Boston (Mass.). Water Board.

Annual report of the Boston Water Board, for the year ending .. (Volume 1893) online

. (page 1 of 16)
Online LibraryBoston (Mass.). Water BoardAnnual report of the Boston Water Board, for the year ending .. (Volume 1893) → online text (page 1 of 16)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


3 9999 06660 962 7

'M.-'<f>.^>- 'X'T^M-,

^rs> s'^

G-ivEN By






Digitized by the Internet Archive

in 2010 with funding from

Boston Public Library







^^. o

t 1

/k . C^ir

OrriGE OF THE Boston Water Board,

City Hall, Boston, February 1, 1894.

Hon. Nathan Matthews, Jr.,

Mayor of the City of Boston :

Sir : The Boston Water Board, in charge of the Water-
Supply Department, herewith submit their annual report
for the financial year ending January 31, 1894.

The disbursements by the department for the year were
as follows :

Money expenditures, Cochituate Water-
Works (see page 20) . . . . $895,652 19

Money expenditures. Mystic Water-Works

(see page 21) 149,678 79

$1,045,330 98
Less increase in stock during year (see

page 22) 16,492 61

$1,028,838 37

Current expenses, Cochituate

Water-Works . . . $393,154 00
Current expenses, Mystic

Water-Works . . . 151,579 90

Extension of mains, etc. . . 256,193 57

Additional supply of water . 190,655 62

High service .... 37,255 28

$1,028,838 37

City Document No. 39.


The total receipts of the Cochituate Water- Works, from
all sources, for the year ending January 31, 1894, were as
follows, viz. :

Balance of revenue from 1892-93 $15,820 46

Income from sales of water . . . $1,637,531 94
Income from shutting off and letting on

water, and fees 3,088 44

Elevator, fire and service pipes, sale of

old materials, etc. .... 36,917 60

1,677,537 98

$1,693,358 44

The total expenditures of the Cochituate
Water-Works from revenue, for the year end-
ing January 31, 1894, were as follows, viz. :

Current expenses, viz. :

Water-Supply Department . $393,154 00
Less stock used purchased in

previous years . . . 10,224 68

$382,929 32
Water-Income Department . 60,478 86

$433,408 18

Interest on funded debt .... 826,077 88

Sinking-fund requirement, 1892-93 . . 229,520 00

Refunded water-rates .... 1,479 18

Extension of mains, etc 132,925 93

Balance to Cochituate Water Sinking-

Fund 69,947 27

$1,693,358 44

The total receipts of the Mystic Water- Works from all
sources, for the year ending January 31, 1894, were as
follows, viz. :

Income from sales of water , . . $421,574 18
Income from shutting off and letting on

water, and fees 984 40

Sei"vice-pipes, repairs, etc. . . . 1,204 02
Sale of portion of Mystic sewer to State

of Massachusetts . . . . 52,637 00

$476,399 60

Water-Supply Department.

The total expenditures of the M_ystic Water-
Works from revenue, for the year ending
January 31, 1894, were as follows, viz. :

Current expenses, viz. :
Water-Supply Department . . , $151,579 90
Less stock used, paid for in previous

years 1,901 11

$U9,678 79
Water-Income Department . . . 10,965 18

$160,643 97

Interest on funded debt .... 18,70759

Refunded water-rates . . . . 151 42
Amount paid Chelsea, Somerville, and

Everett, under contracts . . . 144,101 35
Extension of mains, etc., Cochituate De-
partment ...... 152,795 27

$476,399 60

For further details of the expenditures, the condition of
the water debts, and the outstanding loans, we refer to the
tables appended.


The daily average consumption during the past year wns
47,453,200 gallons on the Cochituate and Sudbury, and
10,742,500 gallons on the Mystic, or 58,195,700 gallons on
the combined supplies, being an increase of 13.8 per cent,
over the previous year. The consumption per capita was
102.4 gallons, being larger than any year since the works
were built.

Although the rainfall was al)ove the average (A' the last
twenty years, it was so unequally distributed that the amount
of water stored was reduced to the smallest quantity since
the Sudl)ury works have been in use.

