My volly department has run into an issue that I'm needing some guidance with. It pertains to water billing. My department has been receiving 2 water bills for years (1) for water usage at the station and (2) for hydrant usage, water used for fire, and hydrant maintenance. I believe that the older board of directors believed that this was a common thing and we've always paid roughly $500/mo for these items. Recently, our town water was taken over by Aqua Indiana (a.k.a. Aqua America) and our rates have sky rocketed. Our new bill for the hydrants and water usage is $1,900/mo.. Being such a small department with a small budget, we're unsure how we will be able to pay this bill and still operate. If we continue to pay this amount, our annual budget will be spent in 11 months. We've been told by our department attorney that there isn't a lot that can be done. I strongly disagree with that, but I'm no attorney. So I suppose were I'm going with this is, I'd like to know if there are any other departments out there that pay this same sort of fee out of your budget? If so, what types of fees do you pay and whats the rough size of your area. Any and all help would be greatly appreciated.


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Start billing the water company for fire protection and work on a "hazmat risk fee" for industries that store, use, and/or produce hazardous materials. Ensure that the "hazmat risk fee" is at least twice what they're charging for the hydrant fee per month.

That should get the water company's attention, and might bring them to the negotiating table to get the hydrant fees reduced or eliminated.

On the other hand, getting a bill for water used at the station is pretty ordinary. Your department is probably stuck with that one.
A FD paying to use water from hydrants?????? Something about this doesn't seem right. The town pays for all of our station utilities ie. heat, water, gas, etc... so we don't have to worry about that. We certainly don't have to worry about paying to use a hydrant!!! Neither should any dept. for that fact. I didn't know things like that even took place. What part of Indiana are you in????
"My department has been receiving 2 water bills for years (1) for water usage at the station." Ok, that's understandable. "and (2) for hydrant usage, water used for fire, and hydrant maintenance." What!?!?!
This is the first time I have ever heard of anything like this.. Do they charge a company when it catches on fire and the sprinklers activate and they use water?? I would have a meeting with the water department if nothing can be worked out.. Then i setup a meeting with the resident's in the area that your department covers and let them know that you can't provide fire coverage to them because you can not afford the water.
I don't know the laws in your particular jurisdiction, but it seems absolutely absurd that the Fire Department has to pay for water for hydrant usage. Water systems were established for fire protection -- and every domestic user is expected to pay a certain overage for the general benefit of having water available for the fire department.

What do your neighboring departments do? If they are all doing this, then it's time to get together and stop it. If not, well, there's your answer.

I'd also talk to your local elected officials, and work with them on getting their help. Perhaps they have the authority to pass a law requiring the water authority to foot their own bill for hydrants.
I've never heard the Dept getting charged for the use of hydrants, our Twp pays a water bill, but not the Fire Dept.
Our City fire department pays our CIty water department for all the maintenance work, and repairs on the hydrants (wich is crazy) but we dont pay for water usage,
My dept pays for the water bill at station #1, and #2 has a well so no problem there.But as others have mentioned paying for water use from a hydrant is crazy. At the next fire, don't use the hydrants, instead strike out a tanker(or tender if you prefer) task force and set up water shuttle if an option.When asked why you didn't use the hydrant next door, simply reply that you couldn't afford to...

I'd would also suggest you get the local paper involved. Cause an uproar, make the water company feel about this = big
Fantastic idea Paul. I've thought about that actually. I've just waited because I have an attorney reviewing all of the info and I didn't want to make more waves before that part was completed.
I like the hazmat risk fee idea. Is your department city funded? Is the city buying water from the company? What would be the citys function be in your town?

Just a few questions but I agree that its all a load of crap that you have to pay for water. How do they calculate the water usage?
this is a first that I have heard of any volunteer fire dept having to pay for the water that they use or pay for the hydrants. So if you cant pay the bill are they going to deal with the customers house that burns down because the water dept. wouldn't let you hook up to a hydrant?.Good luck with this and be safe. Everyone Goes Home.

we have a private water company here in the town i live in. The water pressure is so bad that if we open a hydrant all the way , we suck people into the toilets. LOL The hydrants are very old and we have broken several just useing them to fill the trucks . It takes getting the homeowners involved to get the hydrants fixed.

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