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I CHESTER WATERWORKS I COMPANY. I CHAIRMAN AND WATER SCARES. I I INVESTIGATIONS AND IMPROVEMENTS. I The 88th half-yearly ordinary general meeting of the shareholders of the Chester Waterworks Company was held in the Board-room, 15, Newgate-street, Chester, on Thursday, Mr. F. E. Roberts, chairman, presiding over an attend- ance which included Mr. F. F. Brown, Mr. J. Gooddie Holmes, Mr. John Taylor, Mr. W. Haswell, Mr. Musgrave, Mr. Williams, Dr. Duff, etc. The directors' report summarised the half- year's working as follows :-The accounts for the half-year shew a surplus of revenue over expendi- ture of £2,545 6s. 8d., to which add the balance brought forward from account for half-year ending 30th June, 1900 (after payment of dividends), £6,759 lis. 5d., making a total of £9,304 18s. Id.; less cost of opposition to Chester Rural District Council sewage schemes, JB574 4s. The interest on preference capital leaving a balance of £8,280 14s. Id. It is recommended that the usual statutory dividends be paid (free of income tax) which will absorb £ 1,890 3s. 9d., leaving 26,390 10s. 4d. The Chairman, in moving the adoption of the report and balance sheet, said the accounts were not very largely different from what they had generally had before them. The engine ex- penses were increased, and that was very largely caused by the increase in the price of coal, which had necessarily sent up the working expenses con- siderably. The filter expenses were smaller, because they had done, or thought they had done, most of their expensive work in the half-year ending June last, and they were just completing their new filters last August. The item "renewals and repairs of mains" was slightly more, but it varied every half-year; that was inevitable. There was a large balance standing to the credit of the depreciation account. That was put aside last half-year to meet the expense of a new engine, and the engine had not yet been paid for because it had not been delivered; the makers were in arrear with their work, and that was inevitable in these times. They hoped to have the engine shortly. Meanwhile they had a temporary engine, which was available to do any work necessary to keep the town supplied in case of emergency. They would notice in the engineer's report that the company had delivered 638 millions of gallons of water in the half-year, which was an increase of 16 millions on the previous year, and came to 36 gallons per head of the population per day. That was about half as much again as the average amount supplied in ordinary towns; and it was a very material fact, because it shewed how absolutely unlimited the company's supply was. That was something for which consumers had every reasonfto be grateful; at the same time he thought they might call upon the consumers to reduce their working ex- penses to a great extent by taking care not to waste the water. There was a great deal of waste in the town, particularly at times. The share- holders would perhaps like to hear something on the question of the water scare. They generally had a water scare once a year, and he (the chair- man) had come to look upon them as good things, just in the same way as a chapel debt-they stirred people up to renewed exertions. Well, they had had the usual scare. They knew the Town Council for some years had had a water analysis every quarter. The company had been very glad the Council had these analyses, because they afforded protection to the public and con- firmed their (the company's) own belief that the water was very good, and that, notwithstanding that it was river water, which some people criticised, it was very wholesome. Unfortunately, there was a little scare a few months ago, when Dr. Percy Frankland, the analyst to the Town Council, sent in a report which was not looked upon as favourable. A good deal was said about it in the papers that was perhaps unwise in some cases. He did not accuse the papers of being unwise. The Council thereupon took steps to call in another analyst to confirm, or not confirm, Dr. Frankland's report. Dr. Boyce, of Liverpool, stood very high in the bacteriological world. His report varied from Dr. Frankland's still it was not wholly satisfactory. Thereupon the Waterworks Company thought it better to have advice them- selves in order to see if they could not improve the water or get rid of any temporary difficulty. They consulted Mr. Davies, of Liverpool, and Professor Delepine, of Owen's College. They inspected the works and made a good many tests, and the greatest pains were taken to check any reports which had been made otherwise. But the directors felt at the time that the difficulty which had arisen had arisen not from any defects in the works, but from the exceptional season, which they knew was very rainy, also from the fact that they had organised two new beds; one had been mentioned specially, but really there were two. These