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    August 1, 2007

kids opening firehydrants to cool off... who do i call about this? - is there a specific city agency in charge of coming to open hydrants and closing them? i know it's not an emergency, but with the hydrants blowing our water pressure is dead. any suggestions would be much appreciated!
posted by upso to parenting at 5:22 P.M. EST     (21 Comments)

Comments ...

Generally, a hydrant issue is addressed through the fire department. Even though your problem is not an emergency, having an open hydrant could cause one if a fire breaks out in the area. It seems silly to involve the fire department, but better to have the problem solved quickly and before a couple houses are cooked because the pressure was too low.
posted by MoreThanRhetoric at 05:30 P.M. EST on Wed Aug 01, 2007     #

yeah. other than water pressure for my house, the fire prevention is second on my worry list. ive called the cops already and they take so long the kids are gone by the time they arrive.
posted by upso at 09:07 P.M. EST on Wed Aug 01, 2007     #

While this is a minor issue, it's also theft of public resources. This would be equivalent of someone hooking up their TV to the city grid that feeds street lights.

Not sure what kind of laws surround this kind of issue, but it's interesting. Among all of the problems in our society though, this is pretty much the bottom of the list.

But I can see your point of view, you're paying for the service and if you can't get that service or it's restricted because of someone abusing it, I'd be upset too.

posted by jshriver at 09:09 P.M. EST on Wed Aug 01, 2007     #

the Department of Adorable.

I saw some kittens wrestling at Dorr and McCord. Get 'em on it.

posted by thetoledowire_com at 09:54 P.M. EST on Wed Aug 01, 2007     #

oh yeah.. totally agree its a minor issue
and i also agree it borders on cute
but when i go to wash my hands or use the bathroom and the water doesnt come out, i get pissed. (i work from home, so im always around when the hydrant is opened)

posted by upso at 10:26 P.M. EST on Wed Aug 01, 2007     #

posted by thetoledowire_com at 10:37 P.M. EST on Wed Aug 01, 2007     #

That is that no water pressure is annoying.
posted by thetoledowire_com at 10:50 P.M. EST on Wed Aug 01, 2007     #

Chicago's open hydrant policy...

Chicago's fire hydrant policy

What to do about an open hydrant

*Residents are encouraged to dial 911 if they see someone opening a hydrant.

*To report an open hydrant, call 311.


*Opening a hydrant

is a misdemeanor punishable by a first-time fine of $500 to $1,000 and/or 10 days in jail. Subsequent offenses carry a $1,500 fine and/or 30 days in jail.

Not sure if the City of Toledo has an "official policy" or not??

The Chicago article points out that if the city were to condone hydrant opening, then it would be condoning children playing near traffic...relevant point for them, I guess, since a 4 year old boy was killed last month by an SUV while playing in hydrant spray.,1,5266287,print.story?coll=chi_tab01_layout

Another interesting comment from the Chicago article:
In 2006, more than 8 million gallons of water were wasted each day in Chicago because of illegally opened hydrants

Seems like if they are paying for 8 million gallons of wasted water a day, perhaps they could cut that expense by increasing the availability of public pools?

posted by mom2 at 10:59 P.M. EST on Wed Aug 01, 2007     #

public pools...good point.
posted by thetoledowire_com at 11:11 P.M. EST on Wed Aug 01, 2007     #

public pools...good point.

I don't know the volume of wasted water in Toledo...certainly not as significant an amount as Chicago. But in the Chicago case...8 million wasted gallons a day would add up in expense mighty quick.

You'd think that there would be some sort of cost effective compromise for them (whether a public pool, some sort of park w/sprinklers...where the kids would be away from traffic and also the flow of water could be better controlled than a gushing hydrant, etc.).

(sorry...I know this is "Toledo" talk, but when I read the article about Chicago it got me

posted by mom2 at 11:33 P.M. EST on Wed Aug 01, 2007     #

one thing is.. opening public pools doesnt promise the hydrants wont get opened.
posted by upso at 11:45 P.M. EST on Wed Aug 01, 2007     #

Can't recall where, but in some cities (I think L.A. was one), on extreme days, the FD attaches sprinkler-type fittings on the hydrants for the kids.

