Pump Up The Pressure

The way town officials frame it, it would seem that it was no big deal that inadequate fire hydrant water pressure required the fire department to use five tanker trucks from out of town to fight a fire at the landfill late last month.

During this incident, the tanker trucks had to fill up at a hydrant on the other side of MacArthur Boulevard and haul the water to the fire.

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Each truck made four to five trips, which involved traveling from the landfill to the Bourne Bridge Rotary, circling around the rotary to MacArthur Boulevard south, going past the Nickerson-Bourne Funeral Home to an abandoned building where heavy equipment used to be sold. The trucks loaded up with water at a hydrant there, and then went back down MacArthur Boulevard to the cut-through where they returned to the landfill with their load of water.

Fire Chief Martin Greene said the landfill hydrant is a “dead end” hydrant. And as such, water flows to it from just one pipe. Regular hydrants get pressure from two directions—thus two pipes.

“It’s something we deal with all the time,” he said, naming such areas as Wings Neck and Mashnee Island, as other locations of “dead end “ hydrants.

But Wings Neck and Mashnee do not boast an industrial complex like the landfill facility, which is home base for ISWM operations.

Last month’s fire was relatively manageable and still required five tankers. What if the fire was a big one? What then? Fifteen tankers? Twenty?

It seems prudent for the town and the Bourne Water District to take a long, hard look at improving water flow to the landfill. Perhaps there is a way to run a secondary line to the site, or connect in from the opposition direction so the hydrant is no longer at the end of the line.

It might just be too expensive a proposition but the time to look into it is now. Town officials shouldn’t wait until after, God forbid, a blaze levels all the buildings on the site and chars the surrounding landscape before calculating the costs and examining the options. Just maybe there is an affordable way to pump up the pressure.

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