International Engineering Congress (1901 : Glasgow.

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enterprise of the citizens of Glasgow, and took the opportunity
to congratulate the civic fathers of the city, who had been the
pioneers of British muncipial tramways, upon the inception and
completion of one of the most important ftramway undertakings
in the United Kingdom. Even those who lived at a remote dis-
tance from the city of Glasgow had watched with the keenest
interest the progress of the undertaking; and if their admiration
had not been voluntary, it would have been compelled by the
splendid way in which really phenomenal difficulties had been
overcome as they had arisen. The principal characteristics of
the scheme might be said to be that it was so thoroughly up-to-
date in every particular; and it was evident that neither pains
nor money had been spared to> ensure complete success. The
equipment of the Pinkston Power Station was especially interesting
and instructive. The plant includes both British and American
engines of the best types procurable in their respective countries;
and an unique opportunity was here afforded of judging their
relative merits when working under precisely identical conditions.
The speaker then briefly mentioned the papers which were to
be read, and in conclusion remarked : " There is assembled here
to-day a very large and representative body of engineers; and it
will naturally be expected that from such a gathering much infor-
mation will emanate as to research and experience, and that some
new light at least will be thrown on the various problems of the
day coming within the scope of our deliberations. I would there-
fore appeal to you to enter with earnestness into the discussions,
and to let us have the advantage of your knowledge and experience ;
so that the public, as well as ourselves, may derive material and
lasting benefit from the part we take in this great Congress."




Paper by K. F. CAMPBELL.


THE sewage of Huddersfield contains a very large proportion of
waste from the woollen trade and is therefore rendered very diffi-
cult of purification.

For a number of years the sewage was dealt with by special
chemicals and subsequent filtration through very fine beds. This
proved to be unsatisfactory and costly and was therefore

Experiments were then conducted by the author on the three
following methods of purification :

1. Double contact of the raw sewage.

2. Chemical precipitation and double contact.

3. Open septic tank treatment and double contact.

For the first experiment two beds, one composed of very coarse
clinker and the other of very fine, were constructed. The sewage
was screened before being applied to the coarse bed by perforated
sheet zinc, in order to remove the wool fibre. The beds were
filled twice a day, and were allowed one complete day's rest per

The purification effected by the beds was good and constant,
although not always sufficient.

A third contact was necessary when the sewage was concentrated.

One disadvantage of this system is that the sewage receives
little or no mixing before being run into the bed, and also the
rapid filling up of the coarse bed would alone cause the process
to be condemned.

For the second experiment a small quantity of lime and copperas
was used as a precipitant, the resultant effluent being further
purified by contact beds. A number of beds have been constructed
for the single contact of the tank effluent, in various ways, as
regards material and size of material.

Those composed of clinker varying from f-in. to i in. a size


which is readily prepared are found to be most suitable. A
single contact of the tank effluent is not always adequate, a second
contact being frequently required. This was given, and a satis-
factory effluent continually produced on an experimental scale.

There is, however, a continual but slight decrease in the capacity
of the beds, which will render necessary an occasional renewal of
parts of the beds.

By allowing the sewage to slowly flow through an open tank a
septic action was set up. This experiment was commenced in
the autumn of 1900, but no permanent scum was formed until
May, 1901.

The open septic tank has been treating sewage equal in volume
to its own capacity per day.

The amount of sludge which accumulated at the foot was '6 inch
per week. The effluent from the septic tank, which is dark and
contains a considerable quantity of black matter in suspension, is
purified in two contact beds. The first is coarser than the second,
and both are composed of destructor clinker. The effluent is
frequently unsatisfactory, and the capacity of the coarse bed has
considerably diminished during seven months' working.

It has been found that the matter which accumulates in the
contact beds is only partly reducible, and as the suspended matter
in the septic effluent is much greater than that present in the
effluent from chemical precipitation, the beds will not need as
much attention when an effluent from chemical treatment is being
dealt with as with a septic effluent.


