2017-06-07 / Features

City Ramps Up Enforcement Of Illegally Opened Hydrants

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has launched its 21st annual crackdown on city residents who insist on opening fire hydrants without an approved “shower cap.”

DEP officials are sending teams of teens into local neighborhoods to educate New Yorkers about the dangers of illegally opening fire hydrants.

Illegally opened hydrants can release more than 1,000 gallons of water per minute, reducing water pressure and making it difficult for firefighters to battle fires, in addition to lowering water pressure to neighboring homes and buildings, DEP officials said.

“An illegally opened fire hydrant is extremely wasteful and dangerous,” DEP Acting Commissioner Vincent Sapienza said. “The safe and legal way to open hydrants is to visit your local firehouse and request a city-approved spray cap.”

Hydrants can be opened legally if equipped with a city-approved spray cap that releases only 20 to 25 gallons of water per minute, ensuring adequate water pressure and reducing the risk of a child being knocked over and injured by the force of the water.

Adults 18 years and over can obtain an approved spray cap, free of charge, at local firehouses. DEP officials are advising Queens residents to bring a photo ID and proof of age when visiting a firehouse to obtain a spray cap.

Queens residents are urged to report illegally opened hydrants by calling 311 immediately, DEP officials said. Illegally opening a fire hydrant can result in a fine of $1,000, 30 days behind bars, or both, a law enforcement source said.—Liz Goff

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