Municipal Government

Opening Fire Hydrants Illegal

July 25, 2016 
By Stephanie West

New York, NY – The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is reminding New Yorkers on radio, TV, and in print that opening fire hydrants without spray caps is illegal and dangerous.

Illegally opened hydrants can lower water pressure and put lives at risk if there is a fire. Children can also be at serious risk, because the powerful force of an open hydrant without a spray cap can knock a child down, causing an injury.

Opening a hydrant without a spray cap lowers water pressure and can hinder firefighting by reducing the flow of water to hoses and pumps. Reduced water in the system can also cause problems at hospitals and other medical facilities. Opening a hydrant illegally can result in fines of up to $1,000, imprisonment for up to 30 days, or both.

Hydrants can be opened legally if equipped with a City-approved spray cap. One illegally opened hydrant can release more than 1,000 gallons of water per minute, while a hydrant with a spray cap releases 20 to 25 gallons per minute. Spray caps can be obtained by an adult 18 or over, free of charge, at local firehouses.

DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing approximately 1 billion gallons of water each day to more than 9 million residents. The water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than 125 miles from the city, comprising 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes. Approximately 7,000 miles of water mains, tunnels and aqueducts bring water to homes and businesses throughout the five boroughs, and 7,500 miles of sewer lines and 96 pump stations take wastewater to 14 in-city treatment plants.

July 25, 2016

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