PRITCHARD — A malfunctioning fire hydrant has been repaired, and hydrants are inspected and tested annually, but Pritchard’s water system doesn’t meet today’s standards for water protection.
Those are some of the points made in a bulletin received by homes in Pritchard Developments on Monday (Feb. 1, 2016).
The bulletin, called “FAQs about Fire Protection and the Pritchard Community Water System,” was distributed as a result of community concerns stemming from a New Year’s Day fire, during which the volunteer fire department found that the nearest hydrant was frozen.
Here’s the text of the bulletin:
A recent incident has raised concerns about fire protection in the Pritchard Developments. This bulletin is intended to provide some basic information about the origin of the subdivision and current fire protection.
Q: How did the water system come to be?
Pritchard Developments was constructed in the early-‘70s by Pritchard Developments Ltd. and included a water system to service the area. TNRD was approached by Pritchard Developments and the Comptroller of Water Rights in 2001 to take over and manage the system.
Q: Is there sufficient flow to meet fire protection standards?
At the time of construction the system met fire protection standards. However, the system does not meet today’s standards for fire protection, in large part due to the size of the reservoir and the requirements for flow and duration.
Q: What is the TNRD’s mandate?
Under the current mandate, the Pritchard Community Water System is responsible for providing indoor domestic water and household irrigation needs. While the hydrants are a valuable resource, in case of fire the need for supplementing the water supply from the hydrants with water from tanker trucks remains likely. Upgrading the system to today’s standards would require an investment by those who pay for the service to fund upgrades, such as increased reservoir size and supply capacity.
Q: Why are there hydrants instead of standpipes?
The developer at the time of construction chose to install hydrants rather than standpipes — which are smaller rigid water pipes to which hoses can be connected – as the system met fire protection standards of the day. Standpipes have the same issues and do not meet fire-flow requirements as they provide less flow than a fire hydrant.
Q: Why do fire hydrants fail?
In this case, the high water table and soil conditions (namely, clay) in the Pritchard area do not allow the hydrant to drain properly, filling it with water, and freezing can occur, which can cause damage. Corrosion is also an issue.
Q: What is the process for detecting defective hydrants?
Hydrants are inspected and tested annually by TNRD Utility Services. Maintenance is currently funded through the Utility Services budget.
Q: When is the hydrant in question going to be repaired?
It was assessed and has already been repaired at a cost of $1,150.
Need more information?
For more information about the Pritchard Community Water System, contact Arden Bolton, TNRD Utilities Manager, at 250-377-8673. For more about Fire Protection, contact Jason Tomlin, Emergency Services Supervisor, at 250-377-8673.