An in-depth look at hydrants with Passaic Valley Water Commission

(Clifton, N.J. September 22, 2023) – Passaic Valley Water Commission (PVWC) customers have been hearing about hydrant repairs and replacements for many years. Some customers may have even experienced hydrant work in front of or near their home. PVWC is replacing nearly 1,100 hydrants so that fire personnel will have access to hydrants with excellent water flow and pressure, should the need for firefighting arise. 

The hydrants that we see on top of the ground are just housing for what’s inside. The outside of the hydrant also acts as protection for all the mechanisms inside that help to maintain water pressure and flow. Customers may be wondering why hydrants need to be replaced or repaired periodically, here’s a look inside to see how hydrants work. 

If you were to look at a cross section of a hydrant you would see nuts, bolts, valves, rings, an O-ring and flange seals, an oil filter, hose & pumper nozzles, along with other things that make the hydrant work. There is a large pipe at the bottom of the hydrant that connects to the water main in the ground. Over time, all those inner working parts of the hydrant wear out and must be replaced so that the hydrant works properly when needed. 

When a hydrant is opened too quickly, about 20 – 70 pounds per square inch (PSI) of water comes blasting out.  The force is such that it can move almost anything in front of it and/or severely damage a vehicle. The rapid force can also cause a main break and it will cause discolored water for homes that receive water from that main. 

A hydrant that has been hit by a vehicle or damaged by an unauthorized user, can cause many issues such as a damaged shut-off valve which means the hydrant cannot be shut down, thereby causing flooding and a possible no water situation for homes in a large area.  Also, if the pressure rings are damaged and cannot be placed securely on a hydrant, the side caps can blow off causing severe injury to anyone in their path.

Any unlawful hydrant use can cause many issues which is why Passaic Valley Water Commission cautions that only authorized persons operate hydrants.  PVWC wants to always ensure hydrants are in proper working order so that if a fire emergency occurs, there will not be any problems.

PVWC is grateful for any help its customers can provide by reporting unauthorized hydrant use by calling customer service at 973-340-4300 or emailing because it helps to prevent discolored water, main breaks and it keeps the water flowing for emergencies. 

PVWC is New Jersey’s largest public water utility, serving over 800,000 consumers in Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris and Passaic counties. For more information, please call customer service at 973-340-4300 or visit, or follow us on Twitter (@PVWC), Instagram (@passaic_valley_water) and/or Facebook (@thePVWC).

Contact Us

Office Hours:
7:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Main Office:
Passaic Valley Water Commission
1525 Main Avenue
Clifton, NJ 07011

Telephone: 973-340-4300
Fax: 973-340-5598

By calling Customer Service 973-340-4300 at any time, day or night, Passaic Valley Water Commission will respond to water emergency situations for you.

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