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August 2, 2001

Contact: Geoff Ryan (718/595-6600)

DEP Issues Hydrant Safety Advisory

As extreme heat is expected in the City this week, Commissioner Joel A. Miele Sr., P.E., of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has asked New Yorkers to avoid illegal opening of fire hydrants.

"Each time a hydrant is opened illegally, a thousand gallons of precious New York City water are wasted each minute," said Commissioner Miele. "That's over one million gallons per wide-open hydrant in a 24-hour period. In July, only had 2.11 inches of rain fell across our reservoir watersheds. Our reservoir levels are at 86 percent of capacity, whereas normal levels for this date are 89.4 percent.

"Hydrants are for fighting fires, not for having fun," said Commissioner Miele. "Illegally opened hydrants can lower water pressure in the City's neighborhoods, and can hinder fire-fighting efforts by reducing the flow of water to fire hoses and pumps. Also, children can be at serious risk, because the powerful flow of a fully flowing hydrant can push them into oncoming traffic."

To cool off safely, if people can't get to the nearest City pool or beach, they can contact their local firehouse and request a spray cap that fits on to a neighborhood hydrant and will reduce the water flow to a safe 25 gallons a minute. The Fire Department will provide instructions on how to apply the spray cap.

To report illegally opened hydrants or other water or sewer complaints, people should call the Department of Environmental Protection's 24-Hour Help Center: (718) DEP-HELP (337-4357). For more information on water conservation, see the How Can I Save Water? section of DEP's Web site at


More Information

NYC Department of Environmental Protection
Public Affairs

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

(718) 595-6600