1. That by no process can the formation of sludge be obviated.

2. When the crude sewage is treated in contact-beds, the rapid
accumulation of matter in the beds renders the process im-

3. That, by the use of a small quantity of lime and copperas,
followed by contact-bed treatment, a satisfactory effluent can be

4. That the contact-beds used for the purification of the effluent
after chemical precipitation will not retain their capacity indefinitely,
and that, in the course of a number of years, it will be reduced to
such an extent as to render necessary the washing or riddling of
the material.

5. That by the open septic process about 40 per cent, of the
sludge is destroyed.

6. The septic effluent is not as amenable to subsequent contact-
bed treatment as the effluent from chemical precipitation.

7. The capacity of the beds treating the septic effluent decreases


more rapidly than that of the beds treating the effluent after
chemical precipitation, owing to the excessive amount of suspended
matter in the septic effluent.

8. The septic effluent after double contact is frequently un-

The Discussion on this paper was taken with that on the paper
by Lieut-Col. Jones (see p. 258).

A vote of thanks was accorded to the author.

Paper by Lieut.-Col. A. S. JONES, V.C.


TOWN and District Councils, in view of the great improvements
of late years in arts and manufacture which have resulted from
chemistry and electricity, expect similar advance in sewage treat-
ment from applied science.

The paper touches upon " Chemical Precipitation," and the
distinction between a popular interpretation of that term used
in sewage treatment and its scientific limitation to the precipitate
thrown down out of solution by a chemical re-agent added thereto' ;
irrespective of matter, held in suspension while the sewage is in
a state of agitation, to be deposited by its own gravity on the
advent of quiescence.

Lord Bramwell's Royal Commission in 1884 crystallized the
floating knowledge of experts on this distinction, and also on the
necessity for adopting the separation system in sewage wherever

But it led to a still more important advance of theory and practice
by compelling the late Metropolitan Board of Works to take action
as regards " a preliminary and temporary measure " by which
" much of the existing evil " [of Metropolitan sewage discharge at
Barking and Crossness] " will be abated."

Postponing the permanent remedy recommended by that Royal
Commission, the Board directed their chemist, Mr. Dibdin, in
consultation with Dr. Dupre, to experiment with samples of London
sewage, with the following result that after a while these two
chemists laid down the principle of discarding chemicals and
favouring bacterial action by extending the Bailey Denton " Inter-
mittent Downward Filtration " until one acre of artificially prepared
bed of coke was supposed capable of purifying one million gallons
of sewage per diem.

Mr. Scott-Moncrieff and Mr. Cameron followed with rules for
" Septic tanks," agreeing very closely with the practice of many
old-fashioned cesspool builders; and Mr. Cameron laid great stress
on the cover of such receptacles being rendered gas-tight, whereas
the experiments lately conducted at Manchester, Leicester, Leeds,
and Lawrence, Massachusetts, prove that open tanks are equally
efficient, and, of course, such are much less costly to construct.

Among all the students of microbe action upon sewage, no one


has demonstrated that theory more completely than Scott-Moncrieff
in his experiments at Ashtead and Caterham, which have been
duplicated and confirmed on Filter No. 131 of the Massachussetts
experimental station, as described at pages 452-3 of the Board's
annual Report for 1899; but it can hardly be possible to erect
such apparatus as his theory requires for a town's sewage, however
useful from an educational point of view may be the results of such

While the long-promised report of Lord Iddesleigh's Royal
Commission is daily expected, it may seem presumptuous for any-
one to come forward with less authoritative statements about
sewage treatment, and the writer offers, with great diffidence, some
views formed on his 30-years' practical experience in dealing at
one time with mixed manufacturing and domestic sewage, and
latterly with an extremely strong and fresh residential sewage, and
so strong that its chloride of sodium varies from 10 grains to 15
grains per gallon), from a population up to 30,000.

This leads him to insist on the importance of studying local
conditions from the first inception of plans for sewage works, in
each particular case, up to their completion, with the best available

But when the best and most suitable works have been completed
and paid for, the practice has often been for the sanitary authority
to take little further interest in the matter, and to employ careless
and incompetent workmen at inadequate wages to carry out the
hourly varying duties, on efficient performance of which successful
sewage disposal depends.

