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A win in JMFD’s battle to save lives and property

Additional water supply for firefighting in Shueyville
A 30,000-gallon underground water storage tank was recently constructed at the site of the Jacobs Landing IV housing development on Curtis Bridge Road

SHUEYVILLE– Residents in the Shueyville area in general, and future residents of the Jacobs Landing subdivision on Curtis Bridge Road will have some measure of peace of mind as the Jefferson-Monroe Fire Department (JMFD) has placed another underground water tank.
The poured-on-site tank protects Jacobs Landing with just over 30,000 gallons and was required by city ordinance to be installed. JMFD Deputy Chief Eugene Beard noted the tank meets the minimum National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standard for water supplies in suburban and rural fire fighting. Neither Shueyville nor neighboring Swisher have municipal water systems, which means there are no fire hydrants available in either town, or in new subdivisions. When a fire occurs, the JMFD, and other fire departments called in for mutual aid, need to haul in every drop of water they will need via tanker trucks running in a continuous loop from the fire scene to a refill spot and back.
Beard has spearheaded an effort to place underground tanks in the area in an effort to ensure a fire suppression water supply, and to reduce the distance tankers need to travel during a fire. Currently six tanks are in-place: four 10,000-gallon capacity, one 17,500-gallon tank and the new 30,000 tank. Three tanks are located in Shueyville.
Beard addressed the Shueyville Council in January of 2017 urging adoption of an ordinance requiring such tanks in new developments and used Carroll County, Md., as an example. Carroll County had passed an ordinance requiring 30,000-gallon tanks capable of supplying a pumper with 1,000-gallons per minute. He also pointed out in the 2017 meeting that Swisher and Shueyville are the last two communities in Johnson County without municipal water.
Beard anticipated the new tank would be filled by Sunday, April 8, with testing done the first part of the week of Monday, April 9. He also expected to be able to present a notice of completion to the Shueyville City Council at its regular meeting on Tuesday, April 10, and to notify the council building permits may now be issued for Jacobs Landing IV.
“It’s been a long hard fight to get this in, but the Shueyville City Council stuck by the JMFD,” Chief Beard said. Beard said the cost of the tank project for Jacobs Landing was just under $100,000 and paid for by Sattler Homes, the developer.
In addition to the tanks, the JMFD is close to finalizing an agreement with the City of Cedar Rapids allowing use of a nearby fire hydrant. The volunteer department had routinely used the hydrant under what was essentially a gentleman’s agreement for over 40 years. However, in October of 2016, the City of Cedar Rapids took legal action against the JMFD, levying a $300 fine for “unauthorized access to a fire hydrant.” An additional $1,000 fine was waived. A 28E agreement between the department and the City of Cedar Rapids has been completed and signed by the JMFD with Cedar Rapids City Council approval expected on April 10.
In order to improve water shuttle operations via tanker, the JMFD will host a two-day seminar on Saturday, April 21, and Sunday, April 22, sponsored by the Solon, North Liberty, Coralville and Jefferson-Monroe Fire Departments along with the Johnson County Mutual Aid Association titled “Rural Water Supply Operations Seminar: Moving Big Water with No Fire Hydrants” and presented by Mark Davis of GotBigWater.com. During the seminar, area firefighters will learn and practice a number of fire ground and water supply point operations culminating in a two-hour practical exercise on Sunday.
Fire department tanker trucks will fill with water at sites along Cottage Reserve Road off of Mehaffey Bridge Road and haul it to a dumpsite at the Solon Nature and Recreation Area. The tankers will be traveling along Mehaffey Bridge Road during the two-hour exercise, which has been described as “The biggest water moving event in Johnson County.”

A 30,000-gallon underground water storage tank was recently constructed at the site of the Jacobs Landing IV housing development on Curtis Bridge Road at the south edge of Shueyville. The tank will provide a water supply for firefighting as Shueyville does not have a municipal water system, which means no hydrants for the fire department to connect to in order to supply its pumpers. City ordinance requires new subdivisions in Shueyville to install such tanks, and the Jefferson-Monroe Fire Department has five other tanks in the community. (photos provided by the Jefferson-Monroe Fire Department)