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BY MRS. JOHN
The city council proposes to
change 300,000 flat-rate users of
water to the metered or measured
service. The reasons advanced for
the change by the Water Department
are so plausible and clever that the
opinion of the individual who does
not investigate the subject is, "in
stall the meters by all means if it will
increase efficiency, stop waste and
result in a saving."
The average cost of installation of
meters in 1912, according to the re
port of the Water Bureau, was
$40.26; in 1911 itwas $35.50. For
300,000 meters, taking the lesser
cost of $35:50, the installation of the
meters would cost $10,500,000. This
is not all the expense in connection
with the installation, however.
The department proposes to install
all meters upon new service pipes and
new connections. To this end, in
1911, there was an ordinance pre
sented to the city council providing
that all meters be installed on jiew
service pipes with new connections,
these to be furnished by the owner.
This ordinance was introduced be
cause it costs from two to three times
as much to install meters on old ser
vice pipes as on new ones.
This would mean a tearing up of
the streets of Chicago, and each
property owner would have to deposit
from $40 to $60 for tearing up the
street, and the actual cost of placing
new service pipes and connections
would be about $55.
There is an ordinance requiring
the-vcement walk to be destroyed
wherever plumbing is installed un
derneath and a new walk laid. This
would increase the expense of the
property owners. Consider 'also the
interest on each meter at five per
centj'it woulfl amount to about $2 a.
year, according to the 1912 figures.
Then we would have to consider the
depreciation, which would be from
four to five per cent a year; the
greater number of meters installed
would be of the smaller size. .Small
meters are more liable to stoppage
than the large size. There are 20
men who read the 16,000 meters in
I use now at a salary of $1,200 per,(
r year each; at that rate it would take ,
375 more readers at an increase of
about $500,000 for salaries in the0
meter-reading department alone.
This does not include extra clerical
hire, postage, etc.
The great waste is not from leaky,
plumbing as it is claimed by the de
partment, but from leaky mains t
caused by electrolysis, arising from,
the street car system, and imperfect
pipes which result in blow-outs and.
cave-ins. As an illustration, in re
pairing the main on Clark street, be
tween Harrison and 15th streets, the
department estimated there- was a,
saving of 1,500,000 gallons per day;"1
in' repairing the main- on Fultoa,
street, from Union to Desplaines
streets, there was an estimated sav
ing of 2,550,000 gallons a day. These.,
leaks are general all over the city,
and these two instances are only
cited to show the enormous leakage,.
Where can we find economy even'
though we install the meter system?
The department does not intend to
furnish metered water at the present,
rates. The writer asked to have a
meter installed in her residence, -as
she had heard that the taxes would:
be much less through the meter ser
vice.. She was answered that she
could not have it at the present time;
that the department intended to in
stall meters in all residences ulti
mately, but the rates would have to
be readjusted, as at the present rates
she would only be using about $2
worth of water per year through the
meteri a decrease which would not
pay them. In towns along the lakei
where they have the meter system
for water the charges are from two
to three times more than we now pay.
for the same service.
In 1912 there were 16,052 meters in
Chicago. 10,794 were repaired at a
net cost of $75,560.39. The average
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