Mr. Cameron and several other engineers have devised automatic
machinery for the more routine work of applying sewage to contact
beds, but, in the opinion of the writer, anything of that kind will
be found less profitable to authorities who adopt such appliances
than to the inventors and manufacturers.

We have yet to learn the true average duration in satisfactory
working of contact beds, under the most careful management and
protection from insoluble matter but the recent experiments
directed to that point are not encouraging, and if such beds have
to be broken up and relaid every two or three years, the writer
would suggest that the coke should be burnt as fuel after its life
as a bacterial filter comes to an end.

With a well-arranged system of tramways it would be easy to
keep one coke bed in use as a fuel store, and another in process
of filling with fresh coke, while the rest of the series did duty as
contact beds, and thus everything which bacterial life left behind
would pass through the fire under steam boilers, for electric light
and power, etc.

Passing from sewage treatment under difficulties, which necessi-


tates great concentration of microbe energy on confined areas, the
author proceeded to consider how the same energy has been used,
and is still most extensively employed, by intermittent downward
filtration, or broad irrigation, in sewage farming, and took as
examples :

1. Berlin, with some 20,000 acres under sewage, and convalescent
homes flourishing in the midst of its well-irrigated land.

2. Paris, with a systematic distribution of its sewage to private
cultivators over many square miles, in a suburban district.

3. Birmingham, Nottingham, Leicester, and other of our large
cities and towns, where sewage farming has been carried on from
day to day, with all that comes down an outfall sewer, for a long
series of years.

In such cases there is always a complete natural protection from
clogging, and some return in crops for labour in cultivation, while
the freehold rises in intrinsic value as a Corporation asset for
sewage or any other purpose a factor often overlooked in com-
parative estimates of capital outlay on works without land.

Some account is then given of the camp farm at Aldershot,
where the sewage of from 20,000 to 30,000 persons has been dis-
charged for about 35 years, under good and .bad management,
in successive well-marked periods.

The paper insists upon good arrangements for dealing with
sludge and screenings. Barging to sea, or pressing with lime into
a portable cake of little or no manurial value, are sometimes resorted
to for sludge, and a destructor fire is best for the screened rags and
other debris, as used at Barking and Crossness; but both can be
dug into the ground at once, or made into compost with farmyard
manure, wherever land is available.

The reduction in quantity of sludge consequent on the use of
septic tanks has been greatly exaggerated, and is outbalanced by
increased difficulty of disposal introduced by its putrid smell, which
is infinitely more disagreeable than that of the fresher sludge from
ordinary settling tanks.

Reference is then made to the sewage disposal arrangements of
Glasgow, which have received great attention from the city engineer
and Corporation of Glasgow.

A Discussion on this and the previous paper, by Mr. Campbell,
was held, and was taken part in by the following members:
Mr. Fowler, Mr. Midgley Taylor, Mr. A. J. Martin, Mr. J. Price,
Mr. S. S. Platt, the Chairman, Mr. Thomas Stewart, Mr. J. Munce,
Mr. Gilbert Thomson, Mr. A. J. Price, and Mr. Corbett. Col.
Jones replied.

A vote of thanks was accorded to the author.

The meeting was then adjourned.


Mr. E. GEORGE MAWBEY, Chairman, in the Chair.

Lecture by JAMES MANSERGH, President of the Congress.

THE city of Birmingham, with the district around it which the
Corporation supplies with water, has an area of 130 square miles,
and the present sources are six wells in the red sandstone and
four or five comparatively small local streams. The present con-
sumption of water at ordinary times is 18 or 19 million gallons
a day; but during the last dry season there was a demand for 24
millions, which was met with difficulty. Thirty-five years ago, when
the speaker was contractor's engineer on the railway which passes
the district, he laid down on an inch ^ plan the reservoirs in the
Elan valley. In 1890 the Birmingham Corporation asked him
to advise them on the matter, and the scheme was ready in time
for the next session of Parliament and passed in 1892. The source
of the supply was the River Elan, which is a tributary of the
Wye. The distance from the lowest reservoir to the centre of
the city was 80 miles, and between that reservoir and the service
reservoir at Frankley was 74 miles, divided almost equally between
cut-and-cover on the one hand and iron and steel pipes crossing
valleys on the other. A map of England was shown, giving the
relative positions of Birmingham, the watershed, and the aqueduct ;
also a plan of Manchester and the Thirlmere scheme, Liverpool
and the Vyrnwy scheme, and the scheme suggested for London
by Sir Alexander Binnie. Manchester had to earn- its water 100
miles. Liverpool 66, Birmingham 74.