In the month of October the water had fallen to such an
extent that it was deemed advisable to procure pumps and
put them in readiness for pumping water into the conduit at
Lake Cochituate. Notices were issued to the wsiter-takers
through the newspapers to economize in the use of water,
and all possible means were taken to prevent waste. For-
tunately, however, the drought was broken by the late fall
rains, and pumping was not resorted to on the Cochituate
supply. The pumps on the Mystic supply were put in con-
dition, and water was pumped from the Mystic lake into the

4 City Document No. 39.

conduit from October 19th until November 4th, at which
time the water had risen to such a point that further use of
the pumps was unnecessary. On October 23d the water in
Mystic lake reached its lowest point, 8.90 feet below high
water, which was within 1.27 feet of the lowest point ever
reached. After November 4th the water rose steadily, and
on January 19th it a^ain wasted over the dam.


The work of extending mains has been somewhat less than
for the previous year, for the reason that we were obliged
to curtail in the expenditures, and only such work as was
absolutely necessary was done. Some two miles less of
main pipe was laid than during the previous year.

The total number of miles of pipe now connected with the
Cochituate works is 560.06. Payment was made to the Park
Department for the Jamaica pond aqueduct pipe system,
consisting of about ten miles of pipe, amounting to
$75,199.70, which amount, together with $29,527.63 for
stock purchased but not used, deducted from the total amount
expended, leaves $180,993.87 for the actual cost of ex-
tensions during the year, being about $40,000 less than for
the previous year.

The whole cost of extension of mains during the year has
been paid from the surplus revenue.

We are required to expend quite a large amount of money
each year for extensions of pipe in advance of its actual need
in new streets which are continually being laid out under
the provisions of chapter 323, sections 10 and 12, of the Acts
of 1891 ; but on all petitions for extensions we require a
guarantee of 5 per cent, for five years on the cost. Owing
to the changing and extensions of Commonwealth avenue
the large mains were raised, relaid, and extended during
the winter, thereby enabling us to keep quite a large for(;e
of men emploj^ed that otherwise would have had to be

The abolishment of the grade crossing at the Old Colony
Railroad at Dover street has necessitated a large amount of
work in order to protect the pipes crossing Dover-street
bridge and in changing the line to conform to the new grade.
This work is not yet completed.

We have in contemplation other important work, such as
the laying of a second force main (36 inches) from the
Chestnut Hill to the Fisher Hill reservoir, a new main to
South Boston via Swett street, and the changing and en-

Water-Supply Department. 5

larffinof of the main from Charlestown to Chelsea to conform
to the changes on account of the abolishment ot the grade
crossino; of the Boston & Maine Railroad.


The submerged pipes supplying water to the several
islands in Boston harbor are a constant source of trouble and
annoyance to this department, and great expense is incuiTcd
each year in keeping them in repair. Their liability to
freeze in exposed places at low tide, as well as the disturbance
caused by the strong currents in the channels, make it impos-
sible to ensure an unfailing su{)ply of water to the islands,
and we deem it most essential that storage reservoirs be con-
structed on all the islands, of sufficient capacity to supply
their needs, both for domestic and tire purposes, in cases of

The cost of extensions and repairs of the water-works sys-
tem from Neponset to Moon, Thompson's, Long, Rainsford,
and Gallop's islands to February 1, 1894, is as follows:

Siphon across Neponset river
Main from Neponset to end of Moon island,
Lillie V. Titus, right of way in Squantum,
Flexible pipe between Moon and Long
islands .......

Main from Long island shore to almshouse.
Extension to Rainsford island
Extension to Gallop's island
Extension to Thompson's island
Extension of high service to entire system .

























Repairs on the entire line .

Total cost to February 1, 1894

In addition to the above the Board of Health expended
some $1,300 for a temporary pipe between Long and Gal-
lop's islands.

The Board have requested the Engineer to devise and
report some plan, if possible, whereby the harbor system can
be maintained without such extraordinary expense. Previous
to September, 1893, the harbor system was supplied from the
low service, but on the 12th of that month the Board ordered
the high service to be connected.

6 City Document No. 39.

During the past year the supply has been extended to
Fort Warren, the pipe to that point being laid by the
United States Government.


