Hydrant Bylaw FAQ

In Reference to Article 14 of the Hanover Town Meeting, May 6, 2019

What is a privately owned fire hydrant?

A privately owned fire hydrant is one that is within a private residential or commercial development, whose water is provided by the Town, but the underground piping in which the water moves and the hydrants are owned and maintained by the property owner.  Typically, in Hanover, privately owned fire hydrants are currently painted completely red. 

What does the Hydrant Bylaw require?

This bylaw seeks to regulate privately-owned fire hydrants in the Town. Specifically, it would require that private hydrants be inspected annually by a qualified individual, and it sets relevant fees for non-compliance with the bylaw.

Why is the Hydrant Bylaw Proposed?

The Town does not currently have the authority to regulate privately-owned fire hydrants; this situation creates a safety hazard in the event of a fire, since it may not be discovered that these hydrants are not functioning until they are needed for fire suppression activities.

How many private hydrants are there in Hanover?

Unfortunately, the Town does not have accurate records to determine the exact number of privately owned fire hydrants in Hanover.  Based on investigation by the Fire Department and Department of Public Works, it is estimated that there are between 150 and 200 private fire hydrants in the community.

Why does the By Law require privately owned hydrants to be painted a certain color scheme?

Public fire hydrants have a unique color scheme that allows firefighters and public works employees to quickly identify them.  In some areas of Town, private hydrants are painted a unique way to indicate certain water flow capabilities.  By painting privately owned fire hydrants a certain color scheme, they will be quickly identified as such during an emergency. 

Why is a private hydrant installed or required?

A private hydrant may be required by the fire department as a condition a building project.  Generally, the Fire Chief determines the need for a private hydrant in conjunction with fire department staff.  Typically, private hydrants are required if the distance from the building is greater than 500 feet from the nearest public fire hydrant.  Private hydrants may also be required because the building has a sprinkler system or because of the use and occupancy type of the building.  The installation of private hydrants is overseen by the Hanover Department of Public Works.

How often will this Bylaw require private hydrants to be inspected?

This bylaw will require the property owner to ensure any private hydrant is inspected regularly, but in no event less than once annually, to ensure satisfactory operation.

Who is allowed to inspect a private hydrant?

The owner of a private hydrant located on non-Town owned property shall maintain and have such hydrant annually inspected by a qualified person or entity chosen from a list provided by the Department of Public Works.

What are the approximate costs to have a hydrant inspected?

The cost to maintain and inspect a private hydrant varies based on several factors.  It is estimated that the cost would be between $75 and $300.

What are the penalties associated with this Bylaw?

The penalty/fines for violation of this bylaw shall be as follows:

  1. Failure to have hydrants maintained annually - $300
  2. Failure to notify the Water Division, Department of Public Works, and the Fire Department of failed hydrants and furnish a repair plan - $300
  3. Failure to mark and/or clear snow from hydrants - $100
  4. Failure to remove landscape material(s) from hydrant - $100
  5. Failure to notify the Water Division, Department of Public Works, and the Fire Department 24 hours prior to performing maintenance procedures - $100

The intention of this Bylaw is to formalize an approach to maintaining private hydrants in the Town of Hanover in the interests of public safety and the safety of firefighters.  The Hanover Fire Department will pledge to work with property owners to maintain and make improvements to their private hydrants, looking to utilize the penalties & fines set forth in this By Law as a last resort if necessary.