The district of Birmingham varies considerably in elevation.
In the north-east corner it is 250 and in the south-west it rises
to 800 above O.D. Fortunately the lord of the manor at Nant-
gwillt had for 20 years kept a record of the rainfall, which was
most useful to the engineers. The mean rainfall was 68 inches,
rising to 94 inches in years of heavy fall and falling to 44 inches
in years of drought. The mean for three consecutive dry years
was 55 inches. It is expected to obtain 72 million gallons^ a day,
and, in addition, to supply 27 millions as compensation water.


When the speaker first delivered a lecture on this subject, at
the Royal Institution some years ago, the question of stone dams
was very much to the front because the Bouzey dam, in France,
had given way, doing an immense amount of damage and he had
therefore prepared a slide showing, for comparison, the section of
that dam and of those he was building on the Elan. Slides
followed showing how the flood water was dealt with during con-
struction a very serious business, as the quantity passing at the
lowest dam was 700,000 cubic feet per minute; and then, starting
at the beginning of the works, he explained how at the Caban
dam they cleared the river bed of big boulders, built stanks
enclosing the culvert sites, erected the culverts and diverted the
water through them, and so obtained complete control of the floods.
Slides were also shown of the old manor house of Nantgwillt
and the house that Shelley once lived in; also of the church
of Nantgwillt, which will be drowned under about 100 feet of
water. A cross section of the cut-and-cover part of the aqueduct
in course of construction was shown; also a slide of the Carmel
bridge, eight or nine miles from the start. The cut-and-cover
conduit and the tunnels provided for taking 72 million gallons
a day ; so that that work was done for all time. The constructions
above ground were few, and those were built so as not to dis-
figure the country. Views of bridges were shown, including that
crossing the Teme at Ludlow, ii6-feet span, and a bridge crossing
Deepwood Dingle, 80 or 90 feet high, built by Messrs. Morrison &
Mason, of Glasgow. The Severn bridge was also shown. The
pipes of this bridge were laid 40 feet above the level of the
river and have to stand a pressure of 530 feet. There are five
brick arches on one side and a steel arch of i5o-feet span. The
Worcester Canal had to be crossed with a bridge of loo-feet
span, and the pipes were laid over as an arch. To get lateral
strength three pipes were put in instead of two. The Frankley
reservoir is semicircular in plan, as that provided the maximum
of storage with a minimum of work. It is built with concrete
asphalted, and the walls are blue brick faced.

Photographs of the filter works were also* shown.

Eighty per cent, of the district could be supplied by gravitation,
but the rest would require to' be pumped.

All the work in the valley has been done without a contractor,
being under Corporation administration ; and after the lecturer
obtained the committee's consent to this, he emphasised the
necessity for providing houses for the workmen. Then he pro-
duced designs of the huts he proposed to erect. In the lodgers'
huts the keeper and his wife have a good living-room, a couple
of bedrooms, scullery, and all decent sanitary appliances, and


