REPORT ON SEWER CONSTRUCTION
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS
CITY OF DETROIT
Report #1, September 1916
Summary of Recommendations
It is recommended:
1 — That the Sewer Engineer devote more time to supervision of construction, the assistant engineer having direct charge of surveys, lines and grades.
2 — That the Chief Inspector supervise night work, or unless the volume of construction work is greatly increased, the position be abolished.
3 — That salaries of Survey party be changed.
4 — That the acting clerk, now under Chief Inspector, be appointed as clerk, placed directly under Sewer Engineer, and his duties be increased to include construction cost records.
5 — That the salary of Sewer Engineer by increased to an amount commensurate with his responsibilities.
6 — That the Inspectors be on a yearly salary rather than a per diem basis and character and qualifications of inspectors be raised.
7 — That the Inspectors submit daily reports giving in detail work done, materials used, and force employed.
8 — That the Inspectors be not required to leave their work in order to secure their pay, but be paid either on the work or through the mail each week.
9 — That the cleaning of catch basins be transferred from Sewer Department to Street Cleaning Department (tentatively suggested).
10 — That the Supervision of operation of the Fairview Sewage Pumping Station be transferred from the City Engineer to the Sewer Department.
11 — That a District Superintendent for the Central District of the Sewer Department be appointed in place of the Assistant Superintendent.
12 — That a checker, or time-keeper, be assigned to the Central District.
13 — That Inspectors, reporting directly to the Sewer Engineer of the City Engineer’s office, be assigned to construction work being done by the Sewer Department. (Tentative)
14 — That the Sewer Department bid formally on all Sewer Construction work advertised for contracts, and that cost records be kept of all work performed.
15 — That the Inspectors exercise care in setting, and frequently checking “sightarms”, and make it the rule to personally check the invert grade of the sewer laid.
16 — That more attention be paid to the alignment of sewers, and the survey party set sufficient stakes to make possible the control of alignment.
17 – That the Survey Party also return to the former practice of frequently checking grades given, and sewer inverts.
18 — That the Survey Party give line and grade for the construction of all storm sewers.
19 — That the giving of lines for Sidewalk construction or any other extraneous duties be removed from the jurisdiction of the Sewer Engineer.
20 — That mean sea level be adopted as the datum for elevations in all public work, and permanent bench marks based on precise levels be established throughout the city.
21 — That standard sizes, scales and titles be adopted for all drawings.
22 — That plans be signed by division and city engineer when approved.
23 — That titles for plans be printed from type rather than by the draftsman by hand.
24 — That the original or file copies of drawings not be taken from the office. Either a Photostat be installed, or tracings be made as file copies of all drawings.
25 — That the use of the “station and plus” method of laying out plans and profiles be adopted.
26 — That a change in size of sewers be made by breaks in the invert of the sewer rather than the arch, unless special conditions prevent.
27 — That in establishing street and alley grades more weight be given to economy in drainage with the view of reducing the construction of storm sewers.
28 — That official plans be prepared for storm sewers and record plans filed when such sewers are completed.
29 — That responsibility for sewer design be more clearly defined than it is at present.
30 — That rainfall and run-off data be gathered, the operation of existing sewers be watched, and the present method of design checked by the “rational” method.
31 — That records of existing sewers, including storm sewers, be brought up to date.
32 — That a comprehensive sewerage system be planned, looking both to extensions and to the collection and disposal of sewage.
33 — That more inspectors be used in some cases.
34 — That a school of instruction for inspectors be established.
35 — That sewer construction methods be “toned up” – that closer supervision be given and that inspectors be elected and retained for merit only.
36 — That a system for identification of tested cement be put into effect.
37 — That occasional, if not regular, tests of all construction materials be made.
38 — That a Bureau of Tests, under which the duties of the cement tester, gas inspector, meter inspector, and certain other special employees can be grouped, be established (tentatively suggested).
39 — That sewer specifications be revised, make specific, and non-essentials be eliminated.
40 — That proposal sheets be extended to include uncertain items upon which the contractor cannot bid closely on the present basis of lineal foot of sewer complete.
41 — That borings showing material to be excavated be made by the city, samples filed for examination, and results noted on contract plans.
42 — That every effort be made to furnish the bidder with complete and concise information as to the quantity and character of the work to be done, so that all bidders will start on the same basis and there can be no just grounds for a charge of favoritism.