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INVESTIGATION OF PUBLIC WATER SUPPLIES
It is obvious that no branch of the work of the Engineering Division is of greater moment in the protection of public health than the work of investigating and supervising the sanitary quality of public water supplies. Following the policy carried out during recent years special attention has been given to this work in 1917. Five hundred out of a total of 530 public water supplies in the State have now been fully investigated.
Although the number of supplies investigated for the first time was only 30 in 1917, the prosecution of the water supply investigation work involved reinspection of supplies previously inspected and the total number of supplies covered was 130.
As in the past, these investigations have involved in the majority of cases, careful field inspection and collection of samples of water for analysis and the preparation of reports embodying the results of such investigations together with conclusions and recommendations for improvements. In each case these reports have been transmitted to the local authorities and in many instances marked improvements have been brought about as a result of these investigations and reports.
ADDISON W'ATER C'e., Iddison, Sieuben County, 3. Y.;
GENTLEMEN.-In regard to the use of water from a well as an auxiliary to the water supply furnished by you to the village of Addison, I wish to advise you as follows:
According to an inspection by Mr. Baker, assistant engineer in this Department, the well that it is proposed to use is one that was formerly used in connection with the supply and located near an old mill about 40 feet from the Canisteo river. The well is dug to a depth of about 23 feet, is curbed with masonry and provided with a steel manhole leading to the surface. The strata consist of clay and mill refuse to a depth of 18 or 20 feet. Below this is a layer of sand and gravel which extends nearly to the bottom of the curbing. The curb, however, terminates in a stratum of clay which forms the bottom of the dug portion of the well. In the bottom of the well several pipes are driven through this clay stratum for à distance of about 7 feet into a water bearing sand stratum. Another group of pipes is driven to a depth of about 14 feet through the sand stratum mentioned above and through a blue silt stratum into a second water-bearing stratum of sand and gravel and still a third group of wells is driven to a depth of about 20 feet through the strata mentioned above and through another clay stratum into a third water bearing sand stratum. It is assumed that the majority of the supply of the wells comes from these pipes and that little water enters through the curb from the upper water-bearing stratum. The water in the well stood at an elevation of about 8 or 10 feet from the surface and higher than the elevation of the water in the river at the time of the inspection. The sanitary condition in the vicinity of this well is very unsatisfactory. There is only one privy located at a distance of about 45 feet and another about 100 feet distant. There are also 5 or 6 privies located between 100 and 500 feet from the well in addition to which there are three cesspools in this vicinity. The privies are all provided with earthen vaults only and the cesspools are not watertight. It is thus apparent that the ground water in this vicinity receives considerable pollution from these insanitary conditions and it seems quite probable that this pollution must at times find its way into the well either by seepage through the well curb or the clay strata which may not in all cases be continuous or which if continuous are undoubtedly penetrated by the pipes of numerous private houses located in the vicinity.
You will doubtless recall that in our report made under date of December !!!, 1916, we made the following recommendations:
1. That steps be taken immediately by the Water Company to remove the source of pollution on the watershed of Jennings brook particularly at the house above the reservoir, and in case there is any difficulty in accomplishing this satisfactorily the water company should apply to this Department for the enactment of rules and regulations to properly protect the watershed.
2. That the present well supply be abandoned and if necessary a new supply be obtained, adequate in quantity and satisfactory in quality. This second recommendation advises discontinuing the use of wells similarly located to that one described above and that pollution finds its way into this well is indicated by the results of an analysis of a sample of the water collected and sent to the Division of Laboratories and Research by Dr. W. E. Barron, Health Officer. These results show a bacterial count of 20,000 and colon bacilli present in all of the 10 с.C., 1 c.c. and 1/10 c.c. dilutions thus indicating the presence of active and potentially dangerous contamination.
In view of the above I would not consider water from this well supply safe for potable purposes. If, however, an emergency should arise making it necessary to use the water from this source or from the other wells in connection with the supply the insanitary conditions in the vicinity of the well should be abated and apparatus should be provided and the water sterilized with liquid chlorine.
So far as we have been able to determine you have taken no action on recommendation No. 1 of our previous report regarding improving the sanitary condition upon the watershed tributary to the regular supply. This is a matter of prime importance and I trust that you will give it your careful consideration.
Assuring you of our cooperation in the securing of a pure and wholesome water supply for the village of Addison, I am,
Yours very truly,
Chief Engineer ALBANY, N. Y., September 22, 1917
Late in the year of 1917 investigations were made in the matter of the operation of the water purification plant of the city of Albany. As a result of these investigations, it was recommended that alum be used at all times in the purification process and compliance on the part of the city authorities with this recommendation was secured.
HERMANN M. BIGGS, M.D., State Commissioner of Health:
I beg to submit the following report on the public water supply of the village of Alfred, Allegany county. An investigation of this supply was made on December 5, 1916, by Mr. M. F. Sanborn, assistant engineer, who was assisted at the time of the inspection by Mr. George Jacox, commissioner of streets, and Dr. Emerson W. Ayars, health officer of the village.
Alfred is an incorporated village in the eastern part of Allegany county and about 10 miles southwest of Hornell. It is on a branch of the Canisteo river and is about 2 miles from Alfred station on the Erie railroad. The permanent population was estimated to be about 800. In addition to this there are for about 9 months of the year 350 students at Alfred University which is located in the village.
A private sewer serves the college and a few of the houses and the sewage after passing through a small settling tank is discharged into the creek. The remaining population of the village is served largely by septic tanks, cesspools and privies.
The water supply is owned by the village and is under the control of the board of trustees of which Mr. W. F. Burdick is president. The waterworks were constructed in 1902 under the supervision of the village officials.
The supply is obtained from several springs and drilled wells located about 2 miles west of the village. Another drilled well in the southwestern part of the village has not as yet been used. Water from the springs flows by gravity to a receiving basin while water from the drilled wells near the springs is pumped and delivered to the same receiving basin whence all of the water flows by gravity through the mains to the village and reservoir which is located in the southwestern part of the village. About 75 per cent of the permanent population and all of the buildings at the school are served by this water supply, making a population served of from 600 to 950. The average daily consumption was estimated to vary from 60,000 to 95,000 gallons. There are about 4 miles of water mains varying from four inches to 8 inches in diameter and about 175 service taps of which about one-fourth are metered.
The average pressure in the village is about 90 pounds per square inch. Hydrants are placed in various parts of the village for fire protection.
The springs are developed by the construction of receiving chambers and lines of drainage tile extending from these chambers to intercept the ground water flow. The wells are located about 200 feet from the springs and are 6 inches in diameter and about 180 feet deep. About two-thirds of this depth was drilled through rock.
The water from the wells is pumped by oil pumping machinery, there being a complete outfit at each of the two wells operated by gasoline engines. The drilled well located near the village is 8 inches in diameter and 300 feet deep and all but 20 feet was drilled through rock. Water from this well is pumped by an air lift, the compressed air being furnished by a 10-horse power gasoline engine and a Type 12 Ingersoll Rand air compressor.
The reservoir is located on the side of the hill in the southwestern portion of the village and is constructed of concrete with a frame roof. This reservoir is about 50 feet square and 14 feet deep and has a capacity of 262,500 gallons which is equivalent to about three days' supply. The street mains are usually flushed out about twice a year.
Cattle occasionally pasture on the area surrounding the springs and pollution of animal origin can readily reach the ground water tributary to the springs. With this exception, and that of cultivated fields there is no other source of possible pollution near the springs.
At the time of the inspection a sample of the water was collected from a tap in the village and the analysis of this sample together with those made previously by the Division of Laboratories and Research will be found in the appended table.