the men have a large room in which there are eight single cubicles ;
so that each man is decently provided for. The result has been
that a nucleus of good steady men, in whom reliance can be
placed, is kept constantly on the job; and that is an enormous
advantage for works of this type. For the married foremen and
leading artisans of the better class there are huts of a different
class, embracing altogether five types. The lecturer then de-
scribed and illustrated the village, built to accommodate the
men, which contains about 1200 people. There are schools, a
recreation hall, baths and wash-houses, and complete water and
sewage works ; also a general hospital and one for infectious
diseases; but this has been very seldom used, on account of the
precautions taken to keep out small-pox and typhoid. There is
what is called a doss-house, into which all men who come on
tramp are put in quarantine for a week, under the observation
of the doctor. They also have to take a hot bath and use a
clean nightshirt; and their clothes are disinfected. They go to
work; but they are not allowed to go to the village until they
have passed out of quarantine. This has been found a useful plan
in guarding against infectious disease. A picture of one of the
wards in the general hospital was shown. A matron and a nurse
are in charge, and one or two more come from Birmingham if
necessary. There had not been anything serious accidents, cases
of pneumonia, and other minor cases. The bridge leading to the
village is a suspension bridge over the River Elan ; and here there
is a gate-keeper, whose business it is to examine all carts taking
provisions into the village, to make sure that no spirits or intoxi-
cating liquors are introduced. There is also a village superin-
tendent, whose business it is to generally supervise and to see
that the regulations are carried out and all sanitary rules adhered
to. The superintendent is also the bandmaster. The canteen-
keeper has no interest in the sale of beer, and the Corporation
has been able to make a substantial profit; the money being
spent for the benefit of the men employed upon the works, on
the schools, hall, recreation grounds, sports, entertainments, etc.

The Chairman, Mr. Harpur, and Mr. Weaver took part in the

Mr. Mansergh replied, and a vote of thanks was accorded to him.

Paper by A. B. M'DONALD.


THE disposal of sewage is a question that does not admit of
universal solution. The methods adapted for a rural community
are as widely different from those applicable to a great industrial
centre as they are from the sanitary arrangements of a residential
establishment. The aim of the present contribution to the subject
is intended to afford the members of the Congress such information
regarding the Glasgow Main Drainage Scheme as may render their
visit to the works of the Corporation more interesting than it might
otherwise prove.

The Main Drainage Scheme was authorised by special statutes
in 1891, 1896, 1898, and 1901. The included territory stretches
along both sides of the River Clyde for a distance of about 15
miles, the superficial extent being 39 square miles.

The drainage area is divided into three sections, each separate
from the others, with works for the disposal of the sewage. The
first of these, authorised in 1891, and doubled in area during the
last session of Parliament, is about n square miles in extent, one
half being situated within the city and the remainder within the
County of Lanark. The works for the disposal of this sewage
are situated at Dalrnarnock. The second section, authorised in
1896, includes the remainder of the municipal area on the north
side of the river, the Burghs of Partick and Clydebank, with inter-
vening parts of the Counties of Renfrew and Dumbarton, the
whole extent being 14 square miles. The works for the disposal
of this sewage are in process of construction on the river bank
at Dalmuir, 7 miles seaward from Glasgow. The third section,
authorised in 1898, comprises the whole of the city on the south
bank of the river, along with the Burghs of Rutherglen, Pollokshaws,
Kinning Park, and Govan, with various residential and rural districts
situated in the Counties of Lanark and Renfrew. The extent
14 square miles is likely to be increased by the inclusion of the
Burghs of Paisley and Renfrew. The works for the disposal of
this sewage are to be constructed on the river bank at Braehead,
about 4 miles up stream from Dalmuir.

The three different sections were shown in distinctive colouring
on the sketch map accompanying the paper.


The Dalmarnock works are constructed, and have been in suc-
cessful operation since May, 1894.

The daily volume of dry-weather sewage is at present 16 million

The dry-weather sewage to be ultimately treated at Dalmuir is
49 million gallons, and at Braehead 45 million gallons.

For the collection and disposal of these 94 million gallons of
sewage there will be constructed 30 miles of sewers, from 2 feec
6 inches in diameter to 10 feet, calculated to discharge, in addition
to the sewage, an amount of rainfall equivalent to one-quarter of
an inch per day or 189 million gallons of combined flow.

The leading features of the Northern Scheme are: an outfall
sewer to convey the drainage of the higher levels to Dalmuir; an
intercepting sewer to collect the drainage of lower levels of the

Online LibraryInternational Engineering Congress (1901 : GlasgowReport of the proceedings and abstracts of the papers read → online text (page 23 of 37)