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Portland Water District asks public to not paint hydrants

07.11.2022

Recently, firefighters have reported that several fire hydrants in Portland have been painted by unauthorized persons. Painting hydrants non-standard colors can jeopardize public safety

 and a firefighter’s ability to fight fires because hydrants are color-coded to indicate the water flow available at that location. Also, the Portland Water District uses specialized paint that helps firefighters find hydrants in the dark. 

“While I appreciate the interest in helping to keep our hydrants looking shiny and new, color-coding hydrants is one way we communicate with the fire departments and support fire protection efforts,” stated Director of Water Services Jim Wallace.

Painting hydrants, which are public property, may be considered Criminal Mischief under Title 17-A M.R.S §806, and persons identified as having painted a hydrant may be prosecuted.  The District seeks the public’s cooperation in stopping this practice before it becomes a public safety issue.

The Portland Water District maintains 5212 public hydrants in the Greater Portland water system and repaints about a quarter of the hydrants each year.  Bonnet flanges are painted specific colors and caps are coated with reflective paint. In addition to the painting program, hydrants are inspected each year to ensure they are working properly and are available for fire protection.

The Portland Water District will be adhering decals to select hydrants to help inform the public of the importance of color-coded hydrants.