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Full text of "Report upon the sanitary quality of the Owens River water supply delivered to consumers in Los Angeles through the Los Angeles Aqueduct System"

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Sanitary and Hydraulic Engineer 


Reprinted from the Fourteenth Annual Report of the Board of 

Public Service Commissioners of the City of 

Los Angeles, California 




The Sanitary Quality of the Owens River 

Water Supply Delivered to Consumers 

in Los Angeles Through the Los 

Angeles Aqueduct System 



Sanitary and Hydraulic Engineer 


Reprinted from the Fourteenth Annual 
Report of the Board of Public Service 
Commissioners of the City of Los An- 
geles, Cal. 




Antagonisms to Aqueduct Project 33 

Motions for Injunction Against Use of Owens River Water 33 

Affidavit of Dr. Ethel Leonard 34 

Complaint of E. M. Frost 35 

Hearing before Judge Works . ., 36 


Sources of Supply. .: 37 

Elements of System of Works 37 


General Considerations 40 

Area and Extent of Watershed : 41 

Resident Population and its Disposition in the Drainage Basin 41 

Nature and Extent of Pollution 41 


Longevity of Pathogenic Bacteria 42 

Agencies of Self -Purification 43 

Reservoirs as Sanitary Safeguards and Purifying Agencies 44 

Nature and Capacities of Reservoirs in Aqueduct System 45 

Yield of Source as Related to Time Factor 46 


Chemical Composition of Water 47 

Bacteriological Composition of Water 49 

Possibility of Disinfection of Entire Water Supply 50 

The Aqueduct Supply as Fulfilling Rigorous Quality Requirements ... 50 


Text of Judge Works ' Decision 53 








Sanitary and Hydraulic Engineer. 

July 1, 1915. 



The conception of a great system of water supply from Owens River 
for the people of Los Angeles was nothing less than an inspiration. Its 
construction has required faith, loyalty, brains and engineering ability of 
the highest order. Its consummation spells for the citizens of Los Angeles 
a degree of success and a brilliancy of future which could in no other way 
have been so perfectly vouchsafed. 

Yet from the beginning all sorts of selfish interests have antagonized 
the development of this magnificent project. These interests have for the 
most part waged a battle from the ambush. They have used the knife in 
the dark. They have not permitted their identity to be disclosed. Mere 
dummies posing as citizens jealous of the welfare of the people or as public- 
spirited engineers have served as screens for the "malefactors of great 
wealth" who would have been able to profit if this scheme of water supply 
could have been throttled or if spurious claims to water in the Owens River 
drainage basin could have been foisted upon the city at great cost. Fortu- 
nately, the construction of the works was not thereby halted. The en- 
gineers and attorneys for the city and the real citizenship which had the 
best interests of the city at heart did not falter. They carried the enter- 
prise through according to the original program of capital outlay, capacity 
of works and time schedule. 

It remained for one final, but again futile, effort to be made to destroy 
the project at or about the time when, the aqueduct and reservoirs having 
been sufficiently completed, the water was finally brought to the threshold 
of the City and turned into the distribution system. This attempt to under- 
mine or destroy the efficacy of the Aqueduct system took the form of injunc- 
tion proceedings to restrain the further use of water from Owens River. 


The first suit, including a motion for a preliminary injunction, was 
filed in the Superior Court of Los Angeles County on or about August 15, 
1914, by Henry A. Hart. Mr. Hart was the leader of the mal-odorous 
majority of the Peoples Aqueduct Investigation Board, so-called, whose 
work and report are too well remembered to require extended mention here. 
It is sufficient to state that, after having been in existence for six months 
and having spent $16,535.48 in "investigating," they were unable to find 



any evidence of graft or incompetence in the prosecution of the aqueduct 
project. They were willing to go on record, however, as being certain, on 
the basis of their intimate knowledge of human nature, that were they to 
be continued in office for a sufficiently longer period with sufficiently 
larger sums to expend, tangible evidences of graft and incompetence would 
be forthcoming. 

It was shortly discovered that no sufficient cause of action existed in 
Hart's case because he was not a resident within the territory supplied 
with aqueduct water, which was a principal ground of complaint. A second 
suit was therefore filed in behalf of Edgar M. Frost, who seemed to be 
willing to serve as a dummy plaintiff and who conveniently lived in the dis- 
trict which was being supplied with water from Owens Eiver. Further- 
more, among other activities, Frost was employed as a detective in the office 
of attorney for plaintiff during the period covered by the suit. 

The suits were brought by Mr. Ingle Carpenter, as attorney. The 
names of the clients in whose interests he served Mr. Carpenter has not 
yet seen fit to divulge, nor did they appear during the hearing of the case. 

As a self-styled servant of the people Mr. Carpenter made a trip into 
the Owens Valley region in June, 1914. In July he employed Dr. Ethel 
Leonard as a sanitary expert and accompanied her on a six days' inspection 
trip over the watershed. A few samples for bacteriological and chemical 
examination, and a few photographs, were taken at this time. Upon her 
return to Los Angeles, Dr. Leonard prepared a report of her sanitary invest- 
igations. This was shortly printed and, consistently enough, was clothed 
in yellow covers. It was spread broadcast throughout the city and country 
'wherever it could do the most harm." 

The original motion for a preliminary injunction was supported by 
seven affidavits filed by H. A. Hart as plaintiff, Ingle Carpenter as attorney, 
Dr. Ethel Leonard as sanitary expert, Ealph Leonard as assistant, Dr. A. 
F. Wagner as chemist, H. E. Fosbinder as veterinarian, and G. L. Hazlett 
as searcher of records. These affidavits were variously dated between 
August 7th and 13th. The order to show cause why the injunction should 
not be granted was signed by Judge Lewis E. Works as Presiding Judge of 
the Superior Court, under date of August 15th, and required the defendants 
in the action, the City of Los Angeles and the individual members of the 
Board of Public Service Commissioners, to appear in Court on August 
26th. The representatives of the parties appeared but the hearing on the 
motion for a preliminary injunction was postponed on account of the ab- 
sence of Dr. Ethel Leonard, who departed for Chicago immediately after 
making her report, above noted. Judge Works then decided that no pre- 
liminary injunction should be issued and that the case should be set down 
for an early trial. 

A second suit was filed on behalf of Edgar M. Frost on October 5, 
1914. The summons was dated October 5th and required that the defen- 
dants appear and answer within ten days thereafter. 


The principal affidavit in support of the motion of H. A. Hart looking 
to a preliminary injunction, restraining the further use of Owens Eiver 
water through the Aqueduct system, was that of Dr. Leonard. This paper 


was almost identical with the printed report above mentioned. Something 
of the profound technical ability of this expert for the plaintiff, and some- 
thing of the animus actuating her work, may be inferred from the follow- 
ing statements in the affidavit in question: 

"Although cultures' 7 of Horton's creek water "made by the 
State Hygienic laboratory showed the presence of typhoid bacilli, the 
source of infection and virulence of the organisms could not be 
accounted for." No samples from this source were ever examined 
. by the State Hygienic Laboratory. Moreover, neither this laboratory 
nor any other reputable laboratory attempts to differentiate B. typhosus 
in routine work and but few authentic isolations of this germ have 
ever been made from potable waters. 

' ' Physical conditions ' ' at the north end of Haiwee Reservoir 
"demonstrate beyond question that even bacteria cannot develop in 
such polluted water." 

' ' The course of these creeks ' ' mountain streams emptying into 
Long Valley "lies through the marshes of Long Valley which con- 
tain enumerable" (innumerable) "dead cattle." The testimony in 
the case showed that only two or three carcasses of varying ages were 
discovered in an area fully 20 square miles in extent. 

' ' Owing to the large number of germs and contamination by organic 
matter found in practically all of the samples, it was deemed inad- 
visable and impractical to attempt to segregate the specific pathogenic 
bacteria." The real reason should lie in the limitations of bacteriolog- 
ical procedure, not in the causes named. 

