By Chris Johnson


PECATONICA – During the July Committee of the Whole Meeting in Pecatonica earlier this month, an issue was brought up, which has surfaced before, in regards to the Village of Pecatonica’s water distribution system and its ability to fight fires.

It’s a major concern in portions of town with areas which would be left completely unprotected if fire fighting personnel needed access to the Village’s water supply and hydrant system.

Areas of negative pressure exist, which would make it impossible to fight fires, according to Village Engineer Jason Stoll.

“There are a few areas of town the Village should be concerned about as they work on their five-year and longer plans. Areas around the Elementary School and even by the High School could be stressed if called upon to fight fires.”

There’s a certain amount of pressure that’s needed for the fire department to be able to draw from the Village’s supply and attack fires, according to Stoll.

“The current pipe system serviced by the Village has to be a certain size, it has to be changed. There are certain requirements that have been put into place. In order to fight a fire you have to have water pressure. Forty-eight percent of the water system within the Village is at or below minimum requirements, which means, certain areas of town could be in trouble.” Stoll explained. “With the wells and the tower on the west side of town, to fight a fire on the east side of town we need the right amount of pressure so we test the pipes and the flow rate. Our testing showed that the flow at the Middle School was adequate and could fight a fire effectively. Areas around the High School and Elementary School failed.”

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has already put into action requirements, which would deem necessary, the responsibility of Villages and Municipalities to assure mains and water transfer pipe sizes meet minimum standards.

Within Pecatonica, almost half of the pipes under the Village’s watch are not at the level required by the EPA, according to reports.

Maintenance has to be done and the pipes have to be switched out, according to the Village Engineer.

“We have to do a certain amount of water mains and pipes every year, there are requirements which say eight-inch pipe have to be used. The Village has to budget in a plan to fix a percentage each year.”

The issue of Village readiness in the event of a fire in specific areas of town will surface again during Committee Meetings and during the regular monthly meeting of Village President Dan Barber and the Pecatonica Village Trustees.

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