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Second Report of the Committee for investigating the circulation of the
Underground Waters in the New Red Sandstone and Permian Formations of England, and the quantity and character of the water supplied to various towns and districts from these formations. The Committee consisting of Professor Hull, Mr. BINNEY, Rev. H. W. CROSSKEY, Captain D. GALTON, Professor A. H. GREEN, Professor HARKNESS, Mr. H. Howell, Mr. W. MOLYNEUX, Mr. G. H. Morton, Mr. PENGELLY, Professor PRESTWICH, Mr. J. Plant, Mr. MELLARD READE, Mr. C. Fox-STRANGWAYS, Mr. W. Whi. TAKER, and Mr. C. E. DE RANCE. Drawn up by Mr. De RANCE
(Secretary). SINCE the last Meeting of the Association your Committee have continued to distribute largely the circular forms of inquiry, and a large amount of valuable information has been obtained, especially as to the deep wells of Liverpool, Birkenhead, Nottingham, and Birmingham. But in several districts, as in Staffordshire, important information is promised so soon as works now in progress are completed; and the members of your Committee taking charge of those districts have considered it best to defer making a report until they present you with a final one on their particular areas. Your Committee, should they be reappointed, have every hope, from promises already received, of completing the trust which you have given them by the next Meeting of the Association.
In the present Report the details of wells in the New Red Sandstone are collected, which yield at Liverpool no less than 7,197,330 gallons daily; at Birkenhead more than 7 millions ; at Coventry, Birmingham, and Leamington 41 millions; at Nottingham nearly 4 million gallons; at Warrington 572,360 gallons; at Stockport 1,073,820 gallons.
The largest yield of one individual well is that at Green Lane, Old Swan, near Liverpool, the average daily yield of which in 1875 amounted to 2,533,050 gallons, and the present maximum of which amounts to no less than 3,243,549 gallons pumped up by three engines, one at least of which is always at work, from a depth of 136 feet.
In regard to the Liverpool wells, it appears to be established by the observation of Mr. Deacon, the Borough Engineer, to quote the words of his Report, “ That the water in the public wells is regularly sinking to a lower level, or that if it be maintained at a constant level, the water capable of being pumped is a continually diminishing quantity.” But there is not yet sufficient evidence to prove what balance of absolute quantity of water still remains in the sandstones of the area capable of being drawn on by additional wells.
Amongst the borings, of which the details will be found in the present Report, is one at Rampside, near Barrow-in-Furness, which reached a depth of no less than 2210 feet from the surface, in a fruitless search for coal. At a depth of 250 feet a spring of water was cut in the Permian Red Sandstone. which yields 13,500 gallons of water daily, flowing out at the top of a oneinch pipe, and rising to a height of 12 feet above the surface of the ground.
The rocks beneath the Permian have been proved by this boring to be of Yoredale age, the Coal-measures being absent, as stated would probably be the case by Mr. Aveline and other geologists before the boring was carried out.
An interesting feature in this boring is the presence of petroleum-oil in the Yoredale rock near the bottom, which caused the water cut in penetrating this sandstone to be much charged with oil.
Your Committee would wish to call attention to the publication, since the last Meeting, of the sixth and final Report of Her Majesty's Commissioners appointed to inquire into the best means of preventing the pollution of rivers. The volume treats of the Domestic Water Supply of Great Britain, and in it the Commissioners state that the New Red Sandstone Rock constitutes one of the most effective filtering media known; and being at the same time a powerful destroyer of organic matter, the evidence of previous pollution, in water drawn from deep wells in this rock, may be safely ignored, “ for being a porous and ferruginous rock, it exerts a powerful oxidizing influence upon the dissolved organic matter which percolates through it. To such an extent is this oxidation carried, that in some cases, as in those of the deep-well waters supplying St. Helen's and Tranmere, every trace of organic matter is converted into innocuous mineral compounds."
The Commissioners further add that, though the quartz sand constituting the bulk of the New Red Sandstone is usually cemented together by carbonate or sulphate of lime, the hardness of the water is generally moderate, and of a nature that can be softened by lime, according to Dr. Clark's method, and that the “unpolluted waters drawn from deep wells in the New Red Sandstone are almost invariably clear, sparkling, and palatable, and are amongst the best and most wholesome waters for domestic supply in Great Britain. They contain, as a rule, but a moderate amount of saline impurity, and either none or but the merest traces of organic impurity. There is every reason to believe that a vast quantity of hitherto unutilized water of most excellent quality is to be bad at moderate expense from this very extensive geological formation.”
