WATERVLIET — Township trustees on Monday approved spending $15,000 to install firefighting-related equipment – known as a “dry hydrant” – beside Paw Paw Lake.

“It’s a public safety issue to improve firefighting capability around the lake,” said Trustee Joe Stepich, in presenting the idea to rest of the board.

Dry hydrants are used to supply firefighters with water in areas where a pressurized municipal water system isn’t available. The devices consist of a pipe connected at one end to an above-ground access point, and with the other end below the lake water level. They are designed to draw water from below the winter ice level of the water source, in order to provide year-round availability.

When firefighters battling a blaze need water, they can roll up to the hydrant and quickly re-fill the tanks of their pumper trucks.

The site of the planned hydrant is at a fire lane maintained by the township, next to 7202 Beechwood Circle on the lake. In connection with that installation, trustees also voted to spend $3,800 to repair a deteriorated concrete seawall at that same site, bringing the total work approved to approximately $18,800.

There are two existing hydrants installed in the township’s Paw Paw Lake area. In addition to the one approved Monday, Stepich said he hopes the board will in the future consider paying for installation of a further three hydrants. Because of their locations, he noted, each of those three will be less costly than the Beechwood unit.

The farther fire trucks have to go to replenish their water supply, he noted, the more difficult it becomes to protect property. With the full set of hydrants he hopes to see approved, Stepich added, there would be a “reasonable” number of water sources for fighting fires near the lake.

Supervisor Dan Hutchins was not present at Monday’s meeting, so Township Clerk Patricia Bambrick presided over the gathering.