City to Update Its Hydrant Permit Program

Marlene Feist, 509.625.6505

Thursday, December 19, 2019 at 10:11 a.m.

Update January 20, 2020: Based on feedback from citizens and businesses who use hydrant permits, the updated permit program has been amended to address a couple of concerns.

  • Each permit will be assigned to approved and specified hydrants, and the Water Department can process revisions quickly and is eliminating the need for 24 hours' notice for hydrant changes.
  • As an alternative to a $1,500 deposit for use of approved meter and backflow prevention devices, a permit holder also can provide a verified certificate of liability insurance naming the City of Spokane as an additional insured.
  • The details in the blog below have been updated to reflect these changes.
  • The City Council is scheduled to consider the changes as part of its legislative agenda at its 6 p.m. meeting on Monday, Jan. 27, in the lower level of City Hall, 808 W. Spokane Falls Boulevard.

Original Release: The City of Spokane is planning to update its Hydrant Permit Program to enhance hydrant security, ensure use of necessary equipment to protect the City’s water supply, and appropriately account for water used. The City Council is expected to consider changes to the program in January.

“The Water Department’s mission is to provide safe, clean, and reliable drinking water to our customers,” says Dan Kegley, who is the City’s Water and Wastewater Collections Director. “Protecting public health is always our priority, and this updated program will help make sure our system stays secure.”

The City has 7,500 fire hydrants in its water system, and last year, it issued more than 200 permits for use of hydrants to fill water trucks and similar equipment. More than half of the permits were issued to provide dust abatement at construction projects.

Here is an overview of the proposed updated program components. The updated program is proposed to require:

  • A $500 annual fee for a Hydrant Permit, up from $450 previously.
  • Use of preapproved hydrants. The City will identify hydrants that are available for use by Hydrant Permit holders and notify permit holders of these locations.
  • Each permit is assigned to approved and specified hydrants. If a permit holder wants to use a different hydrant, the permit holder will need to work with the Water Department to change the location.
  • Mandatory use of meters and backflow assemblies on all equipment used to access water from a hydrant. The Water Department will provide this equipment to permit holders, but the permit holders will be required to provide a $1,500 refundable deposit for the equipment or a or verified certificate of liability insurance naming the City of Spokane as an additional insured
  • Use of a water meter to measure all water consumption.
  • Payment for water used. Meters will record consumption, and permit holders will be billed monthly for that usage at the same rate as for other water purveyors.
  • Fines for those who violate the Hydrant Permit Policy and required payment to compensate for any damage done to City equipment or infrastructure.

The City is working to get information out to affected citizens. Letters are being sent this week to businesses and individuals who applied for a hydrant permit in the last couple of years.

Additional hydrant security measures beyond this program also are being reviewed, including locking of hydrants and creation of bulk water fill stations. These projects are being evaluated for possible implementation, beginning later in 2020.