This area is certainly not less than ten thousand square miles in extent in England and Wales, with an average rainfall of 30 inches, of which certainly never less than 10 inches per annum percolates into the ground, which would give an absorption of water amounting to no less than one hundred and fortythree millions three hundred and thirty-six thousand gallons per square mile per annum, which, on an available area of ten thousand square miles, gives an annual absorption of nearly a billion and a half of gallons in England and Wales.
How small a proportion the enormous quantities pumped at various stations (as exemplified in this and the previous Report) bear to the available resources, will be at once apparent. The abundant balance left will, we trust, ere long be made available for those towns and country populations in the Midland Counties now suffering all the ills so prolifically springing from a polluted water supply.
MIDLAND COUNTIES. Name of Member of Committee asking for information, Rev. Henry W. Crosskey. Name of Individual or Company applied to:-
Waterworks, Coventry. 1. One 196 ft. deep, one 75 ft. deep, and one 300 feet from surface. 2. 256 ft. 3. 10 ft., 4 ft. diameter; 290 feet, from 2 ft. to 6 in. 4. 14 feet; difference 12 hours. 5. 800,000. 6. Yes, diminished slightly. 7. Yes, in a few hours. 8. No. 9. Red Sandstone and clay. 13. No. 14. Not aware of any except at Leamington. 15. No.
Birmingham Corporation, 1. Aston, juxta Birmingham. 2. 295 ft. 3. 120 ft., diameter 10 ft. ; 407 ft., 18 in. bore-hole. 4. Overflows 10 ft. above surface, 100 ft.; pump night and day. 5. 3 million gallons. 6. Not observed to have altered. 7. Not observed.
Grains per gallon. 8. Total solids.......
12.88 Volatile combustible matter ....
0.84 Chloride of lime ......
0.91 Nitric acid .::....::............:
0.00 Hardness before boiling ...... 99.3 9. 28 ft. ; iron tube through top soil and drift-gravel, the rest all sandstone with marl and partings and some fine conglomerate ; finish of bore-hole in 25 ft. thick of marl. 10. Yes. 11. Yes. 12. No. 13, No. 14. None nearer than Cannock. 15. No. Name of Member of Committee asking for information, T. Mellard Reade. Name of Individual or Company applied to :
Leamington Local Board, per Mr. Bright. 1. North-east portion of Leamington. 2. 205 ft. 3. 80 ft. deep, 8 ft. diameter; 234 ft. deep, 18 in. diameter. 4. Normal level 20 ft. below surface. 5. 750,000 galls. per day. 6. Works not yet completed. 7. Top of water is 26 ft. above river Leam. 8. Analysis attached; water remarkably pure and soft, whereas surface-wells contain very hard water.
Analysis of water from the new bore-hole, by Dr. Horace Swete, taken from a depth of 200 ft. from surface. Water very clear, almost as clear as distilled water -the smallest point being easily read at a depth of 2 ft. Temperature at well, 500 Fahrenheit, requires no filtration.
Grains per gallon.
Parts per million.
·020 This water is an extremely pure specimen, even for a deep well, and requires no filtration. It contains less than one tenth of the amount of organic matter than the present town supply, and is not only a softer water for domestic purposes, but the deposition of carbonates causing incrustation in boilers. is considerably less in quantity, February 2nd, 1875.
HORACE SWETE, M.D., Analyst. 9. Map of strata previously sent, consisting of sandstone of various thickness divided by marls. 10. Yes. 11. Yes. 12. Not within a mile, where one is known south of Borough, and another two miles west. 13. No. 14. Yes, in the valley half a mile south. 15. Yes ; the first experimental boring was discontinued in consequence of finding, under the saliferous maris, very salt water, one layer of this marl being more than 100 ft. thick.
Name of Member of Committee asking for information, C. Tylden Wright. Name of Individual or Company applied to :
The Manager, Nottingham Waterworks. 1. Bestwood pumping Station, near Nottingham. 3. Depth of shaft 64 yards ; size 16 ft. x 10 ft. ; two tunnels are driven out from the bottom about 50 yards. 5. Maximum quantity pumped for 24 hours 3,772,800 galls.; minimum quantity 3,456,000 galls. 9. Pebble beds of the New Red Sandstone.
1. Worksop. 3. · Bore-hole 4 inches in diameter, depth 360 ft. 5. Pumping in 1875, 40 gallons per minute.
Shire Oaks Colliery, Worksop. 1. Shire Oaks Colliery, Worksop. 3. 3 shafts, 12 ft. diameter.
Galls. Depth. | Yellow limestone ..........
400 17 yds. 5. Water per hour.. White » Dark , ..............
50 38 9. Permian marls and magnesian limestones; the principal feeder of water occurs in a soft coarse sandstone lying on the bottom of the magnesian limestone.