"The inoculation of the Owens River water from its source to 
the intake with pathogenic and saprophytic bacteria must so alter its 
chemical condition that the continued use by the residents of Los An- 
geles for human consumption and domestic use, even with boiling pre- 
cautions, must necessarily result in severe gastro-intestinal diseases. 
Other diseases resulting from disturbed metabolism will undoubtedly 
attack anyone who continuously drinks this water. ' ' 

"My investigation shows that any use of Owens Eiver water is 
absolutely impossible from a sanitary standpoint." 

"Plate cultures all developed 72 hours before colonies were 
counted." "Cultures were kept as near as possible at a uniform tem- 
perature, 37C." The period of incubation employed by Dr. Leonard 
was three times as great as American standard methods dictate. 


The complaint of Edgar M. Frost, upon which the second suit was 
based, made the following principal allegations: 

(1) that the City of Los Angeles, a municipal corporation, through the 
Board of Public Service Commissioners, who have immediate charge 
of the water works system, furnishes as a portion of its supply, 
the water from Owens River through the Los Angeles Aqueduct. 

(2) that the plaintiff is furnished with water from this source which 
is alleged to be polluted in various designated ways above the 
point of intake and is therefore unhealthful to consumers in the 
City of Los Angeles. 

(3) that certain streams such as Cottonwood Creek are unpolluted and 
sufficient for present purposes and that the supply can be extended 
by the use of other protected creeks. 

(4) that no permit had been obtained from the State Board of Health. 

(5) that the supply derived from Los Angeles River has hitherto been 
unpolluted and healthful, but now has become polluted by the turn- 
ing of Owens River water into the distribution system. 

(6) that various chemical and bacteriological analyses made in behalf 
of the plaintiff on samples collected from the system as far dowp 


as San Fernando Valley show the water to be polluted and there- 
fore dangerous and unhealthful to consumers in the City of Los 
Angeles and to the plaintiff. 

During the trial, the falsity of every statement named above, except 
(1), (4), and the first part of (5), was demonstrated beyond peradventure. 
With respect to item (4) Judge Works declared that the statute which 
appears to require that a permit to operate the works must be secured from 
the State Board of Health is either unconstitutional or else was covered 
by charter provisions since the Los Angeles City charter confers on the 
City the right and power both to acquire and to operate and control a 
water works system. 


The Hart and Frost cases were assigned by Judge Works to himself. 
After several postponements, all at the instance of Ingle Carpenter, attor- 
ney for the plaintiffs, the trial of both cases was begun on January 5th, it 
being agreed that the cases be tried together. The trial continued with 
few interruptions until the decision was rendered on March 19th. The 
hearing consumed 40 court days. The transcript embraced some 6,312 pages 
and possibly 1,250,000 words. 

In its relation to the best interests and the general welfare of the 
people, the capital outlay involved and the number of trained experts em- 
ployed, this litigation represents one of the most important cases yet heard 
in the United States dealing wholly with a water supply problem. From the 
standpoint of the significance and complexity of the sanitary principles in- 
volved, as well as from the standpoint of its general importance, this litiga- 
tion is outranked by the famous Chicago Drainage Canal Case (State 
of Missouri vs. the State of Illinois and the Sanitary District of Chicago, 
1900-1906) which comprehended problems of sewage disposal as well as of 
water supply. In volume of testimony and the number of trained experts 
employed this litigation is to be compared with the Jersey City Water 
Supply Case (City of Jersey City vs. Jersey City Water Supply Company, 

Throughout the trial Judge Works proved himself to be most fair. He 
was extremely generous in the admission of testimony from both sides. He 
was tireless in his attention to every detail and angle of the case. Because 
of his extremely judicial temperament and his clear grasp of the problems 
as presented to him, his decision must be considered to be practically fault- 
less and impregnable. 

The case was most ably conducted for the city by Mr. W. B. Mathews, 
Special Counsel to the Board of Public Service Commissioners, assisted by 
Mr. Wm. B. Himrod, Deputy City Attorney. The experts testifying in 
behalf of the City were Wm. Mulholland, Chief Engineer of the Board of 
Public Service Commissioners, and Dr. Stanley Black, Dr. Walter V. Brem, 
Charles Oilman Hyde, Dr. Edwin O. Jordan, Charles H. Lee, E. O. Slater, 
and Carl Wilson. Testimony on certain engineering and operative features 
of the Aqueduct system was given by Messrs. Van Norman, Shuey and Jones 
of the Aqueduct staff. 

The case for the plaintiffs was conducted by Mr. Ingle Carpenter, attor- 
ney. The experts testifying in behalf of the plaintiffs were Dr. Ethel 



tO u 



j o 


Leonard and Dr. Ernst A. Victors. The testimony on behalf of plaintiffs 
on certain engineering features of the case was given by Messrs. B. E. Child, 
H. E. Linden, and Cyril Williams. 


The principal sources of supply of water to the aqueduct system are, 
or will be: (1) Owens Eiver, taken about half-way between the villages of 
Big Pine and Independence, and about 257 miles via the aqueduct works 
from Los Angeles; (2) Black Eock Springs, tributary to the line of open 
aqueduct above Haiwee Eeservoir about three miles below the intake 
on Owens Eiver; (3) Cottonwood Creek and some thirteen other smaller 
creeks tributary to the line of open aqueduct; (4) A large volume of artesian 
water to be taken in the future, when necessary, from wells sunk along the 
west side of the open aqueduct in the Independence region. 

It is considered to be unnecessary to discuss herein the yield of these 
various sources of supply. It may be stated that the works have been 
so designed that any or all of these sources may be drawn upon at will. 
Only a few wells have asj yet been developed. The flow from these is regu- 
larly taken into the aqueduct. The line of open aqueduct north of Haiwee 
Eeservoir is completely controllable by gates so that as much or as little 
water may be diverted from Owens Eiver and the tributary creeks as may 
be desired, limited, of course, to their respective yields. 


In order that the contentions of the City and the findings of the Court 
as respects the quality of water finally delivered to consumers in Los An- 
geles may be understood, it is necessary that a fairly comprehensive idea 
be had concerning the system of works comprised in the aqueduct project, 
especially with reference to their capacity and dimensions. The system 
may be roughly outlined as follows: 

(1) An intake on Owens Eiver about 15 miles north of Independence, 
the county seat of Inyo County. The drainage area tributary 
to this point is estimated to be about 2740 square miles. The 
elevation is 3814.8 feet. The intake is so designed that as much 
or as little water as is desired may be diverted from the Eiver. 

(2) A line of open aqueduct 60.8 miles in length from the intake on 
Owens Eiver to the north end of Haiwee Eeservoir. The upper 
or northerly portion of this aqueduct, comprising about 23.72 
miles, is an unlined ditch; the remainder or southerly portion is 
lined with concrete. Throughout its entire length, this stretch 
of open aqueduct is protected by a substantial barbed wire fence. 
All bridge crossings are properly enclosed. The carrying capacity 
of this section of the aqueduct is 580 million gallons per day. 
The rate of flow is estimated to vary from an average of about 
1.1 feet per second, with a draft of 26 million gallons per day, 
to 2.8 feet per second when the draft reaches 272 million gallons. 
This section of the aqueduct is provided with various diversion 
and regulating gates whereby the amount and character of the 
water entering it or flowing therein may be controlled. 

(3) Haiwee Eeservoir with high water elevation of 3760 feet. This 
reservoir consists virtually of three great elongated basins con- 
nected by narrow straits. Taken as a whole it is sinuous. The 


banks are bold, steep, and deeply incised by ancient erosion. The 
immediate watershed is small, uninhabited, practically rainless, a 
desert and almost without run-off. The only waters reaching this 
reservoir in significant amount must arrive through the open aque- 
duct discharging into the north end. The intake by which the 
water must leave the reservoir is located at the extreme south- 
erly end. Practically all water entering the reservoir must trav- 
erse its entire length of 7.25 miles before it can escape through 
the intake into the line of aqueduct below. The reservoir has an 
average width of about 2400 feet and an average depth of 30 
feet. The area of water surface at the high water line is 2100 
acres or nearly 3.3 square miles. It has been created by two 
hydraulic-fill dams, one at either end. The maximum depth of 
water at the north dam or inlet end is 28 feet; that at the south 
dam or intake end is 64 feet. The capacity of this great reser- 
voir, when filled to the high water line, is 20,800 million gallons. 