Owing to the many petitions received by the Board for
connections with the high service to supply automatic sprink-
lers and fire pipes now so generally in use througliout the
business district of the city, the Board, after several confer-
ences with the Board of Fire Underwriters, and many of the
merchants and owners of buildings, have practically decided
to equip the business district with a duplicate set of pipes to
be connected with the high service, and be used exclusively
for fire protection in supplying water for fire pipes, automatic
sprinklers, and roof hydrants, the regular street hydrants
to be retained on the low service, so that in case of a large
conflagration, if the fire pipes entering the buildings become
broken by falling walls or otherwise, thereby greatly reduc-
ing the head of water, the supply for the fire-engines from
the street hydrants would not be impaired.

In order to determine as to the necessity for larger mains
in the streets, the Board have established recording gauijes in
a number of the fire-engine houses in the various districts of
the city for the purpose of keeping a continuous record of
pressures at different points, arrangements having been made
with the Board of Fire Commissioners to have the gauges
properly looked after by their men.


The new 20,000,000 gallons per day high-service pump-
ing-engine contracted for with N. F. Palmer, Jr., & Co., of
New York, for the Chestnut Hill Pumping-Station is now
built and set up in the shops of the Quintard Iron Works.
It will be taken down and brought to this city immediately,
and we hope to have it in operation by July 1st. When
fully completed, it is safe to say that this will be the best
pumping-engine in the United States.

In connection with this engine and pump a steel boiler of
the Belpaire Fire-Box pattern is now in process of construc-
tion at the Atlantic Works, East Boston. The boiler will
pi-obably be in [)osition by June 1st. All of this machinery
is being made from plans and specifications })repared by
JVIr. E. D. Leavitt, with every improvement that science has

Water-Supplt Department. 7

The saving in coal with this plant will be at least 33^ per


The work on this Basin has been carried on vigorously
during the year, and it is now practically completed and
gradually being filled with water, the gates having been
closed early in January.

Considerable work yet remains to be done, however, to
put the basin in a finished condition, but the Board hope to
be able to complete the work thoroughly with the balance
of the appropriation on hand.

The total cost of this basin, including the dam, to Febru-
ary 1st, is $866,575.65. Its capacity is about the same as
that of Basin No. 4, ~ 1,400,000,000 gallons. This will
add 4,500,000 gallons to the daily capacity of the supply.


Preparations were made in the year 1892 for the trial of
these cases, which finally took place early in 1893 before
a commission appointed by the Superior Court, consisting
of Messrs. Chas. H. Allen, Frederic T. Greenhalge, and
Sigourney Butler. These cases were actions for damages
brought by the Dwight Printing Company, represented by
Eben D. Jordan, owning a two-thirds interest in Whitehall
pond, and the Wood Brothers and Newhall, owning the other
one-third. The questions involved were of an intricate char-
acter, and the greater part of the year passed before the
commissioners made their award. Several experts were
emploj^ed to represent the interests of the city. The cases
still remain unsettled at the date of this report.


By an order of the City Council approved April 26, 1893,
the further sum of $2,500,000 was appropriated to extend
and perfect the water-supply in accordance with the order of
November 13, 1889, and all other statutes, ordinances, and
orders relating to the acquisition of land and construction of
basins and reservoirs upon the Sudbury river water-shed,
and on May 16th the Engineer was requested to prepare
plans and specifications for the construction of a new dam
for Basin No. 5 on Stony brook in the town of Southbor-
ough and the city of Marlborough.

As the construction of this basin necessitated the chano-ino:
of certain roads in Southborough, numerous conferences
have been held with the County Commissioners of Worces-
ter County, and also with a Committee of Citizens from

8 City Document No. 39.

Southborough, with whom arrangements have practically
been made. On July 10th the Board requested the Law
Department to prepare the papers necessary to enable the
city to take the lands required for this basin, but owing to
some changes in the plans the taking has been delayed. A
contract for building the dam was awarded to Moulton &
O'Mahoney on July 25th, and the work will be commenced
as soon as the taking of lands is made. When completed
this basin will be the largest of the series, and will have a
capacity of 7,438,000,000 gallons and will cover about 1,500
acres, adding at least 12,000,000 gallons to the daily supply
in the driest year.


