Company accused of stealing thousands of dollars worth of water from fire hydrants

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (April 13, 2016) - Citizens Energy Group says an Indianapolis pool company has stolen an estimated $12,000 in water from unauthorized fire hydrants.

The water utility filed a report with Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Monday, accusing the company of hooking a tanker truck up to two hydrants in Indianapolis and one in the Zionsville area.  Based on witness accounts and the size of the tanker, Citizens believes the stolen water amounts to roughly $12,000.

“And they weren't using what is called a hydrant meter, which is a device that allows us to bill those large volume users,” said Citizens Energy Group spokesman Dan Considine.

Of the 35,000 fire hydrants in the Indianapolis service area, Citizens has 75 hydrants that are specially designated for companies to fill tankers.  Those 75 hydrants are marked with blue caps.  Companies can make arrangements with Citizens Energy to obtain a portable meter, which records how much water is drawn from a hydrant.  The recording on the meter generates an invoice that allows Citizens to bill the company for the water they take.

“Because what happens is, if these hydrant users use any hydrant in the area, they frequently don’t close the hydrant properly,” Considine said.  “And then come winter time, that hydrant can freeze up.”

Leaking and frozen hydrants became a critical issue in early 2010 when the Texas Roadhouse on Shadeland Avenue caught fire.  Frozen hydrants near the restaurant delayed firefighting efforts and prompted a systemwide overhaul of hydrant maintenance.

The “blue cap” hydrant rules were part of that overhaul, putting restrictions on which hydrants private companies can access and allowing Citizens Energy to better control that access.

Considine says many residents may not be aware of the “blue cap” rules.

“We appreciate members of the general public, if they see someone with a tanker truck filling up at a hydrant, and that hydrant doesn’t have a blue cap, please give us a call at 924-3311 to let us know that they’re in the wrong location,” Considine said.

FOX59 is not naming the pool company accused of theft at this time because IMPD has not said whether the business owner has been charged, cited or contacted about the case.