Tuesday, May 27, 2008

"Black Fire Hydrants Have Counties Seeing Red"

Here's a follow-up from KSAT-12 on the Green Valley Special Utility District's decision to paint all of its fire hydrants black (previously mentioned here):

SAN ANTONIO -- A new state law is prompting different interpretations as well as a possible lawsuit against one local water utility.

House Bill 1717 mandates utilities distinguish between fire hydrants that can discharge 250 gallons of water per minute by painting underperforming hydrants black.

The Green Valley Special Utility District, which covers parts of Bexar, Comal and Guadalupe counties, has decided to paint all of its hydrants black.


An attorney for Guadalupe County said the utility is not abiding by the intent of the law to avoid being held liable for problems with the system.

"It's very disturbing that now all of a sudden, they're saying whoops," attorney Elizabeth Murray-Kolb said. "In case of malfunctions, we'll just go ahead and not let you use any of our fire hydrants."

Murray-Kolb said many of the utility's hydrants are capable of producing more than four times the required state allotment.

Guadalupe County commissioners agreed to join any lawsuit filed against the utility Tuesday afternoon, and the cities of Cibolo and Schertz are expected to meet Tuesday evening to discuss their involvement.

Sounds like Green Valley is going to have its hands full very soon.

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