The following table shows the area in acres and storage
capacity of each of the basins already constructed on the
Sudbury supply, also the cost of each basin :

H. W.

Not Flowed.

Total Area

Storage in
Million Gals.

Daily Supply
to Capacity.

Million Gals.

Basin 1






" 2






" 3






" 4






" 6














* ((



$144,929 15
152,982 51
194,950 13
521,998 45
512,636 48


^4,455 20
147,957 82
183,939 98
265,617 93
327,062 58

Land Damages.

$67,759 46

165,013 78

40,512 61

26,330 00

26,876 59

Total Cost.

#257,143 81
465,954 11
419,402 72
813,846 38
866,575 <o

* Construction account not yet closed.

Water-Supply Department. 9


In the last two reports attention has been called to the
subject of a future supply for Boston. From the best data
now at hand the entire development of the Sudbury supply
will only be sufficient to supply Boston for about eight
years. The growth of the city is keeping abreast of this
development, indeed during the latter part of the fall and
early winter the basins were lower than ever, and much
anxiety was felt by the Board lest they should be compelled
to curtail in the use of water. The Legislature of 1892 ap-
propriated a sum of money for the State Board of Health to
make some studies looking to a supply sufficient to provide
for Boston and surrounding cities and towns, or in other
words a Metropolitan system, and with this end in view the
State Board have been making soundings and collecting data
on the Nashua river above Clinton, and there is no doubt
that if this source of supply should be adopted a sufficient
quantity of good water could be procured to supply all the
communities within a radius of ten miles of the State House
for many years to come. This water could pass through the
new basin No. 5, which is about to be constructed.


The Mystic works have received the usual care and atten-
tion during the year and are generally in good condition.

Early in the year a committee from the town of Winches-
ter presented to the Board a proposition and plan to take a
tract of about twenty acres of land located in the central part
of that town to remove the nuisance therefrom and dedicate
it to the public for a park. The f>lan contemplates the re-
moval of an old tannery which has for years endangered the
purity of the water-supply. After an examination of the
plans, and consideration of the advantages which the city
would derive from the scheme as an improvement to the
Mystic supply, the Board requested the Engineer to investi-
gate and report the approximate cost of the land along the
Abajona river included in the scheme which it would be
desirable for the city to take for the protection of its water-
supply. Numerous conferences were held with the com-
mittee, but up to the closing of this report nothing has been
done on the part of the city towards acquiring any of the

By request of the authorities of Medford a connection of
their system with the Mystic works has been made at
Boston avenue near the reservoir, for use only in cases of

10 City Document No. 39.

On July 12, 1893, the Board engaged Mr. E. D. Leavitt,
Mechanical Engineer, to furnish a design and specifications
for a 10,000,000-gallon per diem pumping-engine for the
Mystic Station, and on December 26, 1893, the contract for
buildins: and erecting the eno;ine was awarded to the Georo;e
F. Blake Manufacturing Company, for $38,950, — the work
to be completed within nine months from the date of execu-
tion of the contract.

On July 14, 1893, the Metropolitan Sewerage Commis-
sioners in behalf of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts took,
by right of eminent domain, a portion of the Mystic sewer
in Woburn, in connection with the North Metropolitan
sewer system, for which the State paid to the city of Bos-
ton the sum of $52,637.

The Cochituate high service was turned on to supply the
residents on the top of Bunker Hill, on June 26, the Mystic
supply being inadequate to furnish an ample supply at that

During the month of November, the water in Mystic lake
being extremely low, it was considered a favorable time to
improve the shallow portion at the upper end of the lake,
and a large temporary force was employed until the rise in
the water necessitated the suspension of the work, some
14,000 cubic yards of soil being removed.


In 1892 the attention of the Board was drawn to the fact
that the lead service-pipes in the immediate vicinity of the
power-station of the West End Railroad Company were being-
destroyed from some cause, and from the best information
which we could obtain it seemed probable that the destruc-
tive action was due to the underground currents of elec-

The subject was at once placed in the hands of the City
Engineer for investigation, and the detailed results of the
partial study which has been made under his direction by
Messrs. Stone and Webster will be found in the City
Engineer's report.

