1902 Encyclopedia > Paris > Water Supply. Drainage. Lighting.

(Part 11)

Water Supply. Drainage. Lighting.

Water and Drainage. – Paris derives its water-supply (1) from the Seine and the Marne, (2) from the Ourcq Canal, (3) from artesian wells, and (4) from springs. (1) The two steam-pumps at Chaillot on the Seine raise each at their ordinary rate 635,688 cubic feet and at their maximum 1,518,588 in the twenty-four hours. The ten pumps at Port a l’Anglais and Maisons-Alfort above Paris, at St Ouen below Paris, and at the Quai d’Austerlitz and Auteuil (within the city), can supply about 600,372,000 cubic feet perannum. In 1880 about 2,119,000 cubic feet on an average were taken daily from the Seine. The water is stored in reservoirs at the highest points in Passy, Montmartre, Charonne, and Gentilly. The establishment at St Mur, situated on the canal which closes the loop of the Marne, and partly moved by the head of water and partly by steam, supplies the Bois de Vincennes and the elevated districts of Belleville Menilmontant. It can furnish 2,896,000 cubic feet in the twenty-four hours. (2) The Ourcq Canal, which is also used as a water-way, comes from the department of Aisne, and terminates at the La Villette basin, which also receives the St Denis and St Martin Canals. It brings a volume of 4,414,500 cubic feet per day, to which are added in summer from 2,000,000 to 2,500,000 cubic feet procured from the Marne near the confluence of the Ourcq, and discharged into the canal. The water is hardly suitable fro domestic use owing to the quantity of foreign matter which it contains. (3) The water of the artesian wells is much purer. The Grenelle well is 1797 feet deep, and reaches the greensand; its daily yield is 12,360 cubic feet of water at a temperature of 80o Fahr., which rises to a height of 238 or 239 feet, and can thus be carried to the summit of Mont St Genevieve. The Passy well is 1922 feet deep, and yields an average of 233,000 cubic feet in the twenty-four hours. By the hydrometer Seine water registers 18o, that of the Ourcq 28o that of the Passy well only 9o. A new well is being sunk (1884) at La Chapelle, and another at Butte-aux Cailles. (4) Till quite recently all the spring water was brought to Paris by two aqueducts. The Arcueil aqueduct, 8 miles long, on the left of the Seine, furnishes 67,100 cubic feet per day; that of Belleville, on the right side, which up to the beginning of the 17th century fed all the fountains of Paris with the waters of Belleville and the Pres St Gervais, now yields only 6000 cubic feet in the twenty-four hours. This insufficiently of spring water has been supplied by the Dhuis and the Vanne, two streams of La Champagne. The former is diverted near Chateau Thierry (Aisne) and conveyed by an aqueduct 81 miles long into the Menilmontant reservoirs (354 feet above the sea, or more than 250 feet above the level of the Seine), which consist of two stories, one above the other, with a united capacity of 4,538,000 cubic feet, and usually containing a store equal to five average days’ influx. In the valley of the Vanne (a tributary of the Yonne, which it reaches at Sens), Paris has obtained possession of a great number of springs, which, when the rivers are at their lowest, yield in the twenty-four hours 3,531,600 cubic feet of a perfectly pure water at a steady temperature of 52o Fahr. The aqueduct from the Vanne ends at Montrouge at a height of 262 feet, in reservoirs capable of holding 10,594,800 cubic feet, equal to three average days’ influx. Every year new works are constructed to increase the quantity of water distributed. In June 1883 the machines raised for the first time 2,825,000 cubic feet on the plateau of Villejuif. The total quantity of water supplied to Paris will now be 20,130,000 cubic feet in the twenty-four hours. The quantity actually required is not less than 14,127,000 cubic feet, or not quite 44 gallons per head of the population, a proportion exceeded in several other great cities. This water is distributed by 66 monumental fountains, 763 bornes-fontaines (i.e. smaller fountains or wells, similar in appearance to a boundary stone or milestone), 5249 common street taps, 53 pumps, 181 plugs for the use of the watering carts, 4175 plugs for attachment of watering hose, 363 fire-plugs, 178 cocks at cab-stands, in the Wallace fountains, and the urinals. There is a certain number of fountains not open to the public where water is retailed to the water-carriers; and a large number of private houses have water laid on to their courts, or in many cases to the several stories. The public baths (151 in number) and the washing establishments (263,with 21,911 stands) receive daily 2,358,000 gallons of water. the water-pipes, varying in diameter form a little more than an inch to upwards of 4 feet, the commonest size being about 8 inches, have a total length of 94,904 miles.

