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Hydrant Use Program

Customers must apply for a hydrant use permit before using water from a fire hydrant for construction, landscaping, demolition, street cleaning and other approved uses.

Hydrant permits are issued pursuant to the Operating Rules of the Denver Board of Water Commissioners (“Denver Water”) and are subject to the Charter of the City and County of Denver, Denver Water’s Operating Rules, Denver Water’s Engineering Standards and the terms and conditions listed below.

Hydrant permit uses

Permits can be issued to allow hydrant water use for the following:

  • Compaction
  • Construction
  • Demolition
  • Dust control
  • Hydro mulching    
  • Landscaping work
  • Pressure washing
  • Sewer flushing
  • Street cleaning

Hydrant water should never be used for human consumption without a valid water quality test and chlorination performed by Denver Water prior to usage.

Hydrant water is not permitted for the following:

  • Swimming pools    
  • Retaining ponds    
  • Ditches    
  • Landscape maintenance
  • Ice rinks        

Hydrants cannot be operated during freezing weather (temperatures below 32 degrees) except in cases of emergency and operated only by fire department personnel.

Hydrant permits may be restricted during droughts.

Employees of Denver Water shall be allowed to examine a hydrant permit when the hydrant is in use. Denver Water will charge a permit fee to recover the costs of testing the meter, billing and monitoring the permit.

How to obtain a hydrant permit

To obtain a permit, bring your meter and valid backflow test report to Denver Water’s Meter Shop for calibration. The Meter Shop is located at 1600 W. 12th Ave., Building F. Meter Shop hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Please allow up to three business days for calibration testing and permit approval. All past invoices must be paid in full to renew permit. Once the permit is approved, you will be contacted to pick up your meter and permit from the Meter Shop.

All permitted connections to a hydrant must include:

  • Hydrant meter.
  • Reduced pressure backflow prevention assembly that is testable and
    • Has two independent operating check vales.
    • Has a hydraulic automatic operation differential relief valve located between the two check valves.
    • Has USC FCCCHR approval.
  • Proper support with adjustable jack stands or dolly with the use of a hydrant wrench.

Denver Water does not provide or rent this equipment. It is the responsibility of the permit applicant to purchase these items prior to applying for a permit.

All fire hydrants located in a Master Meter district require a hydrant permit be issued from the Master Meter water district prior to connecting to a fire hydrant. Contact the water district the fire hydrant is located in prior to connecting to a fire hydrant.

Why do you require a reduced pressure backflow prevention assembly?

Reduced pressure backflow assemblies protect the drinking water from high health hazards that may potentially contaminate the distribution system. A reduced pressure backflow device is required for all connections to a hydrant to protect Denver Water’s distribution system from potential contamination per the Denver Water backflow hydrant use policy

Per state of Colorado drinking water regulations, backflow assemblies must be tested annually by a certified backflow tester. A valid backflow test report is required for both permit application and annual renewal.

Permits must be on site when meter is in use. Copies can be made and kept in trucks for easy access.

What kind of support is required for meter and reduced pressure backflow prevention assembly?

Denver Water requires permit holders to have adequate support of the meter and backflow assembly while connected to a hydrant to prevent damage. It is imperative that active hydrants are functioning properly to extinguish fires.

Permit holders failing to use proper support while connected to a hydrant can incur fines and possibly be held liable for the costs of repairs to the hydrant. Per Denver Water’s Engineering Standards, the best means of support is the use of three jack stands. See a drawing of the proper placement of the stands (detail #33291).

An alternative means of support may be allowed, such as the use of a dolly. This will be determined by Denver Water staff on a case-by-case basis and must be approved at the time of permit application.

Hydrant use permit rates

Length of permit  Permit fee
12 months $435
Short-term (up to three months) $170 for one month
$100 for each additional month (Maximum total of $370 for three months. After three-month period, it goes to yearly rate.)

To renew your permit, all past due permit charges and fees must be paid. To make a payment call 303-893-2444.

Permits are nonrefundable and are subject to the terms and conditions on this page.

Acceptable meter manufacturers

Reporting water consumption

Permit holders must submit monthly meter readings via fax or email. Verbal and mailed readings are not accepted. Reads are due between the first and 15th of each month. Reads received after the 15th of the month are considered late and subject to a $50 late read fee. Readings must be reported even if no water has been used.

When the permit expires the meter must be brought back into Denver Water’s Meter Shop for a final reading, or to renew.

Consumption through the meter is billed at a rate of $12.16 per 1,000 gallons.

Submit readings to:

Fax: 303-628-6709

Renewing a permit

Remember: All hydrant meters must be brought to the Meter Shop for annual testing and calibration.

The permit expiration date is located on the bottom of the page entitled “Hydrant Permit”. Backflow test certifications are valid for 12 months from the backflow test date.

To renew a permit, bring a current backflow test report with a new permit application to the Meter Shop for annual testing and calibration. Past due account balances must be paid in full prior to renewing a permit.

Permit fees will be billed to your account. You can call 303-893-2444 to make a payment.

Violations to the hydrant use policy

Failure to comply with the permit regulations will result in fines based on the number of occurrences.

  • First violation — $500
  • Second violation — $1,000
  • Third Violation — $1,500 and 90-day suspension of all active permits

(If a violation is issued, the permit holder may be required to come into Denver Water for education on proper hydrant usage.)

Example of hydrant use violations:

  • Failure to provide reads for three or more months.
  • Use of a hydrant with an expired or a revoked permit.
  • Failure to properly support the backflow assembly when attached to hydrant.
  • Failure to attach a reduced pressure backflow prevention assembly while operating hydrant.
  • Failure to elevate the reduced pressure backflow prevention assembly while in use.
  • Failure to provide documentation stating the permit holder has given permission to a subcontractor to use the permitted backflow assembly.
  • Failure to provide Denver Water with proper documentation stating ownership of backflow assembly if a new owner re-permits a backflow assembly previously permitted by a different owner.
  • Use of a pipe wrench or any assembly other than a proper hydrant wrench to open and close the hydrant.
  • Equipment in disrepair resulting in water waste.
  • Other unauthorized use, misuse, theft or other dishonesty involving Denver Water hydrants or hydrant water use.

Denver Water may revoke all existing permits issued to a permit holder, for reasons including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Failure to pay Denver Water invoices within 90 days. 
  • Numerous violations issued to permit holder within the same 12-month permit year. 
  • Any other unauthorized use, misuse, theft or other dishonesty involving Denver Water hydrants or hydrant water use.