Neighbors near Half Moon and Ahwatukee drives are upset to realize how long it can take to fix a leaking fire hydrant.
"Phoenix is a dry state," said Joan Michael, a resident of the area who spotted the leak sometime in mid-March. "You need water for everything. To let it run like that into the ground for no purpose but to be wasted, that's terrible. The cost of that water will trickle down to the consumers."
Michael and her neighbor, Carol Miklica, called Phoenix Water Services to report the small leak twice and were told it may need to be fixed by their homeowners association. The HOA was called twice as well and told Miklica they didn't know whose responsibility it was to fix the leak. Over four weeks later, when the water was leaking in a steady stream from the hydrant, a crew came from the city to fix it.
Though four weeks may seem excessive, it's about average.
"Once they call the number, depending on the urgency of the leak, it can take two to six weeks for a crew to get out there," said Kim Frazier, utility service lead for the city of Phoenix Water Services Department. "As long as it's not causing property damage or street damage, it can take a little while."
Frazier said HOAs are not responsible for fixing leaking fire hydrants. Hydrants are placed by the city and the city is responsible for fixing them.
"If it was recently flushed, it may not have been shut all the way," Frazier said. "Usually when it's just a small leak the seal has just gotten old and needs to be replaced and a crew needs to be sent out to take care of that."
It was unknown how many crews the city has that takes care of the leaks. The crew sent to repair the hydrant at Ahwatukee and Half Moon drives was a private company that was contracted by the city.
Frazier said the hydrant is on a separate meter from residents so no one in the neighborhood will end up paying for the leak. Michaels and Miklica believe the cost will trickle down to consumers eventually, especially now when water rates are being raised.
"This is a retirement community and people are on very fixed incomes," Miklica said. "We've had a lot of people walking away from their homes because they can't pay the mortgage and the HOA fees. We pay $175 a month. They claim that the increases are because of the water and the maintenance of all the areas around here. To see a hydrant wasting water and no one paying attention to it after multiple calls, it's irritating."
Rob Robinson, president of the Ahwatukee Board of Management, which oversees many HOAs in the area including the area of this hydrant, said there's not much an HOA can do about a leaking hydrant but this may be a city issue.
"During an Ahwatukee HOA annual meeting on April 6, Councilman Sal DiCiccio came and spoke to community members who attended," Robinson said. "He reminded everyone that he works for his constituents at District 6. He encouraged everyone to contact his office if they believed city services were slow or inadequate. Based on his comments I'd encourage anyone to contact his office when they believe the city is slow in responding to these issues."
To report a leaking hydrant to the city of Phoenix, residents can call (602) 262-5077.
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