This section is from the "Modern Machine Shop Construction, Equipment, And Management" book, by Oscar E. Perrigo. Also see Amazon: Modern Machine Shop Construction, Equipment, And Management.
The choice of ground for manufacturing plants. Important requisites. High fixed expenses of city locations. The quality of ground. Hard gravel the best. Drainage. Sewerage system. Grading the yards. Catch basins. Conductor piper and sewer connections. Makeshift devices. Cobblestone pavements. Foundation protection. Yard areas. Water-ways. Covering catch basins. Capacity of catch basins. General observations.
Before concluding this subject there are some remarks of a more or less general nature which seem proper to make here rather than in any of the preceding chapters, as they have each been assigned to a specific division of the subject, and the effort has been made to confine them to that portion of the question as nearly as may be, without restricting their scope within too narrow boundaries for practical use, and the consideration of practical men.
The choice of the ground upon which to erect manufacturing buildings is one which should receive mature consideration for a number of important reasons, and in this respect the following are some of the more obvious ones which should claim earnest attention. The ground chosen for the proposed plant should be situated near enough to a railroad so that a spur track may be laid to the works, for convenience of bringing in coal, iron, lumber, and similar stock, as well as for shipping the product of the shops. This is a matter of all the more importance if heavy machinery is to be built, as the unnecessary handling of such products entails an ever present expense, which, in the case of having the convenience of a branch track to the works is practically met by the first cost of laying the track.
The ground selected should not be in the populous section of a town or city for several reasons, among which are: the high rate of taxation, the continual expense of obtaining a proper water supply, and the largely increased cost of the real estate necessary for the purpose. One manufacturing plant in a city of moderate size is now paying annually the exorbitant sum of forty-five dollars per employee for taxes, and three dollars per employee for a water supply. In the outskirts of a city of the same size and advantages, the rate of taxation would be reduced to less than five dollars, and the water supply, if the plant is near a natural water-way, would be practically nominal. And if not near a natural supply of water, it may be obtained in abundance by boring, or by driving wells, the first cost of which will practically end the expense.
Obviously, the buildings should not be erected on low ground, where the health of the employees may be endangered by inefficient drainage. Such land is not only unfit for the erection of manufacturing buildings, for the reasons given above, but low ground is liable to be of such a soft and yielding nature as to render foundations expensive and uncertain, particularly if the building is to be a heavy one, or if much heavy machinery requiring masonry foundations is to be used.
Buildings should not be erected on alluvial soil if it is possible to locate on land of a more substantial nature, for the above reason, and in consideration of the health of the employees.
The land should be of hard gravel, as being the best quality for the purpose, as strong foundations may be economically built, and the surface water is readily absorbed in places where it is inexpedient to drain it away. Rocky and clay land will, of course, offer a good bed for foundations, as the solid rocks may be built around and upon and the clay is very apt to be underlaid by a good "hard pan" of compact gravel which is an excellent bed for the same purpose. In building upon rocks, care must be taken to have all resting places for the foundation level, and if the original surface is not so, it must be chipped out, or cut to a level surface, or to several step-like horizontal surfaces, before any stone or brickwork is laid upon it.
As a matter of convenient drainage the ground should be high enough from some proper point where sewerage waste may be discharged to admit of a proper incline to the sewer and its connecting pipes. This is assuming, of course, that the plant is provided with its own sewerage system, as will necessarily be the case if it is outside of city limits, or in a country town where it is not within reach of the public sewers.
In planning a sewerage system the surface water of the yards must be properly taken care of. In grading the yards they should incline slightly toward some convenient point, as much out of the way of the passage of teams as possible, where a catch basin with a water seal trap may receive all of the surface water and still cut off sewer gas, and where convenient connection may be made with the sewer system.
Preferably, such catch basins and the connections from the roof water flow, or a good portion of it, should be furthest from the sewer outlet, and the connections from the wash rooms and water-closets enter the sewer at intermediate points, as this will provide for automatically flushing these connections at every rain storm. Conductor pipes from the roofs should lead directly to the sewers, rather than to pour the water out upon the ground, as in the latter case the conductor pipes will continually freeze up in winter while in the former case the warm air from the sewer will always keep them clear even in the most inclement weather. A makeshift for keeping ice out of conductor pipes is to run a jet of steam into them near the ground. This does not always keep them clear and the tendency of the steam in cold pipes is to condense and the warm water thus produced soon rusts out the pipes, causing a frequent outlay for repairs, as well as the cost of the steam supply; while connecting them directly with the sewers, the first cost is the only one except the usual and unavoidable wear of the pipes.