Seward, Lopez Sponsor Fire Protection Legislation

Bill would allow for special hydrant in Greene County
March 22, 2011
State Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I – Oneonta) and Assemblyman Pete Lopez (R/C/I-Schoharie) recently introduced special legislation to allow for the installation of an essential fire protection system in Greene County.

Senate Bill 3898/Assembly Bill 6351 would authorize the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to permit a dry hydrant (a suction-based system utilizing water from existing lakes, ponds, and other water bodies) on Colgate Lake in the Town of Jewett. Local officials have requested permission to construct the dry hydrant and would assume any costs.

“There are times when well-meaning state regulations stand in the way of fulfilling local needs, and that is the case in this situation,” said Senator Seward. “Installing a dry hydrant on Colgate Lake will offer significant fire protection for the Town of Jewett and the surrounding communities with minimal environmental impact.”

“Fire protection needs for rural areas are unique and sometimes the state’s one-size-fits-all concept does not apply,” said Assemblyman Lopez. “This legislation will meet a need recognized by local emergency officials who understand best what is required to help them protect the community they serve.”

The Catskill Park state land master plan does not allow the installation of dry hydrants as fire control devices because they are not defined as conforming use structures in the park’s current land use regulations.

“In rural areas, access to water can mean the difference between the successful extinguishment of a fire and life-altering tragedy. A dry hydrant in this key location could save lives and property – bottom line,” Seward concluded.

The legislation has been referred to the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee and the Assembly Local Governments Committee.