A Few Good Hydrants GLID By Grant Cyz
For the discerning landowner and interested reader please find another important update concerning the ongoing and unnecessary Graham Lake water system issues – the status of its Fire Hydrants.
Recently, the five engineered Fire Hydrants in the Graham Lake Improvement District (GLID) subdivision had a yellow lockable “Out of Service” bag installed over each one. This was a result of vandalism and malfeasance to the previous installed bags and Public Safety Notice tags.(Insert photo)
Kudos and a sincere thank you to Mike Herschmiller (CVRD Manager of Water Services), for following through on industry standards, codes, policy, best practice, the June 12th Town Hall meeting and to various landowner emails.
What does the “bagging” mean? It means the new (as of January 1st 2023) owner-operator (CVRD) is taking our water system seriously. Awesome.
The GLID engineered Fire Hydrants are an integral component of the water system. When properly tested, maintained and operated, Fire Hydrants provide the ability to flush the water system as well as delivering near endless fire suppression water from the otherwise inaccessible Graham Lake.
Why are these engineered water operation and Life & Property Saving Fire Hydrants “Out of Service”? Good question.
Are the Fire Hydrants mechanically inoperable? No. Just over five years ago $6,000 was spent on overhauling all of the five engineered Fire Hydrants by a certified third party.
Is there a hydraulic water flow issue? In order to obtain a conclusive answer, the Fire Hydrants need to be gravity flow tested with raw water. The pressurized treated water test has already been done numerous times.
Before many of us moved to the GLID subdivision there was a pumphouse piping upgrade. At the time, Operator Rob Manering had the vision and sense to install an elementary Emergency By-Pass that maintained the original full flow design. Awesome! Thank you Rob.
Any Emergency By-Pass is a critical component of a water system’s functionality and fire protection water flow. It’s a key operational system component that requires proper development and upgrade, through testing, operation and maintenance. GLID is a high interface fire load subdivision and is experiencing ever increasing amounts of vehicular traffic passing through the neighbourhood. The idea of waterless fire suppression is criminal. The Provincial Minister of Safety has declared an Emergency State of Drought. Available water needs to be accessible water for local, mutual and Coastal Fire aid. Funding for fire water infrastructure improvement can be obtained.
The GLID Emergency By-Pass should be a key tool in the troubleshooting-discovering-solving of GLID’s recent water system’s flow shortage-blockage from the lake to pumphouse. Apparently it was not used, rather expensive divers were brought in with unsuccessful results. Very puzzling.
What does Island Health have to say? Island Health has had no issue with the operational flushing of raw water and raw fire water supply so long as the appropriate boil notices, bacteria testing and potable water flushing procedures are followed afterwards. Fire Hydrant flow testing can be done during what is now an annual four month “Boil Notice” period. Island Health recognizes that fire is detrimental to life and health so there is no excuse.
Water on Denman is to many, of utmost importance – for drinking and for fire suppression. There are no zippy Apple Store downloads or a Fire Underwriters certificate fix that replaces water-works operations. The solution to the “Out of Service” Fire Hydrants can be found in old school water-works functionality and pertinent technology, which considers the value of the whole system.
Again, thanks to CVRD’s Mike Herschmiller for following through with the “Bag & Tag” of the Fire Hydrants.
Let the water-works dialogue continue for those landowners and interested parties that are concerned and engaged with the safety of their life and property.
Further reading on the subject can be found in the American Water Works Association (AWWA) January 2020 edition of Opflow – Small Water Systems Advice & Guidance under the article titled “Who’s Responsible For Fire Hydrants?”
And as ever, the $4,000+ per year water bill for each of the Graham Lake Service Area landowners remains unnecessary.
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