Permits are required to operate water hydrants for construction use. As needs for each use vary, as do locations, size, and other options, if you require a permit to operate a hydrant, you will need to talk to someone at the engineering service desk to help determine the best fit for your needs. The engineering service desk can be reached at 651-266-6270 from 7:30 am - 4:00 pm (Monday – Friday).

Once you have a permit to use a water hydrant, it is essential to operate the hydrant properly. Failure to operate the hydrant properly can result in damage to the water mains near the hydrant. Operating a hydrant without a permit is against the law and subject to a fine of $1,000. Fire departments and other city departments also have the need to operate water hydrants as required by their work. It is essential for these personnel to operate the hydrants safely as well, to prevent damage to the water mains.

How to Open and Close a Hydrant


  1. Prep the ground so you don’t do damage
  2. Remove the cap from where you are going to attach your diffuser or other attachment.
  3. Attach a diffuser or other attachment for dispersing the water. Be sure the other caps on the hydrant are closed.
  4. Open the hydrant clockwise.
    • For non-pacer hydrants - open a minimum of four turns and no more than eight turns. Some older hydrants may ‘chatter’ – if so, continue to open to a maximum of eight turns.
    • Pacer hydrants can be opened all the way.
    • If you are not sure of the difference, do not open more than eight turns. 
  5. When finished, close the hydrant, turning the wrench counter-clockwise VERY SLOWLY. This means turn the last few turns at a rate of 20 seconds per turn. If you fail to close the valve slowly, it could create a water hammer in the system. A water hammer can cause main breaks. 
  6. Use the hydrant to turn off the water. Do not turn off the water using a ball valve attached to the meter assembly.
  7. After closing the hydrant, be sure the water in the hydrant is wasting—the water needs to drain out completely before you put the cap back on the hydrant. 

Last Edited: December 14, 2020