This reservoir is indeed unique among the storage reservoirs 
of the world. There is believed to be no other reservoir in ex- 
istance on a similar or anything like a similar scale of magnitude 
where the inflow is absolutely controllable because of the fact 
that it is not filled from its own watershed. The danger of short- 
circuiting when maintained with a reasonable depth of water is 
therefore absolutely eliminated. 

(4) About 135.5 miles of aqueduct from the south end of Haiwee 
Eeservoir to Fairmont Reservoir. For about 2 miles immediately 
below Haiwee Eeservoir the aqueduct consists of an open concrete- 
lined ditch. The remainder of the distance is comprised of con- 
crete-lined covered aqueduct, concrete-lined tunnels and riveted 
steel inverted siphons. The carrying capacity of this section is 
272 million gallons per 24 hours, and the velocity of flow varies 
from an average of about 2.7 feet per second, with a draft of 
26 million gallons per day, to about 5.3 feet per second when the 
draft becomes 272 million gallons daily. 

(5) Fairmont Reservoir, with a proposed high water elevation, when 
completed, of 3025 feet. This reservoir is being created by an 
hydraulic-fill dam which has not yet been raised to the ultimate 
height proposed. The present storage capacity is about 277 mil- 
lion gallons. The distance from inlet to outlet is about 0.4 mile. 
When completed the reservoir capacity will be 1940 million gal- 
lons. This basin will serve as a huge forebay for the San Fran- 
cisquito power plant. 

(6) About 17.6 miles of concrete-lined and covered aqueduct, concrete- 
lined tunnels and riveted steel pipe lines from Fairmont Eeser- 
voir to Dry Canyon Eeservoir. At the present time a portion of 
these works are under construction, and ever since the plant has 
been in service the water has been allowed to flow for a distance 
of about 9 miles through the San Francisquito Canyon to the loca- 
tion of the tunnel below the power house. (Since the above was 
written, the tunnels in San Francisquito Canyon have been com- 
pleted and the natural stream bed of the canyon is only used for 
a distance of about one and one-half miles in an inaccessible 
gorge in hard granite rock, which imparts no objectionable char- 
acter to the water.) The capacity of the conduits in this section 
is about 650 million gallons per 24 hours. The rate of flow is 
estimated to vary from a general average of 2.4 feet per second, 
with a daily draft of 26 million gallons, to 4.8 feet per second 
when the average draft becomes 272 million gallons per day. 

(7) Dry Canyon Eeservoir with high water elevation of 1505 feet. 
This reservoir has been created by an hydraulic-fill dam. The 
storage capacity is 430 million gallons. The distance from inlet to 
outlet is about 0.7 mile. This basin will serve as an equalizing 


reservoir to compensate for variations in draft on the part of the 
power plant in San Francisquito Canyon and on the part of the 

(8) About 11.5 miles of covered aqueduct, lined tunnels and riveted 
steel pipe lines from Dry Canyon Eeservoir to the Cascades, thence 
about 1.6 miles of open lined ditch to the inlets of the San Fer- 
nando Eeservoirs. The capacity of the conduits in this section 
is 272 million gallons per 24 hours. The rate of flow is estimated 
to vary from an average of about 2.7 feet per second, with a daily 
draft of 26 million gallons, to about 5.4 feet per second when the 
aqueduct is delivering at its full rated capacity. 

(9) San Fernando Eeservoir No. 1 with a proposed high water eleva- 
tion of 1265 feet, a length between inlet and intake of 0.7 mile, 
and a capacity of 4,900 million gallons. This reservoir has not 
yet been constructed. 

(10) San Fernando Eeservoir No. 2 with a proposed high water eleva- 
tion of 1135 feet, a length between inlet and intake of 1.4 miles, 
and a capacity of 7,500 million gallons. This reservoir is being 
created by the erection of a high hydraulic-fill dam. This reser- 
voir will be by-passed and will not form a component part of the 
works, as now proposed, delivering water into the present distri- 
bution system in Los Angeles. 

(11) About 12.8 miles of concrete-lined tunnel and riveted steel pipe 
line from San Fernando Eeservoir No. 1 to the inlet of Upper 
Franklin Eeservoir. The capacity of this conduit is 97 million 
gallons daily. The rate of flow therein is estimated to vary from 
about 1.0 foot per second, with a draft of 26 million gallons per 
day, to about 7.4 feet per second with a daily draft equal to the 
capacity of the conduit. 

(12) Upper Franklin Eeservoir with high water elevation of 850 feet, 
a length between inlet and intake of 0.25 mile and a capacity of 
42 million gallons. This frasin has been created by an hydraulic- 
fill dam to serve as a distributing reservoir for the City. 

(13) About 1.1 miles of riveted steel conduit from the intake of Upper 
Franklin Reservoir to the inlet of Lower Franklin Eeservoir. This 
pipe line has a carrying capacity of 39 million gallons per 24 
hours. The velocity therein will vary from about 3.1 feet per 
second, with a draft of 26 million gallons per day, to about 8.6 
feet per second when flowing at its rated capacity. 

(14) Lower Franklin Eeservoir with a proposed high water elevation 
of 575 feet, a length from inlet to intake of 0.63 mile and a 
capacity of 360 million gallons. This reservoir is now under con- 
struction. It is being created by an hydraulic-fill dam. Like 
Upper Franklin Eeservoir this basin will serve as a distributing 
reservoir for the City. 

(15) A main riveted steel pipe line about 7.0 miles in length connecting 
Lower Franklin Eeservoir with the district in Los Angeles sup- 
plied from the aqueduct system. This line has a rated carrying 
capacity of 26 million gallons per day. When delivering this 
volume of water the velocity therein is about 3.1 feet per second. 
It can deliver 40 million gallons per day, at which rate the 
velocity in the pipe line would require to be 5.3 feet per second. 


The total storage capacity of the reservoirs now built and build- 
ing, through which water supplied to consumers in Los Angeles must pass 
on its way from the source of supply in Owens Valley, is 23,570 million gal- 
lons. From the data just presented, it is possible to calculate the time 


factor in the conduits and reservoirs of the system with the exception of 
the storage period in Haiwee Eeservoir. If maintained half full of water 
this will never be less than 38 days with an ultimate development of works 
represented by 272 million gallons per day. With the use of water at the 
rate of 26 million gallons daily, as at present, the storage period at half 
capacity is 402 days. The storage periods with the reservoir maintained 
full of water would be double the figures just given. 

Other reservoirs are possible and are proposed in the ultimate system 
of works. With these in service the storage periods would be vastly pro- 


The fundamental factor determining the degree of significant pollution 
of any given source of water supply is the extent to which it does or may 
receive the foecal wastes from human beings. Man himself is the chief 
agent of infection of mankind. Animal infection is relatively unimportant 
and especially so when matters of water supply and the diseases which are 
water borne are considered. A moderate amount of organic matter in 
water, in the absence of pathogenic bacteria, must be considered as entirely 
harmless and without significance. Long human experience with waters 
charged to varying degrees with the organic matter in question has dem- 
onstrated beyond peradventure the fact just stated. 

Theoretically the germs of one serious animal disease may be carried 
by water and may cause sickness among human beings. This disease is 
anthrax. Throughout the hearing of the case the counsel for the plaintiffs 
attempted to make a strong point of this feature since anthrax to a limited 
extent has occurred among cattle in the Owens Valley. The annals of 
hygiene, however, fail to record one single case of human anthrax which 
can be attributed to the drinking of an infected water supply. 

