Pasco County Utilities owns and maintains 8,000 hydrants across the county. The hydrants are part of the utility’s water distribution system of about 1,800 miles of underground water mains, all connected to the water treatment plants.
Inspection and flushing
The county inspects and flushes hydrants annually to ensure they are operable for the fire department and that water in the distribution system is clean and safe. During inspection and flushing, each hydrant is:
- Operated fully
- Flushed thoroughly to remove any stagnant water
- Put under pressure to test for leaks
- Shut off to ensure it drains properly
- Inspected for any wear on moving parts
- Flow tested for gallons per minute (gpm) to provide proper color coding on the hydrant or bonnet. The color coding tells fire rescue how much water will flow through the hydrant.
- Red top hydrants flow up to 500 gpm.
- Orange top hydrants flow from 501 – 1000 gpm.
- Green top hydrants flow from 1001 – 1500 gpm.
- Blue top hydrants flow greater than 1500 gpm.
If a hydrant is found to be inoperable, Pasco County Utilities promptly notifies Pasco County Fire Rescue of the out-of-service status and again when hydrant repair is complete.
Unauthorized hydrant use causes problems
Unauthorized hydrant use may result in one or more of the following problems:
- Opening a hydrant causes water pressure to drop and reduce fire-fighting ability.
- Improper opening and closing of the hydrant can result in water hammer, or pressure surge, which can damage the hydrant and/or the underground piping.
- Improper handling may damage the connection points making it difficult or impossible for fire-fighting equipment to be attached to the hydrant.
- Opening a hydrant releases a strong, pressurized water spray that can harm bystanders and/or create traffic problems.
- Illegally opening a hydrant, or using a hydrant without backflow protection, opens opportunity for contaminants to enter the community water supply.
Unauthorized hydrant use is illegal
Pasco County has a "Zero-Tolerance Policy" for unauthorized hydrant use or other forms of water theft.
At locations where unauthorized hydrant use or theft is identified, any equipment added to the County’s water hydrants or other distribution system equipment will be removed. At locations where other forms of tampering are identified, corrective measures will be taken. All instances of theft or tampering may result in citations with fines of up to $500 plus restitution, for each and every occurrence.
Unauthorized hydrant use or water theft includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Any usage of unmetered water, including using unmetered water from hydrants for any purpose other than firefighting, testing, or flushing of hydrants.
- Moving the meter or extending service without the permission of Pasco County Utilities.
- Bypassing meters in any way.
- Removing, disabling, or adjusting meter registers.
- Use of fire suppression sprinkler water service for any purpose other than fire suppression.
- Opening valves at the curb or meter that have been turned off by utility personnel.
- Breaking, picking, damaging, or cutting off locks.
- Any intentional blockage or obstruction of utility equipment.
Please report hydrant tampering, open hydrants, or other forms of water theft by using the online reporting form, calling the Utilities Code Enforcement Officer at (813) 235-6012, Ext. 1935, or by mail to the Pasco County Utilities Administration Building, attention: Utilities Code Enforcement, at 19420 Central Boulevard Land O’ Lakes, FL 34637.