Franklin to set policy on pool fills

| 22 Feb 2012 | 08:41

Franklin — Dawn Inglis was driving down the road recently, when she noticed that her local firefighters were busy pumping water from a fire truck to fill a neighbor’s pool. She was not too happy about this, and stopped to take some photos. She also filed a police report. It’s come to light that this was not an isolated incident. “Apparently it’s been a policy,” commented Borough Administrator Rich Wolak, in a telephone discussion this week. “We sent it to the fire department for review.” Wolak said he figures homeowners who benefit from the service most likely make donations to the fire company, but was not sure how much. Calls to the fire chief were not returned by press time. After Inglis presented her photos and complaint to borough council, some members informally discussed it; Inglis received an e-mail telling her: “the matter will be referred to the Fire Department to develop a policy on any pool related issues. Since similar services of this type, including the pumping out of flooded basements, has been provided to the public in the past by the Fire Department it was determined that no improper activity occurred on the part of the fire department personnel involved but that the issue needs to be fully explored for the future.” In the e-mail, sent to Inglis by Wolak, he also told her that, “I am told by the Fire Department that this type of activity provides an impromptu training opportunity for members of the department which allows them to operate the vehicles pumps, maneuver the vehicle onto unfamiliar terrain as well as familiarizes the department personnel with pool locations throughout the community which could be used as ‘possible water draft sites’ should town water lines not be easily accessible in the case of an actual fire.” Inglis was not mollified. “Do you have a pool in your yard? I do. I pay for it with my garden hose.” Councilman Pat Barton, who was not at the meeting when the issue was discussed, expressed concern during a phone interview this week. “I don’t understand the practice,” he said, but promised it will come up for a full review and a policy will be established. How much? Companies that supply water for pools typically charge by the load, according to a driver who answered the phone at Waterman in Stillwater. He said within Sussex County homeowners might expect to pay about $300 per load. A load is 6,500 gallons of water. A typical in-ground pool measuring 20x40 feet would take five loads; a smaller pool, measuring 15x36 would take four loads, and one that measured 16x32 would require about three loads. An above-ground pool that is 24 feet around would require about two loads.