The Big Flats public water supply is designed to provide water for drinking, irrigation, and processing for domestic and commercial needs and to provide for fire protection. The way we provide these services is through hydrants, watermains and water supply.
The fire hydrants can be seen along the streets. When needed, the fire departments connect to the water supply system via these hydrants. Only Big Flats Water Department personnel and emergency responders are allowed access to these hydrants. If you see someone other than us opening hydrants, please let us know. This is called Theft of Services and can be prosecuted. Also, someone without the proper knowledge of opening and closing hydrants may damage the system. We have had instances of this that resulted in water main breaks. The spacing between the hydrants usually ranges from 500 to 1000 feet. The Big Flats Water Department maintains about 400 public hydrants. The minimum water system operating pressure allowed by the Department of Health is a residual pressure of 20 psi. Our system is a gravity fed system and maintains pressures of 45 – 95 psi depending on elevation. There are no booster pumps in the system.
As part of our maintenance schedule, each hydrant is flushed and inspected a couple of times a year. We repair or replace the hydrants when needed. Unfortunately, the replacements are necessary when they are hit and damaged by vehicles. Whenever possible, the cost of repairs is billed to the person that caused the damage. We also try to keep the hydrants accessible by keeping the weeds knocked down and clearing the snow in the winter. If you have a hydrant in your yard or close by, please consider keeping that clear. The Fire Department and the Water Department would be thankful for the extra help.
The Big Flats Water Department maintains about 40 miles of various size water mains. They connect the fire hydrants to the water supply. You probably pay no attention to these unless there is a main break and an interruption to the water supply or pressure.
Lastly is the water supply. Our system is supplied by groundwater wells. We have four wells and pumphouses. These are checked in person, 365 days a year, 366 days in a Leap year. The water is pumped from the vast aquifer and is chlorinated and sent on its way into the system and two storage tanks via the water mains. We do not fluoridate our water.