VFD to save millions of gallons in trainings

Cal Water grants city pump pod that recirculates water used during firefighter trainings

The Sun-Gazette

VISALIA – The Visalia Fire Department will save an estimated 4.3 million gallons of water during its trainings each year thanks to a new piece of equipment that didn’t cost them a dime.

The Visalia City Council accepted the “pump pod” last month from California Water Service (Cal Water), the city’s municipal water supplier. Formally called a Direct Recirculating Apparatus Firefighting Training & Sustainability (DRAFTS) Unit, the pump pod is a self-contained unit that recirculates water used during firefighter training and pump testing. They enable fire departments to train with full-flow water, prevent engine companies from having to call “out of service” when training, and meet National Fire Protection Association testing requirements. The unit allows 1,850 gallons of water to be pumped continually. 

The DRAFTS unit is also mobile and easily transportable between fire stations and allows for on-site operation to maximize training opportunities between emergency response needs without water loss. 

Visalia and L.A. County were the only fire departments statewide to receive the pump pods.

“We are pleased to present these DRAFTS training units to L.A. County Fire and Visalia Fire, first responders who protect our East Los Angeles and Visalia District communities, and partner with them to save water as they work to save lives and properties,” said Martin A. Kropelnicki, president and CEO. “These important partnerships help fulfill our commitment to be a responsible environmental steward and ensure long-term water supply reliability, as we support the communities we serve.”

The pump pod is valued at $101,122 but was granted to the department by Cal Water as part of its customized conservation incentive and rebate program. California Water Service Company Customized Incentive Program offers grants for projects with verifiable savings identified as a savings opportunity in Cal Water’s Commercial Water-Use Efficiency Evaluation Report. Projects must have an estimated savings of a minimum of 100Ccf (74,800 gallons) over the lifetime of the project (minimum of 5 years). The total incentive amount is limited to a maximum of 50% of the project cost up to $25,000 in a calendar year. Cal Water reserves the right to waive these requirements on a case-by-case basis depending on available funding and other factors.

California Water Service serves about 2 million people through 486,900 service connections in California. The utility has provided water service in the state since 1926. Additional information may be obtained online at www.calwater.com.

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