In Jan 05 while home for winter break I did an investigation for WDBO News into fire hydrants in Seminole County (listen to it here). I discovered that thousands of fire hydrants had gone untested for years. The county said it was the responsibility of the independent utility company Utilities Inc. (formerly Sanlando Utilities). When I concluded my investigation Utilities Inc. said they would start checking hydrants annually and that the county was going to urge the state to create a new law forcing utility companies to do so. Today I decided to follow up on my investigation.

What I found was surprising. As I had suspected the bill had failed in the state legislature. So the county sent a letter to all twelve of the independent utility companies in unincorporated Seminole County. The letter requested that they send a report showing that they are in compliance with the National Fire Protection Act’s requirement of annual testing of fire hydrants. The letter sent in January requested that if they can not comply by April 1st to please notify the County. As of today only three of the 12 had responded.

Of the three companies that responded, one stated that they had been annexed into the city of Casselberry, another that they did not have any fire hydrants and the third was able to show that they did conduct annual testing. The other nine did not reply. Utilities, Inc. was one of the nine that did not reply and their office did not return my calls. Because of the lack of response from the utility companies the county is now looking to make a new ordinance that would require the utility companies to submit their annual report or face penalties. To me what is most troubling is that these utility companies who own the fire hydrants don’t understand that they are responsible for maintaining their hydrants, instead they prefer to find loopholes in the law. The story will air tomorrow on AM 580 WDBO in Orlando, FL. UPDATE: Click here to listen to the story.