The City of Spokane Water Department is responsible for maintaining the City's fire hydrants and ensuring that our hydrant policies support the Water Department's mission of providing safe, clean reliable drinking water, along with adequate flow to fight fires.
The City has about 7,500 hydrants in its water system.
The City operates a Hydrant Permit Program that allows for the use of hydrant to fill water trucks and similar equipment. The City issues about 200 permits annually, including more than half to provide dust abatement at construction projects.
The City Council approved an update to the City's Hydrant Permit Program in January 2020 to enhance hydrant security, ensure use of necessary equipment to protect the City's water supply, and appropriately account for water used.
The updated Hydrant Permit Program includes elements that address our water resources, water infrastructure, and efforts to protect public health.
- Water Infrastructure. Currently, there are approximately 7,500 City fire hydrants throughout the water system and each one needs to be maintained and protected for water system resiliency.
- Public Health. Our citizens rely on our water system to provide them with clean, safe drinking water on demand every day. It is an important responsibility to ensure that no contaminants enter the water system through the use of hydrants or any other accessible points to the water system.
- Water Resources. The Water Department estimates water use by hydrant permit holders as part of its annual distribution system loss analysis. Water stewardship is a Strategic Plan initiative, requiring strong emphasis on measuring actual water use and encouraging active conservation of water.
Here is an overview of hydrant permit program components. The updated program is proposed to require:
- A $500 annual fee for a Hydrant Permit.
- Use of preapproved hydrants. The City has identified 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 provides this equipment to permit holders. Permit holders are be required to provide a $1,500 refundable deposit for the equipment or a 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 are 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.
Additional hydrant security measures beyond this program are being reviewed, including locking of hydrants and creation of bulk water fill stations. These projects are being evaluated for possible implementation, beginning in late summer 2020.