Papplewick Colliery, through Mr. W. F. Webb, of Newstead Abbey. 1. Papplewick, near Annesley. 3. 335 yards shaft. 5. At 3 yds. a little water, at 44 yds. 7 in. 18 galls. per minute tubbed out, at 60 yds. 60 galls. ; below this only an increase of 5 or 6 galls. 9. Drift.
yds. ft. Magnesian limestone .......
............. at 9 l Black shale (coal-measures)......................, 36 2 First coal ........................
Plant impressions .............................., 336 0 13. At 126 yds. 2 ft. a small salt spring, 3 galls. per minute.
Mr. Robert Stevenson, through Mr. W. F. Webb, of Newstead Abbey. 1. Newstead Colliery. 3. Bore-hole at Colliery gives off 25.44 galls. of water per minute. New Red Sandstone, near outcrop of the formation.
Mr. W.F. Webb, Newstead Abbey,
In clay, with lime-
Long Dale ........ 26
Wells at Fishpool ........ 6-25 9. Drift-gravel and clay; red sandstone; the water occurs immediately after passing through a seam of conglomerate 3 inches thick. At Fishpool is a spring, which, after 20 years' cessation, commenced running during the dry summer of 1868, and then stopped, but recommenced in the summer of 1874. 10. Yes, which supply the shallower of the above wells.
Name of Member of Committee asking for information, W. Whitaker.
Staffordshire Potteries Waterworks, Hanley. 1. North Staffordshire, 4 miles S.E. from railway-station, Stoke-upon-Trent (1 in
Ordnance sheet, 72N.W.). 2. 615ft. 3. Shaft 145 ft. deep, 12 ft. diameter; bore-hole 500 ft. deep, 24 in. diameter. 4. The level of water in this case is kept down nearly to bottom of shaft, but the water has been found to fill 900 cub. yards of standage drift and rise about 20 ft. up shaft in 24 hours. 5. 900,000 galls. 6. The seasons affect this shaft very little ; the feeders have been permanent during the past 5 years, but less than when the shaft was put down (bore-hole in hand at present). 7. No. 8. Water of good quality; about go hardness. 9. New Red Sandstone (with band of marl of considerable thickness), cover about 20 ft. If a section of the shaft and bore-hole would be of service I should be glad to supply the same. 10. About 1 mile N.E, there are several copious springs, and apparently quite unaffected by the above sinking. 11. No surface-spring near well. 12. There are several faults in the immediate locality. A large fault running about N.E., and about 1 mile north of this shaft, supposed to be the southern limits of the N.-Staffordshire coal-field; but borings just completed to the south have proved coal at a depth of 265 yards. 13. None. 14. None to my knowledge. 15. The above well is the only one in the neighbourhood sunk for the purposes of water supply.
Messrs. Mather and Platt. 1. Messrs. Lonsdale and Adshead, Macclesfield. 3. 12-inch bore, 94 ft. deep. 5. 66,240 galls.
LANCASHIRE AND CHESHIRE.
Mr. George F. Deacon, C.E., Municipal Offices, Dale Street. 1. Litherland Road, Bootle, near Liverpool. 2. 60 feet. 3. Depth of shaft 108 ft. ; oval, 12' 0" X 9' 0" *. 4. Pumping continuously, except when stopped for repairs. During a stoppage from 30th Jan. to Feb. 18, 1876, the water rose 11 ft. above Ord. datum, or 56 ft. above the bottom of the well. 5. Average for 1875, 1,399,791 galls.; present maximum 1,433,720 galls. 6. See reports berewith. 7. See No. 4. Effect of local rains not traced.
9. F 2; drift about 12 ft. (pebble beds and “Lower soft Bunter Sandstone"). 10. No. 11. The well is lined with brickwork in cement down to the hard rock. 12. Yes, 13. No. 14. No.
1. Green Lane, Old Swan, near Liverpool. 2. 136 ft. 3. Shaft 10 ft. diam., depth 185 ft. ; 1 bore-hole 9 in. diam. for 173 ft.9 in., and 6 in. diam. for 25 ft. 10 in. from bottom of shaft; 1 bore-hole 24 in. diam. for 12 ft., and 18 in. diam. for 298 ft. 4. There are 3 engines, and the whole are never stopped at one time. Average for 1875, 2,533,050 galls.; present maximum 3,243,549 galls. 6. It has diminished (see reports herewith). 7. Effect of local rains has never been directly traced.
* There are altogether about 16 bore-holes in the lodges connected with this well. They were sunk many years ago, and records have not been preserved of the details. The principal bore-hole is 6 in. diameter at the top, and its depth from the surface is about 650 ft.