The Belmont County Water and Sanitary Sewer District director says water haulers are hooking up to fire hydrants and filling their tanker trucks with water they aren’t paying for .

It came up in the Belmont County Commission meeting.

Kelly Porter said the county water district has 1300 hydrants–too many to put locks or cameras on. So he needs the public’s help. He said it could break the lines, and that could leave the paying customers high and dry.

But worst of all, it could create a health risk. Commissioners say they’ve alerted the prosecutor and the sheriff. But citizens are needed to help catch the thieves in the act.

Commissioners say they intend to contact all the companies known to be doing drilling and water hauling in the county.

Commissioner Mark Thomas said he’ll “politely and professionally remind them” that you can’t just hook up to a hydrant and take water.