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June 28, 2001

Contact: Geoff Ryan (718/595-6600)

Illegally Opened Hydrants Cause Dangerously Low Water Pressure At Hospital

Illegally opened fire hydrants caused dangerously low water pressure at the Allen Pavilion of Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital in the Inwood section of Manhattan last night (Wednesday, June 27), according to Commissioner Joel A. Miele Sr., P.E., of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

"This is a classic example of how illegally opened hydrants can imperil public safety," said Commissioner Miele. "Not only was an important health care facility threatened with a lack of water, but fire fighting efforts could have been seriously hindered by low water pressure in that neighborhood. Open hydrants pose other threats as well. The powerful force of water from a hydrant can sweep a child into oncoming traffic, and a single wide-open hydrant can waste our precious water at a rate of a thousand gallons a minute or more than a million gallons a day."

To cool off safely, if people can't get to the nearest City pool or beach, they can contact their neighborhood firehouses and request a spray cap that can be installed on a hydrant. Spray caps reduce flow from hydrants to 25 gallons a minute and allow children to play safely while they cool off under the water.

Commissioner Miele said, "We ask that people report illegally opened hydrants to DEP's 24-Hour Help Center at 718-DEP-HELP (718-337-4357)."


More Information

NYC Department of Environmental Protection
Public Affairs

59-17 Junction Boulevard
19th Floor
Flushing, NY 11373

(718) 595-6600