gives a total of 45 or 50 millions. This computation was made at a time of year when the pumpage was from 85 to 95 millions daily.

In Winter, while the waste is little less in the business establishments, in dwelling houses it is diminished unless it be in very hard freezing weather, when the fear of bursting pipes induces the cautious householder to protect himself against a plumber's bill by keeping the water in constant flow at the [PAGE 57] expense of the City, and to the detriment of his neighbors' supply. Another considerable source of waste is the indiscriminate and illegal use of the fire plugs, which seem for some reason to be considered the property of everybody, and to be used for all purposes, without reference to the inscription on each that forbids its use without a permit, under penalty of $5.00.

Economically considered, the waste of water—of which enough has been said to indicate its magnitude—is of much importance. If, for example, it could all be stopped and the pumpage restricted to a sufficient amount only, the annual coal expenditure by the Department of, say $130,000, might be reduced to $80,000, and a yearly saving effected of $55,000. Fewer employés would be needed at some of the Pumping Stations, and the wear and tear, and consequent repairs and renewals of the boilers and machinery would be reduced in proportion with the pumpage. On the other hand, the saving of water would effect general increase of pressure, and enable the water to reach the upper stories of houses to which it is now a total stranger.

A few figures as to cost may be of use. Comparing the total number of buildings with the total revenues of the Department, it may be said generally that the average charge per building is $10.00 per annum. A dwelling which pays $15.00 may be considered fairly well equipped with plumbing conveniences. At the rate of charge for water by meter, viz.: 60 cents per thousand cubic feet, or 8 cents per thousand gallons, a house paying $10.00 per annum is entitled to, say 17,000 gallons, or, if it pays $15.00, to 25,000 gallons, and these amounts are in reality much in excess of those actually drawn, even by persons who use it lavishly.

A hydrant in the yard, or a horse-trough in the street, will run about 6,000 gallons daily, and in three or four days therefore, will waste a year's supply for a family. A wash-stand or faucet will flow 1,800 per day, and exhaust in ten or fifteen days respectively, the entire amount needed by a family for a year. The mill pipe before mentioned will, in one day, waste enough water to supply from 20 to 30 families through the entire year.

From the sanitary point of view, the stoppage of that large portion of the waste which is due to leakage or flowing pipes, hydrants, wash-paves, or horse-troughs, is highly desirable. The Department is almost daily in receipt of complaints of water flooding cellars and sapping foundations, which investigation shows proceed in the majority of cases from willful or careless waste by neighbors. Aside from the injury to property, the close relation of certain forms of disease to a saturated dwelling site, is well understood, and no sanitary engineer or physician will hesitate to condemn the continuance of practices involving evils of such serious extent. Among the minor though quite obvious of them is the frequent sluicing of sidewalks, which, with a mistaken idea of cleanliness, is really an unmitigated nuisance. The brick pavement is saturated, and beneath it the soil in which the house stands, and the surplus water flowing down the gutter supplies the one element needed to convert the street dirt collected under the hot sun into putrescent matter emitting the poisonous germs of disease.

For every reason then, economic and sanitary, the prevention of waste is desirable, and while the accomplishment of this must be a work of considerable time, requiring both additional legislation, and to a certain extent the education of the public mind to make it effective, no time should be lost in taking the necessary preliminary steps. The remedial measures may be classed under several heads, viz.: Instrumental determination, Domiciliary inspection, Regulation of plumbing appliances, and Infliction of suitable penalties. These must all be employed conjointly.

For the waste in large establishments—manufacturing and others—I know of no remedy at once so just and so effective [PAGE 59] as recording meters, by which the actual amount of water consumed, usefully or otherwise, is definitely ascertained and charged for. For private houses, the Waterphone, or some similar contrivance, in conjunction with inspections, has shown itself to be of use, but if the Water Department is to perpetually maintain a conflict with defective appliances, a considerable increase of force will be required. In this direction legislation is needed, both to restrict waste and protect the public health.

The relations of the Water Department to the plumbing business are extremely intimate. It is upon the plumbing appliances in a house that the water charges are made, and any defect or changes therein affect the revenue of the Department. They should, therefore, be strictly regulated by law, and the possibility of bad or dishonest work prevented. Furthermore, the work of the plumber is a matter of life or death to the inmates of a house.

Civilization, while it has enhanced the comforts of life in this respect, has introduced into our homes a most deadly enemy unless due precautions are taken to control it. The plumber, therefore, should be a workman sufficiently intelligent and conscientious, and versed in his art, to be trusted with a, matter of such vital importance, which, furthermore, should not be left to his sole discretion, but be supervised by some competent authority under regulations established by law. At present, the legislation bearing upon this subject is exceedingly defective, and the example of other cities should be followed in procuring as speedily as may be, more effective administration for the protection of the public health against the fatal effects of ignorance and dishonesty.

