Illegal fire hydrant use causes concern in Greenfield

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HANCOCK COUNTY, Ind. – The City of Greenfield is sending a warning to those stealing their water.

The city says some people are illegally hooking up to fire hydrants to pump out large amounts of water, which can cause plenty of issues.

"We have to account (to the state) for what we withdraw and what we send out into the water system, and what we lose for the water system,” said City of Greenfield Water Utilities Manager Charles Gill.

Lately, some of that water loss has come from people illegally hooking up to fire hydrants. Not only is it stealing, Gill says it could also damage hydrants, cause a main break or even discolor the water.

“You get new companies that come in and they aren't aware of the rules, they just need to go out and do their jobs," Gill said. "Our main point is to protect the system, to provide safe drinking water for the City of Greenfield and to provide fire protection."

For the Greenfield Fire Territory, damaged fire hydrants can cause a major problem. Some hydrants have specific hookups for the fire equipment, and if someone else tries to use it, they could cause damage, making the hydrant unusable.

"Getting an established water source quickly at a house fire, is vital to us in either saving a house or saving a life," said Greenfield Fire Territory Public Information Officer Corey Breese. "If that part is damaged for us in any way shape or form, or even the screw is damaged, we would have no idea until we pulled up and tried to use it."

To avoid those situations, the city has a specific hydrant to use at the water treatment plan on Main Street, available for an annual fee of $75.

The city asks anyone who sees unauthorized use of a fire hydrant to immediately contact the Water Utilities Department and also the Greenfield Police Department, who say they will treat it as theft.

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