It remains therefore to examine the conditions prevailing within the 
drainage basin of the aqueduct supply to determine the extent to which 
human and perhaps animal foecal wastes do or may enter the streams and 
cause their contamination. Furthermore, all of the conditions of self -purifi- 
cation of these waters must be examined to determine the likelihood of the 
survival of any pathogenic bacteria, should such enter the supply above 
Haiwee Reservoir, until the water is delivered to consumers in Los An- 

Between the inlet of Haiwee Reservoir and the distribution system 
in Los Angeles, a distance of 196.2 miles via the aqueduct works, involving 
a chain of at least five reservoirs and perhaps six, there is not one perma- 
nent source of contamination of the aqueduct water. The only temporary 
source of possible contamination is the course of San Francisquito Canyon 
for a distance of nine miles (*), wherein the aqueduct waters are or have 
been allowed to flow during the period required for the construction of cer- 
tain tunnels, fore-bay, pen-stocks, power-house and tail works in this sec- 
tion. This section is practically uninhabited except for the aqueduct con- 
struction camps near the power house site. The canyon is traversed by a 
county road which sustains some small amount of travel. 

(*) See item 6, page 38. 



The total drainage area tributary to Owens River above the intake of 
the aqueduct is estimated to be 2740 square miles. That tributary to the 
inlet of Haiwee Reservoir is about 3350 square miles, including 500 square 
miles in the watershed of Cottonwood Creek above the line of the aqueduct. 
The drainage area directly tributary to Haiwee Reservoir is perhaps 60 
square miles. In general the westerly portion of the drainage basin com- 
prising the easterly slopes of the Sierra Nevada Mountains is the only part 
from which there is any considerable run-off. The easterly portion of the 
drainage basin is comprised of the dry, arid westerly slopes of the White 
and Inyo Mountains. 


The total population resident in the drainage basin of Owens River 
above Haiwee Reservoir is estimated to be about 4600 at the present time. 
Roughly speaking the bulk of this population is grouped in four districts, as 
follows: in Round Valley, in and around Bishop, in and around Big Pine, 
and in and around Independence. There are perhaps 1150 dwellings within 
the drainage basin and of these fully 650 are scattered and are outside of 
the villages just named. From figures presented in the last Federal census 
reports it is estimated that there are not more than 350 farm or ranch 
houses in this entire area of 3350 square miles in question. It will be seen 
that the average density of population is but 1.4 persons per square mile. 

There is scarcely a large impounding reservoir in the United States on 
whose watershed the population is so sparse as that tributary to the Los 
Angeles Aqueduct at Haiwee Reservoir. The average density of population 
on 77 reservoir watersheds in Massachusetts, a state of notably excellent 
and safe water supplies, is 132 per square mile. The density of population 
on the reservoir drainage basins of Boston, Worcester, Fall River, New 
Bedford and Brockton, Mass., and Rochester and Syracuse, New York, 
ranges from 21 to 210 times as great as that upon the watershed tributary to 
Haiwee Reservoir. In none of these cases is the water purified and made 
safe in any other way than by storage. In none of these cases is a reser- 
voir filled by any other way than from its own watershed under conditions, 
especially as regards flood, which are not controllable. 

There is but one incorporated place on the drainage area above Haiwee 
Reservoir. This is the little City of Bishop, estimated to have a population 
of 1500 at present. There are but two unincorporated hamlets or villages 
in the drainage area. These are Big Pine, having a population of perhaps 
300, and Independence, the County seat, having a population of 200. 

From the best statistics available it appears that the animal (domestic) 
population of the area is 35,700, of which 40% are cattle and 38% sheep 
and goats. On the average there is one domestic animal to every 60 acres 
in the drainage area. 

The City of Bishop is provided with a sewerage system serving approxi- 
mately two-thirds of the population or perhaps 1,000 persons. On account 
of the high ground water in this district, the sewers have been underdrained. 
The underdrains for some unaccountable reason have been arranged to dis- 


charge into the sanitary sewers at the manholes. In consequence the flow 
is relatively very large and the sewage is correspondingly very weak. The 
present total daily flow of sewage is perhaps 500,000 gallons, or 500 gallons 
per capita connected with the sewers. The sewage is treated in a septic 
tank of the Cameron type, and the effluent is discharged through ditches 
upon land. For the most part it disappears through seepage into the coarse 
gravelly soil, but at times at least a portion of it overflows lands to the 
southeast of the septic tank and enters a slough which, after a long course 
with many interruptions in the shape of ponds, lagoons and marshes, reaches 
Owens Kiver or Big Pine Canal, according to conditions. If received into 
Big Pine Canal, which is believed generally to be the case, it is carried far 
to the south where it disappears entirely through seepage and does not enter 
Owens Kiver or any of its direct tributaries. Just east of the location of the 
septic tank there is a low ridge of sandy land which mechanical analyses 
of properly collected samples show to be perfectly adapted to sewage dis- 
posal by intermittent sand filtration. The sewage of Bishop could unques- 
tionably be disposed of in a most effective and innocuous way upon filter 
beds properly constructed and operated upon the site in question. 

Five hundred persons in the town of Bishop and the remaining 3100 
persons elsewhere in the drainage area are provided with privies. It seemed 
to be possible to find but one privy in all this number, namely 900, which 
discharged its contents directly into any natural stream or irrigation canal. 
The exception noted was at once suppressed. It is doubtful if there is 
another equivalent number of inhabitants in rural America who have so 
completely refrained, as have the people in Owens Valley, from directly 
polluting the local streams and irrigating waters. In a very few instances' 
investigation showed that privies were in existence at distances as small as 
from 4 to 6 feet of controllable water courses, such as irrigation ditches, but 
the vast majority, say fully 95%, were located at substantial distances 
from such water courses. 

It has become the custom in Owens Valley to build stock corrals imme- 
diately adjacent to natural streams or with irrigation ditches passing 
through them. In a very few of these corrals it is possible that considerable 
amounts of manure may be washed by very heavy rains or high water, into 
the streams. A careful study of the conditions has shown that in the 
majority of cases the water courses passing through the corrals are irrigation 
ditches and are controllable with respect to the volume of water flowing 
therein. In very many instances these ditches are above the general level 
of the corrals. 

It can be stated positively that the conditions within the drainage area 
tributary to the Los Angeles aqueduct above Haiwee Eeservoir are unusually 
good, for rural communities, with respect to the amount of human or animal 
contamination of the water supply. Furthermore, the conditions are such 
that, with a minimum expenditure of time and money, through sanitary 
inspection, the conditions can be made thoroughly satisfactory. 


It is apparent that if, under all circumstances, the length of time 
required for any water supply to pass from the last possible source of 




pollution to the point of distribution and use is greater than the longevity 
of pathogenic organisms under the environmental conditions which obtain, 
then such a supply must become safe. The result is the same as that which 
would be secured by other processes, as by filtration or chemical disinfec- 
tion. Herein lies the fundamental principle of the purification of water 
supplies by storage. 

Thfe pathogenic bacteria are, as a class, used only to the rich warm 
juices of the animal body. If, perchance, they are cast into the relatively 
cold environment of a body of water they are at once confronted with con- 
ditions which are unusual and untoward. They cannot long survive. 

The period representing the viability of pathogenic bacteria causing 
the water-borne diseases constituted one of the chief features of contention 
between the parties during the hearing of the cases in question. The evi- 
dence seemed to be overwhelming (and even the experts for the plaintiff could 
not but acquiesce if the opinions of the authorities which they themselves 
cited, may be relied upon) that the life of such organisms, even of the 
resistant minority, so-called, must be very brief. All recent experiments 
and investigations, conducted under modern laboratory procedure and 
having due regard to the conditions actually prevailing in nature, demon- 
strate that the great mass of typhoid bacilli introduced into an ordinary 
surface water supply die out in a very few days, say two or three, and 
that all are destroyed within, say, two weeks. A storage period of three 
weeks or a month would surely be sufficient to insure the destruction of all 
bacteria causing the group of diseases in question. Of these diseases typhoid 
fever is, in America, by very far the most important. In the tropics 
cholera is the most dreadful water-borne disease. All available evidence 
goes to show that the longevity of the cholera vibrio is substantially less 
than that of the typhoid bacillus. Bacteria causing bacillary dysentery are 
probably but little, if any, longer lived in water supplies than are the typhoid 


There are many inter-related agencies or factors tending to separate 
and destroy any pathogenic bacteria which may enter a stored water supply. 
Those which seem to be the principal factors may be enumerated as follows: 

(1) devitalization, the general result of an unfavorable environment; 

(2) dilution or separation, reducing the number of organisms per unit of 
volume; (3) equalization or the tendency to produce uniformity in numbers 
and conditions; (4) sedimentation, both in the presence of particles of con- 
siderable subsiding value and without; (5) the inhibiting and destructive 
action of sunlight; (6) the inhibiting and devitalizing effect of relatively 
low temperatures; (7) low or different and always unsuitable food supply; 
(8) the inhibiting and destructive effect of the toxic products of saprophytic 
bacteria; (9) the ill-defined action of osmosis. The net result of the action 
and inter-action of these several factors may be summed up in the term 
' ' general unfavorable environment. ' ' In considering the efficiency of storage 
in the destruction of pathogenic bacteria, it is only necessary to insure 
that the time factor is sufficient; in other words, that the time elapsing be 
FO great that any disease producing bacteria discharged from the human 
organism will be destroyed before those same germs can be re-ingested by 


other human beings. The expression "those same germs" is used advisedly 
since all the evidence at hand shows that under the environmental condi- 
tions herein considered, the pathogenic bacteria in question cannot multiply 
or produce their kind. The problem, therefore, becomes one of destroying 
certain bacteria which are extremely sensitive to environmental conditions 
and which cannot long survive those which are untoward. 


A chain is only as strong as the weakest link determines; a reservoir, 
as respects the destruction of pathogenic bacteria, is only so safe as the 
minimum time factor represents. Most storage reservoirs are filled directly 
by the tributary streams from their own immediate watersheds. Very many 
of these are subject to "short-circuiting" by floods, which pass rapidly 
through them, or by waters, contributed from portions of their watersheds, 
which are concentrated close to their outlets. Thus, one of the most notable 
reservoirs employed for domestic water supply purposes in California has 
a capacity represented by fully 500 days of the safe yield of the catchment 
area, yet during maxima floods there has been wasted over its spillway 
in two days' time a volume of water equivalent to the entire reservoir 
prism. Again, one of the lakes repeatedly referred to in the testimony in 
behalf of the plaintiff as having been short-circuited by wind action, has 
5% of its total drainage area tributary in the immediate vicinity of its 
outlet where the water works intake was located. About 14% of the 
drainage area was tributary at a point three miles from the intake in ques- 
tion, the lake being eleven miles in length. Approximately 22% of the 
watershed area was tributary to the shores of the lake through very large 
numbers of small water courses. The lake shores are populated by large 
numbers of summer residents and the entire drainage basin is comprised 
in a farming community and probably supports no less than forty persons 
per square mile, representing nearly thirty times the average density of 
population on the drainage basin tributary to the Los Angeles aqueduct. 

The possible effects of wind in tending to induce short-circuiting in 
reservoirs received much attention on the part of the witnesses for the 
plaintiff. It naturally was attempted to make as much of this matter as 
possible. The conditions of shape, depth and topography of the surrounding 
country at Haiwee Reservoir did not, however, lend themselves readily to 
such arguments as these witnesses were able to offer. Indeed, such experi- 
ments and observations as could be made at the reservoir with reference 
to this general matter seemed to weaken rathen than to support the theories 

Notwithstanding the limitations to which storage reservoirs in general 
are subject, the available information shows that they are in general among 
the greatest of sanitary safeguards for water supplies; and supplies derived 
therefrom are, on the average, fully as safe if not actually safer than the 
effluents of modern water purification plants of various accepted types. 
Of the fifty cities in the United States having in 1910 populations of 100,000 
or over, eight have water supplies which are protected and purified by 
storage alone, and eleven others either have safe ground water supplies or 
else are sterilizing their supplies, in some cases subsequently to filtration. 


The average typhoid fever death rate per 100,000 for the five-year period 
1909-1913 for the first group of eight cities was 8.0 while that for the second 
group of eleven cities was 13.2. 

The typhoid fever death rate in forty-three cities and towns in Massa- 
chusetts whose water supplies are purified by storage alone was only 8.08 
per 100,000 for the three-year period 1910-1912. The average rate for the 
entire state during the same period was 9.5. 


The general nature and capacities of the several reservoirs now built 
or building in connection with the Los Angeles aqueduct project have been 
briefly discussed in the foregoing pages. It is, of course, patent that if 
reservoirs are empty they become no better than stream beds and the time 
factor becomes little or nothing. In estimating upon the time factor which 
will apply to the Aqueduct works, it has been necessary to assume some 
storage below which the reservoirs will never be drawn. A careful study 
of the whole matter has led to the conclusion that Haiwee Eeservoir could 
and should be maintained at a stage representing never less than one-half 
capacity and that the remaining reservoirs in the chain at stages never less 
than two-thirds capacity. Such assumptions require that the water resources 
of the system be sufficient, dependable and available upon demand. That 
such will be the case has been demonstrated by a long series of stream 
measurements and underground water investigations. 

Haiwee Eeservoir has in its bottom certain depressions of considerable 
size which are below the lowest intake level. It, therefore, can never be 
drained completely by gravity even if this were desired. All of the other 
reservoirs of the system, excepting perhaps San Fernando Eeservoir No. 2, 
must from the very nature of their purpose, be maintained at all times as 
full as possible. 

As stated above Haiwee Eeservoir is notable from the fact that it is so 
very large and yet is not filled from its own watershed but only through a 
60-mile line of aqueduct in which the flow is absolutely under control at 
all times. The maximum rate of filling, with no draft upon the reservoir 
an impossible condition cannot be more than 650 million gallons per day, 
equivalent to only one-thirty-second of the total capacity of this huge 
reservoir. There are, of course, reservoirs fed directly from their own 
drainage basins which do not fill and cannot be filled except in a prolonged 
interval. However, very few, if any, of these reservoirs receive their entire 
supply at one end and draw it from the other and few are as well calculated 
to insure total displacement in so doing as is Haiwee Eeservoir. A usual 
case is the one cited on page 44. Another well known illustration is the 
Boonton Eeservoir which, although fully two miles in length, receives its 
supply almost entirely at a point only 3,900 feet distant from the intake 
of the water works which is located at one end of the dam creating tin 
storage basin. 

The catchment areas of all of the other reservoirs in the aqueduct system 
are also small and uninhabited and the supply of water received therefrom 
is safe and entirely suitable for domestic purposes. 

Assuming that Haiwee Eeservoir is maintained at least one-half full of 


water and the other reservoirs of the system (exclusive of San Fernando 
Eeservoir No. 2) at least two-thirds full, the total minimum storage period 
in the system at various stages of draft or development will be as follows: 

Draft per Day Days in Storage and Transit 

26 million gallons* 468* 

136 million gallons 122 

272 million gallons 65 

*San Fernando Eeservoir No. 1 and Lower Franklin Reservoir not in 
use: San Fernando Eeservoir No. 2 by-passed. 

By these figures it will be seen that, even with ultimate development 
when the draft reaches an average of 272 million gallons per day, the 
minimum period required for the water to pass from the inlet of Haiwee 
Eeservoir to consumers in Los Angeles, under the assumed conditions of 
stage, would be 65 days. This interval is so great that there/ will be not the 
slightest likelihood of the survival of any pathogenic bacteria which might 
by chance enter the supply at the source. Under the draft conditions 
existing at the time of the hearing of the cases in question, the time interval 
was fully 468 days. With the works developed to one-half their ultimate 
capacity, the time factor in question will be fully 122 days under the con- 
ditions of stage assumed. 


