Hydrant Permit Requirements

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) must approve all hydrants before you can use them for dedicated site use or for tanker filling.

Backflow protection requirements

  • You must use a certified reduced pressure backflow assembly (RPBA) or approved air gap on the hydrant.
  • You must ensure that the backflow assembly or air gap is properly installed whenever you are connected to the hydrant.
  • We will inspect the backflow protection before you can use the hydrant.

You can’t use hydrant water before these requirements are met:

  1. After you receive your hydrant meter, you must request a backflow installation inspection or a tanker air gap inspection by contacting SPU_Backflow@seattle.gov or (206) 684-3536.
  2. All backflow assemblies must be tested by a Washington State Certified Backflow Assembly Tester.

Fire access

You must leave unobstructed access to the hydrant for the fire department.


You must use approved barricades to prevent hydrant hoses from coming into contact with vehicles or pedestrians.

Equipment loss or damages

You must return hydrant equipment in the same condition as issued.

If you lose or damage equipment, we will charge you:

  1. The amount equal to the cost of the lost or damaged equipment
  2. An overhead charge

If we find evidence of hydrant meter tampering or damage to the hydrant meter and we can't accurately determine the amount of water used, at SPU’s discretion, you will be charged per day for the entire term of the permit.

Hydrant operations rules

  1. Protect the hydrant
    • Operate the hydrant with a hydrant wrench only. Never operate using a pipe wrench — it strips the operating nut.
    • Operate the hydrant to the fully open or fully closed positions.
      • Don't leave the hydrant partially open or closed (throttled) — this burns the main rubber valve.
      • To control flow, use the valve on the SPU hydrant meter. (If you are using private equipment, connect a 2-inch ball valve or gate valve to the engine port.)
  2. Protect drinking water quality and the water system
    • You must ensure that the backflow assembly or air gap is properly installed whenever you are connected to the hydrant.
    • Never rapidly open or close a hydrant.
      • Opening or closing a hydrant too fast can send a water hammer through the water main that can cause it to rupture and damage the hydrant. It disturbs the sediment in the water main, which affects water quality and causes dirty water complaints.
  3. Protect your safety
    • Check all engine port caps and make sure they are tightly secure before operating the hydrant.
    • Using a hydrant builds pressure that can blow out loose fittings. Never bend or hunch over the hydrant when you are operating it, and always stand to the back of the hydrant while charging.

Hydrant permit holders operate hydrants at their own risk and assume all responsibility for personal injury or damage to SPU equipment.

If a hydrant is not operating properly, call us at (206) 386-1800 to report the problem.

Public Utilities

Andrew Lee, General Manager and CEO
Address: 700 5th Avenue, Suite 4900, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 34018, Seattle, WA, 98124-5177
Phone: (206) 684-3000

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Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is comprised of three major direct-service providing utilities: the Water Utility, the Drainage and Wastewater Utility, and the Solid Waste Utility.