With all its fortunate conditions, climatic and local, the expansion of its population and the intelligence and good conduct of its citizens, Philadelphia has a higher death rate than London, notwithstanding the greater age of the latter, its population of four millions to Philadelphia's one, and the average of eight persons to each house against less than six in [PAGE 60] Philadelphia. To a great extent this relatively high death rate is chargeable to the diseases known as zymotic, and classed as preventable, viz.: typhoid fever, diphtheria, scarlet fever, et al.

Philadelphia kills one person in a thousand more than London. In all, the lives of more than 1,000 persons are uselessly sacrificed every year, and the health of thousands more impaired. The causes of this are a sewage polluted soil, bad water, defective sewerage, defective highways, and defective plumbing. The responsibility for these things does not rest with the people, who cannot be expected to fully appreciate or understand them, but upon those whose business it is to know and whose duty it is to make them plain, and to indicate and provide the proper remedies.


The increasing pollution of the Schuylkill, whence the main Water Supply of Philadelphia is derived, and in particular the occasional exacerbation of its unwholesome symptoms to the degree of rendering it totally unsuitable for ordinary purposes, have been already referred to, but the discussion which for a generation has been maintained with more or less earnestness and intelligence, has resulted only in confusing the subject with multiplied and variant suggestions, and in the absence of exact and carefully determined data, could not in the nature of things reach definite conclusions.
Not only has the quality of the water itself been the subject of dispute, but the widest diversity of opinion has been expressed as to the means best adapted to amend existing evils and to make suitable provision for the future.

It seems strange that, in a matter of such vital economic and social importance, this very contrariety of opinion should not have called attention to the one essential point, which had, [PAGE 61] moreover, been urged by competent advisers, viz.: The necessity for such thorough scientific investigation based upon the actual ascertainment of facts, as should eliminate doubt, and simplify the consideration of the problem by clearly determining its real conditions.

Sooner or later all cities are brought face to face with the water problem, and even when it has been thought that a solution has been reached, the development of industries and the growth of population out-run the provision which it was believed would suffice for long periods, and call for constant watchfulness and care to meet the growing demands. In the case of Philadelphia, the problem—notwithstanding an apparent simplicity of conditions—is more than ordinarily complex. The Schuylkill brings the water to the heart of the City, and even furnishes the power with which to pump it, and it was therefore natural and proper enough to regard it as the main reliance. But the valley of the Schuylkill has peculiar features. At its source, the water—to a large extent the drainage of the coal measures—is charged with the acids resulting from the decomposition of the iron pyrites, and this-excess of acid is still further increased by the great development of the mining industries.

Farther down, the affluents drain a limestone region, and the commingling of the acid and alkali tends to neutralize both and to impart a certain degree of potability to the stream. As was pointed out long since, the water of the Schuylkill is an artificial product, depending for its quality upon a nice balance of chemical constituents, the undue preponderance of either of which would injuriously affect its use—the acid by destroying boilers and water-pipes, the lime by causing scale and rendering the water too hard to be acceptable.

This chemical balance has been hitherto sufficiently well maintained to give no great cause for complaint, but the pollution of the stream by the growing population and industries of the valley, has become a most serious feature. [PAGE 62] The Schuylkill is the natural drainage outlet and sewer for the entire region traversed by it, and unless means can be found and applied to effectually cut off or thoroughly neutralize the multiplied sources of pollution, it is hopeless to consider it available in the future for drinking purposes. To accomplish this, however, both legislative action and costly engineering works will be required, and the discussion of these must be deferred until the investigation now in progress shall have fully disclosed their character and extent.

Leaving aside the Schuylkill proper, it then remains to consider whether or not one or more of its affluents could be made to meet the necessary requirements. Of these, the Perkiomen alone is of such character as to promise good results, and in consequence the project of impounding the Perkiomen waters and bringing them to Philadelphia by a gravity conduit has heretofore presented itself as a plausible one, and been urged with more or less earnestness. In the absence, however, of such accurate data as must be obtained, it has been impossible to do more than accept estimates and opinions as a basis of argument, and there now appears good reason to believe that in respect of both quantity and quality, the Perkiomen supply would prove deficient.

Should it result that neither the Schuylkill nor its main affluent can be securely relied upon for the future, the Delaware must be considered, and this aspect of the case has hitherto been scarcely more than glanced at. Numerous suggestions have been made, but again the lack of precise and authentic information has crippled investigation and made discussion futile. The estimated cost of every one of the Delaware projects has been so large as to discourage their consideration, but if the best results are to be attained, the investigation must be made. For a gravity supply, the Delaware water must be taken somewhere in the vicinity of the Gap, since it is not until that point is reached that the elevation of the stream is sufficient to [PAGE 63] give the necessary fall. For a supply by pumping to a conduit, points nearer by offer themselves. The Delaware, too, has affluents which might be impressed into service, at least to diminish the necessary pumping.

