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Fire Hydrant Maintenance

WSSC Water has approximately 46,000 fire hydrants, spread out over 5,800 miles of water mains. WSSC Water maintains a robust record management system to manage records of all hydrants. The fire hydrants are inspected on a three-year cycle with about 13,000 inspections conducted in the two counties every year. The data collected includes hydrant location, operational status, work orders, and fire hydrant flow testing results.  WSSC Water performs periodic fire flow tests in order to make sure the fire hydrant could provide water at an acceptable pressure and flow rate for public health and firefighting operations.

Fire hydrants are made of cast iron and can last more than 50 years. However, internal working parts, such as gaskets and seats, require routine maintenance or replacement, which is why we have a proactive inspection program. 

During a typical inspection, WSSC Water crews performs following steps:

  • Visually inspect the fire hydrant and make sure that hydrant including all valves and nozzles, is accessible with no obstructions.
  • Perform routine maintenance (oil or grease the threads under the caps, fill stem cylinder with oil or grease depending on manufacturer recommendation, exercise valve, replace caps as necessary, etc.)
  • If a hydrant needs to be taken out of service, our goal is to repair it within seven calendar days.

How to identify a WSSC Water fire hydrant

The easiest way to identify a WSSC Water hydrant is by its color: all WSSC Water fire hydrants have a green top and a white or light gray body.

How you can help

If you spot a fire hydrant that is leaking, report it by calling us at 301-206-4002. You can call any hour of the day, seven days per week.

Fire Hydrant Meter Leases

On a limited basis, WSSC Water leases fire hydrant meters to individuals and businesses that want to purchase WSSC Water potable water without paying sewer charges. Hydrants are leased for a minimum of two weeks to a maximum of six months.

Fire hydrants in most of Prince George's and Montgomery counties can be used; however, areas of Bowie, Rockville and all of Poolesville have their own water systems, so WSSC Water meters cannot be used on those fire hydrants. The easiest way to identify a WSSC Water hydrant is by its color: all WSSC Water fire hydrants have a green top and a gray body.

A 3/4" meter, which is used with a standard garden hose, provides a flow rate of about 25 gallons per minute, or 1,500 gallons per hour. A 3" meter, used with a 2 1/2" fire hose, flows at 250 gallons per minute, or 15,000 gallons per hour.

A security deposit is required for the fire hydrant meter lease: $380 for a 3/4" meter and $2,420.00 for a 3" meter. Security deposits must be paid by certified check, cashier's check, treasurer's check or money order. If customers have a WSSC Water account in "good standing" (three years of on-time payments with no returned checks), we will accept personal checks.

If you lease a meter for six months, at the end of each month, you must email meter readings (including all zeros) to Be sure to include your permit number and full name (or company name). (3/4" hydrant meters will have a seven-digit reading, 3" hydrant meters will have an eight-digit reading.)

Fire hydrant meters cannot be leased for more than six months. The meter must be returned to a WSSC Water lease facility on or before the expiration date. If you need another fire hydrant meter, a new permit will be issued. Note that deposits do not transfer to a new permit.

Leasing Requirements

  • Deposit: 3/4" Meter: $380; 3" Meter: $2,420
  • Documentation requirements - to complete the form you will need:
    • Name of the individual/business using the meter
    • Street address of the individual/business using the meter
    • Federal Tax ID number (business)
    • Telephone number of the individual/business using the meter
    • The intended use of the meter (e.g. fill pools, washing streets, etc.)
    • Valid Maryland, D.C. or Virginia's driver's license
  • If chemicals are used in conjunction with the meter, provide the specific name of the chemical(s)
  • Trucks are inspected for 6-inch air gap at our Hyattsville facility. Each inspection requires a $50 certified, cashier's, or treasurer's check; or money order.