Serves the purpose without having a drop in water main pressure. The practice drastically cut down on open hydrants.

Why not Toledo?


posted by Plantman at 12:00 A.M. EST on Thu Aug 02, 2007     #

Toledo Municipal Code:

939.01. Unauthorized use of water.
(a) No person shall take or use any water from a fire hydrant or other outlet connected with mains supplied with water by the waterworks of the City for any purpose other than the extinguishing of a fire unless such use has been first authorized by the Department of Public Utilities, Division of Administrative Services, and in the event that such use is not for a public purpose in the City, until and unless the charge for any such water to be so taken or used is paid in advance or a written agreement for payment is extended by and between such taker or user and the Department of Public Utilities.

(b) In addition to the criminal penalties provided for elsewhere in this title, any person taking or using water contrary to the provisions of this section shall also be liable to the City for the reasonable cost of any and all water so taken or used.


939.07. Tampering with apparatus.
No person, unless authorized by the Department of Public Utilities, shall knowingly, except in any time of fire, open any public fire hydrant or turn any public or private valve or stopcock or remove the cover from any valve or stopcock.

(Ord. 30-86. Passed 1-14-86.)

939.08. Breaking of seals; fire hydrant, etc.
Water shall not be used from any fire pipe, private fire hydrant, or extinguisher system, nor seals broken or removed, except in case of fire. In all cases where seals are broken or removed, written notice of the same must be given the Commissioner of Water within twenty-four hours after its occurrence.

(1952 Code 27-6-9)

posted by MaggieThurber at 08:31 A.M. EST on Thu Aug 02, 2007     #

on that last part.. how do we let the commissioner of water know about this? its happening almost every day
posted by upso at 10:19 A.M. EST on Thu Aug 02, 2007     #

upso - Sherman Moser, commissioner of water disstribution,

from this webpage:

Unauthorized Hydrant Usage
Hydrants are not for fun - they are to fight fires. Although they may appear to be a cool relief on a hot summer day, unauthorized use of a hydrant may cause many problems for your neighbors and other citizens in your service area. Open hydrants may also inhibit the ability of the Fire Department to fight fires effectively. They may also create problems with the water distribution system. Some of the problems that may be experienced are:

rusty water
water hammer (which can cause main breaks in the distribution system)
inability to fight fires effectively
low water pressure for customers
hydrant bolts may be stripped and cause the inability to turn-on or off a hydrant.

This may cause the need for Water Distribution personnel to repair the hydrant, which can cause customers in the area to be without water service until the hydrant is repaired or replaced.

If you see a hydrant that has been opened illegally, please contact Water Emergency at (419) 242-5040 so we can ensure the closure of the hydrant to protect the neighborhood.

posted by MaggieThurber at 12:15 P.M. EST on Thu Aug 02, 2007     #

awesome, thank you maggie!
posted by upso at 01:17 P.M. EST on Thu Aug 02, 2007     #

you're very welcome...
posted by MaggieThurber at 03:15 P.M. EST on Thu Aug 02, 2007     #

This is a little off the subject but I would like to take this opportunity to say . . .


posted by rick948 at 04:34 P.M. EST on Thu Aug 02, 2007     #

sorry Rick948...not interested! really enjoying NOT having to deal with all that stuff...


posted by MaggieThurber at 04:43 P.M. EST on Thu Aug 02, 2007     #

I wonder if anyone has seen a spike in crime since they closed the pools?

I would bet open firehydrants are really the only thing the pools cause a spike in.

I still say close the pools and make one big waterpark somewhere in the city (I'd put it on the river just north of the MLK bridge) that could become a destination for Toledo's youth when it's this hot.

posted by MikeyA at 07:33 A.M. EST on Fri Aug 03, 2007     #

The other day one of the local TV stations was doing a story about the open hydrants.

They showed some little kid, maybe 8 or so, open a hydrant and promptly get knocked ass over apple cart by the force of the water. He got up holding his head.

I know it's evil, but I laughed my ass off.

posted by JeepMaker at 11:31 A.M. EST on Sat Aug 04, 2007     #

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