A third possible source is the Upper Lehigh, whose waters in respect both of purity and altitude, present most favorable conditions, although the distance is great and the minimum flow less than is required for a full supply.

The ideal source is one whose swift waters, drained from a wilderness barren of mines or agriculture, and which the laws of nature will effectually guard from defilement by population or industry, can be diverted from the living reservoir of their rocky channel, and through an aqueduct of reasonable length, be delivered to the city receiving basins, as limpid, palatable, and free from contamination as when tumbling freely in their native bed. Of all the sources available, the Upper Lehigh comes nearest to this standard, and the Upper Delaware,—whose greater flow is ample for all needs,—comes next.

It happens, however, that ideals are rare of attainment, and in the present case, economic considerations intervene to counsel caution, and compel the fullest and most careful investigation before a decision be made, but it cannot be denied that Philadelphia, with all her fortunate conditions, is doubly favored in having at her command, whenever she shall choose to claim it, a superb source of Water Supply which for generations to come will fulfill every requirement.

In investigating the Delaware project, some unexpected features were developed. It was necessary in running the conduit lines to the Gap, to take advantage of the valley itself to pass the South Mountain, and in doing this, Point Pleasant,—about half-way between Trenton and Easton, and 30 miles from Philadelphia,—was readily seen to be the most advantageous point at which to reach the valley. The conduit line to this point proved to be much more favorable than was anticipated, largely reducing previous estimates, and furthermore, the [PAGE 64] quality of the water in the Delaware at Point Pleasant was found to be extremely good,—better, in fact, than that of any of its affluents,—and almost comparable with the water of the Gap.

The Conduit line to Point Pleasant intercepts the Pennypack and the Big and Little Neshaminy, and when nearing the Delaware valley taps also the Tohickon. It results from this combination of circumstances, that the Delaware Project might be considered as terminating temporarily at Point Pleasant, where pumps could lift the Delaware waters to the conduit and send them in to the Wentz Farm and the proposed Cambria Basins at an elevation of 165 feet. Furthermore, the waters of the intercepted affluents could be used to decrease the pump-age, and in fact for the greater part of the year, would, in all probability, furnish the full amount required.

An aqueduct Northward from the Wentz Farm Basin would therefore come almost immediately into service by bringing in the supply from the several streams as they were successively reached, and the Point Pleasant Pumping Station would continue to furnish any amount of excellent water while the construction of the conduit should be proceeding towards the Gap. The unexpected purity of the Point Pleasant water is due to two causes: First, the considerable aeration and consequent purification the Delaware waters are subjected to by flowing swiftly in a natural channel, and over numerous riffs and rapids; and secondly, the partial exclusion of the low water drainage of the Lehigh by means of the canal on the right bank of the Delaware, which absorbs the Summer flow of the Lehigh when. it is most highly charged with the sewage of Easton, Bethlehem, and other cities in that valley.

The problem of the Future Supply of Philadelphia therefore, presents itself under three aspects:

  • First—The practicability, the requisite means, and the cost of redeeming the Schuylkill, and so effectually guarding it against [PAGE 65] future pollution as would justify the City of Philadelphia in depending upon the use of its waters for domestic and manufacturing purposes.
  • Second—The determination of the quality and quantity of the waters that can be reliably obtained from the valley of the Perkiomen; and,
  • Third—The cost and other particulars of the Delaware project—accepting Point Pleasant as a half-way station, and looking to above the Gap for a gravity supply.

As an alternative to this, the excellent suggestion is advanced by Mr. Hering, of bringing the waters of the Upper Lehigh into the Upper Perkiomen—thereby increasing the quantity and improving the quality of the latter.

It will be seen by any one conversant with the subject, that it has grown to great, and it may be said, unexpected proportions. The area of country to be examined, whether by accurate surveys or reconnaissances, is larger than has ever been attempted in this country; and, in this connection, a comparison of the necessary extent of the Philadelphia surveys with those made by other cities, will be instructive. New York, with a topographical area to be covered of about 2,000 square miles, of which 100 were mapped and 250 were carefully reconnoitered, has, since 1875, spent an average of over $30,000 annually, or about $250,000. The Baltimore surveys cost about $15,000, but only the Gunpowder project, which has since been successfully completed, was seriously considered, and the length of the conduit was seven miles only. In Boston, the areas surveyed were about 50 square miles, and examinations were made of a total of about 5,500 square miles. The length of conduit line was 15-1/4 miles. The investigation occupied about three years, and cost $60,000. The Philadelphia investigation will require careful surveys of about 468 square miles, conduit lines about 183 miles, and a general examination of about 6,500 square miles.

