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June 24, 2003

Contact: Ian Michaels (718) 595-6600

Department of Environmental Protection Cautions Against Opening Fire Hydrants Illegally

On the hottest day of the year so far, Commissioner Christopher O. Ward of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection warned New Yorkers about the hazards of illegally opened fire hydrants and urged them to observe water use regulations.

“Hydrants are for fighting fires, and should be used responsibly,” said Commissioner Ward. “Illegally opened hydrants can lower water pressure, causing problems at hospitals and other medical care facilities, and hindering fire-fighting by reducing the flow of water to hoses and pumps. Also, children can be at serious risk, because the powerful force of a open hydrant without a spray cap can push them into oncoming traffic.”

Hydrants can be opened legally if it’s equipped with a City-approved spray cap. One illegally opened hydrant wastes up to 1,000 gallons of water per minute, while a hydrant with a spray cap only puts out around 25 gallons per minute. Spray caps can be obtained by an adult 18 or over, free of charge, at local fire houses.

The penalty for opening a hydrant without a spray cap is $500. To report illegally opened hydrants or other water or sewer complaints, call the City’s 24-hour help line at 311.


More Information

NYC Department of Environmental Protection
Public Affairs

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

(718) 595-6600