Metering devices may fix water issue

Posted: March 23, 2013

The Winchester Star

WINCHESTER — A solution has apparently been reached to help the Frederick County Sanitation Authority monitor the amount of water drawn by water haulers.

The FCSA has discovered unaccountable water losses at its hydrants and cross-contamination that can occur due to mechanical defects when water is drawn from a hydrant, according to Engineer-Director Uwe Weindel.

The authority is considering the rental of metering devices for haulers’ trucks, to keep track of the water use, he said.

County officials now allow haulers to draw water from four of the county fire hydrants at any time.

The FCSA studied two options: a metered hydrant at its administration building that water haulers could use during certain hours; or establishing at least one full-time pump station in the county that would operate like a gas station, Weindel has said.

During a Feb. 19 public hearing, more than a dozen haulers — who service family swimming pools, farmers, commercial construction sites and other needs — spoke out against some of the proposed changes, but were receptive to having meters for their trucks.

Carl Fishel, who owns Fishel’s Water Service in Frederick County, said on Friday that he is pleased the FCSA is considering a plan that would not restrict him and other water haulers.

“I’m more than happy about that,” he said. “Water season is coming up and I’m glad they’ll get something where we can haul day and night and not be restricted.”

County officials will review procedures in nearby localities — such as Loudoun County — which use a system similar to the one under review by the FCSA, Weindel said on Friday.

Haulers likely will pay a deposit to rent the devices from the FCSA. They would receive a refund when they return the devices, he added.

The authority has not decided on the amount of the deposit and must approve any actions after a public hearing is held at its May 21 meeting, Weindel said.

— Contact Matt Armstrong