Water Supply Discrepancy Exists
Between Fire Dept and Water Company
A major water discrepancy surfaced publicly during a community meeting last week the session was called to look at the state of the public water supply system in Lehigh Acres.
Ralph Hemingway, chairman of FGUA’s resident’s advisory board, organized the meeting.
According to the Florida Governmental Utility Authority it serves an estimated 12,500 accounts in the Lehigh Acres.
But pulling adequate water from fire hydrants is hard to do in Lehigh Acres, according to Chief John Wayne, but not according to FGUA staff.
The fire department claims that hydrants don’t get the flow reported by FGUA. The utility measures the flow in the main and not the hydrant, as firefighters are required to do.
According to Dwayne Kreidler, senior environmental engineer for FGUA consultant Arcadis; water flows at a rate of 3,000 gallons per minute in the heart of commercial areas and normally, the flow is about 2,000 gallons per minute elsewhere.
During the meeting, a project manager representing FGUA said there were 135 miles of piping with two and eight-inch sizes in Lehigh.
Hemingway at the meeting raised the issue of the proposed widening of Homestead Rd. from Alabama Rd. to Sunrise Rd., saying that the road shouldn’t be built until “we know the size of the water line underneath because if will have to be enlarged and then the roadway would have to be torn up and that doesn’t make any sense, he said.
Hemingway noted that the lines in what he called Indian Village off of Alabama Rd., because of its Indian named streets, said lines into those neighborhoods are only four-inch lines and would be inadequate for fighting fires due to the low pressure of the outflow of the water from hydrants.
“The system performs well within reasonable limits,” said FGUA operations manager Jerry Connolly.
But I’m not aware of any hydrant that’s thrown over 3,000 gallons per minute, said Fire Chief Wayne said.
Wayne said, we do not have enough water to fight these fires.
Wayne described issue when a hose went soft as he tried to get water to the top of an aerial ladder. He also said the department has had major issues getting water from the FGUA water tower on Homestead Road during a commercial building fire.
Fire Commission Chairman Larry Becker said, we know for a fact that we can’t pump out of a lot of hydrants.
Many of the pipes were installed years ago and just aren’t as good as they were at first, fire commission Chairman Larry Becker said.
“We know for a fact that we can’t pump out of a lot of hydrants,” Becker said.
“We should have a blueprint showing exactly where a 12-inch line is going, where an 18-inch line is going and so on down the line,” Hemingway said.
At least one positive from the meeting, they’re discussing it said one community resident.