Summit Water Distribution Company adopted its current policy regarding fire hydrant maintenance and snow removal in 1996. The policy addresses the need for snow removal created by Summit County ordinance, which ordinance places the responsibility of snow removal on each individual water company rather than the Fire District or Summit County Public Works. Under Summit Water’s policy, the individual lot owners are responsible to ensure that the hydrants serving their properties are clear of snow and easily accessible in the case of fire or other emergency. It is intended not only to protect individual residences and businesses in the case of fire, but all of the shareholders on the system.
As a mutually owned company, each shareholder not only owns a proportionate share of the water delivery infrastructure, but also shares a joint interest in the efficient and economical operation of the system. There are more than 600 fire hydrants on the Summit Water system that have been constructed to protect the homes that they serve. In a year like this, the sheer number of hydrants makes it physically impossible for company staff to clear snow from each hydrant following repeated storms in an economical and timely manner.
This reminder is being sent to all shareholders to inform those residents on the system who may not have heretofore been informed of the policy of its contents and to achieve uniform compliance with county requirements. As adopted, the policy requires the following:
Each property owner that is adjacent to, or across the street from a fire hydrant is responsible for making sure that the snow is cleared from the hydrant sufficient to provide ready access to emergency personnel. The Summit County Ordinance requires that snow be removed from an area of three (3) feet surrounding the base of the hydrant. Furthermore, Summit Water’s policy requires that markers be present at each hydrant location to enhance the visibility of the hydrants. If the homeowners see that the flagged markers are damaged or missing, they are requested to contact Summit Water’s offices so that a replacement marker can be placed on the hydrant.
Because of the tremendous importance to the shareholders of the policy, the Board of Directors authorized the imposition of a $50 fine for non-compliance. However, in the past, Summit Water has been slow to impose the fine for a number of reasons. Chief among those reasons is the fact that the vast majority of shareholders have consistently done their part to make sure the hydrants remain clear of snow. Summit Water has long prided itself on the civic mindedness and responsibility demonstrated by its shareholders. As a consequence, it is Summit Water’s intention to only assess fines in cases of consistent disregard for the policy.
Summit Water appreciates the opportunity to serve you and thanks you in advance for your willingness to address this important matter.