beds were not sufficiently consolidated to give the best results, and they waited for per- fect consolidation before they used them. The rainfall in October was 10 inches, against an aver- age of 5 inches or 5 inches in the previous year, he forgot which it was. In addition to this the directors had had a most careful examination of all the details of the filters, and if any gentleman had gone there a week or two ago he would have seen two or three filters in course of examination right down to the base of the wall, to see if there were any cracks or any possible leakage. Though there were small defects in the new works, they were capable of immediate rectification, and they expected no further difficulty. He had personally beei led--and Mr. Brown had, and perhaps others —to look into the question of bacteriological ex- aminations of water. It was a subject of great interest, and what they had been led to think was that it was in its infancy. The nature, which bacteria fulfilled in regard to water was very doubtful still. To shew the different ideas which people held on the subject, he might mention that he asked a friend a little while ago what he thought was the size of bacteria. He replied that he thought. about a quarter of an inch. He (the chairman) found that fifteen thousand of them in a row, or from ten thousand to fifteen thousand would go in one inch. He did not think he needed to go into that practically, but he might say that they had found that the water was improving very much, and that they hoped very quickly to get over any little temporary difficulty that there had been. They now arranged a separate outflow from each filter into the canal, so that every filter might be separately treated. There was no con- ceivable risk of dirty water getting back into the pure water tank, and they had means of testing the effluent from each filter, so that there would be no difficulty in localising any defect and put- ting their fingers on any weak spot. He had in his hand Dr. Frankland's last report, which had not yet been before the Health Committee. It was by the courtesy of the officials of the Town Council that. he had received it, and he thought he might read an extract from it which read: "The samples of filtered water, both from the works and from the* consumers' taps, were almost perfectly clear to the eye. They were palatable, and contained only a moderate amount of organic matter." That or- ganic matter, explained the chairman, did not necessarily mean deleterious matter; it was vege- table matter, and therefore it was un- avoidable. Dr. Frankland further stated: "The efficiency of the filtration is indicated by the fact that out of every 100 bacteria present in the un- filtered water, no less than 95 odd were removed in the process. The results of both chemical and bacteria examinations are in every respect more satisfactory than on the occasion of my last quar- terly examination." He (the chairman) had through the courtesy of the Town Council received Dr. Boyce's more recent report, and he thought it was extraordinarily good. He might say that scientific men aimed at reducing the number of bacteria in a given quantity of water to below 100, and that with one exception the numbers given in respect of the company's water were 13, 11, 31 and so on. There was an almost absolute absence of anything deleterious, so he thought they might congratulate themselves upon the fact that the water difficulty had been almost entirely got over. It was a temporary difficulty, and the investiga- tion they had been led to make, would result in considerable and permanent improvement in the filtration, and in their means of testing any weak spot^which might possibly exist at any particular time. Mr. Taylor seconded the adoption of the report, and said he need not add anything to what the chairman had so ably said. The report was unanimously adopted. Mr. Taylor then moved—"That dividends, with- out deduction of income tax, be now declared for the half-vear ending 31st December, 1900, at the following rates, viz.: Of 71 per cent. per annum on the consolidated stock of the company; of 6 per cent. per annum upon the perpetual six per cent. preference shares; of 7 per cent. per annum upon the amount paid and entitled to dividend on the new ordinary stock, 1874; and interest at the rate of 4 per cent. per annum on the amount of calls paid in advance on the second moiety of such new stock." Mr. J. Gooddie Holmes seconded, and the motion was carried. Mr. Musgrave moved that the retiring directors -Mr. Wm. Haswell and Mr. F. E. Roberts-be re-elected. Mr. Williams seconded, and it was carried. Mr. F. J. Warmsley, F.C.A., was unanimously re-appointed auditor to the company. On the motion of Mr. Williams, seconded by Mr. Musgrave, a vote of thanks was accorded to the chairman, directors and officials for their services during a trying period.



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