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D.C. Council Says No to Private Hydrants, Passes Emergency Legislation Effective Today

Developers, beware.

Starting today, developers and others cannot install private fire hydrant in the District unless they can show proof of who will maintain it. The legislation, sponsored by Councilmembers Phil Mendelson (D-At Large) and Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) was passed by the D.C. Council this week. It comes after committee hearings, chaired by Mendelson and Graham, about available water supply for fire fighters.

Mendelson learned from the D.C. Water and Sewer Authority that the District has more than 1,300 private hydrants that are not maintained by the utility. Most of them are on the campuses of universities, military installations and hospitals, but some are on residential streets in the city.

Mendelson said in his newsletter released this week that the measure was necessary because these hydrants were "orphans." "No one is taking responsibility for them."

Concerns about working hydrants and water supply grew after the July 29 fire on Chain Bridge Road NW that destroyed the home of former school board president Peggy Cooper Cafritz. Mendelson said there is a private hydrant on Chain Bridge Road installed by a developer that is not working.

Under the new emergency rules, the hydrant owner must file a document with the Recorder of Deeds that says who will be responsible for the maintenance and replacement of the private hydrant.

WASA and the Fire Department jointly work to inspect and maintain the District's nearly 9,000 public hydrants.

By Theola Labbé-DeBose  |  October 1, 2009; 9:00 AM ET
Categories:  Crime and Public Safety , D.C. Council , Theola Labbé-DeBose  
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I can understand a university knowing about its hydrants, but if there are "orphan" hydrants on the street, how is an owner going to realize it's his/her hydrant, not the city's?

Posted by: ah___ | October 1, 2009 9:27 AM | Report abuse

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