[PAGE 66] The work which has so far been accomplished is excellent in character, large in amount, and economical in cost; and it is of the greatest importance that it should be carried to completion with the parties now fully equipped and trained to their work. The total expenditure that will be required cannot yet be determined. The investigation, owing to an unexpected balancing of various advantages and disadvantages, physical and economic, has assumed proportions that were not at any time heretofore contemplated. But it is work that is absolutely essential to an accurate and reliable solution of the problem, and I feel no hesitation in saying, that whatever necessary expenditures are incurred will be amply repaid in the end. The expense of maintaining and supervising the work is about $2,500 per month, and this year will probably see the greater part of the field work fairly advanced to completion. The results are too important, and the consequences of a failure to obtain all necessary information would be too serious to allow me to feel any hesitation in asking for such funds as may be required to complete the investigation.

The accompanying reports from Dr. Leeds and Mr. Hering furnish a full account of the operations under their respective directions, and contain information of the greatest interest and value. The Department was especially fortunate in securing the services of these two gentlemen, both of whom are well known in the professional world in their respective branches of inquiry and have evinced the highest interest in the important labors entrusted to them.

The circumstances are such as to necessitate a continuance of the investigation in order to cover the entire field, and to reach such reliable results as shall justify the preparation by the Department of final estimates and recommendations; but the conditions are now thoroughly understood, many points of doubt have been eliminated, and the work can proceed with clear conceptions towards a determinate conclusion.

[PAGE 67] The varying character of the several streams at the different seasons makes it necessary to establish minimum as well as average data, and observations extending over at least a brief term of years are required. Analysis has so far confirmed opinions formed from engineering and physical data, and Dr. Leeds is enabled to reach the preliminary conclusions expressed in his final remarks, viz.: as to the advisability of ceasing to pump water at the Kensington Station, and as to the necessity for immediate measures to guard the Schuylkill from pollution, if its use as a source of supply is to continue. Inasmuch as any modifications of the existing system must, under the most favorable circumstances, require for their completion a period depending upon the means which can be made available for this purpose, the conclusion of Dr. Leeds as to the frequent and recurring non-potability of the Schuylkill, call for most serious consideration on the part of those upon whom is laid the responsibility of making adequate provision for the necessities of this great city.

Mr. Hering's report contains a careful resume of all publications upon the question of future supply, and gives a detailed account of the work of the surveying parties. The plan of operations was laid down after a careful preliminary examination of the subject, and from time to time fresh or modified instructions were given as the work extended. Great care was exercised in selecting the gentlemen to conduct the field work, and the results are such as to reflect high credit upon all engaged. It is believed that the greater part of the field work of the survey can be completed before the close of this year, and the entire investigation concluded at a total cost not much in excess of the expenditure made by Boston, to cover an area of very much less extent.

[PAGE 68]



The Water Department does a large amount of pumping for which it receives neither revenue nor credit, and to illustrate, in part, the extent of this, I have had tables prepared for publication with the Registrar's report, of the numerous Institutions which are supplied with water either gratis or at a reduced rate. Under the former head are included the Public Buildings, Independence Hall, the Court House, Prison, Almshouse, Police and Fire Stations, Public Schools, etc., as well as the numerous outlets by which water is supplied to the East and West Parks. Were this charged for at the regular rates the Department would be entitled, as nearly as can be computed, to an annual revenue of about $29,000. But the loss to the Department does not end here. Water of which no account is kept, and for which no charge is made, is wasted in large quantities, and it is probable that the loss of water through these buildings alone is much more than the regular rating would pay for. It would be well, also, for the Police and Fire Stations to have regular attachments to the mains, and avoid the large waste of water due to using fire plugs for washing purposes.

The Park, with its fountains and other openings, would be charged with $18,000 per annum. As a matter of fact, out of the three engines in the Belmont Station, the entire work of one is needed to keep the West Park supplied during the summer. There is a 10-inch main to the fountain, while a 20-inch main is the sole dependence of West Philadelphia. The use of water for ornamental and public purposes is recognized as legitimate and proper, but the main consideration is this:—that the Water Department, to the extent to which the other Departments draw upon it, is charged with expenditures which should legitimately be borne by them ; in other words, [PAGE 69] a misleading balance is struck, and the cost of the Water Department to the city is artificially increased, while that of other Departments is apparently diminished.