Very careful series of long-time gaugings and various studies of water 
resources have shown that the yield of surface water from Owens Eiver 
and the creeks tributary to the line of the aqueduct above Haiwee Eeservoir 
is sufficient to maintain this reservoir at a stage representing never less 
than five-sixths of full capacity during the most critical period covered 
during the period of record (January 1, 1904 to date), when the average 
draught upon the system is one-half of the ultimate contemplated develop- 
ment, namely 136 million gallons per day. To maintain the reservoir two- 
thirds full during a critical period of the same severity as that just referred 
to when the works are developed to the point where the average draft is 
272 million gallons per day will require a supplementary supply either from 
the ground or from storage in reservoirs constructed along the upper reaches 
of Owens Eiver. It is the present intention to develop this auxiliary supply 
from the extraordinarily large underground resources of the Independence 
region by means of wells. It would also be completely possible to develop 
it, it is believed, through the storage of flood waters in the proposed Long 
Valley and Tinemaha Eeservoirs, one or both, as might be found needful. 
The opportunities for such storage, especially in Long Valley, appear to be 
remarkably good. 

To maintain Haiwee Eeservoir half-full of water under the conditions 
stated will demand a maximum rate of supplementary feeding (from wells 
or other storage) of about 140 million gallons per day. The average daily 
demand during this most critical period would be about 75 million gallons. 
An extended series of observations in Owens Valley (see United States 
Geological Survey Water-Supply Paper No. 294) has demonstrated con- 
clusively that a system of wells can readily be developed to yield the total 
quantity of water demanded by the conditions in question at the maximum 
rate just noted. The storage and underground water studies forming the 
basis of conclusions just stated were made by Mr. Charles H. Lee. 


The sound deduction from all of these studies whose results were 
largely presented in the city's behalf during the hearing before Judge 
Works, must be: (1) that the storage may readily be maintained at the 
stages assumed during the most critical period covered by the record to 
date and this period, September 3, 1912, to October 31, 1913, must be re- 
garded as representing an extraordinary drought such as has probably 
seldom occurred in California in modern times and (2) that, if such 
storage is maintained, the time factor will be so great as to represent the 
highest possible efficiency in the destruction of pathogenic bacteria, should 
they appear in the sources of supply, thereby rendering the water safe and 
wholesome when delivered to consumers in the city. 


The witnesses for the plaintiff notwithstanding, it seems to be per- 
fectly true that all up-to-date competent authorities are now agreed that 
organic matter in water, at least in any reasonable amount which is likely 
to obtain in surface sources, even those which are heavily charged with 
sewage, is quite without significance if harmful bacteria are absent. Chem- 
ical analysis is unable to give any definite information with respect to 
the character or number of bacteria present. It may be concluded that 
the so-called sanitary analysis, which attempts to determine the amount 
and state of nitrogenous matters dissolved or suspended in the water, has 
practically served its day and, except in certain routine work and for 
special cases and conditions, must be relegated to the past. Nowhere else 
does the impossibility of consistent interpretation of this sanitary analysis 
appear quite so prominently as in so-called expert testimony where the 
parties to the suit on the same data are trying to demonstrate different 

The attorney for the plaintiffs spent a great deal of time during the 
hearing of the cases in question upon the results of certain chemical analyses 
collected from the aqueduct system and from Owens River and its tributaries 
at various points on two different occasions. The learned witnesses who 
interpreted the results of the analyses pronounced the water from Haiwee 
Reservoir and all points below as entirely unsafe and unfit for drinking 
purposes. They pictured the horrible ptomaine and toxic catastrophies 
which would visit death and destruction upon the innocent inhabitants of 
Los Angeles should the wicked Board of Public Service Commissioners 
permit this vile fluid to be supplied for domestic uses. 

As a check upon the analyses produced by these experts, the analysts 
for the city also collected water from the various parts of the system and 
made these so-called sanitary analyses upon them. The results of the two 
groups of analyses were not hopelessly different if exception is taken with 
respect to the results of certain analyses which one of the witnesses for 
the plaintiff made on samples which were stored for as many as ten days 
before the analytical work was performed. 

It may be interesting to compare The analyses of samples collected at 
the intake of the aqueduct on Owens River with those of Massachusetts 
water supplies derived from 153 surface sources for which records extending 
over long periods have been systematically obtained. The average analyses 


for the five-year period 1905-1909 for 110 sources out of the total number 
of 153 were as high or higher with respect to free ammonia, 144 sources 
were as high or higher as respects albuminoid ammonia and 15 sources were 
as high or higher with respect to nitrates. The nitrite content of surface 
waters was not summarized in the Massachusetts statistics referred to (41st 
Annual Keport, Massachusetts State Board of Health, 1909, pages 201-225), 
perhaps because it was too variable and uncertain to be of interest. 

The results of analyses of samples collected further down in the system, 
near the point of distribution, namely in the section between the San Fer- 
nando Reservoirs and Franklin Reservoirs, may be of interest as compared 
with the results for the same group of Massachusetts surface water sources 
above referred to. Of the total of 153 sources represented, 14 were as high 
or higher with respect to free ammonia, 58 as high or higher with respect to 
albuminoid ammonia and 3 as high or higher with respect to nitrates. No 
one has ever discovered or complained that the state of health in the 
various communities having these higher amounts of nitrogenous material 
in their drinking waters was not fully as good as that in the communities 
having water supplies extraordinarily low in organic composition. 

In order to show what effect, if any, the drinking of waters heavily 
charged with organic matter might have upon the health of consumers as 
compared with those low in organic content, the general death rates in 15 
Massachusetts cities and towns deriving their water supplies from storage 
reservoirs containing the largest amounts of albuminoid ammonia and high 
free ammonia were compared with those of 15 other cities and towns in 
Massachusetts whose water supplies from storage reservoirs were generally 
lowest in albuminoid ammonia and low in free ammonia. The analyses 
and vital statistics covered the same period, namely the five-year period 
1905-1909, inclusive. The study showed that the general death rates in 
the two groups of cities were practically identical, being 0.01 per 1000 
higher in the cities supplied with waters lowest in organic content, as repre- 
sented by albuminoid and free ammonia. 

The mineral composition of the water derived from the aqueduct system 
was not projected into the hearing of the cases. On this feature there can 
be no controversy. Daily samples for the entire year 1908 were collected 
from Owens River just above the aqueduct intake and were analyzed for 
their mineral composition in 10-day composites in the laboratories of the 
United States Geological Survey. The water was found to carry only 16 
parts per million of turbidity. The suspended matter causing the turbidity 
was found to be extremely coarse and capable of settling almost completely 
out of the water in a very short period. The average turbidity is only 
13% of the average of the Sacramento River at Sacramento, 15% of that 
of the Potomac River at Washington, 30% of that of the Susquehanna 
River at Harrisburg, 41% of that of the Delaware River at Philadelphia 
and 55% of that of the Hudson River at Albany. The maximum turbidity 
of Owens River water was found to be only about 3 or 4 times the average. 
The maxima turbidities of all of the streams mentioned above are many 
times the average values for these rivers. 

The total hardness of the water of Owens River was shown not to be 
excessive when compared with that of the majority of the water supplies of 


the municipalities in California. The supplies of Alameda, Berkeley, Fresno, 
Oakland, Pasadena, Redlands, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San 
Francisco and Stockton all have an average total hardness greater than that 
of Owens River. The Los Angeles River supply at the headworks has a 
total hardness 150% greater, and at Crystal Springs a hardness 67% greater 
than that of Owens River water. 


All analyses show that at the inlet of Haiwee Reservoir the aqueduct 
supply contains considerable numbers of bacteria of the species developing 
on agar at 37 C. In the eight samples taken by the analysts of both parties 
to the suit and whose analyses are available, the numbers ranged from 50 
to 2100 per cc. Four, or 50%, of the samples were negative for B. coli. In 
two of the other samples the organism was present in 10 cc. and in the re- 
maining two samples it was present in 1 cc. 

