Fleming-Neon residents who have been tapping into fire hydrants to fill their swimming pools are responsible for “dingy water” which has ruined clothing and threatens to damage appliances, said Water Department Superintendent Carlos Phillips.
Phillips told the Fleming-Neon City Council at its June meeting that whether the fire hydrant taps are done legally or otherwise, they damage the system by stirring up sediment in the lines which then creates the dingy water that goes through taps.
Phillips said the continued use of the hydrants for filling pools will damage the system and asked the council to take action. The council responded by voting unanimously to ask the town’s water board to issue an order forbidding the use of hydrants for filling pools.
Phillips said that water customers who wish to fill their pools should use their garden hose and let the water go through their meter. He said the pools filled from water hoses can be used immediately whereas the pools filled from hydrants will have to be treated for the additional sediment. He also said that people who are not customers of the Fleming-Neon Water Department should not be able to tap hydrants to fill their pools whether they pay or not.
There was some question as to whether the people tapping the hydrants were paying for the water or not. Council member Trey Quillen said the answer is not to sell the water and Mayor Susie Polis said that many people do come into the offi ce and pay before tapping the hydrants. However, Polis said she had spoken with Ken Taylor, the engineer who is working with the city on the Haymond Sewer Project, and he also said the surge of water will damage the system.
Polis said she had received numerous calls over the weekend complaining about the dingy water. Council member Cheryl Furby said she hadn’t been able to do laundry because of it. Phillips told the council its first responsibility is to serve paying customers. He said those customers can continue to fill their pools, but should use their garden hose to do so.
Phillips told the council that anyone who fills their pool from a garden hose can come to the billing offi ce and tell them how large their pool is in order to get an adjustment on their sewer bill. He said the clerk can take the amount of the water used to fill the pool off the sewer bill. (Sewer bills are based on water usage).
Phillips also told the council that the city’s water supply is in good shape and both wells are full. He said he has been using the alternate well quite a bit to save the water in the main well since the alternate well has an overflow that continues to run whether it is drawn from or not. He also said the water and sewer plants are both running well and that the rebuild of the sewer pumping station near Neon Junction will start as soon as all the parts are in. Water losses for May stood at 39 percent.
A progress meeting for the Haymond Sewer Project was recently held and Phillips said the contractor reported that work is about 90 percent complete within 93 percent of the allotted contract time. He said they are mostly doing clean-up work and taking care of people’s yards that have been disturbed.
In other business, the council conducted the first reading of budgets for the city and Water and Sewer Department for Fiscal Year 2011-12. The city budget features revenues of $347,095.87 against expenditures of $346,401.49 while the Water Department budget has revenues of $316,700 against expenditures of $ 338,535. The Sewer budget has revenues of $230,000 against expenditures of $226,000.
Furby brought up the question of security at the water and sewer plants. She said she had been asked about both facilities and that with other instances of theft and vandalism, she had become concerned. Phillips said the plants are locked at night but during the day the water plant gate is not locked because of the movement of workers in and out of the plant. Mayor Polis said she would speak to the Water Board about increasing the level of security.