West Chester installing water main to help firefighters with supply

Credit: Submitted

Credit: Submitted

It is extremely difficult for West Chester Twp. fire crews to get water to a portion of West Chester Road, so the township plans to spend around $225,000 to extend the water main from Cincinnati Dayton Road to that area.

Fire Chief Rick Prinz said there are 14 structures on that mainly rural stretch of road and fire fighting is a challenge. They need to line up multiple trucks and sections of hose to reach the farthest structure near the railroad trestle. It is nearly a mile from the nearest fire hydrant at Cincinnati Dayton Road.

“So it’s frustrating that there’s no water service there for fire protection,” Prinz told the trustees Tuesday. “When we hear a call come out on that section of road, the hair on the back of your neck stands up a little bit.”

Prinz said in recent years as homes have been built they have convinced a couple homeowners to add water features like an underground tank and a pond. The chief pointed out a pond wouldn’t be very effective this week with standing snow. The department is also asking residents to make sure they shovel out hydrants in their yards.

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He said the lack of water in that area also impacts the township’s Insurance Services Office rating, which in turn affects homeowners’ property insurance rates.

“We take it on the chin every three years when ISO evaluates us,” Prinz said. “We score well but we don’t score as what we’d like to on the water distribution section of our ISO rating.”

The township is working with the Butler County Water & Sewer Department on the main extension project and the trustees approved a $30,992 contract Kleingers & Associates for survey and design services for the main extension.

Trustee Ann Becker asked if there are any other areas of the township where water supply is an issue. Prinz said there are some long driveways that can pose challenges, but the water supply is good everywhere else.

Services Director Tim Franck said the construction cost estimate is $225,000, which the township will pay, but once installed the county will maintain it, like it does the rest of the system.

Martha Shelby, director of the county Water & Sewer Department, said normally water main extensions are driven by new developments within the county’s service area which is Fairfield, Liberty and West Chester townships and a small portion of Monroe. The rest of the county outside of the municipalities, which have their own water and sewer operations, are served by the Southwest Regional Water District.

She said the new main in West Chester would not provide much benefit to the county system.

“It is not on our capital improvement plan to add water to that road,” Shelby said. “They felt it was important enough to them to do it.”

Shelby said there are more than 7,700 hydrants within the county’s service area and she is not aware of water availability issues for fire suppression elsewhere.

“Water mains and fire hydrants are available on most roadways so this is a very uncommon occurrence for a water main to be installed to improve fire protection,” Shelby said.

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