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2 towns, Carlton and Murray, cited by Health Department for backflow prevention

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 August 2016 at 7:37 pm
This photo which was widely shared on Facebook shows a hose for irrigation connected to a fire hydrant without a backflow prevention device by the hydrant. It shows a hydrant on Fancher Road in Murray.

This photo which was widely shared on Facebook shows a hose for irrigation connected to a fire hydrant without a backflow prevention device by the hydrant. It shows a hydrant on Fancher Road in Murray.

(Editor’s note: This article was updated from the original to state the towns could face a $100 fine, although that likely would be waived once the towns assure the Health Department they are in compliance.)

ALBION – Two towns in Orleans County were sent violation notices last week for not having backflow prevention devices by a fire hydrant when farmers were using water for irrigation.

Carlton and Murray both allow farmers to use water from hydrants, just like most towns in an agricultural community. However, the Orleans County Health Department saw instances in the two towns where backflow devices were not by the hydrants.

It is the towns’ responsibility to ensure backflow devices are by the first point of connection, in these cases the fire hydrants, said Paul Pettit, public health director in Orleans County.

“It’s not the farmer or any other end user that are in violation,” Pettit said today. “It’s the towns that are responsible for the water districts.”

The towns could face a $100 fine by the Health Department. That fine likely would be dropped if the towns respond by next week and ensure the Health Department they are in compliance by not allowing hook-ups to the system without backflow devices by the hydrant, Pettit said.

Water with bacteria or contaminants from a hose could get in the main water system without a back flow device, he said. In the case of a fire where there could be a big draw or change in pressure in the water system, water from a hose could be pulled into the main waterlines if there isn’t a backflow device, possibly contaminating the public water supply, Pettit said.

The Health Department sent letters to all 10 towns, reminding them to use backflow devices by hydrants for outside users.

“We have a great working relationship with all of the towns,” Pettit said. “But we wanted to make sure they all are doing their due diligence to protect our water supply.”

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