Fire District #9 demonstrating how the dry hydrant works.
Photo provided by Machelle Rzepka.
Upper Columbia Resource Conservation and Development Council (RC&D) assisted
Waterview Terrace homeowners in developing a dry hydrant to provide water for
Waterview Terrace Homeowners Association, Spokane County Conservation District,
Spokane County Fire District #9, Washington State Department of Fish and
Wildlife (WDFW), Upper Columbia RC&D and the Natural Resources Conservation
area along the Spokane River (Long Lake) is prone to forest and structural
fires. Response time from the local fire district can be as much as 20 minutes
and access to an adequate water supply is very limited at certain times of the
year. Even though the lake is right there, access to the water by fire districts
is limited to viable access by tankers, fluctuating water levels, shoreline weed
growth, and winter ice. A dry hydrant was the answer.
In the early 90s a fire storm just missed the Waterview Terrace development and
burned hundreds of acres around them. In 2006 a million dollar home burned to
the ground because fire fighters could not get enough water to fight the fire.
It was winter and the lake had been drawn down and the shallow water had frozen.
Fire fighters hauled water in tankers, but could only handle 500 gallons at a
time due to treacherous road conditions.
project did not traditional funding programs to solve the problem. Landowners
funded the project themselves by “passing the hat.” The Upper Columbia RC&D
Council facilitated the project by requesting technical assistance from NRCS
through its CTA program to provide survey and design assistance. The Upper
Columbia RC&D Council assisted in organizing the group, preparing permit
applications and working with the WDFW to meet fish friendly screen requirements
for the dry hydrant intake.
project really demonstrated that a small community can solve many of the
problems it faces. They didn’t accept that the problem was just the way it is
and live with it; and they didn’t expect someone else to fix it. The community
didn’t know how to solve the water problem, but they were not afraid to ask for
guidance. A commitment was made to provide the funding and labor if the Upper
Columbia RC&D would help guide them through the process.
took two years for the water level in Long Lake to drop to its lowest point. The
homeowners association jumped into action. The Upper Columbia RC&D made sure
permits were in order, a biologist was on site, and backhoe and operator were
fired up ready to go to work. The dry hydrant construction was completed in two
days. Since then all the fire districts in the area have come and trained on
hooking up to the hydrant and will be able to not only fight fires around the
Waterview Terrace development, but now have the ability to fill tankers for
hauling water to fires in the surrounding area. ”
Upper Columbia Resource Conservation & Development Office, (509) 924-7350 ext.