This policy supersedes the previous “Fire Metering Policy” that was adopted in 1997 and revised in 2016. With the increased growth and development in Chester County, Chester Metropolitan District (District) has determined it needs to create a more informative policy to clarify and address items that were not specified in the original “Fire Metering Policy”.
The District’s Board of Commissioners adopted a Bond Resolution in 1997 (and all resolutions since) that require all water service offered by the District be metered and that all water service provided by the District to the customer, be paid for by said customer, including fire service lines.
Fire service lines are dedicated connections to the public water system that are only used for fire protection. These water service lines are typically connected to a building’s fire sprinkler system but may also supply water to private fire hydrants.
Prior to the adoption of the 1997 Bond Resolution (Resolution), fire service lines were monitored with a backflow prevention device that included a specially designed bypass system called a detector. These devices were used to detect water usage but did not quantify it. Upon adoption of the Resolution, the District required that new fire service lines, 4-inches in diameter and larger, be metered with a meter approved for fire service line use.
The District also requires that fire service lines installed prior to 1997, be retrofitted, at the Owner’s expense, to comply with this policy when one of the following actions occur:
- Property is sold/purchased;
- Owner initiated land-use or zoning changes;
- A building permit is obtained for improvements or repairs;
- Any modifications to the fire protection system or sprinklers;
- Usage of the fire service for any purpose other than fire protection.
When rehabilitating old, previously grandfathered structures for new purposes, site and economic constraints may create complications affecting the installation of a fire service meter. The District understands these concerns and would like to try to reduce the burden, while also protecting its interests and comply with its responsibilities. The following criteria will help the District decide if an exception to the meter requirement portion of the Policy may be granted.
- Property/Structure was constructed prior to 1997;
- There are no external connections (branches, taps, hydrants, faucets, etc.) on the fire service line;
- The fire service line serves only an automatic sprinkler system;
- The sprinkler riser is less than 30 feet from the distribution main that supplies it;
- The District does not detect any usage of the fire service line, other than annual testing or other testing required for proper operation of the fire protection system;
An exception to the meter requirement of the Policy does not eliminate the owner from paying any fees or costs associated with a fire service connection.
All services, fire line or other, must comply with the District’s “Cross-Connection Control Policy.” Any fire service lines not in compliance with the District’s “Cross-Connection Control Policy” must be brought into compliance in accordance with the “Cross-Connection Control Policy.”
Pumps with a flow capacity less than or equal to 1,000 gallons per minute (gpm) may be connected directly to the water mains with prior approval of the District. If a direct connection is utilized, the pump system shall be equipped with a low-suction throttling device. The throttling pressure shall be set to maintain a minimum pressure of 20 psi. The low-suction throttling device shall be certified annually, when the fire protection system is certified and the results submitted to the District. Failure to submit the certification documents may result in dis-connection of the fire protection service until the necessary information is supplied to the District.
Pumps with a flow capacity greater than 1,000 gpm may not connect directly to the District’s water mains or private water mains directly connected to the District’s water mains. Connections are only allowed through break tanks. The break tank shall provide an air gap between the fire protection pump and the water main supplying the pump.
Fire Service Liability Disclaimer
The District attempts to provide water pressure and flow rates generally adequate for fire protection needs, where financially and physically feasible. However, the District performs no fire-fighting service and is not an insurer against loss or damage caused by fire; consequently, it does not assume liability for any such damages.
The District will make reasonable efforts to avoid interruptions of service, but does not guarantee to the customer any fixed pressure or continuous service. When service interruptions occur, service will be reestablished within the shortest time practicable, consistent with safety. The District reserves the right to stop and restrict the supply of water whenever it may be found necessary, and shall not be liable, under any circumstances for a deficiency or failure in the supply of water, whether due to shutting off water to make repairs or connections, or for any cause whatsoever.
In connection with the operation, maintenance, repair, or extension of the water system, the water supply may be shut off without notice, when necessary or desirable; and each customer assumes the risk of such emergencies. The District shall not be held liable for any damages from such interruption of service or for damage from the resumption of service without notice, after any such interruption. Planned interruption, where practical, will be made at times that will not cause unreasonable inconvenience to customers and reasonable efforts will be made to give prior notice to those customers who will be affected. Failure to notify a customer of such interruption, however, shall not be grounds for damages.