When the supply was enlarged a second pipe was laid alongside the first with an equal capacity, each being able to convey 2,200,000 gallons every twenty-four hours. A third pipe was installed later. The second and third pipes were laid by the late Captain J.B. Overton, who was Superintendent of the Company for over thirty-two years. Captain Overton also extended the flume lines, constructed the tunnel through the mountain ridge, built the Marlette Lake dam and made many other improvements and extensions.
On leaving Marlette Lake through an opening at the lower portion of the dam the water is conducted five miles in a covered flume and thence through a tunnel four thousand feet long through the summit of the dividing ridge or rim of the Tahoe basin to its easterly side. From this point it is again conducted through covered flumes, together with water from Hobart Creek and other streams, to the intake of the pipes across Washoe Valley. These pipes are three in number, two twelve inch and one ten inch. The difference in elevation between the inlet and discharge from No. 1 and No. 2 pipes is 465 feet. The difference in elevation between the inlet and discharge of No. 3 pipe is 565 feet. The pipes are laid across Washoe Valley in the form of inverted syphons. At the lowest point in the valley, the perpendicular pressure is 1720 feet on No. 1 and No. 2 pipes and 1820 feet on No. 3 pipe. The pipe lines go up and down nine canyons in their course across the Valley. Each line is something over seven miles in length. The pressure gauges at Lake View, the point of heaviest pressure, register 820 lbs. on No. 1 and No. 2 pipes when filled, and 910 lbs. on No. 3 pipe when filled.
When this work was first contemplated many hydraulic engineers condemned the project as impossible, as never before had water been carried so far under such pressure. But the fact that the first pipes laid by Engineer Schussler are still in active use demonstrates the scientific and practical knowledge and skill with which he attacked the problem.
It is an interesting fact to note that, prior to the building of the dam, part of the water was used for “fluming” lumber and wood to Lake View, and also for a short period of time after the dam was constructed. But for the past twenty years this practice has been discontinued, the water being solely for the supply of Virginia City. The total cost of the work was about $3,500,000. The Company is now under the immediate and personal supervision of James M. Leonard. The flumes and pipe-lines have recently been rebuilt and repaired where necessary so that the entire system is in excellent condition and a high state of efficiency.