Since about the middle of the present century all houses have been bound to discharge their rain and waste water directly into the sewers; but, though these are annually being extended, there are still streets into which they have not been introduced. On the 31st of December 1881 their total length was nearly 441 miles. The drainage of both sides of the river is collected in a great sewer ending in the Seine at Clichy opposite Asnieres; the main sewer of the left side of the river is connected with that of the right side by a siphon which passes under the Seine by a tunnel near the Pont de l’Alma. A departmental sewer, receiving the waters of the elevated districts of Charonne, Menilmontant, Belleville, and Montmartre, terminates at St Denis. These sewers are much more than great drains: they are used as passages for water pipes, gas-pipes, telegraph wires, and pneumatic tubes. The two largest classes of them have a height respectively of 14/1/2 feet and 17 feet 6 inches at the keystone, and a width respectively of 18 feet 5 inches and 17 feet at the spring of the arch. The smallest class is only 6 feet high and 3 feet wide. The most usual class, of which there are 171 miles, has a height of 7 _ feet and a width of 4 _ feet.

The sewage from these mains is partly employed in irrigation in the plain of Gennevilliers on the left bank of the Seine opposite St Denis and Clichy. At the close of 1881 1216 acres were under treatment, though the system was only commenced in 1872 on a tenth of that area; and the drains employed, varying from 1 to 4 feet in diameter, had an extent of 21 miles, and discharged the sewage by 571 outlets. The quantity of sewage discharged daily by the sewers varies from 10,171,000 cubic feet to 13,112,266 cubic feet (1881). The amount absorbed by irrigation varies according to the season. Thus in May 1881 it was 95,907,555 cubic feet, and in September only 15,719,780 cubic feet. The daily average throughout the year shows 54,935,945 cubic feet, watering 213 acres.

The value of the land (originally sandy) at Gennevilliers has considerably increased since the introduction of this system. The rent of a hectare (2.47 acres), which was 152 francs between 1865 and 1870, reached 300 francs in 1878 and 450 in 1880. The cultivation of the plain gives employment to 1350 hands, and the population of the commune has steadily increased-1897 in 1872, 2389 in 1876, 3192 in 1881. The municipality propose to extend this system of irrigation, which absorbs only a part of the sewage, to the foot of the St Germain forest, and thus to utilize the masses of foul water which still go to pollute the Seine.

Nightsoil is collected in three different ways: (1) in cesspools of mason-work, which ought to be watertight and to communicate with the open air by a ventilating pipe rising above the tops of the neighboring houses; (2) in movable buckets, placed in suitably ventilated cellars; (3) in filtering tinettes, which discharge their liquids directly into the sewer. On the 31st December 1882 the number of cesspools was 66,610, f movable buckets 14,952, and of tinettes 17,033. The nightsoil contractors have to be authorized by the prefect of Seine. The cesspools must not be emptied except by night. the quantity removed in 1881 was 39,797,810 cubic feet-35,098,453 cubic feet from the cesspools, 3,682,187 from the movable bucklets, and 1,017,170 from the tinettes.

Lighting. – The lighting of Paris is practically in the hands of the gas company, electric lighting being still in the experimental stage (28 burners in the public streets in 1882), and oil being uses only in a small and ever-diminishing number of out-of the-way streets (472 burners in 1881). The gas company manufactured in 1861, 2,974,690,553 cubic feet of gas, in 1875 6,213, 435,025 cubic feet, and in 1882 9,726,709,281 cubic feet, this last quantity being obtained from 917,967 tons of raw material (10,597 cubic feet per ton). The gas mains belonging to the company make a total length of 1222 miles; those in the public streets feed 42,514 burners, consuming 1,301,226,027 cubic feet for public lighting. The company further supplies, 7,163,994,098 cubic feet to 154,962 private customers in the city, and 600,208,654 cubic feet to 53 communes in the outskirts. About 660,593,880 cubic feet, or 6.8 per cent, is lost in transmission. The daily consumption reaches a maximum (36,005,949 cubic feet) in December and a minimum (14,073,112 cubic feet) in July.

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