Were each Department to stand upon its own basis and discharge its own liabilities, Councils would then know with exactness the actual necessary expenditure for each, and appropriate accordingly. It would be a simple matter of bookkeeping to accomplish this, as the Water Department would present bills and have them paid, and the money would remain in the treasury as now, but the real expenditures and receipts of each Department would be shown upon the books. I believe this suggestion a useful one in the direction of simplifying and regulating the city business.

The ordinance of June 21, 1878, authorizes the Chief Engineer of the Water Department to fix the water rents of Charitable Institutions and the Academy of Natural Sciences at 15 per cent, of the regular rates, and in other cases special ordinances make similar provisions. As shown in the Registrar's table, the effect of this is a loss of revenue to the Department of not less than $19,000 per annum. In many cases the loss can only be approximately computed, as it is impossible to say what amount of water is used. The Zoological Gardens, for example, have a 6-inch connection with the main, which would use over 1,000,000 gallons per day, and the actual cost to the Department in coal and wages at the Belmont Station to pump this amount, is $13.00 per day, while the ordinance fixes the rental at $1,000 per annum.

I would not dispute the propriety of these benefactions on the part of the City, but since the burden of them is laid upon the Department, it is only proper to let it be understood what they are and what amounts they involve. [PAGE 70] Comparing the total expenditures of the Department for the period since Consolidation in 1854 with the total work as represented by the number of gallons delivered, I find that the cost of pumping and distributing 1,000 gallons is 4.78 cents. For the period 1872-1883, during which the pumpage increased while the outlay for improvements was injudiciously restricted, the cost was 4.33 cents per thousand gallons. These figures are based upon the actual outlay of the Department since 1854 for material and labor, including the cost of purchasing, constructing, repairing, and renewing pipes, reservoirs, and machinery, as necessary appliances to enable the Department to distribute the water, but do not include interest on the previous cost of plant, nor upon the $6,500,000 of Water Loans which are charged upon the books of the City Treasurer.

It is difficult to determine with exactness what has been the total cost of the plant, since some of the data relating to the old Fairmount, Spring Garden, and Kensington Works could be recovered—if at all—only by means of a prolonged investigation, but as nearly as can be ascertained the total cost is approximately $15,000,000, on which the interest at 4 per cent, would be $600,000 per annum—which, however, the City is not really called upon to pay. Computing the interest on the $6,500,000 of Water Loans at the average rate of 5 per cent, the annual charge would be $325,000, for the payment of which provision is requisite. Prorating this sum with the pumpage of last year, it is found that to the average cost of pumpage, as previously computed, viz.: 4.78 cents, there must be added 1.29 cents to cover the interest charge on loans, making the total cost to the City of delivering 1,000 gallons, 6.07 cents. [PAGE 71] It seems proper to compute the cost of pumpage in this manner, since the extension and renewal of plant is an annual necessity, and because it is quite clear that considerable expenditures must be made in the immediate future for pipes, mains, reservoirs, and other works, owing to the failure to make due provision for many years past.


In a business employing regularly from 300 to 500 people, which is not only of large extent but involves much diversity of labor with technical training and skill of many sorts, it is of the utmost importance that the methods of selection should be such as to secure capable, industrious, and faithful men in every grade.

I am not one of those who believe that City business must, by necessity, be less well managed, or that City work and expenditures must be less productive of good results, whether in point of efficiency or economy, than private business. I believe, on the contrary, that under favorable circumstances, and with proper encouragement, the wider field of operations and the greater responsibility and degree of publicity attaching thereto will operate as a wholesome stimulus, and impel a faithful employé to a more earnest discharge of duty than even the moderate wage he draws. In order, however, to realize this view in practice, it is essential that the methods of administration shall be such as to obtain and retain the services of skillful and conscientious men, who, uncontrolled by any considerations other than the advantage of the work in which they are engaged, shall be left free to develop their best energies and skill in performing the duties assigned them.

It is necessary, therefore, to exercise as careful a discrimination as possible in the original employment of men, to replace them without hesitation when found unsuited or unfaithful, [PAGE 72] and to retain and promote them if their original capabilities and the value of their services are enhanced by familiarity with and practice in their work. In particular is it essential that every man should understand that his retention and advancement depend absolutely and solely upon the necessity for and value of his services to the Department, and that no considerations foreign to its welfare and proper administration will avail, either to discharge or retain him.

