Stigers Rd. pond hydrant provides water supply for rural firefighting

By Shawn Cunningham
© 2021 Telegraph Publishing LLC

The recently installed fire hydrant at the Whiting home on Stigers Road in Andover.Photos provided

One of the big challenges to rural firefighting is getting enough water to the scene quickly enough to make a difference. A call for mutual aid can bring a fleet of tankers from surrounding towns, but those trucks have to get water from somewhere and the farther they have to travel between the water supply and the fire, the less effective the effort.

Recognizing this, Andover residents Lee and Robyn Whiting, of 1388 Stigers Road,  have been working with the Town of Chester and the Chester Fire Department, which extends fire protection to Andover, to install a “dry” fire hydrant in their pond. The recently dug, spring-fed pond that holds 2 million gallons of water to provide a rural water supply for local communities’ fire protection while it cuts natural runoff down Stigers Road. The work was funded, in part, by a 2021 Vermont Rural Fire Protection grant.

A dry hydrant is used in a rural setting to pull water from a lake, pond or other body of water rather than spraying out as a pressurized hydrant does in a municipal setting. The pipe from the hydrant into the pond has a screen to keep plants, dirt and debris from getting into the water being drawn out.

The Whitings’ fire pond in Andover

At the Oct. 25 Andover Select Board meeting, the board voted not to plow snow up to the hydrant so all future maintenance will be funded by the Whitings.

“I hope it will never be needed,” said Lee Whiting. “But if it is, it’s there.”

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