Originally created 05/23/00

Water problems are inexcusable



The water problems in Augusta and surrounding communities are inexcusable. The history of events of the past three years proves to me that we need a professional water company to take over the water systems in our metropolitan area.

Sure, there are times that water rationing is required and that water mains break. However, a professional company that would work regionally and obtain water from several widespread resources and cross-connect with each on a division or regional basis, could mitigate and isolate problems as they occur with the least amount of down time.

Another issue is the fire hydrants. Many are located so far off the paved road that they would be useless to responding fire apparatus, particularly if the ground is wet and muddy. Pumpers have two 10-foot lengths of suction hose to feed the pump. They could not get close to the fire hydrant to connect to it. ...

I worked with Suburban Water Company of Bryn Mawr, Pa., for 50 years as a volunteer and career firefighter and mechanical engineer. Springfield Water Company and later Suburban Water Company consolidated all of the municipal water departments and private companies in southeastern Pennsylvania. The utility obtains its funds very similarly to the power and gas companies through your water meter. The municipalities pay a maintenance fee to the water company for each fire hydrant.

They combined several lakes, creeks, and wells into a grid system that serves several counties and townships. They even put into service extra pumps at the reservoirs to boost flow in the event of a major water-intensive fire in any given district. Water quality is outstanding and closely watched by their own chemist as well as the Environmental Protection Agency. Fire hydrants and grid systems are flow tested every year and the hydrants are freshly painted. Hydrants in need of repair or replacement and any water main problems are corrected immediately, mostly within a single day of notice...

I believe it is time to let the professionals in and take command.

Frank D. Harrisson, Augusta

(Editor's note: The author is retired fire chief, Lavino Shipping company and Onival Corporation, Philadelphia, PA.)