I am of opinion that so far as these principles are adhered to, so far will the work of the Department be found effective, economical and advantageous to the community; and to the extent to which they are disregarded will the service lose in character, and become wasteful and unsatisfactory. When a year ago I assumed charge of this Department, in a field of labor which, though in many respects consonant with previous occupations, was entirely untried—with an organization to which I was an entire stranger and which I knew to be in several respects seriously defective, and with the assurances of a failure of the water supply during the ensuing Summer—not the least of the embarrassments surrounding the situation was that of appointments, and it soon became evident that the time given to listening to solicitations for employment would leave no opportunity for the serious and necessary technical and administrative work of the office. Rules were therefore adopted, and have since been in effect with excellent results. The applicant for employment (above the grade of laborer) submits his application in his own writing, and in accordance with printed instructions requiring statements as to his age, trade or occupation, how and by whom employed for several years past, etc.—supports it with such testimonials as to his general character and qualifications as he may be able to obtain, and bides his time. If a man of his sort be needed, selection is made from those of his class, and the one who, according to the evidence on file, is best qualified, is sent for, in most cases personally examined by the Chief Engineer, in [PAGE 73] others, by special subordinates. If the case be judged favorably, he is employed on trial; if rejected, another is sent for. This method not only saves the time both of the applicants and of the Chief Engineer, but secures applications from excellent men who would not hope or be able otherwise to submit their cases for consideration.

In other respects the principles above mentioned are followed. No man is discharged except for just cause; his employment is secure so long as he is needed and his work and conduct are satisfactory ; promotion awaits him if found qualified and the opportunity offer. The result is that the Department is in fairly good form, organized, vitalized, working harmoniously, with responsibility fixed, accountability enforced, and discipline maintained. There is still very much in this direction to be done, and another year's work will not be too much time in which to accomplish it, but the beneficial results are already manifest and will be still more evident hereafter.


It appears to me that in the preparation of communications to Councils, but one course lies open to the Head of the Department. He has not the means of ascertaining, nor is he charged with the duty of determining what may or should be the amounts actually available for the uses of his branch of the City business. This duty is imposed upon Councils, and the Department Officer has no responsibility therefor[e], beyond making the fullest exposition of the affairs and condition of the Department of which he is in charge, in order that when the questions of Tax Rate and Appropriations are to be decided, it may be in the light of actual facts of which no essential portion or feature is omitted or suppressed. His reports, therefore, are simply statements to Councils of the needs of the Department, and of the amounts which are [PAGE 74] required to meet them, and his estimates are of the sums which, were they available, could be advantageously and economically expended during the year.

With the great responsibility resting on the Councils of the City within their statutory limitations to regulate and provide for all matters relating to its welfare, it has seemed to me essential that they should be in the fullest possession of facts connected with City Affairs, in order to enable them to judge wisely as to the requisite legislation, and I have therefore endeavored, within the brief limits of this Report, to condense the essential facts relating to the condition of the Department, its needs and its relation to the Community, in order that some means may be provided of meeting its most pressing requirements and of enabling it to discharge to the City that full measure of service for which it was originally designed, and from which at the present time it falls so far short of accomplishing.


I could not properly conclude this Report without making some acknowledgement to Councils of my recognition of their uniform consideration and support during a year of arduous labor, and in particular to the members of the Water Committee, of my appreciation of their unfailing co-operation and assistance. Without these, the work of the Department would have been, to a great extent, shorn of its due effect, and the favorable results been seriously diminished. I desire also to express generally my great obligations to the employés of the Department who have worked early and late with unflagging zeal and devotion to its best interests.

 [PAGE viii]

For the year commencing the first Monday in April, 1883.

Select Council.

Common Council.

[PAGE ix]



Assistant Engineers.
John E. Codman, O. Lindroth, T. Mellon Rogers.
General Superintendent.
Chief Clerk—J. T. HICKMAN.
Assistant Clerk—L. L. Dean.
Clerk to General Superintendent—John A. Hayes.
Pipe Recording Clerks—William Whitby, Allen J. Fuller.
Pipe Inspector—Theo. S. S. Baker.
Time Clerk—William J. Innes.
Telephone Operators.
Day—Martha Whittingham.
Night—George Weikman.

Registrar's Chief Clerk—Wm. J. Halliday.
Cashier—John F. Scheldt.        Permit Clerk—-E. S. Higbee.
Registering Clerk—A. Buckheister.
Receiving Clerks—George S. Macauly, Chas. D. Birney.
General Clerks—Joseph Fisher, Chas. L. Hayden, John M. Stacker,
W. W. Widdifield, Chas. H. Russell,
Kennedy McNeal.

Chief Inspector—Thomas Orr.
Edw. D. Thomas,        Edw. M. Rowe, William Erwin, Wm. H. Hergesheimer, Wm. A. Agnew, Henry Marshall,
Lewis Obermiller, James Carr, S. D. Woodington, Jas. H. Graham, Thomas Shaffer, James Cameron, John Simon.

[PAGE x]

Superintendent of Shop—JAMES F. NEALL.
Clerk to Superintendent of Shop—Chas. K. Adams.

