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June 26, 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 has asked New Yorkers to avoid illegal opening of fire hydrants.

"Hydrants are for fighting fires, not for having fun," said Commissioner Miele. "Each time a hydrant is opened illegally, a thousand gallons of precious New York City water are wasted each minute --that's over one million gallons per wide-open hydrant in a 24-hour period. Also," he continued, "children can be at serious risk, because the powerful flow of a fully flowing hydrant can push them into oncoming traffic."

Illegally running hydrants can lower water pressure in the City's neighborhoods, and can hinder firefighting efforts by reducing the flow of water to firehoses and pumps. In addition, it is always wise to conserve water during heat waves when water use tends to be unusually high.

To cool off safely, if you can't get to the nearest City pool or beach, you can contact your local fire house and request a spray cap that fits on to the neighborhood hydrant and will reduce the water flow to a safe 25 gallons a minute. The Fire Department will instruct you on how to apply the spray cap.

To report illegally opened hydrants or other water or sewer complaints, please 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