Eight samples of water were collected for bacteriological analysis at 
the intake of Haiwee Reservoir by Messrs. Wilson and Brem for the city. 
The counts on agar ranged from 60 to 1800 per ec. and averaged 800. B. 
coli was not found in any of the samples. The analysts for the plaintiffs in 
the two sets of samples collected at this point succeeded in finding B. coli 
in 0.4 and 0.5 cc. 

On general principles, as enunciated above, it is obvious that real interest 
should center in the bacteriological character of the water of the Aqueduct 
system as delivered to consumers in Los Angeles. Many samples of water 
were collected by the analysts for the City at various times at points care- 
fully selected to represent as comprehensively as possible the entire area 
in the city supplied by the Aqueduct works. These were all examined in 
accordance with the most rigorous procedure with the following results: 

B. coli 

Name of No. of Samples Average . 

Analyst Examined Total Count* Neg. in Pos. in Pos. in 

10 cc. 10 cc. 1 cc. 
















*0n agar 

at 37 C., 24 


The results are surely very satisfactory. B. coli, the typical intestinal 
organism of both man and animals, were not found once in 1 cc. in the 59 
samples represented. They were found in 10 cc. portions of 11 samples or 
in about 23% of the entire number examined. Considering the newness 
of the reservoirs, the large numbers of water fowl thereon and the (tem- 
porary) exposure to animal contamination in San Francisquito Canyon, it 
seems wholly reasonable to conclude that the intestinal organisms found 
were entirely from animal sources and had no sanitary significance. 

The significance of the presence of B. coli in a water supply rests, of 
course, in the fact that if intestinal germs are present from human sources, 
the pathogenic bacteria which cause the water-borne diseases may also be 
present. In so far as the opinion of sanitarians has been crystalized at all 
with respect to the significance of B. coli in surface waters, it would seem 
to be that the occasional presence in 10 cc. or even in 1 cc. has but little 


sanitary significance. If this organism is persistently present in 1 cc. of 
samples examined there is good ground for the belief that the source is 
no longer harmless animal pollution but rather the more constant and dan- 
gerous wastes from human beings. 

An interesting side light was thrown upon the theory that water fowl 
might be responsible for the B. coli found in the waters of Franklin Res- 
ervoir and in part for those found in the other storage basins of the system. 
Two wild duck were shot in Upper Franklin Eeservoir and their intestinal 
tracts were examined for B. coli. This organism was present true to type 
in enormous numbers in each case, the average being about 50,000,000 per 
gram of dejecta in the intestinal canals. 

It is a striking and significant fact that the chief witness for the 
plaintiff made no bacteriological examinations whatever of the water from 
the AqueducT system as delivered to consumers in Los Angeles. Two samples 
only were reported by another witness. Both samples were taken at the 
same date at the residence of E. M. Frost. The total count was given as 
110 per cc. (presumably after 72 hours incubation at 37 C. on agar). 
B. coli were reported as absent in 5 cc. of one sample and as identified in 
1 cc. of the second sample. It is difficult to state how much value may be 
placed upon the work of this witness since, during cross-examination in the 
hearing before Judge Works, she naively admitted that she had been 
employed to find pollution and that samples which did not show such con- 
ditions were discarded. 


It has now become possible to effectively disinfect public water sup- 
plies in the largest volumes at an extremely low cost and with the minimum 
of attention employing either liquid chlorine or hypochlorite of calcium 
(bleaching powder). If at any future time it is desired for aesthetic 
reasons or to ' ' make assurance doubly sure ' ' to virtually sterilize the water 
by either of the methods stated, it can be done. The conditions at Lower 
Franklin Reservoir are ideally devised for such treatment so that the water 
entering the distribution system from the Aqueduct system may be ren- 
dered not only practically free from B. coli, as at present, but also prac- 
tically free from all bacterial life. 

Chlorination of the supply from the Los Angeles River works has now 
been undertaken and is producing excellent results. All bacteriological 
samples collected from this source during the preparation of evidence for 
the hearing of the cases in question and prior to the installation of chlorin- 
ating devices were found to contain B. coli. These were present in 91% 
of 1 ce. samples and in 10 cc. of all samples. 


In the earlier days of water works engineering but little attention was 
paid to the sanitary character of the supply. The principal object was to 
secure a sufficient quantity of water. Gradually, with the development of 
a knowledge of bacteriology and a growing appreciation of the intimate 
relationship between water supplies and disease, the demand has arisen not 
only for abundance but also for safety and aesthetics as comprehended by 


freedom from disease germs and as far as possible from all bacterial life 
and by good appearance and taste. Today the requirements of quality and 
quantity must be considered of equal and absolutely essential importance. 
The failure of a water supply to meet either of these fundamental require- 
ments must be considered as a real delinquency entailing a definite burden 
which must be borne by the community. 

The production of safety as well as of good appearance in a public 
water supply has a sanitary and aesthetic significance which cannot be 
measured by any financial standard, important as this may be. The real 
test is not the quality at the source; it is the quality at the point of use. 
These finer qualities in a water supply bespeak progress, they imply addi- 
tional safety and comfort in living and in so far as water supplies have to 
do with these matters, purity means better general health, a real conserva- 
tion and promotion of those forces which may be regarded as the vital assets 
of the community. Indeed, the simple fact that its water supply is at all 
times safe, wholesome and attractive, rather than dangerous and of ill 
appearace, is an asset of very material worth to any community. 

The opinion of sanitary engineers, sanitarians and in general those who 
i re familiar with the development of water supply standards, has now 
become crystalized with respect to the requirements which the supply and 
works must fulfill. These requirements are sanitary, aesthetic, commercial 
and protective in their nature. They may be summarized as follows: 

(a) Quality 

(1) Primarily the water supply must be free from pathogenic or 
disease producing organisms. More than this, it should be free 
from those allied organic forms which may not as yet be recog- 
nized as accompanying disease, but which may nevertheless not be 
conducive to health. This condition of safety must prevail con- 
tinuously and the supply must not be subject to what may be 
termed "accidental" contamination. 

(2) The water must be uniformly clear and free from turbidity, both 
that which may be produced by suspended mineral matters, and 
also that which may be due to suspended organic (vegetable and 
animal) growths or impurities. 

(3) The water must not be discolored by dissolved vegetable matters 
to such an extent that it may be objectionably apparent when 
employed for table use or in the arts. 

(4) The water must at all times be free from both tastes and odors, 
either those produced by dissolved gases or those which may be 
due to the growth and decay of micro-organisms (minute plants 
and animals frequenting lakes, reservoirs and rivers, but usually 
prevailing to the least extent in the last named source). 

(5) The water should be reasonably soft and of sufliciently low min- 
eral content so that it shall be satisfactory in this respect not 
only for domestic purposes but for steam making and other indus- 
trial and commercial uses. 

(6) As far as possible the water should be cool and palatable. 

(b) Quantity 

(7) The supply must be abundant and unfailing, but for economic 
reasons must be conserved in such manner that all preventable 
waste shall be eliminated. 

(c) Dependableness 

(8) The pressure under which the water shall continuously act in the 
distribution pipes must be ample to serve the various districts 
according to their specific character and needs. 


(9) The system of works must be one in which design and construc- 
tion may be executed in such a way that they will successfully 
meet conditions imposed by the natural phenomena occurring or 
likely to occur within the region in question. 

(10) The various structures in connection with the system of water 
works should be so located, arranged, built and protected that 
they may not be unduly exposed to fires or other accidents be- 
falling neighboring structures. 

The requirements which have been outlined above are not more exacting 
than the principles of sanitary science, aesthetics, economics and safe en- 
gineering demand; in fact, they are only rational requirements upon which 
the public at large, gradually educated to higher ideals, will become more 
and more insistent as time goes on. 

