April 18, 2019 6:07 pm

Durham region seeking public’s help to crack down on suspected water thieves

Durham Regional Municipality is trying to discourage water theft by marking hydrants approved as filling stations.

Durham Regional Municipality is trying to discourage water theft by marking hydrants approved as filling stations.

Frazer Snowdon
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Durham Regional Municipality wants residents to be on the lookout for people who are allegedly stealing gallons of water from fire hydrants.

In a spring campaign, officials with the municipality have started putting plastic rings on hydrants that have been approved as filling stations in an effort to inform the public from which hydrants people are allowed to take water.

“It’s so we can get our residents to help us look out for contractors, people with trucks that connect to hydrants and basically steal water,” said John Presta, environmental director with the municipality.

The rings are placed onto the sides of the hydrants and say “permitted water filling station,” giving people a phone number to call if they see anyone that they suspect may be stealing water.

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“If they do see someone with a truck that is filling up without the ring, they can get a name and location or a licence plate,” Presta added.

He says the municipality’s main concern with people taking water from the hydrants is safety.

“We want to prevent this to ensure that our hydrants don’t get damaged because they are there for fire protection,” said Presta. “It’s also to make sure there is no cross-contamination of the water system.”

He adds there have been more than 20 incidents where people have been convicted and fined for taking water from a hydrant.

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