Fees and Charges

Size 3/4" 3"
Water Charge $9.96 per 1,000 Gallons
Minimum Water Consumption Charge $35.00 min.   (approved rate of 1,000 ADC) $240.00 min   (approved rate of 1,000 ADC) A 3" fire hydrant meter must be used with a high hazard backflow prevention assembly (ASSE1013)
Service Charge $95.00 (2 week lease period)  
$175.00 (over 2 weeks up to 6 months)
$130.00 (2 week lease period)
$175.00 (over 2 weeks up to 6 months)
Late Fees $10.00 for each business day the meter is not returned after permit has expired 
Other fees Damaged Meter If the meter is damaged, the customer will be billed for parts and labor required to repair the meter. Additionally, customers are responsible for the consumption and service charges.
  Lost/Destruction of Meter If the meter is lost or stolen, a meter replacement fee (which is equal to the deposit) as well as the minimum consumption and service charge will be assessed.
  Lost/Destruction of Wrench $40.00

Note: All fees and charges will be deducted from your deposit. If the fees and charges exceed your deposit, we will mail you an invoice for the balance. If the fees and charges are less than your deposit, we will mail you a refund four-to-six weeks after the meter is returned.

Leasing Locations

Directions to Utility Service Depots

Hours of operation  

Location Address Phone Number
Hyattsville (Customer Care Bldg.)
7:30 am - 3:30 pm
4102 Lloyd St.
Hyattsville, MD 20781
Temple Hills (Depot Warehouse)
8:30am - 11:00 am
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
8444 Temple Hills Rd.
Temple Hills, MD 20748
Silver Spring (Lyttonsville Depot Warehouse)
8:30am - 11:00 am
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
2501 Lyttonsville Rd.
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Gaithersburg (Depot Warehouse)
8:30am - 11:00 am
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
111 W. Diamond Ave.
Gaithersburg, MD 20879

Backflow Prevention

“Small” ¾” meters are outfitted with a ¾” male hose thread connection and an integral backflow prevention device. No additional protection is required unless the hose will be connected directly to a high-hazard water-utilizing piece of equipment.

“Large” 3” meters have a 2-1/2” male hose thread connection and are not outfitted with a backflow prevention assembly. Anyone who leases a large WSSC Water meter must provide an ASSE 1013 RP Backflow Prevention Assembly for every application (other than for an approved tanker with an inspected and unaltered air gap connection). See WSSC Water Plumbing and Fuel Gas Code sections 112.5.11 & 506.7.1.2

Permit Requirements

Installing a backflow prevention assembly for temporary water use does not require a permit or inspection, but it must comply with all applicable code requirements in WSSC Water Plumbing and Fuel Gas Code, Chapter 5, including testing and reporting requirements.

Testing Intervals

Backflow Prevention Assemblies used with a Large WSSC Water Fire Hydrant Meter lease are to be tested and reported every six months. See WSSC Plumbing and Fuel Gas Code Sections 112.5.11 & 506.7.1.2.


When completing a test report for a Backflow Prevention Assembly, which serves along with a Large WSSC Water Fire Hydrant Meter, the contact information (mailing address) is to be for the owner of the Backflow Preventer and the address provided must be their permanent office, not a temporary location. List the actual location of the Backflow Preventer in the Location Field and the Assembly Address Field which are part of the “facility address” section. Also be sure to select “fire hydrant meter lease” as the downstream process regardless of the actual usage; that should be added to the comments section.

Restricted Fire Hydrants

Fire hydrant meters can be used only on WSSC Water fire hydrants, which are easily identified by their green tops and white or light grey bodies.

Seasonal Applications

Garden Centers, Farm Stands, and similar facilities with permanent piping or permanent and/or heated structures (including mobile buildings and trailers) or any property with an in-ground irrigation system, cannot use a fire hydrant meter lease for a water connection (see WSSC Water Plumbing and Fuel Gas Code sections 112.5.11 & 506.7.2).

Last Modified: March 1, 2024, 1:38 pm EST