Biloxi neighbors worried about non-stop running fire hydrants

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - It's been almost a week, and the water is still roaring and flowing out of a fire hydrant at the corner of MacArthur and Churchill Avenues in Biloxi.

"Every day it's been running. I would say about four to five days," said Pam Walker of Biloxi.

That's probably hundreds of thousands of gallons of water a day.

"It's kind of just a big waste, and it's been doing it for days," said Jeff Day of Biloxi.

The water even gushes on weekends. The questions are just as plentiful as the water pouring out of the hydrant.

"I wondered if the cap just came off, and it was just running," said Walker.

"It shouldn't take that long for it to disperse of any impurities," said Day. "It's fraud, waste and abuse, I guess."

In recent days, Biloxi's Public Works Department has been flooded with phone calls from neighbors wondering what's going on.  The answer lies just a few blocks away.

"In west Biloxi right now, we are dealing with the refurbishment of the Bay Vista water tower," said Biloxi Spokesman Vincent Creel. "That's a million-gallon elevated water tank that's closed right now. So we don't want too much pressure to build up in the system, so you'll see some fire hydrants that are open."

Some neighbors are worried the open hydrants will mean a hike in their water bills.

"I know my water bill runs about $55.00 a month, and a good friend of mine on low income, she says hers is around $80.00 a month," said Walker. "So I'm just wondering: Are we paying for this water that's running?"

"Does that have to do anything about their water bill? No, it does not," Creel said. "What it does do though, is it makes sure we are operating an efficient and safe water system."

The question now is: How long will the hydrants continue to spew water?

"Until about mid-October at Bay Vista. They're going to try to close it whenever they can, but they want to make sure pressure doesn't build up," said Creel.

Creel said all the water being released from the hydrants doesn't cost the city any money, because it comes from the city's water wells. Some neighbors don't seem to mind the rushing water. Several children are known to play around the hydrants after school.

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