Many other cities throughout the country are experiencing
the same difficulty, and as it is a subject of great importance
w^e propose to continue the investigation with the purpose of
finding the best means of preventing the corrosion wdiich,
although slow in its action, is nevertheless sure in time to
cause serious trouble to our pipe system.

Water-Supply Department. 11


The following act relating to the taxation of property held
for purposes of a water-supply was passed by the Legislature
in 1«93 :

An Act relating to property held for the purpose of a water


Be it enacted etc., as follows :

Section 1. Any city or town holding property, taken by purchase
or otherwise, for the purposes of its water supply, whether for domestic,
manufacturing, or other purposes, in another city or town, shall not pay
any tax on such property, but shall hereafter in the month of September
annually pay to such other city or town for each lot of land held therein
for said purposes, an amount of money equal to the rate of taxation per
thousand dollars in such other city or town, for every one thousand dol-
lars of the average of the assessed valuations of the land, without build-
ings or other structures, for the three years next preceding the taking
tliereof, the said assessed valuation for each year being first reduced by
the amount of all abatements allowed thereon : provided, hotvever, that
any land or building from which any revenue in the nature of rent is
received from any person occupying or using the same shall be subject
to taxation.

Sect. 2. The assessors of any city or town in which land is held for
the aforesaid pui'poses on the day of the passage of this act shall, with-
in one year after such passage, determine the aforesaid average valua-
tion of such land and certify the same to the mayor of the city or the
selectmen of the town holding the same ; and the assessors of any city
or town in which any land is hereafter taken for the aforesaid purposes
shall, within one year after such taking, determine and certify as afore-
said the said average valuation of the land so taken. In determining
said average valuation the aforesaid assessed valuation for each lot of
such land shall be taken to be the proportional part of the assessed val-
uation of the estate of which such lot formed a part, which the value of
the land thereof, exclusive of buildings and other structures, bore in the
year of assessment to the entire value of said estate.

Sect. 3. If the aforesaid mayor of the city or selectmen of the town
be dissatisfied with said determination, the said average valuation of
such land shall be determined in the manner provided in the preceding
section by the superior court for thecounty in which such land is situated
on appeal of such mayor or selectmen from said determination, filed
with the clerk of said court within six months after receiving the afore-
said notice thereof, and the provisions of sections two and four of
chapter one hundred and twenty-seven of the acts of the year eighteen
hundred and ninety, except as is otherwise provided herein, shall apply
to appeals under this act.

Sect. 4. This act shall take effect upon its passage. [^Ajjprovcd
May 12, 1893.'\

In accordance with the provisions of this act the Board
have had lists made of all the taxable property and the valua-
tions for the three years previous to the dates of the taking
of lands in Framingham and Ashland, and these towns have
also prepared their lists. The lists have been agreed upon
so fiir as these two towns are concerned, but none of the

12 City Document No. 39.

other towns have yet furnished their statements as required
by the law.


The Board have been endeavorins: for several years in one
way or another to purify Pegan brook in Natick, and they
feel that they have been moderately successful in getting rid
of all the sources of pollution flowing directly into the
stream ; but there is always danger in such a situation, and they
have tried to persuade Natick to adopt a system of sewerage,
and have oiffered to contribute to any well-devised plan.
Unnecessary delays, however, in these negotiations have oc-
curred. Feeling that it would be unwise to postpone this
work any longer, the Board, a year ago, determined to take
the matter in hand and put in a system of filter beds on
Pegan brook. A piece of land adapted to this purpose was
secured early in the season, and three large natural beds
were built, into which the water flowing in the brook is
pumped. After passing through several feet of sand the
water enters the lake.

The Board have also secured a piece of land at the head
of Basin 5, in Marlborough, and intend to build lilter liasins

1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Online LibraryBoston (Mass.). Water BoardAnnual report of the Boston Water Board, for the year ending .. (Volume 1893) → online text (page 1 of 16)