First District, John H. Holmes, Office, llth and Wharton streets.
Second District, David A. Craig, Office, 918 Cherry street.
Third District, Chas. J. Lowry, Office, 1420 Frankford avenue.
Fourth District, John Montgomery, Office, Corinthian ave. and Poplar st.
Fifth District, Henry Dawson, Office, Lyceum Building, Roxborough.
Sixth District, David B. Morrell, Office, Town Hall, Germantown.

Purveyors' Clerks.
Samuel Moore, George B Bunn, Henry K. Wildey, Arthur B. Cook, Charles H. Fletcher.

General Foremen.
First District, James Humes. Second District, Michael Young. Third District, Daniel Ahern.
Fourth District, George W. Showaker. Fifth District, Charles Franks. Sixth District, George W. Jones.

Foremen of Repairs.
First District, W. Wellington. Second District, Joseph Bryan.
Third District, Wm. Magee., Fourth District, James Hutchinson.

Engineers at Pumping Stations.
FAIRMOUNT—First Engineer, Joseph Moyer.
Second Engineer, Robert K. Matlack.
SPRING GARDEN—Engineer in Charge, A. C. Bonsall.
Assistant Engineers, David Pyke, Wm. Wakefield.
BELMONT—Engineer in Charge, Christian Bezold.
Assistant Engineers, Abram Stott, John E. Smith.
ROXBOROUGH—Engineer in Charge, William H. Smith.
Assistant Engineers, Lewis Gulp, Joshua Bartley.
MOUNT AIRY—Engineer, Archibald Weir.
CHESTNUT HILL—Engineer, James McClennahan.
FRANKFORD—Engineer, Charles Douglass.
KENSINGTON—First Engineer, D. B. Perkinpine. Second Engineer, William Kiner.

Foreman Carpenter—Henry Guest.
Foreman Bricklayer—Frank A. Mooney.
Foreman Stone Mason—Crawford Lukens.
Foreman Rigger—James Forrest.

for material not included on this Web page.
The entire 1883 Annual Report can be viewed at several Philadelphia-area archives and libraries.