From the results of these analyses, it will be seen that the water is usually clear and free from turbidity although occasionally it has a small amount of color. The water is quite hard and the figures for nitrogen in its various forms are usually low although occasionally those for nitrogen in the form of free ammonia, albuminoid ammonia and nitrates are high. These occasionally high figures together with the occasionally high chlorine indicate organic pollution of the ground water tributary to the springs. The total bacterial counts are at times very high and organisms of the B. coli group are frequently found. The results of the recent analyses, however, show an improvement over those previously obtained.
As a result of this investigation and of the analyses the following conclusion may be drawn:
That the present water supply if properly protected from surface wash from pastures and cultivated land in the vicinity of the springs should give a water of satisfactory sanitary quality.
In view of the above conclusions I would make the following recommendations:
That the village authorities construct an improved wire fence around the area surrounding the springs and this area be protected from surface wash by suitable and adequate drainage ditches.
I would further recommend that copies of this report be transmitted to the local authorities and to the sanitary supervisor of the district.
Chief Engineer ALBANY, N. Y., March 28, 1917
1/21/12 2/22/12 3/21/12 3/21/12 3/21/12 3/21/12 4/13/12 Color.
cl. Solids, total.
211 Loss on ignition. Mineral residue...
186 Ammonia, free. .022 .016 .190 .078
.004 Ammonia, albuminoid. .032 028 .018 .024 .058 .014
.006 Nitrites. .001 .001 .001 .001
0.48 0.40 0.02 0.08 0.70 0.34 0.26 Oxygen consumed. 0.60 0.30 0.20 0.10 0.90 0.20
0.75 1.25 0.25 5.50 1.00 1.50 0.63
171.4 151.4 188.6 221.5 120.0 171.4 Hardness, total...
158.0 149.0 186.0 210.0 104.0 163.0 175.0 Bacteria per c.c.
700 10 c.c.
+ B. coli type..
Results are expressed in parts per million. + Present. Absent.
Abbreviations used to describe odors of water: 0, none; 1, very faint; 2, faint; 3, distinct; 4, decided; 5, strong; 6, very strong; a, aromatic; d, disagreeable; e, earthy; f, fishy; g, grasssy; m, musty; v, vegetable.
Results are expressed in parts per million. + Present. Absent.
Abbreviations used to describe odors of water: 0, none; 1, very faint; 2, faint; 3, distinct; 4, decided; 5, strong; 6, very strong; a, aromatic; d, disagreeable; e, earthy; f, fishy; g, grassy; m, musty; v, vegetable.
HERMANN M. BIGGS, M.D., State Commissioner of Health:
I beg to submit the following report on an investigation of the sanitary condition of the public water supply of Altamont, made by Mr. C. M. Baker, assistant engineer, on December 4, 1917.
Location.— Albany county on D. & H. R. R., 18 miles west of Albany.
Consumption.-- No definite information, but based on 100 gallons per capita consumption would be 80,000 gallons daily.
Distribution system.- Gravity supply. Distribution system consists of 5 miles of main 4 inches to 8 inches in diameter. Service taps. — 153, only 8 of which are metered. Pressure. - 60 pounds per square inch. Storage.— Impounding reservoir 17,000,000 gallons. Purification.- None.
References to previous investigations.- 1911, page 706, 32d annual report; rules and regulations, 1911, page 678, 32d annual report.
Due to the possibility of pollution of the supply from certain buildings on the watershed the following recommendations were made at the time of the previous investigation:
1. That the village take immediate steps to correct the insanitary conditions at the buildings just above the upper reservoir.
2. That the practice of cutting and harvesting ice from the upper reservoir be stopped.
3. That careful and regular sanitary patrol be made of the watershed whence this supply is derived.
4. That the village of Altamont apply to this Department for the enactment, by the Commissioner of Health, and as provided for in sections 70, 71 and 73 of the Consolidated Laws (Public Health Law), of rules and regulations for the protection of the water supply of the village.