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Passaic Valley Water Commission Urges Customers to Report Unauthorized Hydrant Use


By: Najla Alexander

The Passaic Valley Water Commission (PVWC) is asking its customers for their assistance in combating unauthorized hydrant use by contractors.



According to officials, PVWC urges residents to promptly report any instances of unauthorized hydrant use by calling customer service at 973-340-4300 or emailing

"PVWC recently investigated an area with a high concentration of discolored water complaints," said Executive Director Jim Mueller.

"We deployed a drone over the area, and within 5 minutes, we found a line of paving contractors waiting to illegally fill up their water trucks."

"While unauthorized use of a hydrant is not the only reason for main breaks and discolored water, it certainly plays a huge role in it," Mueller added.

Officials say that unauthorized hydrant use poses a significant risk to the integrity of the water system. 

When an untrained person opens a hydrant, the quick burst of water causes sediment from the pipe to stir and cause discoloration.

The quick burst, also known as a water hammer, can also cause a main to break, interrupting water service to homes in the area until the break is repaired.

Authorities say that PVWC employees and fire department personnel are the only people authorized to operate hydrants.

According to officials, by enlisting the help of their valued customers, PVWC hopes to curb this illegal activity.

It will also help to ensure customers have the clean drinking water they expect when their faucets are turned on.

Again, PVWC urges residents who witness suspicious activity near hydrants or notice excessive water flow from a hydrant to report it immediately by calling customer service at 973-340-4300 or emailing