Water Flows Standards For Fire Protection

Town Topics
15 November, 1989

Water Flows Standards For Fire Protection

The Township plans to introduce a new ordinance which would require minimum water flow standards as fire protection for all new construction.

The ordinance has been in preparation for nearly a year and was discussed last Monday in work session by Township Committee. Committee plans to introduce it on Monday, November 27. A similar ordinance is expected to be introduced in the Borough, since the standards were developed by the Township engineer working with fire and zoning officials in each municipality and a water ‘ consultant. The proposed ordinance is said to be the first of its kind in New Jersey.

Under the terms of the ordinance, Princeton (Borough and Township) is divided into five districts. Proof of water flow rates expressed in gallons per minute would be required for all view construction in each ‘ district before a building permit could be issued.

The standards vary from district to district and are based on building height permitted in the district and the density or distance between buildings.

The standards range from 500 to 999 gpm in the less dense northwest and northeast Township to 4,000 gpm in the Central Business District, the Nassau Inn and the high rise area of Princeton Medical Center.

Between 3,000 and 3,999 gpm would be required for new construction on Princeton University’s main campus, the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton Seminary, Westminster Choir College, Princeton High School, Griggs Farm and the Princeton Shopping Center.

The rest of the Borough and the high-density affordable housing districts of the Township call for between 2,000 and 2,999 gpm, while the Battle Road area and the Battle Road area and the eastern area of the Township call for 1,000 to 1,999 gpm. The standards are in keeping with thoise set by the National Fire Protection Association, although those responsible for developing the ordinance also looked at standards set by the Insurances Services Organization and by a model ordinance developed by the State Department of Community Affairs.

The purpose is to make sure that the water lines leading to new construction are sized pro, perly to assure flows that will meet these fire protection standards. The genesis of the ordinance .can be traced to the summer of 1988, when Prince-ton experienced dangerous drops in pressure at fire hydrants in the Central Business District, on campus and in the Russell Estates.

Conditions improved later that summer and into the fall, as Elizabethtown Water Company replaced water mains in certain sections of the Borough and Township with larger lines. For Russell Estates, for instance, a 16-inch line was installed along Stockton Street and extended to Farrand Drive and to Edgerstoune, replacing a six-inch line into the development.

According to Township Engineer Robert V. Kiser, Russell Estates was experiencing 660 gpm with the six-inch ‘ line and 1660 gpm after the 16-inch line was installed. “We’re hoping to avoid another situation like the one in Russell Estates,” said Mr. Kiser,- “where Elizabethtown had to go in later, after the development was largely completed, and install a bigger line.”

The ordinance contains provisions whereby the developer can make the building more fireproof and receive a building , permit in instances when the , water company cannot assure installation of the properly sized water line. “The ordinance does not seek to punish the developer when the Water Company can not meet its responsibility,” remarked Committeewoman Kate Litvak.

The water flow standard can be adjusted upward or downward if the new construction either exceeds, or is less than, the maximum permitted in the zone. Princeton University has asked to test the new ordinance against recent construction in the Borough and the Township using the University’s new economics building as the example in the Borough and the additional units in the Butler tract in the Township.

Leave a Reply