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Letter from Arthur Maguire (Los Angeles) to W. H. Comstock, March 9, 1918







Letter describing how the company had spent nearly $4000 on pipeline maintenance and still it leaked badly. Maguire recommends replacing 4000 feet of pipeline.

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Physical Identifier

Box 1 Folder 1 J. Ross Clark Las Vegas Springs 1911-1921 59 PP


hln001036. Union Pacific Railroad Collection, 1828-1995. MS-00397. Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


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LOS ANGELES March 9th-1918. LAS VEGAS PIPE LINE: Condition since con- struction MR. W. H. COMSTOCK: Referring to our recent conversation and advice regarding failure of the new pipe line at Las Vegas: This line last tested about ten days ago and held under maximum pressure without leaking for two days. Then a split about fifty feet in length occurred, near the lover end, which allowed the water to escape in such volume that it had to be shut off. The pipe line was constructed late last summer and first tested In November. At that test a number of leaks developed, which we thought to be from the joints. The joints were then worked over and the line again tested, when a number of split pipe developed. Since them we have spent a large amount of money, between ($3,000.00 and $4.000.00, In en endeavor to weed out the weak pipe and make the line stand the necessary pressure. Through the failure which occurred a few days ago, I an now convinced the line cannot be made to do so and I now desire authority to replace about 4000 feet of It with Iron banded redwood stave pipe, laid on top of the ground, supported on redwood blocks cut from second hang ties. You are aware that the alkaline soil at Las Vegas forbid the use of the common pipes and common methods. Galvanised Iron service pipes in the town site are destroyed within three to four years and in wood pipes, while the wood is not affected, the iron bands are destroyed in a few years. The present line from the spring, that which we are replacing, is asphaltum coated steel. This line developed leaks within a few years after being placed and since that time the cost of maintaining it has greatly exceeded the interest on any reasonable investment. When renewal of the line came up, about a year ago, a number of different kinds of pipe were suggested. File 613 W.H.O. #2 - 3-9-1918 It was my desire at that time to use a redwood stave in the manner suggested above, but Mr. Nutt objects to the construction on account of It's exposure to the mischievous acts of small boys and particularly to it's exposure to vicious acts of employees during strike trouble and similar causes. Mr. Nutt wanted to use reinforced concrete pipe but I had recently read an article issued by the United States Geographical Survey. describing a concrete pipe laid in alkaline soil In Texas, which after a few years softened and was destroyed, and also as I had observed that the concrete sidewalks constructed in front of the company cottages at Las Vegas were in places, being consumed by the alkaline waters from the soil. I was afraid of concrete pipe. A vitrified clay pipe was then suggested and I investigated carefully through the Berkeley University I found that clay pipe had been tested from 80 lb. to 110 lb. pressure before breaking. I then took the matter up with the Los Angeles Pressed Brick Company and their Engineer went into their pipe for the 30 lb. guarantee their pine working pressure necessary at Las Vegas. As the vitrified clay pipe would resist any action of the alkali soil, we decided to try it. The order for the pipe was, however, placed with the Pacific Coast Sewer Company, but bought under guarantee that it would withstand have see pressure of 30 pounds. From what I make of It however, I am confident that it cannot be be made to withstand a greater pressure than 17 pounds and therefore I desire to replace it below the point where the pressure exceeds 17 pounds. I realize the objection which Mr. Nutt has to the construction of the pipe is well taken, but it seems to me the advantages outweigh the objections. I am confident that the wood pipe, if laid above the ground. will normally last 20 to 25 years and during serious labor troubles we would expect to patrol the line to protect it from malicious acts as well as other property. It is very important that we have an early decision In this matter and we will appreciate it if you will let us have your decision just as soon as possible. The cost of the new pipe will be about $4,000.00 and will be chargeable to Operating Expence. If we of course hope to regain some of loss from the pipe Company. Yours truly, (SIGNED) Chief Engineer.