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Full text of "[Report of committee appointed to inquire into possible water sources for the city]"



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Common Council^ No. 7 — 1836. 




In Common Council, June 30, 1836. 
The Report which follows, and the accompany- 
ing Resolves, were read, the Resolves ordered to 
a second reading, and the whole Document to be 
printed for the use of the members. 

Attest, Richard G. Wait, Clerk C. C, 



The Committee appointed to consider and report, 
upon the subject of introducing a full supply of 
Water for the use, comfort and safety of the 
City, having authority to cause to be surveyed 
any other sources than those which have al- 
ready been surveyed, with power to employ 



2 

such suitable persons, as they may judge neces- 
sary to obtain information, to enable them to 
make a full Report on the whole subject, have 
attended to that duty, and respectfully 

REPORT: 

That their attention has been directed to three 
sources for a supply of water ; the first was to ob- 
tain a supply by sinking a large and deep shaft, or 
well into the earth, from 600 to 1000 feet. By 
those persons who favored this plan, it was expect- 
ed, that an abundance of pure and soft Water 
would thus be easily found, and which might be 
distributed from Fort Hill or Copps Hill, to ev- 
ery part of the City, with facility and economy ; 
but your Committee after diligent inquiry, are 
not satisfied, that this mode of obtaining water can 
be relied upon with safety, as affording a suitable 
supply, and it was accordingly rejected. 

Another source was pointed out, not liable to 
the same objection. This is Stoney Brook in 
Roxbury, but after analization by Dr. Jackson, it 
was pronounced to be " not sufficiently pure for 
the purposes of the City." There now remained 
one other source to be examined, viz. Horn Pond, 
and other Ponds emptying into Mystic Pond, to- 
gether with Spy and Fresh Ponds, in Cambridge. 

Mr. Robert H. Eddy has been employed to 
make surveys and estimates for Water, from these 
places, he has labored successfully in this service, 
and his Report will command attention from such, 
as feel the deep solicitude upon this subject which 



its importance seems to require. The first object 
of the Engineer was to obtain a supply of Water, 
equal to all the present wants of the City. Spot 
Pond, the source relied upon, by Professor Tread- 
well in his Report to the City Government, in the 
year 1825, was examined again, and it occurred to 
the Engineer, that the object might be effected, 
by rearing an embankment, at a favorable point, 
and thus secure a reservoir of sixty acres, in which 
to retain the surplus Waters of Spot Pond, which 
Waters, now run uselessly into the sea, they may 
thus be preserved for the use of the City. He is 
of opinion that Spot Pond may in this mode, be 
made to yield an ample supply for all the purposes 
of the City at prese'lit, and indeed for a long time 
to come. This water is of the best quality, pure 
and soft. Whenever the increase of public wants, 
shall render a further supply needful. Mystic Pond 
will be found to be an abundant source. The plan 
and estimates will be found in the Report of Mr. 
Eddy. Upon the reception of this Report, the 
Committee directed that 1,000 copies should be 
printed for the disposal of the City Council, 
with a plan of what is denominated the " Water 
Region,''^ and that to these should be added a 
copy of the act of the Legislature incorporating 
the Boston Hydraulic Company, which it will be 
perceived, is intimately connected with this sub- 
ject. This act of the Legislature, will be void, 
unless the City Council, shall within four months, 
from the time of its passage, declare by vote, their 
assent thereto. Four months will expire on the 



4 

15th of August next. By the terms of this act, 
privileges of great value are reserved to the City, 
and it is for its government to determine, whether 
the act shall be valid or not — whether the work 
shall be done with, or without its participation. 
Your Committee are of opinion, That the sources 
relied upon in the Report of Mr. Eddy, are abun- 
dant, — That the water is pure and fit for domestic 
purposes, — That the plan of introducing this Water 
is attended with no great obstacles, — and That the 
expense, compared with the object, is not an un- 
reasonable expense. Your Committee are further of 
opinion, that it will be for the interest of the City, 
that the assent required by the 14th section of the 
act incorporating the Boston llydraolic Company, 
should be given. It will be seen by the Report 
that the Engineer's estimate to bring Water, in the 
manner proposed, from Spot Pond to Boston, in- 
cluding a reservoir at Bunker Hill, amounts to the 
sum of $388,747,96, to this sum add for cost of 
distribution in the City, say $300,000, making a 
total of 688,747,96. li" we suppose the value of the 
Real Estate in the City to be as assessed ^50,000,- 
000, the expense of introducing an abundant and 
unfailing supply of pure Water, to be employed for 
the purposes of domestic consumption, the promo- 
tion of health, protection from fire, and for orna- 
ment, will be about 1^ per cent, on the present 
value of the Real Estate of the City, exclusive 
however of the sum which may be demanded for 
watet' rights of Spot Pond. Wlien the number 
of inhabitants shall be so much increased as to 



demand a quantity of water greater than this source 
can supply, the immense volume, which is now 
passing from Mystic Pond into the sea, can be 
turned into the Reservoir, and made to subserve 
our purposes ; and this, as it is estimated by the 
Engineer, at an additional expense of $218,000. 
A majority of the Committee are of opinion that 
the City, in its corporate capacity, ought not to 
embark in this enterprize, but that it should be left 
to individuals alone, or individuals in connexion 
with the City. A minority of the Committee 
were, however, of a different opinion ; believing 
that so great and beneficial, are the objects pro- 
posed, that the public welfare demanded certainty 
and despatch in the execution of the business. 
By the terms of the act incorporating the Boston 
Hydraulic Company, the City can hereafter pur- 
chase the whole of their interest on specified 
terms, and this is deemed by your Committee, to 
be an important feature in the act. The Report 
of Mr. Eddy, the certified copy of the act incor- 
porating the Boston Hydraulic Company, and a 
petition from the Corporators of the Company will 
be found with this Report. On the whole, your 
Committee recommend the adoption of the sub- 
joined resolutions. 

For the Committee, 

SAM. T. ARMSTRONG, Chairman. 

June 30, 1836. 



1 Resolved, That it is expedient for the City 

2 Council to give their assent to the act of the 

3 Legislature, passed on the 16th of April, 1836, 

4 incorporating the Boston Hydraulic Company. 

1 Resolved, That it is expedient for the City to 

2 subscribe for one third of the stock in the Bos- 

3 ton Hydraulic Company, under such restric- 

4 tions and limitations, as the City Council may 

5 hereafter prescribe. 

1 Resolved, That the printed copies of the Re- 

2 port of Mr. R. H. Eddy, be distributed as fol- 

3 lows, to each member of the City Council ten 

4 copies, and the remaining copies be placed at 

5 the disposal of the Mayor and Aldermen. 



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