Fire Hydrant Meter Program

Fire Hydrant Meter Program for Temporary Water Service and Bulk Water

The fire hydrant meter program provides service for customers within the City of Durham and outlines specific procedures to follow for authorized use of public fire hydrants. According to the Durham City Code, only two organizations, the City of Durham Fire Department and select Divisions of the Department of Water Management are authorized to use fire hydrants without a special permit. Private contractors and individuals must apply for access to public fire hydrants.

Every day businesses such as street cleaners, pressure washers, and those working on construction projects need to use water from a fire hydrant. The City of Durham Water and Sewer Maintenance (WSM) Division offers these customers a permit for a Hydrant Meter Assembly to obtain water for non-drinking use in a safe and legal manner.

Fire Hydrant Meter Assembly Permit

The Water and Sewer Maintenance Division will provide temporary water service by means of a public fire hydrant to customers who qualify for this service at locations within the service area. The provided Standard Fire Hydrant Meter Assembly offers a 2 ½-inch NST fire hose connection and a 3/4 MIPT garden hose connection, while the Jumper Box Assembly offers a 2” inlet and outlet connection for soft copper. Jumper Boxes are typically used when a direct tap is needed on a jobsite and no local fire hydrants are available. Individuals or companies must apply for access to a hydrant for non-drinking water use.

Applicants must provide the desired fire hydrant location which shall include unobstructed access to the job site. The fire hydrant’s location and condition may affect availability and authorization of service. If the desired fire hydrant is deemed unsatisfactory for a temporary water connection Water and Sewer Maintenance staff will suggest the next best fire hydrant for providing temporary water service.

Additionally, The City of Durham Water and Sewer Maintenance Division reserve the right to deny service to any customer depending on equipment availability, water use restrictions, weather conditions or system capabilities. The City of Durham Water and Sewer Maintenance Division will grant access to a Fire Hydrant Meter Assembly for temporary water service only to customers who have satisfied the requirements for obtaining such services.

Process for obtaining a Fire Hydrant Meter Assembly 

A two business day notification is required for all Fire Hydrant Meter Assembly Requests

  • Call 919-560-4344 and select option #4 to inquire about a temporary Fire Hydrant Connection Service and availability.
  • Obtain and complete the hydrant meter assembly permit application (PDF).
    • Option 1. Place the $500 refundable deposit and application in a sealed envelope in the drop box outside of City Hall (on Mangum Street).
    • Option 2. Send the completed application to HydrantMeters@DurhamNC.gov with HYDRANT in the subject line. THEN Call Customer Billing Services at 919-560-1200 and pay the $500 deposit over the phone.
  • In most cases the Fire Hydrant Meter Assembly can be installed within five business days of payment.

Installation and operation Guidelines for a Fire Hydrant Meter Assembly

  • Hydrant Meter Applicants cannot provide their own water meter or backflow device
  • City of Durham WSM Staff will contact Customer to schedule the installation of the Fire Hydrant Meter Assembly. Installation is available between 7:30am and 2:30 pm.
  • The City of Durham Water and Sewer Maintenance Division will install and secure a Fire Hydrant Meter Assembly on the requested fire Hydrant if possible. If the requested hydrant is unfit to accept a Fire Hydrant Meter Assembly WSM staff will suggest and install the equipment at the next best location.
  • WSM staff will install and secure the Fire Hydrant Meter Assembly to and turn on the fire hydrant and ensure all equipment is properly working before leaving the site.
  • The customer will have access to and only be allowed to operate the 2” hand valve located on the exterior of the enclosed Fire Hydrant Meter assembly. Using a personal lock is permissible to secure the 2” hand valve.
    • Customers are not authorized or permitted to operate any City of Durham fire hydrant
    • All Fire Hydrant Meter Assemblies include freeze protection to ensure proper and continuous operation throughout the year.
  • The Standard Fire Hydrant Meter assembly offers two available connections:
    • 2.5” NST Fire Hose
    • 3/4 MIPT garden hose
  • The Jumper Box Assembly offers a 2” inlet and outlet connection for soft copper to be used when a direct tap access to water is needed.
  • The customer is responsible for immediately reporting any damage or concerns to the Fire Hydrant Meter Assembly to the Division of Water and Sewer Maintenance.
  • When the Customer is finished with the Fire Hydrant Meter assembly they must contact the Customer Billing Services division at 919-560-1200 at least two business days in advance to schedule retrieval of the equipment. Retrieval of equipment can be scheduled between 7:30 a.m and 2:30 p.m.
  • The City of Durham offers only secured Fire Hydrant Meter Assemblies for temporary water service. Vehicle mounted or portable assemblies are not an option.
    • If a customer wishes to have their Fire Hydrant Meter Assembly relocated, an advance notice of two business days shall be provided to Water and Sewer Maintenance staff and is subject to prior commitments. Hydrant Meter customers are not authorized to relocate the Fire Hydrant Meter Assembly.
  • The City of Durham shall complete an inspection and obtain a water consumption reading on a regular basis for Customers that are in possession of Hydrant Meter Assemblies for extended periods of time.

Fire Hydrant Meter Assembly Fee Schedule

Additional Information

If a customer violates any portion of the Hydrant Meter Guidelines or associated policies, WSM Staff will immediately remove the equipment. The department will put the customer's account and deposit on hold. Following an investigation of the circumstances, there may be additional fees or penalties.

Related North Carolina Laws and Regulations

Related City of Durham Codes and Ordinances