High-grade country plumbing is at the present day a far different matter than it was years ago, both as regards methods employed and apparatus used.
One of the greatest steps in advance for plumbing systems which cannot discharge their sewage into a public sewage system, is to be found in the adoption of the septic tank and automatic sewage siphon, as shown in Fig. 222.
Briefly, the septic tank comprises several chambers, including the inlet or grit chamber, one or more settling chambers, and the discharge chamber, in which the automatic sewage siphon is located.
These chambers should be air-tight and light-tight. The septic action depends upon a certain class of bacteria which exist in sewage, and act upon it in the several chambers in such a manner as to reduce in a short time all vegetable and animal matter to liquid form.
This action renders the sewage purer in each successive chamber, until the discharge chamber is reached, when it has been sufficiently freed of all solid matter, to be forced by the automatic sewage siphon out into the underground system, for final disposal into the soil. The automatic sewage siphon acts only when the sewage has risen to a certain height in the discharge chamber.
One of the greatest objections to the use of the septic tank, especially for residences, is that considerable expense is attached to its construction. With the idea of obviating this feature, there has been placed on the market, siphoning apparatus and necessary fittings for use in connection with large sizes of glazed sewer pipe and fittings used to form the several chambers of the septic tank, as shown in Fig. 223. Twenty-four-inch pipe and fittings are generally used for this purpose. It will be seen that for small work, such as for most residences, the use of this material will save a large amount of expense that would otherwise be entailed for brick work, etc., and the pipe can usually be bought of local firms.
Fig. 222. - Septic Tank and Automatic Sewage Siphon.
Fig. 223. - Septic Tank of Glazed Sewer Pipe.
The use of septic tanks may be very much extended, to handle large bodies of sewage, by the use of two or more automatic siphons, as illustrated in Fig. 224. The outlet connections of such siphons are made in such a manner that the discharge chamber of the septic tank may empty first into one and then into another of several lines of underground pipe or into several different filter beds. In order to secure continuous and efficient filtration, it is always necessary to give the filtering material periods of inaction, so that oxygen may have an opportunity to pass into it, to insure the action of the bacteria. The intermittent working of these multiple siphons allows this advantage to be gained.
Fig. 224. - Sewage Siphons for Large Work.
The sewage siphon is also used to advantage in the intermittent flushing of sewers, but as that subject is one with which the plumber would scarcely have to deal, it is hardly necessary to consider it."
The country districts have without doubt gained fully as much from improved methods and apparatus for procuring water supply, as from the advances made in the disposal of sewage.
One of the chief difficulties regarding country water supply, is the matter of obtaining a pressure. Until the introduction of the pneumatic system of water supply, dependence was made on the house tank for pressure. The action of the pneumatic system is so effective, however, and its construction and installation of so simple a nature, that the attic tank is fast being superseded, as a device that is entirely out of date. Hand or power pumping may be used in connection with it. Pressure is derived from the compressed air at the top of the storage tank. Fig. 225 shows a pneumatic supply system with the storage tank located underground and the pumping done by hand, while in Fig. 226 is seen a similar system operated by means of a power pump, in which the tank is located in the basement. This system is capable of being extended to such a degree that by means of it public pressure supplies for towns and villages of considerable size may be provided.
Fig. 225. - The Pneumatic System of Water Supply for Country Use.
Fig. 226. - The Pneumatic System of Water Supply for Country Use.
Fig. 227. - Pneumatic Public Water Supply.
The general plan of such a public supply system is illustrated in Fig. 227.
From this it will be seen that the capacity of the plant may be increased by adding additional tank capacity and greater pumping capacity.
Fig. 228. - The Hydraulic Ram and Its Connection.
Another piece of apparatus much used in country work, which has been greatly improved, is the hydraulic ram.
The common hydraulic ram shown in Fig. 228 is the type most generally in use. In order to insure the most efficient action of the hydraulic ram, the drive pipe, which delivers water to the ram, from the source of supply, should be as direct as possible. Occasionally, the relative locations of the ram and its source are such that it is difficult to run the drive pipe as directly as possible.
A method of surmounting this difficulty is seen in Fig. 229. This consists in the use of a standpipe, open at the top, connected with the drive pipe at or near the point where the latter changes its direction. The water will stand in this pipe when the ram has been connected, at the same level as the water in the spring. It is the standpipe, then, that operates the drive rather than the spring, its advantage being in making the drive more direct.
Under some conditions it may be more advantageous to use a tank instead of a standpipe, the result being the same.
In Fig. 230 is shown a full-page illustration of a system of plumbing, drainage, and supply, for a small country home. No venting is shown, the fixtures having separate entrances into the stack, and so planned that there will be the least possible danger from siphonage.
Fig. 229. - Method of Obtaining Direct Drive for Hydraulic Ram.
This illustrates the common, and it may be called the old-style method of providing a pressure supply. The reader can see clearly the advantages that would be gained in this work by the use of the modern apparatus previously described.
It has not been the aim of the author in this chapter to give anything but a brief description of the several devices described and illustrated.
Fig. 230. - System of Drainage and Supply for a Country House.
However, a comprehensive treatment of each of these subjects, both from a theoretical and from a practical standpoint, will be found in the author's work entitled "Modern Plumbing Illustrated."
It may be added, by the way, that the subject of cesspools and the disposal of country sewage onto filter beds and into underground irrigating systems will be found elsewhere in this work.
The water lift, a device which is generally looked upon as one which has an application only to city work, is coming more and more into use in connection with country plumbing systems, and in many instances it will be found of great advantage. The action and description of the water lift will be found elsewhere in this work. Briefly, however, its action may be said to be that of the steam engine with water pressure as the motive power instead of steam pressure.
Fig. 231 shows an application of the water lift to the country plumbing system. In the absence of any street pressure, the water lift is operated by tank pressure. As the water used in running the water lift is of small amount, the demand on the tank is not great.
By means of the use of a compression tank, the lift delivers water to the fixtures under pressure. The tank operates by the compression of the air within it, and its proper position is at some point between the fixtures and the lift.
By means of the bibb on the suction pipe, the air in the tank may be renewed at any time. By opening the bibb slightly, air will be drawn in through it as the lift draws on the suction.
The cross-connection on the lift, as shown in the illustration, will allow the supply to fixtures of water from the tank whenever the well or cistern supply becomes exhausted. The use of the water lift in connection with country work is of special advantage when the supply of soft water is limited, and it is desired to use the hard well water as far as possible, or when it is desired to supply the house with soft water from cisterns and operate the lift with hard water pumped into the attic tank.
* "Modern Plumbing Illustrated," by R. M. Starbuck, is published by The Norman W. Henley Publishing Co., 132 Nassau Street, New York. Price $4.
Fig. 231. - The Use of the Water Lift in Connection with the Country Plumbing System.