CHARLESTON – A task force created by the Public Service Commission of West Virginia to write rules governing the testing and safety of the state’s 50,000 fire hydrants completed its work Monday after holding three public meetings.

          A total of 27 fire-related groups were invited or offered to attend the task force meeting held under the direction of the PSC’s Legal Division and chaired by senior engineer Jim Ellars.

          “The Commission looks forward to reviewing the work of this important task force,” Chairman Charlotte R. Lane said after the final meeting.

          The 16-page document entitled “rules for the inspection, flow testing, and marking of public fire hydrants” must be submitted to the Commission by June 30. The public then will have a further 30 days to comment on the draft report.

          After that time, the Commission will issue an order enacting the state’s first rules for overseeing the integrity of fire hydrants.

          “This has been a matter of serious public concern since the Commission began looking into the status and safety of fire hydrants last year,” Lane said. “At that time, we learned no agency directly oversaw fire hydrants and their operations.”

          “I think we’ve got a pretty good product we can submit to the Commission,” Ellars said. “All the major issues have been generally agreed upon. It’s been a good process.”

          Among other things, the rules would require that all fire hydrants be inspected annually and that they be tested for an adequate flow of water at least every five years.

          More information on this case can be found on the PSC website: Click on “Case Information” and access Case Nos. 23-0555-W-GI and 24-0297-W-GI.