Report by the Chief Clerk.75-93
Letter of transmittal.75
Detailed expenditures of the Department.76-93
PUMPAGE DIAGRAM, showing pumpage at each station during every day in the year, height of water on Fairmount Dam, noonday temperature, daily rainfall, etc. 
REPORT BY THE GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT of the operations in connection with the Stations, Buildings, Grounds, and Reservoirs.95-125
Letter of transmittal.95-96
Fairmount Station.97-99
Buildings and Grounds.97-98
Table showing operations of the Fairmount Turbines. Table showing pumpage, etc., at Fairmount Station. 
Spring Garden Station.99-107
Buildings and Grounds.99-100
Table showing pumpage, etc., at Spring Garden Station. 
Belmont Station.107-112
Buildings and Grounds.107-108
Electric Lights. 111
Comparison of the evaporative power of pea, egg, and soft coal, (table). 
Table showing pumpage, etc., at Belmont Station. 
Roxborough Station.112-114
Buildings and Grounds.112-113
Tables showing pumpage, etc., at Roxborough and Roxborough Auxiliary Stations. 
Roxborough Auxiliary Station.114-115
Buildings and Grounds.114
Mt. Airy Station.115-116
Buildings and Grounds.115
Tables showing pumpage, etc., at Mt. Airy and Chestnut Hill Stations. 
Chestnut Hill Station. Buildings and Grounds-Machinery-Boilers.117
Frankford Station.118-119
Buildings and Grounds.118
Table showing pumpage, etc., at Frankford Station. 
Kensington Station.119-121
Buildings and Grounds.119-120
Table showing pumpage, etc., at Kensington Station. 
Fairmount-Spring Garden-Corinthian.122
Belmont-Roxborough-Mt. Airy-Wentz Farm.123
Table of reservoirs, showing capacity, etc.124
Table showing greatest and least pumpage in one day during 1883.125
Table showing total gallons pumped during 1883. 
Table showing running expenses for all the stations for 1883. 
Report by the Registrar of the receipts of the Department during 1883; also, of the Results of the re-inspection of the City, and Schedules of charges against the Public Buildings, Schools, Charitable Institutions, etc., at the regular rates.127-157
Letter of transmittal.127-128
Table of total receipts of the Water Department for the year 1883.129
Table of receipts through the Chief Engineer's office for the year 1883.130-131
Comparative statement of receipts for the years 1882 and 1883. 
List of dwellings, factories, horse-power, etc., charged on Registers for 1883 (table) 
Permits issued during the year 1883, (table.) 
Statement showing the general results of the re-inspection of the city, 1883 133
Schedule of charges against Public Buildings, at the regular rates. 
Schedule of charges against Fairmount Park, at the regular rates.135-136
Schedule of charges against Police Station Houses, at the regular rates. 137-138
Schedule of charges against Fire Stations, at the regular rates.139
Schedule of charges against the Public Schools, at the regular rates.140-149
List of Charitable Institutions which are charged 15 per cent, of the regular rates.150-157
Report on the operations in connection with the Distribution System of the Department during 1883, by John L. Ogden, Assistant Engineer in charge.159-197
The Distribution System.159-160
Water Pipes. 160 Fire Hydrants.160-162
Gate Valves-Drills.162
 Detection of Waste.163-164
General summary of meter operations during 1883 Complaints.165-166
Table showing repairs to Plugs, Stops and Mains, and Plugs and Stops taken out during 1883 
Table showing account of new Stops and Plugs for 1883.170
Statement of the number of Fire plugs by Districts and Wards during 1883, and total previous thereto Table of Fire Hydrants, by Wards.171
Table of Fire Hydrants, by Purveyor's Districts.172
Table showing number of Valves raised in the different Districts during the year 1883; also, in each year since 1874.173
Drills and Shut-offs during 1883, by Wards and Districts. 174
Drills and Shut-offs during 1883, by Months. 175
Iron Service and Supply Mains laid in 1883.176-197
First District.176-177
Recapitulation of First District. 178
Second District.179-181
Recapitulation of Second District.182
Third District.183-185
Recapitulation of Third District.186
Fourth District.187-190
Recapitulation of Fourth District.191
Germantown District.192-193
Recapitulation of Germantown District.194
Manayunk District.195-196
Recapitulation of Manayunk District.197
Tables-General recapitulation of work on the water pipes; and recapitulation by districts. 
LIST OF STREETS UPON WHICH THE LAYING OF PIPE HAS BEEN DIRECTED by ordinances not yet complied with.198-208
First District.198-199
Second District.200-201
Third District. 202-204
Fourth District.205-206
Germantown District.207
Manayunk District.208
Report on the Operations of the Shop During 1883.209-217
REPORT ON THE SURVEYS FOR THE PROPOSED CAMBRIA RESERVOIR, and the enlargement of the Mt. Airy Reservoir, by Chas. G. Darrach, Assistant Engineer. 219-29
Statement of Expenditures, Cost of Surveys, Plans, Calculations, etc., for Cambria Reservoir.220
The Survey.221
Maps, Sections, and Plans.221-222
General description of Cambria Reservoir.222-224
The construction of the Reservoir.224
Estimates of material and costs.224-225
The enlargement of the Mt. Airy Reservoir.226-228
Cost of Surveys, Plans, etc.226
Estimated cost of extension.228
Table of Reservoirs, showing date of construction, cost, etc. 229
Preliminary Report Of A Chemical Investigation into the present and proposed Future Water Supply of Philadelphia, by Albert R. Leeds, PhD.231-262
Collection of samples.233-237
Methods of Analysis. 237-239
Interpretation of data. 240-251
Analyses of Philadelphia Water Supply, according to dates (table), facing.240
Critical examination of analytical results. 252-260
Analyses of Philadelphia Water Supply, according to localities, (table), facing252
Analytical chart-graphical representation of analyses, between. 254-255
Sanitary considerations 260-261
Table showing deaths from all causes, etc., in Philadelphia, 1872-1883. 261
Table showing Water Supply of Philadelphia, by Wards, and Death rate from Typhoid Fever. 
Surveys For Future Supply. Report of Progress during 1883, by Rudolph Hering, C. E., Assistant in Charge.263-311
Schemes for Supply by gravity.273-275
Schemes for Supply by gravity, supplemented by pumping.275-276
Supplies entirely by pumping.276
Topographical work.277-286
Hydrographic work.286-300
Table showing precipitation-in inches and hundredths-1883, facing.288
Sanitary survey of the Schuylkill valley.300-303
Geological survey.303-307
Collection of samples.307
Office work.308
The Distribution Of Valuable Property at risk from Defective Water Supply within the limits of the old city, or between Vine and South streets. Information furnished by Mr. Lorin Blodget, 1329 South Broad street, Philadelphia. 313-316
ESTIMATES, PHILADELPHIA WATER DEPARTMENT, 1884, presented by the Chief Engineer to the City Controller, August 24, 1883. 317-323
SCHEDULE FURNISHED TO THE WATER COMMITTEE, September 27, 1883, showing the amount of street mains less than six inches in diameter within the city limits, and dates of laying. 324-327
FINAL REPORT OF THE BOARD OF EXPERTS, dated April, 1883.329-341
REPORT OF A. R. LEEDS, PH. D., to the Board of Experts. 343-372
Analytical Chart--graphical representation of analyses, facing.369


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