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July 15, 1999

Contact: Cathy DelliCarpini (718/595-6600)

DEP Hydrant Safety Advisory

As hot, dry weather is expected to return this weekend, it is imperative not to illegally open fire hydrants. One illegally opened hydrant can:

  • waste more than a million gallons of water per day;
  • compound power surges or outages because of additional pumping that is required;
  • severely lower water pressure, particularly to critical facilities such as hospitals and nursing homes;
  • hinder firefighting efforts;
  • and, endanger the lives of children thrust into oncoming traffic by the force of the water.

DEP Commissioner Joel A. Miele Sr., P.E. said, "During the last intense heat wave 2 weeks ago, illegally open hydrants caused water pressure to severely drop at Jamaica and Peninsula Hospitals in Queens. To cool off safely, hydrant spray caps can be obtained from your local fire house. Spray caps reduce the water flow to a safe 25 gallons a minute."

While it is always wise to conserve water, it is particularly important to do so when temperatures soar, and water use is unusually high, which can cause fluctuations in water pressure around the City. Although reservoir levels are still close to normal levels, the lack of normal rainfall this month underscores the importance of using water wisely. For more information on water conservation, see the How Can I Save Water? section of DEP's Web site at

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).


More Information

NYC Department of Environmental Protection
Public Affairs

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

(718) 595-6600