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Skaneateles to use reservoirs for firefighting

Dry hydrants will offer water source to firefighters while fire flow is poor

In response to recent concerns about poor pressure to fire hydrants in the village of Skaneateles, local officials have come up with a temporary solution.

The village has developed a plan to install several “dry hydrants” to give local firefighters the ability to fight fires, if need be, while the village water has less than sufficient flow to some fire hydrants.

The village and town water departments will be installing a new hydrant on East Street near the village water tower this winter. Rather than being fed by the village water system like ordinary hydrants, it will be a dry hydrant fed only by the two former drinking water reservoirs at the tower site, Director of Municipal operations Bob Lotkowictz said at the board’s Nov. 26 meeting.

The village and town were already in the process of decommissioning the two reservoirs which are no longer necessary due to the village’s ultraviolet disinfection system installed last year.

Instead of being drained and filled in, the reservoirs will now be used as a water source for firefighters. Their combined capacity is 700,000 gallons. Though the water won’t under pressure, firefighters can still access the water with special equipment designed to pump water from non-pressurized water sources, Lotkowictz said.

The village also has tentative plans to install five more dry hydrants throughout the village that will tap into Skaneateles Lake. The dry hydrants will be painted black so that firefighters can discern them from regular hydrants.

The plan came as a result of several recent meetings between town and village officials and firefighters who have worked together to come up with solutions to the problem, fire department liaison and Village Trustee Sue Jones said. The plan is agreeable to both sides and addresses a public safety concern, Jones said.

“It’s really been a harmonious and a good group,” she said.

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