Delegates to the Federation of Citizens Associations of the District of Columbia were assured last week that the city water system, though more than a century old, is "in pretty good shape."
Harry Ways, chief of the Washington Aqueduct division of the Army Corps of Engineers, told the 26 delegates that the system is inspected regularly and that there is only "a one-in-a-million chance" that the pipes carrying the city water supply will collapse.
Ways and a representative of the D.C. Department of Environmental Services were invited to speak at the meeting after delegate Bobby L. DeVault told those attending the April session that he was concerned about the reliability of the water pipes, most of which are more than 100 years old.
Ways said that "we have no real problems in meeting the water supply now or for the next 30 or 40 years," but he maintained that there is still "one missing link" in the system: a cross-town water main which could carry water between the Dalecarlia and McMillan pumping stations.
This main would be needed if an "electric power or pipe or conduit failure" made one of the two pumping stations inoperable. Ways said. In that event, the cross-town main would be able to provide the inoperable station with water from the other plant.
Although preliminary work is being done on the cross-town main, it will be a "minimum of four years" before it is completed, Ways said.
Federation delegate George W. Brady asked Ways what the federation could do to insure that no major water problems arise.
The only thing the federation could do, Ways replied, was to support the cross-town main.
Carl R. Johnson of the Bureau of Water and Sewer Services of the city Department of Environmental Services presented "The Pipe," a lecture and slide show on the water system. He explained present purification processes and the process by which water travels from the Potomac River to the faucet.
The federation also accepted nominations of officers and executive board members for next year. Elections will be held at the June 14 meeting.