Murky Waters

Here is an example of a water department over stepping their bounds. The article explains how the Desert Water Agency is trying to require contractors to install their “preferred” meters and valves in “new apartment, condominium and hotel projects.” The valves and meters they are requiring aren’t fire code compliant (meaning they are not listed). The problem with this is that anything that can affect the integrity of a fire sprinkler system must be listed for it. United Labratories is THE listing agency (many times devices must be Factory Mutual approved as well). If a device isn’t listed by UL for use in a fire protection system, by code, it cannot be installed.

The American Water Works Association doesn’t even stand by the requirement,

The American Water Works Association, the nation’s largest organization of water professionals and a leading source on safe water, has serious doubts about the equipment that the Desert Water Agency endorses. AWWA’s standards state that the water meters favored by Desert Water Agency should not be used on piping used to extinguish fires because the meters can become clogged with sand or debris, obstructing the water flow and rendering the fire sprinklers useless. Being that we live in a desert community, the likelihood that sand or debris could prevent a fire sprinkler system from functioning is plausible and certainly a chance that we cannot take.

It’s laughable that the Desert Water Agency wants to meter fire protection systems. The water fire departments use to extinguish a blaze isn’t metered. This is a case of some people who have no idea what their talking about trying to make a buck. I assume the water agency is worried about people stealing water through the fire protection system piping. If that’s the case there are listed backflow preventers that can be installed to detect such abuses. []


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