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The bleaching grounds lie along the river Cart, a little way above Paisley. The water of that river being often muddy, and bringing down much stuff from print-fields, limeworks, copperas and alum-works, situated on its banks, is altogether unfit, in its usual state, for bleaching. This suggested the idea of filtrating it: an operation not uncommoi., but perhaps no where so completely executed as here.
A well, about twenty-five yards from the river, and sunk below the level of its bed, receives its water by a covered cut. This cut is about eight feet wide, and four deep: it is filled with chipped free-stones, which are broke smaller as it approaches the well. To prevent the intermingling of the earth, they are covered with Russia matts, over which the ground is levelled. A A great deal of the filtering is effected by this first and simple operation. Over the well is a small steam-engine, which raises the water to an air-chest, whence it is forced to the external trench of the bason, higher than the engine,
and distant perhaps sixty or seventy yards. The air-chest may be about sixteen feet above the river. The communication from it to the trench, is by a wooden pipe of Scots fir, of three inches bore.
From the trench the water filters into the bason. The bason is a circle of about twentythree feet and a half diameter, and ten deep, sunk perhaps about two feet below the level of the ground; its bottom of puddled earth; its side, a wall of free-stone, neatly jointed, but laid without cement. It is surrounded
a bed of sand, or very fine gravel, about six feet wide, the same depth with the bason, and retained by a wall of free-stone ruble without cement; and like the former, about a foot thick. A second bed of gravel surrounds this wall, of the same width and depth as the other, but the gravel coarser, and retained by a similar wall to the former. The water-trench succeeds, about six feet wide, of the same depth with the bason; the bottom of puddled earth, as are the bottoms of the sand-beds.
The outer wall of the trench is double; the interior one, hewn stone joined; the exterior, thick whin-stone. A space of about sixteen inches between them, is rammed with clay or puddled earth; a coping of hewn stone covers both in: the outside is faced with earth and turf, and gradually sloped to the level of the surrounding ground. All the stone employed in the first communication from the river, and in the walls, is carefully picked from quarries perfectly free from any metallic tinge. From the bason, a pipe is carried below the sand-beds, to a distance of perhaps a furlong; where a declivity in the ground gives opportunity to drive a cart below the mouth of the pipe, when a large cask placed upon it, is commodiously and expeditiously filled. The cask contains about four hundred and eighty gallons, wine measure. Two carts filled with such casks are constantly employed, and go seven times each day through the town, which contains a population of 20,000 inhabitants, who have hitherto suffered very greatly from the unwholesomeness of their
water. Two pails full of this filtered water were, at first, sold for a halfpenny. This, however, it was found, would not defray the expense. Three farthings are now paid for that quantity; but if any considerable quantity is bought, some gallons are allowed in addition. This is some addition to family expenses; but, for pure water, all who value health will willingly pay at this rate: and, as it is brought to almost every door, to those who are at a distance from wells or the river, there is a considerable saving of time and labour.
This plan is susceptible of improvements;* but it is sufficient to demonstrate, that no
*We have the satisfaction of being able to add some further information on this subject, which in answer to some queries transmitted through Sir John Sinclair to Mr. Boog he has favoured us with." I have conversed at great length (says Mr. Boog) upon the subject of the queries sent me, with Mr. Gibb, the ingenious gentleman to whom Paisley owes the supply of filtered water. There can be no doubt upon the principle, that water carried through a channel of filtration, formed of proper materials, and of sufficient length, will be given out pure at the end of the channel. And there are
town near a river need be destitute of good water. It has not, to my knowledge, been ascertained whether the filtered water has
instances in this neighbourhood of water, in its ordinary state very unfit for bleaching, rendered, by this simple method, sufficiently pure for that operation. The difficulty will arise from the probable situation of the ground where some expedient of this nature would be most necessary, probably a dead level. The mouth of the channel must be three or four feet below the surface of the water in the river, and the surface of the water must be taken when the river is lowest in the driest season. There must be some slope from the river to the tank, and if the whole percolation is to be effected in the channel, it must necessarily be of a very considerable length. The bottom of the tank must of consequence be a great depth below the surface of the ground; and in low lying plains, unmanageable strata may occur for the bottom of the tank, which might render necessary a thick bed of puddled clay.-One cannot say what direct influence the improved water of Paisley may have had upon the health of the inhabitants. Mr. Gibb informs me that "sick people are anxious to have it. Victuals "are sooner and better dressed with it, and with an "equal quantity of barley, it makes much richer and better bailey broth than common water. All the distillers in the neighbourhood use it; and in the course "of a year, 237 puncheons (of 120 gallons) were used "by one house for the purpose of reducing spirits.”— The expense of Mr. Gibb's works has been very great; above 1009. for completing the reservoir, perhaps