Last week, the Public Service Commission initiated a general investigation to examine the maintenance and testing of fire hydrants.
Although the Commission has no requirements for water pressure or volume for fire suppression, the state Department of Health and Human Resources requires that, “Under no circumstances shall fire flows be less than 250 gallons per minute.”
One of the primary charges of the Commission is to require public utilities to perform in a manner designed to safeguard the interests of the public and the utilities. Whether a fire hydrant is owned by a public utility or served by a utility, the utility has responsibilities to assure that the hydrant will perform adequately. If adequate flow cannot be delivered by a particular hydrant, that hydrant is not fulfilling its purpose as part of the water distribution system and the utility owning or serving the hydrant is not providing adequate service.
For that reason, the Commission has ordered that on or before July 28, 2023, all public utility owners of fire hydrants or that serve private fire hydrants shall provide certain information to the Commission. Information sought includes the number of hydrants owned or serviced, their age, descriptions of the infrastructure supporting them, problems or complaints encountered, and maintenance schedules and practices.
PSC Chairman Charlotte Lane said, “We are seeking information and will evaluate when we receive it and then we will determine if further action is necessary.”
More information on this case can be found on the PSC website: www.psc.state.wv.us. Click on “Case Information” and access Case No. 23-0555-W-GI.