Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Cleaning the Water Tower 1905

The following is from The Ypsilanti Daily Press of Tuesday, April 25, 1905

After one has witnessed the laborious process of cleaning the big standpipe on the hill one will never again laugh at the impossible feat of dipping water out of the lake with a thimble, for on Saturday night the big tank was given its semi-annual cleaning. At least 5,000 gallons of water were dipped out of the big tank with scoop shovels in the short space of an hour by six men and a boy.

Twice each year the tank is given a thorough cleaning. On these occasions the water is drawn off through fire hose into the hydrants. On Saturday night three hydrants wer open for over two hours. When the tank was empty with the exception of about six inches the men went to work, four with brooms and the remainder with shovels, and the sides of the tank as well as the bottem were thoruughly cleaned. For half the time the water was kept in motion, so that the sediment and mud would be carried to teh sewer opening. Later, when the water was getting low,the real sweeping began, so that when the last shovelful was taken up the bottem of the tank was as clean as milady's floor. To remove the tools and get out of the tank was but the work of a few minutes, and a short time afterwards the water was bubbling up through the big pipe and the semi-annual cleaning was over.

The big tank is something of a curiosity to one who has not seen it. To reach it one must go up a flight of stairs until the landing is reached. After this the ascent is for a short flight on the outside of the tower and then by a winding circuitous route until one is within five feet of the top of the tank. It is a narrow walk and standing here one can look over the top and down 28 feet to the bottem of the great empty tank, which is 40 feet in diameter, and holds when full a quarter of a million gallons of water. On looking up one sees far above the cupola, which is reached by another flight of thrity-five shaky steps.

It is hard, too, to realize the deposit which six months brings to the bottem of this hugh receptacle, but there are several inches of mud and iron precipitate from the water and it is to clean this that the work is twice each year undertaken.

The cowd on Saturday night presented a motly arrary, for true to the rhyme, some were in rags and some were in tags, but none in velvet gowns.

In deed, the costumes were many and varied, for the sediment is heavy and leaves an iron rust stain wherever it stricks.

But the work of removing all this has been completed, and the task, which was carried on under the direction of Supt. Blachard, was very thorough, and those who patronize city water may be assured that so far as the stand pipe is concerned the water is as clean as a thorough cleaning can make it.

Meanwhile, the job being done the workers and witnesses had the pleasure of being lightened down to the ground floor, some 200 steps below the level of the tank.


At 12:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

congratulations and have fun!

At 1:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting account of an unusual historical tidbit. Cool. I don't know about that "milady's floor" bit, though, considering certain kitchen floors I can think of... --ypsidixit


Post a Comment

<< Home