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CONGRESS,

TRANSFER OF CONTROL OF WASHINGTON AQUEDUCT FROM WAR

DEPARTMENT TO COMMISSIONERS OF DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

JANUARY 25, 1907.-Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the state

of the Union and ordered to be printed.

Mr. TAYLOR, of Ohio, from the Committee on the District of Columbia,

submitted the following

REPORT.

[To accompany 8. 7042.]

The Committee on the District of Columbia, to whom was referred the bill (S. 7042) to transfer jurisdiction of the Washington Aqueduct, the filtration plant, and appurtenances to the Commissioners of the District of Columbia, report the same back to the House with the recommendation that it do pass.

Your committee adopts the report made in the Senate on this measure, as follows:

The bill provides that from and after July 1, 1907, the Commissioners of the District of Columbia shall be placed in entire control of the Washington Aqueduct, filtration plant, Conduit road, all water mains, and the water-distribution system of the District of Columbia, and that all appropriations available for the Washington Aqueduct and its appurtenances, including the filtration plant, shall be expended under the direction and control of said Commissioners, and that the employees paid from said appropriations shall be transferred to their jurisdiction for assignment to such duties as may be deemed necessary to carry into effect the provisions of this act.

At present there is a division of authority over the water system. The dam at Great Falls, the aqueduct and reservoir along the route, the filtration plant, and a portion of the trunk mains being under the control of the War Department, while the high-service reservoirs, the pumping stations, the greater part of the trunk mains, and all the distributing system are under the jurisdiction of the Commissioners.

The Commissioners state that considerable economy would result from their administration of the aqueduct and the filtration plant, as a number of employees now necessarily duplicated on account of the division of the work could be dr

Your committee are strongly of opinion that the proposed transfer of jurisdiction will bring about more economical and satisfactory results than now obtain.

The bill was prepared by and introduced at the request of the Commissioners of the District of Columbia, whose reasons for requesting its enactment are set forth in detail in the following letter: OFFICE COMMISSIONERS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA,

Washington, December 6, 1906. SENATOR: The Commissioners of the District of Columbia have the honor to forward herewith a bill to provide for the transfer of jurisdiction over the Washington Aqueduct, the filtration plant, and appurtenances from the Chief of Engineers of the United States Army to the Commissioners of the District of Columbia, and to recommend its enactment.

The transfer has been recommended by the Chief of Engineers of the United States Army for several years past, the time for such transfer being generally set at the date of the completion of the filtration plant. This plant is now in operation and the Chief of Engineers in his report for this year states as follows:

“In the Report of the Chief of Engineers for 1896, page 436, the following state ments and recommendations were made:

“U’nder existing laws the Chief of Engineers, United States Army, has the immediate superintendence of the Washington Aqueduct and of everything connected with the same belonging to the United States. (Sec. 1800, Rev. Stats. ) His authority is required to tap all water pipes laid by the United States. (Sec. 1803, Rev. Stats.) He is in no way responsible to the authorities of the District of Columbia, though the estimates relating to the maintenance and operation of the aqueduct are required by law to be submitted to the Secretary of the Treasury by the Commissioners of the District. The responsibility for the care, storage, and distribution of the water supply of the District lies severally upon the Chief of Engineers and the District Com. missioners. It would seem proper that all the responsibility of operating the complete system of water supply should rest with the officials of the District alone, and that when the work of constructing additional parts of the system is assigned to the Chief of Engineers, under the War Department, the additional structure, when completed, should be turned over to the District authorities to operate.

"«The modifications of sections 1800, 1803, and 1810 of the Revised Statutes, in accordance with the above views, and the extension of the authority of the Commissioners of the District over all completed structures pertaining to the water supply, whether within or without the limits of the District, are recommended.'

“The "onditions which then seemed to make it advisable to terminate the dual responsibility for the water supply of the District exist to-day, and the recommendation is renewed. The completion of the filtration plant will give an added reason for the transfer, as its maintenance and operation are even more ir ionately connected with the distribution system than is the aqueduct itself.”

At present the dam at Great Falls, the aqueduct and reservoir along the route, the filtration plant, and a portion of the trunk mains are under the control of the War Department, and the high-service reservoirs, the pumping station, the greater part of the trunk mains, and all the distributing system are under the Commissioners.

Some of tlie trunk mains in the city of Washington were originally laid by the United States, under the control of the War Department, to supply the Government buildings, and others were laid by the Commissioners of the District of Columbia for the service of consumers in the city of Washington and the District of Columbia. Recently all supply mains have been laid by the District of Columbia and increased pressure has been given by pumping, so that practically no water is supplied to Government buildings which does not pass through mains controlled by the District, and usually back and forth from these mains through mains under the jurisdiction of the War Department. For example, the water supply to Capitol Hill goes through a United States Government main 600 feet and then through the pumping station of the District of Columbia, thence passing through 14,000 feet of water main of the District of Columbia, and afterwards through 3,500 feet of main under the jurisdiction of the War Department and 5,000 feet of main of the District of Columbia.

In some cases mains under different control lie side by side or cross each other, and the danger of accidents and the difficulties of location of injury and of repair are much increased and the responsibility as to proper condition is divided. The expense of repair is also increased, as both the United States Government and the District of Columbia have to keep on hand material, wagons, and men for the purpose.

This part of the situation was so unsatisfactory that, two or three years ago, at the request of the Chief of Engineers of the United States Army, the Commissioners assumed temporary charge of these mains, awaiting the authority asked for in this legislation. This can be but temporary, because without such authority the Commissioners have no right to assume permanent control of the mains.

