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Fire Hydrant Permit Program. In 2007, the City of Moorhead (City) passed an ordinance regarding the use of fire hydrants within the City limits. Section 3-3-2:D.15. “Any use of water from fire hydrants in the city limits of Moorhead, other than by fire department, without first obtaining a permit from the Moorhead Public Service Commission, or if person or entity has obtained permit, not following the rules and procedures set by Moorhead Public Service Commission relating to such permits. (Ord. 2007-17, 8-20-2007)”

Reasons for the Ordinance

hydrant-meter
An example of a hydrant meter attached to a fire hydrant.

Fire Suppression:
The primary use for fire hydrants is fire suppression. As a result, hydrants must be kept in good working order so they will be ready in times of emergency. Unauthorized use can result in damage to the hydrant and the surrounding watermains.

Public Nuisance:
Several hydrants around Moorhead are connected to very old cast iron watermain pipes (about 50-75 yrs old). When these hydrants are used, they can kick up rust and other sediment in the cast iron watermain, which can find their way into homes causing rusty water in your sinks, showers and clothes washers.

Asset Protection:
This ordinance will reduce the damage to, and the needed repairs to, hydrants and watermains in Moorhead. Fire hydrant and watermain replacement is very expensive. A reduction in unnecessary replacements will reduce the overall cost of maintenance and ultimately your water rates.

Unauthorized use of water from hydrants is stealing. All water from hydrants is processed at the MPS water treatment plant like any other water. Therefore there is a cost to the water. A metered hydrant allows MPS to sell the water they have treated.

Security Issues:
The meter that will be placed on the hydrant has back flow protection. This back flow protection will result in increased security by not allowing the accidental contamination of Moorhead water. We also need to increase public awareness of the fire hydrants to prevent intentional contamination of the water supply.

Help from the Public

There are a couple things we are asking Moorhead residents to do:

  1. Watch
    • There are over 1,800 hydrants in Moorhead.
    • MPS can’t continuously watch all hydrants.
    • If you have a hydrant around your home or business, please keep an eye on it.
  2. Call
    • If you see anyone other than the fire department or MPS staff using the hydrant call.
    • Even if you think the hydrant they are using is being metered, call. Our staff will know if the use is authorized.
    • Please call 218.477.8000, Option 4, if you notice any use of hydrants around Moorhead.

Obtaining a Permit

Anyone that is interested in using a hydrant must first obtain a permit from MPS. MPS will then issue and install all meters and back flow assemblies, and a charge will be issued for the rental and installation of the devices. The staff at MPS will determine which hydrants are available for temporary use.

All unauthorized use will result in fees and penalties from MPS (as authorized by the City Code):

  • $100 fine for first time violation for use of a hydrant without a permit, not reporting weekly usage, or moving a hydrant meter.
  • $250 fine for second violation.
  • $500 for repeated violation of the hydrant policy.

Landscapers, contractors, and anyone else interested in obtaining a permit can call 218.477.8000, Option 4, or pick up a Hydrant Use Permit form at MPS' Business Office on Second Floor of Moorhead City Hall (500 Center Avenue, Moorhead, Minnesota).

 
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