Nevertheless, Claypool feels it is unfair to charge business owners a hydrant fee if they also are paying a fee for automatic sprinklers.
“I have had a hard time with this charge, these types of fees for something they already paid for,” Claypool said.
Shawn Aiken, water projects manager for CT Consultants, said the fees help the water system operator recover the cost of the robust infrastructure that otherwise would not be necessary. The residential customer benefits by having a more reliable system with greater water pressures than required by the EPA. The fee also helps the operator hold the line on rate increases.
Claypool asked Meaney and his staff to calculate how much the county would have to raise water rates in order to eliminate the hydrant charge. The idea would be to spread the cost of the system across all users, not just commercial ones.
Meaney called the idea “a reasonable approach he could support and justify.”
There are an estimated 1,000 private hydrants on the county’s water system.