It is pertinent to inquire how completely the character and conditions 
of the Aqueduct supply at the point of use do and will measure up to the 
ideal standards pronounced above. With respect to the several qualitative 
standards we may conclude: 

(1) That the supply is now and will remain at all times practically 
free from all pathogenic bacteria. If chemically treated according 
to recently devised, cheap and readily applicable methods to which 
the distributing works are peculiarly well adapted, as explained 
hereinbefore it will become practically free from all bacterial 
life. It may safely be assumed, however, that the present bacterial 
composition is not unsatisfactory and is entirely without sanitary 
significance. As soon as the ' ' newness ' ' of the reservoirs wears off 
and the permanent shore lines become established there is not the 
slightest doubt but that the ordinary bacterial content of the 
supply will be naturally and substantially decreased. 

(2) That the water delivered to consumers is and will be clear, and 
especially so when, with increasing age, the permanent shores of 
the reservoirs become established. Lower Franklin Eeservoir, which 
is the last in the series in the Aqueduct system and wherein the 
water is stored immediately before it is delivered to consumers, is 
ideally contrived to prevent the growth of algae and other micro- 
organisms, as well as of bacteria, by the use of chemicals. 

(3) That the water of Owens Eiver and its tributaries is practically 
colorless and free from vegetable stain. There is no reason to 
believe that its character in this respect will deteriorate in passing 
through the Aqueduct system. 

(4) That under the conditions which do and will obtain, and in view 
of the fortunate situation with respect to Lower Franklin Eeservoir 
as just noted in (2) above, the aqueduct supply will always be 
satisfactory from the standpoint of odors and tastes. All storage 
reservoirs are more or less subject, at intervals, to the growths of 
micro-organisms. By modern methods these can be effectively con- 

(5) That as noted on page 49, the aqueduct supply is much softer than 
the supply derived from Los Angeles Eiver. It is softer than the 
majority of the water supplies of the larger cities in California. 

(6) That the conditions as respects coolness are matters dependent upon 
the climate and the depths to which the water mains are laid. 
With the control of growths of micro-organisms in the reservoirs, 
and particularly in Lower Franklin Eeservoir, there is every reason 
to believe that the water will continue to be palatable as it is at 

The water resources of the aqueduct system have been discussed at 
some length in the preceding pages. All of the studies which have been 


made demonstrate that the volume of supply for which the system has been 
designed can be developed and can be maintained at all times and under all 

It is not the purpose of this paper to discuss the structural stability 
and other features having to do with the dependableness of the works. 
Most of the structures have already been tested through a considerable 
period. They have proved their ability to stand and to perform the service 
for which they were intended. Indeed, it can be stated without reservation 
that this magnificent enterprise, now all but completed, has been carried 
through in a marvelously enduring fashion with an economy which has won 
the enthusiastic praise of the whole engineering world. 


No more suitable or fitting conclusion to this discussion could be offered 
than the decision of Judge Lewis R. Works before whom, in Department 
Four of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, the cases of Hart and 
Frost vs. the City of Los Angeles were heard. The written decision was 
rendered shortly after the arguments of counsel were concluded. The text 
of the decision is as follows: 

"This litigation was instituted for the purpose of enjoining the 
further delivery of a water supply from Owens Valley to the people of 
Los Angeles. It proceeds mainly upon the claim that the water is 
polluted and infected, is likely to continue so, and is therefore unfit 
for human consumption. This claim has been urged strenuously through- 
out the trial and the defense waged against it has been equally vigorous. 
Counsel on both sides have been vigilant, aggressive and untiring 
throughout the controversy. One hundred and fifty photographs and 
maps have been introduced in evidence and about three hundred samples 
of water, taken at various points from the headwaters of Owens Eiver 
to kitchen taps in Los Angeles, have been analyzed for the information 
of the Court. Men and women of a high degree of learning in hydraulics, 
in bacteriology and in analytical chemistry have testified, the re- 
spective counsel have been allowed the widest possible range in the 
introduction of the evidence and the subject has been exhausted. The 
hearing has consumed forty actual trial days. 

"Owens River and its tributary creeks flow through a country 
given to cattle raising and other rural pursuits, and it is not denied 
by the defendants that these streams are contaminated to the extent 
that is necessarily characteristic of all waters flowing through such a 
country, and having a similar population. In this connection it is to 
be noted, however, that the watershed of the Owens River is peopled by 
an average of but about one and one-half persons to the square mile, 
while many of the cities of the world take their water supply from 
surface streams the drainage area of which is populated to the extent 
of several hundred persons to the same area. 

"The scientific principles governing the selection and operation of 
a water supply system intended to furnish a domestic supply from 
surface streams require a treatment of the water in order to rid it of 
the contamination which is inevitably incident to such a source of 
supply. This treatment consists in either the use of chemicals, the 
installation of filtration plants, or in the storage of the water in reser- 
voirs for a period of time requisite to its purification. 

"If it be granted that the waters of Owens Valley are contaminated 
like all surface waters, the density of population of its drainage area 
being the true index of contamination, and if it be granted that, for 


that reason, those waters would not be proper for domestic use at the 
intake of the Los Angeles Aqueduct, in the valley, does it follow that 
the water has not been purified when it reaches the point of delivery in 
Los Angeles, two hundred eighty-six miles from the intake? In other 
words, is the water, during its transmission from the intake to the City, 
subjected to either of the methods of treatment above mentioned as 
requisite to the purification of a surface water supply? 

"Ninety miles from the Aqueduct intake is located Haiwee Reser- 
voir. From the outlet of that reservoir to Los Angeles is one hundred 
ninety miles. During its progress over that distance, the water supply 
is halted, even if briefly, in Fairmont, Dry Canyon and Franklin 
Reservoirs, three other basins having some value for storage purposes. 

"A large portion of the testimony during the trial has been directed 
to the question of the efficiency of the entire system mentioned, and 
especially of Haiwee Reservoir, as a purifying agency, and many 
experiments have been conducted in the waters of the reservoir in order 
to determine the problem. It is not necessary now to state the nature 
of these experiments, nor to analyze the theories and arguments ad- 
vanced by the various expert witnesses who have testified concerning 
them. It is sufficient to say that the great weight of the evidence 
demonstrates that Haiwee Reservoir is remarkably efficient as a great 
purifying unit in the Aqueduct system. This immense basin is over 
seven miles in length, with that distance between its inlet and outlet, 
and impounds, for a long period of time, certainly not less than thirty 
days, all waters which enter it. The reservoir is peculiarly adapted 
to the use for which it was principally designed. One of the leading 
expert witnesses in the case characterizes it as unique among the 
storage reservoirs of the world. Being in a region in which there is a 
rainfall of not to exceed five inches per annum, a region of porous, 
sandy soil, and entirely uninhabited, it is the recipient of no run-off 
from its own watershed and it is therefore free from the contamination 
of such a run-off. The only influent of the reservoir is the Los Angeles 
Aqueduct, containing waters brought from the Owens River. The 
intake gates on the river may be closed at will and there are frequent 
waste gates along the course of the aqueduct, from the river to the 
reservoir, through which the waters of the great ditch may be entirely 
cast away. These instrumentalities conduce to a perfect control of 
the Haiwee influent and the waters may be diverted and wasted in 
periods of flood or at any other time of possible undue contamination 
from whatever cause. 

"This peculiarly advantageous location of Haiwee is mentioned in 
passing, only, as the period of storage which is allowed by its size and 
shape is alone sufficient to guarantee to the people of Los Angeles a 
positive immunity from dangers residing in the waters before they 
leave Owens Valley, conceding that such dangers are there present, 
and without regard to the use of the waste gates mentioned, which 
furnish but an added factor of safety to a system safe enough without 

' f The Los Angeles Aqueduct is so planned as to secure to the resi- 
dents of Los Angeles a palatable, wholesome and entirely sanitary water 
supply and Haiwee Reservoir is the prime element of safety. 

"The conclusions reached in this opinion do not come from a mere 
preponderance of the evidence, but from an overwhelming weight of 
proof which leaves possible no other termination of the litigation. On 
the whole, the record in this trial furnishes a splendid vindication of 
the judgment of the people of the city in acquiring and developing a 
water supply from the Owens River region. 

"The application of the plaintiffs for an injunction is denied and 
the defendants will have judgment for their costs." 

Stockton, Calif. 

PAT. IAN. 21, 1908