Considerable economy would result in the administration of the aqueduct and filtration plant, as a number of employees now necessarily duplicated on account of the division of the work could be dropped, as can be seen by an inspection of the pay rolls.

The Conduit road, running from Great Falls to the city, is now placed by law under the control of the War Department, and by reason of the lack of jurisdiction of the Commissioners over this road they are unable to light it, to lay sidewalks, service mains, and service sewers without special authorization from Congress. They are at present only authorized to carry on such improvement on highways under

their jurisdiction, and as a number of these municipal constructions involve assessments on abutting property such assessments if levied would not be collectible against the property. The necessity for these improvements as the property develops is evident.

There is no doubt in the mind of the Chief of Engineers, controlling the aqueduct and the filtration plant, and the Commissioners, controlling the pumping and distribution services, that more economical and satisfactory results can be obtained by consolidation of authority over the water system under the Commissioners of the District of Columbia. Very respectfully,

HENRY B. F. MACFARLAND,

President Board of Commissioners, District of Columbia. Hon. J. H. GALLINGER,

Chairman Committee on the District of Columbia, United States Senate.

The bill as amended has the approval of the War Department, as will appear by the following communication:

WAR DEPARTMENT,
OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS,

Washington, December 21, 1906. SIR: I have the honor to return herewith letter of the Committee on the District of Columbia, United States Senate, December 12, 1906, inclosing Senate bill 7042, Fifty-ninth Congress, second session, for the transfer to the Commissioners of the District of Columbia of jurisdiction over the Washington Aqueduct, the filtration plant, and appurtenances, together with an amended copy of the bill, and as thus amended and subject to following remarks no objection is known to its passage.

Capt. Spencer Cosby, Corps of Engineers, the officer in local charge of the agueduct, to whom the bill was referred for report, calls attention to the fact that from 1850 to 1879 the entire expense of constructing and operating the Washington Aqueduct and its appurtenances was borne by the United States alone, and the amount thus expended amounted to $3,804,336.85. Since 1879 one-half the expense has been contributed by the District of Columbia. The question is presented whether, in case of transfer, a return of a portion of the above sum should not have consideration.

Attention is also invited to the fact that titles to the various aqueduct lands in Maryland and Virginia lie in the United States, and a large part of those in Maryland were acquired by condemnation for the purpose of the aqueduct. Whether the transfer of these lands would involve any legal difficulties this office is not prepared Very respectfully,

FREDERIC V. ABBOT,

Acting Chief of Engineers. The SECRETARY OF WAR,

to say.

WAR DEPARTMENT,
OFFICE OF THE JUDGE-ADVOCATE-GENERAL,

Washington, D. C., December 26, 1906. Respectfully returned to the Secretary of War.

The views of this office are desired with reference to the accompanying bill (S. 7042, 59th Cong., 2d sess.) for the transfer of the Washington Aqueduct, filtration plant, and appurtenances from the control of the Chief of Engineers, United States Army, to that of the Commissioners of the District of Columbia. It is understood that an opinion is desired as to whether “the transfer of these lands would involve any legal difficulties," having reference to the fact that the titles to various parcels of the aqueduct lands were acquired by condemnation for the purpose of the aqueduct, suggesting the inquiry whether the transfer of the control of the aqueduct, as proposed in this bill, would in any way affect the title to these lands.

It is not seen how the transfer of the control of this property, as proposed, could in any way affect the title to the lands acquired as stated above. The purpose for which they were acquired would not be changed, but the administration of the property would be placed in a different agency. The lands would still be held for

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the same public purposes for which they were acquired, and in the opinion of this office the transfer of the control, as proposed, would involve no legal difficulties respecting the title to the property.

JNO. BIDDLE PORTER, Acting Judge-Advocate-General.

WAR DEPARTMENT,

December 27, 1906. Respectfully returned to the chairman Committee on the District of Columbia, United States Senate, inviting attention to the preceding indorsement hereon, and to the accompanying report of the Acting Chief of Engineers, United States Army, and amended bill referred to by him.

Wm. H. Taft, Secretary of War. 0

2d Session.

No. 6744.

AMENDING SECTION 553, CODE OF LAW FOR THE DIS

TRICT OF COLUMBIA.

JANUARY 25, 1907.-Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the state

of the Union and ordered to be printed.

Mr. TAYLOR, of Ohio, from the Committee on the District of Columbia,

submitted the following

REPORT.

[To accompany H. R. 24750.]

The Committee on the District of Columbia, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 24750) amending section 553 of the Code of Law for the District of Columbia, report the same back to the House with the recommendation that it do pass.

The purpose of the proposed legislation is to add an additional clause to section 553 of the code, which section relates to the salaries of the officers and employees of the office of the recorder of deeds for the District, and restricts the number of such employees and the officials and their salaries to the same number and same salaries as obtained in that office when the code went into effect. This addition to section 553 authorizes the employment by the recorder of a cashier in his office at an annual compensation of $1,600. As the number of employees is limited by this section, as above stated, it is necessary for Congressional action in order to provide the additional employee.

The report of the recorder on H. R. 22350, the second section of which was eliminated in that bill and introduced as the separate measure, herewith reported, shows that during the year ending December 31, 1901, there were filed for record in that office, 15,279 instruments, exclusive of incorporations, while during the present year it is estimated that the number of papers filed for record will exceed 21,350, a net increase of more than 6,000 papers, and the indications are that the same ratio of increase will continue. The excess of fees over the expenses of the office, which was turned into the Treasury to the credit of the District of Colunibia for the fiscal year of 1901 amounted to $191.98, while for the fiscal year 1906 the excess amounted to $8,615.03, and if the present rate of increase is maintained for the balance of the present fiscal year the excess of receipts over expenditures will amount to over $10,000.

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