Comox Fire Chief Gord Schreiner knew he was wasting water, and wanted to do something about it.
“I knew that we could do better. We were using water out of the hydrants and it was going straight down the drain.”
About a year ago, Schreiner began the process of putting together a water recycling system for the department – water which is collected from the department’s regular training sessions and rain water will now be recycled to train firefighters and fill the department’s fire engines.
A lot of the infrastructure was already in place, he explains, and said the transition to capturing and re-using water was natural.
“Water is a big issue in the Comox Valley; it was time that we stepped up.”
While Schreiner notes the system should be able to save an estimated one million litres of drinking water every year, he added that number is a conservative effort. While the department might lose some water to condensation, he says they will take advantage of the rain water, particularly within the coming months.
“A few weekends ago when we had some rainy weather, we collected 100,000 gallons of rain water over the weekend.”
Additionally, the water will be used to fill fire trucks when they return from covering a fire or other emergency.
The system was funded by the Town of Comox for $10,000 as part of the department’s capital budget, and the rest by firefighters. Labour hours from the department also contributed to the project, which went online last week.