Story last updated at 11:39 a.m. Friday, August 2, 2002

New hydrants dry for now
By Chris Bernard
Staff Writer

photo: news
  Photo by Gary Thomas, Homer News
One of the 19 new fire fydrants sits in front of Sleepy Bear Cabins in Anchor Point.  
Anchor Point's volunteer firefighters are ready to go with the flow. Unfortunately, their new hydrants are not.

About 19 fire hydrants were installed throughout the town recently.

"They were hooked up to a well, but they're not hooked up to a cistern," said Anchor Point Volunteer Fire Department Administrator Ron Wilhoit. "So if we pumped water from them, everybody's sink and toilet would lose water."

A fix is on the horizon, with a permanent water tank being built.

"It's slated to be 100,000 gallons, but if we put in a bigger tank the insurance rates go down," Wilhoit said. "So we're still looking into that."

The hydrants and water tank are part of a Village Safe Water funding program run through the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

DEC Village Safe Water Engineer Ken Hunt said the program helps find federal grants and matching state grants for villages with insufficient or unhealthy water supplies.

"It's sharing state and federal funds, with the federal Environmental Protection Agency being the predominant donor by a 2-to-1 ratio," Hunt said.

Anchor Point qualified because of benzene-contaminated water in the area, he said.

"Since then, we've tried to provide clean water to more of the town, whether they had that contamination or not," said Jesse Clutts, who operates the Anchor Point water system.

Clutts also sits on the board of directors of Anchor Point Safe Water, a nonprofit group established to provide clean water for the community.

"This fall, a water treatment plant will be finished that will actually treat the water and distribute it through the pipes," he said.

As part of the project, work crews installed about 19 hydrants spaced 600 to 700 feet apart, Hunt said.

"Over 9,000 feet of 8-inch pipe was installed for the whole water system," he said. "We buried it 8 feet down to protect it from freezing.

"It's really a good thing for Anchor Point," he said.

Speaking for Anchor Point's 44 personnel -- he's the only paid employee -- Wilhoit agreed.

"Oh, yeah, definitely," he said. "We're ecstatically thrilled."