In a special issue dedicated to home fire sprinklers, NFPA Journal tackles water quality concerns with this technology that seem to persist among entities overseeing the nation's water supply. Some water purveyors compare home fire sprinklers with commercial or industrial sprinklers or feel the technology will strain their resource, thereby assessing exorbitant fees. Others charge for a separate water line (which is not needed) or require larger, more expensive meters.
“There are still a few myths out there about the impact of home sprinklers on municipal water supply, but that’s all they are—myths,” says Jeff Hudson, one of NFPA's regional sprinkler specialists, in the NFPA Journal article.
Once presented with the facts, water purveyors tend to see fire sprinklers differently. Advocates interviewed for the article have educated water suppliers on fire sprinkler operation and the ability to conserve water when compared to fighting a home fire with a fire hose. Fire sprinkler ordinances have also negated water quality concerns.
“Like any utility, we had a pricing structure set up," said Stu Feinglas, a senior water resources analyst for Westminster, Colorado, which sprinklers its new homes. "As we worked through that, we realized sprinklers didn’t make a difference. Single-family homes with sprinklers were going to use water like any single-family home.”
A new research report from NFPA also verifies Feinglas' statements. The report, "Stakeholder Perceptions of Home Fire Sprinklers," notes that water purveyors in states requiring this technology in new homes have very little concern for home fire sprinklers.
Read the full article, and please start educating your local water purveyors on the truth behind home fire sprinklers. Use these free resources by the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition.