Ontwa Township installs dry hydrants

EDWARDSBURG — Rural parts of Ontwa Township and Edwardsburg just got a little safer.

Ontwa Township recently completed phase one of its dry hydrant project by installing two dry hydrants within the township: one on the Christiana Drive Bridge and one on the Redfield Road Bridge. Dry hydrants are typically used in rural areas where municipal water systems are not available. A dry hydrant is an unpressurized, permanently installed pipe with one end below the water level of a lake or pond. When needed, firefighters can use a dry hydrant to pump water from the lake or pond to fight a fire.

The dry hydrants were installed last week by Selge Construction, and the project cost roughly $12,000.

According to Deputy Township Supervisor Brigid Forlenza, the new dry hydrants will increase public safety by providing additional resources and close access to water to firefighters attending to fires in rural areas.

“We have a lot of places that are very rural in the township, which is 23 square miles,” she said. “We have a lot of waterways, so this was something viable we could do to address that.”

The project began in 2018 when an ad hoc committee was formed to decide how to spend township funds set aside for fire purposes. Working with Kevin Marks, project engineer for Wightman, and Joe Bellina, chief engineer Cass County Road Commission, the ad hoc committee decided to install dry hydrants and chose their locations based on recommendations from Edwardsburg Fire Chief Bruce Stack.

“This was really a group decision,” Forlenza said. “This is what we kept coming back to. It was a really collaborative project.”

Forlenza said the dry hydrants would not only be used by the Edwardsburg Fire Department but any department that needed to use them in the area.

“We are excited about this,” Forlenza said. “It’s always exciting when a project is completed.”

The ad hoc committee is currently working on phase two of the project, and Forlenza said the township might install two more dry hydrants throughout the area.

“We are looking forward to the next phase of this project,” she said.

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